Thursday, June 30, 2016

What's in my Makeup Bag: Part 2

While my first installment of What's in my Makeup Bag included the staples I pretty much wear daily, these items I'm more flexible about and tend to change from time to time. I'd love to hear your must-have products because I am always excited about new finds!

1. Eyeliner

I've always been a pencil eyeliner person, liquid is not my thing. Neither is black, so you'll often find me wearing brown, purple and steel. I discovered a new trick that I love after buying this Sephora brush set that came with an angled brush. I now use that and some eyeshadow to serve as my eyeliner. I like it because it doesn't pull on my eyelash extensions when I apply it, it's easy to remove and gives a natural look. I've found eyeshadows with shimmer tend to work better. You can also dip the brush in water for a bolder look, or you can use a gel liner specifically designed to be used with a brush. But I say why buy an extra product when you can use a shadow you already have?

2. Eyeshadow & Primer

When I put on my undereye concealer, I put it on my eyelids as well and dab it with my powder foundation. So basically my eyelids are primed, but if I'm looking for extra credit I'll use Lancome Aquatique Waterproof Eyecolor Base or MAC Pro Longwear Paint Pot in Painterly. Both have a tacky, matte finish. And as far as eyeshadows, I'm all over the place. I use what comes in free gifts and Birchbox, so I rarely have to buy any. However I did recently purchase some Mary Kay mineral eyeshadows, and I must say I was very pleasantly surprised. The colors are gorgeous and the quality is great. I think everyone needs a shade like Rosegold in their repertoire. And as far as other staple colors, I love purples, especially the darker shades; if you haven't tried them, I highly recommend. Sounds clownish, but I promise it's not.

3. Mascara 

I don't wear mascara on my upper lashes because of my extensions, so I'm not as picky these days. I most often use Lancome Definicils on my lower lashes and find most of Lancome mascaras to be stellar. In my previous quest to find the best mascara on the market, I may have been the only person to ever return Diorshow. The employee at the Dior counter at Bloomingdale's looked at my like I was crazy when I brought it back, but even with its cult classic status, it didn't work for me. However, I really had success with Loreal Voluminous - can't beat the drugstore price and I've seen many professional makeup artists using it. I'm also really intrigued by Too Faced Better Than Sex; I see a lot of bloggers recommending it. (By the way, a great tip is to heat up your eyelash curler with your blowdryer or curling iron before curling your lashes. It works wonders; just make sure it's not too hot!)

4. Lipcolor 

This is the product I struggle with the most because it's difficult to find the right color and consistency. Believe it or not, the wrong lipstick or gloss can screw me up on the anchor desk because it's quite hard to enunciate when you lips are sticking together. These are some of my favorites:

Don't be intimidated by what the Black Honey shade looks like in the tube; it is somewhat sheer and designed to work on everyone. It looks a little different on each person depending on their coloring. And I can't recommend the Neutrogena gloss enough. I've been searching high and low for the perfect strawberry pink and this is the closest I can find. It's beautiful and not super sticky!

5. Highlighter

Highlighter is not something I use every day, but when I do, I can really tell a difference. I don't get into contouring, but I love using Chella Ivory Lace Highlighter Pencil under my eyes for brightening. I love that it's not shimmery! 

Monday, May 16, 2016

A Note About My Mom

I was invited to speak last week at the Muffins for Moms breakfast at Bay Haven School of Basics Plus in Sarasota. I talked about how my mom has been my role model and what moms mean to us. Since my mom wasn't there to hear it and she's one of my most loyal readers, I decided to share it here on the blog.

Photos: Cliff Roles

Growing up, my mom wasn't the typical 1980s or 90s mom. She didn't really cook, which I inherited; she wasn't much into decorating, or craft projects, other than some iron-on t-shirts. In other words, if she was raising young kids now, she would not be a Pinterest Mom.

Instead she was the Cool Mom. She has always dressed stylish, played tennis, stayed current on pop culture, and listened to rap and hip hop music. She even made up a dance to a Lil Jon song that she had all of my sister's friends doing. My mom has always been the life of the party and is probably a lot more fun than I am.

She is a working mom who somehow managed to make it to all of our activities. Throughout the years, between my younger sister and me, there was a combination of ballet, pointe, tap and jazz, and dance *team, swimming, which often meant two practices a day, the first being at 5:30 a.m., water polo, Odyssey of the Mind, Optimist Club speaking competitions, debate, Girl Scouts, gymnastics, diving, cheerleading, newspaper, and various honor societies and school clubs.

