SMALL BUSINESS GIFT GUIDE

For those of us who hop on the gift-giving wagon during the Christmas season, we know how fun / impossible it can be to think of great gifts. Sometimes the easiest thing really is to stock up on gift cards for Mr. Difficult. Isn’t it fantastic, though, when you find just the right gift? For me, it’s even better when I know my purchase is not only going to make the recipient happy but my dollars are going to support a small business.

For most small businesses, Christmas is when we have the best chance of sharing our creations with the most people. There is something really special about knowing your countless hours spent designing, testing, and eventually crafting a product are not wasted – that your items are headed into the homes of others to be enjoyed. So this Christmas, here are a few smaller businesses that may have just the perfect gift for that loved one on your list.

• MICAH HAMILTON •

micah SMALL BUSINESS GIFT GUIDEMicah is one of the quietest and sweetest people I’ve ever met. She’s also one of the most talented girls I know. She is truly a craftsman (woman? person?) and her work just oozes with the thought she’s put into it. You’ll be doing yourself a favor by checking out her work.

 

• ERIN MERRYWEATHER •

erin2 SMALL BUSINESS GIFT GUIDEErin has been an inspiration of mine for a long time. Eight years ago, she gave me one of the biggest opportunities to really pursue my craft by allowing me to participate in the raddest art show in Oklahoma, The Girlie Show, where she was one of the co-founders. These days, she’s making some amazing classic sterling silver and 14K gold pieces that I think are so versatile and beautiful. She sells locally in OKC at DNA Galleries and you can also find her on Instagram.

• PEMBERLEY JONES •

Pemberley Jones SMALL BUSINESS GIFT GUIDEPemberley is a blogger who turned her passion for natural beauty products into a full fledged online shop. She carries some of my favorite brands (Osmia and Meow Meow Tweet make a few of my go-to products) and her store is ever-expanding. For the holidays, she’s put together a few favorites that come adorably packaged – perfect for anyone who loves a good pampering!

• LAPIN AND ME •

Lapin SMALL BUSINESS GIFT GUIDELapin and Me is a small online boutique started by mother-daughter duo Madeleine and Delphine. They have curated a collection of some of the most adorable children’s toys and goodies. Although it’s tailored toward children, I won’t lie, I’ve got my eye on a few items for myself!

• Frostbeard Studios •

Frostbeard Studio SMALL BUSINESS GIFT GUIDEThis married couple from Minneapolis make the most quirky selection of handcrafted candles in their online etsy shop. I have quite a few of their scents on my wish list, but I have to say that one called Old Books is calling my name loud. From Wizards to Sherlock to time-travelling Sassenach’s, there is a scent for every book nerd on your list!

•· P.S. Head over to watch the latest from How to be Fancy on YouTube and there’s a chance to win an adorable bracelet from another of my small business favorites! ·•

List below your favorite makers – I’d love to add to my collection!

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NARS DIGITAL WORLD LIP PENCIL SET

I have to admit, this year has been a bit of a disappointment in the Holiday Beauty department. I am always so excited to see the creative packaging and festive concepts that beauty brands put into their Holiday sets, but this year I just couldn’t find one that gave me that giddy feeling.

So, when rummaging through Sephora during their VIB Event, I realized they still had all of the NARS holiday in stock. THEN I realized that it was absolutely up my alley. I have a great love for lipsticks and we all know I get googly-eyed over a pretty lip crayon, so of course I opted for the lip pencil set from the NARS Digital World Collection. I have only ever tried one NARS lip product before (a gloss) so it was the perfect excuse to give them a whirl!14htbf NARSDIGIWORLDHOLIDAY1 NARS DIGITAL WORLD LIP PENCIL SET

This set of 5 mini lip pencils includes a pale peachy coral (Torres Del Paine), a pinky nude (Descanso), a bright orangey coral (Iberico), a bright pink (Yu), and a deep red (Cruella). Three shades are satin finishes and two are velvet matte finishes.14htbf NARSDIGIWORLDHOLIDAY4 NARS DIGITAL WORLD LIP PENCIL SET

Of the five, I’ve found myself wearing Descanso and Cruella the most. In fact, Cruella might be my new favorite red lip – it has a very unique depth of color for a matte lipstick and lasts for ages and ages. To be fair, I think I’ll get much more use from Iberico and Yu later in winter and during summer. Torres Del Paine is the least flattering on my skin but paired with a browny nude lip pencil, it works. All of the shades are comfortable to wear and are very pigmented. On me, the lighter shades lasted about 3 hours while the brighter shades wore for closer to 4. Cruella came in on top, lasting up to 7 hours on me with only minimal fading and no touch ups!

