Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Cruelty-Free and Minimalistic Makeup for Fall

I admit, I’m definitely not a makeup artist or fashionista, but I am a woman from Mississippi…

And being a woman from Mississippi, there are two things that all of us, or at least all of us that were born in my generation in my neck of the woods were expected to learn…

First of all, how to cook…which I’m having to unlearn all of the bad habits and cooking techniques that I grew up with now that my husband has been diagnosed as having type 2 diabetes…

And secondly, how to always look your best….even when you’re simply going to Walmart…

After all, you never know who you might run into…

 

This year one of my main goals has been to live a simpler and more minimalistic lifestyle…in all aspects of my daily routine, starting with my daily makeup routine.

BUT…

I have found myself with three different trains of thought as to buying makeup…

  1. Brand Loyaty
  2. Cheap as Dirt
  3. Cruelty-Free

Regardless which of these three options I continue to pursue in the months, and even years, ahead…

There is one main thing that I want to be consistent…My one big “key word” for the year…

Minimalism

 

So in this post I am going to talk about what makeup trends I have spotted this fall,, the different stess involved in each category, and which products I am considering adding to my makeup bag sometime soon.

 

1.  Face Primer..Primers seal in your skincare products, help fill in pores and fine lines, create a smooth surface on which to apply your foundation, and help your makeup last all day. Look for an oil-free, water-based primer…Cruelty-Free Pick…Vapour STRATUS SOFT FOCUS SKIN PERFECTING PRIMER

2.  Foundation..Opt for an oil-free foundation. Oil-based products improve the risk of your makeup “sliding” out of place. Use a beauty blender to apply light layers to create a smooth, natural look…Cruelty-Free Pick…Mineral Fusion Pressed Powder Mineral Foundation

3.   Concealor…Concealor should be lightweight and actually help get rid of undereye dark circles, allergy-induced redness, and occasional breakouts…not simply hide them…And of course, a natural concealor should contain no skin-irritating synthetics, chemicals, wax, preservatives, parabens, phthalates, or talc…all without looking dry or cakey.

Which concealor you use depends on what problem you are trying to cover…

  • To cover bluish undereye circles, use a yellow-tone concealer.
  • To cover brown or yellowish circles, peach-tone concealers are best
  • To cover fine lines around your eyes, pat moisturizer all around the eyes, using your ring finger. Allow it to sink in for a few minutes before applying concealer. Creamy, hydrating concealers work best for the delicate and dry skin around the eyes.
  • To cover redness, choose a concealer that matches your skin exactly.
  • To cover pimples, dot a pigment-rich, opaque concealer directly on the pimple. Sweep the brush around the base of the pimple, using tiny strokes in order to precisely blend the concealor without using your fingers.

Using Concealor..

  1. Place three tiny dots of concealor under the eyes from the inner corners to the centers, using a synthetic concealer brush. A synthetic brush is best for applying concealor. Applying concealer with your fingers results in creasing and caking. Applying concealer with a natural bristles results in applying too much color..
  2. Blend in with your fingertips.
  3. Apply a lightweight, loose translucent powder to set the concealor and prevent any shimmer and shine…Pressed powder can draw attention to fine lines by settling into creases.

4. Powder...A lightweight translucent pressed setting powder sets your makeup for longer wear and can easily be taken with you and used to soak up any excess oil throughout the day….Cruelty-Free Option.. Jane Iredale pure Matte Finish Powder.

5. Setting Spray...Setting sprays seal your makeup for a very natural look that lasts all day and refresh your makeup throughout the day…Cruelty-Free Option …Dr. Axe’s DIY Makeup Setting Spray with Lavender Oil

1.  Mix together…

  • 1Tbsp aloe vera gel 
  • 1Tbsp witch hazel
  • 5 drops of lavender essential oil
  • 2½Tbsp purified water

2.  Funnel into glass spray bottle. Shake well.

3.  To use…Hold the bottle a few inches away from the face and mist the face with one or two pumps of this spray after applying your makeup…Allow it to air dry.

6. Blotting Papers...Blotting papers may soak up oils during the day, but often take off more of your makeup than you would probably like. Try using Beauty Blender’s Bloterazzi Sponge instead.

7.  Blush…As far as blush goes for this fall, the two colors to look for are “earthy” tones”—more specifically peachy-pink and orange….This is great for those of us who want to embrace a “no-makeup” look.

To apply…Concentrate the color on the highest points of the cheekbones to give the face dimension and a more angular shape. Placing blush on the high points of the cheeks instead of the apples.

