Spa Inspired Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas! :: Part One



Man oh Man oh Man. Ohhhh how I love Valentine’s Day!!  What other day of the year is completely covered in all shades of red and pink and candy and sweet messages??

Valentine’s Day is something that was always celebrated in my house growing up especially since my Mom always made it a point to give my sister and I pretty, made-up packages filled with goodies inside. Imagine an Easter basket, but all red and pink.  She also braided my hair into a heart up until my senior year of high school (yes I am on a mission to find pictures.) My mother is notoriously fabulous and feminine and she has created a mini-monster in me because of it.

So today’s post will hopefully serve women of all ages, professions, and relationships.  I’ve included actual gifts along with DIY gift ideas.  I love the idea of gifts for any woman in your life including- girlfriends, kid’s teachers, sisters, moms, aunts, or grandmas.  It may be no surprise that I will also be giving my sweet young nephews V-day gifts this year as well.

The post was intended to be posted early in accommodation to you to allow for enough time to order online. I’ve also included a delectable treat for each 3 day post from the perfectly awesome and mouth-drooling website Erin’s website very easily substitutes Cupid for Valentine’s Day as her recipes fill every void in your life you could ever have.  Surprise! Erin baked our wedding cupcakes and people STILL talk about those cupcakes!!

So let’s begin!

Ages 0-10

Natural + Nontoxic Nail Polish from


I love this polish because it’s fragrance free (as in free from smelling like a chemical bomb) and it’s nonflammable and water-based.  According to their website:

“It is free of formaldehyde, toluene, phthalates, biphenyl A, ethyl acetate and acetone… and made in the USA!”


Bonus Alert: They have a Fancy Nancy line!! Here is the link-


Nontoxic “Play Makeup” from Luna Organics


Adorable website that carries a huge variety of “healthy” makeup for kids that doesn’t include the common toxic chemicals that are ever so often found in other brands.  They also have a tween line!


Create a Giant-Sized Valentine’s Card for Your Little Cupcake…


This card was actually found from a birthday party invite found on Pinterest, link below.  But this is easily adaptable for a fun (but different) card idea!

And maybeee you could put in this homemade DIY mailbox? Just a thought…blame my mother for my need to go overboard…



Link to mailbox tutorial-


And end with a fun craft to do with your Sidekick…


Lastly, I’ve selected Lemon Sugar’s Chocolate Chip Cupcake Recipe as a great option to bake with your Little Loved Ones.  I love this recipe because it’s fairly easy, has ingredients you probably already have, and you can pick out cute little cupcake liners at the store with your kids. Link is below the picture, enjoy!


Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post as we’ll go over gifts for your tween-teenaged range girls! 


A Healthy Winter : How to Eat Your Way to Merry & Bright Skin!


Cool little known fact about me?  I was halfway through a dietetics program at Kansas State before I decided to leave and begin a dance teacher/esthetician career that I’m halfway in now. It’s a long story…I originally planned to open a dance studio with my sister and teach at night, which is actually the reason I started esthetics school.  I didn’t want to be laying around eating Cheetos all day while waiting for school to get out so I could teach.  Little did I know that God had a different plan for me and that instead of teaching little girls how to do turnout, I would be waxing and shaping their Mommy’s brows!

SINCE I am so in love with nutrition & all forms of health, I thought now would be a good time to do a post on the best things to eat and also promotes skin clarity and brightness during the cold + dreary winter months! One of the reasons I renamed the website and blog is because I wanted “The Blush Life” to encompass any and all things beauty related and unless you don’t have a pulse, nutrition will always be at the forefront of everything that you do.  If you want to look beautiful, you have to feel beautiful. And you can’t do that without giving your entire body the TLC it needs.

I have in fact tried and tasted each of these tasty recipes.  The goal for this post is list powerful meals that leave you feeling full but energetic, that are easily digestible, and that contain many (seasonal) produce items that pack a powerful punch of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.

1.) “Lover’s Salad” from



Many yummy ingredients including: apples, grapes, dried cranberries, strawberries, parmesan & candied walnuts. 

