Monday, August 22, 2016

Getting a Little Personal... Cheers to a New Chapter!

When Fashion Maven... Mommy first launched four and a half years ago, i set out to write a fashion blog.  Since i was a little girl, i was obsessed with fashion and beauty!  In my teen years, i tried desperately to create a look of my own often sewing up some of my clothes and accessories just to be different!  You know, my very own 'one of a kind'! I contemplated going to fashion school but my father was very against it.  He did however, let me attend the Fashion Institute of Technology during the summer for some classes but it never really led to anything. I had had the opportunity to intern with a couple of fashion designers in NYC when i was 18 and after graduating college as a teacher, i decided that my life would not be fulfilled unless i gave myself a year to try to get a job in fashion... and so i did.  I landed my first job as a showroom assistant for Liz Claiborne Inc. which led to a promotion two months later with the Sigrid Olsen brand where i worked for three wonderful years.  I made new friendships, learned a ton, traveled and of course was constantly surrounded by beautiful clothes.  Oh and i worked in the heart of Times Square where i spent most of my lunches shopping Sephora!  This is where my love of makeup and beauty intensified! One day... on September 11, 2001... everything changed.  I could no longer travel to NYC to work for fear of terrorism.  Being in NYC on that tragic day paralyzed me emotionally for a very long time.  I decided to switch careers and go back to teaching so that i wouldn't have to commute to NYC.

The years went on, i got married, had my twin girls, bought a house and life was good... yet, i didn't feel complete.  I always felt as though something was missing from my life.  My creative outlet was simply not fulfilled and it was an awful feeling.  I knew someday I'd find my passion but until then i wondered what it might possibly be.  My thoughts and emotions were a bit all over the place.  I began following a blogger Love, Maegan whose style i really enjoyed!  I looked forward to her daily posts and felt happy when exciting things happened to her!  Then one day i thought... hey, that's it!!!!  I can BLOG!!! This was the ideal situation because it allowed me to use a creative voice and style that was all mine!  I didn't have a boss or someone telling me how i should post or what content i needed to share.  This was mine... all mine!  A place for me to be me! I wanted my blog's title to have the word 'mommy' in it because i am very proud of that title.  Yet i wanted people to know that it was a fashion blog so i came up with Fashion Maven... Mommy.  I wanted the title to be a bit cheeky... though I'm not sure it comes across that way.  This is why i opted for the three dots after the word 'maven'.

The day i wrote my first post i felt this sense of relief.  I could at last exhale because I'd finally found my outlet.  There was only one problem... one that halted my vision for a fashion blog... my weight! My entire life i struggled with my weight.  I remember as early as 12 years of age, hiding in my parents' room because they had company over and had cheesecake on the table.  I knew that i shouldn't have it because i was a big girl. So i cried... sobbed really... for years and years.  In college i was at my thinnest.  I also barely ate and exercised for hours daily.  A couple of years after i got married did IVF and had a horrible pregnancy that required me to be on bed rest.  I was heavy and swollen.  After my girls were born, my weight struggles intensified.  I have been on every diet you can possibly think of.  Name one, and most likely I've tried it. Truth is, I'd loose 10-15lbs and then i stalled.  I felt trapped in a body that i didn't think belonged to me.  I looked in the mirror and didn't recognize the person that i saw.  It was a sickening feeling.  So my fashion blog became solely a beauty blog.  I wanted to change the name to reflect that but some of you might remember the Allure Magazine Beauty Blogger Awards?  Yes, i was a finalist (still feel so blessed for that amazing experience) and gained a decent following which meant that if i changed the URL of my blog, i might cause some confusion.  So for the past four and a half years, I've been writing a beauty blog with a 'fashion' title.  I hated that!  I hated the fact that i couldn't fit into the beautiful clothes i admired even more!  So i hid from the world.  I posted my face here  but there weren't many pictures from neck down because i felt too ashamed!  Mainly because i didn't see that person in that massive vessel as myself!  I was living in someone else's body because certainly it wasn't mine!  Fast forward to January 20, 2016... after much research and contemplation, i decided to embark on a life changing journey.  I had gastric sleeve surgery in hopes of getting back to a healthy weight. I've been documenting my journey via my YouTube Series Beneath The Surface if you're curious (see my before/after pics here).  I didn't want to share too much of that on here because i figured you follow my blog for beauty and probably don't want to read this chick's rants about her weight.  I get that! But on the same token, i feel that most of us women have struggled with weight at some point in our lives... whether it's the fact that we're overweight or even underweight.  This is a topic many can relate to so hopefully you're receptive to it.  Fast forward to today... I've lost a lot of weight and finally feel like myself!  When i look in the mirror i see meeeeeee! I'm not super skinny, I'm not trying to look like a model, but i am thrilled to say that i finally feel like myself again! I'm so grateful for my journey because after four and a half years of writing a beauty blog with a fashion name I'm happy to report that I'm putting the 'fashion' exactly where it belongs! Along with the usual beauty posts you're accustomed to seeing, you will also see outfit posts.   I'm beyond excited to be doing this!  This is my dream and while i want to say that it completes the journey, i can't quite do that.  I am excited to see where this new chapter leads me!  For now, I'm hoping that you enjoy these new changes as much as I'm enjoying creating them for you.  You may notice that the header photos have changed and are reflective of this new chapter.! I'm beyond excited!