Even though she wasn't the mom who brought homemade cupcakes, she always volunteered at our school and with our swim team. But now that I'm older and looking back, one of the most important things to me is that she never lost her own identity. She wasn't just Mom. She's a Registered Nurse and Certified Diabetes Educator who earned her master's degree while raising two kids, with the help of my dad, of course. She worked as a nurse in the hospital, counseled diabetic patients and taught college nursing. Many times she brought me and my sister to campus at Houston Baptist University and with her in the car as she drove all over Houston to supervise her students on their clinical rotations. She also took us to health fairs in under-served communities, which allowed to see how we can help those who need it most.

My mom never directly said to me,"go to college, go to graduate school, get good grades, and have a career." Nor did she try to force me to take one path or another. But since she and my dad are both very accomplished academically and in their careers, I learned by example. And I did all of those things with their support.

Although my mom has no experience in my field of broadcast journalism, my job aspirations began very early in life with a love of writing, which I inherited from her. She has always encouraged me through the toughest days of the demanding television news business and is my most loyal viewer. Even though my parents live in Atlanta, she watches the news every night via online streaming.

I am lucky to have my mom as my role model and cheerleader. Mothers come in many different forms, not all are biological. Some are foster mothers, step mothers, mothers-in-law, grandmothers, even mentors, teachers and friends who are like mothers to us. Almost all moms are alike in the way that that they accomplish amazing feats, yet they are unique and special in their own way. Everyone I know, including myself, says they have the best mom in the world. And they're all right.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

What's in My Makeup Bag: Part I

If I had my choice, I would spend at least 75 percent of my life wearing workout clothes and no makeup. If you see me at TJ Maxx on a Saturday, I can guarantee you I will not be wearing any makeup, and I don't care if anyone is judging me. 

But working in television, I have to do my makeup every single day with touch ups throughout the day. I have to admit, some days I wear less than others, which is a total reflection of how much time I have. If you tune in to the newscast and think I look tired, that's probably because I didn't have a chance to put on eyeshadow, or I'm actually just tired haha.

All of the products I'm showing you in these posts are what I would wear if I had enough time to do my full routine. Some days I switch things up, especially when I have some Birchbox or Sephora samples I want to try.

And speaking of samples, about a year ago, I made a pledge to use up as many samples and free gift products as I could before buying anything. I tested them out and if the colors were just heinous on me, I moved on. But those that passed the decency test, I've been using until they run out. I discovered some things I absolutely love doing this and others that I know I'll never buy, but do the job for now.

I decided to split this post into two so it wouldn't be so long. Isn't it sad how many products we have to use to look glam? This is one of those times I start to envy men and realize how much of their time and money is not spent on makeup.

1. Primer

This was a Birchbox sample find and has turned out to be my most favorite primer after trying many brands. It comes in many varieties, some are tinted; I'm currently using the Supercharged Fortified version, which supposedly has antioxidants. I bought that one because the classic version is no longer available on the Birchbox website, for which I had a coupon. I think I like original one better because it seemed a little tackier, so my foundation seemed to stick to it better. However, I still find this one superior to all others I've tested.  I notice a major difference on how my makeup looks hours later and how much better it stays put. What I really like about it is that it's not super silky like most primers. And that makes it a fantastic match for powder foundation, which I wear. I think the silky primers are better suited for liquid foundation. Also, the tube is quite large, and you're not going to be using a ton of it every day, so it's a fantastic value.

2. Undereye Concealer 

This does not crease, let me repeat, this does.not.crease. I've been wearing this for years and years and only once considered switching when a Sephora employee gave me a sample of Amazing Cosmetics Concealer. I will admit that was slightly better at covering dark circles, BUT, it settled into those little lines under the eyes. It's a very thick formula and the creasing was noticeable.

I do not have severe dark circles, apparently that's genetic, thanks Mom :), but what I do have, this Lancome concealer fully covers. And I can wear it all day with not a single sign of creasing. That's a big deal, people. It's a light texture, non-greasy and blends like a charm.

I wear it in a shade lighter than my skin color, (Porcelaine 1), so it almost doubles as a highlighter. A couple times when I've gotten my makeup done and they've put a concealer that exactly matches my skin tone, I feel like I don't look like myself! I also usually put this on my eyelids for brightening and to serve as a eyeshadow primer when I'm short on time. It's funny, a guy friend of mine once said to me, "once you put that concealer stuff on, it's like you don't even need any more makeup." Score.

