36 Hours in New York City

New York City is one my absolute favorite places to visit. My husband and I have taken a few trips there, I’ve been a few times for work, and I hope to take my kids one day when they are older.

Every time I visit I wish I had a bit more time to spend in a new place I stumbled upon. Last time, it was West Village/SoHo, so when I realized I had a few hours of free time last Tuesday, that is where I headed.

I was in New York City to host an event with Birchbox at their *still pretty new* store in SoHo! I had hoped to visit when I was in the city back in May, but they hadn’t opened yet. So when the opportunity came up to both collaborate with them AND visit the store, I couldn’t pass it up!

My time in NYC was short, so I needed to work with all the energy I could possibly muster to make the most of the trip.

I arrived late Monday evening, and after a few hotel room issues finally settled in for the night around 1:30am. 5:30am came early the next morning, but I was so excited about what the day held that I was instantly awake.

I worked on a project with Birchbox that morning, had lunch with a few of the girls, and then had a couple hours of free time to kill in the afternoon.

I popped back in to my hotel room, did a quick change, and then headed straight for the Birchbox store in SoHo. I wanted to see it and “take it all in” before having to be “on” later that evening for the styling event.

The store is definitely worth checking out. It’s a lot bigger than I thought it would be, and the makeup and beauty products is seemingly endless. It’s clean and well organized, but there is still a lot to take in!

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After building my own Birchbox, and wandering through every inch of the place, I walked a few blocks over to the Bite Lip Lab to make another lipstick color.

I so enjoyed doing that last time I was in NYC, and made a pretty bold orange-y red, so I thought it would be fun to make more of an everyday pink color.

Bridget, one of the store employees and managers I believe, actually remembered me from many months ago! It was nice to catch up and work with her again on a new shade.

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Afterwards, I picked up Chipotle, ordered an Uber because I wanted to see what that was like, and returned to my hotel to freshen up.

The styling event was held at the store, and we offered donuts and apple cider from Doughnuttery. I only managed to snag 2 tiny donuts, and that is now a huge life regret. They were so delicious and I will definitely seek them out next time I’m in NYC.

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I created 3 hair tutorials for Birchbox to be featured at the event. My favorite is the textured and twisted fishtail. The inspiration for it came from this photo that has been circulating Pinterest for a few weeks.

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It was so fun to meet some readers and get to do live demo’s on a few of the girls! I miss working behind the chair, so it’s truly a pleasure to be able to get my hands in some hair again.

I left at just about the crack of dawn the next morning, being driven out to the airport by a man with an alarming amount of road rage for 6:00am, and slept the entire flight home.

It was really fun to have a little change up from the usual schedule for a couple days, but I was ready to get home by Wednesday morning.

If you live in the area, or are visiting, the store is worth checking out! And go get some donuts from Doughnuttery. Tweet me a pic so I can live vicariously through you.

Texture Powder Versus Texture Spray

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In just about every single one of my hair tutorials I mention something about adding “texture” into your hair.

I mostly use aerosol texture sprays, but in the past I’ve used a fair amount of texture powders as well.

So, what is the difference between the two,  you ask? And why are they useful?

The main difference is application method, and right behind that would be the amount of texture added into the hair. Texture powders typically leave a chalkier, heavier residue on the hair. The perk is that it can create major volume and thickness in fine or limp hair, but at the expense of your hair feeling like it has a bunch of product in it. Personally, I don’t mind the feeling of product in my hair, but it may take some getting used to if you are new to texture powder.

Texture sprays will add lightness and a bit of grit to the hair without the weight of a powder. It’s easier to apply this roots to tips, versus just tapping powder into the roots. While you typically won’t have as much invisible residue as you will with a powder, you can still get big results from a texture spray.

Dry shampoo can also add quite a bit of texture to fresh, silky hair so it will cooperate better in an updo. If that doesn’t cut it, the next step would be to use a texture spray.

