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April 24, 2014

3 ESSENTIALS FOR A DAY AT THE BEACH WITH KIDS (AND A GIVEAWAY!)


When we first moved to Huntington Beach I was the worlds worst beach mom. No, seriously. The first time we went down to the beach with some new friends I was so completely unprepared it was comical. I wore a t-shirt and a maxi skirt, only to arrive and realize every other mom was in her bathing suit, I didn't bring a lunch, I had one towel, no extra clothing...I didn't even bring sunscreen. All the other moms had their beach chairs, a umbrellas, giant vats of baby powder, extra towels, extra sunscreen, and perfect little satchels of snacks. You guys, I was so completely clueless.

To make matters worse, my child was the only one to fall in the waves, so after diving in after him I was completely soaked, making my maxi skirt stretch out so drastically it could have fit nicely on Michael Jordan. I walked home from the beach that day in a t-shirt and a (borrowed) towel, with my maxi skirt draped over the stroller, which periodically slipped off and got caught in the stroller wheels. I was starving, exhausted, and embarrassed.

Now a year and a half later, I'm happy to consider myself a pretty adept beach mom.

These are three of our beach essentials that have made a huge difference in our beach experience:

1. Baby Powder

  • That first trip to the beach elicited some crazy stares when I asked why everyone had baby powder. Well it turns out I was the crazy one, cause that stuff is brilliant. Dust some on to your wet sandy children, rub it around, and almost instantly all the water is sucked out of the sand and it just falls off. Now I too carry around a giant vat of it. 

2. Folding Backpack Beach Chair

  • We picked up two of these chairs shortly after the first beach day fiasco, and I can't live without them. They fold up into a backpack so I can carry them hands free, they have a big pouch on the back to carry all the (sandy) beach toys to and from the beach, and they're surprisingly comfortable. 

3. Snacks

  • I don't know what it is about the beach, but the moment we get down there we are all starving -- even me. Even if we've just had breakfast. I can't explain it. So I've learned to always have a bag of snacks on hand. NatureBox sent us one of their monthly snack boxes and they were absolutely perfect for a day at the beach. Their individual packages were so easy to throw in the beach bag, great for my kids to sit on the beach towel and munch on, they're healthy (made completely of wholesome and unprocessed ingredients), and they're super delicious. Unless you're my baby, who ate nearly the entire bag of Cherry Berry Bonanza by himself, the bags are all full size and have 3-5 servings in them so they last for more than one beach trip. They have 3 different Box options -- Deluxe Snacker (5 bags for $19.95), Happy Snacker (10 bags for $29.95), and Smart Snacker (20 bags for $49.95), and you get to choose your snacks each month so you can try all different kinds! Our favorites were the Cherry Berry Bonanza, Everything Bagel Stix, and the Dark Cocoa Almonds. I'm drooling even thinking about them. 






If that face doesn't convince you that you need to try these snacks, I don't know what will. 

Today NatureBox is generously giving away 2 six-month Deluxe Snacker subscriptions to 2 lucky readers so you can have some delicious snackies for the beach this summer (or the park, or school, or hidden away in your bedroom so you don't have to share with your children -- I won't judge)! 

To enter:
  • Visit NatureBox and browse their amazing collection of snacks, then come back here and leave a comment telling me which snack you want to try the most! You must include your email address in your comment to win!
this giveaway is open to US readers only 

And if you can't wait, get 50% off your first box of any size with code MERRICK (valid only on first month's box, and only for new customers)!

April 22, 2014

ONE DRESS, TWO WAYS

The longer I work on building a great wardrobe, the more I gravitate toward pieces that I really love and that are really versatile. I used to buy things because I felt like they filled gaps in my wardrobe, not because I really loved them. I also restricted myself with certain purchases because I felt like I already had too much of a certain style or color, so I couldn't buy anymore. Now I've learned that as long as I'm not buy the exact same item, similar pieces are totally okay, and are often helpful for me when styling my closet.  It's okay to have a ton of different black pumps, because sometimes an outfit really works with a wedge shoe, or an ankle strap shoe, or a stiletto, or a pointed toe pump. So having the versatility is really great.