Also, i wanted to share that I'm thrilled to have made it to round two of the Pacifica Muse contest!!! Oh my gosh! What an honor!  I'm working on my round 2 video which will be live on Wednesday!  I will need your help because your vote will count BIG TIME!  You can vote three times per day for the span of 7 days.  Please vote (starting Wednesday, August 24th) and help me spread the word.  This is such a dream... I'd be thrilled to continue through to the next round!  As always, thank you for your continued support!  I know this post was a bit long but i felt it was important to reflect on the past four and a half years as well as the direction of the blog.  I owe that to my loyal readers!  Xo, Carla

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Superhero Eye Transforming Anti-Aging Super Palette

Introducing the new & limited edition Superhero Eye Transforming Anti-Aging Super Palette.  Transform your eyes with this must-have, universally flattering, game-changing palette featuring 12 all-new Superhero inspired shades. Discover the long-wear power of innovative Superhero Pigment Power Technology for super smooth, super skin-loving, super saturated shades that last from day to night!  Experience your flawless Superhero Nudes, Superhero Neutrals, and Superhero Liners, plus discover your ground-breaking Superhero Eye Foundation eyeshadow base shades in three super wearable colors that are perfect for all skin tones!  First-Ever Breakthrough Innovation!  Superhero Eye Foundation eyeshadow color correct, neutralize and smooth for perfectly prepped lids!  Wear alone or as your all-over base color. Superhero Nudes give you a flawlessly gorgeous "no-makeup" look!  Wear alone or with other shadows.  Superhero Neutrals complement the twinkle in your eyes and make your eye color come alive!  Wear alone or with other shadows.  Superhero Liners are super-intensely pigmented for beautiful definition!  Wear wet or dry, as your eyeliner or contour crease color.  Each anti-aging, ultra-luxe shadow in your Superhero Eye Transforming Anti-Aging Super Palette is formulated with hydrolyzed collagen, real silk, peptides and antioxidants, plus innovative Superhero Pigment Power Technology for younger-looking lids and velvety-smooth, super intense pigment that won't come off until you take it off!

Superhero Eye Transforming Anti-Aging Super Palette is available at ULTA and ULTA.COM in August 2016 for a limited time.  I'm definitely checking this out next time i'm at ULTA

Thank you so much for reading! xo, Carla

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Three New Kleenex Launches You Don't Want to Miss!

When i think of Kleenex, i think of my trusted go-to tissues for keeping my nose clean during some rather unpleasant times. So when i learned that the brand was expanding their line to incorporate facial cleansing products i was all about that life! When i finally got my hands on these products, i literally gasped for air with excitement!  They're so so good!  Let me tell you more...

The Kleenex Facial Cleansing Wipes are on a whole other level of good.  The exclusive combination of multi-layered, textured fabric and a gentle cleanser, infused with a pro-vitamin complex will feel completely luxurious against your skin!  This beauty is designed to give the natural radiance of a freshly cleansed face in just one step.  These facial wipes work well for all skin types, are dermatologist tested and alcohol free!  Once you purchase the kit you'll simply need to replenish with refillable packs. I keep mine on my vanity.  Not only does it look pretty next to all of my favorite beauty products but it's super functional too!

I'm obsessed with the Exfoliating Cushions!  These dual-sided, multi-layered fabric discs are infused with a gentle cleanser that exfoliates and polishes skin.  They're designed to reveal a healthy, more radiant glow in just one use.  Talk about convenience!  These are even great for travel!  Let's say you're going away for a weekend... simply toss a couple of these in your toiletry bag to ensure properly cleansed skin!  They're simply genius!

