Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Maskcara Beauty

Hi ladies!

I cannot even hide my excitement about today's post. I have been DYING to fill you in on the Maskcara beauty line. Before we get down to business, I have to tell you a few things:

Whether you like these products, feel inclined to try them, or are already a user, you MUST know that the Maskcara Beauty team is phenomenal. I have NEVER experienced customer service for a makeup line like I have with their team. They have trouble shot application technique, color matching and more with me (multiple times) over the past few months - and always SO friendly! (Thanks Randi!)

Secondly, I received these products from Maskcara several months ago. I refuse to try a make up line (such as this) for a few days, and then try to give you an opinion. I don't know about everyone else, but my skin seems to have a mind of it's own. Some days it is bright and smooth and I would consider leaving the house without makeup. Other days, I would prefer to wear a mask. I always want to give readers of Sweet & Modern an accurate and comprehensive review that spans time. 

That being said, here we go!

If you have been around awhile, you already know I have been a Bare Minerals user for about a decade. I've tried many liquid foundations over the years and been completely unimpressed. One of my readers commented on the blog several months ago about giving Maskcara products a try. I was super intrigued as she stated she was an "ex Bare Minerals user" (Thanks Allison M.!), but also very wary. The IIID Foundation  palette is a creamy foundation as opposed to a mineral powder. Huge change! And I'm not going to lie, I wasn't sure how to feel about it!

The Maskcara team color matched me based off of several photos. They sent the white peach highlight, walnut contour, desert sunset blush and the honey illuminator. When I opened the box from Maskcara, I pretty much shrieked with excitement. (PS- their packaging even smells good… I'm a sucker for packaging!)

I used this handy graphic for the first few times I applied! Super helpful. 
It must be said, if you have never HACed (highlight and countered) there is a slight learning curve. Luckily, Cara is amazing and has this HAC video on her profile. I literally watched it as I was applying the first time. They also included their amazing 30 second HAC brush to get me rolling.

How cute is their packaging?! 

In typical Sweet and Modern fashion, I am going to put together a pro/con list for the IIID Foundation. It's the best way for me to organize my thoughts!


- Cream foundation gives you a beautiful glow
-The colors in this collection are gorgeous
-Maskcara Beauty team is outstanding. Customer service off the charts!
-You can exchange if you color match wrong (love this!)
-Easy to apply - works great with the 30 second brush as well as other brushes you may already use.
-Easy to blend (the pink blender is fabulous!)
-Excellent price point! The entire palette is $45 (highlight, contour, blush and brightener)
-My husband noticed "a good difference" the first time I used IIID Foundation (HA! But seriously)
-Cara has a plethora of learning material/tips and tricks for first time HACers!


-If you have oily or combination skin, I don't think you can get away with no primer OR setting powder.
-I typically have to touch up with finishing powder if the weather is humid
-There is definitely a learning curve with application (especially if you are new to HAC-ing!)

Sweet "makeup hair," right?!

Other things I learned/tips and tricks:

-I was applying the contour wayyyy too low on my face. In one of Cara's tip videos, she states that the contour should never be lower than the diagonal line from the tragus of your ear to the corner of your mouth. And also not near the corner of your mouth. That's a no zone!

-I had to play around with primers that helped keep things in place. My favorites? Milk of Magnesia and Benefit Porefecter.

-I HIGHLY recommend putting the "Vanilla Dust" setting powder on after. It makes all the difference in stay power!

-I admit to struggling a tad with the coverage. Cara specifically states that the IIID foundation is not intended to go all over your whole face. When I use Bare Minerals, it goes ALL over and basically gives me a completely blank slate to work with. IIID has forced me to embrace my skin in it's natural state (freckles and all!) and highlight some areas… and leave some areas alone. I'm still working on it :)

Prior to blending. Also not as angry as I appear. 

