What I Bought This Week To Keep Me Cozy At Home!

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Where do i even begin?!!! A few weeks ago, if you told me that our country would be practically shut down, i would have laughed!  No way, not us!  Now, i sit here in full disbelief at the state of not only our nation, but the entire world!  Schools are closed indefinitely here in New Jersey and as a teacher, i'm now (like many others) essentially home-schooling my girls and trying to keep my mind busy so that i don't go down this deep hole filled with uncertainties and fear.  At this point, i don't even know if Mia's surgery will even happen in June.  I most certainly can't dwell on any of this right now because it will easily spiral me out of control.  So instead, i'm choosing to find the positive in all this.  Being home has allowed me the gift of time... time to do so many of the things on my 'to do someday' list!  It's also so nice to actually have a little more time to do some of the things i love such as play with new makeup, photograph content for the blog, rearrange my space a bit, etc.  It's so important to find things you are passionate about and devote a little time to embrace them.  

Time can also be a little bit tricky because it's so easy to do a lot of shopping online right no now!  I'm trying to be mindful of a few things.  First, it will probably be a while before we can actually go anywhere so i don't want to stock up things i cannot enjoy now.  Second, i'm trying to reassess my needs versus my wants.  Right now, i want to feel cozy but i don't want to be in my pajamas all day.  I mean, don't get me wrong, it's nice to enjoy a pajama day here and there but i think it's so important to make an effort to actually get dressed everyday.  Having said that, comfort is also key at this point.  I'm home so i want to feel comfy and cozy without sacrificing style!  Lucky for me, sweatsuits are a major thing right now, particularly matching sets!  So i browsed H&M and ordered a few essentials to get me through this quarantine situation in comfort without compromising style.  I ordered a couple of joggers and a combination of neutral color hoodies and sweatshirts.  I also ordered a few neutral basic tees for warmer days.  I kept my palette to black, white, creamy beige and pale pinks. I figured i could mix and match while ensuring that the color palette is timeless! 

Another thing that brings me loads of joy is a good candle!  One of my favorites is the Volcano Candle from Anthropologie!  Not only are their candle jars a beautiful statement piece, but they smell incredible!  If you've ever walked into an Anthropologie store, then you have most certainly smelled this gorgeous candle.  I have been burning it daily and i love to display it on this tiny wood board that i recently picked up.  There is nothing better than waking up, putting on my cozies, lighting the fireplace, lighting my favorite candle and brewing my coffee.  It just gets my day started right!

Let's not forget a great pair of cozy slippers! I love these fuzzy little cuties and have a very similar pair that i adore and wear often!  I think it's important to find a pair of cozy slippers to live in during these times at home and these are the ones for me!  

What are some of things you're doing to keep sane during this time of crisis?  Wherever you are, i hope you and your loved ones are healthy and safe! I truly hope our nation can get back on its feet soon after this battle with Covid-19.  Sending much love to all who are working so tirelessly to help combat the coronavirus.  You are all in my thoughts and prayers!  Thank you so much for reading! Xo, Carla - FMM


Natasha Denona Tan Bronze & Glow Palette - One Product Does It ALL!

Saturday, February 29, 2020

I spotted this Natasha Denona palette and was immediately drawn to it!  It was warm and i love the combination of creams and powders.  It reminded me of Summer and honestly, i'm so ready for warm summer days and sun kissed skin! The thing is, why wait for Summer to achieve a bronzed goddess look?!  If you know me, you know i'm quite impatient so i bit the bullet!  Though i will say, it took me some time to do so partly because i have so much makeup and wondered how this palette differed from any of my other palettes.  Then it dawned on me... this could easily be way more than just a cheek palette! Hear me out...

When i dig deep into eye shadow shades i reach for, they are essentially right here in this palette.  So i justified my purchase with the hopes of challenging myself to use this as more than just a cheek palette. Wow, was this palette ever so worth every penny!  I kid you not, i purchased it on January 16th and have yet to put it down.  It has simplified my daily makeup routine so so much!  I use it on cheeks, highlight and eyes!  I love swiping the highlight shade across my lids and brow bone while contouring the rest of my eyes with the bronzing shade.  Additionally, i use the bronzer on the hollows of my cheeks, forehead and anywhere i want to look sun kissed.  I dab a little highlight on the highs of my cheeks and cupid's bow.  The top right cream shade i use as a topper on the apples of my cheeks.  My least used shade is the upper left cream pan.  It's pretty but i just don't reach for it that much if i'm being honest.  The palette is pigmented, blends seamlessly and wears so well.