I always keep cotton pads on my nightstand!  Personally, the larger and more luxurious the better!  I can't stand flimsy cotton pads that leave stringy residuals on my skin... yuck! Well beauties feast your eyes on the new Kleenex Cotton Soft Pads!  Oh my gosh they're so so soft and supersized making them my new beauty BFF!  The micro-fine textured fabric is cotton soft with less link for a cleaner clean! They're great for using with your favorite cleanser or toner!  Personally, i'm a fan and will never go back to anything else but these!  They're beyond good... they're uhhhhmazing!

You will definitely want to check these out!  They're wonderful new additions to the Kleenex family and i'm officially a fan!  Thank you so much for reading! Xo, Carla - FMM

*press sample - all opinions are my own based on my experience with these products.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Favorite Affordable Beauty Brands

Favorite Affordable Beauty Brands

You don't have to break the bank to find some amazing beauty products! In fact, while sure i love high end makeup (who doesn't really) some of my favorite can't live without products are actually quite affordable!  I absolutely love that there are so many wonderful brands out there that create quality products at affordable prices making it easy for every beauty lover on a budget to rejoice.  For today's post, i thought it'd be fun to show you my favorite budget friendly brands. 

Pixi - you all know I'm a huge Pixi fan.  The packaging is beautiful and the products are definitely worth checking out.  I've declared my love for Pixi's Glow Tonic numerous times on the blog and for good reason.  This beauty has been a game changer for my skin!  The multibalms are also worth checking out.  As a busy mommy of twins, it's so nice to reach for a good multi-tasking product when i'm on-the-go and simply want to look awake and somewhat presentable to the world!  BTW have you entered my Multibalm giveaway?  I'm giving away the entire collection to one lucky FMM reader (open internationally).  ENTER HERE!

Colourpop has been a brand that I've loved from the second i swatched my first ever shadow!  Average prices run about $5 and the quality is insane! I'm currently obsessing over the highlighter Churro... Oh Em Gee you guys have noooo idea just how GORGEOUS it is!  You must check them out!

Sonia Kashuk is another brand I've loved for years!  Some of my favorite products include SK nail polishes (currently on my nails), the blush/bronzer combos and the toiletry bags (never leave home without them)! I also love her makeup pouches as well as the fun limited release brush sets!  

Whenever a reader or friend asks me for my favorite affordable vegan/cruelty free brand i always steer them towards Pacifica.  They have a beautiful range of quality products that are fun and innovative (I'm looking at your Pacifica deodorant wipes)!  My favorite products are the roll on perfumes (so good to toss in your purse for a quick refresh throughout the day), the nail polishes (love the color range and longevity) and their Power of Love Coconut Infused palette!  The colors are pigmented and wear beautifully.  The packaging on all of Pacifica products is also insanely beautiful so if you love great packaging like i do, you'll fall hard for this brand!

Milani has set the bar quite high for drugstore makeup.  Their eye shadows could easily stand up to some of the most expensive brands!  The packaging is sleek and very high end looking.  Their rose carved blushes are insanely beautiful.  I'd say my favorite products from this brand are most definitely the eye shadows and blushes!  They're worth every penny, look great on your vanity and won't break the bank!

Last but certainly not least NYX cosmetics has really exploded in the market lately with a huge range of innovative new launches! Their lip butters, shadows, blushes... i mean, i can go on and on.  One of the products i love so much is their eye shadow base.  It's a white cream primer base that evens out all the redness in my eye lid creating a perfect canvas for my eye shadow.  Their color correcting palette is also a great buy for the price and is comparable to some of the more expensive ones on the market.

I hope this post has given you some great options for shopping beauty on a budget!  Thank you so much for reading and be sure to enter my current Pixi Beauty Giveaway here!  Xo, Carla - FMM

Friday, August 12, 2016

Maskara Beauty Eye Shadows - Create Your Own Palette!

It's no secret that I'm a huge fan and supporter of Cara Brook of Maskcara Beauty!  If you follow her blog and beauty line you know she's basically a makeup genius!  A few weeks ago, she launched a collection of gorgeous eye shadows and i was first in line to purchase them because I'm beyond excited for this new Maskcara Beauty addition! There are several options when ordering.  You can opt for already made palettes or you can customize one to suit your needs.  I decided that this was the best option for me.  I typically love a good range of neutrals with a couple of gem toned shades for some interest.  I selected the boho pan palette (because duh look at it) and began picking out the individual shades that would essentially create my perfect palette.

First, lets talk about quality!  I had high expectations for these shadows because i can't imagine Cara putting her name on a product that is nothing short of perfection.  These shadows are pigmented, buttery, very little fall out and blend like a dream.  The quality surpassed even my greatest expectations!  Job well done Cara!  OK now on to the shades i selected....

