Review: Milani Color Brilliance Eye Pencil 04 Purple

Color is taking the beauty world by storm these days. I stopped into the local CVS drugstore last night to pick up the newspaper and couldn’t help myself. I left with about $35 worth of new cosmetics. I think my favorite find of the night was the cheapest beauty item I picked up – Milani Color Brilliance Eye Pencil in 04 Purple.

I normally just buy the $2 or $3 eyeliner pencils in black or brown, or occasionally one of those double-ended ones that has purple or green on one side and black on the other. Often those two-for pencils only show up in black.


This lovely and sleek purple pencil is as stylish in design as it is when it glides across your eyelids. To the eye, the makeup color is a concord grapey hue that actually transfers quite accurately from the pencil to your face. The makeup portion of the product is softer than many eye liners I’ve used, which allows it to glide smoothly onto your eyes, leaving a visible, beautiful streak of color. The Milani Color Brilliance Eye Pencil itself is smooth and pretty, fading from purple to pink, and the cap is a nifty transparent purple.

Milani Color Brilliance Eye Pencil in purple looks very nice even without other makeup. I added some shimmery pale pink and sparkly white eye shadows to complete the look, which created a nice, frosty blend of purplish pink. I finished the look with some brownish black waterproof mascara and voila, I had a new look with a splash of color rather than my oh-so-typical neutral and beige tones. I decided to wear a grey sweater and pants ensemble today, which looks quite sharp and sophisticated with the noticeably subtle purple tone on my eyes.

I enjoyed using this Milani eyeliner product so much that I am considering my next color choice whenever I find myself at CVS Pharmacy next. Yes, I know I could buy the products online, too, but after how much I just spent, I need to take a little time off!

Milani Color Brilliance Eye Pencils are sold separately, and each pencil is 1.54 g, net wt 0.054 oz. They also come in other colors like black, green, and aqua.

Milani hails from Los Angeles, CA, but the Milani Color Brilliance Eye Pencil was made in Italy. Milani products are sold at various drugstores, supermarkets, discount stores, and beauty supply stores in the United States and worldwide. More information is available at

Have a product you’d like to recommend? I’d love to hear from you.
E-mail me at [email protected]!

Wedding Day Hairstyles, Tips, and Trends

Bridal hair - half up half downSo many decisions rest around your wedding day – the dress, the shoes, the flowers, the cake, and of course, location, location, location. Let’s not forget your wedding hairstyle! Wedding hairstyles can be customized to your liking, or they can be copied identically from a photo within a magazine. With the going rate of photographers these days, you want to ensure that you look your absolute best on your big day, starting with your wedding hairstyle!

Trends in Wedding Hairstyles
So what is hot nowadays for wedding hairstyles? Many salon owners and hairstylists will offer the same bits of advice. Hairdos that pin hair half-up and half-down are the biggest styles for brides. Also, it seems that many brides choose to wear their hair half-up and half-down, while requesting that their bridesmaids get total up-dos.

Curls are a classic addition to every wedding hairstyle, whether you’ve got natural curls or simply added them with a curling iron or hot rollers. Hairstylists can often just look at you and know what style would look great, but they often want you to decide on a wedding hairstyle that suits you and your preferences.


Tips for Choosing the Perfect Wedding Hairstyle:

Task yourself with researching hairstyles online to see what strikes your fancy. View a few Web sites, especially wedding-centered sites, and print out your favorite styles.

Pick up a few bridal magazines and get an idea of what people are doing. Bridal hairstyles come in countless fashions and trends. Subscribe to a bridal magazine or pick one up every now and again to give yourself some ideas.

Go for a sample hairdo prior to the big day. First of all, getting a sample hairdo done will give you an idea of what to expect from your wedding day hairstyle. Secondly, meeting with your stylist prior to the date will give you both a chance to play around with your hair and the options available to you. You can try all different styles and see what you like best.

Take pictures at your sample hairstyle appointment. Even if you have an elephant’s memory, bring your camera along to the salon and ask your stylist to take some pictures of you with your hairstyle. Save these pictures so you can look back and decide if the style is absolutely positively what you want on your wedding day.

