the wedding chronicles | decisions #16 and #17


probably two of the more important decisions to make for many brides, your wedding hair and wedding makeup can make all the difference in helping you feel your absolute best on your big day, and this is coming from a girl who pretty much never wears makeup nowadays and considers it a small miracle if her hair manages to stay presentable from sun up to sun down.  the trick to it all, as several past brides have told me, is to let the stylists create a wedding day look that simply enhances, not masks, what the good Lord already gave you.  well, when i look at it that way, i’m much more open to the idea.

now, the question regarding hair and makeup is where do you begin your search?  as far as things go for me, i first started with what i knew, which was who my sister-in-law kari hired when she and kyle got married back in 2014.  she happily gave me some contact information, and i quickly turned around to send the first of many e-mail messages.  kyle and kari got married in roswell, georgia, which meant most of their vendors were local to the greater atlanta area.  therein was a bit of a problem for me:  with our wedding being in peachtree city (practically on the complete opposite side of town and definitely outside the greater atlanta area), i would have to pay travel fees per mile for the stylists to get to me.  now, if we were having a remote destination wedding, i’d understandably bite the bullet and pay, but before committing, i decided to investigate and see if we had other options.

as it would end up being the case for many of our vendors, i asked the director at glendalough manor if they had any preferred recommendations for hair and makeup.  what do you know, they did!  as soon as i was able, i booked the trial appointments and invited the crew to come along for the fun.

now, if you aren’t in “the know” in this regard, oftentimes you do a trial or dress rehearsal for hair and makeup before your actual wedding day.  i know, i know.  among all the other things on our to-do list, you might not feel like you have time for this sort of thing.  i used to think that way, too.  however, i highly encourage you go through with the trials and here is exactly why.

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r+f for everyone!

as many of you know, i am always on the hunt for a good skin care regimen.  i wouldn’t say i have the worst skin i possibly could, but i never turn down the chance to try something new to improve my face.  as such, i was approached by a rodan + fields skincare consultant (someone very close to me and whom i trust) to talk about my options with this revolutionary skincare line.

first, if you were not already aware, the r+f skincare line is developed by the same doctors who brought you the proactiv line of products.  proactiv has proven to be a trustworthy and reliable product over the years, so when r+f was introduced, it’s no surprise that people were ready to give it a try.

second, you can kind of mix and match what you want to use.  they offer several package treatments, but if you want to start out with just a facewash and lotion, for example, you have the flexibility to do so.

third, you don’t have to go into a store to purchase.  some folks might be uncomfortable pursuing and ordering skincare treatment in person, so r+f is solely offered through online ordering.  the product ships directly to your home/office/wherever, a convenient perk.  even more so, they make the replenishment ordering process easy by automating it every 60 days.  if you don’t need more of the product, though, simply adjust your ordering/shipping for that time.

so, now that i’ve totally convinced you to get in a touch with an r+f consultant (and if you don’t have one, i have someone who would be perfect for you!), let’s talk about my experience so far.  after doing a little homework, i decided to purchase the unblemish series.  i thought about just doing the facewash and toner, but it made more sense financially to order the entire bundle and go from there.  the package provides instructions on how best to use the products you’ve purchased.  for example, besides just how to use each of the four steps in the unblemish regimen, i was given a schedule of how to integrate these products into my daily routine.  so, for the first week, i only use the products every other day in the morning.  then, i increase to every morning, so on and so forth.  this approach gives your face the opportunity to adjust to the new products you are using.  if your skin doesn’t respond well to using the products twice a day, for example, then you can reduce to using them just once a day.

before day 1 arrived, i decided to do what all good skincare companies do:  take some before pictures!  i switched to selfie mode and snapped these few pictures.

after taking a look, i realized they were pretty standard, in that i looked so sad!  i decided to retake with a bit cheerier attitude.  🙂

so!  next is to get started, yes?  yes!  first up is the facewash.  this purple creme facewash is very gentle, and that comes from someone who has very sensitive skin.


next is the toner.  this is probably going to sound weird, but i always love when a toner is part of a skincare process.  it makes my skin feel so fresh and clean!

once the toner dries, i put on the acne treatment.  a little of this stuff goes a long way, so i’d recommend one pump from each side.  remember, you can always add more later.


finally, apply the lotion.  with this dry winter upon us, it’s even more important than ever to hydrate your skin properly.  a light lotion before you go out the door is the perfect ticket!


i’ve only been using this line for a couple weeks now, and although there isn’t a noticeable difference at the moment, i’m hoping that after about two months total my skin will be a bit more consistent and smooth.  you always need to give your face time to acclimate to a new set of products, so let’s see what kind of magic r+f can do!

