Friday, December 19, 2014


I'm on a roll with mixing up my fitness routine right now, and I have never felt better. Indoor rock climbing is the newest activity I have incorporated into mix. So much fun! I gave it a go for the first time around Thanksgiving with Sarah Ambrose at First Avenue Rocks. She is a rockstar instructor! She gave me a great overview of indoor climbing and worked with me on technique and strategy.

Bouldering is the technical term for what I'm doing in these photos: climbing shorter walls without a harness. I quickly discovered that taking a moment to map out your route is important, especially as a first timer. When you hop on the wall without a plan, you may fatigue your muscles trying to decide which hold to grab next, and not get very far up the wall. Each hold on the wall is marked with a colored piece of tape, designating various paths up the wall, with varying degrees of difficulty. The goal is to choose a color and follow those holds up the wall. The flat walls are the easiest. The angled walls are tougher - excellent for your core. It is such an exciting feeling to make it to the top of the wall for the first time. Felt like a kid! 

What I like about climbing is that it's fun and challenging, and you don't actually realize you're working out. If you're bored at the gym, I recommend giving this a try. I've kept up climbing for about a month now, and I can tell a noticeable difference in my arms and abs - definitely more toned. You will definitely be sore after climbing for the first time because you're working muscles that you don't normally use. Also, a tip for fashionistas - shorter nails are ideal for climbing. Mine were too long in these photos. Breaking a nail is not what you want to be thinking about.

My talented photographer friend Andrea Mabry, who happens to be an experienced climber, took these gorgeous photos. She climbed up the wall with her camera and captured some amazing angles! I love the drama in these images. She has been working in New Orleans and is moving her home base to Birmingham this winter. Yay! We're planning to do some outdoor climbing when she gets here. Check out her new website here.

In case you're wondering, my sick leggings are by Alo Yoga. LOVE this line of active wear. 
x, M
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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

A Natural Glow In Two Steps

Several of you have asked for another makeup tutorial, so I thought I'd share what I do to get a natural glow. The focus here will be on applying blush and highlighter. Too often, I see people who have overdosed on blush and don't know where to apply it. Blush is not supposed to look obvious. Another common thing I see is having an overall ultra-matte powder look. Strategically placed highlighter, along with the proper blush application, will keep you from looking older than you are. The steps I've listed below to achieve a natural flush are really simple! I enlisted my gorgeous friend Sheena to be my model. We're wearing two of my newest necklaces from Shals, my trusted and go-to boutique for affordable jewelry. Both of these styles are around $25 - amazing, right? The adorable studs Sheena is wearing are also Shals


Tap your blush brush into a pigmented blush formula like Estee Lauder Pure Color Blush, which is one of my favorites. I'm using Peach Passion here, which flatters most light to tan skintones. I'm using a Chanel blush brush.

Smile and swirl blush onto the outer apple of the cheek, sweeping ever so slightly upward and outward, but not all the way to the ear. To me, blush applied underneath the cheekbones just looks weird. Stick to the apples for the most natural look.


Choose a powder or liquid highlighter with a pearly pink sheen. Cooler skintones should opt for cool shades of pink, while warmer skintones should choose a warmer pink with more gold in it. I'm using NYX Born To Glow Liquid Illuminator here on Sheena. The amount on my index finger below is all you will need for both sides of your face. 

Starting at your temple, dot the formula downward, following the curve of your cheekbone, stopping right on the outer apple of your cheek. Lightly rub in with your finger. Avoid the skin next to the eye so that you don't inadvertently highlight crow's feet. 

See the natural glow? This is my little trick for not looking overly-powdered, which looks old.

To keep a natural overall look, I finished with Kismet Cosmetics lipstick in Hey Baby! This shade flatters everyone. It also blends really nicely with the other Kimset lip shades, all of which I own. Awesome lipstick that stays put. Message me with your order inquiries!

I often mix Hey Baby! with Vivianna, a gorgeous rich berry shade, which is beautiful for winter. I blended a little on Sheena to show you how good they look together. In these photos, I'm wearing Vivianna on it's own. 

Isn't she gorgeous? A big thank you to Birmingham based photographer Mary Catherine Fehr for taking these lovely photos! 

x, M 
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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Little River Falls

I recently went on a little outdoors adventure with my friend Ty Harris to Little River Canyon Preserve. Absolutely beautiful. For those of you non-Alabamians, it's located in the northeastern part of the state, near Ft. Payne. The 45 ft. waterfall is arresting. Ty captured these gorgeous images (you'll definitely want to follow him on Instagram here - he's got mad talent). We had a blast on this excursion. Ty is a true adventurer, so I was excited to explore with him. His travels across the globe have even led him to Antarctica! 

