So Fresh and So Clean

The days are getting shorter, your to do lists are getting longer. How’s a girl supposed to keep the house clean? If you’re anything like me, in order to get back on track with your cleaning routine, you need a free day {because they are so easy to come by…} where you can wake up one morning, grab a cup of coffee, and take the entire day to do nothing but Deep. Clean. Everything. Now we’re talking.

Most of the time, I can get by with an hour or two of “spot cleaning” here or there, but there are about 4 times a year when I just need something more. Typically, these line up with the season changes, so I’m already in the spirit of change, kind of like right now, actually. There’s just something wonderful about waking up to a spotless and refreshed house that makes you not want to leave {HA! As if I needed another reason..}

Now, doing a whole house deep clean isn’t for the faint of heart. It takes the right mindset, attitude, and most of all, it takes a house so messy you can’t stand another day of it. It also takes zero interruptions, for example, a husband saying he’s bored every twenty seconds.

Since I like sharing so much, I thought I would share some tips on how I stay sane and organized when a deep cleaning marathon event is on the horizon, so without further ado, I present to you my “husband isn’t home to get in the way, finally have a free day, house is a disaster” cleaning routine.

  1. Make a checklist – No, I’m not kidding. This is the first thing I do every single time. It helps me remember what I want to accomplish, and it’s gratifying to check things off! You can also appreciate the work you’ve done once you see the list diminish.
  2. Clean one room at a time – This isn’t mandatory, but it helps me stay on track. This advice comes straight to you from my momma. Her theory is that when you have a large task at hand, it makes it less daunting when you can at least walk into one room knowing that it’s completely done. Here’s the order I typically use:

Ø    Master bedroom

Ø    Bathrooms

Ø    Guest bedrooms

Ø    Living Room {heads up, if it’s the fall time, like now, it’s a good time to check and ensure that your fire place is in functional order. FYI, ours is not. Looks like a call to the repair man is in order at the Alley Homestead…}

Ø  Finally, the kitchen. I save this for last because this is typically the most trafficked room in our home and usually has the most work ahead.

  1. Open the windows – Let your AC or heater breathe. Turn it off, open your windows, and let the fresh air make your home feel renewed. We’ve actually had our windows open for about a week now and it just plain feels better. I also like to turn my essential oil diffused on to further cleanse the air. This weekend was a chilly one, with rain in the morning and sunshine and cool winds in the afternoon, and this girl loved every minute of bundling up and having the windows open and the sound of leaves rustling.
  2. Multitask when you can – Work smarter, not harder people. If you’re washing sheets for the master bedroom, throw the guest sheets in there as well. Same with blankets. If you’re needing to take a minute to fold the laundry, make sure you have the tub in a deep soak, or turn on your self-clean mode on your oven. Make sure you’re maximizing your time.
  3. Make it fun – When I first get my coffee in me and I’m getting my head together to start cleaning, I put on a Netflix or Hulu show that I’ve already seen on to distract me and keep myself entertained while I start cleaning. After a while, I need something a bit more fast paced to keep myself going, so I switch to Pandora and throw on a fun station, like 90’s hits or Hip Hop BBQ radio.
  4. Don’t forget the miscellaneous chores – This is the perfect time to give those pups a bath {you have fresh sheets, after all..} or to clean your makeup brushes. You’re already in cleaning mode, so why not get everything in great shape? Your day well spent will bring weeks of content.

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I bought these placemats at Dollar Tree and I cut them to fit the size of the shelves in my fridge, that way when I need to clean my shelves, I just remove the mat and clean it instead of stuck on goop in my fridge drawers!

 

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Walmart SCORE – these new products are incredible! I used the Plink drain cleaner on every drain in this house to make it smell nice and clean stuck down objects. The Dishwasher cleaner will be used tonight, and I’m excited to clean the dishwasher!

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How incredible is our new macrame wall hanging? A friend’s wife made it for me, and she is in the process of creating a business, “The Knotty Momma!” More details to come. 
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Spent all Sunday with a screwdriver and these slippers

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I had the most random thoughts while cleaning this weekend. Everything from “How the heck do you clean a cowhide rug?” to “can dogs glare at you?” to “I really think I’m annoying Cholla with my Abba sing along.”

