How To Stick To a Responsible Budget


Capital One 360 Black Friday Sale
As I write this post, there is a mad rush to the stores on a day like today, Black Friday Sales. The furore over spending and deals in retail and online stores is overwhelming and so tempting to go beyond our means. Staying on budget is something I’ve learned to master over the years, trust me I learned the hard way. How do I stay within my means? I budget my earnings. I set a limit in the amount of cash I am going to spend on either my own overhead costs and for the family I have our bills set up on a schedule too. Today, I am going to give you some ideas on how to stick to a responsible budget with your makeup expenditures and beyond – this all applies within the grand scheme of things, money is money.

Understand Your Income in Numbers If you have accurate figures of how much money you have a month, you’ll know how to spend it. This is a simple formula. For example, I work freelance doing makeup and have some earnings from blogging. Every month, I budget my earnings to pay for childcare as well as my own wardrobe, makeup kit, and extras. My husband and I divide our expenses and we are both accountable for specific costs every month. This helps us budget the money we earn.

Have a list of all expenses Having a list of your outgoings really makes a difference on how you spend your money. I started doing this, thanks to my husband and I have to thank him for making me aware of how money my money was being spent.

Save money I can’t stress this enough. My husband and I bought our first home last year after years of saving and being very savvy with our expenditures. If you have extra income, set aside a savings account, it will buy your future.

Don’t be late on your credit card payments Your credit score is reflected on not just on paying your debt BUT also on whether you pay your card debt on time. I used to have multiple cards and now only have one. Typically, I carry a low balance, it averages between $300 to zero a month. I wasn’t this good years ago. Now I love that I am debt free and responsible for my budget, if I can’t spend it, I won’t buy it.

During the holidays to help consumers to stay on track with their finances, Capital One 360 is decking the halls with deals you can bank on, including new account bonuses, referral bonuses and closing cost credits. I encourage you to add Capital One 360’s Black Friday Sale to your shopping list. Visit http://clvr.li/cap1bfs to give yourself the lasting gift of financial peace of mind by taking advantage of Capital One 360’s deals on banking, brokerage and mortgage products. I can’t stress enough how important it is to stay within your financial goals. All of Capital One 360’s Black Friday Sale deals are designed to encourage consumers to keep their finances in check.
CapitalOne360 BlackFriday

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Thinning Hair No More With Rogaine For Women

This #MoreIsBeautiful shop has been compensated by #CollectiveBias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone
Say No To Thinning Hair With Rogaine For WomenRogaine Women WalmartRogaine for WomenFirst Pics Before Rogaine for Women
Eek! Another sensitive subject to discuss in today’s post. Over the years, my hair has thinned out some, mostly in small patches. I started noticing a few patches here and there, mostly at the crown, a bit around my temple areas. When I noticed a pattern, I even went to a dermatologist only to be told I was indeed thinning hair little bit. At the advice of my hair stylist, I opted for frequent hair cuts and parting my hair slightly different to cover the areas.

In my cabinet, I own a fair amount of volumizing products, mostly powders, root lifters and sprays to create the illusion of volume at the top of my crown. One thing I do is style/ cut my hair in a way that will not show some of the empty patches where the thinning occurs and this where the hair styling aids came in handy. However, this about to change! This month, I started using Rogaine For Women once a day; this with the intent to stop using so many styling aids (fingers crossed). Rogaine For Women works from under the hair surface and reactivates hair follicles. This is a hair growth product specifically for women, easy to use as it comes in a foam that is supposed to be applied directly to the scalp. I am excited to see some results from the root and regain some of my thicker hair because #MoreIsBeautiful.

I have to confess I was very troubled with the hair loss when it happened and it should not be embarrassing, thinning hair happens to a lot of women. Being informed and having options is the silver lining in hair loss. This time around, I am looking forward to thicker hair with Rogaine for Women. When you buy the Rogaine for Women box, two cans are in the package offering a four-month supply, a total of sixteen weeks. **In a clinical study of more than 400 women, 8 out of 10 women* who used Women’s ROGAINE® Foam regrew thicker hair, with clinical results in as early as 12 weeks [Info from the manufacturer’s website]. I just got my four month supply at my local Walmart and can’t wait to see more volume in my hair. The best part of Rogaine For Women is zero product residue and not having to spend the money on a bunch of styling aids to volumize thinning hair.