I can’t tell you how much I love Ari’s blog and recipe site on The Diva Dish.  She has such a well-written blog that is oh-so-relatable as she on takes on finding everyday “unhealthy” meals and converts them into a lightened, higher-quality version.  I think she has one of the best blogs to “dive into” if you’re scared to step into “healthy land.” Most of the recipes on her site are staple meals that you probably already make for your own family on a weekly basis.  The Lover’s Salad has so many different ingredients that it is a perfect meal for holiday months when you’re stuck in a rut and you’re feeling your waistline grow by the hour!  I also love the idea of making it for a family get together, so many people are used to the regular ranch + crouton combo that this delectable dish is more than satisfying for your tastebuds.


2.) Lentil Soup from Dinner was Delicious



So many reasons to include this in your WEEKLY lineup.  It’s super easy, super cheap, and it’s great to enjoy either as a meal in a bowl or in a cup with half a sandwich or salad.  What’s great about this meal is that the fiber from the lentils keep you feeling full while the assortment of veggies and chopped onion are great for fighting colds since it’s a clear based broth and you are avoiding excess dairy from cream or milk based broths.  Writer tip — I may or may not add more than one bay leaf to this recipe when I make it.  If I could OD on bay leaf I would!


3.) Spinach Artichoke Pizza from Two Peas and Their Pod


When I first started cooking for my then boyfriend/now husband it was a challenge to say the least.  I could serve him spaghetti with Ragu beef sauce every night of his life and he would die a happy man.  Because I lean towards more meatless meals, combining our food choices once we started living together was near impossible, literally, because I’ve come to find out that this is the ONLY meatless meal he will eat.  In fact, the first time I ever made it, he didn’t say his usual “this doesn’t have meat in it, does it?” I’ve made it so many times now, it’s the only recipe I can make by memory.  Ok I’m lying because really all you’re doing is adding your favorite toppings to an unbaked crust base, but don’t stray too far from this simple recipe.  I love this because I usually bake it on a thin crust to keep the carbs down and I pile as many veggies on top as I can. The only thing I ever change or add is hummus, sun-dried tomatoes and garbanzo/black beans.  Enjoy!


4.) Garlicky Baked Shrimp from Normal Cooking


This is in my regular routine and for good measure, it has two of my favorite ingredients to cook with: garlic and white wine.  The ingredients are small and simple and because of that, it’s more likely to be thrown into the weekly lineup during hectic weeknight rushes.  Low-cal and quick to cook, you can sub olive oil for butter if you’re looking for a dairy-free option.  Shrimp is a great alternative to any red meat options and it packs on the antioxidants and omega fatty acids. Pair it with some lemon + feta roasted potatoes and you’re on your way to one of the best meals of your life.


5.) Triple Chocolate Muffin from Maria Kang



If you’re ever on Pinterest you see about 8392 pins a minute on clean eating/gluten free/low-carb dessert recipes.  How I found this gem of a recipe I will not know.  It beats all the others and it makes life worth living again.  This recipe is a knockoff of the Chocolate Muffins from VitaTops if you’ve ever tried those.  This recipe uses oats for fiber, egg whites for protein and applesauce and greek yogurt for a moist and rich muffin. These are the perfect sidekick for your sweet tooth and the recipe makes a huge batch so I would recommend freezing them so they don’t all go bad.  That would be very, very sad.

Are there any healthy staples you add to your winter meal plans? Comment below!



Why I’m Not Down With Filters (And Other Social Media Probs)




Whenever I am working at my desk doing busy (mindless) work I always make it a point to listen to fun and interesting videos on my iPad with YouTube.  Sometimes the videos are business-related and sometimes it’s stuff like “Top Lipsticks for Fall” which in my case, is STILL work-related. Hehe.


So we all have our fave video bloggers online right? Whatever the topic, you have your go-to’s. At least I do.  So I stumbled upon this video by one of my favorite “Beauty Gurus” and the topic was something related to “Apps/Programs I Use on My iPhone.” Normally I am not one for apps or 38292 ways I can complicate and overload my devices so I’m surprised I even clicked on it, but it just goes to show that this was a post that needed to be written.

