Blog Posts by Monica Bullock

  • What’s in My Makeup Bag? Merle Norman’s Spring Collection!

    Spring is here and I've got color on my mind! Goodbye dark berries and black eyeliner-I'm ready to lighten up for the warmer temperatures. I'm a professional makeup artist so yes, I do have more than my share of eyeshadows, lipsticks and cheek colors. Still, I can't resist trying out spring color collections from my favorite cosmetic companies-like Merle Norman.

    This year, I received my sample pack and fell instantly in love. I got to try these products:

    My sample pack of Merle Norman's Spring Collection!My sample pack of Merle Norman's Spring Collection!

    Lasting Cheekcolor
    : Fancy Free

    Age Defying Eyeliner: Charcoal

    Eyecolor Trios: The Looking Glass and Wistful

    Creamy Lip Color: Late Bloomer (a soft coral) and Just Right

    Age-Defying Lipstick: The One

    Lip Polish: Confection

    The cases were stylish in black and silver so I loved the look instantly! As for the colors, I noticed that everything was a bit softer, with the exception of one of the eye colors called Violet Femme. Even the eyeliner was softer, despite the label (Charcoal). This move went right along

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  • My Weight Loss Resolution Becomes a Reality

    Well, well, well. Here I am sitting comfortably in a size 16 pair of jeans. Surprise! Just a few weeks ago, this was an impossibility. Now I am feeling empowered and ready to continue fighting the battle of the bulge. (Swimsuit weather is just a few months away and I would love to shop for a swimsuit without visiting the plus size section.) I know I am putting myself out there by coming forward about my weight but I had to share what is working for me.

    Me starting Nutrisystem!

    First, a little background. I am in my 40's (but still a hottie) and I spend a lot of time researching,reading and of course, writing. I have Hashimoto's thyroiditis and hypothyroidism. I have been on hormone replacement therapy for this thyroid issue for several years. So to sum it up, little exercise, crazy hormones and of course I'm not 20. I began the New Year with a quiet resolution to do something about my increasing waistline. I couldn't live in a size 18 any longer. (Not hating on my size 18 sisters. Peace!) I began to

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  • Soft and Spicy Valentine’s Day Fragrance: Carita Paris Eau De Parfum

    Every year, hundreds of new perfumes appear on the market but only a few have real staying power-Carita Paris' Eau De Parfum is going to be one of them. It's not just the pretty bottle that impresses this Beauty Guru (more about that in a moment) but this scent is an unusual, complex combination of spice and softness. It reminds me of a silky, black ribbon woven into a pile of curls, the epitome of French-inspired femininity. You know the fragrance is there but it hides subtly, appearing occasionally to caress you--then it's gone again. I love it!

    I know what I'll be wearing for Valentine's Day--Carita!

    Beauty Guru: My Out of Control Beauty Routine

    What does it look like? Five stars for the packaging! First, let me say, "Wow!" The marketing team got this one right. The bottle fits nicely in your hand and looks beautiful on my vanity table. This elegant bottle has a rectangular shape, frosted glass finish and around the neck of the bottle is a black bow. (Perfect presentation for gift giving, guys.) I like the swivel top atomizer.

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  • Pretty Hair Without the Salon Visit: Rowenta Inspiration Pro Dryer

    One of the reasons I look forward to my day at the salon is the incredible blow out my hair gets. Somehow, my stylist manages to coax my thin hair into a beautiful style-sometimes sleek and smooth or maybe wavy and "beachy" (my favorite). It looks fantastic, that is until I have to shower and start over. Then my hair returns to its normal wimpy appearance. Blame it on my 30's, okay 40's or my unhealthy relationship with hair extensions, (thank God that's over) or maybe just too much hair color. Who knows but now that's all over. I've come to the realization that I can get a better blow out, without a salon visit just by changing my blow dryer.

    I love the beachy hairstyle!

    Prior to getting my hands on the Rowenta Inspiration Pro Dryer, I gave little thought to what blow dryer gun I held in my hand. When one died, I simply replaced it with another, probably one I found at the local pharmacy or department store. However, now that I've tried this baby and experienced that fantastic blow out at home, I won't go

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  • Four Beautiful Eye Resolutions for 2014

    When you think of New Year's resolutions, you may not be thinking about things like better eye care, but I am. (This seems to be a theme for this year for me-- better health!) A recent trip to the DMV, which required a photo (urgh!) let me see a few things I had not noticed before. Just for some background, I have small to medium hazel eyes that have an almond shape. I have pretty good eyesight but the skin around my eyes is beginning to tell everyone my age. Tiny crow's feet have appeared and I am finding that I spend a lot of time concealing uneven skin tone under my eyes. I'm a wreck!

    Related: Eye Brightening Tricks

    I don't want to be 20-something again--I'm loving life beyond those years but I am not ready to look like my Mom yet. (Sorry, Mom.) I've come up with a four point plan for beautiful eyes in 2014.

