Reconstructed :: Jennifer Lawrence Vogue Cover

Reconstructed :: Jennifer Lawrence Vogue Cover

How great is J Law’s makeup on the cover of Vogue this month? Hey, I’m all about the holidays and getting in the spirit and looking festive. But, I’ve gotta say…this fresh, bronze-y look has me hackerin’ for something a little more warm weather.

So, yes, it is ok to pair your warm neutrals with your wintery style, or even as a low key holiday look. Why not keep face and hair simple and let that smashing new outfit you got for the season do the talking?

Here’s what I’d use if I were recreating Jennifer’s look. And you better believe I am!

W3LL People Bio Bronzer :: Going nuts on the bronzing powder is always a bad thing. But a little dusting of this will take skin straight from December to July. For the fair skinned, mix a bit of bronzer with your regular facial powder. The idea here is fresh glow, not just came back from a tropical vacation.

Ilia Beauty Pure Eyeliner in Sweet Jane :: Just the right amount of depth without being harsh or too glam. Which is exactly what I love about brown eyeliner.

Alima Pure Luminous Shimmer Shadow in Glow and Tiger Eye :: Create a warm yet illuminated look, followed by your choice of black mascara. Mine? Dr. Hauschka Volume Mascara all the way.

Ilia Beauty Lipstick Crayon in Come Undone :: Think slightly plummy nude. A true nude would make this look boring. The slight hint of color adds a hint of natural color. If you into something a bit glossier, and who isn’t?, RMS Beauty Lip Shine in Honest works beautifully here.

Ecobrow Defining Wax :: Make those eyebrows pop with a bit of definition. Not sure how to pull off on fleek brows? Here’s a little tutorial for ya.

List Love :: November Edition

List Love :: November Edition

I know what you are thinking…It’s November! What should I be puttin’ on my face and bod?

Great question! Let me fill you in on my little listy-poo of stuff I am in love with for the month of earth tones, warm clothes, pumpkin everything, and gearing up for the holidays.

The latest addition to the ever-awesome Kjaer Weis collection includes a smokin’ hot Cream Blush that I can’t get enough of. The beauty of Above and Beyond is that it is so universal. Looks great on my fair complexion but would also work perfectly on medium and darker skin tones. Way to go again, KW!

How much do you adore those red/black ombre nails up there from the OPI Venice collection? I know I saw a how-to on Instagram but now can’t locate it. If I were doing it, and I probably am, I’d use RMS Beauty Nail Polish in Beloved and Diabolique. Tried out Sublime and have to say, the color is brilliant and lasted longer than the brand I normally use. Great stocking stuffers too.

Aster & Bay Glow Body Serum. Want this Jasmine scented skin hydrator in my life so bad. Keep away dry skin and smell completely vibe at the same time? Yep!

Think earthy makeup shades are only for summer? No way, Jose! Earth tones are super in for fall and winter this year. Try out warm, caramely Kjaer Weis Eye Shadow in Charmed. A neutral means you can go for something ultra dusky on lips, like RMS Beauty Lip2Cheek in Diabolique. You know, to match your nails.

Yes, the holidays are coming. Yes, they’ll be fun. And yes, they’ll smack the energy straight out of ya. This year I may try getting a little extra something from Urban Moonshine Energy Tonic. This natural ingredient combo is said to suppress fatigue, boost mental clarity, and ramp up energy. That oughta get you through to New Year’s, unlike regular moonshine which does the opposite.

How cool is this funky black and cream scarf? And how handy would it be right now? Throw it on with jeans and a sweater, pants and blouse, over your coat, with your jammies…kind of up to you.

As for reading. I’ve been taking a class on fiction writing and haven’t wanted to read any fiction to mess with my mojo flow. So I’ve tapped into Medical Medium by Anthony William which is doing all kinds of good stuff for my life. Have you heard of this guy? Definitely worth a look.

PS :: In case you didn’t know, I’m writing over at Domino.com. Check out my fun stuff there, like how to carve out a vanity in tiny digs and how to share a closet with your SO, daughter, roomie…without losing your ever lovin’ marbles (or any of your stuff).

Shop Talk :: The One Thing Your Customers Really Want

Shop Talk :: The One Thing Your Customers Need

Shop Talk is a series on helping organic beauty professionals get their products into the hands of people who will love them, and share their message with the world.

You neeeed vibe word flow.

Know why? It’s how you sell your stuff.

