summer swag

how is 2015 already halfway over?

this might sound a little cliche (and by "might," i mean "is undoubtedly," and by "a little," I mean "COMPLETELY," and by "cliche," I mean "literally everyone that's ever lived ever has said this"), but "WHERE HAS THE TIME GONE!?"

since we're basically at "halftime" in the year, i vote we take that as a cue for a literal intermission in life/obligations/productivity and just Ju-LY around outside with an ice-cold *insert beverage of choice* and light off fireworks and bask in our sun-drenched laziness, only moving when we need to flip over to sun our backsides for the next few weeks. #goals

on that note (and because i love fearlessly festive summer outfits), i compiled a short list of star-spangled items (from kate spade & mona mara to wild fox & urban outfitters) that i found from across the worldwide web. links are below!

happy summer-ing, ya little firecracker.

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Lime Crime Cyber Crime

Hello, gorgeous. :)

Good news/bad news situation. I'll start with the bad: there was a data breach on the Lime Crime website resulting in some credit card fraud.

Since I tout Lime Crime products (mostly their Velvetines) all the time, I felt sort of an obligation to let anyone + everyone know because I don't think my conscience could handle it if I encouraged somebody to buy their products and, subsequently, compromised their card. 

So basically, as much as it breaks my heart because I loved/was mildly obsessed with their products, please never buy from Lime Crime again.

And I would be a little more delicate about it—I know security breaches happen, and hackers happen, but the way the company is handling it is less than encouraging—and considering that there's also a pretty wide-scale boycott/petition against Lime Crime going on right now due to the founder/CEO's rather shoddy, fraud-ridden reputation (according to this Tumblr account anyway), it's probably best to just swear off Lime Crime altogether now and forevermore. Spend your hard-earned money on brands that deserve it and respect their customers.

I feel like we need a lighter note right about now. 

The good news: Much like whatever idiot scorned Beyonce circa 2006, Lime Crime's Velvetines are NOT irreplaceable. In fact, Lime Crime . . . "I could have another you by tomorrow," (or 3-7 business days to allow for shipping anyway). 

In fact, I've already found a rather lovely replacement. For the exact same price (and with an even wider array of colors), Anastasia Beverly Hills' new line of liquid-to-matte lip products is divine.


Also, if you check out this post that I did not all that long ago (and ignore the Lime Crime plug—that was before the shod and fraud), you can find some great substitutes for Velvetines, including Anastasia Beverly Hills and Kat Von D's lines as well as some cheaper options (stay away from Wet n Wild's version, though). ABH and Kat Von D's are SUPER comparable and super amazing. 

Here's a bright red Anastasia one called American Doll. 



It's Gorgeous Outside

It's been incredible outside lately! I can't believe we're three months into 2015 already, but at the same time, I'm so ready for spring/summer. And cliche as it may be, that makes me want to brighten and liven and freshen up everything around me (and ON me—I'm lookin' at you, winter wardrobe). 

But until I have the chance to jazz up my closet's inventory, I'm injecting some color into my makeup routine, and the easiest way I know to do that is through the mystical magic of lipstick. 

Nothing earth-shattering to say about it, but here are a few colors I've been opting for the past few days. Links to lip colors are listed below! 

Have a lovely day, sunshine!

Flower Cosmetics Lipstick in Ginger Lily

Flower Cosmetics Lipstick in Ginger Lily

Ginger Lily again with a dab of Melt Cosmetics' Summer 

Ginger Lily again with a dab of Melt Cosmetics' Summer 

"Boudy" Rockin

Standard girls-getting-ready situation . . . 

(and yes, you can chalk another one up on my "Mean Girls Reference" count)

I think girls are at least three times prettier than they think they are.

I also think girls suffer from a anorexia-esque chronic never-good-enough complex where they can't quite see what the rest of the world does—spending so much time dwelling on the one thing they don't like about themselves, that they don't ever appreciate the 9 million great things.

I'm not exempt. I have a lot of insecurities. At any given time, I can pick myself apart like a vulture on roadkill (delicate—I know), and while I appreciate that self improvement is important in every facet of life, I also think it's important to respect yourself and appreciate where you're at now.

Otherwise, you get stuck in the never-good-enough purgatory of "I'll start my own business when I have more experience," or "I'll wear that dress when I'm in better shape," or "I'll bust out the daisy dukes when I build up a tan," and you spend good years of your life waiting. It's like buying roller blades and leaving them in the box. I do that quite a bit. Not with roller blades. That's a different animal entirely—I'd bust those out before checkout.

