3 Spring Makeup Must-Haves

18 Mar

I want to apologize in advance for how long it has been since I have posted. It has been crazy trying to keep up with my business website and blog and sadly it is just hard to find time to do this one that I started for fun. But no excuses, I’m back and hoping to post at least once a week minimum.

Since I basically missed the entire Winter season of blogging, I am just going to jump right into Spring 🙂 A new season is right around the corner and it’s time to say bye bye Winter, hello Spring! The changing of seasons means bright colors, fun floral styles and fresh faces! Time to ditch the berry lipstick and blush and revamp your makeup bag. After scowering the shelves, I have found my top three must-have makeup additions for Spring, trust me ladies you won’t want to be caught without one of these.

1. Naked Flushed

Urban Decay scores again! This silky bronzer, blush and highlighter combo is the perfect compact for the on-the-go girl. For a fresh face during the day add a light dusting of bronzer and blush. Then hit the town for happy hour and glam it up with a little highlighter on your cheek bones and an extra swipe of blush. The blush is the perfect pink shade for any skin tone. Between this and the Naked 2 Eyeshadow Palette what else does a girl need? Well maybe a few more things, see below. 😉

e.l.f. Studio Matte Lip Color, Natural

2. e.l.f. matte lipstick

Matte lipstick is all the rage right now and who doesn’t love a great bargain on a top trend? This amazing little tube by e.l.f. cosmetics is only $3, yes ladies you heard me right! The “Natural” color is the perfect pinky-nude tone. Enriched with vitamin A, C & E, this lipstick has a silky texture that doesn’t leave you feeling dry like other matte lipsticks I have tried. This is an everyday staple in my Spring makeup bag!

3. Colored Eyeliner

Color outside the lines! Blacks, browns, charcoals, blah blah blah. This season play with a little color and not just with your eyeshadow, but with your eyeliner! Brighten up a neutral face palette with a punch of color. Color coordinate with your colored skinny jeans or go for something totally unexpected. The bright pop is sure to make your eyes stand out and give you a bright, fresh “look at me” look for Spring. My favorite colored pencil right now is Urban Decay’s 24/7 Glide Eyeliner, there are so many colors to choose from and it’s vibrant hue lasts all day. You can even smudge it to create a shadow. Ladies it’s time to get your color on!

Ban your winter blues with everyday neutrals and hot hues. These three makeup must haves are sure to get you in the Spring spirit – I know I am!

If any one has any other Spring staples I would love to hear them.

Happy early Spring loves!

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Holiday Shopping Tips: Avoid Credit Mistakes

12 Nov

One of my all time favorite holiday movies is Jingle all the Way, a film based on a father tracking down that most desired, ultimate christmas toy of the season for his son. If you haven’t seen it I highly recommend, especially with less than 2 weeks until Black Friday, one of the most anticipated shopping days of the year! Some people have even been planning their attack since last year. Ever wonder why it’s called Black Friday? This shoppers’ holiday that got it’s name because that’s the day retail stores supposedly begin to become profitable or move into being “in the black” for the year. There is no hard proof this is actually what happens, but the crowds of people and diehard camp-out overnighters definitely support the cause.

For the five weeks following Black Friday, we will spend either shopping or returning at retailers both in store and online. And while it’s kind of a holiday buzz kill to bring it up, there are some pretty significant mistakes you can make while shopping, if you’re not careful.

Don’t Fall For Retail Credit Card Offers

Many popular retail stores offer a credit card that can only be used at one chain of stores that has a credit limit of around $1,000.
This card has an interest rate of 24.99%.

The interest rates on general credit cards like Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express would be that high if you A) had poor credit when you initially applied, or B) missed payments and ended up at or near the credit card’s default rate.

Of course, when you’re at the register and the clerk offers you a 10%-20% discount, you’re not really thinking about account terms and credit limits. You’re also not thinking about how those retail credit card inquiries on your credit reports are the most damaging type or how even modest purchases on a retail store card can leave it leveraged to the point where it can damage your credit scores. Be smart and don’t get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the way to save a quick buck this holiday season.

Chose Credit Over Debit and Cash

This is a very counter-intuitive piece of advice because it’s common knowledge that using cash and debit cards will help control your spending, whereas credit card spending can easily spin out of control, especially during holiday shopping euphoria.

The suggestion of using credit over debit, or cash for those who are responsible spenders is even more encouraged during holiday season.

When you use a debit card for purchases, it’s your money that is taken directly from your checking account. That means any purchases that get disputed will drag against the balance of your checking account, including those that may be fraudulent (fraudsters work overtime during the holiday season).

