Daily face

I get a lot of compliments on my makeup (granted, it’s mostly from my 15-year-old students). I’m always a little bit surprised when I get compliments because I literally do the same makeup routine every single day. I am a creature of habit. I love makeup and beauty products, but once I find something I like, I tend to stick with it. I’m loyal; what can I say?! I did recently start using the Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue, which I mentioned in this post. Now it’s in my daily face rotation!

My friend Abbie asked for the post on the Complexion Rescue, but she also said she needed a whole new makeup routine, so I thought I’d write this post to highlight the products that I wear every single day.

the entire daily face, makeup-stained and all

First, I moisturize and prime my face. I’ve used this moisturizer since high school, and I love this green NYX primer to cancel out redness and set me up for a smooth finish.

Lately, I’ve been using a combination of Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue tinted moisturizer + my all-time favorite powder, the Lorac POREfection baked perfecting powder. For the tinted moisturizer, I dab it with a damp beauty blender or just use my fingers and rub it in like a moisturizer. After the complexion rescue comes the underage concealer triangle phenomenon.

A NOTE ABOUT CONCEALER:  You want to conceal after you put on your foundation or tinted moisturizer base so that you can set it with powder afterward, and because you are basically wasting your time if you go rubbing something on top of all the concealer you just carefully placed! I use this NYX concealer because it was listed somewhere a long time ago with great reviews. I’m still on the hunt for a great concealer, but this isn’t bad. I use my ring finger to dot in on and around whatever I need to hide. I don’t always do under eye concealer, but if I really want to brighten things up, I’ll use the IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Undereye and spread in a triangle under my eyes. I blend that concealer in with a tiny damp beauty blender.

this is what you should look like after the under-eye concealer…scary.

Then use a brush to blend powder in all over your face, dabbing on top of the concealer rather than brushing back and forth. I use this bronzer in the hollows of my cheeks, temples, and along my jaw line (think of a 3 shape). I use this blush in “achiote”on the apples of my cheeks, and this highlighter in “sin” on my cheekbones and down the bridge of my nose. Those three are all pretty pricey, but they last FOREVER. They are all really pigmented, so a little goes a long way.

For eyes, I typically go for a delicate cat eye with my Stila stay all day waterproof eyeliner. Nothing too crazy for a daily look, but I like to have a little tail from the corner of my lids, and I find that I can be messier with my mascara because the eyeliner covers it up (can I get an amen?!). A basic tutorial and step-by-step for how I do my eyeliner is in this post.

After eyeliner, I apply my eyebrow pencil in shade 2 – you literally can’t mess it up and it’s so perfect. Then on to mascara. I have mentioned before that I have naturally long lashes, but they are also naturally blonde, so when I don’t wear mascara I have such a baby face and you can’t see my eyelashes at all. I love to splurge on fancy mascaras like Tarte lash paint or Urban Decay’s perversion, but you can typically just find me sporting my long-time favorite CoverGirl Full Lash Bloom mascara (in the hot pink tube!). I honestly don’t notice much of a difference when using the higher end mascaras. I think it just makes me feel fancier to have the nicer ones!

bronzer, blush, highlighter, and eyes

And that’s it! I always finish with my lipstick, and I like to change that up every day – usually a bright pink, dark red, or plum color for this time of year (I recently purchased this in “baci” and have added it in the mix! Pictured in these photos). If I was going out for an event or something where I was planning on photographs, I’d do a more finished and full face by adding a golden smokey eye, more dramatic mascara and eyeliner, and I would use foundation instead of the tinted moisturizer (still my current favorite).

What are your can’t-live-withouts for makeup? I’ll cry the day they discontinue my favorite Lorac powder, but hopefully it’s good enough to stick around!

Summer faves, from me to you

It’s another scorching week here in Raleigh! I don’t know why it’s always such a surprise to me when I step outside and my makeup immediately begins melting off my face. Why do we find it necessary to keep saying, “It’s HOT out there!” when we finally get inside the sweet, sweet relief of cool AC? But we do – maybe it’s a southern thing.

This summer, I’ve been saving every penny since teachers don’t get paid in the summer acting like I have an unlimited supply of money, and I’ve bought a few new products I want to share! They’ve helped me through these hot months, and hopefully they’ll carry me into the next few that are still coming!