The beauty blogger goes through X amount of apps when she finally gives the name of not one, but several Photoshop/Airbrush apps that she uses to edit all of her photos before she posts them on social media.  I have to admit, the more she explained how she used the apps, I began to look up from my desk in disbelief at the number of things she changed in a single photo.  It included:

1.) Smoothing skin and imperfections

2.) Zit Remover (of which you had to PAY for)

3.) Photo Brightening

4.) Tan Warmer (Used to give skin a glow and cancel out pale skin)

Now I know what you’re thinking- “Gee that’s a lot….all for one photo?….doesn’t she have anything else to do?…well I guess she is a beauty blogger…if she doesn’t look good no one will follow her or listen to her advice….”  While all of these comments may prance around in your brain, I want you to ask yourself one question…

“Would a male video blogger ever do this?”

The answer is no.  

Would Mark Zuckergerg take the time to do this? No. What about Steve Jobs?  Never.  Let’s take it a step further in the female world, would Audrey Hepburn do this? Sara Blakely, the creator and self-made billionaire of Spanx, would she take the time to do this?  These people could care less because they are busy focusing on more important things.  Please note, I am in no way intending to bash either side male or female, but if you took a quick survey and asked 10 males if they do any of those things before they post a photo, they would probably look at you like you’re crazy. The fact of the matter is that if we scroll through 100’s of feeds a hundred times a day and all we see are those “perfect” images, we begin to forget and understand what it ACTUALLY looks like to appear normal.  Why do girls feel this way?  Why do they feel the need to cover every single thing that isn’t perfect?  Why is it only the female world that feels obligated to do this?

I could be overlooking this.  I could be overdramatizing things.  It’s easy to say that, after all I am in in fact in the field of beauty and esthetics. But I truly believe I was not made as a makeup artist to “slather on paint” and cover real life.  What will society look like in 100 years when this new normal will become an everyday habit and ritual?  Let’s take the time to remember that humans are exactly that, human.  And when we cover up every little flaw, we are saying, “I am not ok like this.”  I refuse to put any type of filter on my work, other than what professional photographers do before they send me the digitals.  If it’s a wedding day photo, by all means, delete that zit.  You’re spending a lot of money to pay for pictures that will be around forever. But if I am posting something with myself or of a weekday client, I put no filter on it because I do not want to give a false impression of my work or reality.  I have a bone to pick with makeup “artists” who use these numerous photoshop tools to distort, yes distort, the beautiful creatures God made us to be.  Anyone can click and slide and drop and drag.  That is computer design, not makeup artistry.  How can you be proud of that?  And how does that make your client feel?

If you had a daughter, would you ever put a filter on her?  No.  Stop doing it to yourself. You’re just as important.

So I hope you’ll take the #nofilter pledge with me.





The Top 3 Makeup Brushes That Will Save Your Life


I would say that most women who wear makeup on a daily basis are somewhat indifferent to using custom-specific brushes when applying makeup.  Whether it’s for a work week or a date night, most women stick to what they know.  This can be both good and bad. Good if you’re using stellar tools, bad if you don’t know how much easier your life could be.

In all of my years working at Sephora, I could never understand how some women didn’t know about this “magical, mystical, picture-perfect” world of using high quality brushes.  My co-workers and I would shrivel when told “all I use for eyeshadow are those little sponge applicators I get in the shadow compact it comes with.” Sorry, but the reason it hurts so much is because those things are the equivalent of filing taxes in April.  Seriously.  Why would you walk 30 miles to work when you can drive a car? This might sound dramatic but it’s how I feel.  These tools are life-changers and I will be an advocate for them until the day I die hand in my brush belt.

What I did discover, were the two main reasons women why weren’t buying our brushes.

#1 the price, and #2 they didn’t know how to use them.

I am happy to say (not just because I am a makeup artist) that these brushes are well worth the money.  Don’t get me wrong, there are several brands that can charge an arm and a leg for a brush, but with a little knowledge, you shouldn’t pay over $40 bucks for one.  And remember if you are taking care of your brushes like you should, they will last you 10+ years.

$40 divided by 10?  Well worth it.