Try your hair several ways. Even if you think you know how you want to wear it, it can’t hurt to let your stylist play around a bit with your hair. Get a complete up-do, a completely down style, and a style that involves hair half-up and half-down.

Wear a shirt or outfit that is similar to the style of the dress. If your wedding gown is strapless, wear a tube top or a strapless dress to the salon so you can get an even better idea of what you will look like on your wedding day.

Don’t forget your headpiece! If you plan to wear a veil or a tiara on your wedding day, don’t forget to bring them along to your sample hairstyle appointment. Make sure you get pictures with this as well!

If you don’t like it, speak up! You shouldn’t worry about hurting your stylist’s feelings on or leading up to your wedding day. Politely tell her, or have your bridesmaids or mom tell her that you would like your hair to be done a bit differently. Usually you can nip this problem in the bud by going to a sample hairstyle appointment.

Make sure you enjoy your hairstyle because it will be visible in just about every photo of you. Best wishes to you on your wedding day! 

How to Add Romance to Your Bedroom Décor

Romance isn’t all about action these days. From subtle to outrageous, romance is creeping and barreling its way into home décor. In many homes, the master bedroom is the first place to fully absorb the decorative passion. If you’re pining for a sensuous chamber to call your own, you needn’t look far or go to great lengths. A romantic, sexy bedroom can be yours in a weekend’s time or less!

The first consideration you must make when contemplating a revamp of your bedroom’s ambiance is budget. Just how much are you willing to spend for passionate perfection? Also consider if you will be replacing the furniture, or merely adding accent pieces and romantic accessories to indulge your decorative desires. Do you already have items you would like to keep, or are you starting over from scratch? Come up with a game plan and a budget to help you get started on your quest for a newly decorated, romantic bedroom!

Consider these tips to help you choose the colors, furniture, bedding, window treatments, and accessories you’ll love as you revamp and create your perfect romantic bedroom.

Bring Color into the Bedroom
Once you’ve discovered your budget and the renovation scope, you can begin to plot and plan your lovely and romantic ideas for change. Truth be told, romance isn’t all about frills and lace. Women and men alike can enjoy a romantic hideaway that is theirs and theirs alone – without the worry of turning everything pink and lacy. On the contrary, bold reds and blues and purples – royal hues – create a wonderfully seductive palette for your bedroom.

More interested in the neutrals and earth tones? No problem – look into billowy white or pearl bedspreads and some celery-colored throw pillows to bring in some color. Then add long, flowing white curtains to your windows, or a set of sheer canopy linens to fit your poster bed. Or, consider some lovely taupe bedding piled high with chocolate-colored throw pillows. Any of these shades offer a delightful unisex combination that looks like you pulled your bedroom right out of a magazine.

Color adds so much to a room, and you have so many options for where to place the color. Don’t forget your floors (Carpet? Hardwood?), your walls (paint? textured paint? wallpaper?), and of course, your linens, furniture stain, and the curtains or draperies that you choose. You may wish to come up with a plan for choosing your colors – start with all the colors you like in mind, and then determine what you will do with the floors, walls, bedding, furniture, and windows.

TIP: Mix and match colors to create exciting combinations. Try light blue and brown or orange and hot pink or plum. Or make up your own wild shade!

Romancing the Bed – Satin, Velvet, Throw Pillows, and More…

How to Plan a Family Reunion for Relatives Living Everywhere

Planning an annual family reunion is a great way to keep all your siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, nieces, and nephews connected. A yearly gathering of all the extended family members is a wonderful way to keep everyone in the loop about upcoming or recent weddings and births, new pets, career news, and other life events. Family reunions offer a much more personal experience than a yearly Christmas card, so even if you aren’t in the habit of planning a family reunion each year, there’s no time like the present to get started!

Sometimes family members live so far apart from one another that getting together and having fun happens only once or twice a year. This is especially true with extended families – all the cousins and great aunts and uncles whom you see rarely unless you host or attend a family reunion. Not to mention, the older we get, it seems we get busier as well. This combination of distance and busy lifestyles makes it vital to start planning a family reunion at least several months before the date you wish to host it.

Family Reunion Location, Location, Location

Choosing a location for your family reunion can be a wonderful experience of narrowing down many unique and interesting locations to the one perfect fit for your group. Or, it can be a stressful event of trying to figure out how you can be fair to the relatives in New Jersey and also fair to family out in California, Louisiana, and Virginia all at the same time.

