Saturday, October 1, 2016

lash extensions {a dream come true}

I am so excited to be writing this post - for several reasons. ONE… because I have been completely off the map lately, and TWO… this is probably the most excited I've been about a post in a while. If you follow along at Sweet and Modern, you know I love trying out new products and bringing my favorite reviews to my readers. 

I've mentioned before that I've been dying to hop on the lash extension train, but wasn't sure if it was an affordable habit that I could keep up. Fast forward, and I found out that Tara @ Serenity Skincare is now doing lash extensions! Tara did my pre-wedding facial and also hooked me up with my current skincare line, TAO Organics (you can read more about that here!) In short, I trusted her with my lashes! 

The biggest appeal for me in getting eyelash extensions was to cut back on getting ready time, as well as looking (effortlessly) like I had put on make up. I am pretty sure every woman can relate to that! During my consultation with Tara, we discussed that mascara is not needed with lash extensions. In fact, it is discouraged as to lengthen the life of your lashes. Seriously, when was the last time you felt like you could go out without mascara on? For me, I draw the line at quick errands and working out. Otherwise, mascara is a staple. It makes me feel human, awake, and put together. So the thought of not applying it every morning? Yeah…super appealing. 

I admit, as much as I love a dramatic eye, I was a little nervous that I was going to roll out of my appointment looking like a Kardashian. Granted, sometimes there are occasions where this would be great! But for everyday work life, it's not really the look I am going for. Also, if you've ever had a bad experience with strip lashes, the though of having something semi permanent on your eyelashes can be daunting. Rest assured, having eye lash extensions is NOTHING like wearing fake eyelashes! 

Tara assured me that she would be doing a classic set on me. This means that there would be no volume enhancements, and it would simply be a lash for lash extension. The extensions are silk, light, and natural feeling. They are black, therefore they are able to darken up your current lashes as is. I was so impressed with Tara's knowledge of this art. It completely blows my mind how tedious it is, yet how easy she made it seem! (Note: there are options for volume with lash extensions)

A full set took about 2 hours long. I couldn't believe how fast the time flew by! It was painless... and the hardest part was laying on the table for 2 hours (which I really didn't mind…forced relaxation). Tara kept me up to date on my progress and explained what she was doing the whole time. In case anyone is wondering, your eyes are closed the entire time. No scary tools coming at your eyeballs! 

As the time dwindled down, I was getting super excited to see my lashes! At the end, Tara made sure my lashes were combed out and in mint condition before I could see them. Here is my before and after shot…

And here is a photo several days later! 

And… I'm not wearing mascara. Which is my favorite part!  :) 

It is safe to say that I am obsessed with having the extensions. I haven't worn mascara in days…which has literally cut at least 10 minutes out of my routine in the morning. The lashes are super easy to maintain (Tara gives you brushes, cleaning supplies and detailed aftercare instructions) and my only regret is that I didn't do it sooner!

Which brings me to this… I am SO ecstatic that Tara has decided to extend the most amazing special to Sweet and Modern readers. From October 3-31st, readers can book a classic full set PLUS a 2 week fill for $110! Ladies…this is a crazy good deal. A standard full set is regularly $135 and a 45 minute fill is $45. If you've been dying to try lash extensions, now is the time!

To book for a full lash extension set, contact Tara on her Facebook page and mention that you would like to book a full set under the Sweet and Modern special. You can also contact her by phone at (402) 215-7288. 
A BIG thank you to Tara for giving me such a wonderful first experience…and even more for offering readers this amazing deal! 

And to all of my readers, it feels great to be back in the blogging world! :) 

Serenity Skincare by Tara is located inside Salon DeMarco (Gretna, NE)
$110 must be paid at the time of the full set and fill must be scheduled at that time as well

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

guest post {makeup 101 - lipstick finishes}

Makeup 101- Lipstick Finishes (Guest Post by Kindly Unspoken)

Hey everyone! I’m so excited to be guest posting for Gina today! I’m Cara and I blog over at Kindly Unspoken. My posts mostly revolve around makeup and fashion, but I also have a serious sweet tooth and a love for baking, so I often share my favorite recipes as well. In addition to blogging, I work full time as a marketing professional, I’ve been a police wife for 7 years now, and I’m a mother of two adorable and rambunctious boys, ages 4 and 6. If you want to learn more about me and my blog, please drop in and say hello!