If you were a blogger or shop owner around 6- 10 years ago, you probably remember online marketing in a very different way. Back then it was all about the pretty ads. Flashing, sparkling, bright ads. Plastered everywhere.

Sure, people are still paying big bucks for ads on highly visible sites. But do you know what gets customer attention these days? It is not that big flashy ad. It is words. Solid, honest, super transparent information.

We’ve upped our online game along the way. And thank goodness! Now we go to someone’s site, read up on what we want to know, and decide if we’d like to request more info or make a purchase. The way it should be.

Hey, if you walk into a shop and start looking at, say…juicers. You are thinking the cheap one looks good price-wise. But will it burn up the third time you use it? Is the more expensive model the best way to go? What do you do? Look at the huge banner telling you to purchase the expensive model and do that, just because the banner said so?

Heck no!

You ask the person working in the store. That is why they are there, right? To give you more information that will aid in your buying decision. And how much does the giant, brightly colored banner with the eye-catching font do for you? Not a whole lot.

Same deal with your web content. Your words tell your customers what they want to know and answer their questions. This is what helps them decide what to buy. Not the crazy ad.

No clue where to begin? I’ve created a little crib sheet for you, including three important things to keep in mind when sharing your products with your customers.

3 Important Things to Share With Your Customers

1. Who is this product for? Most often, when people shop beauty they are shopping for a solution. Fix their acne. Tone down their redness. Diminish their wrinkles. Tell them exactly who the product is designed for and what problem it solves.

2. Look, smell, feel. Since we are talking online stores here, customers can’t get their hands on your sweet products. Let them know what the product feels like to the touch. How does it smell? Is it a creamy, dreamy violet-hued red lipstick or a striking matte tangerine lipstick? Be as descriptive as possible.

3. Give up the ingredients. We know this is important. Consumers are savvy these days and look for full ingredient listings. So don’t beat around the bush, copy and paste those suckers onto each and every description page.

If, on the other hand, you do not have a love of writing, think your writing stinks, or simply do not have the time (you are running an online biz, after all), I can help with that. Organic beauty/wellness writing is my thang and I’d be more than happy to help you out.

Find out what my services will do for you, and fill out the Content Stylist form with the specs on your writing wants and needs. Or if you are less wordy, don’t know what you really want or need, or would like to talk about retaining my writing services on an as needed basis, please give me a shout through my good ol’ contact form. Questions welcome.

Would love to hear from you organic beauty + wellness professionals…what are your biggest hurdles in running an online biz? Setting up time for blogging, social media, or emails? Getting to know your customers? Finding new and exciting products? I’d love to know, so please share in the comments.

Shop Talk :: When Your Creativity Gives You Lemons…

Shop Talk :: When Your Creativity Gives You Lemons…

So you’ve got yourself a blog. You have been doing a fair job of updating it regularly. You’ve set aside a day/night/wee hour of the morning each week to write up a post. And now you are blank.

If you’ve ever wondered What the heck am I going to put up on the blog this week?, first; you are not alone, second; you have options.

Yes, all of us dry up on creativity at some point. Even those who appear to have creative mojo dripping from their pores. You have two options here. Either get your juices pumping which, yes, takes energy and often time. May I suggest a run, shower, quick nap on the couch?

Or you can fake it. This is the easy way out, but it can also be a thing of beauty.

The following is a list of post ideas for any organic beauty or wellness blog. These are fast and easy to come up with, will help you out in a pinch, and fun for your readers too. You’ll be slinging these babies out like hotcakes and having a great time doing it. I’m calling it…

Blog Post 911

Product post :: Product reviews can get old. Not only for you, but for your readers. Rather than writing up 300+ words on what is so great about your latest addition, try a sentence or two on a handful of similar use products, seasonal items, or those you are simply loving right now. A pretty pic never hurts either and can even do most of the talking for you.

Wishlist post :: You know you have one. Don’t we all? That running list in your iPhone, notebook, head of pretties you are dying to get your hands on? Share them with your readers and encourage them to do the same in the comments. Have a shop? Put up items you’d like to try and match them up with similar “until I get to this” items you carry.

Who Do You Love post :: The super model, actress, writer, painter, product creator, blogger that you admire so much? Tell others about her. Share her with your world. Your followers like to know what you like and your crush may even take note. Nothing like a little reciprocal love.

