How to Add Bold Color to Your Beauty Routine

As winter’s chill sets in, we’re partnering with our favorite style bloggers to show us how they wear the season’s hottest trends. From style tips to makeup trends to home décor, we’re excited to see how these fashionistas gear up for winter weather.

This week, we’re welcoming Andrea of blonde bedhead to help us beat winter’s drab palette with beauty routines in bold hues. Check out the three ways she uses trendy, mood shades to amp up her seasonal nail, lip and eye shadow styles.

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Winter’s grey and gloom makes it such a drab time of the year, but our beauty choices don’t have to follow suit. I live in Michigan, where our winters rank as the second most miserable in the country because of the intense cold and endless stretch of sunless, gloomy days.

It’s easy to become awash in this grey misery, but with my 30 years of winter experience, I know you can snap yourself out of that funk with some color. Read on for three tips to inject color into your winter beauty routine!

color beauty routine bold nails dark

Add a Moody Nail Color

I love a deep tone on my nails this time of the year. Instead of the usual black, I’ve found more interesting deep jewel tones like metallic blues, purple and even bright blue hues. I am obsessed with Revlon and essie nail polishes, both “drugstore” and luxury polishes available at Meijer. The color variety and application make it foolproof for someone like me who struggles to perfectly paint their nails. Or you can bring the color of your choice to your nail salon for a guaranteed perfect jewel-toned manicure.

color beauty routine bold nails dark polish

color beauty routine bold nails dark polish

Nail colors:
Revlon ColorStay Gel Nail Envy in Ace of Spades and All In (wearing All In!)
essie in Catch of the Day
Revlon Nail Enamel in Passionate

color beauty routine bold purple lip lipstick

Bright Pop of Lip Color

I can’t get enough of bright blue and purple lips right now. They pair so well with a barely-there makeup look, and let the lips shine on their own. I kept it simple with foundation to even out my skin tone, a bit of bronzer for contour and a swipe of mascara.

Because it’s winter and my lips are experiencing chronic dryness, I exfoliated first and added Aquaphor healing ointment to moisturize my intensely chapped lips. After a couple of minutes, I wiped off the excess.

color beauty routine bold purple lip lipstick

color beauty routine bold purple lip lipstick

Next, I lined my lips with a purple NYX lip liner and the NYX Liquid Suede Cream Lipstick in Amethyst layered over top of it, although the application is easy enough that a lip liner isn’t absolutely necessary. I applied two coats to ensure an evenly distributed bold color across my lips and no need for any touch ups!

color beauty routine bold eye shadow

Shimmery, Bold Eyes

A vampy lip and a shimmery, bold eyelid are the perfect combination to break out of the winter blues. I love this look for a night out and the drama of the eyes and lips play perfectly for a drink at the bar or out on a dinner date. This makeup look made me instantly feel bright-eyed and sexy if I dare say.

color beauty routine bold eye shadow

I picked two L’Oreal shimmery eye shadows to achieve the smoky, dramatic eye, as well as NYX Liquid Suede Cream Lipstick in Vintage because this formula is incredibly easy to apply, especially in rich tones that normally intimidate me. Why you ask? I don’t have a super steady hand and I need a formula that glides on, and the applicator lets me easily line my lips and fix any little mistakes I make.

Tip for making the color more intense and shimmery? Wet your brush first before applying.

color beauty routine bold eye shadow

Eyeshadows used:
L’Oreal Colour Riche Eyeshadow in Violet Beaute (violet colors work great for hazel/green eyes and loved the shimmery finish!)
L’Oreal Infallible 24 Hour Eyeshadow in Liquid Diamond. (The perfect loose eye shadow powder to add dimension to a dark, dramatic eye!)

Andrea Kerbuski is the fashionista behind blonde bedhead, a fashion and lifestyle blog featuring chic outfits, life’s inspirations and big hair. For more beauty and hairstyle tips, follow Andrea on InstagramPinterest and Twitter.

Make up for the shimmery bold eyes by Jessica Williamson
Photography by Maggie Vance and Merl Kinzie

The Best Athletic Shoes for Every Type of Workout

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2017 is finally in full swing, which means your brand new resolutions probably are too. If you decided to focus on fitness this year, it’s important to ensure you’ve got the right shoes to succeed. Whether they’ll inspire you to meet your goals or you’re just in desperate need of an upgrade, here are the best athletic shoes to invest in (based on your favorite workouts).

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1. Running

If your main form of exercise is running or jogging, opt for a lightweight shoe with a cushioned sole. To ensure the sneaker will be flexible enough during your workout, the pattern on the bottom should resemble a waffle iron. This design allows your foot to bend from toe to heel, but prevents it from twisting to either side (which could cause an injury).

Style Tip: If you’re running outside, don’t forget to bundle up! Keep your ears toasty with a headband or knit hat; then protect your hands with your go-to gloves or mittens. Be careful not to dress too warm, though – the temp will feel about 20 degrees higher when you start to sweat, and you don’t want to worry about shedding layers mid-run!

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2. Strength training

If lifting weights is more your jam, choose shoes with a hard, dense sole – the thinner, the better. This will allow you to feel the floor, giving you the traction you need to create a strong, stable base. Avoid using your running shoes for this type of exercise. While their soft, cushiony soles are great for absorbing impact, they can cause instability when squatting or swinging your kettle bell.

Style Tip: Brightly colored gym attire is always an energy booster, so don’t be afraid go bold this season! If an understated look is more your style, pair a vibrant sports bra and socks with a neutral tank and leggings.

