Thankful Thursday 2015

Thanksgiving

During November my social media is constantly inundated with daily adorations.  People share each day one thing they are thankful for.  I always think this is lame because by the time Thanksgiving rolls around, they have run out of things they are truly thankful for and share really weird things, I mean who cares?  So instead of participating in this tired ritual I channeled my inner David Letterman and came up with my Top 10 Reasons I am Thankful — 2015!  This may get a little long and mushy, but I will only do it once a year so whatever.

My parents — Okay I know a lot of people start with their parents because everyone’s parents do so much for them.  Mine do as well, they are the best and I couldn’t imagine getting through this thing called life without them.  That’s not why I am thankful though.  My parents are the type of people everyone needs in their life.  They are my loudest cheerleaders, staunchest supporters and always have my back (even the few times I may have been in the wrong).  Nobody could ask for better squad members than Plano John and Kit Kat.  My mom has this insane quality of reprimanding me while at the same time plotting the demise of those who wronged me; she still harbors resentment towards a girl who was mean to me in high school (15 years ago). My dad, who most of the time I think tunes me out, shocks me with what all he knows about me.  After telling him that a friend wants to dress up as Taylor Swift for Halloween, he shows up four days later with “the perfect gun holster” for her costume.  All in all, they are awesome. 

My Brother — While many people would lump “family” into one, my brother totally deserves a special shout out.  Red is by far the most influential person in my life, which is not easy for someone who only speaks 5 words.  Every major decision I have made can some how be traced back to this guy.  Without him I would not have the heart, patience or compassion that I do.  Sure, I have to lock up my toilet paper, but every sibling relationship has their issues.  (Of note: my brother has autism which explains the lack of conversation skills and my need to walk around my house with a key around my neck).

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Jaime — Everyone needs a ride or die chick in their life, not just rappers, and Jaime is mine.  Jaime is one of those people that always has a plan for a good time.  While almost everyone loves going to a movie, she finds ways to make even the most boring movie an “event” with wardrobes, props and tons of pictures.  She is more than just a fun time though, she is an incredible listener, finds ways to fix the unfixable and is truly one of the strongest people I know; just don’t cross her.  Just for the record, she is completely exhausting but I suppose in the long run, she is totally worth it. 

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A PROPer Valentine’s Day 2015

The H Team — One of the highlights of my job (more to come on that) is the fact that I get to meet and know so many amazing people.  While I have become close with many people at the ECEC, nobody is more special to me than my favorite 5 year old, Harper.  First off, Harper is awesome.  She is clever, exuberant, seriously funny and has the sweetest soul you can ever have the privilege of getting to know.  When I met Harper  she was 18 months old and walking across a table like it was her personal catwalk.  I knew I loved her instantly.  Little did I know, more than three years later I would be picking her up from kindergarten and listening to her read to me.  She loves life and makes everything fun and exciting.  While she loves all things girly, she is also creative and loves building and learning.  Although I would love to take credit for this (I was an amazing Mini Tot teacher after all), Harper has an incredible family.  Her parents have infused her life with love, encouragement and opportunities to learn, explore and create.  Sure, they are busy (we are talking serious power couple here), but they ensure she is surrounded by people who love and support her.  They have allowed me to become such an integral part of her life, simply because she loves me.  They always include me in her special events (birthdays, graduations, random Valentine soirées) because they recognize she would want me there.  While this may not seem like that big of a deal, it really is. Simply put, Harper (and her family) are awesome.

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Harper drew us BFF necklaces

ECEC — Before I worked at the ECEC I was homeschooling a girl with autism and I was miserable.  One day while venting to a friend of mine over sushi, she mentioned the school she was working at was looking for a few staff members.  I applied instantly and was fortunate enough to be hired a few weeks later.  I know many people claim to love their job, but I REALLY do.  Not only did the ECEC lead me to Harper, it is a genuinely great place to work.  Everyday I get to come to work, see some of my best friends, play and snuggle with young children and help families find ways to best meet the various needs of their children.  I can’t really ask for more than that.