We set out before dawn and saw the most stunning sunrise when we arrived to the park. Glorious golden light spilling out and drenching everything around us - a sight that would surely make a morning person out of the most reluctant riser. I need to see more of this. It was Ty's idea to leave early so we could catch the sunrise. I'm so glad we did. It was so beautiful, we forgot how cold we were. The best, most exhilarating moment of the trip was scooting onto the edge of a rock right at the top of the falls. Ty did as well. Probably not the safest decision but worth it : ) Ty and I hope, through these photos, that you're inspired to go do something outside. I know I can't wait to do it again. 

x, M
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Monday, December 1, 2014

Black & Gold


Since finally getting to ditch my Claire's studs several months ago, I have had so much fun wearing big girl earrings. (Yes, this year was the first in my life to get my ears pierced). I love big dangly earrings. I feel like I can get away with messy piled up hair as long as I have on striking earrings. The gold pair I'm wearing here arrived as part of my most recent Sunset45 little luxuries box. Sunset 45 is a monthly jewelry and accessories subscription service that offers Classic and Lavish themed boxes, depending on your personality/preference. November's box is one of the best yet - along with some lovely Byzantine influenced jewelry, my absolute fave lipstick - Kismet Cosmetics - was included. Here I am wearing Kismet's Burnout, which is the most perfect red ever. Isn't it gorge? I sell Kismet, so please reach out to me with your questions/inquiries. Each tube of lipstick is $16. Something else you'll want to know about Sunset45... you can now pick out and shop jewelry and accessories individually. The little luxuries boxes are so fun though and just $30 per month.

Birmingham based photographer Juan Rodriguez shot these beautiful images. <3 Absolutely love!

Hope y'all had a great Thanksgiving holiday!
x, M
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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Boot Camp: Balance Personal Training

I like to be pushed out of my comfort zone and challenged. That has always been my personality. I like a little pressure. I like the feeling of growing, excelling, becoming stronger and better. So naturally, it was love at first class for me when I tried boot camp at Balance Personal Training Studio in Mountain Brook.

For the past several weeks, I've been attending boot camp classes taught by my insanely fit friend Scott Fell who is a personal trainer at BalanceIt's hands down the best workout I've ever done. My body has never felt better. Scott is a fantastic instructor with 8 years of personal training under his belt. He is full of energy and makes every class fun. His positive vibes are contagious! 

Before I started this class several weeks ago, the only exercise I had been doing was push-ups and speed walking on the treadmill. Through this class, I have incorporated weight training and lower body strength exercises into my workout routine. I'm amazed by the results. Every class is different, which keeps it fresh and fun. In the first class, we did jumping frog squats. I am dead serious - when I walked out of that class my butt sat an inch higher than it did before I came through the door. Amazing. I immediately signed up for more classes.

In these photos, shot by Birmingham based photographer Eric Gray, I wanted to capture some "boot camp" instructional moments with Scott. We shot at a field located walking distance from Balance Studio. When it's nice out, Scott teaches the class outdoors. We got in a nice variety of cardio and strength training. We did jogging, sprints, worked with ropes (so challenging!) and also did dumbell and kettlebell exercises. We finished with pushups and planks. 

"It's all about burning calories and building lean muscle mass", Scott explains. "Also gets your heart in fighting shape. It is for any age range.....if you put in the work you will lose body fat and build muscle!"  Scott is great about adjusting workouts according to the individual. Everyone gets a challenging workout but is never pushed beyond their limits. 

"You will walk in our door to workout and you will leave with new friends and a new body!", Scott explains. "Our clients are our family. Period. We put our bodies through so much pain but have a great time while doing it. There is truly no gym like ours."

In addition to Boot Camp classes, Balance Training Studio also offers cross training, cardio, weight training, and core/functional training classes. Scott, Martin Taylor, and Balance owner Michael Meadows all teach and do personal training. These guys are fantastic and will make you feel immediately welcome and comfortable. I love seeing them each week! : ) 

Finally, I asked Scott to share a healthy eating tip that I could include in the post. "Try to always make healthy eating choices, but LIVE LIFE. Don't overthink it. Work hard, but live", he says. "Treat yourself to a great bottle of wine here and there. A great meal. This is why we workout. If you only want to eat grilled chicken breast and spinach all day, that's no fun. Have a Balance of all."

I absolutely recommend trying out this class! A big thank you to Eric Gray for taking this gorgeous photos. Always a blast working with Eric. And a big thanks to Scott and Michael Meadows. : ) 

x, M

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014


Anytime I'm out of the office, I jump at the opportunity to wear ripped denim. Thin slits, big slashes, gaping holes - I love it all and own a nice little variety of torn jeans. This black pair by Blank NYC Jeans is definitely the most shredded up pair that I own. Love them. The stunning earrings I'm wearing are from this month's baroque themed Sunset 45 little luxuries box. Aren't they gorgeous?! I love a brilliant pop of red in winter months. I'm excited to collaborate with Sunset 45 this month on a Laylon curated box. Such an honor! Click HERE to enter my Sunset GIVEAWAY. A lucky winner will be randomly selected via Rafflecopter at the end of the month and will receive a November box of jewelry and accessories.

The red lipstick I'm wearing is Burnout by Kismet Cosmetics. The lovely Vino shade came in my Sunset 45 box this month. You need to own both of these lipsticks. So beautiful. Contact me if you're interested, as I'm the Birmingham area sales rep for Kismet. Email me with your inquiries:

Another GIVEAWAY you need to know about: Gus Mayer Birmingham is giving away a $50 gift card. Click HERE to enter. The giveaway ends tomorrow night at 11:59. I bought the Elizabeth and James sunglasses I'm wearing here at Gus. : )

These gorgeous photos were shot by Birmingham based photographer Juan Rodriguez. Absolutely love!!

Happy Wednesday!

x, M

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