Friday, September 19, 2014

Fashion Friday | Black & White Stripes

You know how when you find something that works, you stick with it? Well, for me, that would be stripes. Horizontal stripes. Especially black and white horizontal stripes. The obsession is so real.

I didn't realize I had a problem an obsession with stripes until I worked with children. If any of my coworkers wore stripes the kids would say, "Look Mrs. Lesley, she's dressed like you!

For generations, women have been told to avoid horizontal stripes at all cost, especially those of us on the curvier side. Horizontal stripes make you look fat! There is tons of research out there on whether or not that old adage is true. But you know what? I don't care! This is one of those fashion 'rules' I throw out the window. I wear what makes me happy. And stripes make me happy. Horizontal black and white ones.

This hi-lo top is so dang comfy! It can be paired with jeans or a comfy pair of leggings. One of my favorite color combos is black and brown - especially for fall! I was excited to bust a pair of boots out of my closet, but the weather here in good ol' Georgia is not quite ready for boots. I'll be sporting this outfit with sandals until fall officially sets in.

As I was running errands in this outfit, a random stranger proposed to me. (I told him one husband was enough for me, and he assured me my husband is a lucky man.) I guess those stripes are really working for me! ;)

Outfit Details:

Top: Target
Jeans: New York & Company
Sandals: Target
Boots: Charlotte Russe (from a few years ago)

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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Top Ten Luxury Products Under $25 | Collab with The Panwar Palace

Today's exciting post is in collaboration with fellow beauty blogger, Megan from The Panwar Palace.  

Check out her favorite luxury items here!

I met Megan on Instagram (follow her @megan_panwar). She is one of the sweetest friends I've met in the beauty community. I love variety of content on her blog and reading her thoughts on makeup and skincare. And as a bonus, she is freaking gorgeous!

BK Photography

Top Ten Luxury Items Under $25
Just to clarify,  I am using the term 'luxury' somewhat loosely, essentially meaning not found at the drugstore. Initially I wanted to include an array of products like eyes, brows, face, etc., but I decided to narrow down what I actually use on a regular basis. That way you guys know what really is in my top ten!

Products numbered by placement, not in order of preference. :)

1. Mario Badescu Caviar Night Cream | $20 at Ulta

I have tried several items from the Mario Badescu line and have found nothing that I don't like. The Caviar Night Cream is no stranger to my blog and has become my holy grail nighttime moisturizer. It's thick and intensely hydrating, which is perfect for my super dry skin. I have and will continue to repurchase this moisturizer sent from above. (No really, it's that amazing.)

2. MAC Eyeshadows | $16 at MAC Cosmetics
Brown Script & Amber Lights

I've never been a MAC snob when in regard to their shadows, but these two shades have been staples in my makeup bag for a long time. Some MAC shadows can be hit or miss, but these two are both high quality and easy to work with. Anyone can wear these shades, but they look especially good on blue eyes.

3. Benefit They're Real Mascara | $23 at Ulta

If you have followed my blog or YouTube for any length of time, you know I'm a big believer in drugstore mascara. I got sucked into the samples in the checkout line at Ulta (gets me every time!) and decided to try this mascara. I was skeptical at all the hype around it. Welp, it's definitely worth the hype! It's volumizing, super lengthening, and gives me the clean and separated look that I love. The best part is that it does not smudge, even on my uber oily eyelids! It's not waterproof, so it washes off like a dream. It's basically everything I look for in a mascara. If you are a skeptic like me, you can try the sample size at Ulta for $10. When I run out, I will most definitely be purchasing the full size!

4. Stila Eyeshadow in Kitten | $18 at Ulta


Kitten is a cult favorite and for good reason. It's one of the most gorgeous shadows I've ever used. It's creamy. It's buttery. It's shimmery. It's pretty much perfect. I've used this on clients ranging from fair to women of color, and it's beautiful on everyone. The only downside to being so finely milled, if you drop it, it's going to shatter. Just treat it like the dainty treasure it is, and you'll have no problem.

Urban Decay Eyeshadow Smog 0.05 oz

BONUS FAVORITE - I don't own any Urban Decay single shadows, so I didn't include them in this Top Ten, but UD shadows are my favorite, ever! (Except the ones with chunky flex of glitter that end up all over your face by the end of the day. Yuck.) You'll get more bang for your buck investing in a palette, but if you're on a budget, the single shadows are $18 at Ulta. My favorite and most used shade is Smog. Love!

5. BITE Beauty Luminous Creme Lipsticks | $24 at Sephora

Bite Beauty Luminous Creme Lipstik Duo

That price tag is a big commitment for my frugal self, so I decided to try this miniature duo for $12 before jumping on the BITE Beauty bandwagon. BITE lipsticks are made with all natural, food grade ingredients. Yep, they're healthy enough to eat! It took one swipe on my lips, and I was hooked. The lipstick is creamy but lightweight on the lips and fairly longwearing. I'll have no problem shelling out $24 for a full size next time I go to Sephora. I'm in love!

