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the not-so-fitness post | healing my body image

I have shared a little bit about starting up Kayla Itsiness’ workout program.  I have gotten a lot of questions and I thought this would be the best place to share a bit about my experience.

I have been reluctant to put anything out there, because I am NOT a fitness queen.. but then I think that the “non fitness” type people are exactly the people I’d like to hear from with what they do to stay fit and healthy, so I’m going to share my story so far, instead of when I’m “on top” of it.  So take note that I myself am in the very beginning stages.

Before I post about my workouts, getting in shape, and the ever sought-after “how did I lose the baby weight?!” questions, I feel strong importance to tell you the whole story, and my story with body image begins before my fitness journey does.

I grew up having a lot of body-shaming talk around me, which probably had a lot to do with my poor body image all throughout my childhood and teen years.  I HATED my body, I was in a constant need to escape it.  I treated myself poorly, allowed others to treat me poorly, and I didn’t take care of my health what-so-ever.  As a teenager, I lived with my bachelor of a dad, so my idea of a “home cooked” meal was a can of Nally’s chili, or a frozen dinner warmed in the microwave… the only idea of “eating healthy” I knew of was crash-dieting, which I tried often, which looked more like harsh starvation of my body, and frustration when I didn’t look like Nicole Richie after my painful efforts.

Then, after years of sinking so deep into a darkness of not understanding my worth, and some devastating personal challenges, something miraculous happened when I got pregnant with my first baby.  I carried that baby to full-term, and without ever having done so before, successfully pushed her out of my body.  I did it! I gave birth to the most perfect baby girl.  Something happened to me as I sat in my living room rocking chair, that first time my milk came in – the milk that would sustain this angel baby girl of mine that my body just fully prepared for earthly life – I had a crashing wave of gratitude come over me for the healthy body I had, that I had treated so poorly, but had given me my life’s greatest joy anyway.  This is when I started viewing my body more as my friend rather than an inconvenient part of myself.

As Harlo grew, I wanted only what was best for her growing body.  I researched her nutrition diligently – how to make the healthiest possible baby food to feed her perfect little body.  One day as I was cooking for her, contentment filled my heart over nourishing her so well.  A whisper of a thought came to my mind, “Your body is just as perfect as hers, shouldn’t you be treating yours the same way?”  And that thought changed me.

I taught myself to cook.  I cut out preservatives and ate only real, from-scratch, fresh food.  I practiced gratitude for my body, and not only stopped talking negatively about my body (I strongly don’t want my children growing up in that environment), but I also stopped thinking negatively about my body.  When a negative thought came in, I would quickly catch it, and respond with a positive truth.  Rather than “I wish my thighs were skinnier.” I would replace it with, “I am so glad I have strong, capable legs that can chase after my little girls!”  At first I corrected myself a lot, and then after some time I didn’t have to correct my thinking as much, and even more time, not hardly ever.  A positive body image truly is something that can be learned, or perhaps it’s a bad body image that can be healed.  I am living proof.

After I had delivered Harlo and began my pregnancy with Stella, I knew my body could do this work.  I opted to deliver her naturally at home, because I knew my body was capable – and it was.  When my labor with Grae stalled, I knew my body could do this.  I trusted it fully, and again, it delivered.  The end of my pregnancy with Major, when my body had been stretched more than ever before, when I was at the end of labor pushing out the toughest baby I’d ever had to push out – I knew my body could do this.  Even during my miscarriage, when the doctors recommended a D&C and I opted out because I KNEW my body could do this.

As the years have gone on through my adult life, I have seen my body’s capabilities.  I have given birth on my bedroom floor THREE times, I have labored and stretched and been stronger than I would have ever imagined I could be.  I have withstood five sickening first trimesters, carried four babies to full term, my small frame feeling like it was busting at the seems, but still it pushed on cooking those babies well past “full term”.  As I suffered a miscarriage, I waited patiently while my body worked hard to hold onto the pregnancy it had created, even though the life inside of it hadn’t made it.  After that painful loss, I gifted my body with diligent yoga to help heal my mind, spirit, and my ever-capable body.  It was during that therapeutic yoga practice that I learned that my body was much more “athletic” than I had ever given it credit for, and how good I felt when I took care of it.

So you could say my body and I have been through a lot together, and it stands as the only thing that has stuck with me through every single life experience I’ve ever had.  This body of mine isn’t like my best friend, it is my best friend, and it’s a friend I care deeply for.  So after my body and I delivered this last baby, skin sagging, extra weight, muscles literally stretched to separation, 2 ribs permanently misplaced, and one tailbone that will never be the same from it’s time on the battlefield, it was an easy decision to take good care of the body that has taken such good care of me and my family.

And this is where my fitness story begins.

Suit : Target
Blanket : Wander Series
Photo : Sugar Rush Photo

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makeup monday

I am back in the swing of things at home after our busy, bustling March… It only took me 10 days into April to recover. ;)

Today I am excited to share a sweet makeover.  Did you know I have done makeup on the side for about 13 years?? It’s true.  I started up a little side business in High School doing  hair and makeup for prom.. then as I grew up that meant sometimes for brides and photos.. It’s always been a fun, creative past time of mine.  I think often makeup gets a bad rap for women thinking they “need” it to look better, but I disagree.  I think makeup is a fun way to express yourself, enhance what is naturally yours, and feel good as we head out into the day.  Today’s makeover is a perfect example of enhancing natural beauty.

Meet Scotty…

Scotty is one of the sweetest girls I know, and I have been lucky enough to do her makeup on a few occasions.  She has the most gorgeously shaped piercing blue eyes, and such a natural sweetness in her smile.  Scotty is graduating in a couple of weeks and so we got her ready for senior pictures. I did her entire face with Maskcara Cosmetics.

Colors used:
Highlight – White peach + a touch of moonlit under her eyes
Contour – Stone
Blush – Desert Sunset on cheeks and lips
Illuminator – Honey

Eyes:
Oak to line her eyes, and also shade her brows.
Bright Eyes to contour the creases.
Sabrina on her eyelids and just under her brows.