What are some of your “deep clean day” rituals? It seems like this is the exact way I clean my house every time. I’d love to hear how you clean your home! Stay tuned next time for some of my favorite face cleansing products. In the meantime, here’s some pictures of some neat new cleaning products I found, as well as how clean the house looks now!

 

 

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You’re doing the best that you can

Let’s get one thing straight – rainy mornings are not meant for being at work by 6am. Rainy mornings are for cuddling in a blanket with a cup of coffee and your pup. Sadly that option was not made available to me this morning, and Cholla followed me around all morning. I know she was just thinking “come back to bed, come snuggle with me, be my thunder buddy.” If wishing made it so..

So first, I’m going to have to toot my own horn for a second. I still can’t believe I found the time to get the blanket ladder post up! I’m impressed with myself. Even though I had all of the photos taken, I still had to edit them, write the content, and post the content to the blog. And that takes time! Time that I was in short supply of, no less.

Last week was one of “those” weeks. The weeks that the to do lists are as long as your arm. The weeks that you feel like no matter how much you accomplish, you still have barely made a dent in all you have scheduled yourself to do. You’re exhausted, you’re a tad cranky, and you’re constantly thinking to yourself “should I just scrap the whole list and go home for a nap?” Don’t lie. You’ve all been there. It’s the “I have so much to accomplish that I’m not going to accomplish anything” mindset. Let’s just say that thought was a constant one on my mind last week.

I like to think that whenever I’m having a week {or a day, etc} that I have a myriad of commitments and things to do, I can actually get more done than if I had a free week with nothing to do. I budget my time more wisely and feel in more of a “go getter” mindset. So last week, I got things DONE. I marked off almost everything on my honey do list…with just enough time to spare. I was still rushing around the house on Friday afternoon frantically trying to get things done before company arrived for a wedding that Charles and I were involved in, and I finished everything with about ten minutes to spare. It was a success of epic proportion.

Even though the outcome of the week was that I accomplished most of what I set myself out to do, I still had a rough week. Have you ever had one of those days where you have scheduled yourself so thin, and planned your day so tightly compacted? Those days that if everything goes as planned {HA, like when does THAT ever happen} you’ll be able to just barely get everything done? I planned myself a few of those last week. But here’s the thing – those are the days that your shoe will break, that your gas light will come on, that your alteration lady will not accept cards and the ATM machine is broken, or that you’ll run out of laundry detergent or trash bags, thus sending your whole carefully timed plan to spiral out the window. You’ll inevitably have to bump something off of your list.

My question to you all is simple: HOW do you faithful readers fit 30 days of work into a 24 hour day? I know it’s impossible. But how do you people do it? Until yesterday morning, I hadn’t realized just how very tired I’ve been lately. Waking up early is getting a lot harder than it used to be. I feel like for every thing I accomplish, I’m failing at something else. I want to be a better wife to my husband, I want to be able to have a perfectly clean house, I want to be completely present at work, I want to be at the hospital with mom more, but I can’t be in 5 places at once, and even when I try, I’m not being the best version of myself.

I saw a quote come across my Pinterest that said “Be gentle with yourself, you’re doing the best that you can.” This has really resonated with me. I think what matters the most and says the most about me is the fact that even though I’ve been knocked down more times than I can count this year, I’m not letting it knock me down, I’m still waking up, going to work, and trying to keep my “new normal” in as much of a routine as possible.

Thankfully I don’t have a whole heck of a lot going on this week, because I can’t wait for you to see my next post, featuring my new living room setup! I’m aiming to have that post up before I head to the lake on Friday afternoon, so stay tuned.

The moral of the story here is that you have to experience the weeks where you’re spread incredibly thin to be able to appreciate the weeks where your plate is less full {and I fully intend to appreciate this week. There may be multiple mid-afternoon naps, a lot of binge watching Netflix, and bubble baths galore!} Enjoy the fall weather this week.

