Tag Archives: tips

Handmade Home Wedding

May 13, 2014

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It’s that time of year… I can hear the church bells ringing and see the flower petals floating down the isle before the bride. However, weddings are expensive, and the costs can become overwhelming. If you are planning a wedding, be thankful that handmade, vintage and rustic are all in style.

As I perused one of my favorite wedding photographers, Morgan Trinker, I came upon the perfect combination of simplicity and charm. “Less is more” has never been more true.

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For more pictures and the couple’s story, visit here.

Brittany Windle

Follow Britt on Twitter.

The Ugly Side of Insecurity

April 22, 2014

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I scanned her picture. Okay… It wasn’t just a scan. I examined it like an investigator picks a part a crime scene. Why did her big thighs and ankles make me feel better? If I could find a flaw, just one flaw, it would remedy my malady: insecurity.

Insecurity is like a festering sore. At times, I allow it to begin to heal. Then I pick at it again, opening the tender wound.

[Side note: I’m not insecure in every area of my life. And I’m not the stereotypical picture either: mousy, shy or quiet.]

Screen shot 2014-04-21 at 9.14.58 PMInsecurity has exposed a very ugly side in me: jealousy, anger, and competitiveness have all derived from this evil culprit. It had to have started long ago. It didn’t just magically appear in my 29 year old self. And honestly, I’m not sure if it matters when.

But it’s there, and I know I’m not the only female who experiences it. In fact, one of my best girl friends recently admitted to looking at all of her current boyfriend’s ex’s social media outlets. “At least, I don’t have bleach blonde hair and two kids,” she taunted.

We get vicious, and treat one another like wild animals in an untamed jungle. It’s like survival of the prettiest in our superficial, sickly minds. I wonder if Darwin would have agreed.

After a heartbreaking end to a relationship a couple of years ago, I dated this so called party guy. He claimed he had changed, and I did enjoy having something to do on my now cleared agenda. His clingy ex girlfriend found my cell number and anonymously texted me one day. She was sick with insecurity, and she was beautiful. Granted, her insecurity was fueled by a noncommittal guy who kept her at arm’s length.

I’ve been trying to understand this insecurity that lurks around and rears its ugly head at the most inopportune times. Why do I feel insecure at times, and at other times, I don’t? And it occurred to me that it is when I feel most threatened, when I fear danger or loss of security.

Beth Moore in her book entitled, So Long, Insecurity, confesses to having irrational thoughts and actions, which have been fueled by insecurity. She admits that she has feared that her husband might leave her for another woman. She also admits this is an irrational fear, probably stemming from a tumultuous upbringing. However, she poses a question to her readers: What if that one thing you fear actually comes true?

She plainly states something like this: You’d be hurt, cry a bit, maybe act out a lot, then move on. And it would be okay. You would be okay.

Most of the time we are fearing things that will never happen. We hold too tightly the one thing that gives us security: looks, intelligence, sense of humor, etc. When someone threatens this thing we most associate ourselves with, we fear. However, someone’s talent doesn’t void us of our own. We are no longer pretty because the girl next to us is pretty. I’ve wasted too much time worrying and fearing the what if’s.

I want that wound to heal. And I’ll tell myself: It will be okay. I will be okay.

Brittany Windle

Follow her on Twitter.

InstaSEXagram

April 9, 2014

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Since the widespread of Instagram, I’m noticing more and more women showcasing their bodies… and their goodies- not just their fit, toned selves in workout gear, but hyper-sexualized pictures. Take the “fitspo” and “fitnessmotivation” trends and the pictures that accompany them for example. Who wears a thong and lace push-up bra in full hair and makeup while doing tricep kick-backs on a bench in the gym ? NO ONE.

What message are women sending these days? Has vanity overtaken our society? What about the girls of future generations? I fear that the answers to these questions are what women have been fighting against for decades.