And, like you may have gathered, the point of all these products is to add a bit of bulk and hold to your hair, especially if you are planning on putting it up. Even if you want to wear it down, texture powder or spray can help your hair look a little lived in instead of fresh and clean.

I know, fresh and clean hair shouldn’t be the kind of thing to ruin, but the trend these days is soft, romantic, and textured hair.

If you struggle with your hair sliding out of updo’s or braids, a texture spray or powder would be an essential product to help fight that issue!

On days when I want to skip washing and throw my hair into a ponytail or messy bun, I’ll add a bit of texture spray all over, concentrating on the back of my head. Lately I’ve been loving the Amika Un.Done Texture Spray. It’s the perfect amount of product, in a light spray, and it smells like a dream (as does every single one of Amika’s products).

If you have very fine or thin hair, I would strongly recommend looking into a texture powder. Redken makes a nice one that isn’t too chalky (in consistency, not color). If you don’t mind a bit of chalky feeling at the root, which is what gives the volume anyway, Schwarzkopf Osis Dust It has been a favorite for many years.

Are you a texturizing product user? What is your favorite?

OH YEAH my Capsule Wardrobe

Remember when I was chatting about my capsule wardrobe a few weeks back?

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Well, I made pretty good progress on it and then my baby bump grew big time AND the seasons shifted so I decided to wait a bit and START OVER for a true fall capsule wardrobe.

First of all, creating the wardrobe while pregnant is harder than you may think. That and I’m finding myself more and more prone to wearing black stretch pants every day so . . . this actually couldn’t have come at a better time.

So, my update for you is this: I’m working on it. I’m planning on sharing weekly updates of what I’m wearing, once my wardrobe is complete.

I’m waiting for a few things to come in the mail, and then I think I can make a pretty good sized wardrobe. I may need to bend the rules a bit, like I said before, depending on how my belly grows, but rules are meant to be broken, am I right? I actually don’t follow that philosophy-I like rules and I rarely break them.

I did get a chance to chat with Caroline, the one who introduced me to this great idea, so read through our little interview below!

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Kate: Are there certain items that you think everywoman should include in her capsule?

Caroline: A great pair of dark rinse jeans. A leather jacket (real or vegan, whichever you prefer). A pair of ankle boots. A chambray shirt. Yep. I’d recommend those 4 things to my mom + a college freshman + everyone in between.

Kate: Do you think it’s important to lean towards one end of the color palette when creating the capsule? For example, either all neutrals, all warm colors, or all cool colors?

Caroline: While I prefer neutrals, I believe you can build a successful capsule with colors all over the map – if you’re a girl who loves living in color, that is. But, even if you’re drawn to neutrals like me, it’s always a smart idea to throw in a wild card color for those days when you need a shake-up. I’ve never held too tightly to my color palette. I plan it out carefully, but sometimes I just don’t find things in those colors when I shop.

For example, I tried to incorporate orchid + blush into my summer capsule, but I didn’t love any of the orchid + blush pieces I found. So I decided to let it go — I made that palette, I could change it. Instead, I surprised myself and threw in a bit of neon yellow at the last minute. And you know what? It was perfect.

And remember, while color is an easy way to add interest to outfits, you can also use shine + pattern + texture.

Kate: What are your favorite items to accessorize with?

Caroline: Hair + shoes. I’m not much of a jewelry girl (I usually just wear one piece at a time) but give me a charming fishtail braid and a marvelous pair of ankle boots (like these – swoon!) and I feel all dolled up.

And, bonus! Learning a new hairstyle is free.

I used to hear the word accessorize and jump right to “a bejeweled statement necklace!” and “a scarf saturated with color!” Now, I think accessorizing can be much more subtle – after all, an outfit is the sum of the clothes, the hair, the makeup, the bag, the jewelry, and the shoes. There’s a lot going on there, so if each element is kept subtle yet interesting, you’ve got an effortless + chic look on your hands!

Kate: What has been the biggest challenge in staying within the capsule for 3 months?