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3. Cross training

If you love changing up your workout on the daily, shoes built for cross training are the best choice for you. Their X-patterned bottoms are built for changing direction, while their strong mesh sides protect your ankles from injury. Kick boxing, aerobics, Zumba and more? Bring it on!

Style Tip: Cowl neck sweatshirts are great for staying warm outside – but they’re also great for warming up in the gym! Start your routine wearing the cozy top, then take it off when you start to sweat. You’ll be ready to kick up your workout in no time!

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4. Walking

Finally, if you prefer a brisk stroll over other forms of exercise, opt for shoes made specifically for walking. The kicks’ characteristics will closely resemble running shoes – the only difference is the soles are a little less flexible.

Style Tip: Another trend that’s not going away in 2017? Patterned leggings! Have fun with all sorts of prints and colors when choosing your bottoms. To ensure your athletic look doesn’t become too busy, pair them with a solid top in a neutral or matching tone.

Which workout has been your go-to so far this year?

How to Build an Active Wardrobe in Under $75

As winter’s chill sets in, we’re partnering with our favorite style bloggers to show us how they wear the season’s hottest trends. From style tips to makeup trends to home décor, we’re excited to see how these fashionistas gear up for winter weather.

This week, we’re welcoming Danielle of Lou What Wear to share how to build a brand new active wardrobe under $100, and how to stay stylishly on trend for your New Year’s resolutions!

Let’s be honest – sometimes New Year’s resolutions are a little vague. If I want to make any change, I need my goals to be more concrete. Two years ago, I made my New Year’s goal to run the Kentucky Derby Mini-Marathon. Now I’m running it back (no cheesy pun intended but I’m happy about it) and making it my goal for 2017. May even try to take it up a notch by attempting to finish faster than my first attempt! It’s a little ambitious, but I think it can happen.

meijer activewear workout gear style new year

Running long distances hasn’t always been my bag, but I re-found the joy in it last time I trained. Before then, you couldn’t pay me to run more than one or two miles straight. Now I actually enjoy (I know, I’m the worst) a good, long run.

meijer activewear workout gear style new year shoes

There’s something almost mind-numbing about it, in the same way I find coloring or doing a puzzle relaxing. Lately, I’ve been using the time to catch up on my favorite TV shows, so running for 45+ minutes is a breeze!

meijer activewear workout gear style new year

That’s not to say that I still don’t need a lot of motivation to get my butt on the treadmill. New workout gear has a somewhat magical way of making me actually want to work out. Yes, it’s totally ridiculous but I can’t be the only one that is motivated by new gear.

meijer activewear workout gear new year sports bra

I’ve recently gone on a bit of an activewear shopping spree, and this whole outfit was less than $100 (no like, WAY less than $100). Picking up this essential wardrobe was super easy at Meijer because they had such trendy choices for all my must-haves:

  • MTA Sport Legging ($12): I’ve worn these pants a few times already and everyone was so surprised when I told them they were a Meijer find! I love that the fabric allows for full flexibility, and the ombre design adds that little bit of extra motivation for hitting the pavement in style.
  • MTA Sport High Impact Sports Bra ($15): How cute is the back of this bra? I’ve been on a bit of a black and white kick lately, so this fits my personal style bill while adding that bit of back detail that makes the whole look come together.
  • MTA Sport Fast Drinks Tank ($11): The perfect top for showing off my fabulous new sports bra! The open back of this tank is also ideal for wicking away any worked-up sweat from my long run.
  • MTA Sport Sweatshirt ($23): This sweatshirt is beyond comfy. It may be getting more use for my trips to the couch than my trips to the treadmill (#sorryimnotsorry).

meijer activewear workout gear new year tank leggings

Yes, I may have veered into the activewear section on my last marathon shopping trip. It makes getting groceries way more fun when you come home with new gear.

meijer activewear workout gear new year

But back to the running, if anyone has a few great playlists or new shows to watch – send them my way. I’m going to need all the help (and by help I mean distractions) I can get!

Danielle is the fashionista behind Lou What Wear, a lifestyle blog showcasing personal style, whether that be home décor, beauty or fashion. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

Photos by Danielle Martin – Chapter 25 Photography 

What’s in Your Gym Bag? All the Necessities You Need to Crush Your Next Workout

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If hitting the gym on the regular is a new habit or resolution, it can be tough to remember exactly what to bring. But don’t worry – we’ve got you covered. From the best gear and apparel to our favorite snacks and shower supplies, here’s everything you should pack in your gym bag this year.

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First things first… collect your workout attire.

Bold shades and prints remain a hot athleisure trend, so choose a bright (and supportive) sports bra to pair with your colorful, patterned leggings.

As for your top, a moisture-wicking tank is definitely the best choice. Your sweat will evaporate quickly and easily, keeping you cool and dry throughout your entire routine. It’s also a good idea to have a sweatshirt on hand – you might want it for your warm up or if you take your workout outside.

Finally, it’s always important to remember your athletic shoes and socks (unless you’re planning to practice your yoga flow, of course).

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Next, pack your gym necessities. We’re talking post-workout snacks, shower essentials and more.

During your workout, you’ll need a water bottle and headphones. They’ll keep you motivated and hydrated until it’s time to cool down.

Post-workout, it’s important to have a high-protein snack (or two) to refuel. Energy bars, almond butter and fruit are all great choices. When it comes to re-hydration, opt for electrolyte-filled drinks in addition to your water.

When you’re feeling re-energized and ready to hit the showers, you’ll want to have lotion and a hair brush on hand. For pain-free detangling, pick up a Wet Brush at Meijer – they’re specially made for damp locks, so they comb through hair effortlessly.

Finally, if you don’t have time to shower, make sure to use a face wipe. It’s crucial to remove sweat from your skin to prevent breakouts!

Now that you’ve got your fitness essentials on lock, time to get to the gym and crush your next workout!

Beat the Winter Skin and Hair Blues

As winter’s chill sets in, we’re partnering with our favorite style bloggers to show us how they wear the season’s hottest trends. From style tips to makeup trends to home décor, we’re excited to see how these fashionistas gear up for winter weather.

This week, we’re welcoming Natalie of Natalie in the City to share her cold-weather hair and skin care regimen to keep her locks luscious and her skin glowing all winter long.

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Winter takes its toll on everyone, but it may be affecting your skin and hair more than anything else. It doesn’t matter what skin type you were blessed with, freezing temps will dry out them all – and hair breakage is inevitable. So to prepare for the cold Chicago weather, I took a trip to Meijer to stock up on my beauty care must-haves.

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I have combination/oily skin but, during winter, my skin is the furthest thing from oily, and blackheads become more evident on my entire face. To restore my natural oils and keep my pores clean, I add Garnier’s SkinActive Clean+ Blackhead Eliminating Scrub to my morning beauty routine two or three times a week. I massage it onto my face thoroughly then leave the invigorating scrub on for five minutes.

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After rinsing the mask off, I apply Olay’s Complete All Day Moisturizer and SPF 15 for combination/oily skin. It’s critical that your winter beauty products contain SPF even if it’s gloomy outside. I also apply Olay’s Quench Ultra Moisture Body Lotion to my entire body twice a day to keep my skin moisturized and glowing.

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When it comes to my hair, I have all the odds against me. My hair has made a transformation from dark brown to almost completely blonde in just one year; so keeping my hair moisturized during winter is a tough feat. I apply a Garnier Whole Blends avocado oil and shea butter mask to re-invigorate my strands three times a week in the evening. I get my hair wet before I shower and then I apply the mask generously, combing from root to tip until my hair is covered. Then I wrap my hair into a bun on top of my head and let the mask sit for 30 minutes.

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After rinsing out the mask in the shower, I apply Whole Blends coconut oil and cocoa butter smoothing serum to fight frizz and nourish my hair.

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With these hair and skincare products from Meijer up my sleeve, winter will not be getting the best of my beauty routine!

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Natalie is the fashionista behind Natalie in the City, a fun lifestyle blog full of her adventures in plus size fashion, city life and beauty tips. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

New Year, New You: The Best Gear to Help You Keep Your Resolutions

No matter what healthy resolution you set for yourself in 2017, having the right gear could be the difference between abandoning your goals or celebrating at the finish line. Whether you’re a veteran yogi or a fitness newbie, pick up these healthy essentials to make sure you crush your resolutions – and look great doing it.

new year resolutions athletic gear women

If getting more exercise is a top priority, don’t roll the dice with whatever tennis shoes you have laying around the house. New running shoes with extra cushioning will protect your ankles (and knees!) from long runs, while low-profile training shoes will make sure you keep your form during weight training.

Beyond keeping you cool, technical fabrics in bright colors are an easy way to get in the mood for exercising. This year it’s all about neon, so skip the muted neutrals in favor of vivid pinks and greens to really make a statement.

Whether you’re practicing vinyasas at the studio or lifting hand weights during your favorite TV show, don’t forget to refuel when you’re done. Apples and bananas are a great source of vitamins, and if your workout was over an hour, grab a protein bar to tide you over until your next meal.

new year resolutions athletic gear men

If your beau’s resolution is to log less screen time, why not get the whole family involved? Try shooting hoops or organizing a touch football tournament for a fun way to get everyone’s heart rate up. Flip top water bottles are perfect for touting around, while protein shakes make sure he’ll recover in time for tomorrow’s rematch.

new year resolutions athletic gear

Whether you’re into sweet, savory or something in between, it’s never been easier to get the protein you need to fuel your resolutions. Experiment with different snacks to see which one you like best – from Greek yogurt to on-the-go smoothies, there’s a healthy option your family is sure to love.

Now that you’ve got the right gear, get out there and make 2017 your best year yet!

The 3 Best Makeup Tutorials for All of Your Holiday Soirées

As winter’s chill sets in, we’re partnering with our favorite style bloggers to show us how they wear the season’s hottest trends. From style tips to makeup trends to home décor, we’re excited to see how these fashionistas gear up for winter weather.

This week, we’re welcoming Tawny of Glamorously Mommy to share three essential makeup looks to try this holiday season, no matter how casual or elegant the event!

holiday makeup products

During the holiday season there are so many things to get excited about, such as giving gifts and the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping. But nothing – I mean NOTHING – gets me more excited than a holiday party!  As a lady who loves a good glam makeup session, I understand not everyone is up for all the glitz and glitter like me, so I’m going to show you three holiday makeup looks you can take from a daytime office holiday party to a nighttime black tie event.

For these looks, I wanted to create a basic foundation for the face, and an eye look that I could build upon.  So good news!  All of these looks were created with ONE eye shadow palette. I know that not everyone has more than one eye shadow palette so it was important that I didn’t use too many products.  Of course, all of these amazing products can be found at your local Meijer.