But for example, I used to hate our old volleyball spandex in high school because I thought my thighs were too thick, and I've long had a love-hate relationship with my waistline. Now, I'll find an old photo of myself and be like . . .  

"Dang, girl . . . ." or "Alright, that wouldn't have been a bad year for crop tops."

Is that just me? It's kind of the whole don't-know-what-you've-got-till-it's-gone situation, except I bring it up strictly because of the "you don't know what you've got" part. Don't mistake this for a rally for Topless Tuesdays or anything, but just for the record, whatever you're insecure about is probably the last thing everyone else notices about you (if they even notice it at all). That's basically all I wanted to say about this. Why didn't I just open with that?

Sorry you had to sit through that random Ed Sheeran (thinking out loud) moment of mine—I'll show myself off of this soapbox. In short, I know insecurities have stood in the way of a lot of things in my life, from pursuing fleeting opportunities even down to little things like boudoir shoots . . . which is what I really meant to talk about (150 words later).

Allow me to introduce my photographer/life coach/health guru/bestie Misty—creative genius, camera-wielding extraordinaire, and lover of all things fun, free-spirited, and fancy. 


If you remember her, you probably saw her "Glowing Complexions" post and/or remember the Boudoir Mara-thong we did a few months ago. (If you don't know her, you're missing out in a big way.) :)  During that little mara-thong promo, we had a friend book a couple of boudoir sessions as a wedding present for her sister—so sweet. Both of them came in, and we did back-to-back shoots, and we drank a lot of champagne, and it was amazing.

The girls were really excited but also kind of on-edge and timid at first. Then about 30 seconds in, there wasn't one single jitter lingering in the whole, entire place. 

SPOILER ALERT: You're going to look at these photos and be like "why were you ever nervous? Nay, why are you not modeling professionally? Nay, who did you sell your soul to for those ridiculously blue eyes?!" #EatYourHeartOutDerekZoolander

DISCLAIMER: These showstoppers, and their lovely photographer, gave me permission to use these photos. 

BUZZKILL:  I did do some cropping to avoid a "viewer discretion" warning since the intended recipients were their sig-O's, not the worldwide web :)

Anyway, this kind of accidentally turned into a cheesy, motivational "love yourself" post, when I just meant it to be a "look at these flawless boudoir photos" post, but hey . . . I'm with Dionne Warwick on the whole "what the world needs now is love sweet love" thing, so I'm not going to go back and revise. :)

If you do want to do a boudoir session (bridal, pregnancy, or otherwise), Misty and I live for that stuff (girls night, champagne, and creative projects—bff trifecta!) We haven't yet set a date for our next "Mara-Thong,"  but you can always check with me (or send a message to Misty via Facebook @Photographically ME), and we can get something set up just especially for you. Also, roping a friend (or two) into it will save you $$ and makes it even more fun—except when you're trying to do a serious face. Then it's terrible. :)

And check out my boudoir Pinterest board if you're prepping for one already and are searching for ideas!


Bottom line: Give yourself more credit. You flawless. ;)


Have a great night, beautiful. Xoxo

Merry + Bright Holiday Photo Shoot

I have this friend, named Kristen, who broke my heart a few years ago when she decided to go "Rhode Island or bust!" on me and move east to pursue some architectural street cred at the rather prestigious Rhode Island School of Design.

Though now in Boston, she graced Nebraska with her presence over her holiday break, and I was pretty thrilled when she showed up on my doorstep, and I finally got to see her charming face again. 

Long story short—actually's really a pretty short story that got long for a second, but I'll cut to the chase—while they were back, she and her fiancee had their engagement photo shoot (with the very talented people at Labenz Photography in Lincoln, Nebraska), and I had the privilege—or challenge, I should say—of attempting to make her already stunning face even more show-stopping.

In short, I have to show off these photos—they're insane. You know when someone tells you "You HAVE to see this movie. It's AMAZING," so then you go into the theater with really high expectations, and it turns out to be good but doesn't quite justify the hype because they oversold it?

Such is not the case here. This engagement session was absolutely beautiful.

Props to Labenz Photography for making these stunning photographs and props to Tony's and Kristen's parents for making these stunning people.

Cheers to Tony & Kristen. May your days be merry & bright. <3

Georgia On My Mind

"And now we welcome the new year, full of things that have never been." -Rainer Maria Rilke

Happy new year, sweetness! I hope the universe presents you with many new and exciting opportunities, and I hope God continues to guide you and bless you all.