What message are women sending these days? These risque pictures (in hopes of getting “likes” and “comments”) are leaving nothing to the imagination; they send universal approval to men to lust and sexualize women. Women of today are adding to the over-sexed hype that our culture has set as a standard. As if it hasn’t gotten bad enough through commercial media, we as women are adding to this standard by means of social media. We are counteracting what we have been wanting for years and years to happen-to be taken seriously, given equal opportunities as men and to not be looked at as a mere sex object. Instagram is a sea of semi-nude women in sexually explicit poses, and we are to blame. Women are posting these.

Has vanity overtaken our society? I get it-I love style and fashion. I post #ootds (not with my face in them) and the occasional “selfie” (rare), and some days, quite frankly, I just feel beautiful! However, my first reaction is not to take 100 photos just to capture that one perfect look to post on Instagram. I have a confidence that came from years and years of experience, self-reflection and self-acceptance. Today, women have become self-absorbed; hovering over their heads is an unhealthy pressure to capture how beautiful their hair looks or how amazingly flawless their makeup is or how tight their booty is getting. Very often it’s captioned with a insightful quote that has nothing to do with the fact that they are posting a picture out of vanity just to get approval.

What about the girls of future generations? They are the ones most engulfed by this. I teach freshman in high school. I see girls taking selfies in the bathroom, walking to class, and sadly sometimes in my classroom before the bell rings. It’s a norm for them-to post pictures on Instagram, tweet on Twitter and make videos for Vine. The scary thing is, how will they know when to draw the line between innocent pictures and delving into the more sexualized photos? Which picture would get more likes? I think we all know the answer to that question.

My hope for young ladies and women all around the world is for them to know that they don’t have to post pictures of any kind  in order to gain approval. I want them to know that their beauty doesn’t rely on the number of “likes” or “comments” of social media. I want them to find inner-confidence, self-control and more importantly, self-respect.

So, think before you post. Think before you envy that girl in the tiny black bikini working out at the gym. I just have to giggle at those.

~ Brynlea Cunniff

Follow Brynlea on Twitter.

Beauty Talk: Tinted Moisturizers

March 26, 2014
Multitasking Makeup
The multitasking makeup: tinted moisturizers! They hydrate, provide coverage, illuminate and protect your skin. If you aren’t a huge fan of liquid foundations or powders but want some light coverage or color, the tinted moisturizer is for you.

1. Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer $43- hint of color, light coverage and super easy application. Equipped with SPF 20, this moisturizer leaves a beautiful, dewy complexion while providing protection from the sun!

2. MAC Studio Moisture Tint $32- this is my ultimate favorite! This tinted moisturizer provides a little more color and a little more coverage than the Laura Mercier. It lasts all day, feels weightless on and provides a flawless complexion! MAC never ceases to amaze me.

3. NARS Tinted Moisturizer $42- NARS can’t go wrong! This moisturizer provides a broad spectrum SPF 30 while flawlessly radiating skin when applied! This is perfect if you are wanting sheer coverage and a dewy glow!

Brynlea Cunniff
Follow Brynlea on Twitter.

Thank You Note Etiquette

March 18, 2014

thank youThe art of writing a sincere and proper thank you note is all but lost. Being able to immediately show gratitude via phone or computer is tempting. Thank you notes have been pushed to the wayside with tweets, wall posts, texts and emails taking their place. Whether it is for a gift received or a note to a potential employer after an interview (like I mentioned in my post about 12 A+ Tips to Ace Your Interview), never underestimate the power of a handwritten thank you note!

I personally love the sincerity of a hand-written note. There is something so special about not only receiving one in the mail, but writing one. Maybe it is because I’m weird and save all of the cards and letters I receive, but I just love how pretty they can be!

There are many different ways to write one. I’ve compiled a short list of things that have worked for me in the past that I try to include in every note.

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First, begin with a simple greeting. Either mention them by name, or opt for a simple hello.

Next, sincerely thank the person you are writing to and tell them why you are grateful. Make sure you  are genuine!

Then, make sure you tell them how you are going to use, or how you have used, the gift you received. It doesn’t matter if it is an actual item or money, tell them what your plans are.

After that, let them know that you are looking forward to seeing them soon.

Finally, thank them again and close your letter.

It is super easy, but many people skip over thank you’s completely.

What are your favorite things to put in Thank You notes?

Chelsea Mosley

Follow Chelsea on Twitter.