This striped dress from Lulu*s is a great example. I almost overlooked it because my closet is already overloaded with stripes. I even have a striped dress very similar to this, but my other one is maternity (although it can still work for non-maternity), has short sleeves, and is navy and white instead of black and white. These slight differences in the two dresses make for almost endless remixing options in my closet, so I picked it out and haven't regretted it a bit. 

My favorite thing about stripes is that they're so easily dressed up and down. So I teamed up with Lulu*s today to show you two ways I'm wearing this dress, both casual and dressy and join in on their Fashion Face Off contest! Check out the details below to win $500 to their store!










photos by jylare smith

outfit 1:
lulu*s dress, c/o (similar, similar)
old navy sunglasses, similar

outfit 2:
lulu*s dress, c/o (similar, similar)

This week Lulu*s is talking about Florals vs. Stripes, two of this springs hottest trends. Which one are you loving the most this season? Make sure you're following along on instagram (mine and lulu*s) for a chance to be featured and win $500! Check out more details here, and follow along with hashtags #teamstripes and #lulusfashionfaceoff.

Happy Tuesday!

April 21, 2014

SOPHISTICATED AND WHIMSY IN AN OUTFIT WITH MARC JACOBS FRAGRANCES

There's something about spring for me that makes me itch for change. Instead of a big change like chopping off all of my hair or rearranging every piece of furniture in my house, I teamed up with Marc Jacobs and changed my perfume instead. Obviously a noticeable change for me, but much less dramatic than a pixie cut. Marc Jacob's Fragrances collection embodies spring and summer for me with it's fresh and fragrant scents, and since starting to wear both Daisy and Daisy Eau So Fresh, I've just felt so summery! It's amazing what a little perfume can do to change how you feel, right?

This change has also inspired some wardrobe changes as I've been transitioning my closet from winter to spring. I've been combining my more sophisticated, classic, and structured wintery pieces with my breezy, colorful and playful spring and summer pieces, creating combinations that strike a balance between sophisticated and whimsy inspired by the perfect balance between the rich musky smell and incredibly fresh and playful scents of Marc Jacob's perfumes.

This combination -- sophisticated and whimsy -- is a really fun and unexpected combination for spring, so let's talk about achieving that look. Try these six tips for striking the perfect balance between these two styles!


1. ADD WHIMSY WITH LIGHT OR BRIGHT COLORS 
  • I used mint, but any pastel or neon color palette instantly adds a bit of whimsy and fun to your outfit! 

2. ADD SOPHISTICATION WITH CLASSIC SHAPES
  • An knee length A-line skirt is the epitome of classic. Even if it's in a fun print or bright color, the classic shape adds an element of sophistication. 

3. ADD WHIMSY WITH AN UNEXPECTED NAIL COLOR
  • White nails are an unexpected and trendy choice this spring. I'd been a little nervous about trying them, since I usually go for more classic colors, but my husband specifically commented on how much he liked them which gave me the boost of confidence I needed to rock them. It adds a youthful and whimsical touch to any outfit!

4. ADD SOPHISTICATION WITH A FEMININE FLORAL PRINT 
  • Feminine florals are so sophisticated, and so on-trend right now! 

5. ADD WHIMSY WITH A FLOPPY HAT
  • Isn't a big floppy hat just the perfect way to add some whimsy to a sophisticated outfit? I love that it's a little big glamorous, but casual and summery at the same time! 
6. ADD SOPHISTICATION WITH A CLASSIC SHOE
  • Since I was playing with color and prints, and adding a lot of whimsical touches, I stuck with a classic shoe. A nude ankle strap pump is so feminine and sophisticated, but a classic pump or wedge would be a great choice too!
Using these tips, I created this pretty and playful outfit, inspired by my Marc Jacobs perfumes











photos by sara walk

top: target
skirt: c/o boden
hat: similar


Also, see more whimsical Daisy-inspired style here

This is a collaboration between Marc Jacobs and the AOL Lifestyle Contributor Network. Compensation was provided by Marc Jacobs via AOL Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Marc Jacobs.

