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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Glowy Peachy Makeup

I've been downright sick of the snow and cold and wind we've been having here. This happens every year after the holidays, I'm done with snow but we still have about 3 more months of it. I'm just ready for spring!

So to get me out of my stuck-in-winter doldrums, I thought I'd do a really glowy, peachy makeup (a spring makeup if you will). It makes me think of flowers blooming, green, and sunshine. Here's what I did!

  • I mixed my a full coverage foundation with a skin illuminator to bring out the glow all over my face *oh yeah I did!
  • Then concealer and a light powder to set everything (beware this is not a long-lasting makeup, at least for us oilier gals)
  • I did a light contour in the hollows of my cheeks and under my jawline
  • For blush I used my favorite peach shade that is already provides a bit of a highlight, then I went over the tops of my cheeks with a highlighter for that pow on the cheeks!
  • For the eyes, I used an eye pencil in white as a base to keep the colors vibrant, and  I used the blush as an eye shadow because I was going for a matchy-matchy look
  • I shaded outer corner and crease with a light brown from my Naturally Pretty palette, then I touched up the peach shade with my finger, because I really wanted it to stand out
  • I finished off with some highlighter on the inner corners and brow bones, tight-lining in black, and lots of mascara as always
  • A neutral lip keeps the focus on the glow!
List of Products on My Face

What do you think of this spring look in winter? I'm definitely down for some color and brightness to lighten up these still-dark days :)

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

New Year, New Hair

Okay, okay so I didn't make that big of a change, but my hair really needed a refresher. Really! The blond ombre with dark roots I got last time had grown out for about 6 months. I was left with my natural roots, a dark stripe at the middle of my head, and pretty blond ends.

Something had to be done!

So I went to Truly You Salon to see my hairstylist, Laura. She sorted me all out, though it took a bit of work. See how it went below!

Here's how I started, the blond had faded a bit and it's hard to see in this pic but there was a dark stripe between my roots and the blond. I was really liking my root color fading into the blond though I just asked Laura to refresh the blond and help sort out my stripe issue.

This was apparently a little more complicated than we realized. Laura ended up taking the blond up higher to get rid of the darkness, but then it took the blonde too well and she had to go back in and wipe away the bleach and tone it down a bit.

For a while there I was supporting my body weight (it seemed like it at least) in tin foil!

Here's my new hair the day after! I straightened it so you could see the difference more easily. I'm loving the blonde hair again, I really think it brightens up my face. And now without the stripe I'll be able to grow out my roots again and it will look good. Which means longer between sessions, which is always better on my wallet.

Don't forget to follow me on social media to stay updated on Amber But Better!

Twitter: @amberbutbetter
Instagram: @amber.butbetter

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Thursday Thoughts on My Winter Style

So sorry that I missed this Tuesday's post, I had some unfortunate picture and lighting issues. Hopefully I can clear that up this weekend though and get out an updated hair post to you next Tuesday!

Until then, for this week, I've been updating/curating my Pinterest boards to really reflect what I like. I've been trying for years now to find my personal style and haven't been able to nail it down or describe it. But after going through my Fall/Winter Style Board I've been able to pin down the looks, colors, silhouettes, and over all vibe I love.

The only issue now is that these looks don't really suit my body type as I'm currently much heavier than I'd like to be... I guess I need to figure out how to reconcile what I look like with what I wear. I really just don't like wrap dresses, bootcut pants, or belts at my waist (which is what I "should" be wearing).

Below are the looks I am drawn to. Now to get myself in a food/exercise program that can help me develop the body needed for this style I strive for.

Follow Amber's board Fall/Winter Style on Pinterest.

Any motivation, inspiration, cheer leading, or personal stories are welcome!

Happy Friday Eve Everyone!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Thursday Thoughts: Last Year & This Year

Let's have a little chat about this last year and what I'm hoping for in the New Year. January has always been a time for reflecting on the past and planning and hoping for the future, so now seems as good a time as any.

Be warned... this is a bit of a long one, but it's got some good info I think!


First, 2015 was an extremely challenging year for me. I haven't even really been able to process it all yet, as it's been emotionally exhausting and hard for me to think about. My marriage of 7 years ended and since then it's been one challenge after another. I sold my home, moved 2 times, dealt with health issues in my eyes and feet that have been a pain, decided I need to find a job that I'm passionate abou, and had some separation/divorce struggles (unfortunately these are on-going).