 

EYES

Eyeshadow

This year there seems to be several trains of thought as to eyeshadow…

  • Glitter
  • Pink
  • Shimmer
  • Statement
  • Tan

1. Glitter…Glitter eyeshadow may be the perfect way to transition from your everyday minimalistic makeup look to a more decadent look that is perfect for the upcoming holiday festivities.

2. Pink…Pink eyeshadow can range from a subtle and practical “neutral” to a wild statement piece. The best way to wear these, or at least for real women walking sidewalks instead of runways would be to think of this as if it were a tan eyeshadow and not a big deal.

3. Shimmer...Shimmer eyeshadow is another festive choice and is way more conservative than glitter eyeshadows.

4. Statement…Focusing on one area, such as your lips or eyes, and keeping the rest of your face with a neutral “no-makeup” look is almost always better than a full armor of makeup. This look offers a tension and contrast that adds interest to your overall look.

Just as higher hair doesn’t make you any closer to God, neither does a full face (“armor”) of makeup indicate that you have put on the “full armor of God.”

5. Tan….Another eyeshadow trend for this fall is tan shadow.  Tan eyeshadow is a practical and classier choice that flatters every woman,

These “tan” shadows offer several great options—such as deep golden tan, deep camel, golden brown, or pale cappuccino.

 

Eyeliner

Black

  • Black eyelinmeri is to eyes what classic red is—well, classic…
  • Black eyeliner has been used ince the days of Cleopatra and is always an excellent choice amd can run the gamut of looks—from dainty and sophisticated, to bold and daring000seductive.
  • Make sure that the black eyeliner that you choose is a deep midnight black.

Colored Eyeliner

  • For minimalists who actually take the time to still ut on makeup, there are two basic choices as far as eyeliner—black, obviously, and colored for those brave minimalists out there…
  • Colored eyeliners brighten your eyes and bring out your natural eye color.
  • Colored eyeliners are also an unexpected way to add some color into a minimalistic everyday makeup look.
  • As far as color, certain colors look better for certain eye colors.
  • Blue eyes look best with blue, pink, purple, and orange
  • Brown eyes look best with light purple, deep green, and navy blue….
  • Green eyes look best with purple, burnt pink, and light blue shades.

Waterlining

  • Waterlining and tighthlining your eyes will help define their natural shape.
  • Waterlining…Waterlining involves using eyeliner to line the tiny, little sliver of skin underneath your eyelashes.
  • Tightlining…Tightlining involves using eyeliner to line the skin above your lower lashes. Tightlining makes your lashes look even thicker.
  • These techniques can be done along with your normal eyeliner, or instead of your normal eyeliner.
  • BUT…
  • Waterlining and tightlining can both make your eyes look smaller….so if you want your eyes to look bigger, forget the idea.

White Eyeliner

  • Using white eyeliner to line your lower lashes, on the other hand, can make small eyes look bigger, and tired eyes look more awake.
  • Regardless if you are waterlining with a colored eyeliner or a white eyeliner, the product and technique will be exactly the same.
  • First of all, what type of eyeliner should you use?
  • Use either a waterproof pencil or waterproof gel/cream, not a liquid> Liquid  liners are too fluid and will not stay on your waterline.
  • If you’re brave, you could dip an angled brush into an eyeshadow that’s the same color as your liner, and press this over the liner that you applied to your waterline. Not sure as a contact wearer, that I’m quite that brave.

 

 

Mascara…As far as mascara for this fall, it run from one extreme to the other…

  • Colored mascara—such as blue or green—may seem a little bit of a very unexpected stretch for minimalists.
  • No Mascara…For minimalists, this is awesome news. ou don’t absolutely have to wear mascara to complete your makeup look. In fact, too much mascara can actually make your makeup look too “made up.”

 

Brows…Thank goodness that pencil-lined arches and bold painted silhouettes are now a trend that has come and gone. Fortunately the latest “trend” calls for undone, au natural, “textured,” bigger-is-better brows….filled in with an eyebrow combs and  brow gel.

 

 

Makeup Tips for Women Who Wear Glasses

Lately I have been walking around barely able to see. I ran out of contacts, so I had to wear my glasses…

But being cheap I had not ordered the bifocals that I should have ordered, and having glasses on, I obviously couldn’t put on reading glasses.

It took about three weeks for me to finally order my contacts and for them to come in.

But in the meanwhile I felt very self-conscious in my glasses, especially at first.

Eyewear makes your eyes the immediate focal point of your face, so it’s imperative to apply your makeup in a way that’s flattering to both your frames and your face.