How To post :: Do your readers ask you certain questions again and again? Friends and acquaintances always wondering what lip gloss or scent you are wearing? Tell them, already! As in “I always get asked…”. A good ol’ how to post is always a hit, too.

How They post :: I have heard so many women comment on the JLo Glow. I always thought Luminizer, duh. Well, let them know! How did Salma get that winged out liner on that Allure cover? How does Gwen get her red lipstick to stay put? Have the answer? Enquiring minds want to know.

Each of these can be whipped out in an hour or less. Promise.

Did this help? If you’d like to read more blog post ideas or have other questions on content for your site or blog, let me know.

How To :: Shop Beauty at Whole Foods

How To :: Shop Beauty at Whole Foods

Whole Foods. I mention beauty items you can find there from time to time. Thought it was time I shared my WF beauty shopping list.

While I try and curb my Whole Foods experience due to my desire to go on vacations, buy some cool clothes, and one day send my kids to college, I do end up there fairly regularly. Not only is their fruit selection much better than my beloved Target, but it is an easy place to pick up some of my favorite natural beauty essentials.

The key to shopping WF without going broke is to go prepared, get your shiz, and get the heck outta there! So, here’s your list for the beauty aisle. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

AcurehairWF

AcurebodywashWF

AcurelineWF

AcureWrinkleWF

Acure Organics :: I love that WF carries this fabulous line. Acure makes skin, body and hair care basics, reasonably priced, and no nasty ingredients. They work great too. I pick up the Eye Cream, Day Cream, Radical Wrinkle Complex, Sensitive Facial Cleanser, body wash, and shampoo and conditioner. Target does carry some of this line too.

TrilogyWF

Trilogy :: Trilogy Certified Organic Rosehip Oil is one of my first organic beauty loves. So good. Brightens, diminishes lines and dark spots, hydrates, and makes skin glow. A prize.

EvanHealyWF

Evan Healy :: A bottle of Pomegranate Repair Serum is a must for the beauty kit this time of year. Sinks into skin to moisturize and soften. I like to use it at night over my usual moisturizer once the indoor heat season starts up.

LipbalmWF

Whole Foods Lip Balm :: What if I told you WF makes one of my absolute fave lip balms?. For real. I love this lip balm more than most I’ve tried over the years. And since I am a lippy junkie, there have been many. It is super smooth and soft, not too greasy or too waxy, and comes in lots of fun flavors. Cheap too. Grab one at the checkout aisle as you are avoiding the bakery and making a mad dash for your car.

DrHWF2

Dr. Hauschka :: I also love that WF carries Dr. Hauschka. This guru of organic beauty has high quality formulas and several products to choose from. I don’t purchase these products regularly, but if they start carrying Dr. H Volume Mascara that’ll change real fast.

There you have it. My personal Whole Foods beauty shopping list. Now put your blinders on and go buy yourself some healthy stuff.

What You’re Doing This Weekend

These are Working for Your Weekend

Have some free time this weekend? Feel like doing some reading/learning? Boy, do I have stuff you are going to love!

Do you love to read as much as I do? If I could figure out how to make a living off of reading or taking online courses…life made.

Since I have not yet figured that out, I do so in my spare time. And I’ve got a hunch you do too. So I want to let you in on some super good stuff you can check out over the weekend.

Big Magic :: Ok, if you did not get your sweaty little hands on a copy of Elizabeth Gilbert’s new book yet, Do. So. Pronto. Big Magic is a quick, enlightening read that’ll have you kicking if onlys and what ifs to the curb, and calling up your inspo like the creative beast you are. Gilbert (in her talking-to-your-bestie-over-coffee manner) not only gives you permission to take time to do the things you love, but absolutely insists on it as a means to a meaningful existence. You are soooo ready for this.

James Patterson Teaches Writing :: You know. The #1 New York Times Best Selling, award winning, American author of books for children, teens, and adults? Yeah, that guy. James has a fiction writing course on Masterclass.com, called James Patterson Teaches Writing, that’s gonna knock the socks off your writer’s block. He offers up 22 lessons on everything from creating characters and plot line, to firing up your passion for writing and marketing your work. I bought this baby yesterday and cannot wait to get started. Want to do it with me? It’s only $90 and just the videos of this cute, funny, relatable author are worth the price alone. Another reason I know it will be good? A personal recommendation by my copywriting hero, Ash Ambirge.