I come here today with the bread and butter of my tool kit.  These brushes are essential to a fully functional makeup arsenal. They save you both time and money as the right brushes will apply with greater control & desired intensity.  They really do BLEND what you want to blend and smooth out any imperfections.  Below are 3 brushes that I recommend that every girl have in their line-up.  Their prices range from $14.99 (which is a set!) to $24 dollars, SO worth it.

1.) Sephora Pro Airbrush Concealer Brush #57 Available at Sephora for $24


This brush is for every woman that has a hard time getting her concealer to blend and stay on without looking cakey…so let me re-state that, this brush is for every woman that wears concealer.  If you use any type of cream or liquid concealer you NEED to have this brush, mainly because with the right application technique, you will use significantly less product thus extending the value of your dollar.  Take a pea size amount of concealer and drop it onto the top of your hand.  Swirl the brush into the product for a few seconds, enough to create a little heat. This again helps the product melt into the skin preventing any unwanted cakeyness.  You want to apply the concealer in an upside down triangle taking it all the way onto the lash crease line of your bottom eye.  Take into the hollows of your eyes around your tear ducts, on the center of your forehead between your brows, down the bridge of your nose, on the center of your chin, above your lips onto the cupid’s bow, and on the sides of the nose (women are always red here whether it be allergy season or they just watched Steel Magnolias.)   By the way, guess WHAT?? You just highlighted your face!  Yes that’s right, you just concealed and highlighted in about 30 seconds.  You can send me a check later girls.  The last step is super important.  Take that same brush and tap some finishing/setting powder onto your hand, swirl the brush into the powder and go over all of those areas once again with the TINIEST amount of powder.  All of that hard work will go down the drain if you fail to set it and soak up the excess oil that melts it off by 11AM.


2.) Sonia Kashuk Instant Smokey Eye Brush Set Available at Target for $14.99!


Words can’t express how much I adore Sonia Kashuk’s makeup line sold at Target.  I am all about makeup artist-created brands.  They are the ones who have been on the working room floor and they know a gimmick when they see one.  They don’t have time for fancy shenaningans that don’t deliver.  I have yet to buy a single product from her that I don’t like and I love how easy her products are to use.  This is probably why the #2 brush is a little bit of a “cheat meal.”  It’s a set…and it’s only $14.99! Like seriously Dudettes, $15 BUCKS for 4 brushes that you will use every single day of your life.  I have a few SK brushes that I’ve had for years and you cannot tell them apart from their Sephora bunkmates.  You probably can’t tell in the picture but these brushes are a little shorter than average.  This is a +/- for some.  If you hold the brushes closer to the hair it will give you a darker wash so if you’re used to holding it far away you might not immediately love the feel, but I promise you’ll get over it after a few days.  The first brush is great for applying a neutral shade over the entire lid…this can include highlighter colors that you apply all over for a brighter look.  The 2nd brush is perfect for sweeping a darker shade directly onto the crease of the lid into the brow bone.  You want the highest part of the brush closest to your eyebrow. There, you will just sweep your eyeshadow shade in a windshield wiper motion.  Count to 4 while you’re doing it and donezo.  The 3rd brush is supposed to be used for an all-over lid color but I personally like it for wiping out fallout under the eye or for using the tip for a dark shade on the outside of your eyes.  The 4th brush, is perfect for wetting and applying your highlighting shades into the corners of the eyes and under the brow highlight. Or you can use it for softening pencil eyeliners.  The great thing about these brushes is that there are no rules, if it’s easier for you to use it a certain way then do that.


