August 31, 2012

High Five for Friday

It's Friday! Hope you have a great labor day weekend and enjoy your last bit of summer! Or, if you live in the south--just enjoy another weekend because we all know summer lasts into October around here.

Here are my High Five's for Friday! 

1. Had a little break at work, so I set up my office at Starbucks and got some blogging stuff done. And enjoyed a caramel macchiato. And a cookie. 

2. The one great thing about working at a freezing cold studio is that I can wear sweaters or layers even in the "summer". This doesn't help the sweat-indusing 90 degree car ride to and from, but at least I'm comfortable when I get there.
*if you follow me on instagram you may have seen that someone wrote that this sweater is sold out online. It's not--click the link below the photo to be taken to the Old Navy website!

(ankle zip pants, Gap ; sweater, Old Navy ; shoes, Alfani)

3. It's been a very, very long time since I've shopped at Urban Outfitters, but is it just me or do they have some great shoes right now? 

4. I'm looking very forward to the Becoming Conference in September! There are still tickets available if you are interested in coming! I think it's going to be great. There are so many great speakers and we are all talking about things that we care about/blog about!

Here's a little bit about me and what I'll be covering:
A Fresh Look at Beauty and Style: Kate Bryan
You know those days when your hair cooperates, your makeup looks nice, and your outfit is cute AND comfortable? Lets find out how to have more of these. Discovering your personal style, from a great haircut to your “go to” jeans and top, can make getting ready for the day so much easier. How do we get there? Maximizing your time in the chair at the salon. Finding a makeup routine that you can stick with. And learning where to shop.
As a professional hairstylist, I want to break the barrier between client and stylist. I’ll share some important tips to getting the most out of your time in the salon, and how to understand your hair. We’ll also talk about product, tools, and hairstyle options.
As a lover of shopping, I’ll share my experience on streamlining what I buy, why I buy it, and how to know where to save vs. splurge

5. This weekend my sister and I are going to help a friend create some new outfits from what she already has in her closet. I can-not-wait. I'm sure we'll share photos on instagram : follow us at K8_smallthings and Lauren_FMGD !

Link up YOUR High Five for Friday post here

August 30, 2012

Beauty 101 : Homemade Lip Exfoliator

Today's Beauty 101 tip is a simple homemade lip exfoliatior. The lips normally get forgotten about when we exfoliate our face, but it only takes 2 household ingredients to polish those babies right up! Have you ever exfoliated your lips? It makes a huge difference in how your lipstick applies and lasts. It also simply makes your lips feel fantastic.

Add this to your routine at least twice a month to ensure beautiful lips! And definitely do this before wearing a bold lip color so your lipstick looks great all day!

August 29, 2012

well SOMEBODY got a little makeover. . .

I have been eagerly anticipating a new design here on the blog! And it's finally up!

I know what you are thinking, "Kate, didn't you just get a new design earlier this year?" Why yes, yes I did. But you know the feeling when you paint a room and the color just isn't right? The color is beautiful and looks great on it's own, but it just doesn't exactly fit in the room? I developed that feeling over some time with my previous design. I can't put my finger on it, but it just never quite settled in like I hoped it would.

For several weeks I've been blog stalking. Figuring out what sort of design I would like. I created a test blog and did some basic photoshop/html things to develop the layout and font choices. Once I felt good about that, and had found some elements that I thought would fit the style, I contacted Michele and asked her if she could actually design my blog based on what I was looking for. She said yes and I was instantly put at ease knowing she could develop when I was looking for.

It was kind of like she read my mind. She made some tweaks, polished it up, and made it functional. And as soon as I saw the final version of the design, I could-not-wait to put it live on the blog. 

The only "new" things that you, the reader, need to know are : the search button moved over to the left, and there is now a "recipe" section (in the left sidebar) where you can find my recipes--as per a request from a reader! Other than that, everything is the same. 
 {use the "search" box to search for anything on the blog. just type in a word like "mascara" or "jeans" to find any posts that include that subject.}

So let me tell you a little bit about Michele. I really can't say enough great things about her. My sister and I have both worked with her over the past several months and we often say to each other, "Michele is so great". She's quick with responding to e-mail, thorough, and helpful. She made my blog redesign go so smoothly and I can't thank her enough for that. 

She's also wildly talented. Have you seen her animal prints? Do you remember the print she made of Biscuit (Justin and my first cat)? 

It's unbelievable how accurate her drawings are. Definitely check out some of her other work, it's really incredible.

*these mini prints are only $5.00! How cute would they be framed in a nursery? 

And she posts the best photos of her pets on Instagram. Follow her at @ladysavvy 

Doesn't she look excited? 

Ironically, Michele is offering a giveaway on my sister's blog this week! Click here to find out all about that! 