So, what's the verdict you ask?! Should you buy Maskcara IIID Foundation? Yes. Yes! In my honest opinion, yes. Am I throwing away my Bare Minerals makeup? Well…. no. For some, that may not make any sense. But here's the deal: I absolutely love that I can now create a defined and "glamorous" look in under 10 minutes with the IIID Foundation. Using the HAC method has the ability to transform your face significantly. But on a humid, hot Nebraska day when I am going to be working with kids… I'm probably still going to slap on some mineral powder and mascara and call it a day. I don't want to worry about touching up my face and looking greasy. But date night? Big day of meetings or hanging out in the office? HAC/IIID Foundation all the way. 

There's something to be said for having an arsenal of products on deck. Basically, my arsenal just expanded ever so slightly and I am so pumped to incorporate an alternative look. So, what do you think? Have you HAC-ed? Does it make you a little nervous? (It did me!) What are your favorite tips and tricks? Let me know in the comments!

Here I am… in all of my HAC glory. 
And on a different day... going SUPER light with the HAC! 

Thank you again to the Maskcara Beauty team for allowing me to experiment and walking me through the HAC process (+ all the other kind things you did!). Your team is truly one of a kind! 

To check out the Maskcara blog, click HERE!
Ready to HAC? Create your custom palette HERE

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Summer Update!

Hi you guys! Summer is definitely a time to slow down and relax. Fortunately for me, my job becomes slightly less stressful in the Summer months (all of our fabulous teachers are off work for the most part!) and I get to catch up on family time and paperwork.

We didn't plan any big trips this Summer (aka no motorcycle roadtrips like last year) because we hit the travel/vacation scene pretty hard for the wedding and post wedding. So... the only thing we really have on the calendar, aside from small weekend getaways, is visiting Clay's sister's family in Lexington, KY this week! We leave on Thursday and I am beyond excited to get to see my precious triplet nieces this week.
Could they be any cuter?

That being said, Sweet & Modern is going on vacation for a little bit! We will only be gone at the end of the week/weekend, but I have so  much to do in the mean time! And... immediately following our return I head out of town for a work conference.

I can promise you I will be taking loads of photos of those darling babies, so follow along on Instagram!

Have a happy {official} start to your Summer :)

Friday, June 17, 2016

Friday Things


I think I uncovered why I struggled through this week. It's the first FULL week I've worked in almost a month! That will do it. Between holiday weekends and random days off, I apparently couldn't get through a full work week.

I'm calling it Friday Things because I'm all over the place on this one! And we are linking up for Friday!

| First, I feel like it wouldn't be right if I didn't address the recent tragedies that have happened in Orlando. I know the news is always full of heartache, but the most recent news in Orlando hit really close to home knowing that the family of Lane Graves is from Elkhorn, NE...which is just a few miles away from us. I cannot fathom what their family is going through, but it is comforting to know that the whole state of Nebraska is supporting them during this tragedy. On the flip side, I cannot read one more comment/post about that there was a "No Swimming" sign posted, or about how they should have been better parents. No. Just no. And in case anyone is wondering how they can show more support, check here.

| Keeping Cool
Next... this heat has been unbearable. I used to live for Summer back in the day. For obvious reasons... I was out of school and I got to live at the pool with the kids I was babysitting. Rough life. But sweating in work clothes and lugging bags around from home to home for visits all day in 100 degrees is getting old... and it's only June. When I get home, I basically just want to suck  on ice cubes. I threw together this {low calorie} concoction the other day that I think will be a staple until things cool down! It's a total no brainer, but so refreshing! Rasperry lemonade crystal light, a little water, a little ice... our handy (cheap) blender... and you have yourself a slushie. You could also add vodka or tequila....


| Jeans
 I love Sheaffer Told Me To (she has the best recommendations! Hello Wacoal bra!) and I feel like I need these Vigoss jeans. Does anyone have them? How stretchy are they? So many questions.. but they look like the perfect color with just the right amount of distress!

| One Piece Swimsuits
Here's the thing... lately I can't help but think one piece cut out suits are WAY cuter than a bikini. But all I can imagine coming out of this scenario is a massive wedgie. I haven't had a one piece since 1999 so I really don't know... any thoughts? I am loving this one...