The Tom Ford Soleil Neige Highlighter and Blush Glow Stick in the shade Natural Finish are the perfect compliment to this palette. The creamy corally shade in the Glow Stick adds such a pretty flush of color to the apple of the cheeks.  The application is truly flawless and a tiny bit goes a long way so you won't need to worry about running out any time soon!  This has been my every single day go-to situation for over a month and i'm loving the ease of it all.  It truly is an effortlessly beautiful pairing!

              Below are both the Natasha Denona Palette and Tom Ford Glow Stick swatched together!

If you're a busy mom, or just don't want to spent a ton of time fussing over your makeup, this palette is going to work beautifully to ensure you look your best without much fuss.  Additionally, it makes a great travel companion!  I have no doubt that this will be my go-to situation for my next travel adventure!

If you pick this up, let me know your thoughts! I hope you love it as much as i do!  Thank you so much for reading! Xo, Carla - FMM



Sunday, February 23, 2020

(Picture of the sun setting in the mediterranean from our vacation last year)

I've been holding so much in and honestly, i'm really struggling.  I consider myself a relatively positive person and when i'm down, i typically look for an opportunity for a fresh start.  But lately, i can't get past the feeling that i have nothing good to look forward to.  While i'm quite aware that this is not exactly true, my brain is stuck in that dark place where i can't see past all the struggles that await me.  It torments me every waking moment.  Mia's upcoming surgery is obviously a major part of why i'm feeling so scared and overwhelmed, naturally... but that's not where the struggle ends.  Work has been incredibly stressful and i'm finding it difficult to navigate through my days while holding on to every ounce of strength and patience to get through the evenings with my girls.  They both have issues that make time at home challenging.  I don't really want to dip too deep into those issue here, publicly, but every waking minute is a struggle of some sort.  I'm physically and emotionally drained.  I honestly want to move past this and see the light but right now, it's dim.  

It's funny but every year i feel as though we kind of go through the same changes from Fall and all things pumpkin spice, to the holidays and Winter cozies! As we gear up for Spring, i'm typically vacation shopping allowing for something incredible to look forward to come Summer.  Lawd knows i need a vacation more than anything right now, but this year is going to be a bit different.  We can't really commit to summer plans with Mia's surgery and recovery.  It's ok... but i'm longing for some alone time at a beach somewhere and was hoping to squeeze in a quick trip with hubs before the summer for my own personal mental sanity.  I know it would not take away any of my anguish or fear, but perhaps would allow me some space to breathe deep and relax.  Not sure this is going to happen and i can't help but feel as though there is nothing to look forward to right now... not even a small thread.  I hate that i feel this way because i'm being a brat! It's not about me, it's about my child!  But if i'm falling apart, who is going to look out for her and take care of her? I literally can't hold my shit together right now!  

(Picture of the sun rise in Sorrento Italy from our vacation last Summer)

Everytime i think about a way to lift myself up from this deep dark hole i'm in, i get a little nudge to write things down.  I'm drawn to making some sort of list of all the areas of my life that don't feel quite right, and write down ways that could perhaps help me navigate and sort through those unsettled areas.  Perhaps this is my way of gaining back some control of my life.  However, my brain is in such a fog that i stare at my three notebooks and four pens with nothing to write. No clarity, no direction and no focus.  There are so many things that i can't bring myself to just start.  So i figured i would come here... the little space i created for myself many years ago.  The space that i dedicated to my passions... only lately, i'm pouring out my heart to this little space because that's all i can do.  The creativity will come once i sort through this, but until then, i felt compelled to write this here. Maybe there is someone out there that needs to read this for some reason because they're experiencing their own struggles.  If you are, please know that you are not alone.  I'm struggling too.  Right now things feel dark and gloomy.  I'm hoping for better days ahead.  Writing my feelings here may be a wonderful tool to help me along my journey to finding that glimmer of light i'm oh so longing for.

Thank you so much for reading... i hope you are well.  Xo, Carla - FMM

The Only Two Products You Need To Brighten Your Under-Eyes And Fake A Good Night Sleep!