Less is definitely more. Applying makeup to wear with glasses is not a matter of piling on more and more makeup. Instead it’s about using the right makeup and techniques…things like keeping your eye makeup simple, using a light hand, blending everything carefully, and keeping your makeup tidy, well-defined and as close to “perfect” as possible.

Yet putting on eye makeup can not be thought of as merely a waste of time because any makeup that you apply will simply be hidden behind your glasses.

 

 

LIPS

So in this second segment of trasitioning to  fall, I thought it would be fun to share a few tips on lips…

Even though choosing lip colors is a very personal thing…

When choosing your lip-whatevers, it’s important to consider at least five things…

  • Eye Color
  • Hair Color
  • Lip Color
  • Personality
  • Skin Tone

And being a minimalist, it would be so incredibly easy to stay stuck in a rut and simply wear the same neutral color of Burt’s Bees for the entire rest of my life…

So even though I am becoming more and more minimalistic with each and every trip that I make to Mission Arlington, I still feel a need to have more than one magic wand in my arsenal—including lipsticks, glosses and hybrid lip stains—to help create different looks for both everyday life and special occasions.

Typically lip “stuff” falls into the following four color groups…

  • Clsassic Red
  • Colorful
  • Neutrals
  • Pinks

 1.Classic Red…Bold red lips are the classic icon of everything from being the perfect go-to accent for the LBD to being the most-important accessory of Hollywood legends.

Red lips are magical and mysterious, are great for waking up a tired look, brightens up your smile, and giveyou the appearance of whiter teeth.

All that being said, my three choices for “classic red” lips this fall are…

2. Colorful…Bold and colorful lipsticks—such as fuchsia pink, bold orange, or coral—are always fun, sassy, and playful.  Look for a richly pigmented creamy coral lipstick that has the following characteristics…

  • applies opaque in just one coat
  • basically an orange lipstick, yet very close to a neutral
  • bright, bold, and brilliant
  • gives good staying power
  • super hydrating

One of the best ways to wear the look this fall would be with the rest of your makeup having that “no–makeup look” that all minimalists love. The bold lips serve as a stark contrast with your bare skin.

  1. Brand Loyalty…Best 7 Clinique Options
  2. Cruelty-Free…Pacifica Lipsticks
  3. Discount Bin…Best Drugstore Red Lipsticks

3. Neutrals

One of the biggest trends this fall as far as makeup is concerned is the neutral lip. This means that even Mississippi women can dare to go to Walmart without wearing any liner, gloss, lipstick, or anything like that at all.-

So how’s that for true minimalism?

Neutral lipstick—such as matte shades of browns, light pinks, mauve, tan, and caramel—are the go-to lip choice for everyday life.

And needless to say you always take your own lips with you everywhere you go—with or without makeup.

Make sure that the neutral lipstick that you choose is not too matte or too beige…and one that you can apply even without a mirror.

  1. Brand Loyalty….Clinique
  2. Cruelty Free…Best Cruelty-Free Lipsticks
  3. Discount Bin…Best Drugstore Neutral Lipsticks

4. Pinks…Pink lips supposedly make you look younger….So from now on, I think that I will simply always wear pink lipstick.

And if pink lipstick makes you look younger, why not go for pink hair also?

Pink lipsticks truly run the gamut—from blush to magenta to burgundy to purple and beyond. This fall the “pink” lipstick of choice is wine. Wine lipstick is compelling, mysterious, and intriguing. Wine lips work great with dark eyes and messy curls or bare skin and nude eyes…

So go ahead and invest in a quality wine lipstick….Brand Loyalty…7 Best Clinique Lipsticks

 

 

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Heading Off to Work

Be Organized

IMG_4860-1Never think of writing posts as merely scribbling down yet another article just because everyone else does and then hoping that readers other than you actually read it…as if it were another Facebook post…

Think of your blog as a major, nationally-published magazine written by yourself for yourself…you are its most faithful reader…you are its most dependable subscriber…you are the editor-in-chief, writer, photographer, budget analyst, and whatever else you wanna call yourself.

Think of the couch you’re most likely sitting on as a real office…

Think of who you are now, where you would like to be, and how you are going to get there…

 

Even the most researched and best written blog post will be an epic fail… if you are not answering the questions people in your niche are asking… and talking about the right subjects and issues.

So it is important that you take the time to make sure that the blog topics and posts that you are writing actually answer the questions that your target readers may have and provides them with timely, relevant information.

Once you have established your niche and checked out what topics your particular niche are interested in, this is a time to start building your so-called editorial calendar. 

An annual editorial calendar helps keep yourself accountable, if only to yourself, and makes posts more predictable for your audience.