 Does everyone have big plans for Fathers Day weekend? Have a happy Friday!


Also check out Sept Farm & Meet At The Barre !

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Quality Time

Happy Thursday! Time seems to be moving along very slowly this week. It could have something to do  with the 90 degrees and above daily temps... but who knows. This heat and humidity seems a little intense for early June in Nebraska... and I think we are all hoping this isn't an indicator of the whole Summer!
But anyways.
If you are a Sweet & Modern reader, you have probably inferred that my husband (Clay) and I work different hours of the day, and we also have different days of the week off. This can sometimes be extremely tricky for figuring out how to spend time together. And not just time, but quality time!
I'm not an expert, but I will say that any relationship that is important to you must be a priority. Obviously. Life gets busy, there are one million time constraints, commitments, and of course all of the other family and friends that you want to stay in contact with. We knew, going into our marriage, that we were going to have to put up a little bit of a fight, and also be a bit selfish, with what little time we do get together.
During our engagement, someone told me that I will have to make the time I get with Clay of utmost importance, because no one else will.  I thought that was interesting, and to be honest, I wasn't all that concerned about it. Because of course I would make time for my husband! He is my best friend, and there aren't too many activities that I would prefer to do with anyone else!
But now, I sort of get the concept. While friends and family may care about me,  and even us as a couple, they aren't necessarily aware of how their demands on our time take away from couple time. And even personally, I think we have both had to really rearrange our personal needs to make sure those days are open, and we can be available to each other when time allows.
So... all of this to say... spending time together is amazing. Sundays are my favorite day of the week because we both currently have this day completely off from work. So that means that 5 days of the week (discounting Monday evening) we have about an hour to spend together. And that's just if I can stay awake that late! :)
About two months ago, I stumbled on the Q & A a Day Journal for couples. I've always been a journal-er and I immediately ordered it to see what it was all about.
A little bit about the book: It is a 3 year journal. Each page/day has 3 different year spots, and two spots (one for each person) to journal " a line" (or a word, sometimes!) for that day. There is also a question for each day for us to answer according to how we feel during that time of our life. Some of the questions are funny, some are serious, some are random (what did you wear to bed yesterday?), and some are actually quite thought provoking.
You guys, we have actually had a LOT of fun doing this! Sometimes when Clay rolls in from work around 11:00 at night, both of our brains are SPENT. On a great night, we both have a ton of energy and can stay up late and enjoy a few good hours together. But on a typical night, we ask how our day went and try to sneak in a show...and fall asleep on the couch.
The Q & A journal has been a fun, quick way to add a little more dimension to that small chunk of time we have at night. Instead of just asking how our day was, we can actually learn something about each other.
And, I can't lie, I cannot wait to look back next year at our old answers. I am weirdly sentimental like that and the idea of seeing how our answers will change over a 3 year period makes me excited!
Anyways, I know many people are in situations where they don't get to see their partner/spouse/significant other as much as they would like. I know many friends who have husbands/wives that are deployed, living apart because of work, on different schedules, or simply on the road a lot. If you are looking for a way to add a little more connection to a phone call/or a small slot of time, this journal might be the answer.
And sometimes... the question isn't even the point. Sometimes the point is that we get to laugh AT the question, or each other. :)
Your relationships are important, invest in them!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Blogging About Blogging

Hey and welcome back to the party. That was mostly to myself, as I took an accidental break in blogging. Sometimes there just aren't enough hours in the day, right? Right. Which leads me to talking about blogging.

Today you might notice something a little different… it's a fashion post! Well, sort of. Let me start by saying I didn't create Sweet and Modern to be a style/fashion blog. So this is uncharted territory for me. That being said, when I find an outfit/shirt/whatever that I really love (and it's from a local shop- bonus!) I'm probably going to talk about it. So, that's what's up with being all fashion-y today. 

