Sunday, September 30, 2012

Falling For Prints

I love prints.  Almost too much.  I sometimes question if I know how to put together an outfit without a wildly patterned piece. But since Fall is officially upon us, I decided to celebrate the changing seasons with some of my favorites.  The key to note here: my theory is in with the old, and out with the new.  The changing weather does not have to mean a new wardrobe.  Shop in your own closet. I love to find a "new" bag or "new" pair of boots that I may have overlooked in the warmer months.  Basically, old is new. And remember when you shop, ask yourself the following question--can this piece be transitional? Meaning, more than one season.  Not everything you buy has to be a Yes to this question, but it will help cut costs & make your closet versatile.

The two new pieces that I am wearing below are the snake skin print blouse from Madewell, and my new dress from Clover Canyon (my designer obsession of this Fall).  Everything else is "new" from my own closet, and that's just the way I like it...

Special thanks to Roo Bear for his guest appearance, and a HUGE thank you to Jaclyn of Sharing My Sole for my initialed charm necklace featured above. Visit her site here,, for cute styling tips and tricks.

Hair Pick

As many of my friends know, I have weird beauty habits.  One being hair picks and two being "Grandpa Combs".  Over the years, I have learned that these two things, no brush, serum, gel, etc., are the only two items that can tame my beast of a head of hair.  Which leads me to today's events...

Justin and I spent the weekend in Hudson, Ohio--seeing friends and family, and taking a little break from Cincinnati. It was a great weekend, and today Justin was his usual helpful self and packed up the car while my mom and I spent the last ten minutes before we left pretty much rolling on the floor laughing about pretty much nothing at all.

So we left Hudson, happy & relaxed, and started on the 4 hours drive back to Cincinnati. About 2 hours into the drive, my mom called and the conversation went like this:

Mom: "Hunny, you left a bag here."

Me: "WHAT bag?" (heart sinking, knowing exactly what I had left behind)

Mom: "I think its your makeup bag..."

OH SHIT. Insert me high pitched yelling at Justin.

It was CLEARLY his fault (in my moment of rage, yes of course it was his fault). HE packed the car, he should have KNOWN.  "Rational" thoughts going through my head. Not. But the fact that I, not he, had forgotten my makeup bag started us on about 2 hours of stupid, pointless arguments for the remainder of the drive. Dumb, yes. Of course. But the moral of the story is, everyone has that one thing that they do every morning that makes them feel better about their day.  Mine is the makeup bag.  It's not that I hate the way I look, it's just that I hate going to work looking sloppy or immature.  Corporate America could eat you for breakfast if it wanted to, and I always want to at least LOOK prepared for that. And it was the continuous comments from a boy, who of course doesn't understand the essence of the makeup bag, like "you look like someone just shot you", that made the fit of rage...rageful.

By the time we got back to Cincinnati, I think J realized that I had overreacted, but that it was also clearly important to me to not look like a hot mess at work on Monday. So we stopped at Ulta, and I promised myself I would only get a few things that I was already running low on, and of course, I would survive without X.Y. & Z beauty products until the makeup bag and I were reunited. Again, it was really not about the makeup at all, its more or less that sometimes I appear more confident, especially at work, then I really feel. And I get ready in the morning to mask my overall anxiety about work ("Am I good enough?", "Will this client like me?", "Did that program run right").

So here is what I picked up... And thank you Ulta for having some amazing mini's, very helpful!