I have started grouping my posts into the following three categories…

  1. Timely Pieces
  2. Rotating Topics
  3. In-Depth Material.

 

Timely Pieces….

Timely pieces are holidays and events that you will probably write about every single year such as…

  • January…New Year’s Day
  • February…Valentine’s Day
  • March…St. Patrick’s Day
  • April…Easter
  • May…Mother’s Day…Memorial Day…Cinco De Mayo
  • June…Father’s Day
  • July…Independence Day.
  • August…Back to School…Labor Day
  • September…Labor Day
  • October…Halloween
  • November… Thanksgiving Day…Black Friday…Veterans Day
  • December…Christmas

2.  Rotating Topics

These are the general topics that you will blog about every single month—those topics that you will never get tired of writing about and that you will never have trouble finding new ideas to write about.

Rotating topics can help you attract a loyal following by setting expectations for readers who will want to return for the next post about this topic.

These are short-term blogs based on topics that usually only take one or two posts to discuss. These topics do not require major “research” or planning.

Here are some ideas as to where/how to come up with these rotating, or short-term, topics…

 

First ask yourself a series of questions and come up with your “Big Idea.”

  • Is your main objective to…entertain and make your readers laugh…inspire your readers…offer advice based on your own past experience and expertise…teach your readers how to do something?
  • What and who inspire me the most?
  • What are your own favorite blogs? Why?
  • What do you hope to accomplish by offering this product or service?
  • What topics am I truly passionate about, not merely interested in?
  • What topics am I truly gifted in and already know a lot about?
  • Who you are now? What exactly are you offering? Is it a particular service or product? Is it tangible or intangible?

 

Based on these questions, come up with your ONE “Big Idea”—that one topic sentence or mission statement that lays the foundation from this point forward, and defines exactly where you ultimately want to position yourself in your niche.

  • Now that you have recognized your “Big Idea” as your “Big Idea,” make a list of potential keywords or topics that can be used as topics for actual posts. Two great places to look at when starting this brainstormed list of  potential topics are your About Me page and your Pinterest boards.

And for those days you find yourself staring at a blank screen, unable to think of any topic whatsoever to talk about, here are several tools that can help you come up with just the right idea for just the right topic for the just the right blog post.

These tools include…

1.  AlltopBrowse through this collection of the best blogs covering hundreds of topics. Check current post titles shown under your topic for inspiration. I looked under the Baking category specifically for muffins and found these articles…Bake or Break—JULY 28, 2016—Coconut Cream Cheese Oat Muffins…Technicolor Kitchen—Banana Peanut Butter Muffins

2.  Blog Title Generator—This tool generates fill-in-the-blank titles about no particular topic at all..not sure how helpful this will be….three of my title ideas were…How to Make Muffins Suck Less…Want to Be Truly Muffin, End Each Day Like This…Weighing The Pros and Cons of Muffins.

3.  Buzzfeed…Buzzfeed covers almost every topic that you can imagine… my search for muffins led me to this article 19 Muffins Worth Getting Out of Bed For and this recipe for Double Chocolate Coconut Oil Zucchini Muffins with Caramelized Buckwheat.

4.   BuzzSumo—BuzzSumo allows you to enter a topic and see the top articles about that topic…and how many times those articles have been shared across various social media platforms…such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+. My search for muffins came up with 2,278 pages of post in descending order by number of shares…the most shared of these top articles is this recipe for Toddler Muffins from AllRecipes.

5.    Content Forest is another idea generator. Simply type in your keyword for a list of previous posts about your topic…My results for my search for “muffins” began with this recipe for Cornbread Muffins from Scratch.

6. Google Correlate find associations between search trends and the keyword that you want to write about…It also shows which states that keywords is researched most frequently…Muffins are most often linked with “chocolate chips.”…Muffins are most frequently searched for in Maine…and least searched for in the states of Mississippi and Texas…

7.  Google Shopping offers the top stories, top products, and most trending items as far as shopping online.

8.  Google Trends collects data from Google Search, YouTube and Google News and then ranks the most searched for stories. These “top stories” shown as soon as you open the site can be about any topic or category…

  • The Latest Topic
  • Time…minute-by-minute data about your topic from different time periods
  • Location…the popularity of the topic in searches by geography—a certain city, the entire US, a different country, or worldwide
  • Top Related Topics
  • Breakout Related Topics
  • Related Queries…other topics being looked for that are most related to the topic that you are looking for

9. HubSpot’s Blog Topic Generator—Input three different nouns…get  five blog topic ideas that will get those creative juices flowing…

10.  Pinterest—of course…

11. Portent Title Maker—Honestly not so sure that I like this brainstorming tool…my search for the keyword “muffins” resulted in three simplistic titles that I would never actually use…such as “Why MUFFINS ain’t As Good As They Used To Be”…

12.  SEO Pressor is another Blog Title Generator spookily set up like Portent Title Maker…not so sure how helpful this tool could be either…My search for “muffins” resulted in the following titles…You Will Never Believe These Bizarre Truth Of Muffins….Five Muffins That Had Gone Way Too Far…10 Ideas To Organize Your Own Muffins…Why Is Muffins Considered Underrated?…How Muffins Is Going To Change Your Business Strategies.