But it really made me start thinking. I created Sweet and Modern as a creative outlet for me, but also so that I could talk about things that I love to do and enjoy trying. Blogging was (is) supposed to be a fun way for me to express my thoughts. 

And suddenly lately…. it just wasn't. 

And I had to ask myself why? 

So I'm sharing with you what I came up with during my soul searching… haha…. so deep. It's really not. But read on if you are interested. 

If you are a blogger yourself, or follow blogs, you know there are MILLIONS out there. So many. I probably find 20+ blogs per day on Instagram that intrigue me or I am interested in following. And I do follow as many as I can! But because of this, my newsfeed and general thoughts about blogging have been kind of messed up lately. 

For example: I find a new blog I love. I think to myself "what an adorable shirt!" I read the post. The blogger is excited because the shirt is "less than $100". My first thought? I can't remember the last time I thought it would make sense to spend $100 on a shirt. The same shirt that I will probably accidentally spill coffee on? Yeah… no. 

And then there are the handbags. Now, please don't be offended if you are handbag girl. I'm just not. I know and love plenty of people who go nuts for a designer handbag. But I'm kind of over here like…"Oh! Love that color. Saw a very similar one at Target/Walmart for 1/8 of the cost and bought it because sometimes I put food in my purse and disasters happen…." Am I the only one? 


And the sunglasses. Please don't get me started on those. Maximum sunglasses purchase price: $28. I say that because last year I spent that much on a pair and it pained me inside. Why? Because the lifespan of my sunglasses is approximately 2-4 weeks, tops. If you do the math, it adds up. A few years ago I found an aviator at Target that was $8. I just kept breaking them, buying them, breaking them, buying them. It worked out really well for me. I think a small part of my soul would die if I accidentally sat on a pair of $300 sunglasses. And apparently I don't have enough class to behave differently…

But…we all have our things. I imagine some of you ladies/guys who read the above and thought "Hey! A good handbag is worth the investment!" feel the same way when you walk into ______ (insert favorite designer handbag store) as I do when I am perusing under the bright lights of Sephora. To each their own. 

My purpose in saying all of this is not to make fun of or belittle any bloggers who love this stuff. I mean, clearly there is a market for it. Clearly. But I find myself drawn to the bloggers who are like "hey, found this cute shirt at Old Navy on clearance for $3, might want to check it out!" Now that, I can totally jump on board with! 

My point in all of this is that when you start comparing yourself to other bloggers, you lose. No, I don't have a professional photographer taking pictures of my make up and palettes every week. Hell…. most weeks I barely have time to blog. And no...I didn't create Sweet & Modern to make money. And no...I'm not interested in finding out how my blog can become my full time job. I pursued a degree to take a job in a field that I truly love - and that's my passion! Again, I LOVE you ladies who blog full time. Your pictures are beautiful. Your blogging schedules are fantastic. I look forward to reading what you put out there for us everyday. You kind of make the blogworld go round. 

This is not to tear any other bloggers down. It's more of a reminder (to myself!) of why I wanted this little space on the internet. Not to spend more money than I have in order to post a photo with a handbag that I don't even want… but because of the fun discussions, the connections you make, the amazing ideas you get, and the relationships you form with people over common interests. The day Sweet & Modern becomes a stressor in my life is the day it will have to go! And that is simply never what I had in mind for this space.

So… in conclusion… you probably won't find me posing in an alley anytime soon (but man do I sure admire my friends and fashion bloggers who do this WEEKLY!) because it is clearly not my forte. But I'll still be here, sampling products, trying the latest under eye concealer, and attempting new recipes. Because that is what I love to do.

And I might even snap an I-phone pic, or two. :)

Lastly… if you made it this far, my super fun romper is from Foi Clothing and was a birthday present from my favorite sister. A few reasons why I love this romper? My butt cheeks don't hang out of it. It has flowers. It is flowy and not tight on my thighs. Highly recommend! The girls at Foi (an Omaha boutique!) are wonderful and I love browsing their online selection. Check it out!
And you can get my exact romper HERE (but navy appears to be sold out!) 


Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Paula's Choice: Skin Perfecting Liquid review

You made it to Wednesday. I made it to Wednesday! I'm not going to lie, I am SO TIRED today. So tired as in I accidentally used my mascara wand on my eyebrow. That was fun to clean up...
 I feel bad complaining because it was completely self I stayed up too late trying to watch Part I of the Bachelorette last night (and didn't even finish!) So I'm doing my best to avoid any major spoilers until I can knock out I & II. Why do you do this to us, ABC? Anyways...

If I haven't said this before, I want to make it clear that when I post a raving review about a product, it's because I've been trying it for a period of time and it has made a noticeable impact on my life/skin/hair...etc. I never try a product one time, write about it, and then move on (unless it's completely awful and it only takes one time to find out!)

Image via

That being said, I am super excited to talk to you about Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting Liquid. A  small, one-time-use sample came with a purchase a few months ago. I put it on my skin one night, simply out of curiosity. When I woke up, I was kind of shocked at how smooth my skin felt. I thought it had to be some kind of fluke. But I was definitely intrigued. I got online and read 1.5 million reviews (does anyone else do this?!) and realized  I had apparently been living under a rock when it comes to Paula's Choice products. There was enough information out there for me to decide to purchase the trial sized bottle for $9. I figured if I ended up hating it, not a huge loss.

But... quite the opposite.

Here's the spiel from Paula's Choice:

Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant

This gentle, leave-on exfoliant rapidly unclogs pores, diminishes the appearance of wrinkles and improves skin tone for unbelievably smooth, radiant skin.
  • Anti-Aging, Blackheads, Enlarged Pores, Redness, Wrinkles
  • For All Skin Types
  • 2% BHA unclogs & diminishes enlarged pores
  • Green tea extract calms redness
  • Dramatically improves skin’s texture for radiant, even-toned skin
  • Clinically proven to hydrate, brighten & smooth fine lines
Sounds pretty excellent, right?
To use:
It is used like a toner (put on with a cotton ball or pad), but has a thicker consistency, which I was not ready for initially! This almost leaves a "film" (for lack of better term) on your face. I like to let it dry for a few minutes and then put my moisturizer over it. Because of this, I typically stick to using it at night. I have used it under make up but I do not prefer to for myself.
  • Doesn't dry my skin out, which I was paranoid about.
  • My skin is incredibly smooth
  • Actually makes your skin glow-y!
  • A little goes a long ways!  I still have my small trial bottle.
  • Noticeable difference in skin texture

  • Sort of expensive at $28 a bottle (I have to add, worth it!)
  • Many reviews mentioned that it completely cleared up their skin. I haven't noticed it healing any current breakouts I have had over this time period.

So, as you can see, the pro/con scale is tipping in Paula's favor! I seriously love this stuff. I love that I feel like it is sticking to my skin at night and really "doing work" while I sleep! Over the past few months that I have been using it, I find myself touching my skin at times and being shocked at how smooth it is (where it previously was not!)

I would HIGHLY recommend at least sampling the trial size bottle. For $9, you have nothing to lose! You can order it HERE.

So...tell me.. have you tried the Skin Perfecting Liquid? Any other experiences with Paula's Choice products? Let me know in the comments!

Have a wonderful day!


**This is not a sponsored post.  I just stumbled on this product and feel it has truly made a difference in my skin.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Monday Ramblings

What a week (last week that is!) We have been busy with some fun mixed in, so I have a few thoughts to share. And they are kind of all over the place. But here we go!

Tuesday - Thursday I worked my butt off to get ready for a garage sale for our community sales. It was a huge disappointment. We live in a neighborhood a few miles outside of "town" and people did not come our way. I'm still trying to get over it! To the consignment shops I guess! The upside? My mom hung out for the whole sale (Friday & Saturday) and we got to spend a ton of time together. And we had donuts. And Brick was super into the sale...