Nicki Minaj — Okay this might seem kind of random, but bear with me.  This summer I my Uncle Bill passed away.  I am not going to pretend that we had the relationship where we talked everyday, we didn’t.  We had the type of relationship where every time Apple released it’s new line of iPhones, we would text back and forth about whether or not we just HAD to have it (we almost always did).  It worked for us and I always loved him.  He passed away suddenly in July and my dad and I went to Chicago to start the never ending task of dealing with his estate.  “Hey Mama” by Nicki Minaj and David Guetta was the song of the summer and each time it came on the radio, I would turn it up and tell my dad how much I loved it (again, my dad is awesome for simply letting this happen over and over again).  On my last night in Chicago, I was looking through his computer and realized that he had purchased “Hey Mama”.  Hidden in the various 80’s country songs he had in his library was this little gem.  I wish I knew what lead him to buy this and I think about it a lot.  Now, every time I hear this song, I get an instant smile on my face.  For that reason, I will forever be thankful to Nicki Minaj.

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Hulu Commercial Free Plan — I am an incredibly busy person.  I have a full time job, hang out with Harper at least two nights a week, and I am enrolled in a full time Ph.D program.  Because of this, I love mindless TV.  I love just vegging out in bed with shows I don’t need to think about, which is why I was devastated this summer when my favorite show, The Mindy Project was cancelled.  I was nearly inconsolable for the 48 hours it took for Hulu to announce they had picked it up.  I quickly subscribed and discovered that they air commercials (I hate commercials with a passion).  This was made even worse when I realized I couldn’t even fast forward through them.  I was miserable watching these shows, unable to fast forward and worried that I was going to have to cancel my subscription and lose Mindy.  Shortly after subscribing Hulu announced a  commercial free plan and it is amazing.  It allows me to catch up on so many of my favorite shows (including General Hospital) without being interrupted with pesky commercials to fast forward through.  It is the best $3 I spend each month.

My Competitive Spirit — As I mentioned, I am working on my Ph.D.  I am, without a doubt, the worst doctoral student.  I really hate going to class, and would always rather read about new eyeshadow pallets and Korean skin care than evidence based teaching practices.  The only thing that keeps me going down this Ph.D path is the fact that I am incredibly competitive and want to be the first one of my (real world) friends with this degree.  My competitiveness also makes it nearly impossible for me to quit things, no matter how hard they are!

Ulta Rewards  — Obviously, I write a beauty blog and I can not let Thanksgiving go by without being thankful for something cosmetics related.  I am obsessed with Ulta’s Rewards program.  If I’m totally honest, Sephora carries way more brands and items that I love, but I rarely shop there.  Instead, I shop almost exclusively at Ulta, checking my app each day to see if there are bonus offers to activate and hoard points so that I can purchase big ticket items like my Clarisonic Opal and T3 Interchangeable Styling Wands at hugely discounted prices.  Seriously, start investing in the Ulta Rewards program!

This #Basic Life — I can’t lie, I have an awesome life.  Sure, I have my problems, everyone does but I am also blessed with incredible people and opportunities.  My family is wonderful and make my life better in more ways than I will ever share with them.  I have fantastic friends who like to do lame things, such as seasonally appropriate  photo shoots in pumpkin patches, tulip farms and bluebonnet fields (just to name a few).  I have an awesome job (or two, or three) and actually get paid to hang out with some of my favorite people and do fun things!  I don’t think I could ask for any more than that!!!

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**Bonus thank you to my friend Jennifer who is the biggest supporter of my blog.  She is the one who hounded me until I finally resumed writing and proof reads each and every blog I publish (except this one).  She never gets the thank you she deserves, but I am truly grateful!

Holiday Gift Guide 2015 — Part 1

I am a total sucker for holiday lists. As soon as they start popping up all over my social media accounts, I excitedly click through them discovering items that I never knew I couldn’t live without. This year I am creating my own list for all of the beauty loving, techie, fashionistas in your life! These are my very favorite products that make me happy and make me, “me!” I am starting off with my favorite beauty and skincare products, stay tuned for part two!