14htbf NARSDIGIWORLDHOLIDAY2 NARS DIGITAL WORLD LIP PENCIL SETAnother reason I gravitated toward this set was the gorgeous lucite box. It has a lovely laser cut lace-like pattern and I think it would be so pretty full of lip pencils or cream eyeshadow pots on a dressing table!

What Holiday collections have inspired you this season?

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BRIDAL BEAUTY: A NEW YEAR’S EVE CELEBRATION

This year, the Boy and I celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary. Ten whole years since the day we said “I do”! While I can hardly believe it’s been so long, it seems like just last week we were planning out all the details of our big day.

I’ve always been a big believer in doing your own thing on your wedding day. Who says you have to have a white dress or a nude lip to walk down the aisle? Not this girl (who, by the way, wore a silver dress with a giant black necklace on her wedding day)!

When the folks over at the wedding planning website Lover.ly asked me to create a beauty look for my favorite wedding gown, I was instantly drawn to the romance of a New Year’s Eve wedding. How fun to have all of your nearest and dearest celebrate a new year and your new life all at once?!

For an occasion such as that, I’d pull out all the stops with a gorgeously pleated silk sheath dress topped with a decadent fur wrap, like this one from Temperley London. I can just imagine a soft subtle blown-out smokey eye using the Too Faced Natural Eyes Palette paired with the deepest wine colored velvet lip. Since you’ll be sipping and smooching, opt for a long lasting stain like Sephora Lip Cream in Dark Berry. For skin, stick to a natural finish like Make Up Forever HD Foundation (that will look flawless even in flash photography). Add some major lash drama with Benefit They’re Real Mascara and you’re ready for the perfect evening.

LOVERLY GATSBY BRIDAL BEAUTY: A NEW YEARS EVE CELEBRATION

Gatsby Inspired Wedding Makeup

Dress: Temperley London
Sephora Cream Lip Stain in Dark Berry
Make Up For Ever HD Invisible Cover Foundation
Too Faced Natural Eyes Palette
Benefit They’re Real Mascara

What would your dream wedding look like?

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LISTEN UP: MY AUDIBLE WISH LIST

So, Black Friday sales are ending but I just realized that a lot of great books are on sale over at Audible.com. I know book purists are “tsk, tsk-ing” at me right now, but if I have half a chance of reading all the books I’d like in my lifetime, I sometimes need to multi-task. Thus, my love for audio books was born.

Right now, Audible has over 300 books on sale for $4.95 – which is a pretty great deal. Especially considering quite a few of these are recent popular titles (see: Paper Towns).

Here are a few of the books on my wish list + a couple I’ve already read and would recommend. The sale ends December 2nd, so hop on over and happy reading!

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1. Tell The Wolves I’m Home, by Carol Rifka Brunt

2. Paper Towns, by John Green | (Note: Read this. Loved this. It’s going to be a movie.)

3. Shadow and Bone, by Leigh Bardugo

4. Reason to Breathe: Breathing, by Rebecca Donovan | (Note: This is a series and it is excellent.)

5. Angelmaker, by Nick Harkaway

6. This Star Won’t Go Out: The Life and Words of Esther Grace Earl, by Esther Earl, Lori Earl, Wayne Earl | (Note: If you loved The Fault in Our Stars, you may want to read this. It’s the story behind the story.)

Note: This is not a sponsored post. I just happen to use and love audible and thought you might like some new book recommendations! icon smile LISTEN UP:  MY AUDIBLE WISH LIST

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ROUGE G DE GUERLAIN | GIGI

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For my birthday this year, the boy spoiled me with a sweet little bundle of gifts. Among those, I found a very fancy Guerlain lipstick that I had always wanted to try but never could justify the splurge. Let’s just say my husband is very good at selecting gifts.