dollar shave club

as nearly all of us know, shaving is a necessary evil, and with the summer months upon us, i’ll be keeping that razor blade close by for practically every shower.  something else we all know about shaving is how expensive those razors get.  i don’t know about you, but i cringe every time i’m at the store and pick up a box of four razor heads for $18 bucks.  that’s a few good glasses of wine!  and believe me, i’d much prefer drinking wine to shaving my legs.

anyway, after reviews from some personal friends, i decided to give dollar shave club a try.  although originally marketed for men, the company has become quite popular among the female buyers as well.  their website provides a no-fuss experience that is easy to navigate; and perhaps even better, they make it clear that if you ever want to cancel, upgrade, or downgrade, you can do so with nearly the flick of your wrist.  the blades ship once a month, but if you don’t change your blade out every week, you can update your frequency preferences with no hassle at all.

considering the flexible options, i went all-out with the executive blades.  i figured paying half the cost of what i do now for a hopefully great product would at least be worth the try.  well, i’ll say it was a great decision.  my blades arrived in a timely manner and in the most charming package.  along with the blades was a free handle (you get this regardless and also a free one if you upgrade/downgrade) as well as a little shaving butter to try.

the handle is sturdy and these blades are no joke.  i felt it was the most mature, no-nonsense razor i’d ever held in my hand, and the best part is that this razor got the job done.  with a little shaving butter and some after-shave lotion, my legs were silky smooth.


to give you an idea of how satisfied i was, here’s my life before dollar shave club…


…and here it is now!


if you are unsure about committing to something that might seem like a fad, give it a try.  the cancellation policy appears to be quite straightforward, so if you aren’t satisfied, no worries.  however, if you are interested, go for the gold!  or rather, the executive.  🙂

wedding makeup!

our dear friends jamie and greg are getting married in just nine short days, and i have the honor of being one of the bridesmaids – yay!  with the big day around the corner, i have been getting my to-do list and packing list together to make sure i don’t miss a thing.  one of the items on that list is all of the new makeup i’ve recently purchased to complete my bridesmaid look.  like many ladies, i have created a makeup collection over the years and that old stuff just had to go.  so, since i was basically working from the ground up, a personal consultation at sephora sounded like the perfect plan.  i mean, i think i have an acceptable day-to-day look, but i knew i needed to step up my makeup game for the wedding – gotta look good in those pictures!

my stylist grace was ready to get to work the moment i hopped onto that stool, and with my close friend alison at my side (her makeup always looks stunning), i knew i’d be in good hands.  thankfully grace was willing to work with some of the basics i already have since i have sensitive skin, so i didn’t totally break the bank on that day’s purchases.  we had a gay ‘ole time as grace showed me where to sweep the eyeshadows, what to do with that charming little makeup egg, and, perhaps the most entertaining part of the afternoon, how to apply false eyelashes!  i mean, i might be biased, but i think the end result was kind of lovely (despite the silly faces).  🙂

now, all throughout the appointment alison was diligently taking incredibly detailed notes, as i am going to have to recreate this look myself the day of the event.  so, armed with her notes and all of the supplies, i followed the instructions and….voila!  with the exception of no false eyelashes, i gotta say i don’t think i did too bad of a job.  again, please pardon the fish face – just gotta show off those cheekbones…!

although i got most of my supplies at sephora, some of them i had to hunt down at ulta.  i don’t want to take sides in this post, but the stores don’t carry all the same products, so you do what you gotta do.  and, to give credit where credit is due, here’s a list of all the products used in the making of this look.

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almay & ecotools


so, very long story short i wasn’t wearing makeup for a few months in an effort to tone things down and just let my skin breathe.  i’m not a heavy makeup wearer to start, but going cold turkey for several weeks did wonders for my face.  it probably helped that i was using gentle face washes and prescription topical treatments, and i’m happy to say that things are balanced these days.

once i decided that i was ready to go back to the makeup routine, i knew i wanted to introduce items one-by-one so that i wasn’t bombarding my skin.  i figured the best place to start would be with the powder and foundation, and that’s just what i did.  in the past i’ve just picked up whatever i knew and whatever was cheapest, and although i didn’t want to skimp on some good products, i also did not want to break the bank.  that meant i started things off with some calmer products by almay.

first up was the truly lasting color liquid makeup as a foundation.  the key here for me was to get good coverage without caking it on.  thankfully with smoother and clearer skin to start, i only now need a light layer of foundation to create a uniform tone.


next i started using (and have really been loving) the smart shade loose finishing powder.  a little dab of this stuff will do ya to finish off a smooth and natural look.