Anything Ash :: Speaking of… if you are a copywriter of anything and think you need help with your business, writing, whatever (and even if you believe you have the whole thing handled), look at Ash’s offerings. I’ve taken two of her courses, (both unbelievably helpful and I will share more details on soon) and purchased her products. Get on over there now and gift yourself some help with writing, marketing, graphics, or just some handy sentences to help you out with daily life stuff.

There you go. Now have a bitchin’ weekend!

Image :: Marie-Sophie Tékian at Unsplash.com

Product Love :: Beauty Beauties

 

PrettiesZoom

Product reviews. Love ‘em? Hate ‘em? Don’t really care about ‘em?

I used to love to write product reviews. My passion for beauty products and writing all swirled into one happy place? Dream come true!

Lately I’ve been spending more time writing on organic beauty business ideas and strategies, and the real how-tos and what’s-ups of organic beauty and wellness. Yes, lots of products too. But reviews? Not as much.

So that is why it has taken me so long to get around to these two products I’ve had sitting around for a while. It is not that I don’t love them (because I only review products I truly like for myself or feel others would super duper benefit from), it’s just that reviews have sorta been on the back burner.

Anyway…the thing about these two beauties is…they are actual beauties. Inside and out. As in, the packaging is as pretty as the product. So while they have not yet appeared here on the blog, they have been a constant presence in my bathroom.

What are these two lovelies? One is a beautiful bottle of fabulously scented, highest quality oils by the stellar Kypris. This is a high end oil that acts like, well, a high end oil. This dream in a bottle was offered to me all tied up in a giftie navy blue bow. Product experience, anyone?

The other product (or products, actually) are not at the organic beauty royalty level of Kypris, but definitely deserve a serious turn of the head. I’d not heard of Formulary 55 when they were offered to me, but I am so glad I accepted them. These packets of face and body powders in mask/scrub form made my skin so unbelievably soft. For real!

Both of these exquisite beauty items make for some serious eye candy. Which got me to wondering…how much of our buying experience hinges on product appearance and packaging? There are always those must haves that could come in the least attractive bottle and we’d still buy them. But when we are talking expensive, luxury or specialty products, don’t we kind of need some experience to go along with them?

It’s like going to get a massage or spa treatment. This is a luxury, right? A treat. If the place is drab, rundown or otherwise unappealing the massage won’t seem like as much of a treat. It may not even be worth it.

So, there is something to this whole visual appeal thing, which led me to write a recent article for Domino.com on products that give good shelf esteem. This whole idea got my wheels spinning and I started asking around – How important is product packaging to you? And, not surprisingly, it is pretty dang important to most people. Women and men alike admit to putting a lot of importance on the way an item looks when buying.

Both Kypris and Formulary 55 outdo themselves on quality and aesthetics. Worthy of your skin and vanity/bathroom shelf.

List Love :: Autumn Adoration

List Love :: Fall Fancies

Change of seasons always leaves me hankering for new stuff. New beauty stuff, new home stuff, new closet stuff. Here’s what’s on my list for fall…

RMS Beauty has come out with…wait for it…nail polish! How exciting is that? And it gets better. Each polish shade matches up to one of their makeup colors. Living Luminizer in a polish? *swoon* Of course, they are 5-free.

One of these headbands from Domino.com would also make a pretty cool bracelet.

And how about this adorable little duffle?

My white faux sheepskin obsession has branched off into a black faux sheepskin obsession. So. Dang. Cool.

This Aster + Bay Glow Body Serum is said to make skin glow, slow aging, and smell like jasmine? I’m in. Update: It looks like the Aster + Bay Body Serum is no longer available, but I love this one just as much:)

That’s it for now. What’s on your shopping/wish list for fall?

Ingredient Listings Decoded (A Handy Cheat Sheet)

Ingredient Listings Decoded (A Handy Cheat Sheet)

A couple weeks ago in Shop Talk we covered why complete ingredient listings are the most important words on any decent organic beauty shop’s site. Finding out exactly what is in a product is the only way to truly know if it is safe before you buy.

You know how you’ll go to an online shop who is doing a great job of making themselves and the products they carry look green? No this, no that, all natural … Then you go to the page of an interesting looking product. Sounds good, looks good, let’s take a peek at what’s in this pretty little beauty.

And there it is. Or shall we say, there it isn’t. No ingredient listing to be found. Or maybe it has one of those key ingredient listings. You know, where they list all of the natural-ish ingredients in the product but don’t give up a full ingredient listing.