Caroline: Honestly? The most challenging thing was coming face to face with ugly issues inside of myself. The first time I tried a capsule wardrobe + not shopping for 3 months, I was astonished at how quickly the shine wore off and I was desperate to go shopping. Like … it was thenextday.

It was HARD.

It brought to light a bunch of issues that I was hiding behind a nice façade of shopping. Things like shopping because I wanted a jolt of happiness + shopping because I felt unattractive + shopping because it was something I could control. But … by slowly facing those issues … I found freedom + contentment. (I wrote about this in detail here.)

And now, there’s nothing challenging about it. I’m free.

And some extra tips from Caroline as well:

What are my three top tips for making a capsule wardrobe work?

Use a planner as you’re building your capsule wardrobe. I have one available for free on Unfancy, but you can always create your own too.

Remember that it’s not meant to be a miserable experience. Rewrite the rules a little to fit your own lifestyle + make it your own. If you need two capsule wardrobes (one for work and one for the weekends), go for it. If you need to add a few more pieces, do it.

Commit, but only for 3 months. If I’m ever starting something a little scary (new workout routine, waking up earlier, moving to a new place), I’ll take the pressure off myself by playing a little mind game with myself. I call it: “I’ll give it 3 months.” Because putting a time limit on something scary makes it seem a little more sane – even fun. So commit with passion and give it 3 months. And then if you didn’t like it, you can move on + never do it again. Besides, what’s 3 months? Nothing. Or … maybe everything.

I love that Caroline said her favorite accessories are hair and shoes. I love considering hair an accessory because it totally is. A ponytail can make an entirely different look than a braid, or even wearing your hair down.

My sister is visiting next week so I’m planning on utilizing her to really focus on completing the wardrobe!

10 Months + Life Update

October is turning out to be one of the busiest months Justin and I have ever had. And David too but he doesn’t care as long as he has cheddar cheese around.

I traveled a bit, Justin traveled a bit, my kind and generous mom moved down to help for the ENTIRE MONTH I KNOW SHE IS THE BEST, my sister is visiting, we are moving a couple rooms around upstairs to prepare for the unborn to make his/her appearance in February.

We are also van shopping in the midst of all of this because it’s time for me to upgrade. Keyword there is “upgrade”. Many women don’t find a van to be an upgrade but I am seriously excited about it. Hello automatic doors. Hello space and storage for days.

And we are squeezing in some fun stuff too on the weekends. Hashtag Murder Mystery party with our friends. Dream of dreams come true.

Anyway, October is cray. 

Also, it’s currently 80 degrees and rainy so that’s an absolute delight if you ask me. Not.

THUS, I’m probably only going to be posting about 4x a week for the next few weeks. I’m trying to create some content for my maternity leave next year as well so I don’t just disappear from this blog.

I’m excited about a series I’ll be starting in November that rhymes with Shmanmade Lifts that will run us right into December. I’ve had to order a lot of questionable materials from Amazon so there’s a good chance I’ll be flagged here in the near future.

“That blonde girl is buying strange chemicals on Amazon again. Keep your eyes out.”

I don’t know.

I’m bored to DEATH with my hair. I’m doing this brand new idea called Ombre, I’m sure you’ve never seen it or heard of it. I think it may start a revolution. Perhaps with all of the women in the world.

Anyway, I’m between stylists here in the ‘ole Raleigh because I’m just too picky and I like to be in control of my own hair destiny, so I’m going to DIY my hair color. No there will not be a tutorial because no one should be as reckless as I am.

In other more interesting and small news, David is officially 10 months old. That’s right, he reached the double digits.

He has also upgraded to big boy pajamas because they don’t make footie sleepers that zip for, ahem, rounder infants.

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Pardon the nap face. Also the fake smile but he gets it honest so I can’t really fault him for that.

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He weighs in at a whopping 23 pounds, although it feels like he weighs about 50 pounds. You know how some babies clench their legs and sort of hold onto you as you carry them?