Sometimes when planning a family reunion, it becomes necessary to make decisions that could impact whether certain guests will be able to attend. Location of the event and the cost of getting there will often determine whether family members will be willing to travel for the event. In cases where family members live all over the country, just try to select a location that will please the largest number of people… or, send out an e-mail survey with the locations you are considering and try to get a verbal response of what people would prefer. Then go with majority rules.

An ideal location for your family reunion could just as easily be a park or a lakeside community, as a beach town or a mountain retreat. Consider all your possibilities for the location, as well as the ages and interests of your family members who would be most likely to attend. In the end, don’t beat yourself up about the small stuff. The most important thing is that you are making an effort to create this fun and enjoyable event.

Family Reunion Events and Activities….

A Photo Checklist for Your Wedding Day

If a picture speaks a thousand words, this article may be worth just as many to you as you plan for your wedding photographer’s level of involvement on your special day. The going rate for wedding photographers is a pretty penny, and you’ll be smart to get your money’s worth. Creating a wedding day photo checklist is the first step to ensuring you receive all the pictures your heart desires on your special day. A photo checklist is easy to create on your own if you play your wedding through in your mind, but you may wish to have a look at this photo checklist and either use it or customize it to meet your needs.

When it comes to telling your wedding photographer exactly what you want for your wedding day, don’t be shy. Those photographs will be yours to cherish for the rest of your life. They’ll lift you up when you’re down, and they’ll remind you of your perfect wedding day and all your loved ones who shared in it. They’ll be a treasured keepsake from the day when you and your sweetheart joined your lives together as one. A wedding photograph checklist helps to ensure you receive all these photos.

As you plan for your wedding day and the photographic opportunities that await, be sure you cover every base. It is better to be overly prepared rather than to look back and wish you had spent a few more moments getting organized. Here is a general breakdown of the highlights you’ll probably want to secure in your photographer’s itinerary. Don’t forget to customize the photo checklist by adding special photos you’d like to have in addition to these general shots.

Getting Ready for the Big Day

• Bride getting ready
• Her accessories – dress hanging by a window, her shoes on the bed, her garter, etc.
• Bride getting ready with mom
• Bride getting ready with bridesmaids
• Bride and maid of honor getting ready together
• Bride and bridesmaids posed
• Bride’s bouquet
• Groom getting ready
• Groom with father
• Groom with groomsmen getting ready
• Groom and groomsmen posed
• Additional photos (fill in your desired extra shots here)

At the Wedding Ceremony

• Groom and groomsmen before the ceremony
• Bride and bridesmaids before the ceremony
• Nervous/excited bride by herself before ceremony
• Flower girl / ring bearer before ceremony
• Church or wedding ceremony site inside prior to guest arrival
• Church or wedding ceremony site outside prior to guest arrival
• Guests arriving
• Guests awaiting the bride’s entrance
• Bride arriving at the ceremony location
• Entrance of the grandparents
• Entrance of the parents
• Bridesmaids entrance
• Flower girl and ring bearer entrance
• Close up of flower girls / ring bearer
• Groom and groomsmen in the front, waiting for bride
• Musicians
• Religious officials
• Bride walking down the aisle with father or escort
• Close-up of bride walking
• Groom watching bride and waiting for her
• Bride and father as she meets her groom
• Sweeping shot of altar or ceremony location
• Shot of bride and groom during vows
• Close-up of bride and groom during vows
• Close-up of bride and groom during exchange of rings
• The couple’s first kiss
• Bride and groom during recessional
• Bride and groom celebrating with guests
• Bride and groom leaving the ceremony site
• Bride and groom seated together in car or vehicle
• Additional photos (fill in your desired extra shots here)


Portraits (Bride and groom, family shots, bridal party shots)…

Perfect Parent Gifts for Your Wedding Day

With all the planning you’ve been doing, have you remembered to get something extra special for the people who gave you life and brought you into this world? It is a wonderful idea to give your parents a special thank you gift on the eve of your nuptials or sometime during your wedding day. Parent gifts are a tradition for many, and they’re customary in many circles. You can customize the perfect parent gift or choose a traditional parent gift that best suits your needs.