Makeup 101- Lipstick Finishes

As a lipstick lover, wearing lipstick seriously comes as second nature to me now- but I’m often reminded that not everyone is as familiar with all the different types and finishes, or fully comfortable in knowing how to wear them. So today, I’m going to be talking about the five main types of lip products out there, tips on application, and my favorite drugstore products of each. Let’s Get Started!
Lip-gloss (Sheer)- Sheer Lip-gloss of course is sheer in color, but adds a nice sheen and highlights the natural color of the lips. This is a great product for beginners and typically comes with a long tip wand or tube for easy application. This product can be worn alone or applied over lipstick finishes. I recommend this one by Wet n’ Wild for the perfect, glossy sheen.

Lip-gloss (Color Formula) - Color Lip-gloss, on the other hand, comes in a variety of shades and again adds a nice sheen to the lips while adding gorgeous color to the lips. This product is still fairly forgiving in the application process, and you can easily wipe off mess-ups if you “color outside the line”. NYX carries the absolute best butter glosses that look so gorgeous on the lips. My favorite is the shade cotton candy. 

Creamy/Satin Lipstick (Non- Matte) - Non-Matte Lipsticks (my favorite) are soft on the lips and super easy to wear. Unlike matte lipsticks, these lipsticks have a silky, sometimes even glossy, finish. These lipsticks come in a wide variety of color, and pair nicely with a full face of makeup. Unless you are working with a super dark shade, lip liner isn’t necessary when wearing this type of lipstick. If looking to add more sheen, lip-gloss (sheer or color) can be added to enhance the overall lip look, and make lips appear fuller. Rimmel Moisture Renew Lipsticks are my favorite in this category, as they have such a soft, velvety texture on the lips.

Matte Lipstick- If you’re looking for a more intense, full coverage lipstick, matte lipsticks are the thing for you. These lipsticks are shine-free and give a rich color payoff that is long-lasting. Matte lipsticks come in a variety of shades, and you will often find more intense, bold shades in matte lipsticks. These lipsticks are versatile enough that both risk takers and beginners will be able to find the perfect shade. While a fairly easy application, lips do need to be well-moisturized before applying a matte finish. In my opinion, Jordana carries the best selection of matte lipsticks, and at under $2 each, who can argue with that?

Lip Stain- Lastly, lip stains are the most long-wearing formula of all mentioned and “stain” your lips with an intense pigmentation of color. Typically, these products come in packaging similar to lip-glosses, and are applied with a precise applicator wand. The product will first appear as glossy and wet on the lips, but within seconds will dry to a matte finish. As with matte lipsticks, lips need to be well moisturized when wearing lip stains, otherwise any bit of dryness on the lips will show through. Smooch Proof Liquid Lip Stain by NYC Cosmetics is the best of the best in the drugstore market. This stuff will last ALL day and night- seriously, I love it!

For comparison purposes, here’s a shot of all the products (from bottom to top: sheer gloss, color gloss, satin lipstick, matte lipstick, lip stain)
So there you have it- the five main lipstick finishes! I hope this post was helpful in understanding the differences between each, and I hope if you haven’t already that you’ll give these products a try! I promise you, there’s the perfect lipstick out there for each of you just waiting to be found! ;) 
Let me know what your favorite lipstick finish is in the comments, and be sure and give my page a visit to check out Gina’s guest post on my blog today!

Have a great Wednesday!-Cara

Saturday, September 10, 2016

ofw {apricot lane}

I feel like Fall is officially here and it is HEAVENLY! I love the crisp air and getting out on walks/rides without suffocating in the humidity. Who's with me?!

As previously mentioned, I am a little delayed around here. We've been doing some upgrades to the home which means our lives have been torn apart! Luckily, we are back in business and I'm so ready to share my Fall Omaha Fashion Week look with you all!

I've said it before and I'll say it again… Omaha has a fabulous variety of local boutiques (both in store and online!) It is the greatest thing ever in my opinion! I love being able to shop local. 

Apricot Lane has served me well over the past couple of years. I found my "vision" rehearsal dress there for my wedding and have been returning to check out their gorgeous merchandise ever since!

It was a pleasure to meet Janee, the owner of Apricot Lane, who help us put together our Omaha Fashion Week looks. I owe this entire look to Janee (and her sweet mom!) who made sure this outfit fit me to a T! I promise, you will be VERY well taken care of at Apricot Lane! Not only do they stock the latest in fashion, they take great care to make sure their customers are satisfied. 

When I saw this shirt I could NOT get away from it! The colors scream Fall to me and I am not quite ready to give up the OTS look! It was perfect. 