**This is a sponsored post by #CollectiveBias. Opinions are all my own.

VOLOOM Volumizing Hair Iron Review

VOLOOM Hair KitVOLOOM Hair CloseupVOLOOM VOLUMIZING HAIR IRON REVIEWA brand new hair tool with major OOMPH. This is how I would describe Voloom Volumizing Hair Iron, a tool so easy to use and practical, I have major love for it. First of all, it heats up fast and will take less than 10 minutes to get the job done, depending on how much hair you have or maybe less. If you are someone with fine, thin hair, this is one hair tool that’ll offer instant lift and volume. It is an electric back-comb that will do all the work for you.

Voloom Volumizing Hair Iron is meant to be used on dry hair. My advice would be to part the hair first. After the hair is parted using the clips that come with the product, choose the areas of your hair where you want to get volume from underneath, and use small sections of the hair. Clamp and release VOLOOM quickly on the hair nearest the scalp and a few inches down. No hair styling product is needed at all to achieve volume using VOLOOM. This also would work nicely to create updos and low side buns. VOLOOM is used on the under-layers of hair, which are covered by an untreated top layer.

A few things I discovered as I used VOLOOM Volumizing Hair Iron
– Hair gets volumized within seconds
– Hair volume lasts 2-3 days (mine did for sure, this after I did my own blowout)
– No styling aids are necessary, unless you want to fix strays/ live in humid weather
– The trick to the VOLOOM plates is alternating platforms with beveled edges that bend the hair much more gently

This is such a cool hair styling gadget, it’s a fabulous find for ladies who love volumized hair. You won’t need rollers or backcombing after using the VOLOOM Volumizing Hair Iron, this I promise. On myself, I didn’t go too crazy with VOLOOM and still got major height added. I’ve included images with 3rd day volume and I can assure you, I literally went to bed and combed my hair, it held amazing.

VOLOON Volumizing Hair Iron retails $129.99 for a kit that includes VOLOOM tool, 3 hair clips, a sectioning brush and a travel case. VOLOOM is available online.

***This product was given to me for editorial consideration, opinions are my own.

Workout Band by Ann Chery Review

Workout Band by Ann Chery ReviewCherry An Waist Cincher_BlueOver the last two months, I’ve doing a little more to train and get back into my fitness game. Since I had my 2nd baby last year, getting back to shape has been on my mind. The hardest spot for me is my midsection. Although I was doing Zumba, Yoga and resistance training pretty much until the very end of my pregnancy, I had to rest for nearly eight weeks after having a C-section in July 2013. Once surgery healed, I started exercise again and for the most part I am getting back one day at a time. I didn’t put on much more than 22 lbs with my baby but I definitely lost some of my strength, totally normal and expected.

When I was approached to review the Workout Band by Ann Chery, I was a believer from day one. My mother and all the women in my family used waist cinchers, it is very much a well known secret in South American countries, particularly Colombia, Peru (where I am from), and Brazil. The idea is that by using this as frequently as you can, compression is created in your core, stimulating thermal activity and ramping up perspiration. The way I use the workout band is when I am out walking or doing my planks and for at least a couple of hours daily. Also, I am drinking lots of fluids, to flush out toxins and speed up my metabolism as well as keeping a log of my daily activity with a pedometer. The band is not uncomfortable at all and can be worn with regular clothes too. Sometimes I’ll put it on, go for a brisk 20 minute walk/ hike, and keep it for a few hours, as long as I can. I have noticed a difference and definitely encourage and suggest using it with a supervised workout plan. Please dear readers note **While I was expecting I was under Dr orders that it was fine to workout AND I was exercising regularly well before I got pregnant. My philosophy is to be consistent with your fitness and anything you do in life, eat clean and go gradual. Crash workout programs and dieting has never worked for me, personally.

The Workout Band by Ann Chery is made from a latex core with a soft cotton exterior and interior lining. The band is meant to sit at the waist, extending to the upper abdomen. Two columns of hook-and-eye closures allow you to size the garment down with you. If you are curious, there has been tons of media about waist cinchers and how effective they are. I feel the more strenuous the activity, the more you sweat in the middle area with the waist cincher on. If you are looking to try something new to help you keep your mid-section area fit, I highly recommend the Workout Band by Ann Chery.

The Workout Band by Ann Chery retails $54.99 and comes in sizes all the way up to 3XL, it is available online at HourglassAngel.com. I am wearing a size 36, my regular size is 6-8. The construction and inner lining is comfortable and goes well with workout gear. It will compress up to 3 inches, depending on how tight you are able to wear it.
Materials: Linings: Cotton 96%, Spandex 4%, Core: Latex 100%

**This product was sent to me for editorial consideration, all opinions are my own.

Balanced Guru Detox Scalp Review

Balanced Guru Detox Scalp
Over the next few weeks, I am going to be sharing some of my recent favorites for hair care. My hair has a lot going on, I color roots every six weeks, have Keratin treatments every six months and also I like to do my own blowouts. Also, I had a baby last year so this means that while I was pregnant my hair looked incredible thanks to the hormones and in this past fall/ winter I experienced significant hair loss (boo) – all this is normal. Chemicals and heat tend to weaken the hair and dry it out so I am trying to add more natural treatments, conditioner and less styling although the latter is awful hard for me personally. In the name of going more organic with the hair situation, I decided to give this Balanced Guru Detox Scalp treatment a try. My scalp can be oily after a few days of not washing and also parts of it feel dry sometimes.