3. Blemish/Multitasking Concealer 

This can be used for undereyes as well, but I mostly use it for pimples and uneven skin. If you get the right shade, it blends like a dream! The fact that it comes in a wand form makes it super easy to use.

4. Foundation

By now you're finding out I'm quite partial to Lancome makeup. It's the first counter my mom took me to when I wanted to start wearing makeup. And since then I've tried many brands, but I keep relying on Lancome for most of my makeup needs. I find the quality fantastic and the brand consistent. 

I love this foundation because it's incredibly easy to use. I apply it dry with the (really nice) sponge it comes with in less than a minute. The finish is flawless, smooth and matte, for those who don't want a dewy finish. It feels completely weightless on your skin. You can wet the sponge to get a more full-coverage look. The compact also comes with a little puff that you can use for touch ups. This foundation can also be applied with a brush and would work as a finishing powder if you're a liquid foundation person.

I, however, am NOT a liquid foundation person. It find it takes too long to apply, it gets greasy as the day goes on and I hate that feeling of having something on my face. Now, if I ever was going to switch to liquid, I would use Hourglass IMMACULATE® LIQUID POWDER FOUNDATION. It's incredible and hands down the best liquid foundation I've ever tried! 

And stay tuned, I just purchased Mary Kay's Endless Performance® Crème-to-Powder Foundation, which is a nice happy medium between liquid and powder.

5. Finishing/Setting Powder

I recently ran out of my MAKE UP FOR EVER HD Microfinish Powder, which I loved. But I was looking to possibly change things up. I wasn't crazy about the change they made to the packaging; the loose powder is now separated by a screen-type thing instead of little holes. It just looked a little messy to me. 

I'm really liking this Mary Kay one! It's definitely the more economical choice. They seem pretty similar, the only difference I've noticed is that this one has a tiny hint of shimmer. I could do without that, but it's not a deal breaker. I love the packaging. You can slide it open and closed, much like a salt shaker, so that the powder doesn't spill all over the place. Both of these powders help smooth everything and give you an airbrushed-like appearance. The reason I started using this type of powder in the first place was mostly for HD television cameras, but it's great in real life, too. 

The one thing you have to be careful about with these translucent powders is so-called flashback. In pictures it can make your skin appear very white. I haven't noticed it with either of these brands, but I did when I received a sample of Tarte smooth operator™ Amazonian clay pressed setting powder. It gets good reviews, but I personally would not recommend it.

6. Blush

I've been using Lancome blush since the beginning of time, save a short stint with Tarte Amazonian clay 12-hour blush, which, in contrast to the pressed powder, I really liked. But, tragically, I dropped it on set one night, it shattered and somehow I found myself safely back home in the arms of the Lancome counter. The woman there suggested I try the Plum Noir shade. I couldn't exactly imagine it on me because it looked so dark. But it's beyond fantastic! It's the perfect color on me, and since it's highly-pigmented, I don't need a lot so it's lasted me a long time.  Which is great because it appears this has been discontinued, another great makeup tragedy! Tear.

Luckily one of the great things about Lancome blush is it comes in many gorgeous shades, so I'm hoping I can find another one I love. Or I'll get desperate and buy Plum Noir on Ebay. Either way, I've found that no matter the shade, this blush goes on smoothly, is not overly powdery and stays all day.

7. Bronzer

I was quite disappointed when Victoria's Secret discontinued its makeup line, because I loved the bronzer. It took a lot of trial and many errors before landing on this budget-friendly choice. I find it stacked up better than many of its high-end peers. It's just the right color and seems to very slightly lean to the pink side vs. brown, which is fantastic if you have pink undertones in your skin. It also has the perfect amount of shimmer. This shade can be difficult to find because not all drugstores/Walmarts/Targets carry the same colors. I've found I have to go one specific Walgreens near me to get this shade.

Part II coming up! Please let me know any of your makeup must-haves because I am ALWAYS looking for new fabulous finds.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Blog in Progress

I need this t-shirt!

If you've ever lived in coastal Florida, you know this is the time of year when "season" has winded down and things start to get back to normal. Bye, snowbirds! And I mean people from up north who come down to Florida for the winter, not the actual birds. I have to specify that because before my friend Anthony moved to Florida, he once thought I was referring to birds affecting my commute :).