The first thing that struck me about the Guerlain Rouge lipstick was the heaviness of the tube. This little golden bullet features a little compact mirror and is both sleek and weighty. All of the little details have been covered – like when you unclasp the lid, the mirror immediately pops open, ready to use.

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The shade I received, Gigi, is a lovely pinky-red shade that leans just a bit deeper and more fuchsia than watermelon. It glides on smoothly and has a very light fruity scent. It feels quite like a soft balm on the lips and lasts for about 4-5 hours. It also fades nicely, leaving a bit of a stain behind.

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Gigi Applied Directly From Tube

I can see some having the tiniest amount of trouble with feathering if used without a lip liner, but I didn’t experience any bleeding at all when I used a lip brush to apply.

Overall, I would say this is a very comfortable lipstick in a beautiful shade. The packaging makes it especially lovely. If you’re looking to treat yourself or a gift to give the lipstick lover, this would be my choice.

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A MILLION REASONS WHY I CAN’T

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In case the following gets too intense…here’s me with blue lips. icon wink A MILLION REASONS WHY I CANT

 

Hands up if you’ve ever wished you were the polar opposite of who you are. Like, you’re Chico’s and the thing you want to be most is Alexander McQueen. Hopefully, there are more hands than my own going up. So many times I have looked at myself and thought, “If only I were smarter, slimmer, taller, younger, older, lighter, darker, a man, a superhero, a cat” (they get to sleep A LOT). Countless times I have leaned on my introverted personality and wished beyond all else I could be fearless. The honest truth is that, in some instances, being those things would actually make life easier. Or so it seems.

When I pull out my “let’s get real” glasses, however, I can more clearly see the flaws in my theory. For all intents and purposes I – a mostly Caucasian, American girl, born and bred in the Bible belt of the southern United States – have it more than made. My parents are still married after 30+ years, I have a solid relationship with my husband and family, we have been given employment opportunities that allow us to use our creative gifts and talents on a daily basis, and most months I can pay my bills on time with enough left over for lipstick. I have so many of the “good things” that life has to offer. Yet somehow, I’m left wanting what’s just over there.

If I’m honest, I don’t REALLY hate who I am. So why the desire to be all the things I’m not?

I am afraid to do what I’m called to do in the skin I’m in.

A privileged white girl doesn’t get to share her struggles in a world where, as much as we would like it to be, people aren’t colorblind and poverty still exists. Does she?

A childless woman can’t have any insight or encouragement for a mom who has been up half the night with a vomiting, feverish, lethargic toddler. Can she?

Someone who has never battled an eating disorder or done drugs or been an alcoholic can’t relate to those who are struggling with addiction. No?

An introverted girl with a stammering Texas drawl can’t possibly be a leader of women and, God forbid, men or have any sort of voice in a public setting. Right?

A girl with anxiety and depression and constant physical pain can’t help bring peace and healing to others. Or can she?

And that’s when it hit me, like a mascara wand in a wide-open eye: I am so quick to judge myself in ways I would never judge others. It is easier to see how the imperfections and differences of others make them more, not less. The things we use as our biggest crutches will either be the things that propel us forward or the ties that hold us back.

How easy it is to forget, in lusting after someone else’s covetable qualities, that we would also be inheriting their struggle, their insecurities, and their imperfections. A million new reasons why we can’t. Until we are comfortable enough with our shortcomings and even our strengths we will never be able to completely, without judgment, contribute any good to the world.

It is easier to place our callings into the hands of those we deem more capable to fulfill that role. The funny thing is that we have all been given that thing – the thing that makes us angry, the thing that moves us to tears, the thing that keeps us awake at 1:22am on a Monday night (Tuesday morning?) – and WE ARE THE ONLY ONES WHO CAN DO THAT THING LIKE WE WOULD DO THAT THING. Not everyone will like it or understand, but that’s okay. Someone will – and maybe that someone needs to see all the messiness and struggle and beauty we put out into the big wide world so they can follow suit.

So let’s get comfy in our vastly differing, stunningly gorgeous, perfectly imperfect skin. After all, it’s the thing that holds our hearts and minds in just the right place.