Application:
30 second HAC brush
i shadow everything brush for liner, brows and eyes
B squared blush brush
Every single thing fit right into my mini double decker!  Man, I love this makeup.

I do love doing makeup, but I also want to really teach people how to do their makeup.  I’m working on putting a package together that would do just that, as well as working on tutorials here on the blog.  If you want to see certain looks or have ideas for videos here, please share!

As always, I’m here to help! If you want to get started with Maskcara, email me for a color match and I’ll get you all set up!
Already know what you need? Shop HERE.

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Beauty Routine

I always want to know what skin care products people are using – cheap, expensive, hidden gems, moisturizers, cleansers, etc. Since today is the day for lovers and you are all wanting to look your best, I am sharing my “before makeup” beauty routine with you today and some products I have found and love.

 

FACE WASH – First and foremost, I try to wash my face every single night.  This is a tough habit to make stick and an impossibly easy habit to let slip –  but when I find myself getting out of routine, or using makeup remover wipes one too many times in a week, I tighten things back up.  If you are terrible at washing your makeup off at night, let me tell you – commit to doing it every day for ONE week.  After that, I promise you won’t be able to sleep with makeup on.  I sleep sooooo much better when my face is clean and I love waking up to a fresh face without having to rush my beauty routine.

My tried and true face wash is a gem I discovered 10 years ago while working for a dermatologist.  Nothing had ever worked better for my skin.  I lost track of it after I worked there and recently found it again last year.  I am happy to say it works just as well as it did those years ago!  It gently exfoliates leaving my face feeling so clean and soft, and it’s benzoyl peroxide fights my acne.  Every single acne medicine dries and irritates my face, but this wash has been a miracle worker.

SUNLESS TANNER – Because my face is always covered in sunscreen, and I exfoliate nightly, the skin on my face is always whiter than the rest of my body.  One serious beauty hack I’ve found is using a sunless tanner on my face.  When I get out of the shower, while i’m still in a towel, I step back into my shower and do a quick spray over my face, starting at the top spraying in horizontal motions from side to side, I do my forehead, nose and cheeks area, and chin and jawline.  I dry it a bit with a blow dryer (especially if I’m in a hurry to get ready *cough* always), and voila! New woman.  It looks totally natural and just adds a little color to bring some life back into my face so my makeup doesn’t have to work so hard.  Days I skip this step, I always feel sickly.

MOISTURIZER – I have to say I was a little undecided when I first tried maskcara beauty’s MILK, it was unlike any moisturizer I had ever used before – and to me it smelled like breast milk, which hit a little close to home for this nursing mama.  But I’m so glad I kept using it for a few days in a row because I can honestly say it has been life changing for my skin.  LIFE CHANGING.  I have battled dry skin on my face for years, and now my skin feels and looks like my baby’s hydrated cheeks.  My makeup goes on like a dream, and I swear it has reduced the appearance of my wrinkles.  I literally feel like I have a new face and now I understand what all the fuss is about.  I feel like at 27 my skin took a bit of a turn and was starting to age, but I feel like MILK totally bumped me back to my  youthful 23 year old glow.  I have found my favorite time to apply it is after I wash my face at night, so it has the night time hours to really settle in and I’m not battling grease when I put my makeup on in the morning.

CC Cream (and sunscreen!) – Before I put on my iiiD foundation, I apply my It Cosmetics CC cream for the sunscreen benefits.  This step isn’t necessary for the iiiD foundation because it is a med – full coverage foundation, but I am a big believer in sunscreen (it has SPF 50 in it) and instead of just using a moisturizer with sunscreen, I love the benefits of the CC cream.  It goes on really light and smooth, adds a little extra coverage if I need (hello hormonal acne) and I feel like it’s the perfect mate for my iiiD foundation.  Pretty much, I just can’t quit it.  I use one pump of product as a base for my foundation.

After that, I am ready for my makeup! When I take care of my skin, my beauty routine is so much quicker and looks so much better!

(this blog post contains affiliate links)

Remember if you are waiting to try Maskcara iiiD foundation but need to know your colors, email me a picture heygirl(at)cassmiller(dot)com and I’ll get you matched! xo

Comments { 2 }

makeup monday

I’ll be working on some makeovers and beauty tips for this makeup segment.  I’m hoping to collect a few beautiful faces to feature here, so if you want a little makeover, email me – heygirl(at)cassmiller(dot)com!  Today I’ll kick it off with a little before and after of me using maskcara iiiD foundation.  The left is a freshly clean face, the right is after my daily 5 minute makeup.

If there’s something I love most about maskcara iiiD foundation, it’s how natural it looks.  I don’t look like an entirely different person after I’ve put it on, I’ve just enhanced my natural features and brightened myself up a bit.  I look like a well rested, freshly vacationed version of myself. ;)

HAC colors used: highlight – aura, contour – stone, blush – desert sunset (current favorite!), + pearl illuminator.
Eyes: oak in the crease, lined in trust.
(shop everything I used HERE)

Quick and easy.

A little more info on Maskcara Cosmetics:

I’ve gotten loooots of emails for color matching – we are working on making that simpler for you with a link on the blog to send your pic and get a quick response! Until then, keep the emails coming! I’m happy to help you find your colors and get you on your way.

I’ve also had emails asking about joining my team.. I hate to brag (ha!), but I literally have the best team already.  When you sign up with me, you get access to our private facebook page full of helpful info, as well as exclusive trainings held by me and a few other experts I’ve got up my sleeve, and plenty of personal webinars for my long-distance ladies!  I want to make sure you have the support you need to not only be successful, but enjoy it!  We have the best group of girls who are helping build each other up.  I knew this was going to be fun, but I really had no idea how much I’d enjoy it.  If you already use Maskcara makeup and recommend it to your friends, you’re already doing it, might as well join us! Sign ups are open again for a limited time! Join me HERE.