With so many things to plan and so many decisions to make constantly, it’s no wonder that some things can be easily overlooked or pushed aside for more pressing issues. Parent gifts may be one of those after-thoughts, but they don’t have to be! Whether you just can’t think of a good gift or if the thought hasn’t yet crossed your mind, here are some helpful parent gift ideas for all budgets.

Shopping on a Shoestring Budget
When cost-conscious doesn’t begin to describe your situation, fret not. Countless meaningful gifts are out there, and many of them are just not as costly as you would think. Consider these options or use them to brainstorm for your own ideas for wonderful and memorable parent gifts.

Here are a few options for parent gifts on the lower end of the wedding budget:

Memories… Make a scrapbook or photo album with pictures of you and your future spouse together, in addition to pictures of you with your parents and siblings. Make an album for each set of parents and rest assured that they will cherish your thoughtful compilation.

Special days… For around $20, you can custom-design a calendar to include a dozen of your favorite photos and special dates that are meaningful to you and your families. Create a custom photo calendar so you are on your parents’ minds all year long!


Managing a Mediocre Amount
When you’ve got a little bit of cash to spare but still need to keep an eye on the price tag, smart shopping comes in very handy. Consider your options and select a gift that suits your parents well.

A Crystal Clear Message… Envision a few lines of your own special text engraved next to a beautiful photo you select. This lovely keepsake is one they’ll treasure always.

Cheers to you… Select beautiful and classy stemware for your parents so they have a unique reminder of your wedding day that they can enjoy using again and again. If you wish, have their names engraved on the glasses, or simply, “Mom” and “Dad”.


Price Is Not an Issue
If you could get anything in the world for your parents, what would it be? A cruise? A new car? To keep things down-to-earth and still much tied into the emotion of your special day, here are a few options that could really make a big “thank you” statement.

Bed and Breakfast… Rather than spoil your parents with many gifts or an exotic trip, present them with a thoughtful escape from the norm. A night’s stay or weekend away at a nice bed and breakfast can bring relaxation into their hectic lives.

Wine Club… As a romantic idea for a thank you gift to your parents, give them a membership to a wine club. The monthly bottles of wine will give them something to look forward to as well as a nifty conversation piece.

To come up with the most appropriate thank you gift for your parents, consider all the factors in terms of price, when you need the item in hand, and what your parents specifically like and enjoy. Base your gift on their personal interests or on special memories you share.

No matter what, remember to thank your parents personally for all they’ve done to raise you and to help you prepare for the biggest day of your life.

Bridal Hairstyles and Hair Accessories for Brides and Bridesmaids

Your bridal hairstyle is a vital part of your entire wedding day ensemble. You’ve got the dress and you’ve decided on your makeup. The special jewelry items you choose accent your look, but it is your hairstyle that you will notice in every picture that contains your face. Bridal hairstyles run from casual to simple and elegant to exquisitely elaborate, or even on the border of the wild side.

Bridal hairstyles often boast spiraling curls and twisted up-dos, loosely pulled-back tresses, or even a style that is only partially pinned up. Some brides and bridesmaids even opt to wear their hair down. When it comes to choosing the right look for you and your right-hand ladies, consider whether you’d like to dress things up a little with some hair accessories or keep it toned down for a more sedate look.

Some Examples of Accessories for Bridal Hairstyles:
– Flowers
– Decorative combs
– Antique hairpins
– Heirloom hair ornaments
– Crystals
– Feathers or feathered hair ornaments
– Pretty barrettes
– Decorated bobby pins
And more!


Hair accessories lend themselves to your creativity. They give you a perfect chance to personalize your hairstyle in such a way that only you can imagine. They also help to mimic the hottest hairstyles bedecking the pages of magazines and the billions of Web pages online. To create your perfect bridal hairstyle and exceptional hairstyles for your bridesmaids, consider these tips:

Three Tips for Choosing Hair Accessories for Your Wedding Day
Usually, the bride chooses a hairstyle that will set her apart from her bridesmaids. Her style may be complete pulled atop her head, half-up and half-down, all the way down, completely curly, completely straight, wavy, and so forth. She may choose to don barrettes or hair accessories, or she may suggest that her bridesmaids do so. Perhaps she’ll decide against them altogether. Whatever the case, the selection of hairstyles for the bride and her attendants is a critical decision that will impact hundreds of photos taken at the wedding.