April 19, 2014

FRESH FACED MAKEUP FOR SUMMER

Summer time is all about sunshine, bare arms and legs, and light and fresh clothing and makeup choices. A fresh face look is so summery and youthful, pairs perfectly with all your lightweight clothing, and makes it look like you're wearing nothing. So here's a little step by step to show how I achieve that flawless fresh faced look, without any cakey or heavy makeup -- in fact, everything I use is super light so I don't even feel like I'm wearing makeup!

Plus, since there are only a few steps, it takes just about 5 minutes from start to finish so you can be out the door to your sunny summery activities in no time, and looking fabulous and fresh!



Step 1. 
Start with a clean, dry face. The key to the fresh face look is no dry or rough patches, so I use Neutrogena Blackhead eliminating scrub every few days to keep my pores super clean and to slough off any dry skin. It works wonders and I highly recommend it. Moisturize well after using it, then let your skin completely dry before applying foundation.


Step 2.
A super even and smooth base is the first step, and I use bareSkin foundation from bareMinerals (I wrote more about this product here) and buff it gently all over my face. Make sure you blend it nicely on your jawline and neck. 


like this: 

Step 3. 
With a big fluffy brush, apply a loose powder to set your foundation. Since I've started using the bareSkin foundation, I've used my old bareMinerals mineral veil foundation as my loose powder, which gives me a little extra coverage where I need it, and helps the liquid foundation really stay in place all day. But before that I used a CoverGirl loose translucent powder and it worked great. In fact, I still use it in the next step.


Step 4. 
(optional) fill in your brows. With the light fresh face look, a defined brow is flattering since it adds a little bit of contrast and definition to an otherwise smooth and soft look. I use Anastasia brow powder duo and an angled brush from Ulta. After filling them in, go back with the fluffy brush and CoverGirl translucent powder and brush over them gently to set the makeup and give it a less harsh and more realistic look.  I'll do a full brow tutorial soon! 


Step 5. 
Next let's add a little bit of color to that newly evened out skin tone. First up is bronzer. Don't go heavy on this -- the idea is that you want to look glowy and sunkissed, so no harsh lines. I use a fluffy brush to get a more natural look, and use "warmth" All-Over Face Color from bareMinerals. I apply it just below my cheekbones (where you can see the brush in the photo below), along my hairline on my forehead, along my jawline, and down my neck. I also occasionally squish the brush a bit with my fingers to make in narrower, and then apply down the sides of my nose (but not on the bridge).

[tip: When you put your brush in your bronzer color, always do a brush on the back of your hand to make sure you get an even application when you put it on your face].


Step 6. 
Now add a little color to those cheeks with a bit of blush. I love "beauty" by bareMinerals because it's a very natural pink. Use the same brush-first-on-the-back-of-your-hand tip that I mentioned above when applying blush, and smile when you do this so you can put it right on the apples of your cheeks. 


Step 7.
Next up, add a bit of definition to those eyes with a dark gray or black eyeliner pencil. I like bareMinerals lasting line long-wearing eyeliner in charcoal. I use liquid liner for evening makeup, but during the day the pencil achieves a softer look while still giving the illusion of a thicker lash line and defining your eyes. Skip the eyeliner on your lower lid for this look. 


Step 8.
Finish off your eyes with some mascara (curl your lashes first if you need to). I usually do two coats to ensure a nice black last line and thick full lashes. I currently use both bareMinerals Lash Domination Volumizing Mascara and Flawless Definition Curl and Lengthen Mascara.


Step 9.
The way to finish this look is with some neutral lip color. I like bareMinerals Marvelous Moxie Lipgloss in pink mauve for a super neutral and shimmery lip, but if I'm looking for a little more color, I use Forever 21's High Pigment Gloss in Hot Pink


And you're done! A flawless, super lightweight, super natural fresh face for summer! 