But besides all that, I have found a place I like and my animals like, I've spent a lot of time with my wonderful family, a walked in a 5K, continued with this blog, and I think most importantly I learned a lot about myself and who the real (single) Amber is. I think this will help me in my future happiness both in relationships and by myself. I think I know who I am, who I strive to be, and what makes me tick. I have found that I am more comfortable with myself as person than I ever have been.

It's amazing what a little self-reflection, heart ache, and allowing yourself to be emotional can do for a person :)

Here's what I've learned about me...

  • I am resilient, although I hit bottom this year and hard a rough time, I am getting through it stronger and hopefully smarter.
  • I am getting better with emotions - I used to believe that showing emotion was a sign of weakness (let's not even get into that craziness) but now I've learned that it's okay to be sad, angry, frustrated, or whatever. I am allowing myself to feel it and then move on, without dwelling. This is a whole new world to me and I gotta admit it feels better than holding everything in all the time.
  • I actually may need friends, for years I've relied solely on my SO or family. And although my family is awesome (and they are!) friends provide a different perspective and sometimes just a nice distraction.

So for 2016 here are some of the things I'd like to achieve. I am not setting resolutions here as I don't believe in them... I feel like it's just a way to set yourself up for failure. But these are goals and/or ideas I have in mind for the upcoming year. If I don't achieve them it's ok, but I will be working on making these things happen.

File For and Get a Divorce
Not a particularly fun goal, but I think I need to do this in order to fully heal and move on with my life.

Enter At Least Two 5K Races
I really enjoyed the Race for the Cure last year and would love to do some this year. I would like to run if possible in at least one of them, but that depends on how my feet are doing (grrr... plantar faciitis ruins my fun). My cousin found a bubble race this July that sounds amazing, so I've got some support I think.

Search For a New Job
I'm looking for something closer to my house (my current commute is an hour each way and it's no fun), that pays at least what I make now (more would be better), and really is something I feel passionate about. My current job is hard to care about as it doesn't directly benefit anyone and I'm behind a computer all day. I really want to help people in some manner with face-to-face interactions. Yes, yes, this is a lofty goal, but I'll keep searching and applying until that one comes along!

This one comes after the whole Divorce situation, as who can handle all that drama at once? But I would like to get back out there, meet some new people, and see what the dating world is like these days as it's been a long time for me. I'm nervous and excited but I think it's a good sign that I even want to date so I'm going to run with it.

Do What I Want to Do
I've spent the last 8 years of my lift worrying about someone else's happiness over my own, but that's over and it's my time now. I want to meet people, go to new places, hang out with my friends and family, play with the dog, eat, and decorate, and everything else in just the way I like and doing/eating/seeing what I want. I think it's something I need so I have a more sure sense of self and can therefore be happier with me and in any future relationships I might have.

Oh yea, I can feel it, this is going to be a better year. I am going in with a positive attitude and am hopeful for what the future holds for me. I think this will be the best year for me to be Amber But Better!

What are your goals, hopes, wants for this year? It's okay, you can tell me ;)

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

2015 Favorites

All my favorites of the year in one place! This is the best of the best people, the stuff I consistently reached for above all others... yep it's that good. So no more blah-blah, here's 2015 All-Stars!

I tried to give you a little bit of everything in this year's favorites... lifestyle, skincare, hair, makeup, and more. So I'll dive into these, give you the best in each category, and tell you why they're so awesome.

I wrote about The Inner Guide 2015 Planner in a monthly favorites here. But I used this fairly consistently all year round and I found it helpful as a planner but also as a reminder of what I have to grateful for. Also, it gives you a place to set monthly goals and reflect on each month. Definitely a reminder to slow down and savor life instead of watching it pass you by. I will definitely be getting a new one for 2016 (I better get on that!).

The Other Woman - I have been down right loving this movie! I'm pretty sure I watched it 5-6 times last year. And that's saying a lot for me. It's about a woman who's husband cheats on her with another woman (women actually) and she befriends 2 of the mistresses and they get back at him beautifully. It's really cute though, the friendship these ladies form.