For the makeup enthusiast in your life

I haven’t been wearing makeup that long (roughly a year and a half), but in that time I have researched, tested and reviewed countless brushes, palettes and products. Below are a list of my very favorite products that any makeup lover would love to add to their collection.

  • Urban Decay Good Karma Optical Blurring Brush. I am absolutely obsessed with this brush. If I could take only one face brush to a deserted island I would quickly pack this one away. It smooths out my cc creams and foundations with such ease and smoothness. I haven’t found another brush that remotely rivals this one!

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  • French Kisses Melted — $25 Anyone who knows me, knows how much I love Too Faced Melted Lipsticks. The colors! The shine! The length of wear! I love them. Too Faced has released this set 4 of minis which is the perfect way to try them out.

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  • Butter London RSVP Set — $29. Nail polish is my first love, and Butter London has always been one of my favorite brands. This spring they released a new 10x Shine formula and it is fantastic. Polish stays shockingly shiny (and stays put) for days and days. This set includes minis of 4 classic shades.

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  • Urban Decay Naked Palettes — $29 – $54. I love the UD Naked collection. I have every full size palette, basic palette, even Naked on The Run. My personal favorite is Naked 2, but everyone has a strong affinity to a specific palette based on their skin tones and preferences. If you aren’t sure which one to grab, go for the original. It’s a classic!

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  • Sigma Basic Eyes Kit — $77. I know many people rave about Mac brushes, but personally, I prefer Sigma. I have slowly acquired most of their eye brushes, and this set includes all of my faves. This set includes 7 brushes that will help you achieve all of your favorite eye looks!

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  • Benjabelle Daisy Brush Tree — $19.99. This is one of those items that you don’t know you need until you have one, and can’t believe you lived so long without it! Cleaning your brushes is one of the downfalls of loving makeup so much and it is important to dry your brushes upside down so that you can make them last. This stand fits brushes of various shapes and sizes and removes wasting time trying to find ways to keep your brushes upside down!

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For the hair/skincare enthusiast

  • Clarisonic — $99+. When people ask me about improving the skin, the first thing I ask is if they have a Clarisonic brush. For me, it was the most essential part of my skincare routine. Not only does it get my face incredibly clean, it also exfoliates! There are always promotions for these brushes during the holidays, so snatch one up!

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  • Aztec Clay Mask — $9. This is a little set that I have started putting together for gifts. It is no secret that I love face masks, but my absolute favorite is the Aztec clay mask. I mix a little with some Braggs apple cider vinegar and wait for the pulsating to begin. When I take it off, my skin is the softer than it has ever been. For the holidays I would purchase the duo and put a pretty bow on it!

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  • The Face Shop Living Nature Face Masks (Set of 15) — $16. With the increased awareness of Korean Skincare routines, paper face masks have become extremely popular. I have tried multiple brands and my favorite remains The Face Shop. Each mask is soaked in natural essences, smell incredible and soak nicely into my skin. One of my complaints with face masks is how they slip around, so I use a mask cover ($3.50)to keep it in place!

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  • Boar Bristle Brush — $12. Boar bristle brushes are an essential component of my weekly hair routine. They help diminish my natural frizz while also massaging my scalp (to reduce dryness). Everyone should have one!

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  • Silk Pilowcases — $10 each. For years I heard about the benefits of sleeping on silk pillowcases. They reduce wrinkles and keep your blowouts from getting out of control while you sleep! This summer I finally purchased some and my hair has never looked better!

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This completes my beauty and skin care gift giving guide! Stay tuned for my favorite gifts for all the fashionistas in your life.

November Lip Challenge – Week 3

This week I completed the third week of my November Lip Challenge (if you missed week one and two of the challenge, just click here and here)! As hard as it’s getting to choose new colors each day, it’s shocking how many favorites I haven’t worn yet!