 

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life + style

Life : 

We have been beating the January blues with a quick road trip to freshen up our spirits, it was just what we needed.  We’ve got home projects starting again, hoping to actually finish this house of ours.  New floors will be going in, bathrooms remodeled, a couple other details and we will be good to go.  Finishing up the planning stages before we tackle it all. Woo!
I am more in love with having four kids than ever before.  Major has finally started sleeping, Grae is the funniest and cutest thing ever (balancing out her extreme spice), Stella has found her “thing” in gymnastics and twirls and flips around my house all day, Harlo has a real knack for piano filling my home with sweet little notes.. It seems we are in a real groove with life, and my heart feels like it’s doing the work it was made to do.  Other than the quickly passing time, I am in absolute heaven with this season I’m in.
Mr. Miller’s business just received the chamber of commerce “small business of the year” award, which feels like the biggest honor.  My husband is an honest, talented businessman and for him to get  publicly recognized for something so close to our hearts is so amazing.  Proud of him and the work he’s done these past 10 years.

Style:

Loungy, cozy style is how I’m getting through January.  I have actually really loved my decision to cut bangs – I feel like I’ve got a hairstyle going whether my hair is down and curled, or up in a messy bun.  Definitely been a welcome change.
Oversized sweaters are on a daily rotation.  Picked up some recently for 75% off at the gap outlet, and this cute one here is from Scout & Cloth.  I’ll be happy when warmer weather sets in, but I sure will be sad to have to tuck my big comfy sweaters away!
Black skinnies are Rockstars from Old Navy.. because seriously, $20 jeans.
Glasses I get asked about nonstop, firmoo!

Beauty:

Loving a super natural looking fresh face right now.  A quick highlight and contour (HAC) made simple with my maskcara pallet.  I’ve been keeping it simple on my eyes lining in oak eyeshadow with a little guilded on my upper lid.  I’m less than 5 minutes out the door.
If you’re needing help finding your right colors, shoot me an email to heygirl@cassmiller.com with a photo and I’ll color match you. ;)

 

 

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fashion friday | post-baby tips & tricks

If you have been a follower on this blog for a while, you know that I used to post a regular fashion friday in an effort for me to step out of my comfort zone and start building my own personal style.  I loved this project and continued it through my pregnancy which was not always fun or easy. :D I haven’t decided if I am going to continue it through the post partum phase or not, but due to popular demand, here I am today.

Last week I had such a fun opportunity to join in on a fun creative project with elizabeth faye, b couture photo, and blue linen boutique.  Elizabeth is one of my new favorite friends and bloggers and is probably thee most fabulous person I know.  I am excited to work on a few more projects with her over the next few months so stay tuned. :)

Blue linen was kind enough to let me shop my 3 month post partum bod into something I felt comfortable and cute in.  I have learned a little something about fashion and new babies recently so I am here to share what I know.

1. Nursing.  It took me a time or two of fully undressing to nurse my baby (hashtag : that awkward moment in the church mothers lounge) to realize that I needed to keep that in mind while dressing myself each morning.  No more one-piece attires, and something to easily access “the girls”.  I am not really one for having my boobs out everywhere I go, but I am also not one for suffocating my babe under a nursing cover either (hello 110 degree summer!), so I have found a perfect little combo… tank under an drapey open-front shirt.  You’re welcome.  Keeps the side-boob out of view without blocking her breathing.  Win-win. 2. Time – I have learned (yet again) that there is no rushing a new baby.  She does not know or care that you have a 10:00 appointment, she’s hungry, then she needs to explode her diaper up to her neck with poop and after all that work, she’s hungry again.  Good luck washing your hair on a schedule and leaving the house looking presentable – Did you hear me? I said good luck. I have shared this trick a time or two before, but it is working for me just as well now as it ever has – red lips are the ultimate trickery when it comes to mom fashion.  Nothing says “presentable” and “fashion forward” like a good red lip.  And thank you to my darling girl Elizabeth, she has introduced me to the wonderful world of these lip crayons.  Top it off with a little nyx butter gloss and call yourself a babe. 3. Comfort – let’s talk for a minute about those gray skinny jeans I’m wearing.  I hate to say “skinny jeans” because they feel like freaking yoga pants.  Blue linen carries these babies (hudsons) and I’m not kidding I could have curled up and taken a nap right then and there.  As I am still shedding off some extra “juice” from pregnancy, the last thing I need is too-tight jeans to remind me every time I sit down or bend over that I have a muffin top.  Buy yourself a pair of extra comfortable pants that FIT YOUR BODY RIGHT NOW.  Cut out the size label if you must, but you will feel and look like a million bucks.  (and when you hear “I can’t believe your back in your jeans already!” keep it to yourself that you just purchased them a size or two up. ;) ) I had so much fun being Elizabeth’s hair model.  I wore that braided flower crown for the rest of the day and felt so fancy!  Check out Elizabeth’s blog today to find out how to do it for yourself (spoiler alert: way easy)!

So what do we think? More fashion friday/beauty tips? Or are y’all sick of my clothes by now?  Let’s discuss this in the comments.

xoxo, C

Comments { 6 }

make-up must-haves


I have been refreshing my usual go-to’s and thought I’d share my current faves.  Being that I’m pregnant with very hormonal skin and very low energy levels, these 5 items have saved my fabulosity over the last few months.  Here’s a little break-down…

Basis face wash – cheap and amazing! Over the last year I have been on a search for clearer skin.  I have used cetaphil, proactiv, dove bar soap and now finally found Basis.  Basis has changed it all for me.  It a very gentle cleanser that doesn’t leave me super dry after 2 days (proactiv) but it makes my skin feel super clean and not filmy (like dove) and it washes off my make-up (unlike cetaphil).  I started using it maybe 5 weeks ago and my skin has cleared up and looks and feels amazing.  If you’re in the market for a fresh new wash, I totally recommend.  And it’s impossibly cheap and available at walmart! Score.

