The Importance of SPF

The sun is finally out shining, temps are warming up and we are heading outside more and more with less and less on. You’ve probably heard it a million times, possibly more from your mother than anyone else, but really don’t forget to put your sunscreen on. Whether a pale ginger like me, tan or darker skin tones, it’s important for everyone to lather up before going outside.

I have extremely fair skin, so much so, I get sunburned riding in the car for 30 minutes during the summer. So I have become very proactive in putting sunscreen on every day, even if I’m not basking in the sun by the pool. I have come across three products that fit the bill for my skin care routine for SPF needs.

Australian Gold Botanical Sunscreen Face is the perfect sunscreen for the face that doesn’t break me out and offers great protection. It looks like a tinted moisturizer so it works great on it’s on and it also goes on great under makeup allowing a smooth application. Since it’s tinted there is no white cast and it feels more like a primer than a traditional greasy sunscreen. Even though tinted, it blends in to your skin so nicely, the color matching isn’t an issue; because everything is generally too dark for this girl and it works perfectly. For $12.00 this is one of the best facial sunscreens I have tried. And let’s be honest, I have tried a lot.

Now the issue with putting on makeup and being outdoors becomes an issue. Did you know you are supposed to apply sunscreen every 60 to 120 minutes? Even sooner if you are sweaty or getting wet. So sadly that sunscreen you applied under makeup or your SPF foundation isn’t actually working for your skin after an hour or so. Enter Supergoop!’s Defense Refresh Setting Mist SPF 50. This is literally the best invention ever. You just spray this on after makeup is applied, through out the day, the same as a regular setting mist or refreshing spray and you get an extra layer of SPF. The smell is great and the spray also gives you a matte finish perfect for days in the sun when oil is literally piling up on your face like a fast food joint. I will just say, I probably would have taken better care of my skin as far as sun protection goes when I was younger had this product been around.

Now for my entire body when out in the sun, it takes something really powerful to help me prevent sunburns. I have probably just tried about everything on the market, but I always go back to my trust friend Bull Frog Sunscreen. I have been using this since I was a kid. And it really works. At the beach I apply about every thirty minutes. At home just out and about, I apply about every hour. Seems like overkill, but I promise you it’s easier and more fun than what could actually happen. I’ve had blisters, sun poisoning and severe burns. This works and is worth the time for me. I don’t know how many bottles I go through during a year but it’s enough for Bull Frog to actually sponsor me though.

I hope all of you are applying something on your skin, whether you look in to these products approved by ginger skin or not.

 

Low Key Holiday Glam + Instagram ColourPop Giveaway

I am super simple when it comes to my make up. Even when the holiday events and parties roll around. I can’t do crazy dramatic eyes because I have extremely watery and sensitive eyes. So to avoid a mess and styes I keep it simple every day. I have been loving my Kat Von D palette for eyes and it goes perfect for the holidays as well since that rusty color is very popular. I kept my wing simple since I was going for a more dramatic lip. And by dramatic I mean sparkly. I love playing with make up just as much as the next person so thought I would go for a shimmery lip. I added Bad Blood by Urban Decay and then went over it with this new NYX Lip Of The Day Art Pen in a rose gold. I topped the entire look off with Bardot blush from ColourPop Cosmetics because it gives an equal part glowy goddess, equal part wind kissed cheeks.

So I have recently fallen in love with ColourPop this year. After hearing all the hype I decided I would give it a whirl and fell in love. **Most of the products are vegan (a few products are not), the entire line is cruelty free and all the product is made here in the USA. Plus let me not forget to mention the entire brand is affordable. So you think it might not be great. Nope way wrong. The quality is amazing for the price you pay. The matte lips I have purchased have stayed on longer than any liquid lipstick I own. You can find anyone some goodies from ColourPop for gifts; almost everyone I know is getting something from the brand for Christmas. (SHHH don’t tell)

So I wanted to share the love with all of you. I am giving away a Bardot Super Shock Cheek and a Ultra Matte Lip in Mink from the Blues Baby collection. All you have to do is find the picture below on my Instagram and follow the instructions there:

P.S. It’s really simple to enter! All you have to do is like the picture and follow me!