6. MAC Paintpot in Painterly | $21 at MAC Cosmetics
MAC Pro Longwear Paint Pot - CAMEL COAT
Painterly is my ride or die eye shadow base. I've used it for as long as I can remember and don't see myself ever using anything else. I've tried just about every primer on the market, and nothing holds up against my oily lids like Painterly. It creates a flawless base for shadows without creasing. It's easy to blend. It makes my shadows pop and more blendable. Painterly FTW!

7. MAC Lipsticks | $16 at MAC Cosmetics
Mac Lipstick

While there are so many great lipsticks at the drugstore, there's just something about wearing a 'high-end' lipstick. I'm not a die-hard MAC lipstick fan, but I do love the ones I own. My favorite formula is Cremesheen because I think they're the most comfortable on the lips. The two shades I currently wear most often are Creme Cup & Faux. Creme Cup is the perfect light pinky-nude and Faux is a rusty, brown-nude - perfect for the Kylie Jenner lip trend.

8. The Balm Blushes | $21-22 at the Balm 


These blushes are the! See what I did there? ;) I love the shade DownBoy for the perfect babydoll pink flush. I really love their InStain long-wearing blushes. The shade Houndstooth is a beautiful mauvey-plum color and probably the shade I reach for most often.

9. MAC Pro Longwear Concealer | $20 at MAC Cosmetics

This concealer is another cult classic that is raved about in the beauty community. At first, I wasn't a huge fan because this concealer isn't quite as hydrating as my Maybelline Instant Age Rewind or Fit Me concealers. However, the great thing about this concealer is that it's full coverage. I can not only use it to conceal my under-eye area but also any blemishes or hyper-pigmentation on the rest of my face, which is rare for a liquid concealer.  It can even be used to prime the eyelids before applying shadow. I love that it's a multi-purpose product that can be used for so many different things. It is very long wearing and though it can set in my fine lines slightly if not set with powder, it doesn't crease as easily as my other concealers. Since it is a heavier product, it's something I reach for more for special occasions rather than day-to-day.

10. Anastasia of Beverly Hills Brow Wiz ($21) & Dipbrow Pomade ($18) | at Ulta

Products from Anastasia of Beverly Hills are a brow game changer. I used to fill my brows in with eye shadow (and still do occasionally) and later progressed to drugstore brow pencils. While there are some great drugstore options, nothing compares to ABH. I love the Brow Wiz (I use shade Soft Brown) because the tip is so fine that it can mimic the appearance of actual brow hairs to give a more natural appearance. The spooly on the opposite end makes the product super easy to comb through and blend. The Dipbrow Pomade (I use shade Soft Brown) is a little more difficult to get the hang of, but it's a waterproof product that will last all day. I love this product to define the tail of my eyebrow, or to give a more defined brow for days when I want a little more drama. If you want a strong brow game, ABH is the way to go.

Don't forget to check out Megan's Top Ten

What are some of your favorite 'luxury' items? Let me know! I'm always looking for new products to try!

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Friday, September 12, 2014

Hair Care 101 | Ten Tips From a Professional

I can barely contain my excitement for today's guest post by one of my dearest friends. KateLin is a professional hair designer and is answering 10 common questions she gets from clients. You can follow her amazing work on Instagram or book an appointment with her if you're in the metro Atlanta area. She's saved me from a hair crisis (or two) and introduced me to some holy grail hair products. You will love her hair tips!

Chris Henderson Photography

Hey everyone! My name is KateLin and I am a Hair Designer of 5 years in Woodstock, Georgia.  I am beyond blessed to call Aundi my friend. Also, like you, I'm totally inspired by her passion for makeup and more! I'm honored to be a part of her awesome blog! I hope that you learn something cool that you didn't know and enjoy! 

Hair Care 101 - Answers to Your Hair Questions

10. "Why are my Bobby pins not holding in my hair?"

Bobby pins are meant to be placed in the hair closed. If you open a Bobby pin, it will try to hold more hair than it can handle and will easily come out. Try keeping it closed but weaving it into you hair for a perfect hold (and to use less Bobby pins)!
9. "How do I know what size round brush I should use?"

The size is determined by the look you are trying to achieve. The bigger the brush the smoother the outcome. The smaller the brush, the outcome will have more flip or curl to it.
EXTRA TIP: Blowdry your hair 75% of the way before you start using a round brush. It will cut down on the time!!

8. "Is box color really THAT bad for your hair?"

First of all, your hairdresser was trained to look at your hair and know how to achieve the desired look. A professional will know the correct strength of pro-oxide, the correct type of color your hair needs, be able to apply it properly, and can create a CUSTOM color for you. We can mix different tones and shades together to create a perfect desired color. Picking a box off of a shelf simply from the color it shows on the box is truly a "cross-your fingers" kind a of situation. It could look okay OR you will be rushing to your nearest salon for a color correction that could end up costing hundreds of dollars.

Also, many store bought "box colors" have waxes that build up on your hair and make your hair feel like straw. Technology in professional hair color is so advanced that your hair is being conditioned while it colors! 