The Fair Credit Billing Act, as well as the rather generous consumer protection policies of gold standard issuers, like American Express, protect purchases made using a credit card. You can’t say the same thing for the purchases you made using cold, hard cash.

If You Do Chose Credit Over Debt, Choose The Tallest Card

When you use a credit card for holiday shopping, choose the credit card with the largest credit limit.

Using the card with the highest limit helps to protect your credit scores, which could be important for those of you who are not going to be able to pay off your balances in January and have plans on buying a home or refinancing an existing mortgage.

The issue at play when choosing the right card is the balance to limit ratio. The percentage of your credit card credit limits that are currently being used in the form of a balance is a driving factor of your credit scores. The value of that percentage is misrepresented all over the web. Some people say it’s worth 30% of your score (incorrect). Some people say you should keep the percentage no higher than 20% (nope). According to FICO, the folks who invented credit scoring, the people who have the highest scores have an average utilization percentage of 7%. It’s easier to be close to 7% when your credit card has a $20,000 limit rather than a $1,000 limit.

That’s why you have to choose the card with the highest limit.
Trying to find that perfect gift while holiday shopping is already stressful enough. Do yourself a favor and be smart in the way you buy that perfect gift! After all the hustle and bustle is over and the smell of pine needles leave the air, the last thing you want is a stack of bills and even worse, a bad credit score that will linger long after the holiday season.

The Skinny of this holiday shopping tip:

1. Don’t fall for retail cards that have a high amount of interest with little benefit. They can destroy your credit if you are not careful.

2. Chooses credit over debit or cash in case of the large amount of purchases that increase chances of fraud and possible disputed charges.

3. Choose the credit card with the highest limit so that your balance to limit ratio does not ruin your credit score.
Adopted from MintLife Blog – Top 3 Credit Mistakes to Avoid While Holiday Shopping

Get Kissable Lips, Baby!

7 Nov

As much as I love pumpkin spice coffee, cozy nights and the smell of an apple spice candle, one thing that I just hate about this time of year is chapped lips. Your lips go from totally kissable to totally miserable, and it can happen overnight! How are you supposed to pull off those dark burgundy lips or bright red holiday lips if they are dry and cracking? Gross! Well, fret no more I have found the BEST product to prevent chapped lips before they even start.

Hello Baby, Baby Lips that is! Baby Lips by Maybelline has a super soft texture, tastes delicious and has been “clinically proven to make lips 82% visibly less dry, 94% less rough, 77% more supple, and 77% better looking after just four weeks of use!” I noticed a change in just a week. Oh and did I mention its only $2.99 and it comes in six amazing colors and flavors? I am currently obsessed with Peach Kiss!

Get out there and get it ladies, you don’t want chapped lips to be the reason you turn down that kiss under the mistletoe this holiday season 🙂

What other lip products do you use? What’s your favorite Baby Lips color?

The SkinnKnee on My Life & Fun with Pumpkin

26 Oct

Let me start off by saying, it has been wayyyyyy to long since I have posted and I must admit that a little thing called life got in the way…. in a good way! Over the last month I have been working like crazy to start my own company. So you can see why this blog took a back burner for a little bit. I decided to combine my love for weddings and events and branding businesses with my passion for design, to start a custom design studio specializing in wedding, event and business branding and custom stationary. The Bee’s Knees Custom Design is born, it just needs to mature a little, so I apologize in advance if my next post takes even longer. I am so excited about this new venture and it has been a trying, but exhilarating journey so far. The website should be up soon, fingers crossed, and I have a Facebook and twitter already so feel free to connect with me 🙂

Bees knees custom design

I will be sure to keep you updated on my newest venture and will have a detailed post in the future, but for now I know you all are anxious to know about how to have a little more fun with Pumpkin! Well it finally feels like Fall here in Texas and being a northern-native I could not be happier! I thought I would embrace the pumpkin season with a few tricks on how to use Pumpkin Spice Flavored Creamer, as I have found it is not just for coffee! When I first found this little gem at the grocery store I was so excited, but my husband and I can never finish a whole bottle of creamer (considering I prefer my coffee black) so I decided to get creative and come up with a few fun uses for it and so far they have all been delicious!

Fun with Pumpkin Spice Flavored Creamer

1. Oatmeal

Add it in with the water or milk you put in your dry oatmeal and microwave as usual. The creamer adds a delicious, little hint of Pumpkin Spice to your breakfast!

2. Ice Cream

Mix it into ice cream to give the ordinary vanilla bean a pumpkiny, fall, homemade flavor! Or add some milk and make a milkshake!

