Product Review JUYOU 24K Gold Eye Mask


I’m always on the lookout for a new eye treatment and when I had the chance to try these eye masks at a discount, I was excited to give them a try. They’re available on Amazon for a good price. $12.99 for 30 pairs of gel patches. https://www.amazon.com/Anti-Wrinkle-Treatment-Anti-Aging-Collagen-Hyaluronic/dp/B07HCX38B3?m=A1KAOB8Y8EER38

https://www.amazon.com/Anti-Wrinkle-Treatment-Anti-Aging-Collagen-Hyaluronic/dp/B07HCX38B3?m=A1KAOB8Y8EER38

Here is the product description on Amazon. I copied and pasted from Amazon so you could read the company description in their words. Read below for my thoughts.

  • 💦 24K GOLD: 24k gold molecule is a luxury skin care ingredient highly recommended by the global beauty industry. Eye masks, containing precious 24k active gold ability to expel harmful toxins, promote blood circulation, improve metabolism, alleviate the aging of eye skin, effectively improve fine wrinkles, dry lines and bags, reduce dark circles and edema, prevent the formation of fat particles, and restore bright color to dark skin.
  • 💦 SMALL MOLECULE COLLAGEN: Rich in many kinds of amino acids to supplement essential nutrients to the skin, easy to be absorbed by the skin, effectively improve the ability of skin regeneration, promote the increase of collagen and elastin, thereby maintain skin elasticity and luster.
  • 💦 HYALURONIC ACID: Highly efficient moisturizer which can penetrate the skin, lock in moisture and provide a long-lasting moisturizing effect on the eye area. It also can reduce the production of free radicals, delay skin aging and keep the skin delicate.
  • 💦 VARIETY OF PLANT ESSENCE: Witch Hazel are considered as the most effective natural skin care ingredients. It combines water replenishing, moisturizing, antioxidant and other functions to effectively alleviate various eye skin problems caused by excessive eye use.
  • 💦 JUYOU EYE MASKS: Dedicated to improving your eye skin, soothing your eye skin, conforming to ergonomic C-zone design, and making them ideal eye patches and eventually bring back the beauty to your eyes! If you have any questions about the product, please feel free to contact us. We always pay attention to the customer’s experience!

I didn’t take a before and after picture because I’ve only been using them for about a week, and there hasn’t been a significant difference in that week. Here are my takeaways.

  • Cooling. They feel very nice on your skin and have that cooling effect that feels good after a long day.
  • Moisturizing. I definitely felt a difference in the moisture on the skin underneath my eyes.
  • Slippery. The texture of these gel masks is pretty thin, so they slide out of place and have to be adjusted frequently. Most masks you can sit up and do other things while they work, these work best if you take the time to lay back and relax so they stay put.
  • Lightly scented. Some masks are overpowering in the way they smell. These are nice and have a light, clean scent.
  • Good consistency. If you’ve ever used a sheet mask, or a gel mask, you know that the product left behind can be a little sticky. The product left behind with this mask absorbs quickly and doesn’t feel heavy or gooey on your skin.

Overall, I like these and I’ll continue to use them. If you try them, tell me what you think!!

You’ve Been Beautified! 

Interview with Model Christine Olyer

In today’s post, I had the pleasure of interviewing model and actress, Christine Olyer. Christine and I go way back. We met as actresses in a local dinner theater company in Denver. It’s funny because we only worked together on one production, but we connected and have stayed friends ever since. Our lives have taken us in very separate directions, and sometimes years have passed between us where we haven’t been in touch, but through it all, I’ve always considered her one of my dearest friends.

I was fortunate to have Christine as the creative editor on my first book, Set It Free, in the Heart & Soul series. Her suggestions were amazing and the way she coached me really pushed me as a writer, in the most wonderful way.

Christine has had a pretty awesome career as a model and actress. Her most recent experience is working as a mature model. She is now living in Rome, Italy. For the moment, her modeling career is on pause, but I don’t think she’s done yet. She’s beautiful inside and out and any designer would be lucky to have her.

I really wish I had a picture of us from our dinner theater days, but I don’t. So… I guess her gorgeous modeling pictures will have to suffice. Make yourself comfortable, pour an espresso and indulge in a Biscotti as you read, and enjoy!

 

Special thanks to Kaya Munn for the use of her photos of Christine. Take a look at her website to see more of her work. https://www.kayamunnphotography.com

You’ve worked as both an actress and a model. Which one came first for you and why?

My first professional gig was as a model. I was 16 years old in Salem, OR and I really wanted to model fashion. So in this little city not only did I act in High School and get awarded “most dramatic senior” but I found my first opportunities walking the runway!

Which do you prefer, acting or modeling?

I prefer modeling and I am embarrassed to tell you why! The reality of acting is memorization and I have a huge struggle memorizing my lines. I love improv because you don’t have to memorize the lines word for word and you can react in the moment. I did a Shakespeare play and it took me hours of work each day to memorize the lines, which definitely had to be word for word; however, it is the show I am most proud of and I had a blast performing the role of Helena!