The swing dress I have been dying to get from Nordstrom finally came in the mail. And it was too big! I despise returning things, no matter how easy the process. I ordered a medium as opposed to small (just to err on the side of it not being too tight) and that was a mistake!  I still love the dress though and I got it for super cheap during the sale. So I guess I'm exchanging...

Living Proof update: you may have read my post about doing a trial of Living Proof shampoo and conditioner. Well, I finally ran out of my first bottles. While I was debating if I should replace it,  I started using my old shampoo and conditioner in my shower. I still love those products (Biologe/Bedhead) but I was SHOCKED at how much more often I had to wash my hair! The LP products keep my hair so clean and fresh. I can do dry shampoo for up to a week. The difference was SO obvious that I think I am going to stick with LP until I have a reason not to.

Maskcara Beauty posted over the weekend on their insta to try Milk of Magnesia as a primer for oily skin. During the Summer, my T zone is always a disaster as soon as I get in the heat. Well, I had the perfect to opportunity to test it out as I went to a wedding in the middle of a field on Saturday. The sun was beating down on me for close to 2 hours and my make up didn't budge. I read some blogs saying that you shouldn't use it for a primer (messes with the ph levels in your skin, etc.), but a bottle is $3 and you use the smallest amount. And the results were better than any other mattifying product I have tried. I'm a believer! I'm not professing to be a scientist, but I have to assume that every product I use is messing with the ph levels in my skin...

If you haven't tried it (and aren't opposed!) give it a go! Totally worth a few dollars.

Lastly... last night we saw The Book of Mormon at the Orpheum Theater. Clay had bought the tickets several months ago and it snuck up on us. We thought it would be a great excuse to get dressed up and out on the town. Also, it was my first time at the Orpheum. Which is TERRIBLE considering I have lived in Omaha for 2 years now. I could write a whole post on this experience but here it is in a nutshell: The Book of Mormon was fantastic. The Orpheum is so beautiful. We had an amazing night out and it was a great way to wrap up the weekend.

Sort of blurry- but we had so much fun!
Happy Monday!


Linking up with Bloved Boston and Her Heartland Soul for weekending :)

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Review: Maybelline Color Sensational Vivid Matte Liquid

So, I'm still coming off of my Memorial Day weekend high! Also, cannot figure out what day of the week it is for the life of me! Those Monday holidays always get the best of me. We had SUCH a fun and relaxing weekend and I didn't want it to ever end. But.. here we are… already half way through the week! And it's crazy as well. I'm getting ready for a garage sale (my first one ever!) and getting organized for that is TIME CONSUMING! But hopefully the de-clutter will be worth it. 

Anyways, my favorite part of blogging and the platform for Sweet and Modern will always be product reviews. I LOVE trying new things. And I love when I find something so good, that I can share with you all (and buy over and over!) There are so many new things out that it is hard to know what to look for. That's why I LOVE a good review. So, let it be known, my reviews are never biased and they are completely, 100% my own opinion. 

Lately, like everyone else, I am loving the pigmented, matte lip look. It seems so modern and classy to me and I love how it can tie together a whole "done up" face. So, of course I was ecstatic to be given the opportunity to review a complimentary Vivid Matte Liquid by Maybelline! 

Here's what I received in the mail:

Nude Flush & Rebel Road 

Gorgeous shades. Highly pigmented. The nude is so pretty and the red is so bright and bold!

Pretty packaging. 

No scent (pro or con depending on the person!)

Eeeeekkk.. that's where it ends for me. I told you I am always honest!

Doesn't dry like other matte liquid lips do (I'm looking at you NYX! Love that stuff!) 

I had to blot my lips to get the "matte" look. 

Within the hour I had the "looks like my lips are flaky and dry" look. And they aren't. 

Sort of difficult to apply. I don't know if it's because it doesn't dry as quickly but I was having issues with smudging onto my face. 

So there you have it. If I were going to go for a matte cream, I would highly suggest trying the NYX Soft Matte Lip cream over this particular brand. But that's me!

Has anyone else tried either product? Thoughts? 


I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes.