Loving Lately – BENEFIT POSIETINT

The awkward season between the holidays and the first hints of spring are tricky when it comes to makeup.  Going too dark with eyes or lips this time of year can tend to drab you down or wash you right out.  On the other hand, you don’t want your face to look like a luau in the middle of January.

I have been LOVING Benefit’s “PosieTint” – it is the perfect warm, soft pink that will brighten up your face while still being super appropriate for winter weather. You can go one coat, or layer to build stronger color.  Think cozy knee socks, oversized cable knits, and a hot cup of tea!

Benefit PosieTint

Sam in Posietint

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Coming Soon – LULA Featured in Trendy Bride Magazine

Thanks to the sweet ladies at Rebecca Rose Events, I was able to be a part of this lovely shoot for Trendy Bride Magazine.  All images are courtesy of the talented Perry Vaile.  Our bride wore a BHLDN gown and traipsed the Raven Rock State Park to evoke a romantic, elegant, and earthy wedding day.

Here’s just a peek – more images to follow.Trendy Bride Perry Vaile Photography

 

Trendy Bride Perry Vaile

 

FEATURE – Southern Weddings Magazine – V7!

SWV7 Feature

Last spring, I had the incredible honor to provide hair and makeup styling for Southern Weddings Magazine!  When the gals emailed me with their inspiration, I knew I had to be a part.  The Dogwood-inspired shoot, “A New Beginning,” was everything we hoped it would be – sunny, breezy, whimsical, and surrounded by dogwood trees in full, southern bloom.  We tried to emanate elegance, simplicity, and whimsy that is so evocative of spring in the south. The full-length bridesmaids gowns from BHLDN were a flowy spectrum of light mint and blue, so we kept the makeup very fresh in peachy pinks and browns. We styled the bridesmaids hair mostly down, loose, and lightly curled, and featured a braided, loose updo on the stunning bride (who is seen in this Monique Lhuillier gown – so gorgeous).  We even got to do a little hair and makeup primping on the three adorable flower girls!

See the full posts here and here on the Southern Weddings website, and of course, the full feature is in Southern Weddings Magazine!  Volume 7 of Southern Weddings is available now at major newsstands and bookstores around the country!

We had to wait a bit to share, but like most of the best things in life, it was worth the wait!

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Life Stage Films was also a part of the day, and captured the beautiful moments of preparation and shooting in film.  We make a few cameos throughout!  So beautiful!

And here are a few behind-the-scene shots from this fun day in sunny NC!

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Thank you, Southern Weddings, for this delightful opportunity to do what I love with you!


And thank you, Landon and Jordan of Landon Jacob Photography, for capturing these beautiful images!

Welcome Back Notes To Self

Here are just a few kind notes to self as I begin a new year, and as I re-enter this world of weddings, makeup, hair, styling, small business, imaging, social networking, emails, et al:

Do not look to others who do what you do, or are in the same field, to find your inspiration.  If it bugs you or causes jealousy, even if it is beautiful, do not look at it!  Take time to admire the beautiful imagery created from your own life, your friends, your family, the real world that is all around you. A Thing Called Life Set your eyes on things above, not on earthly things.  Heavenly inspiration, and inspiration born purely out of life and wonder, will always be more fulfilling than inspiration born out of competition. A flower does not think of competing You always have the privilege of saying yes, and you always reserve the right to say no. Less really really really is more.  Less time on the computer, pouring over Pin-spiration, worrying that you are not enough.  Less time wondering what you should be doing to be the best business-owner and makeup and hair stylist.  Less comparison.  You do not have to be doing what everyone else is doing! Have Less. Do More. Who the World Wants you to be
Things that are seemingly unrelated to business that fuel your heart (reading a great book, spending time in the Word, worship, and prayer, taking a long walk outside, going to a museum, laughing over really stupid stuff, going on a date, catching up with a friend, watching a funny movie, making a great meal) really DO fuel your work, your art, and your business as a whole. Stuff To Do Feed your baby good food.  Carefully choose where you get your business counsel and beauty inspiration.  Think big, shoot for the moon, dream HUGE dreams.  Looking up will serve you more than looking laterally. Six Impossible Things

Image Credit: A Thing Called LifeHave Less Do More, Don’t Overthink It, Six Impossible Things

Breathe, Refresh, Reset

I am back from Africa, with a huge, thankful heart.