One of the best haircare tips I’ve ever been given is to not wash everyday, as this strips the hair of natural oils. Between washes I manage by using dry shampoo, sometimes baking soda on its own and doing ponytails, seems to work well. However, by the time I wash my scalp is a little greasy mess, which is normal so this when the Detox Scalp came in handy. Balanced Guru Detox Scalp has oregano, tea tree oil and rosemary essential oils to help the root of the head have a fresh clean feeling. Topically, essential oils like tea tree aid in the removal of sebum and buildup of product, things that happen when you style your hair like I do.

This product works best when applied onto the scalp and gently massage with fingertips (I did after washing my hair). No need to rinse. It is very soothing and does not leave any residue or sting-like sensation. Balanced Guru Detox Scalp is 100% cruelty-free, recyclable, and biodegradable, uses certified organic ingredients.

Retails $23 and for half an ounce bottle $12, can be bought at Balanced Guru and Amazon.

**This product was given to me for editorial consideration as a press sample, opinions all my own.

Five Makeup Tips From A Pro Makeup Artist

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“What are your top five makeup tips?”. I get asked this question A LOT. Over the years and after applying makeup on different continents, weather patterns, skin tones, ethnic backgrounds, age groups from young to mature, I’ve learned a few tricks, so here they are.

“Your makeup is almost done and you make a mistake on makeup application”. AKA lip lines not clean/straight, brow filling in, eyeshadow fallout, too much bronzer. Do you use foundation to correct the color? NO! Use primer. Primer is colorless and clear, so any mistakes you make on application will NOT be corrected if you use foundation or concealer. Color on color will not cancel out a mistake, it will make it worse. So if you do make a mistake, dab a small amount of primer in the area, I like using a pointed q-tip to clean up.

“I want my lipstick to last a long time without touching up”. No lipstick is going to stay on all day without any touching up, period. Unless you planning to not eat or drink any fluids all day, this is pretty much guaranteed, a touch up is needed. What you can do to allow the lips to have some color and possibly hold a few more hours before touching up, is using a lip stain on exfoliated pre-moistened lips. Usually when I start applying makeup on a client, I will make sure I apply lip balm and towards the end of the makeup being done, I will blot out excess moisture AND apply my first layer of lip stain, followed by a semi-matte lipstick. Your lips will hold a nice color under and this can easily be touched up with gloss.

“My concealer and under eye eyeliner always run!!!”. The under eye area is tricky. In all the experience I’ve had my most effective way to ensure this does not happen is to first of all, use a waterproof eyeliner like Make Up Forever Aqua Eyes and make sure the under eye is hydrated and if you are oily, use oil free primer/ moisturizer mixed with concealer. My next best suggestion is to use makeup setting spray like Skindinavia. Spray a napkin or a Kleenex tissue with Skindinavia setting spray and very gently press on your under eye area a few times over to set the eyeliner and the concealer with the tissue. You can also use a q-tip and go over it with setting spray, like the tissue and gently dab over the eyeliner.

“I want my lashes to look longer”. Use a lash curler (I like Shu Uemura’s). Don’t like eyelash curlers? Use a heated spoon. Either way, this ensures the eyes look more voluminous and open with full lashes in sight. My mother used to curl her lashes with a warm spoon, you can do this by blowing heat on a dryer or simply by running hot water. Test the temperature before putting it on your eyelashes. Press the edge of the spoon gently while holding your lashes to curl them nicely. I also suggest separating lashes with a fan brush, after your mascara is on, if your lashes are sparse it won’t look clumpy or like they are stuck together.

“I have a party, event, wedding, photo shoot, or special dinner and want my skin to look amazing”. Skip alcohol, lower your caffeine intake and hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Eating your water hydrates your body much better than drinking it. Eat up watermelon, cucumbers, zucchini, tomatoes and melon, all mostly water vegetables. Skip salty meals, soy sauce, fizzy drinks, soda, sugary drinks, ease up or have no dairy, all these bloat the skin or cause breakouts in some way. This is how skin will photograph well and look radiant. If you think it is all in the makeup, well some of it is, but tired skin has a particular appearance and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had brides and models show up to makeup with bad skin as a result of not taking these precautions.