 

 

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UNDERNEATH IT ALL | 90’s Style Guide

You guys. It has been absolute ages since I’ve created a fashion inspiration board. I used to be practically addicted to turning the internet inside-out looking for the the exact perfect little clutch/shoe/velvet high-waist legging to fit my mood. So, when Vienne Milano contacted me to see if I would be interested in creating a style board for their latest hosiery collection, I was beyond happy to oblige.

Because it’s fall and because I’m practically living in all things cozy and plaid, I loved the idea of taking the nostalgia of the 90’s and elevating it to something that could easily be worn today. I’m practically dying over that plaid shirt-skirt situation.

Let me know if you’d like to see more inspiration-style posts!

 

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Click below for details:

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Note: This is not a sponsored post. I received no payment or compensation for this post. All opinions are 100% my very own.

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URBAN DECAY VICE 3 PALETTE

Urban Decay Vice Palette

Well it happened. I honestly didn’t mean for it to. It wasn’t even on my radar. But it was my birthday and I had a coupon and it was so pretty. Enough with the excuses – meet vice.

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The latest in giant tins of gorgeous from Urban Decay holds 20 brand new shades. I was immediately drawn to the column of reds and burgundies in the palette. The swatches proved them to be exactly what you’d expect from Urban Decay – soft, almost creamy with an insane level of blendability.

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The nude matte shades in the range are slightly different to the more colorful palettes. The have a smooth texture and shades that lean toward the warm side. If you have a medium to dark skin, you might be pleased to actually find a shade that works as a non-shimmery highlight. For the paler among us, there is a light pink shade (Truth) that will work in a pinch.

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The taupes and golds in the collection are a lovely mix of shimmers and mattes. Perfect for any everyday look you might imagine.

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To round everything out are a few classic pops of color. Vanity, Dragon, Heroine and Freeze are pretty straight forward, but will give the perfect “little bit extra” when you’re looking to brighten things up just a bit. I also think these will make gorgeous smokey eyes during the holiday season.

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Overall, I was much more impressed with the Vice Palette than I had anticipated because of the variety and quality of shadows. One adjustment to the palette I most appreciated was the inclusion of some really great matte shades. I was also fairly happy that there were no really gritty or glittery shades, as those tend to give the least payoff and are often uncomfortable to wear. As a side note, I really like the little pouch that came with the palette!

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THE BODY SHOP: VITAMIN E OVErNIGHT SERUM

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I have an ongoing infatuation with serums and oils. Hair oils, body oils, face oils – I love ‘em all. There is something so comforting about applying an oil to your skin. As we approach summer it would seem it’s time for the oily skinned of us to put them away, but I’ve found myself reaching for them just as often. There is nothing like an oil or serum that instantly hydrates and gives skin that soft, nourished look and feel.

vitaminE.1 THE BODY SHOP: VITAMIN E OVErNIGHT SERUM

One of my favorites from winter that has carried over into spring and summer is the Vitamin E Overnight Serum-in-Oil from The Body Shop. This oil can be applied as light or heavy handed as you like. The scent is a soft, slightly powdery fragrance but it’s not at all overpowering. Just one tiny drop, warmed between your palms is enough to press into your face for immediate results.

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If you are looking for an affordable, easy-to-use serum, this may be the perfect choice.

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This Week in Polarizing Fashion

spring 2014 shoes

There is something so interesting to me about fashion that separates people into vehement camps. Not that I like division, conversely (see what I did there?), I think it’s amazing that otherwise sensible human beings can get so divisive over FOOTWEAR. It’s just fashion, people.

Today, I’m sharing some of my favorite pairs of shoes for spring…these are the ones I’ve gone back to over and over since the days have warmed. The funny thing with each of these styles is that people have either gone nuts over them (in a really good way) or have practically shunned me with their gagging noises and glaring side-eye. Either way, here are my current footwear faves for spring!

The Birkenstocks (I got mine on Poshmark) have been in the back of my mind for some time now, but I finally took the plunge. Funnily enough, the “fake” white asos Birkis (#4) are infinitely more comfortable than the real deal (#2) – plus they have really cute gold studs on the sides. I love the 90s feel of the black New Look sandal  with white heels(#1; on sale right now at asos!). The python slip on sneaker (#3; similar here) is both snazzy and comfy all at the same time.

14htbf SpringShoes This Week in Polarizing FashionWhat articles of clothing do you have that people love to hate?

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