Sam in Portofino, Italy

In August, when we (my husband John and I) got the word that we were accepted to ministry school in Africa, I knew what I had to do.  For months, I had been holding off on scheduling any weddings for the fall and winter, praying, and trying to wait as patiently as possible for the word on whether or not we would be going.  Weeks went by, and our fall was still unsure.  Our future was still unsure.

The best things in life are worth waiting for, and sacrificing for.

Art, of any kind, is best fueled and inspired when life is had.  When adventures are had.  When we aren’t so focused on what we are creating, or even that we are creating, as much as we are willing to just enjoy life, the small things, the simple moments.  These fuel our tanks, and out of this fullness, we create with authenticity, with power, and most of all, with inspiration.  Art without inspiration is just clanging noise.

John in Gordes

So when we got the word to go, I did what I knew I had to do, and what I had prepared to do.  I blacked-out my fall and winter business schedule for any weddings, said “no” more than I ever have, announced our coming adventure, set up my Vacation Settings email with a list of references, and held my business with open hands.  All of it.  It was nerve-wracking, exhilarating, frustrating, strangely relieving, did not make any sense (to my natural mind, and in the world of weddings), and made a lot of sense (to my heart).  When God tells you to do something, you don’t have to understand how it will all work out. And when God gives you more than one passion, He alone is going to take care of how these passions come to fruition.

When nothing is sure

So, after packing up our little home and traveling through Europe and Africa for three months,

after very little access to all things wedding blogs, Instagram, Pinterest, emails, and the wedding world,

after three months of not worrying over what my hair, skin, nails, or makeup looked like, or what the latest aesthetic/small business/wedding vendor/styling trends were,

after meeting beautiful people from all over the world,

after doing hair and makeup for an entire bridal party in Mozambique, with barely any makeup or hair supplies, and seeing the pure joy on the bride’s face as she looked in the mirror,

I come home purely refreshed, rejuvenated, and re-inspired.  I came home with a fresh vision of what my little hair and makeup business is all about.

Beautiful Things in Humble Places

Sam in Nelspruit, South Africa

LULA is about acknowledging and honoring the beauty in yourself, in others, in the big moments and the little moments in life.  We do not need as much as we think we do.  And so it is with beauty.  True beauty is not about the brand of makeup, the right hair, the best clothes, or the most perfectly curated instagrams.  It’s about loving what you see when you look in the mirror, enjoying others, and enjoying real life.  Beauty is simple – it’s you.  I want each and every lovely lady who sits in my chair to not just like what they see, but to feel as beautiful as they truly are.

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Much to my surprise, and to my delight, God gave me new vision and business plans for LULA, and I can’t wait to make these changes in the coming months. Things are going to be more streamlined, more simple, more beautiful, more clear, and LULA is going to be more of what I dreamed her to be.

This Life is Pretty Amazing

So, here’s to you!  Happy 2015!New Year

Stay tuned for a post I am very excited to share – my feature in Southern Weddings Magazine – V7!

Images via, via, via, via, via, via, via, via, via

(If you emailed during my time away, I will be responding shortly!  Thank you so much for your patience, and I am looking forward to talking with you!)

LULA is going on an adventure!

Robyn Van Dyke Photography

Robyn Van Dyke Photography

 This year has been everything I hoped it would be, and then some.  

I started out 2014 having just quit my day job to pursue a more balanced life with work I love.  Providing beautifully personalized hair and makeup styling for ladies – be it for a wedding day, a special date, prom, a photo shoot, or one-on-one consultation – is just a part of why I have fallen even more in love with this job.  I get to meet people, hear their stories, and be with them during special moments.  For a brief time, they sit in my chair and trust me with an intimate part of who they are.  We get to chat and dream.  I get to be one of the makers of the vision of a special moment, a special day.  

I always say that hair and makeup is just art in which no two canvases are the same.  Each canvas has its own set of beautiful, natural features to work with.  Finding beauty isn’t hard, you just have to have an eye that appreciates what is already there.  That is why I love what I do!  There’s not a person who sits in my chair who isn’t amazingly beautiful.  I just get to play up what’s there, while chatting and laughing and dreaming (and sweating… *cough* I mean glistening!)