(Tarte blush, 12 hr staying power, pigmented color, was already running low; BareMinerals Warmth, best all over bronzer out there, was already running low; Benefit's Erase Paste Mini, only $10 and will last you FOREVER; Benefit's High Brow; Ulta Eyeliner in Colbalt, standard blue; Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Mini; Urban Decay's Setting Spray, was completely out of; and of course, Say Yes To Blueberry Face Wipes)

And bringing it full circle, I forgot to pick up a hair pick at Ulta, so while J went to get toothpaste he also had this first hair pick buying experience.  And now I have 3 brand new hair picks and some makeup to get me through until I get my things back. Oh, and I have apologized.  A lot.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Foundation Nation

As promised, once a month I will be reviewing both my Drugstore beauty picks as well as my pricier purchases.  Good news: everything I write about is tried, true, and believed in.  Bottom line.  I will never endorse a product that I have not been using in my daily routine.  The idea is to save you money and give you the confidence that (hopefully) these products will work for you.

This month's topic is...Foundation.  A scary word for some, a beauty must-have for others.  For me, foundation is something I use to feel a little better in the morning.  It evens out my skin tone, covers my acne/freckles, and ultimately makes me look like I have slept more than 6 hours. I don't use foundation to hide who I am or, or enhance myself.  I use it to look like me, just refreshed, and a better-slept version of myself.

Because foundation is not something I swear by, I have been on a quest to find the best of the best in the following categories: light, natural, and non-irritating. For those of you who don't know, I have the most sensitive skin on the planet. My skin loves the following: allergic reactions. puffiness, swelling, redness, and irritation.  Whenever you mix in a little something it hates, my skin will FREAK out.  For this reason, I have to be extremely careful with all of my makeup and beauty products. And, for this reason, I really do know what I am taking about.  The products I recommend WON'T cause those so called freak outs, and are meant for people with sensitive and irritable skin.

So let's get to business.  Before I reveal my Holy Grail (yes this is what the beauty bloggers call it) of foundation, I have to talk about my first love...Primer.

Primer is the mecca of all good makeup.  No makeup will stay or last all day without it.  Trust me. If you are going to take the time to apply foundation, and blush, and bronzer, use primer.  Otherwise, those minutes you spent are completely wasted.  My thoughts here are, you go into work, school, the hospital, and you look the same when you leave as when you came in.  Yes, you may be tired, worn down, exhausted, but your face won't show it.

My tried and true primers are a combo of the following:
Benefits The Pore Professional & Smashbox Photo Finish Hydrating Primer
I use the Pore Professional over my moisturizer to smooth out my skin and create an even canvas.  The Smashbox primer then provides a hydrating layer which will keep your makeup looking fresh throughout the day.  Best news here--Smashbox gets it.  They know that not everyone has the same skin, the same "flaws", and they have a primer built for you.  Don't believe me? Check it out for yourself:  You may not be meant for the Hydrating Primer, but I guarantee there is one in this line for you.

Now the big reveal...I have been, and will continue to, chat with my friends, co-workers, family, about one beauty product that has become my #1.  Urban Decay's Naked Skin.  The search for my foundation is over.  Light weight, truly a 2nd skin, glowing--yes.  Naked Skin will give you YOUR best skin. I believe in this product so much that I am on bottle number 2 (rare for me).  Naked Skin will even out your skin tone to a place you did not expect.  You look like you, but just better, more well rested, healthier (everything I was looking for, right?).  Even for those who tend to be scared by the F word, this is the perfect transition from a tinted moisturizer or BB cream.  I promise, you will glow.

One thing to note with Naked Skin, you MUST get color matched in store (Sephora, Macy's, Ulta).  Because the foundation is rather pigmented in the bottle, you will not be able to correctly color match from an online swatch.  Head to your local department store and ask for a sample -- trust me, it's worth it.

Here is the swatch of all three products on my arms and blended in.  You can clearly see the difference, but of course if you disagree with me, let me know! I love to hear your opinions and experiences!

Arm swatch of all 3 products before blending (from left to right: Smashbox Hyrdating Primer, Benefit Pore Professional, & Urban Decay Naked Skin, Shade 5.0).

Left- Blended Products; Right- No Products

Prices (from
Urban Decay Naked Skin, $38
Smashbox Photo Finish Hydrating Primer, $42
Benefit's The Pore Professional, $30
Tip: You only need a small amount of each product as a little goes a long way--save your money and apply lightly!