Monday, November 16, 2015

I woke up this morning exhausted, freezing and with no lippie inspiration. At the last minute I decided to put on one of my favorite summer collaborations. I put on Mac’s Steam Heat lipstick with Hot/Cold lipglass from this summer’s Wash and Dry Collection. Each time I wear these colors I remember that I love the packaging more than the actual lip color.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

 Dallas had crazy weather in the middle of the night so I have been up since 3:45 this morning waiting out tornado warnings and never got back to sleep. While not my most overall polished look, I do feel like a walking Christmas tree between my green plaid cape and my red lips! Today I opted for another Mac LE: Charlotte from the Giambattista Valli collection. When this color was released this summer, I thought the shade of red was way too dark, but now that Fall is (finally) here, this may be my very favorite red right now.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

 It is not uncommon for my friends to invite me lipstick shopping when they are looking for a new color. Usually, these trips end with me purchasing a new color. That’s how I ended up with this beauty. While shopping for the perfect “brick red” for her, I randomly tried on Lancôme Rouge in Love 383N Midnight Crush knowing I don’t have “any” similar shades! I thought it was a pretty color but was especially impressed with how it felt on. Today was the first time I wore it. It’s not a “wow” for me (I just really love bold colors) but it feels amazing and lasted all day!

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Friday, November 20, 2015

 I was busy working on loads of end of semester papers, presentations and projects yesterday so I never left my house, let alone put on any lipstick (this also explains why I look part vampire today). I am back today, and decided that I was not in the mood for my Friday wardrobe (my terrible school spirit shirt) so being the rebel I am I wore real clothes and opted for Tarte’s Amazonian Butter Lipstick in Tulip. Not my fave, but it works!

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That completes the third week of my November Lip Challenge. I am slightly embarrassed to admit that I could easily continue this challenge into next month. Follow my challenge daily on my Instagram: @Jessicasgoneviral and share your own looks with the hashtag: #NovemberLipChallenge

November Lip Challenge — Week 2

November Lip Challenge — Week 2

I can’t believe I have already completed the second week of my November Lip Challenge (if you missed week one of the challenge, just click here)!  I will admit it is getting harder for me to pick out my daily lip look.  I am definitely taking more time picking out my outfits so I can make sure I have an unused color to coordinate with.  This week I used a variety of bolds and neutrals, a few I forgot I even had!!

Monday, November 9, 2015

This summer I was browsing in Nordstrom’s beauty department and a salesperson from Smashbox offered to give me a makeover.  I was killing time so decided to let her.  I’m not a huge fan of their products (aside from their primers) but loved the lip stain she used on me, Beet  It.  I love this color on me, and am always surprised by just how much I love it.  It has fantastic staying power but tends to feather on me, even if I use a reverse liner. 

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Tuesday, November 10, 2015

I was really in the mood for a soft look this morning so I didn’t think twice about my lip choice!  I combined Mac’s Creme de la Femme lipstick with Nymphette lipglass.  I discovered this look last year when I had my makeup done before the Jay Z and Beyoncé On The Run tour and it has remained part of my regular rotation ever since.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

I love wearing bold lips with black dresses.  I realized that I haven’t really worn any berry lip colors this fall so I decided to pull one out.  In February, Make Up For Ever released a limited edition lip set to coincide with the release of the 50 Shades of Grey movie.  The set included a lip liner, lip stain, clear gloss and berry colored gloss.  For this look I used the liner, stain and clear gloss.  FYI, this product has a funny “taste” to it.  I don’t typically taste my lip products but it is kind of hard to miss sometimes!

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Thursday, November 12, 2015

Earlier this year I became fixated on finding the right “neutral pink.”  I spent way more time than I am proud to admit looking at various swatches and adding them to my wish list.  Quickly I moved on to another color obsession but when Mac announced their Some Enchanted Eve holiday collection, I instantly recognized Please Me from my wish list.  I obviously picked it up and realized I needed a lip liner to go with it so I also grabbed Rosy Rim.  I still don’t think this is the right color for me, but it’ll do until I find it!

