Not your average workday… makeup.

Every beauty blog or article I read always expresses the danger of wearing too much makeup. Either play up the lips or the eyes, but never, EVER both, they say. When I hear things like that I think… who would ever choose to play up the lips instead of the eyes? In my world, the eyes are the best canvas! There are so many amazing color combinations to play with you can literally do something different every day. Well, I might be a little bias because I sincerely hate my tiny, barely there lips, but whatever, not the point. I am fortunate enough to work for a company with a very casual dress code so we don’t look silly when we come into work with sun dresses and fun makeup on. Had I worked in a stuffy office building, I’d be sticking to the neutral smoky eye and nude lip gloss every day, but that’s not the case here.

Today I’m sporting my favorite combination… it’s sort of a smoky eye but with much more color. My favorite thing about this look is that it can easily be a day or night look. For the day time, I use everything in moderation but for a going out look I vamp it up by wetting the tip of my eye shadow brush to make the shadow into almost a paste. It goes on much heavier and last longer too. And I may be guilty of adding some false eye lashes from time to time.

  [Day]                             

[Night]

For both looks I start by using Too Faced Heaven eye shadow (part of the natural smoky eye kit) and apply it all over my lid. Next I use the dark side of Too Faced Skinny Dip to work in the creases, followed by combining both sides and applying it to my whole lid below the crease. For the pop of green I combine the light and dark sides of Too Faced Lucky Charms and work it in the inside corners of my eyes. I finish the day look with a little Maybelline Define-A-Lash liner on the upper lash line and polish off the look with Maybelline Falsies mascara (my personal fav!) For the night time look I might smudge a little of the green and blue along my lower lash line and line my bottom lashes with the Maybelline liner. I tend to use a liquid liner for my upper lash line winging it out just a little at the corners and top it off with real false lashes. And voilà! A ready-to-go eye shadow masterpiece. To pull the look together I always add a little blush before I walk out the door. For day, my go-to blush for any look is Gina by Nars. It’s an amazing neutral tangerine color that, in my opinion, looks great with any complexion. For night, it’s Radiance by Smashbox. This color is, for lack of better terms, hott pink so I only use a little and make sure it’s very well blended or else I end up looking like a 3 year old that got into mommie’s makeup.

So this look is easy enough right? If you’re feeling crazy give it a shot and let me know how it goes!

Make a Wish

I’m sure everyone is well aware of this company by now, Dogeared. They make the most amazing jewelry at very affordable prices. I first discovered these necklaces at a store down by where I grew up called Sunsations. When I was in high school I would make frequent trips to this store and literally buy a different necklace every time I went in there. I had the infamous karma necklace, and several wish necklaces. Each necklace has a theme, or a purpose, and you’re supposed to make a wish, put the necklace on and wear it til the string breaks, at which time, your wish is supposed to come true. (Some of them are string, others are much more durable and not meant to be broken!) Now, I’m not the most superstitious person in the world and I didn’t honestly believe if I wore a necklace til it broke some crazy wish would come true… until it actually happened. I had the most beautiful necklace which was a very thin blue string with a bright blue crystal hanging from it, which has since been discontinued. I made a wish, wrapped it around my neck, and didn’t take it off for over a year. To be honest, as the year passed I completely forgot the purpose of the necklace, I had just fallen in love with the way it looked. Obviously, I can’t say what my wish was, but it was a serious wish. And I swear on my mother’s life, that a week after my necklace broke my wish started coming true. At first I was just devastated because it had become my favorite necklace and I had no faith in these wishes at all. But then little things started to happen to give me the impression that this wish might actually come true. And what do you know? It did. It really freakin’ did. Now it could be some crazy cosmic coincidence, but I’m just going to say it was the necklace. I haven’t put on another wish necklace since, but I’m still madly in love with Dogeared and all of their fabulous jewelry.