Mental Junk Food

March 12, 2014

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I have a serious problem, a confession, if you will: I watch reality television, specifically the Real Housewives franchise and Keeping Up with the Kardashians. There is so much irony in this.

First, I advocate women empowerment. Heck, I have a blog dedicated to it. Second, I fervently encourage women to accept their bodies, flaws and all. (I’m preaching to the choir here). Third, I believe in cultivating an enriching life that will inspire others.

Reality tv does not promote any of the things true to my heart, yet I almost daily feed my mind with junk food. What’s the big deal? I mean, I only spend an hour or so a night watching it. I even criticize as I watch. (That should count for something, right?)

Let’s go back to my core values:

First, I advocate women empowerment. How does reality television empower women on any level? None of the women get along. They teach other women to be competitive, aggressive, and argumentative. They display bizarre animosity toward one another. Sisterhood is what we should strive for, having female friends to support, encourage and cultivate intellectual conversation.

Much of the behavior and values they project actually set women back. Instead of being recognized for achievements and goodwill, they are recognized for their material gains and outward appearance.

Second, I fervently encourage women to accept their bodies, flaws and all. Apparently, lion is the new look because every time I view the housewives, there is a woman flaunting a newly constructed face, remarkably similar to the face of a feline. Aging does not exist in “reality tv land.”  There appears to be little acceptance of their outward appearance, and extreme measures are taken to achieve whatever ideal they’ve conjured up in their heads.

Third, I believe in cultivating an enriching life that will inspire others. In the lives of these reality tv stars, little is to be seen when it comes to an enriching life. Passion, ideas and intellectual conversation are not paramount of these shows.

By watching these shows, I am advocating the very things I detest. I am supporting women who sell manufactured sex appeal and unnecessary discord with those they should support.

Although it’s a little late to be making a new year’s resolution, I think it’s time for me to reassess and give up my mental junk food. Yes, I’d rather zone out in the evenings, but should I be filling my mind with fruitless material?

Here I am. I confess to being a junkie to reality tv. What are your confessions? Do you think it’s important to self-evaluate often?

Brittany Windle

Follow Britt on Twitter.

Balance & Self-Discipline

March 5, 2014

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Intention-based rituals.

According to The Power of Full Engagement, up to 95% of our lives are based on habits.

95%! This is pretty crazy. Almost too high to believe. This means that most of our strengths and not-so-great aspects of our lives are likely rooted in habits that we have cultivated - consciously or not - throughout our lives.

The urge to eat the ice cream out of the carton when no one is looking and our ability to jump out of bed in the morning are both likely tied to habits we have crafted over time.

Knowing that habits have such a HUGE influence in our lives means that we can choose to shape positive rituals that reflect our deepest values and intentions for each area of our life.

Continue your reading here.

Lancome vs. Lumene

February 21, 2014

skimpor splurgeeyemakeupremoverI fell in love with Lancome’s Bi-Facil eye makeup remover- it is pure magic! Gentle on the eyes, this oil-free solution gets rid of even the most stubborn waterproof mascara.

I then stumbled upon Lumene’s formula in Ulta. It looked the same-blue bottle, solution separation (looks like when oil and water mix), so I grabbed it on a whim. I was pretty pumped about the cheap cost, too. That night, I used it.  It felt and worked nearly identical to Lancome.

Both are ophthalmologist tested, oil free and great for sensitive eyes and those who wear contacts. Either one you choose, you can’t go wrong. Lancome will always be my favorite, but knowing Lumene exists now makes it hard to justify spending $28 when one works just as well for 1/4 of the price!

Brynlea Cunniff
Follow Brynlea on Twitter.

Skimp or Splurge: Mascara

January 9, 2014

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We set out on a mission to find mascara brands that were comparable and cheaper…much cheaper!

Benefit They’re Real $23
L’Oreal Million Lashes Excess $8.99

Lancome Hynpose $28
L’Oreal Volume Collagen $8.99

Bare Minerals Curl & Lengthen $18
Maybelline Falsies $5.99

Brynlea Cunniff

Follow Brynlea on Twitter.