During season, most of the non-profit organizations in Sarasota like to take advantage of more people (with money to spend) being in town, and they plan a big chunk of their events for the January through early April period. For me that means a lot more time spent attending and emceeing luncheons, dinners, galas, etc. and a lot less time to update my blog. But that's not the only reason I've been absent.

When I started this blog, I did most of my writing on my dinner breaks or after work. But since then, my station lost its contract with the provider of our health stories, leaving me to now find and write all of those...which is precisely what I do "after" work...which is really still work, if you get what I'm saying. Also, the station started airing a movie review show, which I now co-host and tape once or twice a week during what was my dinner break. And then when you add up all the dinner breaks spent emceeing those aforementioned dinners, well, it left me very little blogging time.

But I still kept wondering to myself if I had 20 minutes to read a book or magazine, watch "Scandal, or scroll through Instagram, why don't I have time to blog? Then I read a post by a woman who was finding it harder to go back to her at-home freelance writing job with a newborn that she surmises it would have been to go back to previous office jobs she's had. Unfortunately now I can't find that post, but basically she pointed out that writing requires a clear mind and undivided attention. Neither of which you have with a baby at home. Or when you're over-scheduled and stressed.

She explained that there are some things you can half-ass when you're tired, but writing well is not one of them. It's also not one of those things you can do when you have 15 minutes here and there. Writing also requires a lot of thinking time to brainstorm even when you're not physically writing. That works best when your brain is free of clutter...which explains why I "write" so well when I'm in the shower or running.

During the past few busy months, I kept putting off updating my billing information to renew my domain name...thinking I would get around to it and not realizing how much of a massive pain it would be if it actually expired. Well it did and it was a massive pain. I had to spend a long time on the phone with GoDaddy at 1 a.m. to get it back without paying a ridiculous fee.

What happened was a blessing in disguise because it reminded me how much I wanted to start blogging again. And it gave me the push I needed to make more of a commitment to my blog.  I spent several hours redesigning my site, and soon I'm going to have someone design it professionally. I also played around with my "real" camera and researched DSLRs. Then I spent some time reading up on blog advice, because I'm still pretty clueless about this whole thing. But I do have some fun ideas for posts, so I hope to see you back here each week!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

You Don't Have to be a Runner

I am not a runner. Okay, yes, I run. But I've never participated in running as a sport, had a coach or even been part of a running group. As an active child, there was nothing worse to me than running. I spent a lot of time dancing, riding bikes, rollerblading, playing tennis and swimming competitively. In fourth grade, I was the class example of how to correctly do a push up, but tell me I have to run a mile for President's Physical Fitness challenge, and I felt physically ill at the thought.

Fast forward to 2006 when I moved to Chicago to begin graduate school: I started to gradually pick up running as a way to explore my new city and enjoy the cool weather that I didn't get as much of in Texas. I've learned the only way to fully see everything a city or neighborhood has to offer is to walk or run it. I would take my camera with me and catch shots of all the beauty just outside my door.

I continued my jogging tours when I moved to D.C. and found them to be the perfect way to see all the sights, while avoiding traffic and working out. Sometimes I would jog/walk so far that I would have to hop on the Metro to avoid a two-hour journey back home. These runs became a huge source of relaxation and stress relief for me and dare I say, fun?

Once I moved back to Texas and eventually got an (insane) puppy, running became absolutely essential in keeping her from tearing up my apartment. It was the ONLY thing that stopped her madness. As I gradually increased the consistency of my running, I signed up for my first 5K - a Turkey Trot hosted by my gym. I remember being so nervous I wouldn't finish because my usual "runs" included a lot of walking and I wanted to at least jog the full 3.1 miles. After a couple successful Turkey Trots, I ran my first 10K with my sights set on a longer distance in the future. It seemed ambitious but not impossible.

I hate to say it, but moving to Florida put a huge damper on my running efforts. When you hate to run in the heat, a nearly year-round summer doesn't do you any favors. Despite that, I signed up for my first half marathon in 2013. The training was brutal and my torn disk flared up about two weeks out from the race. The night before, I was never so worried that I wouldn't complete something in my entire life.

I still remember the exact U2 song that was playing on my iPod as I lined up, and I cried as I crossed the start line. It was one of the happiest moments of my life. At that point, I didn't even care how I was going to perform and if I would have to crawl to the finish line. All that mattered was that I had made it there. Through all the pain and all the training, to a place I never thought I would be.

The icing on the cake was that I had a great race. I'm not a fast runner, but I was really happy with my time and the whole experience was exhilarating. I've since run three more half marathons, including my latest last Sunday. Some were more difficult and more slow than others, but all came with a huge sense of accomplishment. It's quite fun to amaze yourself!