It! Cosmetics CC cream – I have heard wonderful things about this product and finally decided to try.  I have loved the Garnier BB cream for months, but started feeling like it was causing some break-outs for me.  I switched over to this FULL COVERAGE cc cream and my life has been made.  There are so many reasons why I like it.. full coverage without feeling heavy, very spreadable, great tone, and has only aided in my journey to clear skin.  At $38 a bottle (a bit cheaper on qvc) it’s not the cheapest of my products, but if you have temperamental skin, you know that a good foundation is worth the price if it doesn’t bother you.  What I’m saving on my face wash, I can splurge on my foundation. ;) You can get this at Ulta or online at QVC. (I use medium color.)

Maybelline Dream Bouncy Blush – I’ve talked about this blush before, but it’s still my favorite.  I use the fresh pink color, but really want it in every color.  It makes my skin look so fresh and dewy.  When people say “Oh, you have that pregnancy glow” I’m always thinking in the back of my head, “It’s either sweat… or my blush.” ;)

Flower lip crayons – Oh wow.  These are seriously so awesome.  My sister Ali introduced me to these wonderful little tools and I have quickly become obsessed.  They’re so versatile! You can lightly line it for just a quick stain look, or layer it on for a full coverage bold lip.  And it stays put for days!  I also have an issue with lipstick drying my lips out, but these don’t at all.  Seriously worth the trip to Walmart.

Stila In The Light pallet – There is no way to freshen up your make-up rut quite like a fresh new eye shadow pallet.  I had gotten into such a boring place with my eye make-up and this was the perfect way to revive my look.  Brady and the girls got this for me for my birthday and the thought of him our two girls at Ulta trying to pick me something out just makes me swoon.  I’m sure they were the heart throb of every woman in the place.  But back on subject, if you haven’t ever used a nice eye shadow, you don’t know what you’re missing.  These colors are so rich and just glide on like butter.  I am in love with the colors and endless possibilities.  If you’re in the market for a new pallet, this is a faaabulous one.

So here are my fave spring refreshers if you’re looking to do a little freshening up in the ol’ caboodle.  ;)

xoxo

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let’s talk skin

I get messages asking what skin care products I use and I’ve been working on getting a post up about it.  My skin care products change slightly from summer to winter, so I’m posting my must-have summer essentials.

I have a little background in skin care since my working career started in a dermatologist office.  For 3 years I worked as a surgical assistant in skin cancer surgeries.  In my time assisting this doctor, I was able to see a whole slew of skin disorders.  It was an awesome job and made a lasting impression to say the least.  Mix this with my passion for beauty products and my own skin issues and I’m pretty much skin-obsessed.  I don’t take quite as good of care of my skin as I should (washing EVERY single night!) but I do try.  Here are my skin products I can’t live without and most are relatively cheap and simple. 

 

1. Clarisonic Mia 2 – Y’all.. this is a game changer.  Totally worth the money.  NOTHING cleared up my skin after my babies until I found this.  I use every day (depending on your skin sensitivity you may want to use less) with a gentle cleanser like cetaphil.  I can’t feel clean unless I’ve clarisonic’d for the day.  At just over $100, you’re one step closer to seriously flawless skin!

2. Baby Oil Gel – This is my current obsession.  My skin tends to be pretty dry in all seasons so moisturizing is KEY!  I have a rash on my leg that flares up from time to time.  For years I used all sorts of prescription creams on it until I found out it would go away completely as long as I was ultra moisturized.  It’s amazing what moisturizing your skin can do!  You have to use it IN THE SHOWER though, not after.  You can sub this with vasaline as well (again in the shower!).  You’ll never know softer skin until you try!  If your skin irritates easily, I’d go with the vasaline instead.

3. Melaleuca – My skin is almost never blemish free.  Melaleuca is  my saving grace!  On irritated skin or rashes, along with any blemish (even those pesky under-grounders!) Melaleuca is my go-t0.

4. Fakebake Flawless – You already know I love this, but I think everyone looks better with a touch of color on them.  This is made with mostly all organic ingredients and won’t harbor in the pores like most tanners do on me.  It’s not essential for skin care, but it sure helps me feel my best!

5. Jergens Ultra-Healing lotion – I stumbled upon this just by chance at walmart and I am amazed at how much I love it. I had never really loved a lotion before this one.  It’s creamy – not watery, and not too thick.  I use it on my skin and my girls. It’s ultra moisture without the grease.  And for under $4 bucks.  My kind of skin care!

6. Coconut oil –  I use coconut oil on everything humanly possible, but it’s a dead ringer for my nighttime face cream.  It’s not as greasy as you think and leaves your skin hydrated and glowing like nothing else.  I like it at night to sleep in, I find if I use it in the morning along with my bb cream, it’s just a little too much.  I also use it for my deep conditioner in my hair.

7. Garnier BB Cream – I love this because it’s moisturizer + sunscreen + coverage.  I can’t go a day without this.  I love not having to add 3 steps to my regime in the morning and just use the 1.  I wear it by itself as coverage enough most days, but even when I want fuller coverage, it helps me stretch my more expensive make-up powders to last so much longer because I need way less.  Best $10 I’ve ever spent.

8. Vasaline – Oh sweet vasaline!  I have a tub in each shower, and a mini tub in my make-up bag and purse at all times.  My lips get really dry from lipstick and glosses, so I apply vasaline to my lips every morning and every night (it wont dry them out more like chapstick!) and before applying lipstick to protect them.  For dry, callused feet.. vasaline in the shower works miracles.  For super dry skin for both mama and babes, slather up in vasaline on clean skin while still in the tub/shower and pat dry.  It wont leave you greasy like you think it will.  For any skin conditions, dermatitis, dry skin, shaving rashes… vasaline in the shower will help if not heal.  I also used it solely on diaper rashes – both in the tub then again on dry skin before diapering.  If using it for moisturizing, it must be paired with water to penetrate the skin.  If you use it dry, it will only coat the top layer of the skin which is good for protection.  And with only 1 ingredient, it’s virtually impossible to develop an allergic reaction to. (Super bonus for sensitive skin!)