3. Yogurt

Mix a little (not too much or it will become watery) in with your vanilla yogurt to give it a pumpkin spice flavor! Not recommended with Greek yogurts.

4. Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Substitute a few tablespoons of milk for this Pumpkin Spice creamer and take your mashed sweet potatoes to a whole new level!

5. Baking

Substitute it for a few tablespoons of milk or oil to add a Pumpkin Spice flavor to muffins, cakes, cookies, you name it and you can give it the flavor of pumpkin!

A recent recipe featured on Dr. Oz was to take a box of Betty Crocker or any yellow, while cake mix and substitute all of the oil, milk etc. for 1 container of Chobani plain or vanilla greek yogurt. Add a few tablespoons of this pumpkin spice creamer to the mix and you have an instant pumpkin dessert!

6. Pumpkin Spice Glaze

We all know (or your will now) how to make a sugar glaze: heat water to a boil and stir in confectioners sugar until you get a glaze-like texture, well why not add a little pumpkin creamer during the stirring…and you have an instant pumpkin glaze!

I just keep finding more uses for this creamer and it doesn’t stop at pumpkin, if you have a favorite creamer flavor feel free to do all of the above with it! Its a great way to get a lot of great recipes out of one product. Have any other ideas on how to use it? I would love to hear them!

Happy Pumpkin Cooking!

The SkinnKnee on Diet Soda

28 Sep

Diet Coke is was one of my favorite non-alcoholic beverages. I always knew it wasn’t the best for me (even though it does call itself “diet”), but I loved having it with lunch or a mid-day pick me up at work. I knew I had to kick my diet soda habit and I finally did after reading an article my husband forwarded me on Yahoo Health. You might just be surprised how bad it really is for you.

diet soda addict

1. Diet soda might be bad for your kidneys. “In an 11-year-long Harvard Medical School study of more than 3,000 women, researchers found that diet cola is associated with a two-fold increased risk for kidney decline. Kidney function started declining when women drank more than two sodas a day.”

2. “According to a 2008 University of Minnesota study of almost 10,000 adults, even just one diet soda a day is linked to a 34% higher risk of metabolic syndrome, the group of symptoms including belly fat and high cholesterol that puts you at risk for heart disease.”

3. Diet soda doesn’t help you lose weight after all. “A University of Texas Health Science Center study found that the more diet sodas a person drank, the greater their risk of becoming overweight. Downing just two or more cans a day increased waistlines by 500%. Why? Artificial sweeteners can disrupt the body’s natural ability to regulate calorie intake based on the sweetness of foods, suggested an animal study from Purdue University. That means people who consume diet foods might be more likely to overeat, because your body is being tricked into thinking it’s eating sugar, and you crave more.”

4. Cocktails made with diet soda get you drunker, faster,according to a study out of the Royal Adelaide Hospital in Australia. That’s because sugar-free mixers allow liquor to enter your bloodstream much quicker than those with sugar, leaving you with a bigger buzz.” – I can’t totally say I gave it up for this reason 🙂

5. Diet sodas contain preservatives that regular sodas don’t. The preservatives sodium benzoate or potassium benzoate are in nearly all diet sodas. These preservatives have the ability to cause severe damage to DNA in the mitochondria to the point that they totally inactivate it. They also can cause hives, asthma, and other allergic conditions as well as mild irritation to the skin, eyes, and mucous membranes.

6. “With a pH of 3.2, diet soda is very acidic. (As a point of reference, the pH of battery acid is 1. Water is 7.) The acid is what readily dissolves enamel, and just because a soda is diet doesn’t make it acid-light. Adults who drink three or more sodas a day have worse dental health.”

7. “Diet or not, soft drink cans are coated with the endocrine disruptor bisphenol. A (BPA), which has been linked to everything from heart disease to obesity to reproductive problems. That’s a lot of risktaking for one can of soda.

Now that you have the SkinnKnee on Diet Soda try mixing it up with a few of my favorite new beverages!

fruit waters

– Water or Sparkling water infused with: fresh lemon, lime squeezed, fresh cut cucumber (Spa water :)), grapefruit slices, chunked pineapple, raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, mint and much more!

– Water infused with frozen fresh fruit (Dole Mixed Frozen Fruit is perfect for this!) I like to add mint too!

– Unsweetened Iced Tea or Green Tea

Happy sipping loves!