I went back to their website today to check it out because my Karma necklace (not a wish necklace) broke recently and I wanted to get it replaced. I stumbled upon a bridal section and discovered the most amazing thing… one year too late. You can customize necklaces for your bridal party! This gift would have been right up my alley and the best part is, even they’re affordable! I created one just to see what the process was like and it only came out to $29.99. I die. Sorry girls, but if I had seen this last year your gifts would have been way cooler and much more personal. Maybe Christmas presents? Who knows. But I have to fight myself not to make one now! But for everyone else, check out the site. Even if you’re not getting married any time soon, it is such a cute idea to customize your own necklace for yourself! We deserve little gifts every now and then, don’t we?

http://bit.ly/dogearedbridal 

Random Facts about The Rachel Ross

1. I HATE HATE HATE washing my hands. I do it… but I hate it! I hate wet, cold hands.

2. I have 8 tattoos and 9 piercings, but I always want more.

3. I have double jointed fingers. My thumbs especially.

4. I had to learn karate as soon as I could walk. If you know my parents, it makes sense.

5. I joke about wanting to be a reality TV star… but I’m secretly dead serious about it.

6. I have no sense of direction. To get anywhere I feel like I have to pass my house to know where I’m going.

7. As we all already know, I am team Jen, fo’ life. And also team Coco.

8. I had never had strep throat, poison ivy, or had been stung by a bee until this year. And then all 3 happened to me.

9. I cannot stand those Jennifer Hudson commercials.

10. I can count my real honest-to-goodness friends on one hand and probably still have some fingers left over. As I think everyone can if they really sat down and thought about it.

11. I have a horrible time letting go of anything.

12. I get skeeved out by my self if I don’t have a fresh manicure or pedicure.

13. My favorite nail polish is Fiji by Essie.

14. My favorite animal is an elephant. And it’s also one of my tattoos.

15. I want to ride an elephant one day. It’s without a doubt on my bucket list.

16. I went sky diving for my friends 18th birthday and she made me jump out of the plane first.

17. I’ve convinced myself that if I eat mushrooms I’ll get sick. No idea if that’s true or not.

18. I’m not spoiled… just very, very loved by a very hard working, loving man. 🙂 And I love him dearly.

19. For my wedding, I didn’t have anything old or blue.

20. My favorite author is Stephen King but my favorite book is To Kill a Mockingbird.

21. My favorite color is a mix of green and blue.

22. Everyone used to make fun of me for being addicted to Facebook. They called it “RachFaceBook.” Well now it’s my job. So bite me.

23. In the past year I have become my own version of a New Jersey Housewife. I’m a New Jersey Apartmentwife.

24. I’m addicted to shoes, jewelry, handbags, dresses, jeans, fun tops, shoes, jewelry, handbags…. oh wait…

25. Anyone who still uses their middle name on Facebook can expect to be deleted from my list of friends within the next month. Do you know how many Lisa Anne’s I know?

26. Men who get plastic surgery really freak me out.

27. I consider my cat, The Dude, my first born. Sorry kids.

28. I had to teach my 1 year old Golden Retriever how to swim because he was afraid of the pool. It was like giving swim lessons to a toddler at a beach club.

29. I am truly, truly happy.

30. I become obsessed with things easily, Michael Flynn style. For now, it’s Barbie.


Wilde over Olivia.

I’m not entirely sure where she came from or when she first appeared on the scene, but Olivia Wilde has made a huge splash in such a short period of time. I didn’t give her much thought until I saw her at the Golden Globes in that amazing floor sweeping chocolate Marchesa gown. She is simply stunning and I will admit, I have added her to the list of my girl crushes. When I walked past the magazine racks at King’s during my usual post work grocery shopping trip and saw her on the cover of Marie Claire I was delighted. The spread they did on her was amazing and she looked breath taking in every single image. I’ve picked this one as my favorite because I am a HUGE fan of behind-the-scenes footage of pretty much anything. The more I read on Olivia, the more I love her. If she wasn’t famous, or the fact that she was recently divorced from a prince, literally, you would genuinely think she was just another average jane doe. She is one of those people you find yourself wondering what it would be like to sit down and have a glass of wine with. I wouldn’t mind having the added advantage of being able to borrow her clothes either.

A montage of sorts.

Below are just a few of my favorite photographs taken with one of my iPhone apps; Hipstomatic. They’re fun and interesting and I enjoy them. Take a peek.