We’ve known each other for over 20 years… wow! In that time, I’ve seen you rock a vibrant red hair color, a rich auburn brown, and now you’ve embraced your natural silver/platinum. Which color did you like best?

I like my natural hair color best and there are many reasons:

  • It feels great accepting myself just as I am
  • Women find me more approachable
  • Men were so creepy to me when I was a redhead
  • Silver is the trend and it always feels good to be “on trend”
  • Dying my hair was ruining my hair texture
  • I hated seeing my ‘roots’
  • Silver is a standout even if it makes me look even more ‘mature’ than I am
  • I get compliments from strangers almost every time I go out on my hair color
  • My hairstylist here in Rome says that there is no way to duplicate my hair color
  • My hubby finds it sexy (is that weird?)

When and why did you decide to stop coloring your hair and go Au natural? How did it make you feel?

I had a plan to stop coloring my hair when I turned 50 and when my birthday came, I wasn’t ready. So, after traveling to Germany and seeing a magnificent head of silver hair, I was convinced! I got home from Germany, and waited until my roots were about an inch grown out and I had my stylist cut my hair to a pixie length. Oddly enough, there was still some red on the tips, which garnered so many compliments. “I love your tips” was a frequent compliment from women and this was entirely new to me. I had almost never received compliments on my hair from women. Up until this point, most women wouldn’t approach me. And as I let my hair grow, it took about two more cuts to get all of the red out, the more women were verbally supportive of me and my hair! I developed many more friendships. I like to think that the more I accepted myself as God made me, the more comfortable women were with me. I think women are so tuned into confidence and integrity and they gravitate towards others who are in turn confident and acting with integrity. Sorry, that was a really long answer!

Blue/violet shampoos are what I always recommend to keep grays vibrant and to prevent yellowing/brassiness. Do you use a specialty shampoo? Which one?

So I have relied on your advice for my hair a few times in my life and you have never steered me wrong! I am a blonde, who grew into dirty dishwater blonde, then to ash brown-brunette (like so many of us), my hair has silver, white, ashy gray, ashy brown, (now you see why my hairdresser says you can’t duplicate it) – meaning that some strands of hair look ashy or yellowed – that’s normal and that is beautiful with creams, ecrus, and off-whites – don’t let anyone tell you that it’s unattractive! That said, products can and do dull hair and using a violet shampoo really makes a platinum/gray/silver/white hair color sing! I use what you have recommended to me Brooke, Monat Colour Enhance Perfectly Platinum Shampoo and Conditioner (I am sorry that this sounds like an advertisement!) I have used other brands with great results – here’s the difference for me with the Monat product – it is stronger – I don’t have to use it as frequently as the other brands I have used in the past. I use it once a month – I know, that sounds ridiculous – and it keeps my hair shiny and the color bright without any old lady purple.

It seems like once you went platinum/silver, your modeling career really got busy. Tell me what it’s like being a mature model?

The demand for my hair color was incredible – partly because in the commercial world, the segment being targeted is Baby Boomer or GenX – for Boomers, they want to see young, vibrant women and the hair color says ‘older’ and for GenX, the hair color says “Hey, I am your kid’s grandma.”

For modeling the mentality is entirely supported by the movement for inclusion. Let’s include women of all body types, all races, and all ages. In Denver, there is a designer who only wants older women modeling her clothes. She picked up on the trend early and hired me to walk for her in a couple of Denver Fashion Shows.

Do you think there is less pressure on a mature model, or more? (Body image. Overall image, etc.) Is it more fun, less stressful being a mature model?

So, it’s interesting being an older model – yes, there’s still pressure to fit into the clothes and that gets more challenging when your body’s metabolism is changing. Here are a couple of anecdotes:

I hadn’t walked the runway in about 30 years, when I was hired by Nordstrom to do a Beauty event. As I was walking into the fitting, I followed two gorgeous women who were easily 3 inches taller than me and definitely fit! I felt myself flushing, embarrassed that I was shorter, old, fat…but when I got in the fitting everyone was incredibly supportive!! No one was saying, oh my god would you drop 5 lbs by tomorrow, no one was asking me to have plastic surgery. No. It was so great being included and accepted for me, just being me.

After that I was booked for the Denver fashion event with the designer who used several other women in the mature model cohort. It was so fun! That show is still on YouTube, you can watch it here.

What’s your every day skincare routine and what products do you use?

I have sensitive skin that has changed over the course of my life, like every woman! I had adult acne at one point and now the pendulum has swung over to dry skin. I have used the Clinique skincare system my entire life with some small adjustments:

  • 4 nights a week I use gel cleanser, the other nights I use micellar water
  • Toner morning & night
  • Eye serum morning & night
  • Repairwear Laserfocus serum at night (they are discontinuing this so I am just about ready to purchase some new products 😊)
  • Dramatically different moisturizer  — morning & night
  • Moisturizer with SPF mornings – always
  • When I can afford it I buy (and use) the Guerlain Double R Renew & Repair serum
  • For fun I splurge on Guerlain lipstick – incredibly moisturizing!!!
  • No eye-shadows with metallic glitter – makes my eyelids swell up
  • Change my mascara often – sensitive eyes need fresh mascara
  • Nars eyeliner goes on more smoothly than Clinique – soooo…
  • Bobbi Brown eyebrow pencil is the right color for gray 😊
  • Just about everything else is Clinique.