Monday, February 10, 2020

Since its release, Tarte's Shape Tape has been my go-to for concealing my dark, under eye circles!  Now this is a serious task for this busy mommy!  After all, i spend my days teaching little ones and my nights taming my twinadoes so needless to say, i need to enlist the right 'gal' for the job of faking a good night's sleep. She needs to be strong, she needs to perform under pressure and most importantly, she needs to show longevity!  This powerhouse was love at first swipe!  From the convenient wand applicator to the texture and formula, Shape Tape takes its job of seamlessly concealing those dreaded under eye circles quite seriously!  The formula isn't too thick (which i appreciate) but definitely feels substantial and a little goes a long way.  I like to blend mine in with a beauty sponge along the under-eye area as well as any areas that need a little extra coverage.   The wand applicator makes it so easy to swipe and blend. I love it so much that i have yet to stray since its release a few years back!

Enter Tarte's Shape Tape Glow Wand... or shall i say, MAGIC WAND!  No seriously, hear me out! My sweet friends at Tarte invited me to the launch event (and graciously allowed me to bring my mommy who was in pure Tarte heaven!) where we got the opportunity to try the Glow Wand before its release to the public.  When the Tarte Global Artist swiped this beauty on the highs of my cheeks i nearly gasped with excitement! This wasn't your typical highlighter!  You can essentially use it as such, but when layered over your Shape Tape Concealer, it's literally magic!  It brightens your under eye area with a beautiful lit-from-within glow without any glitter! I love to not only layer it in the under eye area but also the inner corners of my nose blended into my cheeks (looks so good once you top it with your favorite blush), the highs of my cheeks and cupid's bow!  The Glow Wand is your quintessential 'cherry on top' situation!  It just adds that extra something that everyone will notice but will not be able to pinpoint if that makes any sense! Noteworthy... the Glow Wand comes with a removable tiny beauty sponge applicator for your convenience.  You can also use a brush or beauty sponge to tap it on.

While Shape Tape concealer has been a permanent fixture on my vanity for a few years now, Shape Tape Glow Wand has officially earned prime real estate along side my trusted concealer.  Alone they're amazing, together they are MAGIC! One a last note, while i absolutely adore these products and wear them daily, i strongly believe that great skin begins with a proper regimen. The Tarte Maracuja C-Brightener Eye Treatment is my current favorite under eye cream.  I've already gone through four containers of this stuff and swear by it.  It brightens and has a beautiful silky texture that feels incredible on the delicate skin under the eyes.

I wanted to alert you of an awesome deal currently happening at QVC on this incredible deal!  You can purchase the Shape Tape Concealer together with the Shape Tape Glow Wand as well as a beauty sponge for only $35!  You can even opt for easy pay for three payments of under $12! I personally think this is the most incredible deal!  If you prefer, you can purchase each of these separately at Tarte or Ulta!  One thing is for sure, they are life changing!  If you try them, let me know what you think!   Thank you so much for reading! Xoxo, Carla - FMM


*This post contains some press samples and affiliate links.  It also contains products i purchase myself.  All products mentioned were tested and currently loved by me!

Life Update... Where Do We Go From Here?

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Let me preface by saying that i began writing this post in late October hence the Fall photos! So needless to say, this post has been a long time coming yet at the time i began writing, i simply wasn't ready to truly post it.  Fast forward to now....

You may or may not have noticed my absence on this creative platform I created over the past 8 or so years.  I have honestly been feeling so foggy and run down which has made me feel completely uninspired and frustrated really! I've worked so hard on FMM over the years from conceptualizing creative ideas to showcasing beauty and fashion, photographing, editing, sharing on social media and so on.  For a long time, i truly enjoyed it but lately, i feel as though Instagram sort of shifted my focus a bit.  I mean, out of nowhere, brand reach outs became solely about instagram versus the blog and really, it's way easier to post a single photo on instagram than all the work that goes into compiling an actual blog post.  But the stress of social media is a real thing.  Scrolling through my feed has me feeling a ton of emotions from high to low!  Bloggers posting their seemingly perfect lives, perfect children, perfect homes, amazing vacations and dreamy wardrobes don't always make one feel inspired. In fact, it can be a real downer comparing one's success to theirs.  Geez, am i that blogger?  Do i make my readers/followers feel some type of way scrolling through my feed?