It's not super obvious, but the back of the top is open! I thought this gave the top so much more character and made me love it even more (if possible!)

And can we talk about this skirt?! I definitely branched out (with Janee's assistance ;) ) to try this one. The scalloped bottom is what made me end up saying YES! And what do you know, I ended up loving it! (PS - this skirt looks SO CUTE paired with a bodysuit!)

Kristin and I at the show (her dress is also Apricot Lane!) 

A BIG thank you to the Apricot Lane crew for styling us for the show. 

Have you stopped in to check out Apricot Lane yet?! What are you waiting for?

Check them out on Instagram as well to stay up to date with their most recent merchandise :) 

Another BIG thanks to Rocking J Imaging for the photos! 

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

feeling floral {sweet p & fi}

Who loves boutique shopping? raises hand
Who loves the price tag? slowly puts hand down and runs away

Seriously though, I LOVE boutique shopping. The one of a kind pieces and pretty details always get me. Unfortunately, most of the time I see the price tag and think… hmmm...maybe not. 

I heard about Sweet P & Fi about 5 months ago and could not wrap my mind around the affordable pricing PLUS the amazing inventory of clothes and accessories. And to make it even sweeter? It's a local, online boutique! So when you order from Sweet P & Fi, your items are shipping directly from Omaha! If you know me, you know that nothing gives me a greater thrill than supporting local businesses…whether that be boutiques, farmers market vendors or small coffee shops; I truly love to know that families are supporting themselves by doing what they love! 

When Molly contacted me about picking out a piece from her most recent inventory, I could not contain my excitement. In fact, I already had a few items bookmarked when I saw the Instagram post and readily emailed her back. I am so excited to share this look with you! 

If I could put a single word on my favorite picks of this season, I would have to say "floral." It's almost always the first thing that catches my eye! I love that I can wear this top as a summery look with white jeans, or transition into a Fall look with jeans and booties. 

Shop this exact shirt HERE! (PS - It comes in white as well!)

My other favorite part about Sweet P & Fi are THESE earrings!
No earrings, in the history of my earrings, have ever gotten as much stage time as these beauts! They go with everything. Literally. I wear them to work, on date night, to weddings… seriously, they can do no wrong. And did I mention they are $10?

And my personal favorite? They are SO lightweight! As in I'm not ripping them of and throwing them in my purse halfway through the other day. Just to drive my point home, I fell asleep wearing these earrings the other day. How often does that actually happen? ;)

I have purchased several staples from Sweet P & Fi over the last few months, and all of them transition SO wonderfully from the office to dinner with friends. And my favorite part? I am still getting fashionable items without breaking the bank!


The seasons are changing and that always gets me excited to add a few new pieces to my regular rotation! This sassy cardigan is my next purchase!

Now, for the BEST part! Sweet P & Fi is offering a discount to Sweet & Modern readers!!!

Enter sweet15 at checkout to save 15% off of your purchase!

I can't wait to see what you find - but I know it will be perfect. Happy shopping!

To learn more about Molly & Sweet P & Fi, click here
Shop Sweet P & Fi now

Special thanks to the lovely Jenny at Rocking J Imaging for capturing my look!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

triplets + lil pink bowtique

Hi everyone and happy weekend! This is one of my favorite collaborations to date, and probably because it features 3 of my favorite little people!

When our nieces were born, they immediately stole up {3} places in my heart. To say that I am a little obsessed with them would be an understatement. And how can you not be? Look at their sweet faces! 

 I am also so excited to share with you about Lil Pink Bowtique. They were SO kind to collaborate with us for this shoot (as well as the very talented Cleo Creative Photography) and show off some of their darling headbands. All of you mamas out there…(and adoring aunts!) snatch up some of these headbands for your little one! I had such a hard time picking when I saw their amazing inventory. 

A great example of a featured product! 

I will let these amazing photos speak for themselves.  I am so impressed with the reasonable prices and quality of the headbands!  If you would like to order the exact headbands in the photos, click here

Stay up to date with the latest inventory by following Lil Pink Bowtique on Instagram

Have a great weekend!

Thank you again to Lil Pink Bowtique! 

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

how to have a {cost effective} iced coffee addiction

I used to say I had a coffee 1-2 times a week. And I did. And then last Winter rolled around and I couldn't hardly stand to drive to work without a warm coffee in hand. And then Summer. I love a good iced coffee. So, before I knew it, I was an everyday coffee kind of person. It's refreshing and tasty and just the kick I need to get my day going! 