You’ve been living a fun, international life. Your husband’s career has taken you to Germany and now Italy. What fashion and beauty differences have you noticed in both countries? How do both countries differ from each other when it comes to the local image?

This is a great question! The beauty culture is vastly different between these two countries. Germans are practical and walk on cobblestones most of the time, so you see Birkenstock. But German women love being feminine so you see plenty of French cosmetic lines available in their pharmacies called Apoteke. You will also see them loving floral prints, but not wearing a ton of jewelry, and wearing big scarves. But while I was living there the uniform in winter was:

  • Slim jeans or pants
  • Thick sweater
  • Wellensteyn jacket with fur-trimmed hood
  • Boots or sneakers
  • Big scarf
  • Hat

In Rome, the women are dressed with more jewelry and on trend. No wandering around in sneakers if you can find a pair of boots. Cropped pants, culottes, and split skirts are the trend that everyone is wearing. And did I mention boots? Combat, Chelsea, over-the-knee (with a mini-skirt), medium heels, high heels, mid-calf, bottom-of-the knee,– these women know their boot styles and wear them with hosiery! I don’t see bare legs here in in Rome, even if I do see some very short dresses and skirts. Most women wear their hair down, it’s colored, and they have at least one Italian brand visible, Gucci, Prada, Salvatore Ferragamo, or Luisa Spagnoli. I don’t see many hats, even when it is cold, but to make up for it they layer, layer, layer! I have seen a sweater under a blazer under a puffy jacket under a ¾ wool coat more than once!

Do you find you have to change your skincare routine based on where you live?

Yes, definitely. The hardness of the water and the humidity of the air, as well as the pollution of the urban environments are different and require different skincare treatments. Here in Rome, the water is very hard, so I am using micellar water more and more to cleanse at night. I am also using more SPF in my lip care routine because I am walking around in the sun more!

What about makeup? Do you like to glam it up, or are you a minimalist when it comes to makeup? What are your favorite brands?

I have a love/hate affair with makeup – I love how I look in it, but I don’t always want to spend much time applying it – so I have a couple of routines that work for me:

  • Fastest: Guerlain or Clinique eye primer, Clinique cover up, Clinique mascara, Guerlain or Nars or Chanel red lipstick (very French and each red has its own temperament)
  • Confidence booster: Guerlain eye primer, Clinique cover up, eye shadow (Dior, Clinique, Bobbi Brown), Nars eyeliner, Urban Decay setting spray, Clinique mascara, my perfect neutral lipstick (Guerlain, Chanel, Clinique depending on what my lips need or my wardrobe choice)
  • Time to shine: all of the confidence booster with Clinique age defense BB cream SPF 30, cream stick blush, Becca liquid highlighter.

I love to ask this question… You’re going to a remote location/desert island, etc. What 3 products can you not live without? (Sunscreen is provided here, so no need to include that one.)

Coffee, Vicks, Allergy medicine, floss

Oh, you meant beauty products…cover up, lip gloss with SPF, mascara

What’s in your beauty bag?

I have a gold train case that holds exactly what I need for traveling:

Beauty tools, including eyeglass repair kit

Lip liner, lip gloss, lip stick

Korean pomegranate face mask (Best one is from Sally Beauty Supply of all places 😊)

Dior gift with purchase eye-shadow

Travel size Clinique skin care

Scissors, black electrical tape, samples of perfume, double-sided tape, safety pins, sewing kit

What advice can you give someone in the industry, who’s in that in-between stage of modeling/mature modeling?

There is always work. Work slows down, you might have to find some other applications for your skills, but there is always work to be done.

Any modeling or acting work on the horizon, or is that on hold for awhile? 

By moving to Rome I have missed out on about 5 or 6 modeling jobs in Denver and it is killing me! On the other hand, I have found a great position here in Rome that uses my other knowledge, skills, and abilities, so that will be fulfilling on a different level.

I think you’re gorgeous and I love seeing how your career has evolved. Where’s your Cover Girl campaign??

Right???!!!!

 

This was such a fun experience! Thank you for the interview, Christine!

Thank you for taking the time to read this. If you would like to be considered for a future interview on my blog, please respond to this post!

You’ve Been Beautified!

Review – Finding Ferdinand Custom Lipstick

You know how those pesky ads show up all over your computer/phone just because you did a simple search? Yeah, normally I scroll on by, but when I saw an ad for a custom lipstick, I was intrigued… even more so when I clicked on the link and discovered that you can order a sample of this custom lipstick!