Yeah David doesn’t, so it’s just dead weight hanging off of you. My triceps are starting to get seriously toned.

He is army crawling around the house, but hasn’t gotten up to his hands and knees yet! He’ll rock back and forth on them, but he won’t move forward.

He doesn’t like to drink with his meal, but if I offer his sippy cup on a walk, or if we are running errands, he’ll act as if he’s been parched for hours.

He loves bath time, and will crawl from his nursery to the bathroom as soon as he hears the water pouring.

I found the first foreign object in his mouth so I’ve officially passed that parental milestone. If you have children, or have been around them you already know this, but he’ll find the tiniest speck of something in a corner and attempt to eat it. I swiffer/vac as often as I possibly can.

He likes to follow Grits around the house which Grits does not enjoy. However he can still escape to the tops of cabinets so he’s not really in imminent danger.

As far as the next baby goes, everything is going well! I’m in the sweet spot of pregnancy (22 weeks) where I’m sleeping well, feeling good, and finally have a decent enough belly for people to notice instead of wondering if I just hadn’t lost the baby weight from David yet.

My glucose test is coming up in a few weeks, which wasn’t nearly as bad as everyone made it out to be, and then we’ll schedule the delivery day! February is going to be here before I know it. I’m excited and nervous at the same time.

I may never shower or cook a meal again, but we’ll make it through the first couple years.

So that’s the baby and David update for the week. Justin and I are still deciding on what he should be for Halloween, but get ready for those pictures to be overgrammed and overshared here on the blog. We are debating between a tiny Newsie (David has the fake cough mastered) or a shark.

Or a cat because how cute would it be to get David and both cats lined up for a photo?

Eyeliner Basics

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I’m coming at you with this post from a non-makeup artist perspective. I enjoy makeup, and enjoy applying it, but I would never call myself a makeup artist.

Eyeliner seems to be a tough makeup technique for some, and since it can either make or break your eye makeup, I thought I’d share a bit of what I’ve learned about it.

Issues covered in the video: how to apply basic black eyeliner on the top lid, how to prevent liner from smearing, filling in the gap between the liner and lashes, how to balance eyeliner on the top lid with eyeliner on the bottom lid, suggestions for bottom lid eyeliner

Products mentioned in the video:

Benefit Creaseless Cream Eyeshadow in No Pressure

Mac Paint Pot in Painterly

Tarte 360 Creaseless 12-Hour Smoothing Eye Primer

Mac Pro Longwear eyeliner in black

Cynthia Rowley black eyeliner

Noir Forever Noir eyeliner

Too Faced 3-Way Lash Lining tool 

Sephora waterproof liquid eyeliner

Stila Smudge Stick Waterproof Eye Liner in Metallic Umber and Sepia

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1. How can I make eyeliner stay on my waterline?

The best way is to use a waterproof eyeliner. Second best would be a long-wear, but you can’t beat the staying powder of waterproof especially for your waterline. It’s hard to keep it from transferring onto your lower water line, so other than bringing your liner with you during the day to touch-up, it’s going to be challenging to avoid the transfer. Mac makes a specific eyeliner for waterlines that might be worth looking into!

2. How do you use liquid liner without look too over done?

Practice makes perfect when it comes to liquid liner, and if you are new to it make sure you keep it minimal. Liquid liner is automatically going to be a bit bolder than kohl or pencil liner, so keep that in mind.

3. How thick should the line be?

There isn’t a cut and dry answer to this! It depends on your eye shape, the look you are going for, and what works for you. You can never go wrong with a thin line, but don’t be afraid to get creative and add a little bit of thickness towards the outer edge.

4. What color should I use?

It doesn’t matter! The rule *used* to be that blondes should only use browns or black-brown, but I’d argue that blondes can use black too! So, color is as flexible as it is for eyeshadow.

5. What is the difference between liquid, kohl & gel eyeliner?

I wrote a blog post about it here!

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