So there you have it! All my favorite skin products to keep your skin healthy, moisturized and as flawless as possible!  Pair it with some good make-up and you’ll have people asking daily what skin care you use.  Promise! :)

xo, C

Comments { 6 }

fashion friday | revamp your closet

I am a firm believer that 2 times a year, you should completely hack out your closet.

Last year, I had never really given my closet a good clean-out.. I still had clothes in there from high school!  T-shirts I hated but kept anyway, clothes for “what if’s” I was keeping, clothes I didn’t really like at all and didn’t like the way they fit, but it was something to wear so, meh…

This needed to stop.  I had a closet completely packed with clothes I didn’t like at all.  That’s a pretty big deal, because fashion is literally art that you wear to express yourself.  It’s usually the first impression people have of you, and it can directly change the way you feel.  How bad do you hate running into an old friend, co-worker, ex-boyfriend(!!) and you’re wearing sweat pants that are 12 years old with a not-flattering-at-all grey t-shirt.  On the flip side, how different do you feel when you run into someone when you’ve gotten ready for the day and are wearing a cute new outfit you feel super spunky in?  Such a huge difference.  And it’s not really about the other people and what they think, it’s about the way you feel.  

I found myself always feeling super frumpy, and especially when  my cute single sister came to town and we went out with her friends and I felt like the frumpy mom of the group with all these sassy ladies with their cute outfits that made me think they went shopping for something new EVERY day.  We don’t have an extravagant amount of money by any means, and when I do go out shopping, it’s for my girls who are rapidly growing out of things.  When I did buy something for myself, it was always from the super-sale rack and it wasn’t necessarily anything that I loved but just whatever was cheap.  I was in a rut.  And I think it’s a super easy rut to get into, especially for a mom. Am I right?

That’s where the closet over-haul comes in.  The idea is to be left with only the clothes that you LOVE that can layer together in different ways, making more room in your closet, less laundry to be done and so you feel 100% no matter if you’re heading to the gym or out for date night.

Step 1 – Make a pinterest fashion board.  You probably already have one going, and if you don’t, find someone’s style you love and follow their pinterest fashion boards.  Once you’ve got a good board going, you can print it.  Simply right click at the top of the pin board and click the “print” option.  I like doing it this way and keeping it in my closet instead of always pulling it up on my phone.  It’s easier to look at as a whole and I use it for reference for a lot of things.  If you don’t really have a style, or are trying to develop your own.. this is essential!  Your pinterest fashion board IS your style.  Whatever you like is your style.  So we’re trying to now incorporate your pinterest fashion board and your very real closet.  Once you have your board made and printed, head to the closet!

Step 2 – Purge.  After reviewing your fashion board, find some commonalities between your pins.  My board is full of stripes and prints, splashes of color, and lots of layering.  When I look at my board all together, it has a boho-chic feel so I know that’s what I’m going for in my real-life style.  Instead of weeding out all the clothes I don’t like, I instead pick 15 things I love.  I love wearing it, it fits well and it fits in with my style.  I just think after laundry day, what outfits I grab for first.  Once I have 15 things (about two weeks of clothes) I pretty much get rid of everything else.  I might snag a few layering pieces out of the toss pile, but for the most part, I try not to even look at what’s going.  If you’re a person who has a hard time getting rid of things, don’t even look!  Just toss.  For real.  If it didn’t make it in the first 15 cut, it’s not worth keeping in your closet.  If you really like it, but it just doesn’t fit quite right, TOSS.  If you wore it once and really liked it but you haven’t worn it again, TOSS.  If you haven’t worn it in the last 3 months, TOSS!  If it’s been sitting in your closet for the last year with tags on it waiting for the perfect occasion, TOSS.  Be relentless about the purge.  Even purge your sweats, pajamas and work-out wear.  Keep a few cute ones and donate the rest.  And don’t forget shoes!  We want clothes left that we can’t wait to wear, not clothes that we sorta kinda like, so maybe we’ll just keep it around.  Be strong! (And remember how nice it is to donate!)

Step 3 – Plan.  Once you have the 15 pieces left, see how they can layer together.  For example, I have a black and white striped dolman shirt that I will wear with jeans, gold jewelry and a funky sandal.  I also wear it layered under a blazer.  I also wear it tucked into a pencil skirt or maxi.  I can also wear it with my coral bermuda shorts and cream espadrilles.  That’s one piece I can wear 6 different ways and for a variety of seasons.  My teal skinnies I can wear with a leather sandal and white T, I can wear with a black blouse and a funky hat, I’ll wear paired with a black blazer and a heel to dress it up, I’ll wear with a colorful blouse and a flat.  Even though they’re a statement color, I can still wear them all different ways.  I don’t really like having anything in my closet I can only wear that one certain way.  The exception is a good maxi dress, but even those I like to buy in solids so I can style them differently.  When I do a closet styling for someone, we will pair their outfits together and snap pictures so you can remember how you paired them.  When I have 15 pieces I can style at last 5 different ways, it really stretches my closet and helps me utilize everything I have, keeps the laundry pile manageable and allows for way more room in my closet (that’s not very big since my house was built in ’59!).  If you have a sister or friend who has a style similar to what you’re going for, enlist their help!  I have also done closet stylings and will be happy to help you with yours, contact me for more info.