Also make sure you check back here and Instagram daily because I will be giving away a product from different companies all week!

Happy Glam Holidays!

Chic Holiday Hair Styles For The Everyday Girl

It’s time to pull out the party dresses, over sized sweaters, plaid and everything that sparkles. However, you could have the perfect #ootd but when it comes to your hair, it could all just fall flat (no pun intended). Your hair is your best accessory on any given day, but for the holidays it’s even more important. You can’t have a chic, festive look and a hair style that looks like you gave up on it. And trust me, we’ve all been there where we find something and try to recreate it and it just doesn’t work out. I wish we all had the opportunity to have our hair done by a stylist every day, especially during the holiday season, but let’s face it; we all don’t have the time or funds. So, with the thanks of Jessy from Bari Salon, we came up with three looks perfect for your festive attire that you can actually recreate at home.

Chic Holiday Hair Styles For The Everyday GirlChic Holiday Hair Styles For The Everyday GirlChic Holiday Hair Styles For The Everyday GirlChic Holiday Hair Styles For The Everyday GirlChic Holiday Hair Styles For The Everyday GirlChic Holiday Hair Styles For The Everyday Girl

Short hair? No problem! Slick, straight bobs look great, but if you are wanting something more fun or a little different for the holiday season, try curls. It looks great and chic! Also the messier you can get this look, the more city chic you will look.

Here’s how to get this look:

Spray a thin coat of GRID or any structural hold setting spray all over the hair.

Take vertical sections of hair and curl away from the face. Can curl every section of the hair or you can curl a few pieces here and there for a more edgy look.

Tousle curls to loosen them and spray the ends of the curls with DEATH VALLEY or any dry shampoo. Dry shampoo actually helps create texture and helps hold curls!

Use a fine coat of TINSEL or any smoothing oil to help keep fly aways at bay.

Chic Holiday Hair Styles For The Everyday GirlChic Holiday Hair Styles For The Everyday GirlChic Holiday Hair Styles For The Everyday GirlChic Holiday Hair Styles For The Everyday GirlChic Holiday Hair Styles For The Everyday Girl

The ponytail has made a come back recently, but not your gym class style pony. A full, curled, high sitting and elastic hidden ponytail is perfect for casual, festive days (Christmas morning with cameras at every angle) or even glam occasions (that office party where you may be drinking too many glasses of champagne). Plus side, it’s really easy to recreate and anyone can rock it.

Here’s how to get this look:

Pull hair into a tight, high ponytail leaving out a tiny piece of hair near the hair tie.

Pull apart the ponytail and spray VICIOUS or a strong hold hairspray throughout the hair to create texture.

Curl sections of the ponytail in alternate directions. Can use any size curling iron for this depending on the size of the curls you want.

Tousle curl for a more natural look once finished curling. Pinch the ends of the curls and push upwards while holding the ends.

Spray ends with DEATH VALLEY or any dry shampoo.

Wrap the hair you left out of the hair tie around the ponytail and secure with a bobby pin to finish the look.

Chic Holiday Hair Styles For The Everyday GirlChic Holiday Hair Styles For The Everyday GirlChic Holiday Hair Styles For The Everyday GirlChic Holiday Hair Styles For The Everyday GirlChic Holiday Hair Styles For The Everyday Girl

When dressing up, whether it be for parties or family Christmas cards, you really can’t go wrong with curls and braids. There is something so effortlessly chic about the look. A half up do is also a little more glam so will be perfect for any of your sparkly dresses, cocktail dresses or your dress with a bow.

Here’s how to get the look:

Section top half hair and braid both sides of the top portion going back.

Secure the braids in the center with a bobby pin and spray a fine mist of GRID or structural setting spray over the braids.

Curl bottom section in alternating directions.

Brush through the curls and tousle.

Spray a finishing layer of VICIOUS or a strong hold flexible hairspray to complete the look.