Guess why they may be doing this? It usually is not in the name of being more concise. Both of these scenarios are red flags. Even the one that lists those wholesome sounding key ingredients.

You’ve been around the block enough times now to know that just because a product contains a few natural ingredients, doesn’t mean it is free from toxic ingredients. And the good old none-of-this-or-that-disclosure you see on sites? Forget those and get straight to the nitty gritty, the ever important ingredient listing.

Ok, so you shop places that list everything in every product they carry. Yay! Dazed and confused once you are faced with deciphering this mess of words? Even some natural ingredients sound not so natural?

I’m going to arm you with a powerful tool. An ingredient decoding cheat sheet. This will help you to differentiate healthy ingredients from nasty ones on the fly.

Ingredient List Decoder

1 :: Check the first 5 ingredients. These ingredients make up the majority of the product. Like food, cosmetic product ingredients are listed in order of concentration, from greatest to least. So if a product is comprised mostly of water, it will be the first ingredient on the list, and so on. Synthetic emollients and harsh foaming agents hang out here. Use my Ingredients to Avoid list for help.

2 :: Check the last 5 ingredients. These may be used in lesser amounts but the end of an ingredient listing is where you will usually find fragrance and preservatives.

3 :: If you’ve made it this far, fairly safe to say you have a safe product. Now scan those ingredients in the middle of the listing, if there are any, to see if anything comes up dirty.

4 :: Not sure on an ingredient name? Many brands follow the European INCI ingredient listings, using Latin names for ingredients. Check the INCI listing here.

5 :: Wondering whether or not the ingredients are organic? Organic ingredients are often marked with an asterisk. “100% Organic” means a product contains only organically produced ingredients, “Certified Organic” means the product is made of at least 95% organically produced ingredients, “Made with Organic Ingredients” means the product contains at least 70% organically produced ingredients.

So there’s some help in decoding those pesky ingredient listings. Have more questions? Ask away!

Shop Talk :: Image Improvement

Shop Talk :: Image Bonanza

So you’ve written up a sweet little post for your blog. It is chock full o’ helpful info and juicy knowledge. You’ve linked to other useful articles, resources, and products. Now all you need to finish this baby up and make it completely irresistible is … the dreaded image.

You’ve heard images are supposed to be highly focused, tell a bit about your post, and entice readers to click, right? And for good reason. The perfect image is not only good looking, it is the lead in to your article. So, why are you having so much trouble getting the hang of this whole picture thing?

Don’t worry. Any blogger who is not a photographer has had image issues. You have to make sure you are using those with a sharable license so you won’t get into any copyright trouble, but also want them to look great and make sense with your posts.

This can be tricky. There have been times when it’s taken me longer to find the appropriate image than it did to write the post. Many times. For a while there I even resorted to creating my own text “images” to avoid the whole hunt. Nasty example can be viewed here.

Bottom line is, if you are taking the time to write a worthwhile post it must be accompanied by a worthwhile image. Anything less is like wearing a brand new, beautiful outfit with old, doggy shoes from high school.

You have a couple of options here. Either use images from royalty free image sites or take your own. And I promise, you definitely do not need to be a pro photog to take great pics. I finally did some investigating prior to launching my latest blog design and it was well worth the time.

ImageSetUp

Here’s how I take the images I use on my blog. I use two white poster boards for a blank background and to reflect light, and set it up right by a window for natural light. I set up by my back door because all of the windows in my home are paned, and that makes for some funky shots. Natural light always looks so much better than artificial, even on a cloudy day. You can always brighten your image up with a filter. That info coming up next.

GoldStuffOriginal

What camera am I using? My iPhone. I have a big fancy Nikon and like the pictures my phone takes better for the blog. Plus, it is so much easier to use. Once I have a pic I like, I run it through a filter app. Pic Tap Go is super easy and I think only cost me a few bucks. I use Lights On filter because I like my images bright. You can see that my shot was not very bright before I ran it through the filter app. For quick and simple online editing, try PicMonkey.com.

An important note: We are talking about blog photos. Product shots for online shops should be taken by a professional or ask for high res shots from the brand.

I also use images from free image sites from time to time. My faves are Unsplash.com and Morguefile.com for gorgeous photography that really shouldn’t be free. When going this route be sure you credit the photographer and site you grabbed the pic from at the bottom of your post.

That’s it. Not hard or scary at all. Added bonus is, you can use these pics on your Instagram too. No excuse not to have a picture perfect blog.

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