Work also gets to be one of my joys because, well, it’s just that – ONE of my joys!  Where we do not depend on something or someone for our joy, that thing just gets to be what it is, and we just get to love it for what it is.  I am so thankful for work that has allowed me to be all me, and a huge outlet for my creativity.  

From September through December of this year, my husband and I are taking some time to pursue some different joys and adventures around the world.  We will be in Europe and Africa with a missions organization which focuses largely on orphan care and aid for the impoverished.  I am so excited!  

I am a huge believer in living life, and letting that life inspire your work – instead of letting work rule your life.  I am so excited to take in all the sights, smells, tastes, textures, colors, sunsets, skin tones and smiles, challenges, and even discomfort!  “A ship is safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are for.” – William G.T. Shedd

 

With that said, LULA will not be taking any work or answering to any new inquiries from September – December 2014. We will resume responding to inquiries for limited bookings in 2015!  

I’d love to answer any questions before then, so just shoot me an email or send a contact form, and I’ll try to get back to you as soon as I can!  Please note that after September 14th, I will not be responding to any new emails until January 1st.  Thanks for your understanding during this exciting time!  If you are inquiring about a date in January or February, please send an email with your date in the subject line.  For any other 2015 dates, please email in January and we can discuss booking from there!  

Also, you are invited to keep up with my personal instagram & personal blog for photos and updates from our journey!

Robyn Van Dyke Photography

Robyn Van Dyke Photography

 

With love and excitement for the things to come!!

Samantha

 

So you’re thinking about hiring a MUAH stylist for your Wedding Day…

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(First things first – MUAH is just a fun, slightly cheesy way to abbreviate makeup and hair!)

So, you’ve got the ring, you’ve got the date, and maybe even a few other details have been crossed off of the grande wedding to-do list!  But what about your look??  You’ve briefly scoured Pinterest and have successfully become completely overwhelmed in the boo coos of “wedding day hair and makeup” pins.  Half up?  All up?  Clip?  Veil?  And before you know it, you push those details to the back of your mind to focus on the other, more pressing details of the day.

Here’s some great news, bride-to-be.  MUAH artists are here to help you make ALL of those decisions!  And there are ways you can help us help you in the BEST way possible, so we can be your trusted Team on your wedding day.  The majority of my advice is to help you have realistic expectations of your wedding day before the ceremony – the timeline, the space, the people in it – so that we, as stylists, can give you the best service possible, and for you to feel the most at ease and stress-free on your special day.

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1.  I know I want a MUAH stylist for my day – so where do I start?

There are a few things we’ll need to know to be able to quickly assess if we can help you on your big day!  If you think through and gather this information prior to contacting, we can move super quickly and smoothly with our planning and booking!  We get lots of “Hey!  I’m interested in hair and makeup for my wedding!” initial emails, and then have to wait weeks, even months before the bride has a definite on details we need to even assess if we can do her wedding, and book from there.  These should help you get the mental ball rolling for planning the wedding day!

-Preparation Location and Venue Location (Where are you getting ready?  Is it at the venue?  Is it at your parents house, or a hotel room?)

-Time of pre-ceremony photos.  (AKA – completely done with hair and makeup time!)  Your photographer has specific time needs to be able to do their best job for you on your wedding day.  They will know what time pre-ceremony photos should be.  This is typically 1.5 to 2 hours before the ceremony start time, but you’ll need to check specifics with your photographer.

-Any Pinterest boards or inspiration pictures you’ve gathered of looks you like.  Don’t worry if they’re not all the same look!  We can help you decide based on your hair type, length, skin type, and other elements like dress style, flowers, whether your ceremony is indoors or outdoors (and what time of year), and color scheme.  Actually, it’s really great if you let us help you decide!  We have tricks to help short hair seem long, to help thin hair seem full, but we also know when something can’t be done on someone, or it isn’t in their best interest.  We want to help you look like your best you!

-Exactly how many women need services, and which services they want.  Hair?  Makeup?  Both?  Bridesmaids, flower girls, moms, friends… Go ahead and ask them!  We will need to know ASAP, because we’ll need to secure our assistants or co-stylists for larger parties, and be able to plan a very precise wedding day timeline to help protect your time, your photographer’s time, and our time.  Which brings me to my next point…

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2.There are only so many hours in a day – even your wedding day. (The importance of, and science behind, a kick-@$$ wedding day timeline!)