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Finding Ferdinand is the website where you can create your own magic. I’m very curious about the name. On the “About” section of their website, it’s pretty simple: “We bring your custom beauty creations to life, from lipsticks to palettes, all made-to-order in New York City.” Sweet and to the point, but who are you? How did you come up with this idea? And why the name? Did the creator of this company have a lipstick they were in love with named Ferdinand, and it was discontinued?? (Don’t get me started on that!) Or is Ferdinand the love of your life… man? dog? cat? goldfish??

How does it work? You choose from 4 of their colors to create your own. Now, the choices of colors are not staggering. There are only 25 shades to choose from to mix, but I think that’s good. Too many choices can be overwhelming. Once you’ve decided on your 4 colors, or 3, or 2, if you want, you don’t have to commit to 4, you get to decide how much of each shade will be used. While you’re figuring this out, there will be a swatch right above your chosen colors to show you what your custom lipstick will look like. You get to choose from three different finishes: Creamy, Sheer, or Matte. Then you choose your size. A mini (sample) size is $9.00 Full size is $30.00 and the two together are $33.00. You also get a choice of fragrances. Personally, I like no fragrance, if possible, so I chose classic. Rose, Coconut, Strawberry, Black Cherry, Grape, and for a limited time, Chocolate Cake, are the scents to choose from.

You also get to name your color, which I thought was fun! Here are the colors that I chose, with the percentages of each color. Pretty simple and since I liked what it was showing me, I kept all colors at 100%. And yes, you’ll see that I named my custom lipstick Alexandra, after my leading lady in the Heart & Soul books. (You can buy those here!)

CREAMY / MINI $9 / CLASSIC

  • COLOR 1: AU NATUREL 100%
  • COLOR 2: TRUFFLE 100%
  • COLOR 3: BLACK 100%
  • COLOR 4: BARELY THERE 100%
  • COLOR NAME: ALEXANDRA

I had so much fun doing this, I am going to create more colors, and I think I’ll continue to name them after my characters. If you’ve read my books, I think you’ll agree with me that Mona needs a pretty red lipstick named after her!

Overall, this was an excellent experience! Easy to order, and fast shipping. And the quality of the product is amazing! It’s a generous sample size, about the size of your pinky finger, and us beauty mavens know, there’s plenty of product to go after in the base of your lipstick. What about the fragrance? Nice, not overpowering at all.

I’ll be ordering again, but in the meantime, I want to find out more about Finding Ferdinand! If I stumble across any specials or discounts, I’ll let you all know. Highly recommend!

Here are some pictures of the product from the packaging, to the sample size, and a swatch on my arm of how “Alexandra” turned out. Someone suggested a selfie… Brookie doesn’t do selfies, so hopefully the swipe on my arm gives you a good idea.

If you order, share your color, I’m anxious to see it!

You’ve Been Beautified!

Beauty Interview with Jennifer Nicole Lee

When I started this blog over 10 years ago, one thing I always wanted to do, but never had the chance, was interview people! I was interested in talking to models, makeup artists, product developers, photographers, and other beauty addicts, much like myself. At the top of my list to interview was Fitness Expert Jennifer Nicole Lee! I’ve been following her career for years, and over the past year, she and I have had a chance to connect and get to know each other. She’s created this amazing VIP group on Facebook that’s full of women from all walks of life. I recently attended her world conference and it was truly amazing! More on that in a future post.

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At the 2020 World Conference!

Always, always follow your dreams. I wasn’t sure if Jennifer would be as excited as I was about the possibility of collaborating to do this interview, but she was!

All you have to do is ask! Some of this interview took place over the phone, but most of it was done via email. We’re hoping to team up again in the near future either in person or on a video chat to share with all of you.

This was a lot of fun, coming up with these questions, and even more fun to read her answers! Read on, and enjoy!!

1.       You have naturally curly hair. What’s your secret/process to straightening your hair? I know how hard it can be to get it so smooth on that texture. Do you use a certain product, or is there a salon treatment that you get for lasting smoothness? Both! Heehee! I live in Miami, so with this humidity I need all the help I can get. I love Deluge shampoo, conditioner. My faves are the Argon Oil shampoo & conditioner. I am obsessed with their Mask, I use it every wash, even though it’s a mask. Just a touch at the end to seal in all the moisture. I also did a treatment called “The Apple Stem Cell” to make my hair smoother & shinier. Its not a Keratin Brazilian blow out treatment that can harm the hair. It actually is an anti-aging hair treatment to help it be stronger, grow longer and be shinier and more controllable.