Additionally, instagram has been a real b*tch with engagement literally showing my photos to a mere 2-5% of my following which is upwards of 19,000!  This had me questioning why all the effort, why all the stress?  Posts bomb and you feel as though you are a failure.  Everything I've worked so hard for is judged by this dang app and who it decides should see my photos etc. What's the big deal you may ask?  Well, when brands reach out solely looking for instagram collabs, it becomes tricky because you have no control over who instagram chooses to show your hard work to leading me to essentially turn down a ton of work these past few months.  I just needed to step back and re-evaluate my presence on the blog and social media.

Over the course of the past few months I've reminded myself over and over that this is not my job, this is my passion. I do not rely on the money i make on this platform to survive... thankfully!  This is actually an advantage for me personally because it means that i can devote my time to my passion without having it feel like a business.  I've searched long and hard within myself to find that spark that once ignited my passion for driving this blog in hopes that it slowly finds its way back to me.  One thing is true, i live and breathe fashion and beauty.  I literally think about shoes, bags, coats, lippies, eye shadows, highlighters all the time!  They bring me happiness amidst all the stresses life brings my way.  They are essentially an escape for me... they encompass who i am as a person.

Having said that, life threw me a major curve ball early last year when my twelve year-old daughter Mia was diagnosed with severe Kyphosis.  We knew she had a curvature of her spine a few years prior and have been frantically trying to correct it by doing extensive physical therapy as well as wearing several brutally aggressive back braces in hopes of rectifying the situation.  Sadly, her curvature is so aggressive that there is no other option than to have surgery.  This will be Mia's second spinal surgery.  Just before her third birthday, Mia had her tethered spinal cord released as it was attached to the base of her spine.  Hearing that she needs surgery again brought back so many feelings... feelings i never wanted to revisit ever again!  But alas, here we are.  All of this has taken a great emotional toll on me that has been somewhat debilitating.  I'm working through my anxiety as best as i can but some days, i just want to curl up in the fetal position and hide from the world.  It has completely taken over my life.  She will need a spinal fusion that will be approximately 7 hours long... SEVEN HOURS LONG! Seven hours of pure torture!  In reality, those seven hours have actually turned into countless months of anxiety thinking about those dreaded seven hours and days, weeks and months after.  Recovery will be about three months so I'm devoting this Summer to simply taking care of my baby girl and being there for her every need.  I don't know what to expect other than she will need a lot of physical therapy and will probably not be very mobile.  I firmly believe that God will wrap her in his wings and take good care of her.  However, i can't help but feel scared and anxious... but life is such. The surgery will take place early this Summer and until then, we wait.

Where do we go from here?  Well, i think giving myself this time off to re-evaluate things has been somewhat therapeutic!  It's allowed me time to miss my sweet  little creative outlet.  I miss chatting beauty and fashion.  I miss photographing, editing etc.  I remember the day i decided to start Fashion Maven... Mommy, i was so excited for all the possibilities.  I felt like i could finally exhale because i had found my creative outlet... a platform to showcase all the things I'm passionate about!  Truth is, these past few weeks have me longing to be back.  I've never been fully ready to give it up and i think now more than ever, i need my blog to help me through these dark hours.  So here's the thing, I'm going to start posting again!  I'm not going to stick to a schedule of any kind.  I'm simply going post what feels right when it feels right.  I have no doubt as my loyal readers that you would prefer me writing genuine posts than posting just to post, amiright?  Also, i typically post about fashion and beauty but i think i may share a bit of my upcoming experience with you all as well.  Perhaps it may help someone going through something similar or simply help me navigate through these trials and tribulations of motherhood!  I hope that's cool with you!  Either way, i have given my blog a fresh new look (did you notice??) and am excited to continue on this beautiful journey that began so full of hope 9 years ago!  If you're still reading, dang it i love you!  Thank you so much for your continued support and stay tuned!

Xo, Carla - FMM


Covergirl NEW TruBlend Undercover Concealer and MORE!