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Friday, November 13, 2015

I don’t know how I made it ten days into this challenge without wearing my favorite lip color: Too Faced Melted Ruby.  Those of you who read my very first blog know that this is where my love of makeup started.  I love this color and I have a soft spot for it.  It wears beautifully as long as I wear a lip primer and reverse liner!

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That completes the second week of my November Lip Challenge.  My container of used products is filling up and there are some I will definitely miss during the next few weeks.  Follow my challenge daily on my Instagram: @Jessicasgoneviral and share your own looks with the hashtag: #NovemberLipChallenge

Helluva Heel

I have always had a soft spot for super high heels. Unfortunately, bad feet and terrible balance make wearing heels a bad idea but that doesn’t stop me from wearing unsensible shoes most weekends. In order to survive a big night out, I have developed a routine (shocking I know) to prepare both my shoes and my feet!

Prepare your shoes

 I have been cursed with a wide foot, which makes most heels feel incredibly tight and uncomfortable. When I know I am going to have a long night on my feet ahead of me I prep my shoes by stretching them out a bit. To do so, I put on some thick socks and wear the shoes for about thirty minutes. Typically I do this before I’m really getting ready because I like to see if there are any red spots on my feet so I can prep my feet for the tightest spots. You can walk around in your socks and heels or just kick back and watch a show (which is what I like to do do)!

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Prepare your feet

 About a year ago I was reading somewhere that applying liquid bandage to your feet will prevent blisters when you wear new shoes. I kind of laughed it off but decided to try it out, and it really does work. 30 minutes before I leave, I spread the concoction on the back bone of my foot, the bones along the front sides of each foot, across the back of my toes and then at the knuckle of my toes. If I notice a red spot after stretching my shoes, I apply an extra coat to that spot. I apply a final coat right before I put my shoes on for the night.

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These simple tricks have helped me go one year blister free!  Follow my Instagram @Jessicasgoneviral for additional tips and tricks!

November Lip Challenge — Week 1

November Lipstick Challenge — Week 1

I have a confession to make: I am a lippie addict.  I am not partial to one type of lip product over another, I love them all.  Crayons, sticks, glosses, mattes, liquids, it doesn’t matter; when I see them, I lose all of my self control and begin imagining how they will be the perfect “finishing touch” to some ensemble.  While looking into my over flowing lipstick drawer I decided that I was going to challenge myself to wear a different lip product every weekday this month.  To help me keep track, I am taking a photo each day and placing the used lippie in a separate container so that I am not tempted to use it again!
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Monday, November 2, 2015

I wanted to start the challenge off with a bold lip so I opted for Laura Gellar’s Love me Dew Moisturizing Lip Crayon in Cranberry Glaze.  I bought this lip crayon on a whim when Ulta was offering 5x points for any Laura Gellar product.  Because I have a soft spot for reds, I quickly picked this up.  I love this product, it goes on easily and has amazing staying power!  I have not tried any of her other products, but this is a frequent favorite of mine. 

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Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Today I wore one of my all time favorite colors, Lipstick Queen Hot Rose Sinner.  Hot Rose Sinner is an opaque, mostly matte shade, with just a hint of a sheen. This is the only Lipstick Queen product I own, and the color is perfect with my fair complexion.  It is bright without being over the top and I can wear it with almost anything. 

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Wednesday, November 4, 2015

I am always on the lookout for a light pink shade that actually shows up on me.  Today I wore Tarte Amazonian Butter Lipstick in Pink Peony.  To be honest, I don’t love this one.  As much as I love Tarte products, their lip products really don’t show well on me.  I have yet to find a color that looks good on me.  One attribute of their lipsticks that I do love is how moisturizing they are.  They feel great, I just wished they looked great as they feel!

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Thursday, November 5, 2015

Today was not a fantastic day for me, I felt (and looked) terrible.  It turns out I was suffering a “nasty” throat infection.  As a way of cheering myself up a bit I decided to put on Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Never Say Never.  I love Nars and especially love their lip pencils (both matte and satin finishes).  In addition to applying easily and wearing well, they always give my lips a plump and defined look.  As much as I love this color, I often forget I have it.  I’m loving that this challenge is encouraging me to wear colors I don’t typically reach for!