2.      To clarify, you’re not getting paid to endorse any of these products, but I’d like to know and I think others would like to know, what products you can’t live without.  Love this question. One of our VIP sistas Andreea in Austria gifted me with an Hour Glass Highligher palette. I kid you not, I use it every day! On my cheeks and lids. It’s the Ambient Strobe Light Palette. I am also in love with the Natasha Denona Beauty Eye Shadow Palette! The Metropolis Palette is so bold! I also love the Gold Palette, great for brown eyes, as the greens in the palette make your eyes look like hazel. I swear by Katie B Cosmetics for her foundation and her Green Tea Mineral Baked powder. Been wearing those for years! I’m also in love with Tatcha Primer. It’s a little thick, so I blend it with one pump of Lancome La Base, to make it a little more pliable. That combo seals in my face from the humidity here in Miami. Its sweat and humidity proof!

3.      Let’s play Survivor. You are going to a remote island and you can only take 3 beauty products with you. What are they? Besides sunscreen, of course.  Great question. I love the Deluge Firm My Figure scrub, as it’s a 2 in one: exfoliant for face and body, and also a moisturizer. I would then of course do the Deluge Hair Mask. Not selling or plugging, I really love their products. And gotta look cute, so a super glossy fuchsia lip gloss that screams “tropical paradise”, my fave is Rimmel Stay Glossy 6 Hour Gloss in the color Candy Floss

4.      How old were you when you first started wearing makeup? Who taught you to apply it? TRUE STORY! I have two older sisters. My earliest memory of makeup is that my two oldest sisters put makeup on me for my first day at Kindergarten! I remember it clearly! I’m laughing now, but something didn’t feel right when I went to my first day at the big elementary school and all eyes where on me. Couldn’t figure out why I was getting all of the stark stares, but now I know! I had blue eye shadow on my lids and my lips were hot pink, with a swipe of blush on my cheeks. I was their “doll” I guess and I think they wanted me to make a “good impression” on my first day of Kindergarten! LOL!

5.      Favorite beauty trend? I have a lot! Highlighter! The more the better! I want to make sure the aliens see “glow” in outer-space.

6.      What’s a beauty trend you regret? Thin eyebrows! Geeze, looking back I think we were all taking out our stress on our eyebrows and plucking them to death.

7.      When you apply your makeup, do you start with face or eyes first? Why? Love this question. I always start with the canvas, the skin. I need to lock that down first, flawless. I know that some artists do eyes first and then “clean up” around any fall out of eye shadow with base, etc. I cant do that! Drives me crazy. I must do face first then move to eyes, and then lips are last.

8.      What’s in your beauty bag? Reach into the purse closest to you, grab your bag, dump it out if you’re feeling ambitious, and tell us what you’ve got! Oh Lordy! I’m scared! Ready! A powder puff for my powder application (that I really need to wash!) sugar free gum, breath spray, Katie B Cosmetics Mineral Baked Powder. Too Faced Born This Way Concealer, Wet n Wild MegaGlo Highlighting Powder, and a Wet Brush (Even though I wont use it while my hair is wet, I love how easy it is on my hair)

9.      What’s your favorite high-end makeup brand? Great question! Depends! Natasha Denona for eye shadow. Lancome for Mascara, Tatcha for Primer, Chanel for Perfume, Greek Goddess Lashes for false eyelashes.

10.  What’s your favorite drugstore brand? Geeze! A lot! I love Maybelline, Cover Girl, I have worn them all! Actually Wet n Wild has gotten really good! Great prices too.

11.  Do you like trying new skincare products or do you stick to a routine? I love to try new products! I feel like your skin can always use a “JOLT” with new products and trying new things that can either work or be a dud! You never know until you try. And companies now are always doing so many give-aways. That’s the fun part.

12.  If you could create a makeup or skincare product, what would it be? WOW! Love this fantasy. It would be the VIP Line! For women who dare to push the envelope. Bold colors. Striking lips, lids, cheeks. Power looks for sure. We both remember the 80’s, I think that was the best hair and make up! Bigger the better! Twisted Sister anyone? Heehee! I loved watching Ru Paul and he really was over the top in his hair and make up. I love me a good drama look. Smokey eyes, red lips. 80’s all the way! Of course we would do a “Wedding/Natural Look Division” but it has to be glam in some type of way.

13.  You’re known for being a fitness expert, and a wonderful coach! Training women all around the globe on how to be the best version of themselves. What’s your best non-beauty related beauty tip? Confidence, I know that when you rock your confidence, no matter what you are wearing, or what type of make up you have, you have that “it” factor. Not being cocky, or highfalutin, but just a warm spirit that invites others in to also feel genuine in their skin. A smile always works! That little twinkle in your eye of pure joy and happiness. Those are my every day must-do beauty tips to evoke that feeling of being beautiful no matter what!
THANK YOU BROOKE FOR THIS INTERVIEW!

Here are a few more pictures from the conference. It seemed like any time there was a microphone nearby, it was in my hand! I need to host my own entertainment/beauty show!!

I hope you enjoyed Jennifer’s answers as much as I did! Thanks for checking in, and if you would like to be interviewed for my blog, reply to this post and let’s work something out!

As always, You’ve Been Beautified!!

P.S. Looking for something to read? Check out the first 2 books in the Heart & Soul series by yours truly!!!

Stay Beautified!