Brides tend to plan, plan, plan every single detail of the wedding, and stay on the “wedding planning timeline” for just about everything, except the wedding day itself.  Your hope is to make it to the week-of, or day-of, and have planned out everything so well that you can just show up, coast, and enjoy!  One very big, very helpful word of advice from a seasoned day-of vendor: PLAN YOUR WEDDING DAY TIMELINE.  I’m talkin pre-ceremony, pre-pictures.  To the hour.  To the minute.  And for each section, add several minutes (10-15) of “wiggle room.”  DO make sure every member of your bridal party, guys and gals, has a copy of this timeline.  Overkill?  I assure you, it’s really not.

There are essentially 2 vendors you will actually be working with on the day of the wedding – your MUAH stylists (she’ll be all up in your prep space, beautifying you and your girls), and your photographer.  They will help you with the timeline based on your needs, and our needs.  The MUAH stylist passes the timeline torch to the photographer so we can make sure you and your party are all queued up and on (or ahead of) schedule for walking down the aisle.  We plan extra time to allot for bathroom breaks, eating food, worst-case scenarios, and most importantly, a peaceful pace for you to enjoy your day, where you can rest in the knowledge that everyone knows where they should be and when.  Why feel like there’s not enough time, like no one is ready, like you haven’t eaten all day, or like people are still looking to you to tell them where to be and when, when it’s YOUR wedding day?  That doesn’t have to be you!

For us to respect your time and your photographers time, as well as for you to respect our time, we need a very detailed and realistic schedule for the day.  We work with you on that!  We just need you to know that, although we have a secured day and space to get ready in, the hours go fast while we’re getting you and your girls ready!  We need time to set up in the space (dealing with varying elements like lighting, outlets, counter space) and we do need time to do the hair and/or makeup.  If there are only 2 of us working on a bridal party of 8, with all of the girls wanting hair and makeup – it takes time.  Be realistic in your expectations about this.  A good MUAH artist will help you figure an exact timeframe she needs to be able to do the services you’ve requested on the amount of girls you’ve listed.

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3.  Imagine, and prepare for, the Wedding Day prep space scene

Another pro tip for enjoying your wedding day with your stylist is to have realistic expectations of the preparation space.  The first step is to have that timeline nailed down, and then envision your preparation space on your wedding day.  I’m a very spacial person.  When it’s an important day, I like to know when I’m going to eat, that I’ll have a few minutes to steal away and take a 5-minute walk outside, or that I will feel some semblance of order on a somewhat chaotic or busy day.  This is good to talk through with your bridal party and set their expectations of this as well.

You know you have a space set aside – your parents house, a hotel room, or a bridal suite at the venue.  Now envision you and all your girls getting ready in it.  Yay!  Happy times!! Now, envision each girls’ things – bags, dresses, shoes, jewelry, robes.  Still good – a little tighter, but still good if everyone can kind of keep it neat.  Now, envision your stylists in it, with their things (makeup kit, brushes, irons, hairspray – all the things we need to do our job!).  Ok, it’s getting tight.  Now, envision your mom and mother-in-law in it, Aunt Susan who just got to the venue and wants to see you, the food you ordered for 15 people along with plates, cups, drinks, and the photographer wanting to take some photos of preparation time.  ALL THE STRESS!   We feel it, too!

One of the biggest stresses I feel on a wedding day is not whether I can do something to someone’s hair or makeup – it’s feeling the stress of the bride over details that are not within my control.  This is where you can be a top-notch planner, and be realistic about your spacial needs.  If you don’t want any Aunt Susans or cousin Lucys or other drop-ins, spread the word to your mom, your bridesmaids, and your wedding planner, so they can set others’ expectations.  If you have 5 bridesmaids, plus you, everyone’s dresses, bags, shoes, stylists, food, and music – and you’ve only booked one hotel room – it will be crowded and chaotic.  We’ve been in those rooms!  We still make it happen, but I can’t say those have been my happiest times or my best looks.  This all leads me to my next tip…

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4.  The Bridesmaid Pep-Talk – A note to the maids from one who has been in many-a wedding day preparation scene

I don’t want to have to give you the pep talk, but I will if your dear friend, the bride, doesn’t.  I’ve seen it more often than not.  Bridesmaids who think the bulk of their work is over once they hit wedding day – you helped the bride plan, you bought your (kind of really expensive) dress, shoes, jewelry, you threw showers and attended the others with gifts in tow.  So you made it to W-Day, and all you have to do now is look pretty and be on emergency stand-by.  Well, not really.