My one regret…

One day, about two years ago during one of mine and Matt’s leisurely strolls through Short Hills Mall we walked past the Jimmy Choo store and I literally stopped in my tracks. In the window were these sky high sandals that were electric blue and black zebra print and they wrapped all the way up the ankle. OK. I have to be honest… I just spent about 45 minutes trying to search for these shoes on the internet to show everyone (ha!) and I actually found the ad that I first saw them in! Note: I literally haven’t seen these shoes in over two years, I almost forgot what they looked like. Which brings me back to my story. I stood in front of the store, starring at this amazing ad, with this gorgeous blonde rocking these shoes like I wouldn’t even think possible. I may or may not have even had to wipe away a little drool from my mouth. Matt saw on my face how badly I wanted these very shoes on my feet. I wouldn’t have cared if they made me bleed. I wanted these shoes. The downside? They were only about 900 dollars… no big deal, right? We’ll even get 3 pairs… naht. Matt was doing great at work… but not that great. But he knew I was jonesing for beautiful shoes, and standing right there in front of the window, he said, “you want them? They’re yours.” and do you know what I said? ….. “No, that’s ok.” (NO… that’s ok!? Kill me). He offered again. I declined again. I knew we couldn’t afford it. From then on out I couldn’t even walk past that store because I was afraid I would burst into tears at the very sight of them. One day, a few months later, Matt brought it up again. And I was like you know what… I do want them. I don’t ask for much (this was two years ago… we all know i’m a big brat now ha). It could be my birthday/christmas/valentines day/easter/whatever-other-holiday-there-is present. So we went back…. and the freaking shoes were GONE. I never even got to hold them or try them on, I never got the chance to look them up to possibly find them online later. Which is why I had such a hard time searching for these shoes. Because believe me, I tried. And here we are… over two years later, and I google “Jimmy Choo Ads” because I have no idea what they’re called or how else I could possibly find them… and there they are. My beautiful, beautiful babies. Please, observe:

I literally have to fight back a few tears even now. Had I been the spoiled brat I am now, two years ago, I would own these bad boys. I have no where in the world to wear them, but whatever. I’d walk around our apartment in them and just feel fabulous.

The point being… when someone offers you something you REALLY TRULY want, will die without, must have and can’t imagine life without it… just take it. After all, you deserve it.

Noteworthy.

So I am a huge lover of music. I pretty much fell in love with Matt (my husband) the first time I saw him at Maple Place’s Variety show when I was in 5th grade as he awkwardly strummed his guitar and sang Everlong by the Foo Fighters so high Dave Grohl would be embarrassed. But dammit, he was good, and oh SO cute and I fell a little more in love every time he hit a high note. I still love to listen to him play his guitar and quietly sing along in our living room from time to time. I was raised being dragged to the Asbury Park boardwalk by my mother every time Bruce was practicing with the E-Street band at the Convention Center, we would sit on a blanket on the beach and just listen to the muted music flowing through the open windows. Music has been a big part of my life for years, and even though I have almost no musical talent myself (I did play the flute all throughout middle school and can still read music) I can appreciate good music as much as the next guy.

Years ago I was introduced to this band, Lynam, by my boss from PNC Bank Arts Center. It’s a very, very long story how he found them, but long story short: Bon Jovi’s priest pretty much discovered this Alabama band and brought them to New Jersey. We’ve been friends ever since and I am a HUGE fan of their music. They are 80’s hair metal meets modern country rock and what a fantastic love child that turned out to be. This is their biggest single, Tanis. It’s a treat for the ears, so enjoy!

Another band I must tell everyone about is The Gay Blades. I know, with a name like that most people wouldn’t give this band a second listen, but they are really worth it. It’s made up of just two guys, Quinn (drummer) & James (guitar & vocals). It’s important to know there’s just two guys when you actually listen to their music. They’re so entertaining you would think they had about 9 people in the band. I worked with Quinn years ago at my favorite place in the whole wide world, Michael Angelo’s. And yes, if I could still work there on weekends, I would! But that’s beside the point. This song is called N.H.D.N and it’s one of my personal faves! At a Gay Blades concert one time James insisted that the whole crowd clapped along to one of their songs… I wasn’t clapping. He literally got off stage, walked through the crowd, and called me out for being “too cool to clap.” These guys are awesome.

This music isn’t for everyone, I get that, but it’s definitely worth listening to at least once. The personalities these guys have are all larger than life and it definitely comes out in their music. Also, while you’re at it… check out this totally awesome band Sudzert. The lead singer is quite a hottie. 😉

For the love of Jen!