So 2015 is off to an amazing start. My big sister Shannon got married this past weekend in Savannah, Georgia, and subsequently, my light-of-my-life nephew got a new dad!! He was officially adopted by her new husband at the wedding reception. :) I can't even begin to explain how happy my heart is after this past weekend, and I'm pretty sure everyone involved is still on cloud nine as well—in fact, the newlyweds are probably on many clouds, as they're flying off into the sunset en route to their tropical honeymoon right now. Lucky dogs.

Everything about the wedding was beautiful in so many ways. My new big brother and my bestie little nephew were puttin' on the ritz in their matching tuxedos and bow ties, and my sister was a stone-cold fox in her mermaid gown and art deco-inspired jewelry strutting through historic Georgia . . . beyond gorgeous. I feel like there's an opportunity for a hybrid word in there somewhere. Georgia-gorgeous? Georg-eous? 

Regardless, it was all so incredibly perfect, and amazing, and happy that it hurts—literally.

We woke up with sore abs from laughing so hard, sore cheeks from smiling so much, sore legs from dancing so much, sore throats from singing our lungs out, and sore egos from not-quite-nailing our parts during our impromptu flash mob (our sisterly gift to the bride). 


I do apologize for "wedding" my pants over here, but I can't get over it. So there. That's that.

So I suppose if I'm going to be infiltrating a makeup blog about a wedding, I should probably tie the two together, eh? Let's go ahead and talk about bridesmai-keup, then. :) Below are a few shots of the route I went with my bridesmaid makeup, and then in another post, I'll present you with the gorgeous-ness that is my little sister's face—I went dark and dramatic on her.

Without further ado . . . 


Bridesmaid Makeup

Shannon gave her bridal party these adorable pink silk robes, "which I absolutely adore" (Shannon & Rachel will appreciate that line), and we all wore them the morning of the wedding while getting ready, so for the sake of a proper reenactment, I get a free pass for wearing it all day (again). I love it so much.

Also, we took some jumping-on-the-bed pictures in them that I'm super stoked to see. Naturally, I'll share them as absolutely soon as poss.


 lips and eyes:

Eyebrows: Anastasia Beverly Hills DipBrow Pomade in Medium Brown

Eyes: LORAC Pro Palette (Cream all over the lid and Taupe & Mauve for the contour
with Espresso in the outer V) & Ardell Demi Wispies Lashes

Lips: MAC Lip Liner in Brick, MAC Lipstick in Lady Danger all over, and MAC Toxic Tale in the middle.

MAC Brick, Toxic Tale, and Lady Danger

MAC Brick, Toxic Tale, and Lady Danger

More to come. Standy by. :)



I set out to craft  a post about makeup that lasts all day, but I'm making like The Parent Trap and splitting them in two and worrying about the other one another day. So today's post is about lip products that stay. First, it's a slightly dramatic retelling of my on-again, off-again history with lipstick, and then I'll talk about some products that are worth their weight in gold.


As you may already know, I'm a big fan of risk-takers . . . and though I may not be exactly Randolph Dupree-status at taking risks in life, I definitely practice being a risk-taker quite a bit with makeup—particularly lipstick. Whether it's swinging for the fences on an off-beat shade, using a product (for not its intended purpose) as lipstick, or just breaking traditional color "rules," I think it's fun to put on my hypothetical black, spiked choker and go rogue on the ole' lipstick stash.

However, I'm not quite as impressed when my lipstick goes rogue on me, and it seems like whenever I have an all-day event—for which I depend on my makeup actually staying where I put it—I pretty much always fall prey to the tricks of the stick.

Step 1: Apply lipstick. Look delicious.

Step 2: Arrive with bells on.

Step 3: Dining, dancing, and general merriment.

And then, inevitably, I pass by a window, outside of which, I see a woman with the same outfit on. Moving in exact synchronicity with me. Except that she seems to have hired the Joker to do her makeup.

And then Step 4: The sudden, sinking awareness that this is no coincidence.

It's a mirror. This is me. My lipstick has taken up residence on my chin and only about half of it remains remotely close to where it was originally applied. I may as well have just opened my lipstick and eaten it.

Step 6: Dig furiously in purse for reinforcements. If I haven't come prepared, then it's a game of dodging acquaintances and/or finding totally natural and nonchalant ways to cover my mouth for the remainder of the night.


Having suffered through many a night of ill-fated, jaded, and faded lip color, I've come to the unfortunate realization that lipstick, try as it might, is not the good gentleman Rick Astley.