 

****Huge thanks to Jessy for helping create these three looks! I swear by her. I’m in love with my new cut and every way I style it thanks to all her advice, suggestion and of course the cut. If you are in need of a new cut or just a style, she’s your girl! Also shout out to fellow fashion blogger, Ferriss from Just Ferriss and local fashion designer, Rachel Weisberg for playing models for us for the day!

 

Chic Holiday Hair Styles For The Everyday GirlChic Holiday Hair Styles For The Everyday Girl

 

Beach Day Must Haves

I have teamed up with Adore Me to bring you my #beachdaymusts today! So since I am currently on vacation I thought I would share what I’m wearing to the beach and bringing along with me.

Beach Day Must Haves

First things first! I start any beach or pool day by shaving. I love having a fresh smooth shave before getting in to the water. You know the feeling! I am currently using a Gillette Venus Embrace razor which provides the closest shave!

Beach Day Must Haves

Then I have to get my beach bag ready. Besides the obvious towel and sunscreen I bring along a few “essentials”. I always pack some makeup remover wipes to refresh my face on the way home. Sunscreen is very oily and can unfortunately clog your pores so this is a huge thing for me. I bring an extra deodorant (just in case). I also bring a coin purse to bring some extra cash, cards and ID so I don’t have to lug my purse or wallet with me. I’m not one to wear makeup at the beach because I do get in the water and I am more worried about sun protection than my normal routine. However, I do always pack a lip balm, mascara and an eye shadow just in case I had straight from the beach to eat, grab a drink or head to a store. So I can semi look put together.

Beach Day Must HavesBeach Day Must HavesBeach Day Must Haves

This is my current beach bag and this is kind of an obsession. It’s big, a great material and the print is very tropical. And it’s ethical and fair trade! (Plus it’s only $18.00)

I don’t like to wear a general bathing suit cover up. Most of them are sheer and if I need to head some where straight afterwards, I’m not comfortable wearing that to a bar, burger joint or grocery store. So I’m wearing my Irma tunic from LuLaRoe because you can easily pair a pair of shorts or leggings on under this. Plus the striped tunic and funky glasses are my style, even for a beach day.

Beach Day Must HavesBeach Day Must HavesBeach Day Must Haves

Since Adore Me offers lingerie and swim wear in a large variety of sizes, including plus sizes. They offer a wide selection of sexy plus size lingerie and a variety of swimsuits. How awesome is it to find a company that offers a range of sizes and celebrates every body type. So since the offer something for every size, every woman, I’ve decided to share my swim wear with you. As a larger lady I prefer to wear a tankini. I think they are a little more stylish than a one piece (even though I’m loving this one from Adore Me) and you can just as easily mix and match as regular two pieces. When I’m picking out swimwear I tend to go for darker colors for a slimming effect but I went out of the box with this colorful top. I love the top part of the strap! And this works because it draws the eyes towards the upper part of the body, great for hiding your trouble area.

Make sure you head over to Adore Me’s Instagram so you can see everyone else’s #beachdaymusts and if you are heading to the pool or beach make sure you use the hashtag #beachdaymusts so we can see what you are rocking!

Also I’m currently at Hilton Head Island so make sure you head over to my Instagram and SnapChat (s.ferguson6623) to see what I’m up too!

Luxury Eye Pillows

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Who ever thought eye pillows could be so luxurious? Something you actually want to display in your home while you are not using it? With Rachel Weisberg’s Lavender Eye pillows you don’t have to sacrifice function over aesthetics. You will actually want to make this part of your bedside display!

All of Rachel Weisberg’s Lavender Eye Pillows are handmade here in Asheville. The inside packet is filled with French lavender, buckwheat hulls and flax seeds. By using these ingredients the pillow is guaranteed to last for several years and you can actually feel a difference on your face whether it is heated or cooled. Cooled works great for puffy eyes and any skin irritation. Heated works great for headaches, migraines and any facial tension due to stress or sickness. And since lavender is used it’s great for just a calming effect, possibly perfect for meditation. The fabric casing on the outside (which can be removed for hand washing) are organic, handmade and hand dyed fabrics.