The wedding day is the ULTIMATE day for bridesmaids.  This is why your friend chose you!!  This is your grand day to shine as an amazing friend – not just by getting dressed up and standing beside her physically at the altar and being in one million pictures with her.  This is your day to be beside her emotionally and physically, serving her, all day long.  One of the top issues that I see my brides getting stressed out about on their wedding day is their bridesmaids.  Can I get an amen from my other MUAHs?  Bridesmaids who show up late, or say things like “I don’t know what I’m supposed to be doing… I’m just here,”  or bridesmaids who slander the sacred Wedding Day Timeline with statements like “Whyyyy are we hear at 9am when the wedding isn’t until 3?!?!” and then proceed to wait until 1 to get ready.  I see and hear these things too often.  I just have to say, NOPE!

The best thing you can do as a bridesmaid on the wedding day is to take initiative to know where you’re supposed to be and when.  It goes such a long way and is not unnoticed!  Know beforehand what your hair and makeup is supposed to look like – if the bride has any preferences, or not.  Ask if the bride needs anything – water, a snack, or to run any last-minute errands or messages – on multiple occasions.  Make sure she has her post-reception bag all together.  Help keep the space neat and orderly as much as possible.  This blesses her on her day, and assures her that everything is taken care of!  GET READY EARLY.  This is not your day to wait until the last hour before pictures to do your hair and makeup because you want it to look fresh.  I’m sorry!  The bride is the one who reserves the right to do that.  She does not need to feel like her maids are rushing around last minute instead of focusing on her in those precious moments.  This sends the message, to her delicate bridal mind, that everything is going to be off-schedule!

This really is your ultimate moment to be the friend she chose you for – the one to be with her in those special moments of her wedding day!

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5.  Let us help you make your look decisions!

I find that brides aren’t as sure of an exact look they want, as much as how they want to feel.  They want to feel the most beautiful they’ve ever felt, and the most themselves they’ve ever felt.  This is where the contradicting descriptions come into play, i.e., “I want to look really natural and myself” and then they show me a photo of winged eyeliner and false lashes.  Brides want to strike a balance between supermodel and sweet, fashion statement and simple, and it is our job to help you figure out what that actually looks like on you.

I definitely suggest gathering as many hair and makeup inspiration photos as you can to let us peruse over together.  A good MUAH will be able to spot common themes in the photos, as well as looks that won’t match with your hair/skin type, your dress, or your venue.  A good MUAH will be able to say “no” as well as “yes.”  You want someone who will be up front and honest with you, and willing to bend over backwards to make you comfortable with how you look.  Trials are great for that reason!

The most important thing to remember is that YOU are beautiful, and you WILL be absolutely stunning on your wedding day.  Unless you walk down the aisle with a potato sack over your head, there is no hairdo or makeover that will “make” or “break” your look.  Be confident and at ease in that, and it will help us do our job to the best of our ability!  You can be choosey, or you can be chill – we don’t care, as long as you’re confident in YOU.  

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What we want most as your hair and makeup stylists is for you to feel as peace-filled as possible on your wedding day!  Even if things get a little cray-zay (and they do, for even the best planned weddings!) we are prepared to work hard, work fast, and work efficiently, and even laugh a little, too (in between our in-the-zone faces) :)

 

love,

Samantha

 

 

The Golden Rules for le Bikini Wax

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We’ve all been there – Memorial Day weekend comes, which means swim time – finally!  You don your perfectly picked out swimsuit, head out in the sun, and suddenly hear the ghastly horror movie screech as the patches of hair your razor conveniently missed come into FULL, grizzly view!  You swore you gave it a good once-over, but those tricky little hairs (which had all winter to grow wild and free) had other, more rebellious ideas.  If you’re like me, the skin in your nether-region reacts to a razor like an angry wild cat reacts to a bath – pure hatred.  And we have the awful, irritated, sensitive red skin bumps to prove it.  That plus a tight swimsuit and ocean water?  REAL nice.