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Step 4 – Build. This is the funnest part about the closet re-vamp, but it must be done precisely.  Building on what you have.  Once I have 15 things I love, I pull out the ol’ pin board again to see what I have pinned a lot, but that I don’t have in my closet.  For instance, if I have 10 outfits that have been pinned with black skinnies and I don’t have black skinnies, I know that’s a staple I should probably invest in to build my closet.  If I have a lot of printed/floral shirts pinned, but I only have solids in my closet, I know that’s an area I should work on for the build.  This is an area I REALLY had to train myself on.  Not shopping ONLY the sale rack for as many things I can get for the least amount of money, but sometimes splurging on one thing that I really needed that could be an asset in my closet.  This is still something I have to work on.  I’ve found that it’s actually more fun to buy one thing I’m super stoked about than 4 things I feel “meh..” about.  Not that I never buy on the sale rack, that’s where I check first and for those funky pieces I’d like (florals, layering t’s, trendy skinnies) I always like to buy cheap.  But for pieces like a great blazer or pair of boots or the perfect jean.. those are items I’m okay splurging on because I know they’ll last me longer than a season and the quality will matter.  This is a very slow process though.  I don’t go out and buy these things all at once.  I keep a list of things I’d like to build my closet with and very slowly and intentionally, I will cross things off the list.  Keep in mind that we are trying not to add a bunch of stuff to the closet, but to only add in pieces that will stretch our 15 pieces even further, or will help us develop our style.  I’m certainly NOT suggesting you spend hundreds on a new wardrobe, I’m simply suggesting you should be intentional about the items you do buy that are going to take up precious space in that closet and reflect who you are.
**tip** accessories are a really good and inexpensive way to build your closet.  A couple scarves and some funky jewelry can really go a long way.

Refer to your pinterest board or print-out often.  When I don’t know what to wear for the day, I’ll always check my list to find some inspiration.  Maybe a new way to pair something, something I haven’t dared try, or a way I can dabble into the hub’s side of the closet. ;)

When I have a closet full of things I like, I feel so much better about everything.  I enjoy getting ready in the morning, I feel better about my body (especially when everything I own fits me well!) I feel more motivated in my day.  It’s a bit of a process, but it’s a fun process!  And one you should be doing for yourself.  Seriously.  A year later, I don’t feel like the frumpy mom-of-two anymore.  I feel like me – who happens to have two darling girls attached to my sides at all times.  And that feels good.

I do this at the beginning of fall and the beginning of Spring/Summer.  It takes a few hours and makes a world of difference!

I’ll answer any questions in the comments.  Until next time, happy purging! :)

xo, C

Comments { 11 }

make-up must haves

I’ve been getting questions about my make-up regiment lately so I thought it would be good to do a post of my favorites right now.

In the summer, I like my make-up as natural as possible.  I love to have some fun with make-up and do a smokey eye or something glam every once in a while, but for my day-to-day mom look, I like to keep things simple.  I think there’s a common misconception about “natural” make-up and “no” make-up.  Even though I like having a natural look, I still like to feel my best and that takes a smidge of product. ;)

1. Garnier BB cream – I am obsessed with this magic potion of BB cream.  I love not having to wear a heavy cover-up but still have a good amount of coverage.  Plus it’s SPF 20 which makes it a great summer addition to the ol’ caboodle. (and yes, I actually do have a caboodle) On my more made-up days I still use it under my bare mineral powder and I can use SO much less powder for the coverage, so it really stretches the more expensive stuff as well.  Add to that that it doesn’t irritate or break-out my temperamental skin and we’re in total paradise.

2. Pink Blush – If you haven’t ever tried a pink blush, let me be the first to tell you, you’re missing out.  There is something so fun and natural and youthful about a really pink blush.  It just brightens up a face a way the more bronzed or mauve-y colors can’t.  This one pictured is a mineral blush I picked up from Sally’s and I like it, but my other favorite is the maybelline bouncy blush.  Really, any pink will do.  I like to dab it into the apples of my cheeks with my rounded blush brush for a super natural look.

3. Maybeline Unstoppable Eyeliner in Espresso – This.  This is the Lord of the eyeliners.  It is tear proof, heat proof and even sleep proof.  It is the best “tear line”  liner I’ve ever used.  I love to run some over my tear line on bottom and just at the base of my lash line on top.  Then, I smudge a line of my brow shadow (#6 below) over the liner.  This will give you that perfectly natural “I just woke up super beautiful” look. ;)

4. Lip Butter – I don’t think anything polishes off a natural look like a good lip stain or lip butter.  I love the Revlon lip butter line because they’re super moisturizing with a lot of color.  My current fave is the sugar frosting. I also love the maybelline color whisper line, especially in the berry ready which I can just lightly dab on for a natural lip stain, or layer on for a super bold lip.  And my all-time favorite lip color right now is maybelline disco pink which is such a cute pink that’s super sparkly.  My lips tend to get really dried out with normal lipstick, but I’ve found if I prime my lips with vasaline I don’t have that problem.  I put vasaline on my lips every night before bed and every morning before my make-up to keep them super soft and creamy looking.

5. Bahama Mama Bronzer – This bronzer is seriously where it’s at.  For a long time I just used whatever bronzer I could find in Target, but once I splurged (only $15) on the bahama mama, I knew there was no going back.  My favorite part of the natural look is a good highlighting and contouring and there is no other bronzer I have found that can chisel those cheekbones like the bahama mama.  For a great video on how to HAC, see this.  Game changer status, people.

6. Brow Shadow – This should actually be #1 because I think it is THE most important part of any look, but specifically, the natural look.  Filling in brows is a step that the majority of people skip over.  If you are one of these people, let me hold your hand and lead you into the wonderful world of brow shaping.  A good brow will shape your face, open your eyes and give you a perfectly natural look like nothing else.  Unless you’re Brooke Shields, you probably need to fill in your brows somewhere.  My brows are naturally really dark and pretty thick, but they’re not super long.  I always fill my brows in the middle, bringing them to line up with the outsides of my nose and then extend the outer parts to line up with the outside of my eye and I also lighting fill in the middle to exaggerate that gorgeous arch.  Since Maskcara has a video for everything, check out her video on getting the perfect brow HERE.  Try this today if you haven’t before.  I promise you wont regret it.  My filled in brows make me look at least 50% prettier.  The secret’s out, people.  I use this ashy brown color in covergirl and an angled brush (pictured) target has a great up&up brand angled brush in the make-up section for like $2.  You are just $5 away from a perfect brow, ladies.

So there you have it!  These products all together will cost you approximately $60 and may or may not change your life for the better.  This simple regime takes me about 5 minutes or less and is the perfect summer make-up, if I do say so myself.

I’ll answer any questions in the comments!