I’ll leave you with a sneak peek of the wedding I was in this weekend.. {photo credit, N.M. Franklin Photography}

Spring Cleaning + a DIY!

I don’t really know how I feel about Sundays. I really like that I get to be at home..sipping coffee, working around the house, & watching Netflix, but then there’s that impending moment where you realize “I don’t get to sleep in tomorrow!” and “It’s going to be 5 more days before I get this bliss again.” I’m currently caught between the two emotions, but I’m more on the happy side. The sun is shining, it’s beautiful outside, my sweet sweet nephew is coming over this afternoon, and the handsome husband is coming home in a few hours from the lake. And a happy Sunday to you!

I stayed home this weekend while Charles went to the lake for a few different reasons. First, I had a hair appointment on Friday afternoon that I was NOT going to miss. Second, our house needed a good cleaning + we needed groceries, etc. The plan for me was get my hair done on Friday afternoon, meet some girlfriends for dinner, and then Saturday morning, wake up and start re-organizing the kitchen, scrubbing everything, cleaning windows, cleaning the clutter in the guest bedrooms, wash the sheets and all the laundry, etc. I had lofty goals and I was in the right mindset to accomplish them. It’s so much easier to get things accomplished when your husband is out of town. I know you feel the same way.

This plan was on track until I woke up at 3 am on Saturday with what I believe to be food poisoning. It. Was. Miserable. I didn’t sleep, I had a headache, I was sick to my stomach..you name it, i had it. PLUS it was dreary and cold outside which didn’t help matters. Luckily I managed to get out of bed for short periods at a time in the morning, and was able to get all of the laundry done / sheets washed. I even managed to go later in the morning and stop by the local farmers market for some nice flowers before picking up some soup for myself. And look at these vintage taper candle sticks that I found for .99 cents at a thrift store? I was SO pleased. Luckily, we live in a day and age with Walmart to go groceries, so I even ordered my groceries from bed and all I had to go was pick them up. DIdn’t even have to get out of my car, & I went in my pjs. Luxury!

I did manage to finish all of the dishes, most of the dusting, washed the insides of all of the windows, cleaned the bathrooms, etc. I even felt well enough last night to go sing at church and go to dinner with my parents. I woke up this morning feeling SO refreshed and ready to go {I know..why couldn’t i have just felt this well and motivated yesterday?}

I want to share a quick DIY with you for something that helps me when I’m cleaning, and I hope it will help you, too! It’s DIY Toilet Bombs! There are literally the easiest things you’ll ever make, and they work SO well. I use these when I’m cleaning the toilets and it greatly extends the amount of time I need to go before I have to scrub the toilet again. It’s a busy time of year, one where you’re having BBQ’s, cookouts, bonfires, friends over, etc, so what better DIY is there to help with the increased bathroom traffic? I actually use these as garbage disposal cleaners as well. They are all natural, reduce odor, and clean + prevent dirt. Here’s how to make your own!

Here’s the cast of characters:

  • 1 + 1/3 cup baking soda {reduces odors, keeps clean}
  • 1/2 cup citric acid  {all natural! This is found in the fruits that we eat and causes the “fizzy” sensation of the bath bombs. It can be a pain to find..I found it by the mason jars in Wal-mart, but it took me three stores to find some!}
  • Essential oils of your choice  {I used a mixture of grapefruit, lemongrass, and lavender!}
  • Spray bottle of water  
  • Some sort of ice tray / silicone mold   

First you start making the bombs by mixing together the baking soda and the citric acid in a bowl. Mix well!

Next, take your spray bottle of water and add in your essential oils. You don’t need to add three, I only did because I love the way these smell. You really only need one! Don’t be stingy with the drops! You need between 30-50 drops of oil total. Shake well in the spray bottle of water! {added bonus, you’ll end up with leftover water + essential oil mixture..I recommend using this as a pillow spray to help you relax at night! I use this mixture on my pillow and can instantly feel myself relax and fade away into a fast and peaceful sleep!}

Next, spritz the citric acid + baking soda mix with the water {I used a small bottle and spritzed about 10 times at once.} IMPORTANT: make sure you don’t spritz more than this at one time, or else the citric acid will all fizz up and won’t work with the toilet bomb. Mix up well, and then repeat the spritzing and mix again. You’ll end up doing this for about five minutes. You know you’re done when your mixture has the consistency of wet sand.