What’s your thoughts on these tips? Do you have any you want to share?

Browhaus NYC Lash Curl Review

IMG_5192This a review of a Lash Curl service at Browhaus in Soho. Browhaus NYC offers a lash curl service that I got to try last Saturday, the Lash Curl Up (see my before and after photos). Back in Singapore I used to be a regular client of Browhaus for my brow and lip threading. One of the things I loved was their high level of salon service.  True to form, my lash curl at Browhaus NYC did not let me down!  The service itself took about 45 min and while it is getting done, you drift off as your eyes are closed for that length of time.  Your lashes are literally curled from the root up and a solution is placed while your eyes are shut. This procedure does not hurt, sting or tug in any way. Lash expert Santi explained the entire procedure step by step and gave me great tips on aftercare, he really knew his stuff. Essentially, Santi advised no water for about two days on the curled lashes and avoid using mascara because of the wax.  Once the two-day wait period is over makeup can be used and the lashes can get wet again. Other tips are to refrain from tugging or pulling on lashes. This lash curling treatment can last up to two months.

My thoughts on this – if you are blessed with long lashes and wear a lot of mascara, this treatment will definitely add extra OOMPH factor, your eyes will pop! For brides and a special events, this is also a fabulous idea just plan ahead and make sure this isn’t a last minute thing. If you don’t want to wear mascara everyday, this will cut your getting ready time considerably, I haven’t had the need for mascara since getting my lashes curled, they look pretty spectacular.

 Browhaus also offers a full salon range of services brow treatments, eyelash extensions, eye and lip define as well as threading and tweezing experts. I can’t wait to go back to try more stuff! Thanks Browhaus NYC. **Treatment was complimentary

LA Girl HD Concealer Review

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This is one of my most favorite budget concealers. The LA Girl HD Concealer is a great budget find. Always on the hunt for a good affordable concealer to recommend my budget conscious readers, this will cost $2.80 (thanks to Ebay) plus shipping, less than $10. Incidentally per my suggestion, thanks to fellow beauty blogger 15MinBeauty and a website called Babble, the LA Girl concealer got picked up as a beauty steal in this article. And LA Girl HD Concealer is a winner offering excellent coverage, a good range of colors for different skin tones, from light to dark and a super finish before or after foundation. One of the reasons why I like this particular concealer lots is the formula allows blending smoothly, a good balance between cream and medium to full coverage sometimes a tough find in a concealer. If you happen to love highlighting (cupid’s bow, cheekbones and the top corner of your brow bone), the LA Girl HD concealer is also excellent for that purpose, just pick up two shades lighter than your tone.

For a guide on highlighting and concealing, please go see my Pinterest boards, I have lots of diagrams to help you understand the how-to’s.

** This is a cruelty free brand and not tested on animals
***I bought this product and opinions are my own
****Available at Drugstore.com

Maybelline ColorSensational Vivids Lipsticks

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This is a drugstore find under $10, so good I bought several colors after trying them out on myself and a client. The Maybelline Vivid lipsticks have been around for a few months. There are about ten colors all ranging from various pinks to orange/ red, ideal for a statement lip, they photograph super well (see my Instagram – Norahlovesmakeup_mua). My verdict is MUST-BUY. Maybelline Vivids are bright and packed with a lot of pigment for a long lasting tint. One thing to remember, these are not super moist lipsticks, they are a semi matte in finish, not a lot of moisture so make sure your lips are not dry or else it will not look pretty. What I liked most is that there is not much feathering or a greasy feel to it, I removed the color using a baby wipe and still had a nice lip tint underneath!

Pro tip – Use a lip liner that is matte for a long lasting effect, blot and re-apply as needed. I used the L’Oreal Colour Riche LeMatte lipcolour as a base before applying the Maybelline Vivid Electric Orange shade 912, the finish product was gorgeous. ** See my own I-phone selfie IMG_4178.

Skincare Favorites Day and Night

IMG_2595A few months ago, I posted this image on Instagram. Here is a short version of my skincare favorites, used both day and night (the cooler temperature has a lot to do with the choices).

1) Mario Badescu Facial Spray (Good for refreshing skin texture day or night)
2) Hada Labo Lotion (My daily shot of hyaluronic acid, an essential ingredient for the best moisture)
3) Embryolisse Moisturizer (No matter how dry the skin, this is fantastic for making skin feel radiant)
4) Bioderma Sensitive Skin Makeup Remover (I will not use another remover on clients or myself, it is the best and it does not feel harsh).

If you want to follow me on Instagram, go to Norahlovesmakeup_mua