but to use that finishing powder, i needed just the right brush for the job.  it was time for a new set of brushes (i’ll admit i’d held onto my old ones for way too long), so while at ulta i stopped by the cosmetic accessory aisle.  now, i’m no makeup artist, so paying a ton for a single brush didn’t seem very sensible for me.  what i did find, though, was the most darling little pack of brushes in the ecotools five piece travel set.  besides coming in the most adorable little pouch, these brushes (as you would find out from other reviews) are ridiculously soft.  the big blush/powder brush picks up just the right amount of product before i sweep it on my skin.  i can tell that these few basic investments i’m making now will be the building blocks of good, appropriate makeup wear for years to come.


floof! poof! puff! fluff!

a little bit ago i shared with you all a beautiful necklace that one of my dear girlfriends made.  well, her creative, designer spirit is at work again with this precious keychain!

i think an audible “eek” squeaked out of me when she surprised me with it earlier this week.  i mean, how precious is this little thing?  it’s super girly and super extra and super fun and super fluffy and makes me smile.  and let’s be real:  every girl can use a few more danglies on her keychain.  we’re known for it!

p p

also, yes, you are seeing correctly that the carabiner says “omhs prom 2005.”  that is the carabiner i got for my junior prom back at oak mountain high school.  man, the memories are flooding back to me now, especially since my ten-year reunion is this fall.  how the time flies!

to spa or not to spa

i recently ran out of razor blades for my gillette venus razor, so while at the local disco kroger i moseyed along the personal care aisle to find some refills.  as i looked at the rows and rows of options, i exhaled and thought with exasperation “why are these so expensive?”  shaving is such a necessary evil sometimes, and i loathe the fact that i have to spend so much money on these little blades.  if any of you out there do anything like the dollar shave club, i’d love to know what you think, as my wallet would appreciate a change of pace.

anyway!  i don’t ever remember which “style” i currently use or have used in the past, so i almost always end up with a new flavor.  this time i unknowingly picked out the spa razor blade which ended up being a cruel deception dressed in pretty colors and girly attractions.

fyi - this one happened to be enhanced with olay moisturizers!

fyi – this one happened to be enhanced with olay moisturizers!

now, my first use with the spa razor blade was, actually, close to heavenly.  the gel bars on either side of the razors give you a silky smooth and close shave without having to use soap or shaving gel.  in fact, i’d go out on a limb and say that it was one of my best shaves ever.  there, i said it!  i even recall exclaiming, “i’m never going back to those other razors!  this is amazing!”

as they say, though, nothing lasts forever, and this spa razor blade is no exception.  the first few shaves were blissful and i stepped out of each shower as if i belonged in one of their ad campaigns.  the honeymoon with this blade is short-lived, though, as after just two shaves the gel bars begin to rapidly disintegrate.  at that time it’s everybody for themselves because using soap and shave gel seems redundant yet there aren’t enough suds to protect your legs from the harsh scrape of the blade.  talk about razor burn!

to give you a visual, here’s a picture of the blade right out of the packaging…

…and then here it is not enough shaves later.  not very impressive if you ask me.  you can still use it like this, but you better be sure to lather up with soap or shaving gel.

next time i have to get blades i’ll be sure to make sure i’m picking one that won’t last half as long as i expect it to.  if i’m paying a pretty penny for these things, then they need to work for me!  let me hear your “amen!”

that’s my boyfriend!

last week we had an unusually cool tuesday wash over atlanta, georgia, and i insisted we all take advantage of it.  phillip’s company was having their softball game at the active oval of piedmont park, and i convinced clark and kari to join me for a lovely evening in the city.  despite the fact that the opposing team never showed up, we still had a fabulous time together.  i thoroughly embarrassed phillip with my cheering and jeering as he was up to bat and out in right field.  his coworkers looked at me on the bench and laughed, hopefully out of humor more than anything else.  although it was a forfeited win that night, it was a win nonetheless, so there ya go!

lefties hit more home runs!

lefties hit more home runs!

afterwards the four of us took a stroll across the street and enjoyed a lovely dinner al fresco at the nook for some world famous totchos and beer.  as i took in the other patrons, i was overwhelmed with joy at the weather.  i cannot recall how many times i said, “how gorgeous is it out here?  this weather is unbelievable!”  i am a naturally joyous person, but when fall comes around, it’s a whole other level of happiness that i cannot contain.  i couldn’t help but thinking of u2’s famous song “beautiful day” and how grateful i am for the changing seasons and the Lord’s grace for us on His earth.  it’s an amazing thing, isn’t it?

a winning combination

okay, folks.  i know it’s been a ridiculous two weeks since my last post, but i’ve been giving myself the evenings off lately.  it’s nice to come home and not plug myself right back into my computer after sitting in front of it for eight hours straight.  so yes, i have been a bit selfish, but i assure you that i shall always return.  🙂

although fashion and beauty may not be the focus of my blog, i know that they’ve been the topics of conversation a little bit lately.  today’s post is no different, as i just have to tell you all about the new face care regimen i’ve got going.