– If you are interested in flowers for your hair, speak with your florist. Many florists will have the latest tips and trends in flowers as adornments for the hair. Check out magazines to get other ideas, and clip out pictures of the styles you like best.

– Take pictures of your sample hairdo with and without the hair accessories or flowers. Get your mother’s and your bridesmaids’ opinions on the hairstyle and which they prefer – with accessories or without.

– Don’t go overboard. You really don’t want your barrettes or the flowers in your hair to take away from your headpiece or to compete with your tiara. Ask your stylist for her opinion if you aren’t sure whether you can get away with both.

While accessories can be lots of fun, many brides choose to wear their hair sans adornments. Many times a bride may opt for curls or waves over fancy barrettes, decorative combs, or flowers in her hair. Simple bobby pins and a generous amount of hairspray can give hair all the lift it needs to withstand the entire wedding day.

Wildflower Bouquets for Weddings

Wildflowers have taken the stage recently as wedding flowers of choice for many couples. A wildflower bouquet offers a simple yet unique and elegant feel while adding a relaxing and calming element to the wedding plans. Often, wildflowers can be a cheaper alternative to more traditional blooms. A step back from formal bouquets, a bunch of wildflowers brings vivid colors to the celebration, accenting the bride’s gown and the bridal party’s attire, not to mention centerpieces, altar flowers, and more. Just think of all the fun and creative arrangements you can create with wildflowers!

The more natural look of a wildflower bouquet gives the wedding a comfortable, somewhat low-key feel, while also providing vibrant colors and a unique mix of flowers. Popular types of wildflowers for bouquets, centerpieces, and arrangements may include poppies, cornflowers, Queen Anne’s lace, butterfly weed, tall ironweed, thimbleweed, Canada lily, Carolina spring beauty, New England Aster, everlasting pea, Indian blanket, tall bellflower, Turk’s cap lily, European Columbine and true forget-me-not, just to name a few.

Securing wildflowers for your wedding may not be as difficult as you would think. For a garden-style wildflower bouquet, grow a variety of wildflowers yourself, find a location where you can pick them together with someone special to you – mother, sister, even your groom, ask a friend or family member to take on the task of growing an assortment flowers, or lastly, speak with your florist to get additional ideas. A wildflower bouquet that you are able to create yourself – or a bouquet that a dear friend grows for you – will be a very special aspect of your big day. And, if it saves you some money as a cheaper alternative to roses and lilies, all the better!

Growing your own flowers would save a lot of money – many couples spend approximately $1,500 to $2,000 or more (some even spend as much as $7,000 and up!) on wedding flowers alone. The chances of getting exactly the styles and shades you desire are within your reach, but you should have some knowledge of growing flowers before you embark upon such an important part of your wedding planning. If you are set on growing your own wildflowers for your bouquet, you may wish to enlist the help or guidance of a trained professional in the field, merely for tips and a backup plan in case something doesn’t go quite as planned. Special precautions should be taken to prevent unexpected mishaps, so grow an abundance of flowers so you can pick only the best and most beautiful. Also, a back-up plan should be in store, so a local florist should be on call to jump into action if something should go wrong at the last minute.

Some very important considerations to keep in mind when choosing your wedding bouquet include the color scheme, style of the bouquet (loose-tied, cascade, etc.) and the shape and size of the bouquet. Once you determine those factors, selecting (and creating!) your bouquet will be much easier.

To aid you in your decision-making process, research all of your options prior to selecting your seeds and bulbs or visiting your florist or garden shop. View as many photos of other brides’ flowers as possible. Search the Internet and examine bridal magazines, books and catalogues to get a better idea of your likes and dislikes. If you have access to the flowers prior to your wedding date, attempt to arrange a sample bouquet and see firsthand whether you like the colors to blend together or to differ significantly. Take some time to mull over the possibilities and do not make a final decision on your wildflower bouquet until you know you are happy with it.