I could go on and on forever about Michele's talent but I'll let her work speak for itself. 
I highly, highly recommend her for any print/illustration you need. She's accommodating and absolutely  lovely to work with.

(she has no idea I'm writing this about her, and this is not a "sponsored" post or anything like that. Just me singing the praises of a talented artist.)

August 28, 2012

A-Thread Giveaway

Today's giveaway comes from a-thread apparel, an online boutique that makes you feel good about shopping. With each purchase, a-thread donates 5% to one of their charity partners. You can read all about that here

When I saw this lovely bib necklace from their shop, I knew it would go perfectly with my lace top from Madewell. They have so many great skirts and accessories to choose from so be sure to check out their online store.

Would you like to win a $50.00 gift card to a-thread? Enter using the giveaway tool below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

August 27, 2012

Perfectly Pretty Hair Tutorial

Nothing is quite as classic and sophisticated as a half up style with a wrapped elastic. It's polished, pretty, some would even say romantic
In the video, I'll show my technique for wrapping hair around the elastic to ensure a smooth finish, so make sure you watch all the way until the end!

Shirt: J. Crew factory, Earrings: Anthropologie, Necklace: Francesca's, Lip Gloss: Revlon Colorburst in Sizzle 

August 24, 2012

The Lace

This is a first for me. First lace top, and first cropped top.

But it's cream and comfortable and I absolutely fell in love with it (and the red one) at Madewell. I love finding "statement" pieces that I can wear without a sweater because I'm much more likely to wear it at the studio. I've found that it gets a little bit toasty wearing a top + a sweater + an apron while using a blow dryer or flat iron, so the fewer layers on top for me the better. 

Here are a few different ways to wear it, or "feature" it if you will:

With a Dress

This style was recommended via my sister and one of the employee's at the store. I'd say they were both right on--I loved wearing it with this dress. 
Oh and the dress? On clearance for $17.00 at Tar-jay! (<----that's Target.) 
The belt is from J.Crew, but Target has a wide, WIDE assortment of any color belt you could possibly want. 
The necklace is from Nordstrom, last year, and the shoes are Alfani brand.

With Cropped Pants

These are the Gap ankle zip pants that I love. I have them in navy blue (seen here) and grey (called Shark Fin in stores, they do not sell the grey online). They are comfortable, adorable, and an easy swap out for my usual denim.

The tank is from Banana Republic a few years ago, and the necklace is from J.Crew outlet. My shoes are Franco Sarto via Tj Maxx.

With Jeans

This is probably the most common way I'll wear this top, but it needs the right tank underneath. I didn't want to wear something too form fitting, since I don't want the lace top to hang too far from my body, so this was the loosest tank I could find. I think it would be a little prettier if I wore a cream, or beige tank, you know what I  mean?
My jeans are my favorite j.crew jeans from last year, and my shoes are Alfani.

Have you jumped on the lace trend yet? It's not too late! It seems like it will stick around for fall, and I'm hoping winter too.

Here are a few lace top options that would look great on their own, or fantastic under a red or teal sweater! 

And they are all under $45.00. 

(from top left: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

August 23, 2012

August Birchbox

This was one of my favorite Birchboxes! 

First of all, let me explain that I typically buy the cheap single blade razors at Costco. When I saw this razor I was like, "cool!"
When I opened it up and actually looked at it I laughed at the sheer number of blades on this thing. It's intense. But let me tell you. . . my legs have never been smoother. Never been softer. And never been shaved with 5 blades at once. With 1 swipe this razor won my heart. . .too far? Okay.

The Pixi blush? Pretty awesome. It's not as pigmented as my Mac blush, so I have to use a few swipes to achieve some color (as opposed to barely touching my cheeks with my Mac blush), but I do like the color. 

I'm anxious to try this brightening cleanser! Who doesn't want brighter skin? My skin has been dull and dry, so maybe this will do the trick.

Lastly, there was some soap and perfume. The perfume is good, and I have yet to try the soap but I'm sure I'll like it. Who doesn't like soap?

If you have any questions about Birchbox, click here to see my other boxes OR here to learn more! 

August 22, 2012

Beauty 101: Eyeshadow Brushes

Sometimes it feels like there are about 12,000 eyeshadow brushes to choose from. Are you ever confused about what to use? Or how to use it? What size to use with what technique?

Let's break it down. I'm going to run through two categories of eyeshadow brushes: what you should own and what you could own. "The should own" are brushes that will likely be used on a daily basis. "The could own" are extras that you can add to your collection later on. Of course, everyone does their makeup differently--so don't use this as a rule but more of a general guidance for beginners.

What you should own:

A basic eyeshadow brush should be about medium in size. Smaller than your eyelid, but not smaller than your pinky finger nail. You should be able to swipe it across eyeshadow and cover all of your lid with color. Use this brush for the main color of your eyeshadow, which should start near your inner corner and stretch all the way to your crease.