Thursday, August 8, 2019

As a busy mommy of twins, concealer is one of my most reached for makeup products.  And listen, concealing my under eye circles is no easy feat!  Many have tried and failed and only a very select few have made the cut.  In fact, the two holy grail concealers currently in my stash (not drugstore btw) better make room for their new BFF!  There are so many things i love about the new Covergirl TruBlend Undercover Concealer! First, i love the applicator because the wand makes it super easy to swipe and blend!  The formula is velvety smooth and matte which keeps things perfectly in place.  It blends seamlessly giving you the look of a  'full night sleep' even when you tossed and turned for most of the night!  With this powerhouse at your side, no one will ever know! Now let's chat longevity!  This concealer stayed put for HOURS!  I didn't wash my face until 11:30 pm last night and quite honestly, all was still perfectly in tact!  This is the first time i've had such a great experience with a drugstore concealer which is why i'm excited to shout it out here to my beauty BFFs!  I always spend quite a bit on concealer and am so excited to share that if you're a budget, this is the product for you! (ps... my shade is L900).

Ok now on to the finished look!  I played with some more Covergirl products (some i already owned and a few new to me)! First, i used Covergirl's TruBlend Matte Made Foundation I tried this for the first time when it launched and fell instantly in love!  I had so many of you reaching out to let me know how much you loved it too.  It's a medium to full coverage matte foundation that has major lasting power.  As far as drugstore is concerned, this is easily my favorite!  My shade is L50.

One of my favorite products to try from this Covergirl mailing was the TruBlend Super Stunner Highlighter!  Oh my GOSH it's so good!!!!  In fact, i opted to wear all three shades not only as highlighter but as eyeshadow!  I swept a combination of all three shades on my lids keep the lightest shade on my inner corners for a subtle brightening effect. There are three shades available (Pearl Crush, Rose Quartz and Gilded Glory) and i honestly could not decide which i love more!  They're so so beautiful and add such a gorgeous glow!

I set everything in place with Covergirl Trublend Minerals powder.  Also tried the Easy Breezy Brow Gel to comb my brows in place.  I didn't want super structured brows and love a good brow gel to sort of comb and shape in a natural way.  This stuff stays put so work quick before it sets.

Lastly, there are a few non Cover Girl products i used to complete the look!  I'm obsessed with this Tarte face palette for cheeks.  Also, now that my lash extensions are off, i was stoked to finally try the new Tarte Big Ego mascara and wow it did not disappoint!  BTW if you subscribe to BoxyCharm you may see this beauty in there (full size too baby)!

For lips, i reached for Steve Laurant's nude lip liner in Chic (also in this month's BoxyCharm), then i swept Christian Audette's Johanna lippie (the perfect nude created in collaboration with the gorgeous Beauty Professor), topped with Tarte's Busy Gal Gloss in 9-5!

 OK so this is the full look!  Major love for all the products working seamlessly on my face! Thank you Covergirl for introducing me to my new favorite drugstore concealer and highlighters which have officially earned prime real estate in my rotating makeup stash!  Also, guys my lashes..... uhhhh Tarte, this mascara is SOLID!

Thank you so much for reading!  Please know that while some of these products were sent for PR consideration, as always these are my true opinions based on my experience with the products sent as well as those i've purchased myself.  Xo, Carla


Trending Hair Accessories

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Headbands and hair clips are all the rage and honestly, THANK THE LAWD!  You see, i have been rebuilding my hair these past few months from all the damage of going platinum last Summer! Literally, the entire crown of my head including my bangs just fell off! So thank goodness for the major hair accessory trend happening right now!  Gimme all the cute headbands and hair clips because they've made it so much easier to get through that awkward stage of growing out my hair!

OK so even if your hair is perfectly healthy, there is nothing better than sweeping a beautiful headband on and boom, your look is instantly elevated!  The great thing is that you don't have to break the bank when it comes to stocking up on cute hair accessories.  I recall falling madly in love with a velvet, pearl embellished headband that cost upwards of $150!  What?!  Well, i scored a similar version for pennies and have since added a few more colors to my collection!

I've been having so much fun with hair clips as well.  The thing is you can wear one or 5 all at once and still look super cute!  It's all about your personal style and what works for you!  I say experiment and have fun with this trend!  From designer clips to super affordable options, the possibilities are endless!  Here's a fun tip, find an online vendor that personalized hair clips (like my FMM clip that stands for Fashion Maven Mommy) and you can easily create a luxe clip without the fancy designer prices.  Think Chanel, Dior, Fendi etc.... these clips can be personalized to say whatever you want them to so go for it!

Overall, I'm here for this hair accessory trend and wanted to share with you some of the pieces that have been bringing me joy!  These are the accessories that have been truly facilitating my daily life and elevating my looks!

Thank you so much for reading and HAPPY SHOPPING! 
Shop my favorite hair accessories below!