Anyone who knows me knows I have some sick obsession, borderline girl crush on Jennifer Aniston. The day Brad broke her heart, I swear a little bit of me died too. I will buy any magazine with her face on the cover, especially if it’s a story about how her and Brad are sneaking around behind Angie’s back. I will admit I am one of those crazy tabloid readers that believe 98% of what I read. BUT, only in US and People, all those other tabloids are for the birds. I have become so consumed with the well-being of Jen, (yes, we are on a first name basis) I have developed a bitter, bitter hatred for Angelina…and Brangelina. I literally won’t even watch a movie that she is starring in. Imagine the moral battle I was having with myself when The Tourist came out. Johnny Depp….. BUT Angelina? I couldn’t do it. My feelings against “Angie” were so strong that I couldn’t stomach her for 2 hours. I won’t even let Matt watch movies she’s in. I know, it’s psychotic and I’m sure he does, but he knows better than to tell me.

So anyway, the point here is that I am a huge Jen fan. I route for her in everything and I want her to be happy. The other day I was in my supervisor’s office and we somehow stumbled on to the topic of who she’s dating now. Jennifer is an amazingly talented woman and incredibly beautiful. When I am her age I will probably be about 30+ pounds heavier with really rashy Irish looking skin (thanks Mom). She’s just all around flawless. She needs to be with someone on her level. One of my biggest pet peeves is couples that don’t match. There is nothing worse than a gorgeous girl dating a short, stocky, douche bag. Or a really handsome guy with some train wreck on his arm. Although I’m sure Justin Theroux is just a delight, in my professional opinion, he does not match Jen, at all. My coworkers seem to share this opinion, so every single day we have been coming to each other with ideas on who we think Jen should be with. If we were celebrity match-makers, we would be REALLY bad at it! Every single guy we come up with is either not up to her standards (err… our standards for her), or married, and happily. But, a girl can dream. So below are some of our top picks for Jen’s future hubby and we want your feedback! Keep in mind, we are well aware some of these guys are taken, but in a perfect world, they’d be taken by our Jen.

 

 

Here Comes the Bridezilla!

Well, wedding season is finally upon us. This is secretly my favorite time of the year. Out of all the pictures people post on Facebook, wedding pictures are my favorite to stalk! As many of you know, I got married last summer and spent the entire year leading up to my wedding in intense planning mode. I graduated college and quit my bullshit job as a salon receptionist all within the same month. From then til August I did not have the mental capacity to think of anything else other than my wedding. I was not quite a Bridezilla, but now, looking back on it, I should have been.

There are a few tips I want to pass along to future brides to make sure they avoid the blunders I encountered leading up to my big day. I had every single wedding magazine you could possibly imagine and the pages in each one were basically ripped and worn out by the amount of times I flipped through them. I studied these magazines like they were my college text books. (Ok, let’s be honest, I don’t think I ever even owned a college text book, but you know what I mean). I was certain that if I memorized the advice the wedding gurus had been dishing out in these magazines, nothing would go wrong on my big day. Boy oh boy, how wrong I was! Things are going to go wrong no matter what you do. The key is to not let them ruin your big day.

Let’s start from the very beginning; choosing your bridal party.

Your bridal party should be made of the people you love more than anything in the world, and who, more importantly, love you more than anything in the entire world. These women need to be happy for you and truly want to take part in what is going to be the happiest day in your life. Right off the bat, if you ask someone to be in your wedding and they don’t seem excited for the opportunity, they literally are not excited. People like this view being in your wedding as a chore and just another stupid thing to waste money on. And to be honest, they probably are not happy for you. Anyone like this is going to be toxic to your wedding. They need to get the axe asap. They could be one of your oldest friends, but if they’re not happy for you, why do you want them there? They’re going to bring you down on your day and that is the last thing you need. Next up, the bridesmaid who thinks this is her wedding day. That bridesmaid needs to be put in her place right away. She doesn’t look good in blue, short dresses make her legs look fat, her hair looks better down because she has big ears, we can’t have your bridal shower on this day because I’m going to a Lady Gaga concert. Whatever it is, stop it in its tracks. You let that person get away with one thing and they’ll get away with everything. Remember, this is YOUR day. Simply tell your bridesmaid she can wear whatever she wants on HER day. If she doesn’t like it, tell her she can wear whatever she wants as a guest of your wedding and be done with it. Thankfully I didn’t have any divas in my bridal party but I have heard horror stories and that’s how I would handle it. Also, there is no rule that your bridal party needs to be best friends with each other. BUT, they do have to get along for the sake of the bride’s sanity. There is nothing worse, being a bride, than getting a million phone calls from each one of your bridesmaids complaining about the other. It’s not like you’re going to be stuck on an island with these girls for the rest of your lives. My rule of thumb for any bridal party is this; the maid of honor will know what the bride wants and what is in the bride’s best interest. Think about it, she’s the maid of honor and she’s clearly been chosen for that position for a reason. At some point, showers and bachelorette parties become about the bridesmaids and what is easiest and most convenient for them. Somewhere along the line the bride kind of becomes forgotten about. So as a bride, just keep your MOH by your side and just keep telling her what you want. She’ll make it happen. And if your bridesmaids have a problem with that, well, you know what to tell them.