Rachel Weisberg offers pre-made lavender eye pillows or she can create a custom one of a kind pillow just for you. You can purchase them here or shoot Rachel a message at rachel@rachel-weisberg.com for your own custom creations!

 

Don’t for get today is your last day to enter my Valentine’s Day Giveaway for a chance to win two tickets to Biltmore and a box of chocolates from French Broad Chocolates. You just need to “LIKE” 30 Shades of Stephanie on Facebook and comment your favorite Valentine’s Day memory on this blog post! 

July Favorites 2015

I can’t believe another month has come and gone, it seems like last week I just made my June favorites. But I do love August because Saturday (the first) is my birthday and this coming month I have a lot of exciting things happening.

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This month I haven’t been in love with that many new products but my favorites for the month are Too Faced Born This Way foundation (see my review here), Too Faced Milk Chocolate Soleil Bronzer and the Mario Badescu Hyaluronic Eye Cream.

I'm With The Band

Fashion wise I really just can’t get out of graphic tees this month. Probably as casual as you can get has been my go to this month because my life is about to get really really hectic. I’ve also been living in a pair of knock off Birkenstocks I picked up at Target.

Healthy Chicken Caesar Pasta SaladSweet Farm to TableGarlic, Lemon, Parmesan Brussel Sprouts

This month I have been trying a lot of new recipes because I was in a serious food funk of eating the same boring stuff. So I came up with some twists on things I like to eat regular. A different roasted brussel sprouts, a chicken cesar pasta salad, a berry crumble and a childhood favorite have been new in my kitchen this month.

 

I have recently came across Alex and Sierra who apparently recently won The X Factor, and I am in love. They remind me of a more eclectic sounding Civil Wars and I am in love. I can’t stop listening to their songs.

Another Day Another Hike

Andrew and I enjoy hiking so I will post our hike to Chimney Tops in Gatlinburg TN as my favorite even though it was literally the hike from hell. It was extremely steep and we got rained out at the top, but the adventure does make me pretty happy..

3 Year Blogiversary

3 Year Blogiversary 3 Year Blogiversary 3 Year Blogiversary

I can’t believe 30 Shades of Stephanie has been up for three years!! It has been an amazing year and I can’t thank each of you enough for following along. Without you the amazing things I have accomplished with the blog in the past year would not have been possible. So here’s to another year on the blog and hopefully it can be the best year yet!

If you are just starting to follow along you can see all of my past outfit of the days, recipes and things I’ve done by going to the “Previous Posts” tab on the right..

June Favorites: Beauty, Fashion and Everything In Between

Here’s a new little series I’m starting to round up all of my favorite things from the month. Let me know in the comments or on Facebook if you want me to try anything for the month of July! So let’s just jump into and talk about all my favorites of the month of June.

June Favorites: Beauty, Fashion and Everything In Between

My skin has been crazy this past month. I’ve continued to use my tried and true Clinique 3 Step System (cleanser, toner and moisturizer) because I know it works really well with my skin (I have been using this since I was 14) but have added a few other things in the mix and changed the facial soap from the dry to the oily. I have also added in the Tarte Maracuja C Brighter Eye Treatment because I have noticed my under eye has darker circles and the fine lines are starting to show. This is pretty pricey and available at Ulta, but I like the way it moisturized my under eye area and brightened my eyes. I only use this at night because I found it doesn’t go well under concealer, but I found something new that I will be reviewing later this month. Another find from Ulta is the Mario Badescu Drying Mask which is perfect for pesky little zits on the face. I use this once a week as a full mask and about twice a week as a spot treatment. This is really affordable for a high end skin care and I don’t think it dries out my skin like other treatments have.