A wildflower bouquet would make an especially nice addition to a country wedding. Sprinkle wildflowers on the guests’ tables or press flowers and scatter them about to match the bouquet. Wildflower seeds are also popular in sachets to be given as gifts to the wedding guests, and a wreath of wildflowers adorning the bride’s hair is a fairly common sight as well.

No matter what you choose, make sure you set aside a few of your wildflowers to dry or to press between books. These will serve as special reminders of your wonderful wedding day and of the creativity you explored to create beautiful wildflower bouquets!

How to Curl Hair: Curling Iron Versus Hot Rollers

Before digging out the spongy pink curlers or running to your stylist for a hasty perm, check out these effective alternatives for an evening of uncustomary curls! You can curl your hair a number of different ways, but curling hair with a curling iron or with hot rollers are two great at-home options. Use either of these curling techniques to curl your hair easily at home.

Curling hair can seem more challenging than it actually is, when it all comes down to it. Consider your hair’s texture and normal response to curls. Decide if you are comfortable with the idea of a curling iron vs. hot rollers, and read on to get more details about each curling technique.

Curling Iron:
Inexpensive, relatively user-friendly and quick for minor touch-ups, this device can give you a glam look with a few minutes’ investment. If you’re donning only a partial head of curly locks, a curling iron could be just the tool you need for an immediate response to your need of a few well-placed curls.


Glamorize your up-do with a curling iron by emphasizing your style with a few loose spiral curls around your face or one or two seductively sweeping along the back of your neck. Creating these curls can be a quick and easy process, but don’t forget to spritz them with a little hairspray, or else they may not last the entire evening!

Another common use for a curling iron is tending to your hair’s ends. Tuck them under or flip them out a bit wildly, but you won’t get the same results with a set of hot rollers! A curling iron is versatile enough to curl precisely the strands that you want curled, in whichever manner you wish to achieve. Even if you wish to curl more than a few small sections of hair, a curling iron is capable of curling your entire head as well.


Time Involved: Curling Iron use may take anywhere from 5 minutes or less to 45 minutes or more, depending on style’s involvement.

Hot Rollers:
Just a touch more expensive than the curling iron, hot rollers can achieve a full head of flawless curls, typically in under an hour. Hot rollers generally have a small amount of wax inside that is heated when the set is plugged into an electrical outlet. When the curlers are ready for use, the color may change color so that you know to begin applying them.

Forget about fighting with the curling iron and trying to decide which way you want the curl to spiral. Instead, enjoy the remarkably easy process with hot rollers—once you have fastened the curlers in your hair, your hair will all curl simultaneously!

It is still a good idea to use some styling products such as a non-sticky hairspray or gel to retain the shape of the curls. (Curls formed by hot rollers tend to last considerably longer for me than those I create with a curling iron, as my hair is typically resistant to curling in general.)

Tip for Hot Rollers: Try to wash your hair the night before you want to employ the hot rollers. Sometimes very clean, sleek hair tends to resist curling.


Time Involved: Hot Rollers may take about 10 minutes to warm up and anywhere from 10-20 minutes to apply, and about 15 minutes to set. (Color of curler will revert back to original color to indicate that the curl has set.) Add additional time as necessary for styling your locks if you intend to use barrettes, bobby pins or other adornments and styling products.

Curling Iron Versus Hot Rollers:
– Both beauty appliances require time to heat up, but hot rollers may require a few extra minutes.
– Hot rollers are very easy to use when styling the whole head or a section, but don’t count on them to curl your ends out or under. Leave that to the curling iron!
– Color of hot rollers indicates when they are ready to use and when your curls have set.
– Curling iron gives great flexibility for choosing between loose spirals and tight ringlets, but you can always brush out your curls formed by hot rollers to achieve the style you desire.
– Curling irons are much easier to transport when traveling and staying in a hotel or other location away from home.
– Hot rollers save more time if going for a full head of curls. Success rate for curls enduring the entire evening may also be better.
– Both devices are useful in and of themselves—the best advice for you is to try them both and see which you like the best!

Choosing and Applying Dramatic or Subtle Shimmery Eye Shadow Hues

Eye shadow is big on self expression. The colors and hues available are virtually limitless, and eye shadow textures range from light dusts and powders to glitter, cream, or even liquid that turns to powder as it dries. Eye shadow can really dress up your look, whether you opt for dramatic colors that accentuate your eyes and your outfit, or subtle, neutral tones that complement your clothing and skin tone.