    Beauty Guru, Monica Bullock

    I'm finally ditching the black eyeliner. (I know, what took you so long?) As I've gotten older, I find that my favorite liner color is really unforgiving. I'm swapping it in

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  • Balanced Skin Care: What is It, Really?

    When your friends chat about balance, chances are they're not talking about their skin. Nope. Most folks wants a healthy work/life balance but are not aware that their skin care needs balance too. For healthy skin, you need to achieve the skin's ideal balance of pH 5.5. So how to we achieve perfect skin balance and what the heck is pH anyway?

    Well, technically, pH is an abbreviation for "potential of hydrogen" but that's referring to the concentration of hydrogen ions in a substance. These substances are assigned a number value according to the pH level. On one end of the spectrum, the more acidic the substance the lower the number like 0 but the more alkaline the substance the number gets higher--all the way up to 14. Just to give you a benchmark, water has a perfectly neutral pH of 7 whereas skin is best at 5.5. So how can you reach this magic number?

    You don't need a swanky test toIs your skin's pH off balance? check your skin's acidity, although you can purchase one quite easily. All you have to do is

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  • Is Your Winter Dryness the Result of a PH Problem?

    I don't need a thermometer or a calendar to tell me that it is winter-all I have to do is take a look at my skin. Winter dryness is a problem for many, myself included! Even when I'm on good behavior, (that's skipping hot showers and a second glass of wine) my skin still feels dry, dry, dry. Does this scenario sound familiar? Shower, slather on lotion, wash your hands, slather on more lotion, run to the bathroom at work and slather on more lunch. You get the idea. Who has time to rub lotion all over their body multiple times a day? I know I don't!

    Guess what I found out that? That winter dryness problem may not simply be a hydration issue - it could be your PH balance. If that's the case, you can correct the problem by using skin care products that deal with this underlying issue. Here's something interesting I read from the folks at Sebamed, "Healthy skin has an intact protective barrier which defends against environmental irritants and guards against dehydration. In fact, the

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  • A Real Woman's New Year's Beauty Resolutions for 2014

    I love celeb-watching as much as the next girl but when it comes to New Year's resolutions, I have a hard time believing my favorite celebrities face the same beauty challenges as I do. That aside, it's a new year and I've got a new chance to make good on some promises I made to myself. My beauty resolutions require some changes in my regular beauty product lineup and techniques. Sadly, I am not getting any younger and I don't have an entourage of stylists to keep me looking fab. (Sigh.) This may be a little embarrassing but in case anyone was wondering, here's what a real woman's New Year's beauty resolutions looks like.
    Monica Bullock, real woman and resolution enthusiast.
    Stop ignoring my thinning hair. It simply does not matter what length or style my hair is-it is going to fall out. I don't have bald spots, (thank goodness) but every time I brush I have to clean my brush afterward. By the time I make it to the car, or my destination, my clothes are covered in hair. (God forbid I wear a black shirt or dress.) After some personal Read More »from A Real Woman's New Year's Beauty Resolutions for 2014

  • Indulgent Holiday Gifts: Amarte Heart and Seoul Collection

    On the first day of Christmas my true love sent to me, the Heart and Seoul Collection from Amarte! I don't know if that actually rhymes but if I were lucky enough to get a gift for each of the Twelve Days of Christmas, I definitely would want this holiday gift set to be one of them!

    The Heart and Seoul Collection from Amarte Skin Care

    First things first, about the packaging, I have to say, "Wow!" The Heart and Seoul Collection doesn't need to be wrapped--it's gorgeously packaged with a hard topped box that flips up. Tucked inside the pink colored box are five items that I couldn't wait to get my hands on:

    • Daily Wonder ® Cleansing Foam (150 ml - 5.1 fl oz)
    • Aqua Veil ® Hydrator (100 ml - 3.4 fl oz)
    • HydroLift ® Cream (80 ml - 2.7 fl oz)
    • Eyeconic ® Eye Cream (20 ml - 0.7 fl oz)
    • Two versatile shades of Natural Finish™ BB Cream (10 ml each)

    My skin type changed recently, I went from slightly dry to ultra dry so I loved (still love) the cleansing foam. It smelled slightly like cucumber, as did the Aqua Veil and

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  • The Next Evolution of Aromatherapy: ADORAtherapy's Mood Boost Collection

    Not everything labeled "must have" is truly essential but sometimes you run across a beauty product or tool that turns out to be just that--like this one from ADORAtherapy.

    As a Shine Beauty Guru, I get the pleasure of spending my time spraying and sniffing new scent combinations and dabbing on a wide variety of products. Believe it or not, it's hard to surprise me however, ADORAtherapy's Mood Boost Collection did just that. Let me say first, that this company dis not compensate me for this review; this is my honest opinion.

    Before I share my thoughts, I had to repeat an interesting comment I read from Adora Winquist, Founder of ADORAtherapy. Here she is sharing her attitude towards beauty. "Beauty is about what's inside, it's an attitude married with individuality and character." She goes on to say, "But really it (aromatherapy) is about bringing a woman's individuality to the surface. Not hiding it or playing a role, but truly revealing it." I loved that! How many times have I

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