That's all for's been a fun month of showing all of you what our lives are about! Hopefully you have enjoyed & learned just a little more about who we are...the best is yet to come! xoxo.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Boots & Bowties

This past weekend, J and I traveled over 704 miles (each way) by car to Bentonville, AR/Jay, OK for my college roommate, Margot's, wedding. We spent many, many hours in the car, just the two of us, and as I sit here tonight, exhausted from a 12 hour day at work, I am realizing that I wouldn't change anything about this past weekend for all the riches in the world. This weekend was magical.  Pure bliss. I am not sure if this is because of the combination of my very best Miami girls (some of which I haven't seen in almost 4 years), seeing one of my best friends get married to an amazing man, or taking a moment to realize these moments...this is life.  This is why, through it all, you drive MILES for your friends, and you laugh until your sides hurt, and you dance until you can't anymore (maybe because you've fallen one to many times on the dance floor).  This is what you live for.  Dancing under the stars, hearing the exchange of vows next to a creek, and spending a crazy night in a hotel room with your husband and your best friend--these moments are rare.  These moments we will always remember. Because as I sat again at my desk today, tired, stressed, and worried about the real world, I get a text on our group thread from my friends basically saying "I'm tired and back at work, too" -- I know that these memories get all of us through the day.

After almost 4 years since I have left the world of Paid Vacation, lived in Chicago & Cincinnati, moved into and out of 5 different apartments, and married J, it would appear that a lot has changed. But really, has any of it? Aren't we all still the same people we were when we met 8 years ago? More mature, of course, maybe a little wiser. But this weekend reminded me of why I fell in love with all of these people, including Justin. Because while I would drive MILES for these women, I wasn't the one actually doing the driving...he was. This weekend did not just remind me that I would do anything for these girls, but he would, too.  An arm or leg, he would give it.

On a closing note, Margot's wedding was magical.  That word doesn't just sum up the weekend, but the wedding as well. I wanted to show all of you just how beautiful this wedding was, so enjoy some snapshots below.  Lastly, I know and appreciate that these moments, like for me this past weekend, can be rare. Remember to find the magic on a daily basis as well, but if you have to drive a few hundred miles for it, just remember to have a really great playlist and a lot of laughs along the way. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Drugstore Recap: September

So while Justin is away, I figured now was the perfect time to start the beauty blogging.  I know the content of Seven & Seven has been heavily female orientated lately, and this will be changing, I promise.

Each month, I am going to review my favorite drugstore beauty picks that are tried & true, and won't break the bank.  For a product junkie, the drugstore quick trip can become a black hole of great wins and things you wish you hadn't said yes to.  The Drugstore Recap is meant to help narrow down the never ending choices. 

I will be providing my quick snapshot/review on the product, as well as the price points found on (everything I pick up comes from either CVS, Walgreens, or Kroger here in Cincinnati).  As always, feel free to leave your thoughts--maybe these products have worked for you or you have tried them and weren't impressed.  Either way, I want to know about it! Lastly, I will be doing the same thing on a monthly basis for the more expensive makeup picks (Sephora, Ulta, department stores).

Maybelline Great Lash mascara in the Limited Edition colors (Teal shown on the Left and Blue shown on the right). These colors are pigmented, without being obnoxious (i.e. you can wear them to work), and are the right amount of subtle mixed with spunk.  Layer one coat over your standard black mascara for a shimmer of color, or layer multiple coats of the colored mascara for a more dramatic look. Personally, I love the Teal, but have seen friends wearing the Purple, and it looks amazing on every skin tone. $5.99 at Walgreens (not available on  These are Limited Edition, so I recommended stocking up on a few of your favorite colors on your next drugstore run, who knows if these will be back!

