Included as #25 in Top 100 Social Media Power Influencers of 2014

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Last week was a really great week for me! Not only did I celebrate my 27th birthday, I was also included in this super-mega-amazing list compiled by social media rock star/GURU, Eric T. Tung. I ranked #25 on Houston’s Top 100 Social Media Power Influencers for 2014!

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I would like to say thank you SO MUCH to my readers, followers, and supporters. Your comments, likes, RTs, follows, and shares truly mean the world to me. Fostering community online has always been something I’ve been passionate about.. starting WAY back when with LiveJournal, MySpace, AIM… etc. Look just how far we’ve come!

So once again – thank you, thank you, thank you!!

Also – I do apologize for my lack of consistent blog writing over the last few months. I have been working full time for the Epilepsy Foundation Texas since January and have been struggling just a bit with finding balance between my blog life and work life. Fellow bloggers, do you have any tips for me on this subject?

In the meantime, stay in touch with me on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, & Pinterest – I’ve got the micro-blogging thing down PERFECT! ;)

An Open Invitation To Houston Bloggers

I’m really excited to be attending this month’s Houston Bloggers Meeting. Join us tomorrow for blogger chat, great networking, and some sweets and treats provided by Blog Elevated & Barry’s Pizza!

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BA STAR Eye Shadow & Primer Product Review

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by BA STAR Makeup and my blogger affiliation with BrandBacker. I was given free products to test in return for my honest opinions and feedback via my blog. All thoughts are my own.

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BA STAR Makeup is known as one of the top cheer & stage performance make up and beauty products. They offer many options for specialized make up kits, shadow palettes, glitter, stickers, and other on stage accessories.

I’ve had the chance to test one of their eyeshadow palettes and their eyeshadow primer.

My BA STAR Make Up Look

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This was my favorite look to create with this particular palette. I first used the BA STAR shadow primer all over my lid up til my brow bone and even a little bit under and around my eyes. I used purple on my lid, then the brownish color over my crease and blended, then I used the white to brighten just under my brow’s arch. I finished the look with black eyeliner and mascara.

Spicy Natural Eye Shadow Palette

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I wasn’t able to choose my palette colors so I’ve really only been able to utilize the purple, white, and brown of this set. Definitely, not a fan of the yellow or rusty oranges – but to each their own. I wasn’t impressed with the applicator brush (just not the best quality, so I used my own). Make up went on fine and I was pleased with the look and feel of it. This palette retails at $8.75.

I have to say while I’m not as impressed with the eyeshadow palette, the primer is AMAZING.

 Eyeshadow & Glitter Glue

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I’ve been using their “Eyeshadow & Glitter Glue” as my main primer for the last few weeks. At only $8.75 per tube, this primer gives my usual Urban Decay Primer Potion ($12 ~ $20 per tube based on size) some serious competition. I have to give it to BA Star for their excellent primer. My shadow and liner stay on ALL day with absolutely no creasing whatsoever. The primer is so potent that my eyeshadow will even stay completely on over night. Of course, I don’t recommend sleeping in your make up but I’m just saying – the only way your shadow will be coming off while using this primer is with a make up toilette. LOVE THAT!

 Shine On Or Off Stage With BA STAR Makeup

Stage make up needs to be dramatic, of course, but without a good base to tolerate sweat, moisture, etc., your whole look is at risk of smudging, smearing, and running. The LAST thing you want to be worried about when you or your little one is performing!

To explore their full product offerings and request samples, visit the BA*STAR official website. They do offering group discounts for large-scale purchases for your cheer or dance teams, performance groups, etc. Also be sure to check them out on Facebook for all their latest news!

Rapid Weight Loss Gave Me Gallstones: An Update On My Weight Loss Journey

Hi everybody! I know it’s been a LONG time since you’ve heard from me. Unfortunately, my blog has had to take the back burner for the last few months due to a couple of different reasons. My apologies! Thank you to those of you who have emailed and left comments wondering where I disappeared to. I assure you, I’m still around! Just very busy – with a new full-time job that I love and learning to find the right balance in life, love, health, happiness, work, friends, family, wellness, etc.

Weight Loss & Health Update

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In February, I began having gallstone attacks. If any of you have experienced these before, you know how intense and terrible the pain is. I reached out to my Doctor and my Quick Weight Loss Center team and was immediately taken off all protein snacks and herbal supplements. This helped a lot because I did notice the high amounts of protein were sometimes causing the attacks to happen. With me, they would ALWAYS happen at night in the middle of the night. When I first started having them they ranged in time from twenty to thirty minutes of severe pain. As time progressed, they became getting fewer and further in between but much more intense when they would happen. For example, I had a couple of horrible episodes that lasted nearly two hours and I was sore and in pain for the whole next day and after.