SO – a bikini wax it is!  Is it fun?  Heh heh.  A relaxing time at the spa?  HECK no!  BUT the result is 100% worth it for baby smooth, non-angry bikini-line skin, and the peace of mind that no one is getting an unwelcome look at our grizzly lady hairs for up to 4 weeks.  And if you choose the right place and follow the golden rules for a less painful wax, you’ll be walking out on cloud nine (OK — 50% because it’s over, 30% because it wasn’t as bad as you thought it’d be, and 20% because you know you won’t have to have last-minute panic about your lady hairs poking out of your swimsuit!)

 

1.  Nix the caffeine

Caffeine in coffee, soda, or other caffeinated beverages heightens our body’s nerve reactors.  That plus waxing?  No thank you!  If you schedule your wax in the morning, that’s a little easier.  Forego your first-thing-in-the-morning joe and grab a celebratory cup post-wax.  Or just make sure you resist for at least 2 hours prior to waxing.

2.  Hydrate with good, ol’ fashioned H2O

Resisting caffeine isn’t enough – you’re gonna want some extra H2O for your body to be in tip-top shape for quick skin recovery post-wax.  Drink a little more than usual the day before to prep.

3.  Pre-wax ibuprofen

30 minutes to an hour before your wax, pop in a dose of ibuprofen.

4.  Just say NO to strip-waxing!

Remember the olden days of hot wax, strip of wax paper, and rrrrip?  And your skin being ripped off with it??  These days, there is the less painful and more effective hard wax.  It goes on soft, hardens, and becomes the strip which is pulled off.  It is significantly less painful for you and better for your skin.  By far, European Wax Center has the best I have tried!  AND they offer your first basic bikini line wax for free!

5.  Don’t be shy

Have questions?  Ask.  A painful past experience?  Explain.  That’s what the pros are there for.  Any thoughts, issues, or trepidations you have, let them know!  They can adjust their techniques accordingly.  I personally like the countdown-to-takeoff so I can breathe in and out and be prepared for the pain, but some people prefer the conversation method (aka:  let’s pretend we’re just old chums talking about the weather while you rip out my bikini line hairs so I am distracted from the immense pain!)

6.  No really… DON’T be shy!!

If you’ve had a bikini wax before, you probably know that the paper thong provided is there to make you feel less awkward about being in butterfly position, otherwise completely nude “down there,” in front of a total stranger.  It’s not there to cover you up!  And you become exceedingly aware of that truth the moment you assume the position on the waxing table.  My advice?  Go commando from the get-go.  Many places don’t even offer the courtesy paper thonglette anymore.  Just embrace it and know it will help the esthetician be able to do her job better.  She has your best interest in mind – NO rogue hairs sticking out down there!

7.  Schedule wisely

It’s best to plan a lady-wax right after your period, when your skin is least bloated and sensitive down there.  Also keep in mind that exercising and swimming are PROHIBITED for 24 hours after your wax.

8.  BREATHE

It is our natural reaction to hold our breath when we know pain is coming.  FIGHT this tendency!  I like to breathe in right before the rip, and out as the wax is pulled off.

9.  Exfoliate

The night before your wax, give that area a good scrub with a loofah, dry brush, or washcloth to remove any dead skin cells that might otherwise make the hairs less accessible for the wax.

10.  Let it grow

It’s impossible to wax hair that has just been shaved down.  Let your bikini hairs grow to at least 1/8th of an inch so you can get the best, smoothest, most beautiful skin for your swimsuit!

 

HERE HERE to a lovely summer season!!

Sincerely,

Samantha

April to May

April to May

 

My home is lit with candles, placed sporadically atop pieces of our mismatched furniture.  I’m sitting, looking out our opened sliding glass door.  The leaves are turned upside down on this gray morning, rustled every so often with a bustling breeze, telling of storms to come later today.