You should be able to take a handful of the mixture, squeeze it in your hand, and have it stick together like below. That’s how you’ll know you are ready to go.

Once it’s reached this consistency, you’ll begin placing the mixture in your ice cube trays or silicone baking molds. I searched HIGH AND LOW in Target for some cute silicone ice molds {pineapples, hearts, ANYTHING} but all I could find were these regular ice trays. But get creative!! This can be SO fun. Make sure to FIRMLY pat them down in the trays, and don’t fill the trays too full, because this mixture will rise. Let sit in the trays for about 6 hours or less if they are hardened, and then remove.

Toss a “cube” into your toilet and let the fizzing begin! I swear you will fall in love with this DIY, you’re cleaning routine will thank me!

It’s a whole process…

Have you ever started your week off so organized and with the best intentions of STAYING so organized and to get things done like a boss, only to have your plans already crushed by 4:45am on Wednesday morning? CONGRATULATIONS, we can now be friends. Welcome to my world. And if you managed to stay on track this week with all of your organization and schedules and well intentions for the week…well done, and also, what is your secret? Share with the group.

This has been my life this week. I started off on such a high note, I cleaned the house on Sunday when I got back into town, I had my clothes picked out for work, I had my materials rip roaring and ready to go for this blog post, I had my week planned out, down to the day. Now it’s Wednesday morning and I haven’t accomplished much any of what I intended to this week at all, the little dirt elves had a party in my house while I was at work {somehow}, and I’m exhausted and my body feels worn down. I’m going to give myself some slack, though, because I think I set my intentions for this week a little too high, especially with starting a new work schedule {6am to 3pm!} Hopefully next week, I can get back into the groove.

They say that summer is when your hair grows the most {I’m not really sure why, but my own personal theory is that it’stoo dang H.O.T outside for me to sit inside spending an hour doing my hair when it’s just going to get ruined outside in the heat. Unfortunately, in the summer, my hair also tends to feel at its worst! Maybe it’s because I’m dehydrated, I’m not really sure {I’m no expert, people}. The fact of the matter is, there’s a lot that goes on in the summer! Sometimes, I just need my hair to look on point. This weekend will be filled with events and it’s just going to be one of those weekends I need my hair to cooperate. I thought it might be fun to show you what I’ve been using at the moment. Disclaimer: These are not necessarily my favorite hair care products of all time…that will be a separate post eventually down the line, but these are what I’m currently using.
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v  First up, I use the Living Proof Timeless Pre-Shampoo treatment {check it out here! – or at Ulta} I put about two quarter size amounts into my hand, rub them together, and distribute the product from about halfway up my hair to the ends. Talk about your hair feeling silky smooth, my gosh, this product is honestly one of those products where I can actually tell a difference if I don’t use it before I shampoo my hair. If I can recall correctly, it says you only really need to leave it in for about 5 minutes, but I like to keep mine in a bit longer – I’ll usually slap on a face mask {like these new Yes To facemasks – my favorites are shown below!} and tidy up the kitchen or something like that while I wait. I feel like it adds a kick of much needed moisture to my hair. This is something I have actually repurchased because I love it so much. A little goes a long way, which is good, because it’s on the pricier side – a small bottle is $10, and I believe the larger is upwards of $24 or so if I’m not mistaken.

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v  Next, I grab my Paul Mitchell Platinum Blonde purple shampoo {check it out here}– have you heard of purple shampoos? They help tone the brassiness down in your hair. I used to use Shimmer Lights, and I’ll probably go back to it, because it’s about $7 whereas the Paul Mitchell is about $15, and I feel as if they both function about the same, although the Paul Mitchell does have a better scent..so if a good smelling shampoo is worth an extra seven dollars to you, more power to ya. I do something a bit out of the ordinary with this shampoo though, while I have the pre-shampoo treatment on my ends, I mix together the Paul Mitchell shampoo with a bit of baking soda, which turns it into a more clarifying shampoo. I massage this now-thick mixture into my scalp and let it sit while the pre-shampoo treatment is working on my ends. This way, the purple shampoo has time to sit and work.