The eye shadow colors of the season seem to be bright and bold or smoky and seductive, although glimmery whites and neutrals add a lovely, soft element. Favorite eye shadow colors in many parts of the world seem to be in the purple and aquamarine families – especially amethyst, and purples paired with shimmery whites. The unspoken rule: don’t be afraid to go a little bolder, a little darker!


Bold Shades – Brilliant, Daring, and Dramatic
Makeup gives us an opportunity to enhance our best features, and for many, the eyes are among the top. If you enjoy setting and following trends, the bold and intense eye shadow colors might be perfect for you. Just imagine a lovely purple hue accenting your look, or a sparkling turquoise drawing attention to your eyes. You can pair these deeper shades with pale counterparts or a shimmery white eye shadow for a sexy, come-and-get-me look.

Many brands started offering eye shadow sets boasting three, four, or even five complementing hues. Another popular style of glimmery, shimmery eye shadow is loose shimmer dust. New York Color Sparkle Eye Dust Shimmery Eyeshadow is a spa and salon favorite, but it is available online for only about $3 to $7. The loose powder colors cascade through an icy blue to frosty pinks, all presented in a spill-proof jar with their own makeup brushes.

Beautiful spring organic shades like orange, green, yellow, blue, and brown are making waves in the makeup world. Score some bold and beautiful eye shadows in these shades and experiment to create your own daring look. Mix and match eye shadow colors or stick to a single shade. Enjoy creating a look that works for you!

Neutrals – Soft and Sensuous
If you aren’t quite brave enough for a brilliant teal or turquoise splash of color across your lids, or a pummeling of purple atop your eyes, you may want to stay within the realms of less is more. Don’t be disappointed if you aren’t comfortable with intense shades of eye shadow. With less of a dramatic hue, you can still have a rockin’ look. Just choose a product that offers a subtle sparkle!

Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips Custom Bronzer, Blush & Eye Shadow is a fabulous product for adding just a hint of color to your lids. I chose this type of combination eye shadow, blush, and bronzer makeup to wear on my wedding day. It worked out beautifully and I can’t get enough of it still! The shimmer strips are available in several hues, and each compact features five different shades. The powder packs a punch with built-in sparkle. Turn it up with the darker, bottom color strips or tone it down with the top shimmer strips in lighter shades.

The nice thing about Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips Custom Bronzer, Blush & Eye Shadow is that you can use it all over your face to add shimmer and a tanner appearance. The highly practical and functional versatility make this makeup product well worth the $10 to $12 it costs. The texture is clean and smooth, and it goes on easily as eye shadow. In my experiences, it’s even stayed put for all day or all night wear!

Wearing eye shadow can change your appearance as a fun and daring draw to your eyes. Express yourself through your eyes – after all, eye shadow can only add to your mystique when paired with powerful eye contact!

Shopping on a Shoestring Budget

For many women, designer clothing simply isn’t in the budget. However, you can still afford to purchase and wear high quality clothing if you learn a few techniques.

Paying attention to when stores have their sales is a very important facet to providing yourself with an extensive wardrobe. Many stores run special sales, which usually provide the customer with a special discount, around the holidays, especially on weekends. Various times throughout the year, other special sales are provided with equally significant discounts.

If you have a favorite store or two that you like to browse for your clothing needs, become familiar with the store and its policies. In fact, don’t be afraid to go on a little shopping mission on a different day than you normally go. Many stores will run specials on their slowest traffic days to reward the customers who do venture in to visit. Often there are early morning bonus buys to entice customers to readily exchange their hard earned money for a few trendy threads.

Many stores also offer special rewards such as larger discounts, free shipping, and free gift-wrapping to their most loyal customers. The requirements for this are simple; you must be a charge card holder who has spent up to a certain level of money. After this initial investment, which is worthwhile anyway, you simply need to continue to use the store charge rather than a credit card. Many of the stores will also offer clip free coupons to their charge customers who have attained a certain level of spending.

In addition to observing which months or holidays the stores run their sales, you might also take note of familiar discount patterns. Quite a few stores will run a typical pattern of lower prices. For example, certain merchandise may be reduced to $12.95 initially, then $9.95, then $4.95 and finally $2.95. One of our local stores has been following this practice for several years.