Quiet.  It’s my favorite sound ever.  Not silence, just quiet.  The birds chirping to each other outside.  The sound of the washer swooshing our laundry.  The absence of mind clutter, which takes a little more intention (denying the junk-food-snacking urge to gobble up our social media things – and then compare ourselves, sometimes mercilessly or judgmentally, to the images of others’ lives).  In our homes, in our hearts, we always have the option of creating peace places.  The same attitude with which we approach a getaway, we can approach our daily lives, our homes.  We all know it can’t be all vacation or all quiet all the time, but I think we too often forego any peace at all in leui of the burdensome “I have to” mindset.  I have to fold all of our mountains of laundry.  I have to answer 100 emails.  I have to run a million errands today.  I have to do more than I can actually do and maintain sanity.  I say this as if I’m good at it… I am not.

A sweet woman in my life began a practice some time ago of starting her day with listening.  You know those moments between first rousing and actually stepping foot to the floor?  They can be filled with all sorts of things.  These first fruits of our day can be the pacemaker of peace in our days, if used with life-giving (not “I have to…”) intention.  She would greet God, and then listen.  She would write what she heard.  Whatever she heard in her heart, whatever Scripture came to mind, whatever she felt was pressing on her heart – which was the Lord speaking still and soft as He does – she would write down.  But only, actually, for 10 minutes.

Sometimes I think we believe we need an overhaul of our lives to create the kind of lifestyle or atmosphere we truly desire.   But I believe that, more often than not, it’s just a series of small intentional actions that we can start to implement in our lives that will create sustainable change in the direction we want to go.  Small changes can be the hardest.  We like overhauls because they pump us up, we get hype, and hype is an easy wave to coast on… until it tuckers out.  It’s easier to endeavor to just change it all, the whole kit and caboodle all at once, than to make small, sustainable changes over time.  We think we will get more immediate change or gratification, when what we really get is the disappointing crash. Crash diets versus gradual additions of colors into our meals.  “I’m gonna read the Bible in a year!” versus I am going to read my Bible at all, even for 5 minutes, for each day for a week.  Then when we do crash, we feel worse for the wear because we “couldn’t do it.”  We couldn’t keep it up.  OR our goals become our slave-drivers, instead of the changes we wanted in order to give us more.  More peace, more time with our family, more health, more joy… whatever our hearts were longing for in the first place out of need.  Satan loves the crash, because he loves watching us kick ourselves around.  He uses hype, because he doesn’t like when we actually make changes that uproot easy footing for him in our lives.

I endeavor to make the small, hard changes.  To give 10 minutes or 5 minutes or 2 minutes of my day to listen and let that be a pace-setter of the heart behind the rest of my day.  I endeavor to have grace for myself and for others.  Whatever goals I have for this coming month, I want to come from a place a peace, from the Holy Spirit of the Living God.  I have enough stuff in my life, enough voices wrangling for time and attention, and sometimes the best place to start is just sitting in the quiet.

xo

Samantha

 

april in instaphotos

 

LULA’s Picks – Best Everyday Lip Products

Everyday Lip Favorites

 

I don’t know about you, but I have to have something on my lips during the day, no matter what I’m doing.  Nothing is worse than licking your lips, realizing you need a little moisture, and not being able to find any lipstuff in your bag/car/pockets.  Frantic searching ensues, and then you resign to just nabbing whatever they have in the grocery store check-out line.  Over the years, I’ve purchased my fair share of emergency lip things, and these are my tried and true favorites for everyday lip moisture – small enough to fit in your pocket but potent enough to ward away constant lip-licking and a chapped, flaky pout.  Happy smiling!

1 // Burts Bees Tinted Lip Balm

soft, sheer moisture with a pop of light color

2 // Minted Rose Lip Balm

a very hydrating formula that smells amazing (and it doesn’t hurt that it comes in this lovely tin as well)

3 // Vaseline

my favorite tool for chapped lips, dry nose, or dry cuticles.

4 // EOS Lip Balm in Lemon Drop with SPF 15

easy to find in your purse because of the fun and unusual shape, smells amazing, with SPF – no more burnt lips!

5 // Benetint Rose Tinted Lip Stain

I put this on in the morning for a deeper hint of lip color, and top it off with another essential – like the C.O. Bigelow Mentha

6 // Hoola Ultra Plush Shimmering Lip Gloss

when you’re looking for more of a glossy look, this nude color is so flattering and subtle

7 // C.O. Bigelow Mentha Ultra Lip Shine 

smells amazing, feels amazing, looks like MAC’s Lipglass at a fraction of the cost