The End

I think this post has been a long time coming, and probably not a surprise because of how quiet I’ve been.

I can say all the clichés, and they’re all true. It’s with a heavy heart that I write this. I did a lot of soul-searching. My heart isn’t in it anymore. You get the drill. It’s time to say goodbye, my friends. My fashionistas. My beauty lovers. It’s only goodbye in a sense, because I’m not really going anywhere.

8 years ago, I started BrookeKnowsBeauty. I struggled to start. Would anyone read it? Would they like it? Would they make fun of me? Well, the answer to all three of those questions is, yes. People read it. People liked it. People made fun of me. Wait, what? You may ask. People made fun of me? Yes, they did.

One of my very first memories in life was when I was 3 years old. My family lived on a farm in Texas. Yes, me, the self-proclaimed city girl, living on a farm. But, hey, I was only 3. I had no choice in the matter. I didn’t know how to convince my parents to get a fancy condo in a high-rise overlooking the city. I remember after a rain storm, running outside to play in the mud. I didn’t make mud pies or even splash around. I pretty much bathed in it, ran it up and down my arms and legs, and wondered how it would make my skin feel. Seriously. Obviously, I had never been to spa at such a young age, but I had already grasped the idea of walking around in a fluffy robe and sitting in a tub full of mud with cucumber slices over my eyes.
My love of beauty only intensified over the years. I played in my mother’s makeup. When I was 5, a friend of my mom’s fanned my addiction by giving me a shoe box full, FULL of Avon samples. I gave my sister’s and my friends makeovers. And when going to a university after one semester just seemed too tedious to bear, I decided to go to beauty school. Actually, my mother suggested it. My grandmother was a hairstylist and since I had been obsessed forever, it was the obvious choice. So, why did my mom see that, but I didn’t? Because mother knows best. Sorry, mom. I guess I never appreciated that, but I sure do now!

I’ve held just about every job there is to hold in the beauty industry. I’ve worked as a receptionist in a salon. I’ve worked as an assistant and moved my way up to stylist. I’ve worked as a makeup artist, as an esthetician, as a skin care expert at a high-end department store, front desk at a spa. (I realize I said receptionist and front desk…they are different, trust me.) I’ve done just about everything and I learned so much along the way. I had the knowledge and the love, and I loved to write. Why not combine my passions and start a beauty blog? Why not??

With the encouragement of a dear friend, I took the plunge and was off to a great start. I wrote about homemade skin care, mask recipes you could whip up with ingredients you probably had on hand in your kitchen. I wrote about my experience in the industry. I wrote reviews, I did Q&A Monday, remember that?? Quick Tip Friday was also fun! I did giveaways and contests. I had companies reaching out to me and sending me their products, free of charge, either as a thank you for a review, or asking for a review. But it wasn’t without its challenges. Sometimes it was hard to come up with content. After a while, people stopped sending me questions for Q&A Monday. Keeping up with it became challenging.

Also, things evolved in the blogging world. People turned to video tutorials and videos of their hauls. I didn’t have an interest in doing a video tutorial, and as for the haul videos, well…I kind of thought they were in bad taste. “Look at me, I have so much stuff! Don’t you want to watch me dump out a bag of beauty loot so you can be jealous?” That’s probably not the message people were trying to convey, but that’s my opinion on the matter and I didn’t want to do that.

Let’s touch on that other nasty situation…people made fun of me.

I worked at Sephora for a while. It was great at first. I was surrounded by nearly every beauty product out there and almost every day I left with free stuff. You can’t sell it if you haven’t used it, and most of the vendors were generous with their gratis. Most of them…some of them were stingy bastards, I won’t lie. It got difficult at Sephora because my manager found that I was fast and efficient working the cash register. When I told her I wanted to move into skin care, I was met with a firm, “No! We need you at the register.” With all the knowledge I had in skin care, I started to dislike the monotony of ringing up sales. I also found myself surrounded with very immature people who thrived on gossip. One day, one of the makeup artists came up to me and said something to me that rubbed me the wrong way.
“So, Brooke, I hear you have a little blog.”
I won’t lie, the first thing that nearly flew out of my mouth was, “I hear you have a little penis.” But I held it together. I smiled at him and acknowledged my writing and my experience in the industry. His only response was a wispy, “Hmm.” From that moment forward, there were a lot of whispers among these young men and women about my “Little blog.”

Let’s get one thing straight…to call someone’s project “Little” is condescending and bitchy. If you tell an aspiring musician that you hear they’re working on a “Little album” that’s rude. If you tell a chef you hear they’re opening a “Little restaurant” that’s rude. If you tell an artist you like their “Little drawing” that’s rude. You get the gist…and if anyone tells me they hear I wrote a “Little book” I might end up in jail.