It WILL give you up . . . and let you down . . . and run around (all over your face) . . . and, I guess not altogether desert you because it will just smudge off in some spots and then leave patches of itself elsewhere, but it would look better if it altogether deserted you, so yeah, it still basically screwed you over so, in sum . . . lipstick is the anti-Astley. Damn, you, anti-Astley.


The good news is that my days as the mid-afternoon Joker have come to an end because I've discovered liquid-to-matte velvet lip products. If you're unfamiliar with liquid-to-mattes, they are usually in a lipgloss-looking tube, and they go on like a gloss but dry to a matte lipstick finish. Genius.

And even more exciting—they're pretty much becoming Cher Horowitz-popular (my blog needs a Clueless reference count) right now, so there are a lot of different options from super affordable to super "luxury."

I used to lean on Lime Crime's Velvetines exclusively, but now, I've also found a number of highly saturated matte lipsticks that are tried and true and will stain your lips so fiercely you couldn't get it off with a Tide To-Go pen.*

*No, I'm sure you could, but then you're likely to perish shortly thereafter, so please don't Mythbusters me on that.


First is the brand-new lip line by Anastasia Beverly Hills. I love this brand—most popular for its eyebrow products—and I love these colors, and I love this product.

$20 each, and I believe there are 20 colors. Unfortunately, more than half of them have sold out on the ABH website, but they are still available on

Next, my bloody Velvetines. :) Beloved.

$20 at, and they come in 10 different shades.

Velvetines are incredible, and they come in such fun colors—these ones are definitely the most tame (I dare you to try "Black Velvet"), but that's to be expected when your founder and CEO looks like this.


Kat Von D recently came out with a new line of velvet matte lipsticks called Everlasting Liquid Lipstick, and they are divine. Color for days.

These bad boys are $24, and you can find all 12 colors at Sephora or


Lastly, NYX Soft Matte Lip Creams and DINAIR Pucker Ups. They're similar in size, texture, and consistency, but somehow, NYX totally dominates in my mind. They offer a lot more color options, and they're significantly cheaper. (NYX always seems to save the day with affordable products that are also nice and high-quality.) And a limited inventory of NYX products is now available at Target, so snaps for accessibility!

Pucker Up Lip Stains are available in four colors for $20 each at, and NYX Soft Matte Lip Creams are available for $6 each in pretty much any color you could possibly want at a number of retailers, including, ULTA and, and

I know there are a ton of other similar products that are popping up everywhere, but these are just the ones I recommend.

Speaking of which, one line I really WOULD NOT recommend at all is the Wet N Wild Megalast Liquid Lip Color. Oddly enough, Their lipsticks really aren't bad—they don't go on super easily, but they are matte, and they stay put—but this Liquid Lip Color is pretty miserable. I bought it a few months ago because I really liked the color, but I used it on myself and on a friend recently, and it basically felt like Flubber mixed with honey and toxic sludge. Really hard to remove and really uncomfortably sticky.


I'm going to peace out here because this got so much longer than I meant it to be—so sorry! Also, I just re-read some of it, and I'm no longer making sense in any capacity so thanks for hanging in there, champs!

I hope you found this helpful if you've been a victim of under-performing lipstick...or if you haven't been a victim but you want to experiment with lipstick...or if you're just looking for some good brands with staying power...or if you had no interested in the subject at all but were just really bored and decided to see this through to the end. Bless your heart. :)

Good night, lovely.

Hey, Sugarplums!


I'm working on some actual blog content for you (bet you didn't expect that!), but first, it would be weird not to acknowledge the fact that Pretty Much has been comatose for near-about a month, so I feel like we need to get reacquainted.


I know I've abandoned my post (literally), and I'm so sorry, (then again, I think we were all in desperate need of a Ross-and-Rachel style temporary break after my crazed Halloween frenzy). 

The reason I've gone AWOL is because it's been a pretty crazy month, both at work and at home.

In addition to the usual glorious chaos of life, I've recently taken some sage advice from Aaliyah and adopted a "new position, new position" at work, so that's claimed a lot of extra brain capacity.

Also, Kyle + I are very excited to call ourselves new home-owners! (almost) "Finishing touches" seem to be taking forever, but we will be in in just a few short weeks! It seems we're growing up. Didn't see that one comin. And along with the house comes a brand-spakin-new makeup lair! Pictures to come. 

So in short, all of my creative attention has gone to new projects (weddings, babies, house, work). I've missed the blog so much, though! So I'm attempting to squeeze out whatever creative juices I have left in my brain to pour into my cozy corner of the worldwide web. Slightly graphic—sorry if that created a weird visual.