If you are technologically inclined, a simple internet search may provide you with a handy site to browse the store’s merchandise, locate additional branches, as well as the opportunity to sign up for an e-mail account for early notification of special sale events. Once inside the store, you can have a sales associate search for a particular outfit if that branch does not have your size.

Many stores, chain and individual, sell discounted designer clothing and accessories year round. For this, you need to do a little research to discover the ones that are closest to you. If you are fortunate enough to be within driving distance to the outlet stores, then you have many a good bargain waiting for you. Often the selection is more limited by size and color, but if you go in with an open mind, you are bound to discover the perfect bargain. The designer merchandise in these stores may have slight imperfections that you can easily overlook due to the super low purchase price.

If you do your research diligently, you can maximize your savings so that you can afford the pricier clothes. Whether you are shopping for an outfit for a special family event, an executive’s power lunch, or a special dinner date, a little homework can provide you with the perfect outfit at the perfect price.

© Susan M. Keenan

Financial Tips for Valentine’s Day Gifts

The special day for lovers comes with a price tag these days…. Whether you are seeking the perfect piece of jewelry, state-of-the-art video game system, iPod or another pricey Valentine’s Day present, your credit card might just do most of the work for you. To prevent your plastic from kicking into overdrive, use some discretion when shopping for your sweetheart’s Valentine, and realize that he or she loves you for you, not for the number or cost of the presents you purchase when February 14 rolls around.

The typical dinner and a movie Valentine date works as a great standby for an evening together, but if the two of you share this outing several times a month, it may get a bit stale. Surprise your sweetheart with a special date that costs even less so you can get him or her the perfect present you’ve had your eye on. Ice-skating and stargazing, though perhaps a bit chilly if living up north, present unique date ideas that cost very little, if anything. Romantic and inexpensive… these options conveniently leave necessary funds for the Valentine’s gift.

In order to get your Valentine the perfect gift regardless of the price, some savings plans may be necessary prior to the actual purchase. Here are some tips to ensure that you have enough funds available to wow your sweetheart with a special Valentine treat:

– Keep a good track record of responsible personal finance behavior. Pay bills on time with at least the minimum amount due, monitor your spending to avoid overlimit fees and try to keep your balance as low as possible, if not completely paid off. By keeping your remaining balance low, you open up additional dollar amounts before hitting your credit limit. No one wants to get slammed with a finance charge for spending over his or her limit!

– Save up money along the way and put the rest on plastic. So maybe you are planning to pop the big question on or around Valentine’s Day…. That could surely cost a pretty penny, but if you save up for months prior to the big date, your credit card bill won’t seem quite as painful when you remember you have a secret stash squirreled away somewhere for the special occasion. Do your best to pay for the whole thing in full. If you must put your purchase on plastic, pay off as much as you can and then consider doing a zero percent balance transfer to avoid racking up interest.

– Limit your spending to reserve funds for your Valentine purchase. Forego the chicken cheese steak for lunch, leave the second bottle of wine on the shelf and forget about that new TV you’ve been dreaming of… with a little self control in your spending habits, you will open up the gates to more affordable bill payments and less regret when putting bigger purchases on your cards.

– Preplan how much you are willing to spend. Once you have determined what you want to spend on your Valentine’s gift, do not go over that amount. Before jumping on the Internet or leaving your home, figure out a set amount that you will spend and stick to it, no matter what!

– Shop the sales. Notice how stores start setting up for Valentine’s Day right after Christmas? Also notice how many items are drastically reduced or put on clearance after the holidays? Store management officials are smart enough to know that most people just finished spending all their money on holiday shopping.

Why not pick out your Valentine’s gift while the sales are still going strong? If you wait for the week before or the week of Valentine’s Day, you will likely be forced to pay full price for the same item you could have bought at a 50% discount a month or two ago.

Also avoid impulse shopping, as it generally encourages buyers to just pick something and be done with it. Put some time and thought into the perfect present, select the total price you are willing to pay and stick to your guns. Bear in mind that Valentine’s Day embodies the passion and romance of a relationship and the intimate connection shared by two people in love; love itself is not defined by the numbers on a price tag.