This is not a sponsored post. I get asked all the time about my makeup routine, so hopefully this answers your questions. I've been wearing bareMinerals for three years now, and, as you can tell, I really love it :) 

April 18, 2014

SUMMER FRESH FACE WITH BARESKIN

Now that we're approaching the summer months, it's time to perfect your summer fresh face makeup routine! During the winter many people wear heavier makeup, but in summer when the layers come off and you're sporting bare arms and legs, it's only right to have a fresh faced makeup routine to match. Since many of us are not blessed with absolutely flawless skin, we need something to achieve that smooth, fresh, dewy, and naturally flawless base that is essential for the fresh faced look.

I had the exciting opportunity to partner with bareMinerals this month to try out their brand new, first ever liquid foundation, bareSkin, that will hit the shelves May 1st! I've been a bareMinerals customer for over three years now (and absolutely love it), and have been slowly replacing everything in my makeup bag with every product they sell. So I was beyond thrilled to be able to try out their newest innovative product. And you guys, it's awesome.

The foundation has the bare minimum ingredients, all of which are natural and renewing (vitamin c, coconut and lilac plant), so it won't clog your pores or make you breakout, both of which I can attest to. In fact, my pores look clearer since I've started using it. You guys, I've tried so many liquid foundations, all of which I haven't loved for one reason or another, so I'm thrilled to finally a liquid foundation that I love and can feel good about wearing!



My skin tone is uneven with redness on my cheeks and chin, so I used their special applicator brush to buff on the bareSkin foundation to achieve a smooth and even complexion. They recommend two drops for a light coverage, and up to six drops for complete coverage, and I found that six was just about perfect coverage for my skin situation. Also after a little trial and error, I found that it really stayed on absolutely all day long if I followed with a light coverage of loose powder over my whole face and neck to set the foundation (and then proceeded with the rest of my makeup) -- I just used my bareMinerals powder foundation with a big fluffy makeup brush and it worked perfectly!



After applying my bareSkin foundation, I added bronzer, blush, a swipe of eyeliner pencil, and mascara, and filled in my eyebrows, then finished the look with a shimmery pale pink gloss (I'll share all the details, products, and a step by step tomorrow)!

This fresh and natural makeup look was just begging for a summery look to go with it, so I threw a summery dress and vest over my lace top, and paired it with some wedge sandals and aviators for a sunny afternoon downtown!





photos by sara walk
h&m dress
old navy wedges (similar, similar)
lulu*s bag, c/o (similar)
old navy aviators (similar)

bareSkin will be available May 1st at bareminerals.com, bareMinerals boutiques, QVC, Sephora, ULTA, Macy's, and Dillard's! Go grab yourself some and get ready to get your fresh face on for summer with me!


This post is sponsored by bareMinerals. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the companies that make this blog possible!

April 17, 2014

SHOP HERS CLOSET

A few weeks ago I had a really fun opportunity to spend the day in Santa Monica with Shop Hers. They're a luxury marketplace where you can buy and sell used designer merchandise at an obviously discounted price, and as a major bargain shopper this is a super appealing idea for me. Amazing designers at a much more affordable price? Almost too good to be true (happily it's not). I only own a small handful of designer pieces, because I just can't justify the price, but when you can find used designer pieces for a fraction of the cost then you're definitely talking my language.

They let me try out the whole process, creating an account and creating a style profile with my sizing information that matched me up with girls my size who were selling their things. I picked out a few items, and then spent the day up at their showroom, digging through racks of their amazing designer pieces, and then creating an outfit.















If you have some unworn or unwanted designer pieces, anyone can sign up to sell on Shop Hers. They also have a VIP program where you send them your pieces and they price, photograph, list, and ship all your merchandise for you -- so easy if you have no extra time to do it yourself (like me).

Or if you're looking for some designer pieces to add to your closet, but don't want to pay full price, they're a great place to look. And to help you out with your first purchase, they're offering a $50 site-wide credit, available for 24 hours after you register...so hop on over and treat yourself to something fabulous!


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