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Friday, November 6, 2015

On Friday’s I have to wear my school’s spirit shirt.  Personally, I am not a fan of softball inspired tees so I always try to dress the look up a bit with a bold (usually red) lip.  This week I wore a classic red: Mac Ruby Woo.  Apparently, my look was inspired by the Starbucks Siren on my coffee cup!

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That complete’s the first week of my November Lip Challenge.  My bucket is already filling up with lippies I am going to miss for the rest of the month!  Follow my challenge daily on my Instagram: @Jessicasgoneviral and share your own looks with the hashtag: #NovemberLipChallenge. 

Halloween 2015

Halloween has always been a mixed bag of treats for me.  I love seeing kiddos all dressed up in their costumes, watching scary movies and making spooky inspired snacks but dressing up as an adult has never been something I got into.  When conversations about Halloween start coming up, I enthusiastically nod my head and pretend to get excited, knowing there is no way I will participate.  Not only is my creativity extremely stunted, Halloween is one of the few times my typically sky high self esteem leaves me.  For some unknown reason, I changed my attitude this year and decided to embrace the holiday!

Friday was crazy busy, but I still wanted to look my Halloween best!  I started the day in a subtle ensemble because the school I work at doesn’t celebrate Halloween.  I wore a simple “This is my Costume” graphic tee that I picked up at Target with some black jeggings and my sugar skull Converse sneakers.  I love these shoes and was excited that it was finally a seasonally appropriate time to wear them.

Friday Outfit #1
Friday Outfit #1

In the middle of the day, I broke away for a little while to visit my favorite 5 year old for her school’s Pumpkin Day Picnic.  Unfortunately it was raining, but I was prepared.  I changed into an off the shoulder sweatshirt that had a witch on a broom stick and said “Frequent Flyer” and my red Hunter rain boots.  I was excited to see how happy she was to show off the Hello Kitty inspired pumpkin we had decorated together!

Friday Outfit #2/Hello Kitty Pumpkin
Friday Outfit #2/Hello Kitty Pumpkin

Finally it was time the night’s big festivity, a Ludacris concert with my bestie!  I changed into a sweater I bought on tipsyelves.com with a break dancing skeleton on it, black leggings and (because it was still raining) I stuck with my Hunter rainboots!  Jaime and I both love taking pictures with props so we brought fun spider light up glasses and masks with us.

Friday Outfit #3 with Jaime
Friday Outfit #3 with Jaime

On Saturday, I started getting ready with a blow out from Dry Bar.  This wasn’t my very favorite blow out (I usually like my curls a little tighter for the staying power), but it still looked nice.  Afterwards I came home and made some little ghost cookies to bring to a pre-party I was attending that evening before going to The W with my friends!

One of these things is not like the others
One of these things is not like the others

I was so excited to bring my Dia de Los Muertos concept to life with the help of my friend Nicole.  She was so nervous to mess up my face (and we did have a few snafus in the middle) but it turned out great!  With my makeup done it was finally time to throw on my dress and flower crown before heading out (and what a fun night it was)!Dia de Los Muertos

As much fun as I had, taking all that makeup off was a bit of a chore, but not nearly as terrible as I had feared.  I started with Julep Bareface Cleansing Oil to break down the makeup.  Next, I washed my face with my Clarisonic.  I finished up with a Neutrogena makeup remover wipe.  While my face was erased of all signs of makeup, my Clarisonic Deep Pore head is unsalvageable! Totally worth it!

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There is no coming back for this one!
There is no coming back for this one!

Bonus Content:

My dog Ollie getting in on the Halloween action!
My dog Ollie getting in on the Halloween action!

For extra beauty ramblings follow my Instagram @jessicasgoneviral

*I have linked each product for purchase.  Each product mentioned I purchased for myself based solely on word of mouth and intuition.  I have linked each product to an online retailer but do not receive any compensation if you choose to purchase from them.