Although, I've tried a bit of makeup this year only a few products really stood out to me. 1st (and I realize I left this out of the picture, I can't believe it!) the Too Faced Semi-Sweet Chocolate Bar Palette... this is pretty much my one and only go-to gotta have it eye shadow palette. It's been a year and I'm still in love.

Next, the Hourglass Arch Brow Sculpting Pencil has kept my brows looking sharp but still natural all year long! I bought it last January and it's still going strong.

Finally, the Milani Baked Blushes in Luminoso and Berry Amore. Although I haven't done a specific post on them, here's a list of posts where I used or mentioned them. These blushes have such great pigmentation and blend-ability. They do have sparkle in them, but on the face it doesn't show as glitter, just this beautiful glow. I love them!

Real Techniques rocked this year for me. I tried the sponge, the foundation brush, and a concealer brush this year. All great, but the stand out brush for me is this Expert Face Brush where I spoke more about here. It blends foundation perfectly into the skin making it look like skin, but better of course! I find it works great with liquid and cream foundations and allows me to use less product then I would with my fingers or a sponge. Definitely worth a try if you haven't yet.

Because of this crazy I'm-in-my-30's-with-acne-for-the-first-time thing I've been dealing with for the last 2 years, I've really been focused on my skincare. I've tried a lot of products and been impressed by some of the results I've seen. I talk about my whole routine here, but below are the 2 products that I feel have made the biggest change this year.

First, the Honey Bomb Ampoule, which was my 1st foray into Korean Skincare has rocked my world! It is a ampoule/serum, toner, and moisturizer all-in-1. In the summer, especially, this replaced my toner and moisturizer. Because of my oily skin, I really wanted a light way to add moisture in the warmer months and this did it! But now because it's so dry here in Colorado and the cold it's very dry, so now I use this more as a serum step and use a toner and face oil with it. All around I love the healthy vibrancy it brings to my skin.

Second, this have been the year of exfoliating for me. I have used all kinds of exfoliators (none with micro-beads though) and found that this 5 minute mask really gets the job done for a deep exfoliation. The MyChelle Fruit Enzyme Scrub is both a chemical and physical exfoliator so I usually use it just once a week. But it makes my skin radiant and soft and I think it's helped with my acne scars as well. And you don't need much of this product so I think it'll last quite a while... always a good thing.

My hair has definitely been my hands-down focus of the year. For the 1st time in a long time I've been trying to grow my hair out. With that has come tangles, dry ends, frizziness, lack of volume, and other funky long-haired issues. But I've been loving the versatility of the long hair, so I've been trying all different products to combat some of these concerns. Below are my top winners of the year:

Batiste Dry Shampoo, Dark and Deep Brown has been my fave for the whole year. It's great at sopping up the oil that gives me a greasy look on my second-day hair. Also, because of the brown color, it doesn't leave any white residue behind, it just matches perfectly with my roots. I could not live without this stuff... literally gone to King Soopers at 6am before work to grab some when I ran out. It's true love... and I recently found out that this may be a cruelty-free product after all. (I've had some confusion on this and found some good info, let me know if you're interested in hear more)

Next, AG Texture Defining and Finishing Spray, this is for the 1st day after I've washed my hair. Usually, it's soft but kind of limp. So this spray gives it a swift kick in the ass to get it on up! I pop some at the roots, wait a few seconds and fluff my hair up... it gives volume that lasts for a good while. Also, I'll add it to my ends as well if they need some umpf. Just a good product for helping you achieve that va-va-va-voom hair if you so desire... and I do!

Finally, the newest product on this list, but nonetheless awesome, the It's a 10 Miracle Hair Mask. I was looking for a hair mask to help with those dry ends I was telling you about and give my hair it's silky texture back. I love the It's a 10 leave-in conditioner, so I thought I'd give this a try. And it really does bring back that healthy shine, bounce, and silky smooth finish I was missing in my hair. I only use it once a week in the shower for 5 minutes. But that's all it needs to make my hair luscious. Oh yea....

Whew! That was a long post, but I do hope you enjoyed learning about my favorites from this year! I'd love to hear what your holy grail products from 2015 were, so comment below!

Also, if you'd like to learn more about how I determine which products are cruelty-free,please comment below!

Thank you and Happy New Year!