The two drugstore lip glosses that I am loving right now: Revlon's Lip Butter (on the Left, shown in Sugar Plum) and CoverGirl's Outlast Lipstain (on the Right, shown in Plum Pout). Let's top line the Lip Butter first--smooth, creamy, non-drying, color rich.  The Lip Butter is easy to apply on the go and with the wide variety of colors, your match is out there.  For CoverGirl's Outlast Lipstain, the color truly lasts, and while the formula is a bit drying, when layered with a gloss it creates the perfect pout. Revlon Lip Butter is $7.49, and CoverGirl's Outlast Lipstain is $7.99. 

First of all, I really love the Say Yes To brand, but the Yes to Blueberries Brightening Facial Towelettes are my #1 beauty staple.  I have been using these wipes since January and go through at least two a day.  They remove ALL traces of makeup, smell heavenly, and leave your face bright, clean, and non-irritated.  For anyone with sensitive skin, these may become your Holy Grail of skincare. They have for me.  The Yes to Tomatoes Skin Clearing Facial Mask (on the right) was bought on a whim during a more severe breakout.  The mask is gentle, will dry up your acne, and feels natural and soothing.  Yes to Blueberries Brightening Facial Towelettes are $7.99 (30 ct) and Yes to Tomatoes Skin Clearing Facial Mask is $14.99.

St. Ives has been a bathroom cabinet staple for many of us for years, but I recently discovered two products that I think take St. Ives to the next level in skin care.  Both of these products were purchased during a breakout period, meaning I was looking for both a quick fix and a long term solution. The St. Ives Scrub Free Exfoliating Pads (shown on the left) are the real deal.  They leave skin dewy, smooth, and will help reduce any mild breakouts.  These pads have replaced my toner, and help prep my skin for lotion and makeup application.  The St. Ives Blemish Control Green Tea Scrub (shown on the right) has become my go to shower cleanser.  The formula is gentle, but you can feel the exfoliating beads working, and I am nothing but impressed so far. St. Ives Scrub Free Exfoliating Pads are $4.99 (60 ct) and St. Ives Blemish Control Green Tree Scrub is $6.29.

And, beauty starts on the inside, my recommendations are just meant to help you along the way!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

This Week's 7's.

Here's to this week's 7's (and why is tomorrow Monday?) much love in these pictures over this past week that it's hard to capture all of it.  But hopefully you can see how us Midwestern-er's have some fun :)

(1. J made coffee and put an A on my mug, adorable 2. I went to Bruce Springsteen in Chicago, no words 3. I know I love my dogs, but can't you see why? 4. These girls make Cincinnati amazing, never forget why you are blessed 5. I love anything country and anything with the word "mason" 6. Farmer's Market flowers 7. Oh and I cut my hair, nothing drastic, but let's document)

A Denim Dream.

As Fall is just around the corner, I wanted to show various ways to showcase what you already own versus what you should go out and buy.  Since it's transition time, I figured a denim shirt is the best way to stick with what you own and and what you know.  I paired 5 looks together on how to wear your denim shirt best.  My denim shirt is from J.Crew (outlet) and the rest is up to you....the below photos are a mix of my old and new pieces, but most of all they show that shopping in your own closet can be just as exciting as the stores. The 7's are coming soon, but for now mix and match, my loves! And for information on specific pieces, shoot me an email (I'll give you all the details)....xoxo.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The first of the 7's...An ode to summer.

The 7's are a collection of photos to remember the thoughts, happenings, and encounters of the previous's to the first of the 7's, and the memories to come! 
(1. the most delicious appetizer book, Skinny Dips from Crate & Barrel; 2. sleeping bears in front of the Just Married sign; 3. pretty bathroom tray, on sale from West Elm, $2.99; 4. J at the brewery; 5. walking the bears in the turquoise shorts; 6. flowers getting ready for fall; 7. Hyde Park Farmer's Market... farewell summer)

Oh, and what we (I) wore...

Sweet thoughts & dreams. xo.