Where's Hayley?

Sarasota Music Half Marathon 2016

I kept wondering the whole race why this guy was running in a bathrobe!

Beer mile!
Photo: Norm Schimmel

I sometimes call my training half-ass half marathon training, because I don't take it too seriously. My husband would probably scoff at this statement because he sees how much of a commitment I make, but when I compare it to super-serious runners, it's pretty amateur level. I print off a training plan and mostly follow it. If I have to skip or shorten a run here and there, whatever. I don't get too bent out of shape.

I'm sure I could improve my time if I joined a coached running group, but then it would cease to be fun for me. It would be one more place I would have to be and I have enough of that already. Running is the place I go when I don't want to be anywhere else. I know people get a lot of enjoyment out of their training groups, but I get that camaraderie from my other group fitness classes. Running is my peaceful solitude.

When people who haven't run a race before express interest but at the same time doubt, I tell them if I can do it, you can do it. You don't have to be a runner, all you have to do is run.

Monday, January 11, 2016

The Anti-New Year's Resolution

Happy 2016!

Even though I'm not much of a resolution-maker, I must say I was anxiously awaiting the arrival of 2016. Last year was just flat out crazy. I felt like my mind was constantly spinning and I could never get caught up on my sanity even after the wedding was over. That kind of big event can create aftershocks that last for months, especially when you have a busy schedule ready to greet you the second you deplane from the honeymoon.

Although stressful, 2015 will always be special, March 7 in particular. It's hard to believe it's already been 10 months, when it feels like 10 minutes. It's sad to know this monumental moment will never happen again, and it will probably be a very long time before I have all of my best friends under one roof again. Many of them had babies last year, so I know 2015 is one we will all never forget. But at the same time, 2016 comes with a huge sigh of relief knowing, barring something unexpected, I have a much calmer year in store.

As we were ringing in the new year, I saw many people posting all of their goals and resolutions. I was overwhelmed reading them- much less imagining trying to achieve them on top of the stress of daily life. This must be why many resolutions fail. I'm sure in some cases it's a lack of commitment and dedication, but in a lot of ways, we simply don't have the time and energy to be Super Resolution Barbie 2016. In one sense, shouldn't we be resolving to do LESS and enjoy life more?

Huge aspirations aside, let's run through what most of us are already doing in our day-to-day life. It's probably some combination of things from this list:

-Working full time
-Participating in clubs, organizations, community groups
-Cleaning the house
-Doing yardwork
-Feeding ourselves and our families
-Parenting (which deserves multiple slots on this list)
-Taking care of pets
-Caretaking for elderly family members
-Grocery shopping
-Running errands
-Taking on a second job or special project
-Maintaining a marriage or relationship
-Spending time with friends and family
-Pursuing a hobby

Now put a bunch of pressure on yourself to fulfill a daunting resolution on top of all of that. Cue anxiety attack.

Let me point out setting goals is very important. I think it's a great idea to lay out objectives at the beginning of the year and work toward them with commitment. But let's be realistic. Maybe it makes more sense to choose one or two items on that list and improve upon how you do them rather than adding 10 more.

I'm getting to the point where I want to resolve to give myself a break. And I don't mean time alone, vacation, relaxation, etc...that sounds too, but I mean a break in my own head. I often beat myself up over not being productive enough and finishing my to-do list. But sometimes it's okay to take a day, (or five) to be a little lazy. It's so hard for me to do that because I sit there thinking about all of the things I should be getting done.

But the truth is, stress and lack of sleep are detrimental to our health. Rest is important, even though our 24/7 society would have us believe otherwise. If you hop on social media and you're likely to find someone who has climbed Mount Everest and read War and Peace by noon and you're still in your pjs...which makes you feel like a huge slacker.

There is a lot of pressure... and if we're honest with ourselves, we'll realize a lot of it is self-inflicted. There isn't a to-do list master who comes to punish you for not cleaning the bathroom nor will you turn into a pumpkin if you don't fold the towels right now. Take a nap, read a magazine, watch three episodes of "The Leftovers"...yes, the bathroom will still be dirty and the towels will still be in the laundry basket when you're done, but the world will still be turning. If you're getting anxiety just thinking about leaving that stuff undone, I know, I am right there with you. This doesn't come easy for me, either.

I wish you a 2016 of not being a slacker, but just cutting yourself some slack!