Julia + Hampton

Julia + Hampton Julia looked like such an angel on her wedding day! I loved the beautiful lighting and the incredible love that their amazing photographer, Ashley Louise shared. Below are some photos and video telling the story of their beautiful wedding day. It was an honor to be a part of Julia's beauty team as her makeup artist! How touching and sweet is the photo of her walking down the aisle?!

- V E N D O R S - 

MAKEUP // Anne-Marie Mitchell Makeup Artistry 

HAIR // Ashley Jarnagin

FLORALS // Jimmy Blooms- Floral and Gift Design

CEREMONY // Westminster Presbyterian Church

VENUE // Charlotte Country Club

PHOTOGRAPHER // Ashley Louise Photography 

VIDEOGRAPHER // Matt Rouse Films 

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Congratulations Julia + Hampton! 

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2017 WeddingWire Couples Choice Awards® Winner!

WeddingWire Couple's Choice Award Winner So thrilled to announce that we are a 2017 WeddingWire Couple's Choice Awards® winner! 

The WeddingWire Couples' Choice Awards® recognize the top five percent of local wedding professionals on WeddingWire who demonstrate excellence in quality, service, responsiveness, and professionalism. Winners are determined by reviews from over a million WeddingWire newlyweds! 

I was crossing my fingers that I would be on the list this year - as many of you know, my family and I moved more than twice in the past 2 years and I was afraid of restarting my bridal makeup business from scratch in a new city. I worried about everything under the sun but ultimately realized that hard work, passion and a little belief in yourself can move mountains. This isn't just a "job" to me. Being apart of the most special day of so many women's lives brings me so much happiness. I love sharing your love stories and getting to know all of you - I love making you feel happy, beautiful and self-assured. 

From the bottom of my heart, thank you to all the lovely brides I had the honor of working with this past year. Your heart-felt reviews and the love you have shown are truly wonderful. Thank you for allowing me to do the job of my dreams! 

 

Stay up to date with our fun bridal adventures, before/afters + all things makeup via social media: 

Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest 

 

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2016 In Review

2016 in review This year went by in what seemed like a crazed blur. There were SO many changes in our life this year - we went through a lot of personal growth, self reflection, "realizing things" as Kylie Jenner would say...but overall my takeaway from 2016 was to grab opportunity by the horns and take the incredible amount of insight, maturing (I blame parenthood) and lessons I learned from "The School of Life" into 2017. 

One of the things I like to do is to look over the past year in review. Writing them down is therapeutic in a sense and it's powerful to reflect on the experiences you've had, the trips and the people who changed you.

My own 2016 year in review looks a little like this...

TOP 5 HIGHLIGHTS 

  • I killed two birds with one stone and visited Dallas for some work and play! There I took a seminar with Kevin James Bennett, an Emmy-Award Winning Makeup Artist with over 30 years of experience. Watching him work was fascinating and he really knows his stuff. I also got the chance to receive business training with Megan Garmers, owner of MG Hair and Makeup and a Knot Pro Ambassador (top 3% of the wedding industry). She dropped some serious knowledge and reality checks to make us all more efficient businesswomen. The cherry on top was reuniting with all of my best college friends from SMU and going to homecoming with them like old times. The nostalgia was REAL and I was about to cry tears of happiness pretty much the whole trip! 
  • We moved to Charlotte, NC for a promotion with my husband, Scott's work. I restarted my makeup business, we became first time home owners and are navigating parenthood with our cutie patootie bubbie toddler Kathleen. :)
  • I set up my studio! I opened it a few months ago and do trial runs for brides and appointments for special occasion makeup. I've almost got it looking exactly like my dreams but it's still got some final touches in store (which I plan to share on this blog!)
  • I applied makeup for my first advertising campaign! My bread and butter is mostly bridal work, so it was incredibly thrilling to branch out. The makeup was for Scott Clark of Scott Clark Toyota - the final result was over 60 billboards across Charlotte. I was so proud to drive by them and I would be like, "thats MYYYY billboard!!!" and freak out like a total nerd/have a psychotic breakdown every time. I was actually proud of myself - a luxury I rarely allow myself as a perfectionist. 
  • I travelled back to my hometown, Jacksonville to visit family and friends for Christmas. We had an extra treat with my aunt, uncle and cousin staying from England. My aunt is the English reincarnation of me and vice versa - she is my true spirit animal if there ever was one! When you resonate with someone like that, it's pretty hard not to get ridiculously excited when they come to visit! I hadn't seen her since my wedding day so we felt ALL the feelings. 