It stung. Hearing that really hurt. I looked around at these youngsters…yeah, I said it…and told myself that I was selling $200 face cream while they were still in diapers. I almost quit writing after that. I’ve always been a sensitive person, but to belittle my experience in the industry and my writing was the ultimate blow. Miraculously, I shook it off and kept up with my “Little blog.” My time at Sephora was short-lived after that. Not because of the snide remarks and snarky comments I would get. Simply because I was done working in such an immature atmosphere, even if I did get a bunch of free products. My time at Sephora can be summed up nicely: It fed my addiction, but it didn’t feed my family.

I persisted. I wrote. I was given free products from companies I had never heard of. So why quit?

About a year ago, I tried to shift the focus to more of a lifestyle blog. Food, wine, accessories, fashion. Sounds like a good idea, but I couldn’t commit. I had relocated 2 times in 5 years and along the way I started writing a series of books.

I have put my heart and soul into the Heart & Soul series, and that’s where my focus has to remain. I published my first book and I’m working on the second book in the series. It’s an amazing thing to realize what you finally want to be when you grow up…at the age of 40! It’s been 4 years in the making and I don’t see myself stopping any time soon. I love it too much. The floodgates have opened and I’m writing every single day. In the near future, I’ll be writing full-time and I can NOT wait for that moment.

So, even though the beauty blog is going away, I’m not. I’ll still leave the BrookeKnowsBeauty blog active, so people can search for and find my posts. Why? Because I’ve put a lot of good information out there, that’s why! But, I won’t be doing any more Q&A or product reviews and I’ll be removing the Facebook page. I know what I have to focus on. In closing, (Finally, huh?) I’m ready to pass the torch to all you video mavens!

Never give up, always follow your dreams and embrace the changes life brings!

I want to thank everyone for supporting me and for reading my blog. Now, I hope you read my book. It was a great ride and I hope you had fun!!

Check out my new website!! brookegillespietrout.com 

Stay Beautified!

Nectar of The Dogs – Wine Review

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IT’S NOT REALLY DRINKING ALONE IF THE DOG IS WITH YOU

 

If the label alone didn’t catch my eye, the catchy slogan would. Yes, I am reviewing wine! First of all, those of you who know me are probably wondering why I’ve never done this before, with my love of wine. Second of all, yay! I’m reviewing wine!!

I’ll address the first of all first. Makes sense, right? Well, while I’ve read about the skin benefits of drinking wine, I’ve never written about it. Mostly because I’ve been busy drinking it. Also, it didn’t align with what I was doing with my blog, but now in my direction of broadening my horizons and making my writing more about lifestyle than just beauty, it seems like a great idea.
And the second of all, well, yay! I’m reviewing wine!

Ok, let me make one thing clear…I’m not a wine snob. I simply tend to stick with what I know and like. Chardonnay if I want white and Cabernet if I want red. That doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy a good Zinfandel or Merlot, or even a Pinot Grigio every now and then, I just happen to be a creature of habit and grab what I’m familiar with.

I was recently gifted a bottle of  Nectar of The Dogs Sauvignon Blanc. While I was thankful for the gesture, me and my habitual ways were skeptical. Any time I’ve ever tried a SB in the past, they’ve been way too sweet, therefore, I tend to veer away from them.

First a little bit about the brand:
Nectar of The Dogs Wine was established in 2015 by two women with an
entrepreneurial spirit, a deep connection to their dogs and a love for wine; Melanie
Garibay and Donna Graves. We create elegant, easy drinking wine for everyone to
enjoy, while also supporting our true passion of protecting four-legged angels across the
country. A portion of all sales are donated to selected dog rescue organizations, and our
goal is for each varietal we create (as a limited edition production) to be paired with a
specific charity.
Currently, Nectar of The Dogs Wine is partnered with All American Dachshund
Rescue and Barkparty. As the portfolio expands, we are in search of additional dog
rescue organizations to partner with. To learn more about Nectar of The Dogs Wine,
please visit www.nectarofthedogswine.com.

Now a little bit about the wine:
2015 SAUVIGNON BLANC
This wine is intensely fragrant, rich with aromas of sweet juicy pear, pink grapefruit
and lime zest. Accented with flavors of honeysuckle, pear-cider and a touch of crisp
minerality on the finish~ Perfect after a warm spring day walk with your best friend!

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Wine and dogs?!?! Seems to me life doesn’t get any better than that! I love their connection to dog rescues, and of course, dachshunds! (Best dogs, ever!) And, I love this wine. It was very light and refreshing and their description of it is perfect; crisp and fruity! An exceptional wine, certainly worthy of a pour! But, hard to share. My husband and I fought over the last glass, so it’s clear I need more of this in my life. You can order online, just click on the link to their website.
Currently, they only sell and ship within the state of California. If you live outside of California, you can contact them with questions.

Have you tried this wine? If so, I want to hear from you! If not, you need to try it and report back to me. I can’t wait to hear your thoughts!

You’ve Been Beautified!

 

 

LuLaReview

Every now and then I veer off the path of beauty. As I mentioned in a previous post, I’m wanting to broaden my horizons. That being said, I’m doing my first fashion review, so bear with me and be nice to me. 🙂

By now I’m sure you’ve heard of LuLaRoe. And if you haven’t, well where the heck have you been?