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After this all sits – shampoo and condition as usual! I throw my hair up in a towel to let my hair rest – I heard from a stylist once that you need to let your hair cool down for as long as possible before you put products into your hair, so hey, I thought I’d follow the advice.

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v  Once I left my hair rest, I put a quarter sized amount of Toni & Guy Leave in Conditioner {you can get it at Target!} Let me start by saying that I had run out of my Paul Mitchell super skinny serum {all time favorite leave in} and I needed something to take to the lake with me. I grabbed this, and it actually does a great job. My hair isn’t left stick of heavy or greasy as a lot of leave in conditioners do, and the smell – can we just talk about the smell of this product? It smells like cologne. AND IT’S ONLY $7! I’ll take it. This makes brushing and styling my hair a heck of a lot easier.

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v  I typically put an additional small amount of Paul Mitchell Platinum Blonde Dramatic Repair leave in conditioner {sold here}, but I think I’m about to stop this little part of my ritual. I haven’t really noticed this helping me, it’s a bit heavy on my hair and it goes on very streaky. When you push the nozzle, the product concentrates in one area and doesn’t distribute well, so I usually end up having to squirt the product into my hands, rub it in, and then put it into my hair. A pro about this product? It smells so clean and nice. So there’s something.

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v  I’ll now either let my hair air dry to about 90%, or if I’m running late, I’ll blow dry {Don’t tell Curtis!} Once I’ve reached this mostly dry point, I’ll add in the Living Proof Perfect Hair Day fresh cut split end mender – say that three times fast – and get the deets here. This product makes your ends look like you just got a fresh cut and works to mend together your split ends. Shockingly enough, it actually appears to work {and I should know, I have the most split ends I’ve seen in a long time}. AND THE SMELL? I’m horrible at describing smells, but I’ll give it a shot. It smells clean, it smells like..spring? It’s mainly a fresh scent with a hint of floral-ish undertones. It’s just light and clean smelling, and I love it. So that’s that. Again..a bit on the pricier side, but I bet this lasts me about 6-8 months.

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v  Following this product, I run a pump full of Living Proof Nourishing Style Cream  {check, check check, check it out} and kind of finger fork this through my hair. This adds a bit of shine and reduces the frizziness in my hair, as well as adds protection against the heat. And again, the smell is just fan-freaking-tastic. I also feel like my hairstyles stay in place better if I use this vs when I don’t. Just don’t go overboard, a little goes a long way.

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v  Once my hair is dry and styled {whether it’s straightened or curled or whatever I decide to do with it that day}, I go in with the Kenra Dry Thickening Spray – got mine here for $17, but you get a rather large can. This product is new for me, my friend told me about this {shoutout to YOU, Katie K} so I can’t say I am a longtime lover of this product, but so far, so good. I lift my hair and it almost more adds volume to the center of your hair rather than to the roots {that’s what dry shampoo is for!} Whenever I curl or wave my hair, I always feel like it’s so flat and not..well, beachy looking enough. This spray instantly adds volume to the bottom half of my hair, which dry shampoo just can’t match. One problem with this is the smell..I’m not a fan. It smells like candy. It’s not a bad smell, but it smells like extremely sweet candy. Not for me. Overall though, I’m pleased with the product.