Have a gorgeous Monday!

xo, C

Comments { 11 }

lashes for days

My post last week kicked up a lot of questions so I thought I’d share some info on other options. I have become somewhat of a pro on lashes. There’s few things I love more than a set of gorgeous lashes on my face – or anyone’s face for that matter. When I posted last week about lash extensions I had several people say they weren’t available in their area, out of their budget, too permanent or any number of other issues.. however most of us can agree we wouldn’t complain about having thick, black lashes that reached our eyebrows. So today I’m telling you all the different ways I know to have long lashes – and all the pros and cons to go with it (from experience!)

1. Lash Conditioner –
Pros: This stuff is seriously a miracle potion. It REALLY works. I have used Li Lash with great success. My sisters use this exclusively and it has done wonders for their lashes. Lash conditioner is a great option for people that fake lashes are just too over the top for. At around $70 a bottle for Li Lash (and I think similar for Latisse and other brands) which will last you a good chunk of the year, this is one great way to have long, NATURAL lashes.
Cons: Your lashes are natural, so you’ll still have to curl and mascara to be able to really let those lashes stand out, so you’re not saving a lot on time. You also have to remember to use it pretty much every single night and for me (a person who would forget my own head if it wasn’t attached), that’s a bit of a challenge. But, if you like things natural and you’re super on the ball – this is the stuff for you.

2. Falsies
Pros: If you haven’t gotten yourself familiar with false lash strips, I’m just going to go ahead and break it to you that you’ve been missing out. Lash strips are the funnest way to really snaz up a look. If I’m going out with the girls, out on a hot date, want to take my look up a notch, lash strips are my automatic go-to. When applied right and with duo glue, these will not ruin your lashes. And believe me, because I used to have to wear these suckers every day for work. (and no, I wasn’t a stripper… I worked at a very themed and fashionable restaurant) ;) Fake lashes are like the ultimate dress-up tool for grown ups. I wash mine with a bit of shampoo to keep them lasting for many uses. When picking out the perfect fake lashes, I follow this little rule of thumb – the faker in the case, the better on your face. You’ll thank me for that one later. ;)
Cons: These are not the most comfortable lashes. A few hours with these babies attached to your lids will make you want to claw your eyes out pretty much. You’ll get used to it, but for the most part they’re best in small doses. They’re also kind of tricky to put on and get them to stay. Definitely watch this tutorial if you’re a lover of the falsies like I am. These lashes are not permanent, so when you’re not wearing them, you may feel like my hairless dog. All in all, they’re great for jazzing up a look every once in a while.

3. Semi-Permanent Falsies
Pros: When you fall in love enough with your strip lashes, you may be interested in taking it up a notch. These babies are like the holy grail of falsies. At about $4 a case which will last you at least a month, they’re super budget friendly. These lashes are quite possibly my favorite of them all. They’re semi-permanent and they’ll stay on pretty much forever. You’ll need to touch them up every few days adding a new lash here or there, but other than that, they’re pretty low maintenance. They look very natural – not as bold as extensions or falsies, but more noticeable than just using lash conditioner. With just a slight coat of mascara on the tips, you’ve got yourself a full-on glam status. For the most natural look, I attach these at the base of my lashes on the under side – opposite from extensions or strip falsies. I also wear the Flare Long Black. I seriously LOVE these lashes.
Cons: The cons of these is really something to consider. These lashes are not for the faint of heart. They are fairly permanent and WILL damage your natural lashes. There’s not a great way to remove these bad boys. With a few weeks of lash conditioner, you can bring your natural lashes back, but it’s not the ideal process. These lashes are great for someone with naturally very thin or short lashes (who wont notice as much in the re-growth process), someone who is absolutely committed to falsies (my mother has worn these for 30+ years!), someone who is dying for lash extensions but they are seriously out of the budget (I’ve been there, sister!).

4. Lash Extensions
Pros: I talked about my love of these last week. Lash extensions are what dreams are made of, in my opinion. When they’re done right, they wont damage your lashes, they require very little care other than your 3-6 week appointments for fills, mascara is not necessary so you look fabulous 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I especially love these lashes in the summer time when I like to wear little to no make-up, but still feel put together. Lash extensions are the ultimate cheat for beauty. I take really good care of my lashes and help them last super long. I get a fill about every 4-6 weeks, but some people need them a lot more than that.
Cons: Probably the one and only con about extensions is that they can be pricey. Full sets ranging from $75-$135 (depending on your area) and fills between $35-$65 every few weeks, these lashes take up a little room in your monthly budget. You can also count on your appointment lasting at least an hour, which for me is kind of a pro because I get almost zero “me time”, but I do have to find a sitter and take time from my busy day to get these done. All things to consider before you take the plunge. When I had a nursing baby, it was much harder for me to take an hour off every few weeks. Here is also some great info on lash extensions and care tips.

So that is pretty much everything I know about lashes. Hopefully that will help in finding the perfect solution for you. I will also add that more frequently than not, I rock my natural lashes. Sometimes I like to take a break from it all and just work what my mama gave me. All of these remedies are just for fun (and possibly to save some time) but if fake lashes are just not your thing, I say – more power to ya, girl!

xoxo – Cass

Comments { 2 }

fashion friday | curing the frumps

As the winter melts away and Spring starts shining through, I find myself having a major case of “the frumps”.

The frumps are when you all the sudden hate your clothes, you feel frumpy and non-stylish in anything, your hair is a drab, your make-up is no longer cute.  I don’t know about you, but I catch a case of the frumps at least twice a year.  Since I’m so familiar with the frumps now, I can usually find a way out of it pretty quickly.  The first step is always calling my girl Jenny at WINK.

I don’t think anything will cure your case of the frumps faster and more effective than a fresh set of gorgeous lashes.  I don’t usually keep my lashes on all year round (I take breathers), but summer is one time I LOVE to have them.

On days it’s too hot to wear make-up – don’t worry, you’ve got lashes.

On days you’re going swimming but have to run some errands directly after – don’t worry, you’ve got lashes.