Ok, next stop… vendors.

This one may seriously be the most important to pay attention to, because if these people screw up it could really suck all of the fun and excitement out of your day. My mom owns her own newspaper, The Link News, and because of that she knows a lot of people and has a lot of good contacts. She was able to work some things out with a few friends of hers and save us some money on a few things. In certain aspects, this can be a great thing. Just make sure you’re cutting the right corners. Her friend was able to get us a deal with our wedding invitations, and that worked out perfectly. Our invitations were one of my favorite things about my wedding! They were simply stunning. We also used some of her connections for our wedding favors. Since we got married at the beach we thought it would be cute to give out beach towels with our names and wedding date embroidered on them to all of our guests, and for the men, golf towels. My mom’s friend Howard pretty much took care of those for us, and he did a great job. Everyone loved the towels. Actually, our guests liked them so much there were none left over for me to use. Matt and I also had our reception at Branches Catering, which was originally Squires Pub, where my parents got married. They did an amazing job with our wedding! As far as I was concerned, everything went off without a hitch because I had such great wedding planners who took care of everything for me. Unfortunately, I wasn’t this lucky with every vendor we used. My number one suggestion is make sure you are 100% completely comfortable with every vendor you are going to use. If there is any doubt that they might not be the best fit for you and your wedding, do not use them! The one thing I kept seeing over and over in wedding magazines was the suggestion to ask your florist for pictures of weddings they’ve worked on in the past. My florist ended up being someone who advertised with my mom, and who was supposedly going to give us a great deal. On my first meeting I asked them for pictures and would you believe they responded with, “oh we don’t do that here; it’s a waste of time.” Now I know they don’t do it because they don’t want any evidence left behind! I sucked it up because it was a friend of my mother’s and we were on a tight budget. How badly could they really mess flowers up anyway? Well, the answer is a lot. I brought in a picture of the bouquet I wanted for myself along with a very detailed description and the exact name of every flower. They asked me if I wanted a throw away bouquet for the reception, I said, of course! (I love all that cheesy wedding cliché stuff). At our ceremony we had two mini pillars at the corners of the stage with big beautiful cascading bouquets on top of them. At our reception, they were supposed to be the centerpieces on my parent’s table and Matt’s parent’s table and an employee from the flower shop was supposed to transport them to Branches themselves. Well, come my wedding day, my bouquet looked NOTHING like the picture, pretty as it was, I was not provided with a throw away bouquet (that yes, I did pay for) and the two beautiful bouquets from the beach, well they never made it to the reception. So at my reception, we were two center pieces short. This is not a post about me bitching, it’s just for me to convey to all of my readers how very important it is to form a good relationship with your vendor ahead of time. I had a gut feeling about this mom and pop flower shop, and I truly wish I followed my instincts. Looking back on my wedding day, I was most upset about the flowers and the limos…or should I say buses? Another one of my mom’s friends. The owner of this limo company was a good guy with good intentions, but he had a really small selection of “limos” to choose from. I had a gigantic bridal party and really had my heart set on a party bus for everyone to relax in while we weren’t in the spot light. The ride from the beach to the reception site was only a few minutes so a big party bus seemed like a waste of money. We opted for a bus…it was supposed to be like a party bus, but it was literally just a bus. Nice and fancy on the outside, but on the inside it had standard bus seating. It sucked. Everyone had to sit in twos and there was no champagne or anything flowing in celebration of our wedding. Oh, and our bus driver got lost on the way to the reception. That was fantastic. I did not like this guy from the start each other. So again, the most important thing to do is form a good relationship with your vendors before you decide to do business with them. Ask for pictures; ask to take a ride on their limos, or buses. Just ask for as much in advance as you can to get a good idea of the people and business you’re working with. Even if they’re willing to knock 20% off a price, if you don’t feel comfortable with them, it’s just not worth it.