Maybelline Master Prime Blur + Illuminate primer

In the first look, I kept it simple.  I started by prepping my skin with the Maybelline Master Prime Blur + Illuminate primer for hydrated, illuminated, healthy-looking skin.

Maybelline DreamLUMI Touch concealer in Honey

After applying foundation, color correct with Maybelline DreamLUMI Touch concealer in Honey.

NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil in Cashmere

I started this simple eye look by applying the NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil in Cashmere all over the lid.

NYX Dream Catcher Palette

Next, I blend out the hard lines, using the light bronze eye shadow from the NYX Dream Catcher Palette for some dimension.  Then, I used my favorite mascara Loreal Voluminous Carbon Black.

NYX Butter Gloss in Tiramisu

To finish off the look I popped on a bright pink lip liner from NXY in the color pinky.  For a bit of shine, simply add NYX Butter Gloss in Tiramisu.

The next look is just a bit more elevated.  I already had the basic eye look down, so I really didn’t have to do a lot to bump up the drama just a bit.

NYX Dream Catcher Palette in Dusk til Dawn

Using the NYX Dream Catcher Palette in Dusk til Dawn, I placed shade #6 in the outer corner of the eye for more of a smoky look.

NYX Two Timer Kohl Pencil

Liner is the key to defining any eye look and adding lots of drama. I used the NYX Two Timer Kohl Pencil to line the top lash line.  This eyeliner is really cool because it has two sides: one with a kohl liner great for smoking out any eye look, and one felt tip liner for a more precise application. Next, I popped on a bit of blush and highlighter for color.

NYX Intense Butter Gloss

Adding a bold lip is the perfect way to turn a simple look into a head-turning one.  I used a berry lip liner and added this NYX Intense Butter Gloss in toasted marshmallow for a bold berry lip that’s sure to get you noticed at any holiday party.

finished look two bold lip and eye makeup

This next look is for your fancy parties… or if you’re just a “fancy pants” like me.  Hey, there is nothing wrong with having a little formal in your life, right?

smoky eye holiday makeup

For this look, I wanted it to be something that wasn’t too over-the-top glitzy. Start by creating a deeper crease using the black eye shadow in the palette (shown above), darkening the outer crease of the eye and the lower lash line.  This will give the effect of a more defined, smoky look.  Using a small definer brush, lightly apply a small amount of black to the outer corner, blending it very lightly.

NYX Two Timeron

Next, use the NYX Two Timeron felt tip side to create winged eyeliner on the outer corner of the eye.

KISS #11 makeup eyelashes

Ladies, lashes are where it’s at!  You can add a pair of eyelashes to elevate any eye look, but especially a smoky eye.  I used the KISS #11 lashes for this look.

Milani High Voltage red lipstick

After that, I used Milani High Voltage red lipstick to jazz up the look!

holiday makeup look three

Well… There you have it! Three simple holiday looks perfect for any occasion this season.  Which was your favorite?

Tawny is the fashionista behind Glamorously Mommy, a style, fashion and beauty blog inspiring women to keep the glamour in mommyhood. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.

The 7 Essential Holiday Hostess Gifts

As winter’s chill sets in, we’re partnering with our favorite style bloggers to show us how they wear the season’s hottest trends. From style tips to makeup trends to home décor, we’re excited to see how these fashionistas gear up for winter weather.

This week we’re welcoming Lauren of Lake Shore Lady to prepare seven essential hostess gifts to bring to all of this season’s holiday parties.

striped reindeer mug

I’ve been saying this nonstop, but ’tis the season for holiday parties! I mean… I’m NOT wrong here! Even beyond just the parties – it’s really the season for hosting in general! House guests, cozy movie nights, drinks with the girls. No one wants to go outside (at least not in Chicago), so gathering in someone’s warm home pretty much always wins.

I usually like to bring some sort of gift, alcohol or food to the full blown parties, even if it’s just a bottle of wine. That’s a given. But let’s say you have a friend/family member who is ridiculously generous and always hosts gatherings at their place? You stay at their house every Christmas, or you eat their pretty cheese platters nearly every Friday night… if you can relate to this, then maybe it’s time to reward them!

But what to get?! What would be thoughtful, budget-friendly AND useful? Luckily, Meijer has a ton of incredible gifts for this very purpose. You could certainly give each of these pieces separately, but I thought it might be fun to pair some things together for different types of people, parties, personalities and relationships. So here we go!

cookbook with olive oil and candle

I love these goodies for a family hosting a party. This plaid tray is super festive and might even be used at the party you’re attending, which is always fun. Then, there’s the Modern Family Cookbook, which could be a new way to get the kids interested in cooking (especially if they like the show), plus the olive oil can be used in the process! And I threw a candle in there for the Mama, because she might need to relax after the party, am I right?

checkerboard tray with candle

Plaid Holiday Tray ($12.99)

Modern Family Cookbook ($14.95)

Canaan Olive Oil ($18.49)

Burts Bees Candle ($8.99)

reindeer mug with package

This is one of my favorite gifts in this roundup, because it’s perfect for the cozy hostess! She can set cookies out on the wooden platter, turn Elf or Home Alone on the TV and whip up some hot chocolate in this adorable (and huge!) new mug! Bonus: these wood coasters are so rustic looking that you could totally give them to a guy, too. Woo!

coasters with christmas mug

Wooden Platter ($14.99)

Holiday Mug ($6.99)

4 Pack Wooden Coasters ($8.99)

candle and blanket scarf

We all have a friend who loves candles and is always cold, do we not? Well this time, she pours the wine and you bring her this cinnamon candle and cozy blanket scarf! Easy peasy!

plaid blanket scarf and candle gift

Winter Scarf – Plaid ($20.00)

Woodwick Candle ($22.99)

cookbook and chocolate

A dessert cookbook and chocolate – this combo could work for literally ANYONE with a sweet tooth! And maybe they’ll invite you over again to try one of their cast iron creations…

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Cookbook ($12.99)

2 Divine Dark Chocolates ($2.99 each)

coffee and cheese platter

Cheese always looks more impressive on a pretty granite platter, and these coasters match it so beautifully! Now, I know coffee and cheese aren’t usually paired together – but most of my friends love both, so this combo seemed very logical to me. Anyone else?

striped coasters

Marble Cheese Platter ($14.99)

Starbucks Coffee ($8.99)

4 Pack Coasters ($10.99)

wine bag and bottle

Hello, fancy cocktail party! Everyone likes champagne, especially in a cute bag like this one. And instead of just bringing booze, this gold frame is a fun way to personalize the gift. Throw in a photo from their holiday soiree last year and they’ll want to put it right on the mantle!

wine bag with wine

Wine Bag ($4.95)

Segura Viudas Cava (not from Meijer)

Gold Picture Frame ($9.99)

christmas card book

And last but not least, sometimes you want to bring something for the cute little munchkins! Sure, they might not actually be hosting your stay or the party, but they sure do make the whole visit more adorable, right?!

christmas cookie cutter

Coloring Cards Book ($9.99)

3 Holiday Cookie Cutters ($3.99 each)

What do you like to bring as host/hostess gifts?

holiday cookie cutter

Lauren is the fashionista behind Lake Shore Lady, a blog full of lovely tips for fashion, beauty and lifestyle. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.

 

How to Have a Fun Family Night in the Kids Will Love

As winter’s chill sets in, we’re partnering with our favorite style bloggers to show us how they wear the season’s hottest trends. From style tips to makeup trends to home décor, we’re excited to see how these fashionistas gear up for winter weather.

As the holiday season approaches, it can be hard to find time to truly focus on being home with your family. This week we’re welcoming Melissa from Melissa Takes Fashion to show us how to create a fun family night in with games, snacks and – of course – the perfect home necessities.

As a working, stay-at-home mom, I try my best to strike a decent work-life balance. That’s why I feel extra lucky to have a local store like Meijer that has everything I need (and more) under one roof. Especially during this busy time of year, redirecting any time saved “adulting” into quality family fun time is what’s most important to me.

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Every holiday season, we like to set a few new traditions, as well as carry on old favorites. High on the kids’ list of oldies-but-goodies includes visiting Santa, riding the Polar Express train and spotting that cheeky Elf. New to our traditions this year is Family Night In.

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We spend so much time running from one party or event to another that we just needed an excuse to slow down. (Of course, we use the term ‘Family Night In’ loosely – with three young kids, it begins around 4pm, which basically makes it senior citizen night!).

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family-movie-night-with-popcorn

Our Family Night In consisted of board games and movies. Oh, and lots of yummy snacks. But you won’t find me turning frozen chicken nuggets into chicken nugget rainbows or sourdough pretzel nibblers into fancy Christmas pretzel snacks. I’m no Pinterest mom, so I don’t spend a lot of effort on the frills trying to make my food look picture perfect. Just toss it all into a pretty serving bowl and call it a day! Seeing my kids play, laugh, fight together – these are the IRL moments that I live for.

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Here are 5 other easy ideas for a fun Family Night In:

1. Arts and crafts. Bet you didn’t know all the silly things your kids can make with a basic paper plate.

2. Family photos. Take turns snapping silly photos of each other. Then print out your favorites and hang ‘em up.

3. Scavenger hunt. Make a list of obscure things for your kids to find around the house.

4. Write a story. Start with one sentence, then let your little one tell the next sentence. Keep this up until you have a short story with a beginning, middle and end.

5. With the rising popularity of adult coloring books, parents can get in on this classic childhood activity. Sit around the dining table, color together and let the conversation flow.

family-night-playing-together

We stocked up on everything we needed from Meijer for a successful Family Night In. I got an assortment of the kids’ fave snacks and drinks, comfy clothes for everyone, Pie Face Showdown the game, and Finding Dory the movie – and best of all, I was in and out in under an hour! Next time you go to your local Meijer, keep these tips close at hand and don’t forget to check out the fish tanks. My kids love watching the fish!

What are some of your family’s favorite holiday traditions? Do you prefer to stay in, and if so, how do you make staying at home fun for everyone?

Melissa is the fashionista behind Melissa Takes Fashion, a blog full of lovely style, beauty and family tips. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.

5 Ways to Relax During the Holiday Season

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Between family get-togethers, shopping for gifts and maintaining your daily routine, we all know that the holiday season isn’t completely stress-free. While it’s always important to make time for yourself to relax and unwind, it’s especially crucial to do so during this busy time of year. So if you’re in need of a little TLC, here are a few easy (and affordable!) ways to de-stress this season.

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1. Swap your usual body wash + lotion combo for a nature-inspired scent, like Bodycology’s cherry blossom or Calgon’s Hawaiian ginger. The aromas are understated, yet crisp and fresh, so you’ll feel totally reinvigorated when you step out of the shower.

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2. Take a long, warm bath before you hit the hay, adding lavender-scented Epsom salt for an extra-soothing effect. Use a body scrub to exfoliate your skin while you soak, then apply Dr. Teal’s lavender body lotion after you towel off to keep your skin hydrated. If your skin is scorched from the brisk winter air, apply body oil instead of lotion – it’s a more concentrated form of hydration to soothe extra dry skin.

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3. Give yourself a DIY facial. Prep your skin with your usual cleanser before applying a brightening clay mask. Try the Pure-Clay Detox & Brighten Treatment Mask from L’Oréal to revive dull skin, or opt for an exfoliating charcoal mask to remove dead skin cells. Let the mask sit for 10-15 minutes, and then remove it with warm water using circular motions. Finish with a fragrance-free face moisturizer, and you’ll look like you have your holiday list handled.

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4. If your hair appears dry and brittle from the cold, use a mask like Garnier Whole Blends to revitalize your strands. After washing your hair with your go-to shampoo, apply a generous amount of the treatment to your locks. Make sure you cover your hair from root to end, then let the mask work its magic by leaving it on for three minutes. The rich repairing treatment strengthens hair and helps prevent split ends and breakage, making it even easier to style for those upcoming holiday parties.

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5. Finally, light a few candles, get lost in your favorite book and treat yourself to some dark chocolate and a warm cup of herbal tea. The hot drink will be a welcome break from the brisk, chilly air, and the candle’s sounds and aromas will soothe your stress away.

With these simple tips, it’s never been easier to stay relaxed throughout the holiday season!

How to Make Your Holiday Look Sparkle

As winter’s chill sets in, we’re partnering with our favorite style bloggers to show us how they wear the season’s hottest trends. From style tips to makeup trends to home décor, we’re excited to see how these fashionistas gear up for winter weather.

With the holiday season officially underway, many of us are stressing about what to wear to our plethora of December parties. To ease that stress in style, this week we’re welcoming Candace of Live, Love and Read to show us how to create brand-new holiday looks by simply adding the must-try accessories of the season.

With Thanksgiving and Black Friday officially under our belts, we can welcome December with arms wide open! I’m still in awe of how quickly December arrived this year. It feels like yesterday that we were celebrating the beginning of 2016 and suddenly here we are celebrating the most wonderful time of the year AGAIN!

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While I am certain we all love the holiday season for different reasons, there is one thing most of us gals have in common and that is creating the ultimate holiday wardrobe. If we are being completely honest with ourselves, most of us do not have a dedicated wardrobe collection for our annual roundup of holiday soirees. And guess what? There really isn’t any need to when we have JEWELRY. Accessories are a simple, sure fire way to instantly transform a look without breaking the bank.  Oh – not to mention – accessorizing provides you with an opportunity to showcase your unique personal style.  Now that holiday festivities have arrived, here are a couple ways you can make your holiday look sparkle!

Look 1: The Golden Hues

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Not every holiday party is a fancy one. Sometimes you just need that perfect dressy-casual look with the right accessories to make a statement. When it comes to holiday style, we tend to gravitate toward the usual red, green and black combination and forget all about the pretty golden hues that also represent the holiday season. Rather than going for what’s comfortable, I encourage you to explore everyday accessories like bangles and simple earrings in gold.

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When styled with the right pieces, gold can make the perfect holiday statement without trying too hard.  It’s very subtle, but impactful. Rather than stacking with one bangle, layer with three to make an even larger statement.

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Also incorporate a large cocktail ring for an extra pop of sparkle! If you choose to go this route for any of your upcoming festivities, be sure to go with a soft pink or nude lip to really heighten the golden hues of your accessories.

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DETAILS:

Falls Creek Sweater

Celebrity Pink Skinny Jeans

Massini Crossbody Handbag

Fine Jewelry Earrings

Fine Jewelry Cocktail Ring

Fine Jewelry Bangles

Cover Girl Lipstick (Color: 340 Delicious)

 

Look 2: The Classic Statement Earring

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I will forever say this until my dying days, but sometimes less is more! When creating a holiday look that involves print, opt for the classic statement earring.  You want the print to be the focal point of the look and not the jewelry.

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Since this dress is a mock neck, I opted for a medium size statement earring with silvery crystals to ensure this look had that holiday-esque feel.

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While less is most definitely more, I love the idea of wearing simple jewelry pieces to make the look feel even more complete. A simple bracelet and a set of stackable rings is a great way to finalize a busy holiday look without overdoing it.

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DETAILS:

Heartsoul Dress

Hypo-Allergenic Earrings

Hypo-Allergenic  Stackable Rings

Shine Adjustable Bracelet

Sock Trends Tights

NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream (Color: 09 Abu Dhabi)

 

Look 3: The Festive Bib Necklace

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Yet another way to give your holiday look that extra pop of sparkle is by layering with a bib necklace. Incorporating a bib necklace is pretty for those holiday looks with simple necklines, like this cold shoulder top.

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With the tiniest hints of rose gold sparkle in this necklace paired with these bar earrings, a bangle and a bold red lip transitions this look from fall to holiday in no time.

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DETAILS:

Soul Cake Cold Shoulder Top

Hypo-Allergenic Necklace and Earring Set

Hypo-Allergenic Bangle

Sock Trends Tights

NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream (Color:  20 Copenhagen)

Accessories allow us to define the exclamation points of our personal style. So use that power this holiday season to create looks that you’ve never done before! Always remember that style is a way to speak without ever uttering a word. Allow your accessories to play an active voice in that conversation.  Just remember to be intentional in accessory choices and to simply be YOU!

Happy Holidays and Happy Holiday Styling!

Candace is the fashionista behind Love, Love and Read, a blog full of lovely tips for fashion, beauty and lifestyle. Follow her on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.

Festive Outfit Ideas for Your Next Holiday Party

Thanksgiving may have come and gone, but the holiday festivities are far from over. December brings a full month of get-togethers and celebrations – and the ugly sweater party is one of our personal favorites. If this goofy soiree is on your calendar this year, here are some outfits and accessories that will bring the theme to life.

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If you want to go all out with a holiday-themed costume, dress up like Mrs. Claus or Santa’s adorable helper. The ensembles pair perfectly with your go-to tights and booties – plus, they’re easy to re-create with the staple items in your closet. For a DIY take on this festive party outfit, wear a red or green top with a skirt in the same color. To complete the holiday look (and create the illusion of a dress) cinch the style at your waist with your favorite black belt. Voila!

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If you don’t have an ugly sweater but want to show off your spirit, pair a simple holiday graphic tee with your go-to jeans or jeggings. These adorable long-sleeved tops are all available at Meijer, plus they’re casual and comfy (so you can wear them again and again). Nobody said festive fashion is only acceptable at parties!

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Finally, if an understated look is a little more your style, pair colorful holiday socks with your essential winter wardrobe. Pull your socks over the bottom of your skinny jeans or leggings before zipping on your favorite ankle booties – you’ll have a new (and festive!) take on this season’s hottest trend.

Time to take on the most wonderful time of the year in style!

4 Cute (and Comfy) Outfit Ideas for Thanksgiving Day

With Thanksgiving only a few short days away, we’re sure holiday preparations are in full swing at your house. The food has been purchased and your plans are all set, so now there’s only one thing left to do – decide what to wear! Whether you’re hosting the festivities or attending dinner as a guest, here are a few trendy outfits you could rock on turkey day.

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If your personal style is chic and simplistic, we love this trendy cream-on-cream look. While the ensemble only features one neutral hue, the texture of the sweater adds some easy variation. Choose metallic gold jewelry to complement the ivory shade, opting for long pendant styles that won’t distract from your detailed top. Complete the classic look with a pair of brown ankle booties (black can appear harsh against an all-white outfit) and place a napkin on your lap to protect from gravy spills during dinner!

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For a turkey day outfit that’s both comfy and cute, opt for a soft, long-sleeve shirt and stretchy, high-waist leggings. This pair is wine red, which is our favorite fall shade, and offers lots of wiggle room after a big Thanksgiving meal. Your top should be neutral if you opt for colored bottoms, but you can add some extra detail with a printed infinity scarf. Choose a style featuring hues that match your bold leggings, plus an additional accent color to bring some dimension to your look. Finally, finish the outfit with knee high boots and minimal jewelry. Since you’re wearing a scarf, there’s no need for a necklace – stick to dangly hoop earrings and a bracelet instead.

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It’s definitely no secret that we love Nordic prints – so you shouldn’t be surprised that this outfit made our list! Patterned dresses are another comfy, yet cute option, and they can be great for winter when paired with the right accessories. Long-sleeved styles can keep you toasty when it’s chilly out, but you could also add a moto jacket and tights for extra warmth. Complete the look with suede wedge booties and a choker necklace (or two) to add a fun, edgy twist to this festive holiday outfit.

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Finally, if your Thanksgiving get-together is a bit more laid back, opt for your favorite winter closet staple: a warm, cozy flannel. Pair with colored pants in a festive olive green, and trendy ankle booties in a neutral black or grey. This outfit looks great with a short, statement necklace – but make sure it complements the shades of your top. If you add too much color to a mix-and-match look, your outfit can become distracting and even start to clash! Finish the ensemble with a simple watch and bracelet, and your turkey day look will be perfectly complete.

Now that you’ve got your outfit on lock, here are 10 kitchen gadgets to make hosting Thanksgiving easy.

Master Thanksgiving Dinner with These Kitchen Gadgets

As winter’s chill sets in, we’re partnering with our favorite style bloggers to show us how they wear the season’s hottest trends. From style tips to makeup trends to home décor, we’re excited to see how these fashionistas gear up for winter weather.

Preparations for your big Thanksgiving meal are right around the corner, so this week, we’re welcoming Natalie from Natalie in the City to share her favorite kitchen gadgets and cooking tips to make dinner prep a breeze this holiday.

Thanksgiving can be a stressful time where even top chefs are scrambling to cook, craft and perfect their version of a holiday feast. But this Thanksgiving, I wanted to make sure nothing stood in my way of enjoying the holiday, while putting my own personal touch and twist on some traditional Thanksgiving side dishes and desserts. And just because I’ll be working in the kitchen doesn’t mean my prep tools can’t look as good as my meal!

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Before getting started, I knew that my kitchen needed a plan. So I took a trip to Meijer to stock up on ingredients, kitchen gadgets and appliances to put me on the right track. Some of my must-grab items were Kitchen Aid mixing bowls, measuring cups and spoons, a whisk, a potato peeler and a wire masher. I also picked up a Nordic Ware baking pan, a Farberware paring knife, Pyrex bowls, an adorable kitchen timer and a silicon basting brush.

I was immediately drawn to the Kitchen Aid mixing bowls because they have a pour spout—which my old set of mixing bowls didn’t—and I could not resist the gorgeous purple, pink, and teal colors. Once I had my mixing bowls, I decided to keep the color schemes similar—since I totally have to have cute kitchen gadgets. Another up-side to color coordination is that I can find all of these gadgets in my crowded kitchen cabinets!

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Now that my kitchen is prepped with all the essentials, I’m excited to share three of my favorite holiday recipes that will make prepping Thanksgiving meal a breeze.

First up is an appetizer that is both festive and very easy to master: pumpkin biscuits.

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Start with Pillsbury crescent rounds or warm-and-serve dinner rolls, and use a pairing knife to cut six slices around the dough, making sure to leave the center intact. I loved the pink color of this paring knife, since having brightly-colored kitchen gadgets motivates me to cook and bake more, and it makes the holiday cooking experience a fun one!

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Brush the dough with butter using a brush with longer, silicon bristles that are perfect for applying a thicker layer of butter, which means you’ll get that flaky texture when these come out of the oven. Poke half of a pecan into the center of the roll and place into the oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

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I usually leave the Turkey or main dish to the master chef of the house, and I handle the appetizers and desserts. One of my favorite Thanksgiving side dishes is sweet potato mash with cinnamon maple syrup pecan sauce.

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Bake two sweet potatoes until soft (usually an hour or longer). Once done, mash the potatoes in a mixing bowl and add a half tablespoon of brown sugar and two tablespoons of melted butter before stirring together. A heavy-duty KitchenAid masher is perfect for creating that fluffy, airy texture you want in your potatoes.

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To make the sauce, heat a half cup of maple syrup and a dash of cinnamon in a pan until the syrup begins to boil. Then add the pecans and whisk for 30 seconds. To finish, drizzle the sauce onto the mashed potatoes and top with a dash of whipped cream.

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When the holidays roll around, I love to make personal-sized or individual dishes for each person, and these personal chicken potpies are my go-to.

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Start by lining a ramekin bowl that you can bake the potpies in with refrigerated piecrust and brush the crust with melted butter. Then, mix together a can of cream of potato, shredded chicken, cheddar cheese, frozen vegetables, and a dash of garlic and paprika in a mixing bowl.

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Add a few scoops of the mixture into your potpie bowls and top it with another layer of crust. Press the top layer of crust to the bottom layer with a fork and brush more melted butter on top. Bake at 375° F for 45 minutes or until crust is golden-brown.

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When it comes to pies, I can only speak to my potpie baking abilities, but dessert pie is a whole other story—I’ve never mastered it. Pumpkin pie is one of my favorite parts of Thanksgiving dinner, though. I am always the first one to say, “Are we ready for pie?!” Which is usually met with, “I am too full!” So I created a little recipe hack that even the fullest guests couldn’t deny, and a recipe that I couldn’t mess up: Pumpkin pie bites.

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I picked up this pre-made pumpkin pie from Meijer and used the Wilton Comfort Grip Cookie Cutters to create mini pumpkin pies. Add a dash of whipped cream and cinnamon, and dessert is served!

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With these recipes and kitchen gadgets – including my personal MVP, the timer – by your side, you can master any recipe this Thanksgiving! Happy holidays and happy cooking! For exact recipes and instructions, click here.

Natalie is the fashionista behind Natalie in the City, a fun lifestyle blog full of her adventures in plus size fashion, city life, and being a “fashionista.” Follower her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

Outerwear That Will Keep You Warm (and Stylish) this Winter

Gone are the days when bundling up cramped your style – coats, hats and mittens have officially become a fashion statement. Believe it or not, we can’t wait to break out our favorite boots and parkas! Need a little help getting as excited for winter as we are? Here are some trendy outerwear options for every cold weather occasion.

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For those days the air is extra cold and brisk, opt for a long, heavy parka with a faux fur-lined hood. The long coat will keep you warm from your head down to your knees, while the faux fur details serve as a cozy makeshift scarf. We love this jacket in an earthy olive green – and the metallic gold buttons add a subtle, yet stylish accent. Complete the look with sherpa-lined boots to keep your tootsies nice and toasty; then add a matching knit hat and mittens to protect your hands and ears. Who knew staying warm could look so incredibly trendy?

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When dressing for your work or family holiday party this year, choose a classy, neutral peacoat in a creamy white or tan. Use a narrow belt to cinch the jacket at your waist – this will keep out the cold (and show off your curves at the same time!). The formal style is perfect for any special occasion, plus it’ll look great with your favorite Nordic print dress. Over-the-knee boots will keep your legs warm in the winter, and a pair of matching faux leather gloves ties the elegant look together. For a little something extra, add an infinity scarf in an accent color that complements your dress. The bold shade will add intrigue to your light, neutral peacoat.

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If you’re headed out and about and the air isn’t quite as brisk, a lined moto jacket serves as a great (and trendy) windbreaker. Add cute, wintery details with a Nordic print scarf, and keep your fingers just the right amount of toasty with neutral, lightweight gloves. Our favorite pair this year features tech-friendly fingers – so we don’t have to take them off to check our phone or send a text! Want to know the best part about this trendy look? It’s made for transitioning from fall into the brisk, winter weather, so you can still wear those ankle booties you loved last season!

Looking for more winter style inspiration? This lounge look is perfect for cold, lazy mornings.