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v  Now for the final event – brought to my attention by another friend, {aaand a shoutout to you, Kaci!} Welcome Toni & Guy Matt Texture dry shampoo – it was around $12 at my local Target, and they are always running BOGO half off sales of Toni & Guy products. Y’all don’t even KNOW how amazing this smells. It’s like a musky cologne smell, and it never fails, wherever I go, people always ask me what perfume I’m wearing. It takes me awhile to figure it out, but it’s always my dry shampoo that they love the smell of. This dry shampoo is matte so it doesn’t make your hair greasy, and it comes out of the aersol can easily, so you don’t have to worry about distribution problems that lead to greasy roots. This dry shampoo is my favorite, and I have tried Dove, Batiste, Paul Mitchell, BedHead, Not Your Mothers, etc. In fact, even when I have “clean hair” and don’t necessarily need the dry shampoo, I still put some in my hair for the voluminosity {not a word..I’m sure this is not a word, but I’m using it anyway} factor.

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FORGIVE ME – Nobody was home to help me take blog pictures, so I had to do it myself. I apologize. I’ll get my act together soon {just probably not this week, we’ve been over this already..} Okay, now I’m tired, I’m hungry, and I need a cocktail. COMMENT BELOW if you love any of these products, OR if you found one you think you’ll give a try. {I personally guarantee the Living Proof hair products will give you Jennifer Aniston hair….} Until next time!

Emily Ley and her wonderful world of Planners

I may not be the most organized person in the universe, or even in my family, but out of my friends, I’m pretty organized. I rarely forget things, I am great with time, I’m hardly ever late {and even if I am, it’s only by a few minutes..} I’m a planner. By nature. It’s hard for me to plan things last minute, I want a plan upfront because I get anxious with last minute details. Charles has helped me become a bit more spontaneous, but for the most part, I’m a “I need a plan” kind of person. Just ask my friends, who I’m sure I drive up a wall.

It used to be so easy for me to plan ahead and remember things, because my friends would rarely have anything that they would plan ahead. I have a lot of “go with the flow” friends, and I never had to worry about marking things on my calendar too far in advance, since they simply didn’t plan that far out. Thus, I never really needed a planner.

Well, that streak in my friends lives is over. The honeymoon has ended, and now, they’re all joining my plan ahead party. That’s great, right?

WRONG. So wrong. In the past month, Charles has had to remind me of not one, but TWO events that I have completely forgotten about. Out of sight, out of mind, and my head has been elsewhere. Do you know how much teasing I’ve gotten from my husband about how he’s had to remind ME, when typically it’s the other way around? It’s endless. I knew I had to rectify this problem immediately. I knew I had to get a planner. I’m a pad and paper kind of gal. My husband doesn’t understand.. “I just bought you an apple watch..THAT IS your planner”…wrong again, sweetheart, so wrong, that is NOT my planner.

My friend Kaci owns the sweetest paperie and gift store around: Paperwerk {check them out on instagram here!} She carries Emily Ley planners, and I thought “Hey, I need a planner, and I’ve heard great things, so why not give this one a shot?” Little did I know how much I was going to love it. Here’s a few of my favorite components about the planner:

  • the sturdy medal binding — I carry planners / notebooks / etc with me in my purse..i’d like to say that I’m gentle on them, but who am I kidding, I always end up ruining it.  This binding doesn’t budge.
  • the gold plated corners — because if you can carry around a notebook in your purse without bending the corners, I will accuse you of witchcraft
  • the colorful tabs for the months — because..it’s fun
  • the inspirational quotes on the top of the pages — because we all have our days..
  • the hourly breakdown — each day has an hourly breakdown so you can fill in hour by hour what you have going on. It also has a spot where you can write what you’re having for dinner, as well as a spot for a to do list and a note space. {I’m especially thankful for the dinner slot…it never fails, I buy all the ingredients and then forget what I was going to cook!}
  • the sunday recap — on each sunday page, it has a space for you to write a happy memory from that week – HOW FUN IS THAT? I can’t wait to look back and see what I wrote each week. This is going to be my weekly goal. It also has a spot for your upcoming weekly prep on sundays {ex plan meals, tidy up, write tasks}

This planner is truly what it says it is – a SIMPLIFIED planner. It breaks everything down so you can be uber organized, but it isn’t confusing and you won’t get lost in all of the page content.