June Favorites: Beauty, Fashion and Everything In Between

I’m in love with this Real Techniques Expert Face Brush! It’s really affordable (especially if you catch a sale at Ulta) and works great. I love this for blending my foundation and concealer. This concealer is a must have! Check out my review of Master Conceal here! For the hotter days, I have been loving cream blushes to avoid the extra powder on my face. This is a discontinued one from MAC but here are some great ones from Ulta. I forgot how much I loved the High Impact Mascara from Clinique until I recieved a sample with a purchase. It adds great volume without clumping or feeling heavy on the lashes.

June Favorites: Beauty, Fashion and Everything In Between

I just can’t get enough of kimonos this month. Perfect for when Asheville cooled down after the heat wave and also perfect for that boho vibe. I also like how you can find kimonos on just about every price range. I have found them at Target, Wal-Mart, Ross Dress For Less and boutiques.

June Favorites: Beauty, Fashion and Everything In Between

A strapless bathing suit has been perfect for this weather this past month. With a strapless top you get no awkward sun lines! Plus another monthly favorite is the pool. I could live there if I could.

June Favorites: Beauty, Fashion and Everything In Between

My two most worn pieces of jewelry are these two rings, perfect for that boho vibe. The tube ring is from Ashkal and the amber ring is from local boutique Elementality (I’m really wanting a turquoise ring from them bad)! For the summer (and for the past month) I have found myself using a tiny wallet that fits everything I need without the bulkiness of a regular wallet. Perfect for running errands, travel and exploring. I’m not extremely “basic” when it comes to candles so this Glade Cashmere Woods candle has been burning a lot in my house, especially the bathroom. I found my favorite candy, these blue shark gummies in Ross Dress For Less recently and have been nibbling away. You can also buy them from Amazon or your local candy store.

June Favorites: Beauty, Fashion and Everything In Between

No it’s not healthy because it is a frozen meal, but I have been slammed this past month and some things are honestly better than fast food. I have been loving the Garlic Chicken from Birds Eye Voila! It’s quick to make when I’m busy with a million things and very tasty. For one cup of cooked Garlic Chicken it is 270 calories, has 32g of Carbs and 10g of protein, so I add a fresh roasted veggie (check out my roasted green bean recipe) on the side and it’s done!

June Favorites: Beauty, Fashion and Everything In BetweenJune Favorites: Beauty, Fashion and Everything In Between

I haven’t done an update on my newest family member since I got her, so I thought I would throw a little “Maeve info” into the monthly favorites, well because she is mostly the favorite parts of my day. She has adjusted very well to my home after being re-homed which I know can be a problem. She was very shy for the first few weeks. Now she has claimed her spot on the bed, freely roams around the house, and is very playful. I almost think Maeve is a tiny dog trapped in a cat’s body because she is waiting at the door when I get home, will come and get you and take you to her toys and has recently starting taking her toy to the door for when I arrive. She has got her morning meowing for food down as well.

June Favorites: Beauty, Fashion and Everything In Between

Brother Wolf Animal Rescue is a local “no kill shelter” in Asheville that does great things for the animals in the Western North Carolina area and beyond. They strive to provide care and shelter to forgotten or no longer wanted animals and then find them a loving home. With the influx of neglected or animals no longer cared for, Brother Wolf is building a new animal sanctuary. Brother Wolf participated in a competition to win 75,000.00 to help with the animal’s care but due to an error in the system no one won the $75,000 but each charity was awarded $15,000. A local Asheville community began raising funds to give to Brother Wolf to try to compensate for the loss of the competition and Andrew decided to take it upon himself to donated half his proceeds from web and computer work to help Brother Wolf. We both had dogs who recently crossed the rainbow bridge so it was important for us to donate for them. I am extremely proud of Andrew for donating from Andrew Plyler Design. If you need any computer work done feel free to check out his website and contact him to help the furbabies of Asheville. Also you can make your own donation here!

June Favorites: Beauty, Fashion and Everything In Between

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I can’t stop listening to Kacey Musgraves. “Mind your own biscuits and life will be gravy”! That’s it! Listen HERE!