Since I’m generally rushing from hot yoga to nannying or from nannying to hot yoga, and as I’ve mentioned, it’s hot hot hot out, I have kept my makeup and hair routine super simple this summer. I also mostly use items from Target. I don’t have a fat wallet, so when I can find awesome products that don’t deplete my money for food and rent, I latch on.

Summer Faves1) Dove dry shampoo and curl defining mousse: my hair is stick straight, fine, thin, and needs to be washed daily. I could have cried when I finally discovered dry shampoo. I love this Dove one and have used it for months and months without looking elsewhere. I use the mousse after shampooing to “squish” my hair, as Andrew calls it (the rest of you might refer to it as scrunching your hair). It’s my summer ‘do because I don’t have to use heat to dry my hair, and I just shampoo & squish – no conditioner (or combing) needed, because it makes my hair too soft and straight to squish. It also saves a ton of time!

2) Heat taming spray: When I DO blow dry my hair, I like to use a heat spray to help protect and volumize my fine, limp hair. I have been happy with this one from L’Oreal! An older spray I used to use before looking for one with a volumizing boost is this one from TRESemme.

3) Olay cleansing wipes and moisturizer: Both are gentle, have a nice subtle scent, don’t break me out, and my sensitive skin doesn’t burn or react to these products.

4) Tea Tree Oil mattifying toner: I have always loved The Body Shop, and this tea tree oil toner is so refreshing. It makes my skin look soft and velvety. I use it am and pm, after washing and before moisturizing. My sweet roomie Lauryn hooked me up with it because she got one free 🙂

5) Philosophy purity made simple face wash: this is my one splurge this summer. I know it’s more expensive than what you might normally buy, but my skin is sensitive and prone to breakouts, and I have noticed a HUGE difference in the few weeks I have been using this. So. Worth. It. I got the 8oz. one for $24 and it will last a long time.

6) This Sephora collection dry clean brush cleaning spray has been an amazing find! You can use it and keep on doing your makeup since it’s not a wet product. Just spray, wipe on a towel, and keep on keepin’ on!

7) Essie spa many many mani lotion: I always seem to have dry hands and feet, so I love putting this on both right before I get under the sheets at night! It smells great and is silky smooth, not greasy.

8) These linen shorts from Target:  I have them in green, red, and gray/black…they have literally saved me this summer. Elastic waist, light and airy, not too short…what more could a girl want?

9) Maybelline Dream Pure BB cream: I use this one to help keep my skin clear, moisturize and even out my skin tone, and as a layer that my powder can sit on top of.

10) My favorite sunscreen: I have been using this for a few years and always make sure to get the SPF 30 and reapply often. I love the hydration aspect of this sunscreen. I always buy the face one, as well!

My summer makeup routine:

After washing/toning/moisturizing, I’ve been using the NYX photo loving primer in green to fight redness and fill in any pores or smile lines. If I’m feeling fancy, I’ll skip the primer and put on some Maybelline bb cream. I’ve been loving the Covergirl trublend fix stick concealer for under my eyes, redness, and blemishes. BB cream or not, I always use a powder brush to dust on my forever favorite powder, Lorac porefection baked pressed powder (I’m shade PF 3.5). Next, I hit the hollows of my cheeks and go in a “3” motion on the sides of my face with the tarte Park Ave Princess bronzer, and then I use my bronzer brush to hit my cheekbones and around the sides of my eyes with my new Urban Decay highlighter (shade is sin-champagne). After that, it’s an eyebrow pencil, mascara, and tinted Baby Lips balm from Maybelline (a long-time fave!), and I’m finished! Simple for busy days carting around kids and running errands, and easy to wipe off before teaching a hot yoga class at Hot Asana Durham.

Summer makeup 1

Summer makeup 2


Lipstick lust

I can’t help myself:  I am in a small love affair with lip color.  I guess it probably started about 4.5 years ago when I began teaching and realized I needed a quick way to set myself apart from the students (not that it’s fail-proof; I still sometimes get mistaken for a high school-er).  I did not ease in; I did not fear color.  All of the pinks, the reds, the corals, even the deep plums…I needed them.  I probably wear red most often, but like my shoes, I try to give all of my lipsticks some love.

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All of them.

I recently posted an Instagram selfie with Oliver, one of my two main men, and I got a lot of comments on my lipstick specifically.


To me it was just another day with my regular red, nothing special, and I thought, these people need to know!   There are certain questions that I get asked over and over again, from friends, family, students, colleagues, literally even strangers at the store or in the check out line:  What color is that?  How do you get it to stay on so long?  How do you put it on?  What brand is it?  I don’t say this to brag, but merely to prove that a n y o n e can wear the lipstick I wear, use the ‘tricks’ I use, and feel sassy and classy.  I think most of us are just sometimes afraid to take that leap into unfamiliar territory.  But today, my friends, I am here to answer your questions.  I am here to help you go boldly into the lipstick life.

There is no secret.  I will tell you everything I know.  I have known women who will not respond to questions about their clothes, shoes, purses, makeup, or even nail polish color.  As if the world would end if someone else had the same look as them.  Spread the joy, people!  We all deserve to feel lovely.  This is just a quick little post of my favorite brands and colors of lipsticks, as well as some important tips for making sure your lipstick stays put, which is key (no promises on it not coming off in a smooch situation – us single gals don’t have to worry about that too much).


  1. DO NOT LICK YOUR LIPS.  EVER.  And certainly, certainly not before you apply.

These are literally the only two “rules” I ever tell anyone and time and time again, they have a huge AHA moment because they realize they always do one or both of these things.  Just.  Don’t.  Do.  It.  If your lips are chapped, either take a couple of days off to moisturize, or you can exfoliate.  There are all kinds of scrubs out there for your lips, but I am a little bit of a plain Jane…I use a spare toothbrush and warm water and gently scrub my lips.  Gross?  Maybe it sounds gross to say it out loud, but in real life, it works like a charm and doesn’t seem like a big deal.  Plus, a toothbrush is free from the dentist and lip scrubs can get pricey.  Give it a whirl and then tell me I’m wrong.

Application Techniques

  1. Apply the lipstick to your lips.
  2. Stay in the lines.

Seriously.  I do not have time to do some of the things I have watched in makeup tutorials.  Who on earth does?!  I put my lipstick on my bare lips and I move on to my other true love, mascara.  I might use one of my three lip liners if I have a special occasion I need to look extra fly for.  In that case, I line the outside of my lips and do a little bit of messy coloring in on my lips, then apply as usual.  That’s it.  No blotting, no licking, no extra rubbing together.  Call me crazy.

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Brands:  I have a few trusty rusty brands when it comes to lipsticks.  Some of my favorites include MAC (they never let me down), the Maybelline Vivids collection, the Revlon Colorstay Moisture Stain, and Tarte.

My go-to red is a matte color by MAC called Ruby Woo (That’s the one I’m applying in the previous pictures).  I recently bought a matte Pink Pigeon by MAC as well – it is a bright pink perfect for when you need a pop of color or just because, and I also got a color I have coveted and gone back and forth on since last fall, Heroine.  Even I have my limits; it is pretty purple.  But…paired with all black everything and a nice chunky scarf, I think it has turned out to be a solid choice.

View More: http://jparkerphotography.pass.us/lipstick-blog Left to right:  Pink Pigeon, Ruby Woo, Heroine.

Another great matte red if you’re on a budget (who isn’t) is Pure Red by NYX (I’m glad I don’t have to say that out loud because I never know if it’s N.Y.X. or ‘nix’).  It’s a really close second to my Ruby Woo.

Other colors that I reach for over and over again are my nice vampy dark red Revlon Moisture Stain in Parisian Passion and the hot pink in Barcelona Nights.  They give a lot of shine at first, but when they dry they just have a hint of gloss.  On days when I feel like I have a lot going on and need to keep it simple, I go for a nice nude like MAC’s Creme D’nude or Tarte’s Angelic Nude and Sweet Peach.  The Tarte lipsticks are really moisturizing and go on so smooth.  Plus, they come in a beautiful little tube!  And finally, on days when I feel extra sassy, I’ll hit myself with my Maybelline Vivids in Hot Plum.  It’s bold and I love it.

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For those of you who are still not convinced you can pull it off, #1 – you can, and #2 – you can always start small.  They make tons of tinted lip balms out there.  NYX has a great one called butter balm (I have it in Lady Fingers, which is a nice neutral pink, and Red Velvet).  Obviously I am not the only one who knows the power of a bold lip – Pinterest has loads of proof:


Be bold.  Live out loud.  With anything you do, it is better to leap than to tiptoe.