Naked 2: The Only Eyeshadow You Will Ever Need

19 Sep

If you’re like me, you used to be obsessed with MAC eyeshadow, I think at one point I owned 30 of them! That is A LOT of colors to keep track of, to be honest I probably still have half of them (barely used blues, greens and funky colors) in my makeup bag. With each eyeshadow ringing it at $14 a pop, I don’t even want to think about how much money I have spent on those little pots of color. That is why I was so excited when I found the Urban Decay Naked 2 eyeshadow palette, I haven’t touched another eyeshadow since! The second palette of it’s kind, Naked 2 has more skin-toned neutrals than its older sister Naked.

naked 2 palette

It is the perfect grouping of highlighting, crease, sparkly and smokey eyeshadow.  The self described “taupe + greige neutrals” are the only 12 eyeshadow colors you will ever need. That is not the best part, you get all of them in a chic case with dual sided brush (crease and lid side) for only $50! This palette is my go-to eyeshadow kit for day wear, when I will just brush on a neutral all over my lids, or for a night out, when I create a dramatic smokey eye.

naked eyeshadow

Trust me you will want to go Naked (2) ladies!  This eyeshadow palette is the only one you will ever need!

Debit or Credit? That is the Question.

13 Sep

Now I don’t mean to get all “BusinessKnee” on you, but there are just little things in life, like money, that are worth being educated about. We all have heard that infamous question the cashier asks when you pull out that shiny plastic card from your wallet – debit or credit? Hmm…I think to myself “I dunno I have enough in my checking account, I’ll just use my debit card, this way I don’t forget about the credit card bill later on.” I am not sure how your process of deliberation works or if you even have one, but since reading the latest blog from Mint, I used to go through a mental breakdown similar to the one above. Mint is a FREE, yes FREE financial planning website that my husband and I swear by and this post was inspired by one of their latest blog posts “When to Choose Credit Over Debit.”

using debit vs. credit

The 5 Situations to use Credit Over Debit:

1. Online Purchasing

If you are an addictive online shopper, like myself, this is the perfect time to use your credit card. It is much harder to get a refund using a debit card than it is with a credit card.

“Your chances of successfully getting a refund for online scams — one of the biggest complaints the Better Business Bureau (BBB) gets every year — are far greater with credit than debit. In fact, claims over purchases of $50 or more must be resolved within 60 days, as mandated by Federal law.”

2. Restoring Credit

If you have bad credit and are trying to build it back up or are fresh out of college and have no credit at all, you might want to consider using a credit card whenever possible. Debit card transactions are usually not reported to the major credit reporting agencies, and therefore will not build your credit.

It is best you pay the balance off at the end of every billing cycle, I like to set up automatic payments and put them in my Google Calendar so I get an alert a few days before that reminds me until the dreaded bill day.

***By the way, you are going to need credit to finance/ purchase those life milestones like an engagement ring, car, house…the list goes on, so if you don’t have a credit card yet I would suggest looking into one, preferably one you can tie right to your bank account so its your first one and will be easier for you to make payments.***

3. Recurring Payments

I LOVE having my bills automatically paid through recurring payments because it makes it super easy to pay my bills ON TIME. However, a lot of people don’t like them because they feel they may forget that money due for a bill is coming out of their account. That’s why you ALWAYS use a credit card for recurring payments. If you make an accounting error, the payment will still go through on a debit and you’ll have overdraft charges on top of the bill.

4. Travel-Related Purchases

If you love to Travel like I do, a credit card is your best friend. “Many travel-related purchases, like rental cars and hotel rooms, require a credit card when checking in. You also might be required to make some kind of a deposit when you make a travel reservation. If you use debit instead of credit to make a deposit, the money is IMMEDIATELY debited from your bank account, putting you out several hundred dollars in cold, hard cash.” It’s a big financial hit to take at once if you haven’t saved up.

There are perks! “Many credit card companies offer premium points for customers making travel-related purchases or include extra services, like extended insurance on car rentals.”

5. Big-Ticket Items

My husband and I live for this! With me being 1,500 miles from my family, we try to rack up those miles as much as possible. It is great to know your credit card’s reward system inside and out to make the most of your big-ticket spending

“Make sure you always save up cash for any big-ticket items before you throw down your credit card. Mint.com’s “goals” tool helps create a savings plan that allows you to reach your goal easily over time.

As long as you have the cash on-hand, paying for pricey items on a credit card and then paying the balance off immediately is a great way to take advantage of your credit card’s reward system.”

“BusinessKnee” Breakdown

  • Credit cards usually offer more in protection and rewards.
  • Budget, budget, budget so you can avoid interest on a credit card and pay off an item in that billing cycle.
  • Take advantage from some amazing resources like Mint and Google Calendar, which both have apps, to help you with your monthly budgeting and bill pay!

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