3.) Sephora Classic Multitasker Brush #45 Available at Sephora for $24


I saved my absolute favorite for last.  This brush, if I could only have one face product brush in the whole world, it would be this one.  I feel like I should write a thank you note to it for all of the people and skin conditions it has helped cover.  It can apply liquid and powder foundation, powder and cream blush, and even highlight and contour products if you need it to.  Just like the concealer brush, you will drop a few drops of your liquid foundation onto your hand to warm it up and apply it with this brush. I start in the center of the face and swirl it out, if you’re doing it correctly it should take very little time to spread it and blend it out seamlessly.  If you need fuller coverage in specific areas, apply a layer of foundation all over and then add a few drops on your hand again to go back over those specific areas.  Don’t waste your time and money applying product all over your face when only need extra coverage on your cheeks.  (This works great for acne, redness, and sun spots.)  My only rule for this brush is that you try to clean it every single day with a brush spray cleaner. It takes two seconds to spray a paper towel with your cleaner and swirl the brush into it until no more product comes out. If you’re using this brush as a liquid brush it will acquire gunk like nobody’s business in no time.  You can deep clean it with a MILD soap (non-antibacterial) and water once a week.  If you fail to keep your brush clean it will actually make your foundation look worse and waste product in the end.  Clean your brushes on Sunday so you know they’re ready for the week.

**On a side note, if you’re one of the 4.2 million people using BareMinerals and those brushes that come in the kit, STOP.  Save your money and buy this brush and your individual foundation shade when you go in to refill your makeup.  Those kits are a great deal but those brushes shed like crazy and they feel like ragweed and sandpaper on my face.  (Sorry but it’s the truth!) This brush was originally labeled as a “mineral powder” brush, which is exactly what the BM foundation is.  If you’ve been using BM for years you will see what a difference this brush makes.

Here are the links to the Sephora and Sonia Kashuk’s brush spray cleaners…I’ve used both and they are both great, Sonia’s is slightly cheaper but the nozzle sprays in more of a solid stream to whereas the Sephora one sprays more evenly onto the towel. I also have to leave you with these adorable Sonia Kashuk brush sets.  They are SO stinkin cute and they make the greatest gifts for any woman for any occasion!!


Sonia Kashuk “Make A Face” Brush Set $24.99



Sonia Kashuk Brush Couture 5-Piece Set $16.99



Sonia Kashuk Brush Couture 4-Piece Set $14.99



Sonia Kashuk “Proudly Pink” Breast Cancer Awareness Set $14.99




Let me know below in the comments section about any brushes that you just can’t live without.


Lauren’s Wedding Day + Why My Mom Made Me Blog

laurenlogo.jpgOne of the biggest reasons I wanted to start my blog was actually inspired by my mother who is no amateur at beauty herself. She has been a licensed cosmetologist ever since she graduated high school: highlighting, perming, and texturizing hair ever since the day I’ve known her. Growing up I remember looking through photos of her work and seeing all of the different looks and styles of hair she has created.  She’s had many decades strapped to her portfolio and I think it’s safe to say my sister and I have had professional updos for nearly every single junior high/high school dance we’ve ever been to.

I really hope this blog becomes a place to capture the moments of my life and work…I am emotional, I am sappy.  Photos and stories do more for me than what diamond rings do to Elizabeth Taylor.  Maybe one day if I ever have a daughter, she can log on and see who and what her Mama did, what fueled her and made her so passionate about her job.

So now, we move on to beginning of my pictures, my lifetime portfolio…what better way to start than with a wedding post with one of the most beautiful girls in the entire world? Seriously guys, I almost questioned why she hired me because Lauren is definitely one of those girls that I could “rub dirt on her face and she would still look beautiful.” Nonetheless, I was ecstatic she wanted to work with me and making her look good is easier than sleeping in on a Saturday.

Lauren was such a classic and beautiful bride. Lauren and her husband got engaged in Paris and I knew from the moment I met her that if I was going to do anything with her makeup, it would be to make her look as polished and charming as the person she is.  Every bride has “a look” she wants to go with.  Some brides want a super dark and smokey eye look with bright lipstick, some like to go easy on the eyes and wear a deep lip color, and I’ve even had brides who requested to wear chapstick on the day of their wedding. The majority want something in between, “a best version of themselves” look that translates timelessness on camera.  You want to look like yourself, but also that you’ve pulled out s-o-m-e bells and whistles for your big day. I think Lauren so greatly captures that, she looks effortless, pretty, and happy,  Nothing outshines her and that’s how it should be.

I have a feeling my future brides from here on out will want “The Lauren.”

All Photos (except for closeup below) by Frameless Photography. Visit to see more work!