Bye, Bye, Gallbladder!

Yesterday, I underwent gallbladder surgery. My surgeon and his team removed my gallbladder which was inflamed and full of stones. It was no wonder I was having such incredible pain.

So what caused my gallbladder problems?

In short, my rapid weight gain over the course of recovery from brain stem surgery (in February 2012 – taking steroids, being able to swallow again after losing that ability, depression, and not controlling my eating, lack of activity and exercise) THEN my rapid weight loss when I committed to change my life for the better. I dropped my first 50 pounds in three and a half months. I’m not surprised my gallbladder decided to bail on me. I was confusing the heck out of it. Luckily, for me, we don’t need our gallbladders and now mine is gone forever.

Weight Loss is a JOURNEY…

And there are MANY bumps in the road. This particular one was very unexpected but as I’m sitting here recovering from my gallbladder surgery with four fresh new scars to add to my collection, I’m ready and eager to continue my journey. I have a re-invigorated motivation and drive in me to regain my health and get back on my plan! Currently, I’m on a medical hold from Quick Weight Loss Center but I have my post-op follow up scheduled for next week. If all goes well and I get the OK from my Dr., I will be back on my QWLC grind in no time. I, fully, plan to bring back my Weight Loss Wednesday series and update frequently, no matter how busy I am. So please, stay tuned!

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I can’t begin to tell you how much your support means to me and how grateful I am that you’ve taken the time to read my blog and follow my story.

For more of my weight loss journey, please follow me on Instagram at: @xtineds

 

Tips for Picking Your Wedding Venue

Today, I’m sharing a wonderful wedding planning infographic from my friends over at SimplyBridal.

I know when my husband and I planned our wedding, choosing and locking down the wedding venue was the number one choice we had to make. After all, how can you move forward with invites, decorations, floral arrangements, etc. until you know where and when you’re getting married?

I hope you and your honey find this infographic helpful when it comes to making the big decision of finding the prefect venue for your special day.

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 (Click the image for the full size version.)

For more helpful tips for choosing the right wedding venue for you, click here to read SimplyBridal’s post accompanying this awesome infographic.

Hask® Argan Oil & Keratin Protein Hair Product Reviews

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Hask® and my blogger affiliation with BrandBacker. I was given free products to test in return for my honest opinions and feedback via my blog. All thoughts are my own and I’m very happy to share these products with my readers.

When the opportunity to test these hair products arose, I jumped at the chance! You see, Hask® beauty brand specializes in delivering unique, specialized, and intensive conditioning treatments to their consumers.

I live in Houston so the humidity is a constant on my hair. I can use all the moisturizing, frizz fighting help I can get. Plus, I do tend to use hot tools on my naturally curly hair to achieve my desired looks.

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I was sent an amazing product trial package including their Argan Oil line and Keratin Protein line. I tested their shampoos, conditioners, deep conditioner treatments, and shine oil. AND I AM SO IMPRESSED. Of all the hair products I’ve tried over the years, I can honestly say these are my favorite.

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The nourishing treatments left my locks moisturized, conditioned, and ready for any style. You can see in the pictures below where I styled curly (with a curling iron hot tool) as well as, straight with my flat iron.

Curly look with Hask® Keratin Protein products:

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 Straight look with Hask® Argan Oil products:

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From start to finish, shampoo to shine oil, these products truly impressed me.

The Argan shampoo and conditioner have this wonderfully intense orange smell that relaxes yet energizes you in the shower while your washing your hair. They absolutely smell amazing.

I left the conditioning treatment (hair mask) on for ten minutes and could instantly feel the difference as I was rinsing it out. These products seriously make my hair SO HAPPY.

In the last two years, since my brain stem surgery and having to shave the bottom half of my hair completely, my hair has been through some trauma. Remember when I wasn’t able to properly wash my hair during recovery for over a month after surgery? Yeah, YUCK.

These Hask® beauty products did wonders on my hair. Side note – I’m also so happy to start seeing my length growing out and getting back to normal. It’s taken quite some time and I’ve missed my long, long hair.

I supplement with fish oil which helps your nails, hair, and skin stay healthy and get stronger. Plus, getting to try these Hask® hair products – I think I’ve found a line of hair care products that I finally want to stick with. I’m a perpetual “tryer of new things” (beauty products, especially) but these two lines definitely have given me results I want to stick with!

I love the diversity because I’m fortunate enough to have hair that works with me to achieve different styles (most of the time).

I absolutely recommend giving Hask® beauty products a try if you’re looking for some really great conditioning treatments that achieve awesome results!

To learn more about all that Hask® has to offer you and your lovely head of hair, visit their website at: http://haskbeauty.com

This is a sponsored post powered by BrandBacker.

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