Friday, July 28, 2017

LimeLight by Alcone Review

I love trying out new products to share with y'all. I ordered & was sent a bunch of stuff to try from my great grand little, Taylor, who sells LimeLight by Alcone products and fun fact, caught the bouquet at my wedding.  So, first off, thanks betch.

I am always so skeptical of the products that aren't sold at Sephora, Ulta or Target, but I mean that's normal, right? But, since I know how anal Taylor is about products she puts on her face/body & the fact that she sells them I felt so much more comfortable knowing that she wouldn't sell something she doesn't believe in. 

I tried a variety of their products to see what the hype on social media is about. Here is a brief summary of LimeLight - they were founded in 1952 to provide makeup to the stage & film industry. Now they are selling professional makeup to now basically I get to look like a movie star... right? All of their products are cruelty free. Their skincare line is free of harmful chemicals.

They also have eyeshadows which are 50% pigment & other eyeshadows are no more than 28% -- umm hello, that's amazing.

So.. here are my reviews for the products I own:

1. Alcone Makeup Remover Cloths

These are the first makeup wipes I have used that don't burn my eyes at all. They are my new favorite. I was using the blue pack of Neutrogena & it's okay but burns the shit out of my eyes.

2. Perfect Mascara

I prefer a rubber wand (most of my friends prefer a brush, so it's a personal preference). However, I really like this mascara. I especially love it when I am blending my strip lashes in with my natural, terrible lashes.

3. LimeLight Sponges

These sponges are so freaking awesome. I have a mason jar full on my vanity & can wet them & use just like a beauty blender. They are literally $3 for a pack of (12 ish, I think) I love to travel with them & can toss them instead of traveling back with a wet beauty blender. Add a pack or 2 to your order.

4. Waterproof Complete Concealer

I typically go for a liquid concealer....but, this concealer is bomb. It's waterproof & stays on all day. I went with the shade CC 1 to highlight while concealing. I love it so much!

5. Glamcor RIKI Skinny Mirror

This is my favorite beauty product I own.

I have been looking for a lighted mirror for a while. Simple Human is the go to.. but I didn't love the sizing & such. When Taylor told me about this I was very hesitant. I literally am so happy with this purchases. It's less than $200, has lights that can be adjusted, you can put your phone on it & use the lighting to film or take pictures, it has a magnifier that you can stick on, it has a stand to turn it either way AND you can hold it in your hand and move with it without having a stand attached. You charge it & the charge lasts for days so you don't have to leave it plugged in or frequently buy batteries.


Another product I am wanting to try is the Liquid Sunshine. It is a liquid body bronzer that lasts for 12 hours. I watched a video when Taylor applied it on her legs & holy shit it was unreal. I can't wait to order this, another set of sponges & makeup remover clothes. I'm a bit obsessed.

On August 1 they are launching a new product, Eye Aspire. It is an anti-aging eye serum that helps with dark circles. So keep your eye's out for that!

Let me know if you try any of these & what you think. Especially the mirror!


Tuesday, June 27, 2017

At Home Teeth Whitening for the Basic Betch

I start most of my mornings with coffee and end them with red wine. So, as you could assume it has taken a toll on my teeth. I never noticed how dull my teeth had gotten since I started drinking coffee and wine until I used Smile Brilliant and saw the difference.

When Smile Brilliant reached out to do a collaboration, at first I was very hesitant because I didn't believe that it would work and that it would be too difficult to do at home, spoiler: I was wrong.

Once I got my Smile Brilliant kit, I immediately made my impressions. It was so incredibly easy.

How to make your trays:
1. Brush & Floss your teeth
2. Mix the Catalyst & Base paste (this part is fun)
3. Place Mixed Putty in Tray (30 sec)
4. Make Upper Impression (2 min 30 sec)
5. Verify & Repeat with the Bottom Impression
6. Mail Impression to The Lab (in the pre-paid envelope)

Dont worry, you dont need to remember it right now - you get your own instruction guide and extra catalyst & base paste in case you mess up. I didnt have any issues with making my impressions but it was nice knowing that I had extra just in case.

I couldn't believe how easy it was to line the tray with gel & put on my teeth. You can wear the trays for 30 minutes to 3 hours. I started off with 30 minutes and built my way up to 3 hours. My teeth are somewhat sensitive so that is what worked best for me. Smile Brilliant also sent me desensitizing gel that I can use in my trays after for 15 to 20 minutes. I highly recommend getting the desensitizing gel with yours if your teeth are sensitive.

With 30 minutes - 3 hours to be productive while I can't eat or drink, I have been wearing my trays while doing laundry and dishes. By the time I do a few loads of laundry and clean it's time to take them out. They fit so perfectly it makes it easy to do other things without having to worry about it.

I have tried Crest White strips before and they made my teeth so sensitive and spotted since they weren't custom trays that fit my teeth. See more reviews here.

I wish I knew about this before I got married. This is a necessity for a bride to prep for her big day or a gift for a loved one for a holiday. Smile Brilliant is my new go-to birthday gift for my friends and family.

One lucky Hometown Heels reader will win a Smile Brilliant kit! Follow this link to enter.

The giveaway will end in 2 weeks.

Want to order now? 
Enter code: 'brandow10' to save 10% on any tray creation kit at check out

Here is additional reading about Smile Brilliant:

Thank you Smile Brilliant for collaborating with me to help make my smile bright af.

Have you ever used Smile Brilliant or teeth whitening? Let me know your experience below.


How Much Is Teeth Whitening

Monday, May 22, 2017

Kitchen Renovation - Selecting the Countertops

Stephen & I moved into our home this past September. We had a few things we wanted to change, especially the countertops. Our house was built in 1966, it is a precious cottage style home. So far we have had the kitchen floors changed to a marble like tile from Floor & Decor, now we are having butcher block installed, a new sink, garbage disposal & backsplash. I've teamed up with Floor & Decor to work on my kitchen renovation.

My favorite things about shopping at Floor & Decor are the customer service and the massive selection. Every single person has been so nice & helpful every time I go in. They have an amazing selection of tile, wood, sinks and more. When we were selecting the butcher block we passed by an amazing selection of quartz, marble & granite. So, if butcher block isn't your thing, they definitely have other options.

The best part about their selection of butcher block is the majority of it is in stock. We were able to pick out & take home our countertops in the same day. Also, sitting right with it was the tools to help seal & season your butcher block. You don't have to run around the store to a different department. It is literally right there, so convenient.

We chose the American Walnut which is BEAUTIFUL. I don't think we could have gone wrong though, there were so many great options.

This post is sponsored by Floor & Decor. All opinions are my own.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Tarte Unicorn Brushes

I recently purchased the limited-edition magic wands brush set from Tarte Cosmetics. I have always loved Tarte products and as soon as they released these beautiful brushes, I immediately ordered.

The brushes are so soft & such great quality. You can't beat the price either, 5 brushes for $39?? That's less than $8 a brush. You literally can't beat that.. Yeah, now I already want to buy a second set to have as my travel brushes...

For those of you who prepare ahead, these will make the perfect addition to a Mother's Day gift basket or a birthday gift!

You get 5 colorful brushes, a contour, blending, powder, shading and liquid foundation.

Also, please please please take care of your brushes - You can see how I clean mine on this old post . It shows the makeup brush cleaner & regimen I use to make my brushes last.

*all pictures are from tarte

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

10 Months of Married Life: The Good, The Bad & The In-laws

I have had SO many people request a post about how my life has changed since I got married. So here you go :)

Stephen and I got married on May 28, 2016. We are approaching one year so soon! (Where the hell has the time gone??)

We will be doing the traditional anniversary gifts by year. Here are all the gifts year by year. So, for year one I am starting to think of ideas for paper. I will be doing a separate post on what I get him and alternatives. (I can't post until we celebrate or that would just ruin the surprise for him!)

Stephen and I have been together for a very long time. He started crushing on me junior year of high school while he was dating someone else, hahahaha. We did long distance all throughout college, he went to Duke & I went to UT. GBO. VFL. We had a 10 hour drive round trip just to satisfy our needs, such as hugs & kisses & dinner dates. After college we were both in Knoxville and he FINALLY proposed. And by finally I mean he was about to die if he didn't. We moved in together a few weeks after being engaged. Then, a year and a half later I bought a sweet dog bed and told him to fill it. The next week he bought me Mellie. Then wedding bells....

My bridal luncheon was perfect. Our wedding was perfect. Our honeymoon was perfect. Especially when the 9 month mark hit and I wasn't giving birth.

We bought our first house in September 2016. We have had some renovations completed and a fired contractor that left us with a to-do list.

Things I have learned about S since getting married:
1. He is still the same guy I fell in love with
2. His feet still smell like ass
3. I hate going to bed alone when he is gone on work trips
4. He can't grill (but we are working on this)
5. He helps so much with the dishes because he can't help with cooking
6. He tells me daily how nice the house looks and how great I did decorating it
7. I couldn't imagine being with anyone else

I think the biggest issue is when you marry someone you aren't 100% about, you will learn new things and have challenges you weren't aware of. There isn't anything Stephen has done or said since we have been married that I have been surprised or taken back about. It's because I knew from the first time he said he loved me that we were going to be together forever. I was always confident in that and I always will be.

IMO, I think how long you have been with someone doesn't matter as long as you truly know them and you can both be yourselves around each other. Then the only surprises are good ones.

We aren't a regular couple, we are a cool couple. lol, I had to. We go out, we have friends over, but we also have to do adult shit sometimes. Like, I painted our front porch pink while Stephen was at work & didn't tell him, and he pulled weeds from the yard which happened to be my peonies. Luckily, he had never done any yard work so he did a poor job pulling weeds and I still have my peonies. (Well, not luckily someone should have taught the man to do some yard work!) But, I like to think we have fun.... last week I made breakfast for dinner and we had screwdrivers, that's fun on a Tuesday, right?


I am going to preface this with we are so lucky to have my immediate & extended family in our lives. They have always been supportive, loving and going above & beyond for us. We are so close with my parents, my brother & his better half, Jenn Jenn. :) I don't want this post in any way to upset or direct any negative attention to my family because they have done all the things right.

The biggest struggle we have had is his family. Which is what most issues are for newly weds, the in-laws.

We have struggled with them for a long time & it got way worse when it impacted our wedding process, mainly the rehearsal dinner. Which I have told the in-laws it's something I'm not sure if I will ever get over. To summarize, I was told it was their event. They wouldn't even let us choose the guest list, the theme, and we didn't even have a say on the menu or really anything in regards to it. I had always dreamed over having a white party, basically like gossip girl & my maiden name is White so it would be a great theme. They told us a few months before if we wanted to pick the guest list & the theme then we needed to do the rehearsal dinner on our own. Obviously we had so many things with the wedding to get ready so it wasn't feasible. The rehearsal dinner is supposed to be an event for the families to get to spend time together, we only wanted bridal party (which was 18 people & their plus ones) & family. His family insisted on inviting all of their out of town guests. They sat with their out of town guests instead of attempting to spend time with my family.

It has been hard in years prior figuring out holidays with his family. In the past they haven't budged on timing or making it easy for Stephen & I to attend both families holidays. We had the issues while seriously dating and engaged that caused some huge fights but now that we are married we don't give a fu... well you know, because we are married and our own little family now. So after all the drama & stubbornness, I wanted to try again to fix this, I took it upon myself to host Thanksgiving to make it easier. So my mom, brother & I cooked and it went, well I won't be hosting again. (My dad always deep-fries the turkeys, Stephen can't cook & Jenn was sick this year so she was drinking Jack Daniel's Honey from a coffee mug per usual.)

Stephen never really had a relationship with his sister. I am VERY family oriented so since we have been together I have tried to built and mend relationships but his family has never been accepting. I have tried with his sister since the beginning. Honestly, I am so over trying. I asked her to be in our wedding and that didn't even help. She didn't pay her part on the bachelorette party via Venmo (Stephen did & his parent's reimbursed) - she uses Venmo with her parents accounts to pay her friends when need-be.. so why couldn't she pay her part instead of Stephen picking up her slack. At my bachelorette party she was the only one who didn't buy me a drink. All the other girls work and were spending their own money and they all bought my food, drinks, etc. (Thank you again to those lovely bridesmaids & MOH for coordinating & being so generous to celebrate.) She didn't come to my lingerie shower that the bridesmaids were hosting (which she was a bridesmaid..) but instead went out to the bars with her friends. On another note, his sister wore white to our engagement party, a bridal shower & a floor length ivory dress to our rehearsal & rehearsal dinner, which is just f*cking rude and everyone knows that is a big no-no.

I wish I could say these are the only issues we have had with his family, but that would be a lie.

It's always hard when there's change, but I think that his parents and parents in general need to realize that they aren't losing their son, they are gaining a daughter. When you act like you are losing a son, you may end up doing that.

The best advice I can have for anyone in a relationship, engaged or newly weds is follow your heart. Marry your best friend because you can't live a day without them. Don't worry about the family drama because you will make your relationship what you want it to be.

I love being married, I love my husband, I love Mellie & I love my house. I can't wait to see what our future together will bring.


Photography by 2 Hodges Photography
Make up by Jessica Hyde

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Perfectly Posh Review

So, I recently tried Perfectly Posh products. In all honesty I am always hesitant to order from newer companies... but I had heard great things & had to try it out, especially when the products are all natural. With these products I have I feel as if I have a spa day each time I get in the shower. Everything in this post is $24 and under and have the most perfect names. I mean wait until you get to You Go, Coco!

1. Don't Be Bitter, Baby - hand creme

I am so obsessed with the smell of this hand creme. More importantly, it is so hydrating and not oily at all, which is my biggest issue in finding a hand creme. Plus the bottle fits perfectly in my handbags & makeup bags.
Use all the freaking time because it's amazing.

2. Blacklisted - sugar & blackberry scrub

Every single time I use this. I smell amazing for hours after the shower & feel like I left the spa. I am so obsessed with this sugar scrub & how well it exfoliates my dry winter skin. 
Use 2-5 times a week.

3. Castaway Coconut Snarky Bar - sugar scrub bar

I don't use this daily because I have so many options in the shower from perfectly posh that I am mixing up right now. I LOVE the coconut smell and how well it exfoliates and cleanses by using one bar.

4. You Go, Coco! Chunk - bar soap

I hate writing that this is a bar soap because it's so much more than that. It lightly exfoliates, smells amazing and hydrates, which is very important to me. This bar is HUGE, too. It will be a staple in my shower from now on. 
Use daily. 

I also ordered the caffeine stick (which is no longer on the website) and it was the only product I received and didn't fall in love with. I liked the smell & used it under my eyes but didn't notice any difference in my skin or helping me wake up. 

See more products & scents here.  Almost all of the products above are in their buy 5 get the 6th free promotion right now!

*Pictures from Perfectly Posh