13.  Tweak Your Biz—Think this might be the most useful and interesting generator on this list…My search for “muffins” came back with tons of ideas for blog post titles divided into categories such as List, Best, How-to, Questions, Love, Sex, Celebrities, Secrets, Snarks, Business, Motivation, Problems, and “The Kitchen Sink.”

 

 

3.  In-Depth Material

These are topics that you are truly interested in, actually want to learn as much as possible about, and are willing to spend time doing research on.

The amount of information on these particular topics can be overwhelming and confusing. The following six-step process has become my new best friend whenever I am tryinh to learn more about those “big topics” that I want to explore…

  • a.  Amazon…What markets are popular within your niche?…What are people searching for?…What are the most popular items related to this topic?…What the main companies are that make these products?…What are the best-selling books about this topic?…Who are the most prominent authors writing about this topic?… What can I learn from the table of contents and any other pages that I am able to “look inside”?
  • b.  Prominent Authors…Who are the most featured “experts” on this topic?…Which of these “experts” also have their own websites?… Do any of these authors give book recommendations about your topic on their websites?…Can you find these books on Kobo or some similar app?…Do any particular books about your topic honestly seem worth reading or are most of the books a total waste of time?
  • c.  Magazines…Which magazines are most likely to have published an article about this topic lately?…Now find the search engine for the particular magazine’s website ASAP(ignore everything else)…Now have any of these magazines actually written about this topic lately?
  • d. Websites…Who are the manufacturers of the products that you initially found on Amazon? Which of these manufacturers have their own websites? Which of these manufacturer websites have articles regarding my topic worth bookmarking?…(not just the products themselves…I can analyze that better on Amazon)…Which of these manufacturers have blogs that might be worth following?
  • e.  Now look at trends by using trend forecasters…Google Trends, News Me, NowRelevant, OneRiot for the Social Web, Repinly, Trending Topics on Wikipedia, Trends Buzz, Trendsmap, Trendpedia, What The Trend, and Viral Video Chart can all help you find current information on what people are searching for and popular trends.
  • f.  Keyword research tools, such as Market Samurai, can help you identify whether your content idea is a good one or not, and give you ideas for more related keywords and more potential blog post ideas.
  • g.  Other hlogs related to your topic…Use Alltop, Best of the Web Blog Search, Blog Catalog, and Bloglovin’ to find the blogs that are most likely to have posted about your given topic…bookmark these also..

 

 

Once you have done as much research about a topic that you feel like you need to…or just can’t take it anymore…it’s time to actually start writing.

The first step in writing about long-term topics is to arrange the notes that you’ve collected during research together and figure out what information you will include/not include in your writings.

Two great ways to do this are mind-mapping and outlining.

Benefits of taking the time to “mind map,” outline, or even both include helping you to…

  • decide if you even really wants to write about this topic
  • decide if you really can write an article or series about this topic
  • decide if you needs to wait on writing about this topic
  • keep from going off on some irrelevant tangent
  • plan ahead
  • provide even more value to the reader
  • save time, stress, and worry
  • stay organized and on track

Mind mapping is an educational technique that can help you see how all of the pieces of the puzzle fit together into an article…and help every creative mind be even more creative.

Basic mind mapping involves writing a single keyword or main thought in the center of a whiteboard or piece of paper….and then linking associated ideas, words, and concepts around that keyword or main topic as you think of them.

Mind mapping apps currently available include..

Outlining…Almost all of us had to create outlines in high school and college, ifnot even before that…but for a quick reminder…

Choose three main points to focus on about the topic at hand. Dedicate one paragraph per main point….one article per main point if writing a series. Sketch outlines for each of these three sections. Start putting together rough drafts.

 

 

In conclusion, it’s up to you if you actually want to take the time to come up with an editorial calendar or not…this is not the key issue.

The “Big Idea” is that you create a blog that you yourself would follow.

Never post anything that you wouldn’t want to read yourself.