It's also insanely expensive. 

I didn't want to do the math. I couldn't bring myself to. We've all heard it!  On average you are paying about $4 for a coffee. At the most, I would buy up to four times a week. So… $16 a week. That's $832 a year. WHAT! I cannot justify that. I simply cannot. When I finally came to terms with this massive (unnecessary) expenditure, I decided to do something about it. 

I tossed around the idea of buying a toddy maker. Of course we have a regular coffee pot, but hot coffee doesn't do it for me in the Summer. And anyone who loves iced coffee knows that adding ice to regular coffee just does not compare. Way back when, a reader recommended trying Grady's Cold Brew. I tracked it down at my local World Market and brought it home to try. And (with the exception of my occasional coffee purchase) I've been going strong… and saving lots of money in the process!

Step 1: Buy Grady's Cold Brew
The only place I am aware of that I can buy locally from is World Market. It is $9.99 and has 4 bags in it. Each bag makes 3 suggested servings. I'm not telling you what to do, but I can get more than 3 servings out of each bag. But either way, that's 12 cups of coffee for $9.99. High five to savings!

Step 2: Prepare coffee. 
The bags are basically like giant bags of tea. Slowly pull the center bag out the first time. I didn't follow the directions and of course ripped the bag. Thats not good. Put the bag in a pitcher with the directed amount of cold water. I like to use my giant glass measuring cup because I just leave it in there!

Step 3: Brew coffee. 
Let the coffee brew in the fridge for 12 hours. I always throw a bag in the pitcher when I run out in the evening and in the AM… ready to go!

Step 4: Pull bag out of coffee. 
Leave the coffee in the pitcher or transfer it to something you would like to store it in in the fridge. I can get a pitcher to last me almost a week!

Step 5: Prepare a glass of iced coffee. 
This step is modifiable to your personal preference. I know some people drink straight cold brew and I am like… no thanks. My favorite combo is mixing 3/4 cup concentrated brew with 1/4 cup milk of your choice. I then add a splash of cream and french vanilla coffee syrup. Sometimes I add ice, sometimes I don't. It's really not necessary considering it's already ice cold.

I know you can cold brew regular coffee overnight, and I have, but I personally think it is such a hassle to strain it and all of that business! With Grady's, you throw the bag in and it's done for the week (or longer). Plus, it tastes seriously delicious. 

How easy is that?! It is ready to go in the morning AND you are saving so much money!
If you REALLY want to get ahead of the game, you could prepare the night before (without ice) and sit a glass in the fridge to grab on your way out the door. 

Yum. My mouth is actually watering just thinking about it. 
Save yourself a dollar and try your own version of iced coffee at home!

Does anyone else have any great ideas to cut back on coffee costs? Please do tell! 

Thursday, August 18, 2016

cool weather is coming {chrissy's socks}

I simply cannot believe that August is almost over! School is back in session and all of the fun Summer activities we look forward to every year have come and gone. I'm not complaining though…. I LOVE Fall. And no, not because of football (obviously). 

Fall means flow-y sweaters, jackets, boots and layering. And I am all about it. All I have to say is Nebraska… PLEASE let us have a real Fall! Last year we basically went from 75 to -5 degrees and the "Fall" went so quickly because of it. 

So, speaking of Fall, I have always been a very "cold" person. Not in the way you are thinking! I mean I am simply always cold! My husband keeps our house quite chilly, and while I have adapted considerably, you can still find me sporting a sweatshirt in the Summer to stay comfortable in here!

Another favorite way to stay comfortable? Knee socks! 

Tell me it isn't the perfect way to stay warm when you are wanting to be cozy at home? And what's better than being warm? How about being warm AND stylin' all in one?! Enter: Chrissy's Socks! 

You guys, I had an absolute blast browsing through their selection and it was incredibly hard to pick a few pairs without buying their whole inventory. For instance… check these out. How fun would these be to wear with boots this Fall? And they are even on sale right now! 

I love throwing on my knee socks after I shower and shave. What better way to stay warm and cozy and enjoy a little downtime? Even my dog loves Chrissy's Socks

If you are in the market for knee or thigh high socks, you must check them out. Chrissy's Socks are made in the USA, super high quality and always free shipping! And did I mention they do custom orders? You can even get your own logo or a team name printed on them. 

All of that being said, there is simply no shortage of variety. 

There's a style out there for everyone! 

You can also check them out on:

A big thanks to Chrissy's Socks for hooking me up with the cutest pairs of socks to get cozy in this Fall!