On days when you’re on vacation and the last thing you want to do is spend an hour in the hotel room putting on your face – don’t worry, you’ve got lashes.

In times where a friend takes a pic of you and tags you on instagram – don’t worry, you’ve got lashes! ;)

I tell you, they’re a cure-all!

As soon as Jenny finished with me, I already felt the frumps disappearing.

 (not the best pic of me after laying down with my eyes closed for an hour and a half, but I didn’t want to cheat and take a better “after” ;) )

Wink has only master estheticians who specialize in lash extentions.. which translates to: they won’t destroy your lashes!  This is SO important! Believe me, I have learned the hard way that not all extentionists are created equal.  Having someone who knows what they’re doing can mean the difference between keeping and sacrificing your natural lashes.  If you have a great lash extentionist, you should see little to no damage on your natural lashes.  Even though we like the fakes from time to time, we still need to protect our natural beauties! For more information on lash extentions, see HERE.

WINK is a magical little place than can cure even the worst cases of the frumps.  You can get yourself a gorgeous set of lashes, wax up those brows to frame those gorgeous new peepers, and get yourself the best spray tan this town can offer.  All you locals, I suggest you check it out!  Plus, it’s gorgeous inside and so worth a peek!

They are also offering $20 spray tans now through May 15th!  Check them out on facebook to keep up with their latest specials.

Next week I’ll be talking about part two of curing the frumps.. cleaning out and revamping that closet!

Smooches!

xo, C

Comments { 6 }

fashion friday – DIY headwrap turban

Ask and ye shall receive, my friends!

Last weekend I posted on instagram about making my own head wraps.  I am LOVING head wraps these days.  Such a fun way to funk-up an outfit and make it original.  Make that head wrap yourself and it’s SUPER original.  Today I’m showing you the basic turban style head wrap.
*side note – for this style, to fit an adult woman’s head, I found that a women’s size large t-shirt fits the best.  For the littles, a womens size small is a good fit.

I have been having so much fun trying out different styles and different prints.  These can be warn with hair up or down, out on the town, or at yoga.  Try different sizes, prints and twist it different ways to see what you like best.  The possibilities are endless!

Happy Fashion Friday! Remember to tag me @cassmiller #cassmillerfashionfriday on instagram if you try it!

xo, C

 

Comments { 13 }

bronzed beauty – game changer

So I am a fan of being tan.

I mean, who isn’t?  I just feel so much better when I”ve got a little color in my skin.  Especially if I”m feeling insecure about my body, sometimes a good tan is all I need to lift my spirits and my confidence.  I mean, let’s take a little tip from the perfectly bronzed beauty herself, Kim Kardashian.  Love her or hate her, the girl’s got the tan down like no one else.

With nightmares of melanoma from my days as a dermatologist surgical assistant, I can’t bring myself to step foot in a tanning bed and let’s be honest.. the last time I layed out in the real sunshine was oh about.. 9 months before Harlo was born.  My idea of catching rays now is chasing my kids around the beach or working in the yard as they splash around in their kiddie pool.  Not exactly the thorough tan I am envisioning.  But I believe that moms should not give up their dreams, even the smallest of them to look like an island princess year round if we wish.  Finding a good “fake” tanner can be a painful and not-so-pretty process, but I threw myself into the fire to find the perfect one and I’m ready to share my expertise.

Spray Tanning – I’ve tried 4 different spray tans and while I have enjoyed the bronzing effects and the no-streak look, It can get pretty expensive to keep up on.  Not to mention, it’s a little smelly.  I’m all about the low maintenance-high maintenance. ie: do it yourself beauty.  It’s the same reason I do my own mani/pedis and color my own hair.  If I can’t spend $15 for a polish change, you better believe I’m not spending upwards of $30 on a spray tan I’m going to need again next week.

Tan-in-a-can – I never dared try a self tanning out of a bottle until about 2 years ago.  Maskcara recommended sun laboratories, and when Maskcara recommends something, we should all run to our nearest amazon and purchase it.  Am I right?  So I have been an avid user of sun laboratories since.

Until… someone asked me if I had ever tried Fake Bake.  I had tried the Fake Bake lotion and I did really like it as far as color and no-streak goes, but I felt that my sun laboratories lasted longer.  But I had started falling out of love with my beloved sun labs due to sometimes splotches on my wrists, ankles and forearms even after I had properly lotioned the areas just as Maskcara told me to.  So, a couple weeks ago I got a wild hair and got on to look at Fake Bake again.  To my surprise, they have a bunch of awesome products and one in particular, Fake Bake Flawless, caught my attention.  One thing I don’t love about the sun labs brand is that it’s a lotion and you work up a pretty good sweat bronzing yourself from head to toe.  I liked that the Fake Bake Flawless was a spray and had a mit to apply. (Similar to what I’ve seen of the million dollar tan, but less than half the price.) I wanted to try it and for $13 it was worth a shot!

For me, it’s a total game changer.  I love the color of this tan – not orange in the least! It’s buildable so it’s perfect for someone who just wants a little glow and for someone who likes a deeper tan.  It’s EASY TO APPLY which is amazing.  I am virtually streak free and have absolutely no build-up around my wrists or ankles.  Glides on like butter, I tell you!  I think even Maskcara herself would approve!

A bonus is that it comes with the gloves and directions of everything you’d need to know about getting a great tan. It was very similar to what Maskcara posts about, so you can check out her tips for flawless self tans here.

What I really love about this product though that outshines any other, is their dedication to keeping it as natural and paraben free as possible.  The shelf life on this tan will be about 10 months because it’s made with all natural ingredients.  If you keep it in the fridge, it will last longer and keep the color better too.  I love knowing what I’m slathering all over my body is not poisoning me.

Keep that tan lasting extra long with a little of this jergens natural glow through the summer and consider yourself a true bronzed beauty – the healthy way!

You’ll thank me later. ;)

xo, C

(This is not a paid post, but if you know the owner of Fake Bake, send them my way! ;) )
Comments { 15 }