several weeks back, sarah was in town for nrw at thai bua in town brookhaven, and after scarfing down platefuls of delicious sushi and pad thai, she joined me across the street at publix to pick up a few groceries.  i was in desperate need of facewash, so we headed to the skincare aisle.  i asked her if she had any recommendations, as i always tend to just go with something cheaper and store-brand.  she immediately replied “yes” and helped me find the acnedote face & body scrub by alba botanica.  she uses it on her face and body in the shower, so after making my purchase, i did the same.

i was startled when i plopped that first dollop out on my hand – this stuff is grainy and brown!  it threw me for a second, but then i rubbed it in my hands, washed my face, rinsed off, and patted dry.  after a month’s worth of time, i can give it the same rave review sarah has.  there’s no harsh chemical smell in this product even though it has the maximum strength 2% salicylic acid for a deep clean.  the ground walnut shell isn’t scratchy and doesn’t feel like you’re scraping off that first layer of sensitive facial skin.  it’s light and gentle enough that you can use it daily, just like me!  i liked it so much on my face that i started using it with my loofa while showering also.  i’m not sure how much of the effect is placebo, but i have received compliments on smoother skin.  how about that!

part of the credit for this healthier glow must also go to the alaffia fair trade african coconut oil my previous stylist karen suggested for me.  as she was trimming my bangs one day at the salon, i mentioned that i wanted to start using a moisturizer but didn’t really know where to start.  anything oily or thick was out of the question.  i didn’t need anything scented, just something that would get the job done.  without hesitation she recommended coconut oil.  “coconut oil?” i asked with a bit of curiosity.  i think i was confused because when i hear oil, i picture something a bit more liquidy, not necessarily something i’d use as a lotion, per say.  she assured me it would work wonders, so i took her advice and ran with it.  you can find this particular alaffia brand of coconut oil at whole foods, which is where i got mine.  for about nine bucks, you get a huge tub of the stuff, and i promise it is going to last you a while.  the texture is almost crisco-y, but i hesitate to say that because the thought of applying crisco directly to my face makes me want to be ill.  anyway, it’s kind of got that texture.  all you need to do is kind of scrape some out of there, place it in the palm of one hand, and then use the fingers from your other hand to kind of rub it around and melt it.  it’ll become more liquidy and you can then apply it to your face.  a little goes a long way here, so start out with a smaller portion; there is plenty in that jar if you need more.  this coconut oil isn’t heavy, but it does take a little bit to soak into the skin.  i usually only use it at night, but if i want to use it in the morning, i make sure i put it on about an hour before i apply any makeup, just to be safe.

wash and lotion

do i have a completely clear face these days?  not necessarily.  after all, i am a woman in her mid-20s, so there’s all sorts of hormones flying around.  however, i am seeing a more even skin tone overall, and i certainly can testify that my skin feels softer.  if you’re looking to give a new product a try, might a suggest either of these?

oh, and because you’re such a sweet and loyal reader, here are some flowers.  they were a gift from phillip, but i don’t think he’ll mind if i share them with you all.


the colors of the wind

okay, it’s no secret that i have a small love for nail polish.  i mean, my whole medicine cabinet is full of nearly every shade you can imagine.  i just cannot help myself when i walk down the cosmetics aisle.  a new color is such an exciting thing and can cheer you right up!  all my ladies out there can certainly relate.  all these shades just remind of “colors of the wind” in pocahontas, which means i just cannot leave this post written without this video to bring back all your childhood disney memories.  you’re welcome.

anyway!  the other night after dinner at bua thai in town brookhaven (which, by the way, might be some of the best thai and sushi i have found in town – it was top notch!), sarah and i took a stroll through publix so i could pick up ingredients for rocky road pie.  i also needed some new facewash, so down the beauty aisle we went and, oh, wouldn’t you know it!  a new nail polish jumped right out at me!  it was the revlon colorstay gel envy line, and the eggplant-plum color called “hold ’em” caught my eye instantly.  it’s a great semi-neutral, just different enough from a brown or nude to get someone’s attention but not so bright or pastel to be a little too much.  the color is rich and saturated and hasn’t chipped in the couple of days that i have had it on my nails.  it will definitely be a keeper, and i suspect i might be coming back for more.


something else i want to highlight for you all are the lovely bracelets i’m sporting in this picture.  first off, i have my classic alex and ani monogram bracelet that my sweet cousin hannah got for me last summer.  along with it are a couple styles from the stella & dot spring collection.  the horseshoe wishing bracelet is just so dainty and unique that i couldn’t resist.  also there is the amelie sparkle bracelet, which isn’t particularly my style, but i liked the idea of the clear stones with the gold accent; lets me mix and match it with some other pieces.  gotta spice things up every once in a while!