I was first introduced to the clothing about a year ago. My first initial thought was, ok, leggings, good to know. I didn’t realize leggings were making a comeback. Or maybe they never went away, I don’t know. What I did know was that I hadn’t worn them in a long time. But, I understood the appeal of leggings for not only working out, but for every day wear. My love affair with leggings ended when yoga pants came onto the scene, so to hear this hype for leggings had me intrigued. What was so covetable about LLR leggings? (FYI, I’m not sure if covetable is a word, or not, but today I’m making it one!)
I was told they are so smooth and buttery soft and the most comfortable leggings you’ll ever wear. Not to mention, they come in a variety of prints and those prints are limited, therefore making them covetable! But, there are many other clothing options than just leggings. LLR has shirts, skirts and dresses, too! And you know what? They’re all crazy comfortable!

My friend Rachel has an amazing LLR business and she offered to let me try some of the pieces and give my honest opinion in my blog. I was excited for the chance to wear the clothing, so I said yes. Obviously, or I wouldn’t be writing this right now!

It’s funny how I’ve come to associate discomfort with work clothes, or better yet, comfort with frumpy. I didn’t think I could pull off the leggings and sassy shirt. Why not? Well, because I’m not the tiny size 4 I used to be in school. And before you can say, “Are any of us?” I can firmly say, yes, there are some people I know who are still the same tiny size they were in high school. And, because I love them, I can’t say that I hate them.

First up, the leggings. They come in two sizing options, OS (one size fits 00-12) and TC (tall & curvy fits sizes 10-22). They are super soft. I mean that. Any time I wear them, I keep running my hands over them to feel their softness, they’re truly amazing. And they keep you very warm in the cooler months. Right now, for me, it’s too hot to wear the leggings, but I’m looking forward to the cooler months so I can add them back to my wardrobe.

Next is the Perfect T. It’s a fun swing shape with side slits and a little bit of a longer sleeve. It’s a very flattering fit and it’s comfortable. In fact, as I was unpacking the box of generosity Rachel sent to me, my oldest daughter snagged this item right out of my hands. Here is a pic of her wearing the Perfect T and black leggings. I have to say she looks pretty darn cute! (Leggings retail for $25 and Perfect T retails for $36)

LLR Em

I was sent 2 dresses. The first one is called The Julia. It’s a form fitting, knee- length, knit dress with mid-length sleeves and a high neckline. I think this is such a cute dress, but I’ll be totally honest, I don’t have the confidence to wear something that hugs my curves so nicely, so I passed this on to someone I knew would rock the look, and she does! With her consent, she let me use her photo. I think Katelynn is adorable and this dress looks fantastic on her. (Julia retails for $45)

Katelynn

The second dress is the Carly Dress. We all want a cute dress that lets us breathe and move easier. This is a swing dress that is very flattering. It’s flowy and breezy with a high-low hemline. The neckline is a low scoop and the sleeves are open so it’s perfect for the hotter months. I snagged this pic off Rachel’s FB page, and that’s her modeling Carly. She’s adorable, too! (Price on picture)

Carly

I had the pleasure of trying the Cassie Skirt. This is a pencil skirt that can be dressed up or down. I love when clothing gives you the option of taking it from work to play. Versatility is always a good thing! (Price on picture)

Cassie

The last item in my review is the Irma Tunic. It’s a loose-knit with a high-low hem and mid-length sleeves. I love the hem on this because it pairs nicely with the leggings and covers your booty at the same time! I love Irma, it’s so flattering! (Price on picture)

Irma

Yes, I know I didn’t include pics of myself wearing these items. Why? Because Brookie doesn’t do selfies, that’s why. So, thank you to my daughter and Katelynn for allowing me to share your picture, and thank you to Rachel for letting me use her pictures from her FB page.

LLR encourages mixing patterns and having fun with your look, making the options endless. But if you prefer to stay safe with your wardrobe (Like me!) that’s ok, too. There are plenty of solid colors that can be paired nicely with a subtle pattern. All the items come in various patterns and prints and are perfect for any body, no matter your shape or size. I think that’s the main thing that appeals to me with LLR; celebrating your figure. I’ll be honest, that’s something I need to relearn to do.

While I didn’t get into the tips and tricks on styling and wearing the clothing in different ways, there are so many creative options to try, just check out Rachel’s Facebook Page Let The Good Times Roe And if you want to pick up a few items, you can Shop with her, too! Be sure to catch her when she’s live, she’s fun to watch and will make you laugh! Here’s proof: This is us in high school cracking up! (The review aside, this is probably one of my favorite pictures, ever!)

High school

Thank you, Rachel, for introducing me to the world of LuLaRoe, I’m a fan!!! I can’t wait to introduce some other pieces into my wardrobe!

What about you? Are you addicted yet? Have you not tried LLR yet? I want to hear from you! And, as always:

You’ve Been Beautified!