Those were the two main things that really bugged me even after my wedding was over, my two main regrets if you will. There were other things that went that day… there were people fighting with each other, some people weren’t on the seating chart and had nowhere to sit, there were some token drunk guests, you name it, it went wrong. But thanks to much wonderful wedding planners at Branches, I literally had no idea. They took care of everything! Every guest had a place to sit, every table had a beautiful centerpiece, they even asked Matt and I what our favorite drinks were ahead of time so there was always one waiting for us. They are truly fantastic at what they do, and the food, oh my god. To die for. Oh and did I mention we had an amazing DJ as well? Marcus, from Simply Professional DJ’s, everyone should use him. And he was also a friend of the family. OH MY GOD, I almost forgot about the second most important thing!! (The first, I’ll get to in a minute). The photographer! Make sure you love them too. The pictures (and video) you have will be your memories of that day for the rest of your life. You don’t want your wedding pictures to look like some JC Penny family photo. Your wedding pictures should literally take your breath away, and mine did! Our photographers, Darren and Nino, were the absolute best there is! And yup, they’re actually family, not just family friends! After I saw my wedding pictures I told Darren over and over again I would have literally paid thousands of dollars for the work he did. Below is my absolute favorite picture they captured from our wedding day. At the end of the night the people at Branches surprised us by opening up an entire room that was filled with the most amazing desserts. The took Matt and I and our families in separately before it opened to our guests. In the middle of the room there was a big screen TV playing a slide show of photos from our wedding. When we first walked in, this picture was up on the screen. At first I thought, well that’s an amazing picture, but why are they showing someone else’s wedding pictures at my wedding? And then I took a closer look and I literally gasped, out loud. It was me! Everyone just stood there in silence for a minute and stared at this picture up on the screen in awe. I had never seen anything quite like it. Matt and I had the picture turned into a huge portrait that now hangs up in our living room. Like I said, you’ll have those pictures for the rest of your life. Make sure they’re worth looking at. The one below is too small to really get that WOW effect, but imagine it on a larger than life screen.

In the end, all I can tell people is to feel comfortable with every decision you make. That thing they say about finding the perfect wedding dress, when you try it on you’ll know it’s the one… that is 100% true. You won’t believe it until it actually happens to you, that moment where you see yourself in the mirror for the first time and you’re like, wow, I look good, this is the dress I have to wear! It’s not like Big Foot or Unicorns, that moment really does exist. And when you find that dress, and you know it’s the one, don’t let anyone else try to talk to you out of it. If your Grandmother doesn’t like it because you can see the tattoo that covers your back, tough. She’ll get over it when she sees you walking down the aisle. If you can’t afford the dress, cut corners somewhere else. I would have given up flowers in general to be able to wear the dress I wore on my wedding day, or even the DJ. I would consider hooking an iPod up to big speakers if it meant getting to wear that dress. Another great money saving tip is to get the sample dress. It cuts about 50% off the price. It’s usually a size 10 or something crazy like that, which will require more fittings and alterations, but you will still end up saving a bundle on it in the end. Like I said, cut corners somewhere else, not on your dress. My dress was the single most important thing to me on that day, and my favorite thing about my wedding (besides, ya know, the whole getting married to my best friend thing).

Weddings are stressful enough as it is. But had I done some of these things from the beginning I think it would have saved me a lot of head ache in the end. I hope these tips end up helping another bride out before she ends up calling the whole thing off. I’m not the most organized or focused person in the world so a blog like this probably would have been somewhat helpful. There’s so much more I want to touch on, but these are the key things that stick out in my mind. Overall, surround yourself with people who love you and your husband-to-be. Nothing but good vibes leading up to and on your big day! Cut out all of the negativity ahead of time, and most importantly, just enjoy yourself! This is supposed to be the happiest day of your life, remember that! Don’t sweat the small stuff. As long as none of your guests get drunk and set your reception site on fire you should be good to go.