Check out more of Emily Ley’s planners on her website and check out the designs that fit your personality! Or, better yet, go to Paperwerk and support local businesses! {I hear you get a free Le Pen if you purchase a planner!}

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Once you go Mac, you won’t go back

I’m probably the last twenty something year old that hasn’t hadn’t tried Mac makeup. I usually stuck to my makeup holy trinity: Tarte, Urban Decay, and Make Up Forever. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it…or something like that. But I began to get into a makeup rut. I was using the same products – repeatedly – for years. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with using the same tried-and-true products, but you’ll begin to get into a rut. Like I did. And it makes you feel that “well I guess this is as good as it’s going to get…my makeup will always look like this.”

Don’t worry. I’ve been there. I WAS there. Just last week, in fact. I was stuck in the same old, same old. And you can get stuck in your routine for a number of reasons. Here’s a few of mine, see if you’re in the same boat that I usually get myself into:

You’re Comfortable with the appearance. Whether you have oily skin and found a nice, mattifying thicker foundation, or if you have dry skin and have finally found a nice hydrating foundation that doesn’t flake, you get comfortable in something that finally works! I have extremely oily skin, and it typically takes me several “trial and error” foundations before I find the right one. Either a foundation is too thin and I have to put on three layers before it even begins to look right, or it slips off my oily face before lunch! When I finally find one that works, I tend to stick with it for some time. {4 years on Make Up Forever Matte Velvet, now a year on Tarte Amazonian Clay}.

You’re Comfortable fitting the product into your budget plan. Because let’s face it – makeup’s not cheap, y’all! If you’re going to buy a high end brand of makeup, you’ll be looking {at least} in the $15 dollar range for less expensive items {such as eyeliner, lip gloss, single eyeshadows} and into the $40-$50 dollar range for the more expensive items {foundations, eye shadow pallets, etc.} When you get comfortable paying $32 for a high end foundation, only to switch to a new one that’s $42, you cringe. Ten dollars is a big difference for 1 fl oz worth of product – but the payoff can be worth the extra pennies.

You’re Comfortable with the application. Every eyeshadow, every foundation, every mascara, every eyeliner, every bronzer, are not made equal. Some eyeshadows are so pigmented they go on your eyes with ease, and some you have to build. You can get comfortable stuck in the habit of only needing to buff a color into your eye crease with a few whisks of the brush, only to find your new eyeshadow takes you ten minutes to apply.

What made me dare to try MAC was my friend Natalie {owner of Hanger Management – check them out on insta!} I asked what cheek color she wore — her cheeks are always the PERFECT color, and I was getting a little bit tired of using NARS orgasm {don’t get me wrong, I’ll ALWAYS LOVE that color, but I just needed something new!} Come to find out, what she wears on her cheeks is a MAC product! I immediately went to the MAC counter and I want to share with you the items that I picked up.

I got the opportunity to play around with all items I purchased this weekend, so I can give you a true, 100% valid and honest opinion of how they work for me. I’m in no way affiliated with MAC, so these opinions are all my own. I was trying to get ready for an event Saturday night, so I was slowly trying to play around with my makeup and take my time getting ready while drinking an over 21 beverage and listening to music. Do any of you do this sometimes? Just take your time to leisurely get ready and play with makeup? It’s a real treat for me. I thought I had plenty of time, since my husband was taking a nap, so I’m about halfway through when he comes waltzing into the bathroom. “Hey, we are picking up some friends, you need to be ready in 20 minutes..” TWENTY MINUTES? Who does he think I am? A magician? I’m TRYING to play with my new makeup, here! Luckily, I’ve gotten some more time since then to really dig into these products, so I’m going to {hopefully briefly} tell you my opinions. Maybe you should get a snack..or a beer..or something while you finish reading this. This is already a long post. You’ll be glad you have it. {Also, since my sister/photographer and I are busy working on a fun mini-series for you all, these pictures were taken with my iPhone…throwing that out to the blog world…}

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MAC PREP + PRIME Skin Base Visage