From left to right (top row): Sabrina, Mama, Basic and Oak
From left to right (bottom row): Coco, Gilded, Kin and Emerald City

Now brace yourself for the most GORGEOUS swatches you've ever feasted your eyes on!

Right???!!!!!!  I'm absolutely in LOVE with this palette that I've customized myself!  You can purchase each shadow individually or save a little money and buy the whole palette (create your own or pre-selected).

Here's a quick everyday look i created with these stunners! I especially love to swipe Emerald City on my water line.... so gorge!

Go check out Maskcara Beauty's new shadows and customize your very own palette! I know you'll love the quality and range of colors just as much as i did!  While you're shopping her site, be sure to check out her signature HAC palettes!  OH my gosh... you have no idea how good they are! (check out my previeous reviews/tutorials here and here) STOCK UP! Thank you so much for reading! Xo, Carla

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Foreo ISSA Toothbrush

There are certain things you simply don't skimp on... your skincare and your oral health! Speaking of oral care, have you seen the Foreo ISSA toothbrush?  It's so different from anything I've ever seen or previously tried so naturally i was curious! I've been using a Phillips Sonic Care for about a year now but my curiosity got the best of me when Foreo sent this over.  Aesthetically this brush is super sleek and modern.  It will look gorgeous on your bathroom counter for sure.  Yet something tells me you don't buy toothbrushes based solely on their appearance am i right?  That would be silly... however, i think this beauty's aesthetics are a major bonus!

I'm not gonna lie, i was a bit hesitant when i saw this brush in person.  I mean, it's not at all the traditional bristle style we are all so accustomed to but sometimes it's good to veer off the typical and potentially find new gems!  Foreo ISSA features high-intensity pulsations which are channeled through soft silicone bristles that will not scratch like standard bristles. They generate the ideal amount of friction to effectively remove stains and plaque while remaining gentle on tooth enamel. It's extremely light weight and features a brush head with 3D flexibility to adapt to any tooth surface and can brush even the most difficult to reach crevices. Every 30 seconds the brush reminds users to brush a new quadrant of the mouth and signals when a two-minute brushing routine is complete... genius right?

Other features include:

  • Each charge lasts for 365 uses (i cannot confirm because I've only had it for one month but so far so good!)
  • The brush head needs replacement only ONCE per year!  Whaaaat?!
  • No charging dock is required
  • Eight-speed adjustable pulsations
  • The brush is fully waterproof and can even be used in the shower
  • A two-year limited warranty and 10 year quality guarantee is included

Also noteworthy:

The ISSA toothbrush is BPA free.  It is made from nonporous silicone that resists bacteria buildup, making it at least 35 times more hygienic than regular toothbrushes, which can be home to millions of bacteria.   

My personal impression....  

As previously mentioned, i was quite hesitant to use this toothbrush because i simply could not wrap my head around how different this was from my previous toothbrushes.  However, i've been using it for about a month now and am loving it. Yes, it takes a little getting used to but once you get used to the feeling you'll love it too.  I love that it signals when to move around the mouth ensuring that i'm brushing long enough to really deep clean my teeth.  I feel as though my teeth are very clean once my two minutes are up which is so important.  I do want to try the hybrid brush head because i've read some great reviews on that.  Overall i definitely recommend it.  The only downfall for me is the price. It's quite hefty but then again so was my Phillips Sonic Care and truthfully it's a price i'm willing to pay to ensure that i'm taking proper care of my teeth. 

You can purchase this toothbrush here and here.  Thank you so much for reading! Xo, Carla - FMM

*press sample 


Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Pixi MultiBalms GIVEAWAY

Meet your new multi-tasking BFF!  I first got a sneak peek of Pixi's MultiBalms during the Target Beauty Preview Event last Spring (read all about that here) and oh did i fall madly in LOVE with these beauties!  Honestly, i have been rocking these all Summer because they're so easy and blend like a dream!  All you need is a few quick swipes on your lips and cheeks to instantly brighten your pretty face!  I even contour with the Sheer Sculpt shade!  Dab a little pink on my cheeks and lips and I'm done baby!  The possibilities are endless here really.  You can even dab these bad boys on your lids for a complete look!

From left to right... Sheer Sculpt, Baby Petal, Wild Rose, Watermelon Veil, Soft Strawberry

I'm so excited to give away an entire set today to a lucky FMM reader! This giveaway is open internationally!  You must submit your entry via the rafflecopter widget.  Please be sure you follow the giveaway rules as all entries will be verified.  Thank you for entering and GOOD LUCK!
 *press sample


a Rafflecopter giveaway