A crease brush is rounder, tighter and smaller than your basic eyeshadow brush. It's used for adding depth into the crease and outer corner of your eye. You can use this brush by pressing firmly and swiping across your crease, and also by pressing firmly along the top of your lash line for extra depth.
Finally, if you clean this brush well, you can pick up some light shadow and press it info the inner corner of your eye. It will brighten the eye area dramatically!

A small angle brush is perfect for adding shadow to your lower lash line. It gives a softer effect than eyeliner. Start by dragging the shadow from the outside of your eye to the center. A few swipes back and forth with blend the shadow in nicely.
If you are going for more of an eyeliner look, moisten the brush and dip in a dark shadow. Then stoke a line just like you would for eyeliner.
You can also use this brush for applying to softening eyebrow color. If you use an eyebrow pencil, use this brush to soften the color and prevent and of your "pencil marks" from showing. Or, use this brush to fill in your eyebrows.

What you could own: 

A large fluffy brush is great for blending shadows and softening lines at the edges of eyeshadow. This type of brush is great to use on your brow bone to blend in the area between your crease and brow bone.
Instead of using a blending brush, you can soften the line between your crease and your brow bone with your ring finger, pressing gently. Or be sure to wipe off your basic eyeshadow brush a few times on a tissue and blend with that. 

An eyeliner brush is a tiny, pointy brush that is best suited for gel liner, or even moistened eyeshadow. It's precise and if you have a stead hand, can create a beautiful line of color on either the top or bottom of your eye.
Instead of using this brush, you could simply use a kohl or pencil liner. Or liquid liner that comes with an applicator.

A smudger brush is used to smudge out kohl or pencil eyeliner. One of the benefits of having a brush dedicated to this function is that you run no risk of accidentally using it to apply a light eyeshadow and you wind up with a dark smudge.
However, you could either use your ring finger, or the angled shadow brush to do the task of a smudging brush. Also, some eyeliners come with a sponge-y tip on the bottom end of the package. Use that to smudge your eyeliner too!

Tempted to go out and buy a bunch of brushes?

Here are some of my favorite brands

There is a noticable difference between affordable and expensive brushes. If you are waivering on whether or not to pay up for a good brush, I would spend on the basics, and save on the extras. So, in other words, buy a high quality basic eyeshadow brush and crease brush. And then start out with an "e.l.f." smudge brush since you may not use on in a daily basis.

Hope you enjoyed today's Beauty 101! Comment below with any questions or brush suggestions you may have! 

August 21, 2012

30x30, week 10

The 30x30 challenge is OVER! And my sister and I successfully came up with 30 outfits from 30 items of clothes/accessories/shoes. 

It was a little difficult in the end, but nothing a little time and experiementing couldn't help. I did feel like my clothes got repetitive in the end. . .but. . .that was probably bound to happen anyway.

It was helpful to see that you can do so much with jewelry and layering. Adding a sweater to your outfit can really change it up.

I also noticed that I wear my patent grey wedges constantly. Love 'em.

Here are the last four outfits from the challenge: 

And now for a collage to show all 30 outfits!


My favorite outfit of all of them? The very first photo. 

When I skim through quickly, it looks like there might be a repeat or two in the mix, but different shoes or different jewelry changed up the look.
While I'm grateful that I got to really learn how far a few pieces in my closet can go, I'm ready to start sharing some fresh outfit ideas here on the blog.

Did you participate with the 30x30 challenge? How did it go for you?

Beauty 101

It's the back to school time of year where students are attending class and learning riveting facts about any given subject.

Or you are finished with school and you secretly chuckle about all the people left that still have to go to school. (can you tell I loved school?)

Well, we're going back to class here on The Small Things Blog. It's time to learn. We're going to cover the basics with hair, skin and nails. We're going to touch on additions to your fall wardrobe, the importance of scarves, and more. (I say "we" because you are involved. It's just me over here, don't be confused.)

Here are some topics that you can begin thinking about. There will be a test at the end of this course, and if you get an A+, which I'm sure you will, then I'll say "good job". I can't really give you anything because. . .well. . .it isn't really a class.

If you fail the course, that will be a crying shame. 

Okay, on to the topics!

How to prep your nails for nail polish.

Why are there so many eyeshadow brushes?
Liquid vs. kohl vs. pencil eyeliner. Which is best? Where do I put it?
How do I contour my face? (with blush, bronzer and highlighter) 
Do I have to wear leopard print this fall to be in style?
Brush vs. comb. What do I use, and when?
Should I get my haircut with scissors, a razor, etc? 
How can I brighten my dull skin?
How many scarves can one girl possibly own? (this is more for me to address my own personal problem)

We're also going to focus on top nail colors, makeup colors, and clothes that are in this fall.

Are you ready? It starts this week.

And it's still 80 degrees here, but I'm declaring it Fall.