I was a bit hesitant about this product, thinking it would have too much shimmer. This product claims to eliminate skin redness {I’ll raise my hand to having that} while evening your skin tone and adding radiance. The radiance word made me nervous. Once your moisturizer dries {COMPLETELY – The golden rule of makeup application..don’t apply anything to your face until your previously applied product is COMPLETELY DRY. This goes for moisturizer, primer, foundation..} you are to apply this to your face. A little goes a long way. I feared it would be too oily, but it was a thicker consistency {praise the Lord!} and the shimmer, while there, was BARELY there. I was so pleased! It added a bit of radiance, just as it claimed, without me looking like I did my makeup at Claire’s. You seriously have to look hard for the shimmer. It actually makes your face look a bit airbrushed. For a quick run to the grocery store, you could get away without even wearing foundation, just wearing this. Overall opinion? TOP KNOTCH.

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MAC MasterMatch Concealer in shade 7.0

I don’t know about you, but if I’m going to contour, I need a liquid contouring stick as opposed to a powder bronzer. It. Just. Goes. On. EASIER! Plus I find that it’s more controllable and I don’t end up looking too fake-and-bake. Unfortunately, MAC hasn’t come out with a contour / highlighter stick yet {don’t fret – they are launching one this year!} so I decided to go for the MasterMatch concealer in a darker shade to use as my contour color. HOLY CREAMY! I’m debating getting this concealer in my actual shade so that I can use it under my eyes since it applies so butter-cream-like…is that a thing? I just take a contour brush and blend it right in and it is so malleable, it moves wherever I tell it to move. Let me reiterate, this is creamy. Ideal for dry skin – but even on my oily skin, it works wonders.

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MAC Paint Pot in “Painterly”

If you haven’t tried a Paint Pot from MAC…well don’t beat yourself up, because the first time I tried it was Saturday. BUT YOU NEED TO TRY ONE…RIGHT NOW! Essentially, the MAC Paint Pots are eyelid primers – some have a tint to them, like the tinted primer potions from Urban Decay, and some are neutrals designed to either act as a neutral base to even out eyelid color and act as a primer to get eyeshadow to stick, or even to act as a neutral eye shadow when you’re short on time. Having oily skin means that even my eyelids are oily, and shadows tend to slip off of me. I can say with all confidence that my eyeshadow stayed put ALL SATURDAY NIGHT – and I was at an outdoor event in high heat and humidity for about 5 hours. Now if that’s not a success to you, I don’t know what is!

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MAC MAC-nificent Me Eyeshadow Pallet in “Dusky Rose”

Confession time: I wanted to get a different color. I almost DID get a different color. My eyes just always beeline straight for the browns and taupes of the eyeshadow world. The MAC attendant convinced me that with my eye color {blue!} that I should try the dusky rose pallet because it would make my eyes stand out. Boy, am I glad I listened to her! I have enough browns, but these gorgeous matte mauve colors were just what I needed to change things up. Again, I was stuck in a rut, what did I think changing to a different brand would do if I didn’t switch it up a bit? She told me that most people tend to get in the comfort zone with brown colors due to being afraid to venture out..but it’s kind of like wearing an unflattering outfit. Yeah, it will cover you up and the outfit itself might be very pretty, but if it doesn’t suit your features, it will do nothing for you. This pallet is extremely pigmented, so if you’re used to having to layer up eyeshadow for a desired effect, trust me, you will NOT have to with this pallet. If you’re heavy handed, beware. You can get too much too fast if you’re not careful.

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MAC Powder Blush in “Dame”

Here it is! The product that made me want to test out Mac! I’ll be the first to admit, I have quite the heavy hand when it comes to blush…maybe subconsciously on purpose, maybe not, you’ll never know. I love NARS orgasm, but I wanted to try the beautiful Dame blush. This blush does require a little bit of building, which I needed, since I have such heavy hands. It does have the most beautiful coloring. I have more olive skin, but I believe that it would work on those of you who have lighter skin tones. Please excuse the awful hand picture, but i wanted you to see what the color looked like on skin. Give me a break, I took this with my iPhone.

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I can’t wait to dig into more MAC products now. Leave a comment with the product you just saw that you want to try the most!