Life has been moving obscenely quickly lately, but at the same time, life has been so good to me, so I'm very, very grateful. Good energy all around. I just always think it's important to make time, no matter how little you have, for the things you enjoy and the stuff (people, passions, spirit) that's important. 

That's all for now. I had my poor Keurig hustling so hard today to keep me awake, and I do believe my BCC (blood coffee content) undoubtedly topped uncharted territory—caffeine, how I love you—but now, sleep is desperately trying to seduce me, and I don't think I have the willpower to deny it, so I'm officially surrendering.


Good night, loves.


Lazy Lazarus & Miscellaneous Things

Hello, honey drops!

It is blustery as all hell outside today, but what is REALLY BLOWING MY MIND is that it's already November!! I feel like I just started adjusting to the fact that it's not summer anymore! Time, you sneaky little devil.

Really quickly, I just want to apologize for my absentee-ism this week. I started off October super strong with roughly ninety-million different costume makeup looks, and then I kind of pulled a Lindsay Lohan: rode that success for as long as I could, gradually faded into obscurity, and now I feel like I need to do something actually worthwhile again, so this is my "Lazarus Rising" moment. I'm back from the dead. 

And speaking of the risen dead, I hope everyone had a frightful and delightful Halloween. My 31 costume makeup looks for my countdown to Halloween has come to an end, and everyone is probably breathing a sigh of relief as that was starting to be a little much, I'm sure.

If you're not sick of them yet or if you missed them altogether, you can click on the gallery below for a recap!


So Halloween was a great time, and if you saw my day-of Halloween day post, you already know I had no idea what I was going to be, and if you're curious about whether I was able to whip up something makeup-y and crazy, my costume reveal is going to be super disappointing. 

You'd think that after all that makeup I did all month long I would've gotten some sweet makeup inspiration for an awesome Halloween look, right? 

Wrong. I actually went as Clark Kent.

I did 31 makeup looks for the 31 days of Halloween . . . all kinds of makeup . . . all colors of makeup . . . all makeup, everywhere, all the time . . . I was a makeup machine . . .  and then I end up going as a dude. Classic Jessi.



But onto more interesting things, the winner of the Drop-Dead Gorgeous Halloween Face-Off was my little pregnant sister :) So she gets a little swag bag full of samples of some my favorite makeup products. 

I'm Here for the Boos

It's here! And I've had such a busy week that I still haven't bought any candy or even . . . found a costume. *hangs head in shame*

I know you're probably like . . .


. . . since I've been on this month-long costume marathon binge, but now I'm fresh out of ideas.

So that kind of backfired. 



Anyway, I have nothing of substance to say regarding any makeup or beauty tips, so I'll make like the headless horseman and cut myself off here. (ya like that? :) )

I just wanted to wish all my "boo"s a Happy Halloween! 


Bloody hell; I think we've got us a contest goin' on. :)

I've talked to several boo-tiful (<- how cheesy & cliche was that?) specimens who want to try their hands at some glam, gory, and gorgeous costume makeup looks, and I WANT TO SEE THEM ALL because I'm greedy like that. 

So I present to you the: 

All you have to do is send Pretty Much your photo one of two ways

  • On Facebook, just send Pretty Much a message with your photo, or 
  • On Instagram, hashtag your photo with #PrettyMuchFaceOff 

The winner will be announced on Halloween and will get a little swag bag full of samples of some of my favorite beauty products. 


I can't wait to see what you all come up with! Now go make a face! 

Full-On Monet

Morning, guys, and happy Hump Day! 

If you recognized the title of today's blog post to be a line from "Clueless," then you are totally hero status today! :) 

I chose that title because it seemed especially relevant to the costume look I did last night.

Admittedly, it was a bit of a half-assed effort. I had already showered but was feeling pretty restless and wasn't really in the mood to continue watching the snotty 21-year-old that was on House Hunters.

So I sauntered into my lair to try my hand at some Wicked Witch makeup. Pretty tame. Pretty standard. I'll share it nonetheless. 

Be warned, it's a full-on Monet.

What's that? 


 A full-on Monet :  when . . . 

The green is really splotchy, blotchy, and uneven. I guess doing your makeup in a dim room isn't real helpful.



I noticed the splotchy-ness in the pictures right away, so I did a little more blending, so it was . . .



I kind of wanted to go into the bedroom to approach Kyle just to be like . . . 

But I feared it would be far too similar to this exchange . . . 

. . . or worse . . . 


In terms of the makeup, it could've gone better; it could've gone worse.
But hey, "at least I didn't skin a collie to make my back pack."