June Favorites: Beauty, Fashion and Everything In Between

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Yup. It’s true! I fell in love with Aldi during June. They have so many affordable veggies and fruits and cheeses and nuts! Perfect for Summer and Summer cooking! Check out my post about tips for shopping at Aldi!

 

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Review of Maybelline’s Master Conceal Concealer

This heatwave in Asheville has made my face breakout like it has never broken out before. With oily skin my main affected area has been my t-zone (my break outs have been around my eyebrows, all along my nose and on my chin) and have had a few break outs on my jaw line. I really love the Kat Von D Lock It Concealer but ran out during the winter months and have not repurchased due to the fact that it is $25.00. Don’t get me wrong I love this concealer but for the moment I needed something a little bit more affordable. Of course I went to Youtube (plus I love Melissa Autry) to look for some reviews and decided to give Maybelline New York Master Concealer a try.

Review of Maybelline's Master Conceal Concealer

I got my concealer at Ulta and with a coupon only paid 7.99 for it so the price was perfect. They were out of the the lightest shade of Fair so I had to go with Light and this will work for summer months but for winter months I would need to go with the lightest shade. The consistency is really light weight but does an awesome job at coverage. Due to the shade it doesn’t work as great with my light weight foundation but does work with my foundations that have a little more coverage. It’s not drying, it doesn’t appear cakey, it lasts all day, and it doesn’t look oily through the day. Review of Maybelline's Master Conceal Concealer

This for the moment is the most troubled side of my face and chin and I think the foundation does a great job of covering up the redness of the bumps and even a red birthmark I have.

Review of Maybelline's Master Conceal Concealer

 

Breakouts appear very minimal!

Review of Maybelline's Master Conceal ConcealerReview of Maybelline's Master Conceal Concealer

I does work great with covering my under eye circles. If using under eye I highly recommend priming your under eye first because it does sink into some fine lines, nothing will ever fully prevent this but some things work better than others.

Due to the fine line issue I would rate this 4.5 out of 5 stars, and the only concealer that has ever got 5 stars in my vote is the Kat Von D Lock It Concealer.

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The Best Beauty Advice

The Best Beauty AdviceThe Best Beauty AdviceThe Best Beauty Advice

When I was younger, I thought being tan was what was the prettiest; I have tried my hand at tanning oils, not wearing sunscreen and laying in a tanning bed. I’ve also paid the price. Melanoma is not something to play around with and I realized I’ve done a lot of damage to my skin over the years, I began to pay more attention to my skin, moles and certain freckles. Since the age of 21 I have visited a dermatologist twice a year to have my skin checked and I have had a few places removed due to concern. I have spoken with the dermatologist on how to better protect my skin and thought I would share with you. Wear sunscreen whenever you can! I am almost as pale as Casper and sometimes get burned while riding in the car. I wear moisturizer for my face and body that has an SPF in it. When I’m going out in the direct sun it is very important to wear a sunscreen. I don’t go any higher than an SPF 50 because research shows that SPF 45 blocks 98% of the suns harsh rays but higher doesn’t do much better because there is no guarantee of 100% protection. My dermatologist recommends to avoid spray sunscreens because you can not see the application as well and also when applying outside a lot may not even get to your skin. Also apply sunscreen 15 minutes prior to heading outside to let it settle into your skin, if you apply immediately before getting in water it has no chance of settling on your skin and you will loose it.  Reapply sunscreen every 45 minutes to an hour while outside. Wear protective clothing! Wear a hat to prevent sunburn on the face, ears and scalps and wear shirts or cover ups while in direct sunlight to prevent shoulder burns. Overcast weather is your most likely chance to get burned as well as under water. Avoid tanning beds, the artificial lighting is much harsher on the skin. Know your skin and take notice of moles, freckles and the texture. See your doctor if anything is worrying you or has changed.

If you must be tan, I highly recommend a spray tan or a self tanner. St. Tropez is a great brand (pricey) that reduces streaks and doesn’t have that orange look to it.

Also the Giveaway winner is Ashley Cronin! Congratulations!.