7. "Why should I buy hair products from the salon?"

Have you ever walked out of the salon thinking, "Wow, I wish I could make my hair look like he/she just did"? I'm sure most people have at some point. The answer is PRODUCT. Your stylist can "prescribe" the perfect products for your hair whether it's thick, thin, fine, course etc.. Grocery store products have mostly fillers in them (water, alcohol, waxy substances, etc). These things are really doing nothing for you except for building up on your hair and weighing it down. As hairdressers, we aren't sales people. We "prescribe" products because we want you to look good!

6. "How do I keep my hair healthy in the summer if I spend a lot of time at the pool?"

Hair is like a sponge. If you go into chlorine water with dry hair, your hair will absorb the chlorine. Wet your hair before getting in the pool and don't let the chlorine water dry in your hair either. Rinse/shampoo ASAP!

Chris Henderson Photography

5. "I only want to have 3 layers in my hair, okay?"

Layers aren't counted. You have the main length and then a shorter length that are blended together evenly. Asking a hairdresser for 3 layers will mean nothing to them and most likely they will just smile, nod, and then ask more questions to find out what you are really meaning.

4. "Will my hair grow faster if I cut it more often?"

Your hair grows from your head, not the ends. Cutting your hair doesn't make it grow faster. However, getting regular trims will keep it healthy so that once you get it to the length that you want, you won't have 4 inches of split ends that need to be cut off.

3. "What do you think about products to fix split ends?"

No "split end mender" product will truly "mend" split ends. The only way to get rid out split ends is to cut them.

2. "Is it really necessary to use a heat protectant on my hair when I straighten it?"

Most flat irons and curling irons can get as hot as 400 degrees or more. Someone once explained it to me by saying that Chicken is cooked to 165 degrees. Think about it-400 degrees straight on you hair absolutely NEEDS a heat protectant! This isn't a gimmick. If you are using a hot tool on your hair, absolutely use a heat protectant. My absolute favorite is Beyond Shine by Aquage!
1. "My hair is so frizzy, what can I do?"

Imagine, for a moment, what fish scales or shingles on a roof look like. They are overlapping, but all going to same direction. That is the same kind of look a hair strand has under a microscope. The outer layer of a hair strand is called the cuticle. Anytime a hair strand is forced in the other direction (often times by blowdrying), it causes frizz. Always blow dry or smooth in a downward direction towards the end for less frizz! Plus, a smoothing product will hold down the cuticle for some extra help.

How beautiful is she?! If you have any other questions for KateLin, be sure to leave them in the comments below. Show her lots of love and maybe she'll come back again in the future with other awesome hair care tips!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Fashion Friday | Around the World - New York Fashion Week

I am so excited about today's Fashion Friday! I was asked by Smartling to be a part of their exclusive project celebrating multicultural fashion. Smartling, a translation technology company, celebrates all languages and cultures by helping fashion brands deliver multilingual content to their customers anywhere in the world. What better time for such a celebration than during New York Fashion Week?!

[Check out the end of the post for a way to participate in the celebration and be featured by on my Instagram!]

Celebrating multicultural fashion is about finding ways to incorporate other cultures' fashion trends into your own style. (There is a fine line between high fashion and fraternity toga party.)

I decided to put together two outfits that are inspired by other cultures but still remain true to my style. You guys know I'm all about some basics, so I pieced together some of my favorites with a few accessories that add a hint of cultural influence.

Japanese Inspired

When I think Japanese fashion, I think kimonos (duh!) and bold prints with bright colors. Kimonos are so on trend right now and super easy to find. A black kimono is a perfect addition to any closet because it is so versatile. I paired it with a basic white tank and denim shorts, but you could also opt for a fun printed kimono.

To incorporate a fun print, I went with a bold floral scarf that I tied around the waist to give it more of a traditional kimono feel.

If you don't like the look of the scarf around the waist, you could wear it traditionally around the neck and still have the influence of the gorgeous floral print.

And I couldn't forget a top knot and bright lip to pull the entire look together!

Outfit details:

Kimono - H&M
Scarf - Forever 21
Tank - Target
Shorts - New York & Company
Shoes - Target

Grecian Inspired


When I think Grecian fashion, I think flowing garments and gold accessories. Instead of a one piece flowing gown, I opted for a basic black maxi skirt and white tank. Remember, the goal is more style and less costume. This gold leaf necklace reminded me of Grecian or Roman crowns a la Julius Caesar- you know what I'm talking about. But instead of a leafed crown, I opted for a trendy floral crown.

I also thought it would be fun to take the gold accessories a step further with these flash tattoos. What do you think? Love them or leave them? I personally love them and think they're a fun way to accessorize!

Outfit details:

Flower Crown - Rue 21
Flash Tattoos - Rue 21
Necklace - Forever 21
Tank - Target
Skirt - H&M

I'm challenging you to piece together an outfit inspired by another culture but remains true to your personal style!  I will be sharing my favorite look on Instagram next Friday, so be sure to use the hashtag #makeupbyaundi so I can see your outfit!
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