PERSONAL GOALS 

  • I became my own boss. This year marked the first year that I fully branched out on my own in the bridal business. I'm doing all my own business plans, budgeting, advertising, insurance - you name it and am learning how to be a better businesswoman all the time. :)
  • I took risks. See above and you'll understand. But I also took risks in my relationships this year - I forgave some, let go of others and finally started putting myself out there to meet new friends in a new city. 
  • I got a RING LIGHT!! I know it sounds silly as a personal goal, but it HAS been a goal of mine to up the anti and get professional lighting for my studio and improved before/after pictures. 

IN 2016 I DISCOVERED...

  • that I am a people person at heart. While I certainly didn't just discover that I'm outgoing - I mean LOL I never stop talking - I learned how integral it is for my own happiness to get out of the house, engage with people and forge those deep connections and relationships. I truly crave getting to know people, learning of their strengths, desires, struggles...I learned from balancing motherhood and being your own boss that it can get pretty lonely out here adulting. I'm so much happier when I'm actively participating in the story of others, and they in mine. 
  • how much better I feel when I go to the gym on a regular basis. Seriously! I always feel so much better after going and automatically feel like I've gotten something checked off the list for the day - which is another mood booster. I'm still trying to figure out the best routine but it finally clicked that exercise may not be such a terrible thing and I actually need it to function properly.
  • that it's ok to let go. Let go of people who hurt you. Let go of the past. Let go of trying to please everyone. When you hold on to resentment, anger, fear, sadness--all those negative emotions-- it starts to add up and weigh you down. I've been ferociously holding onto a ball of my own and it's done nothing good for me this year. I'm learning that you have to forgive people not for them, but for yourself. 

 

I have a lot more in store for 2017 - I feel like this year will be filled with more certainty and confidence. Hopefully I will continue to do a lot more learning and growing too. 

 

 

What were some of your own accomplishments in 2016?

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New Beginnings In Charlotte

new beginnings Gotta stretch my typing fingers--it's been a while. There are definitely some cobwebs and dust formulating on the blog, and it has nothing to do with the Halloween spirit. It's time to start blogging again since we have officially made the move and settled down into new life here.

What I mean by here is: we moved to Charlotte, NC. We packed up our lives and with toddler in tow, moved to a new state, became first-time home owners and started new jobs. For my husband that meant a promotion at work (yay hubby!) and for me it meant restart your business from scratch. While my husband's victories are my victories and vice versa, I'll admit I was scared, felt like I was taking two steps backwards, and ultimately fell into the trap of feeling sorry for myself. 

Fast forward three months and I cannot believe how things have changed. Perseverance changed everything. The first few inquiries I sent to clients went unanswered and I was so disappointed. What am I doing wrong? How am I going to set myself apart from long-time established competition? Some days I would feel on top of the world, like I had finally figured out the "secret recipe" to success. Other days felt like I was desperately and completely failing. After continuous mental pep-talks to myself (and from family: thanks dad), I finally allowed myself to see my own small victories. Focusing on the little failures proved to be the big thing holding me back.

Each time I got back up I felt more sure of myself, developed new goals and strategies and saw more business than I ever thought possible in such a short time. I've booked multiple weddings for this year (and next!), teamed up for a stunning styled shoot to be submitted to some BIG magazines and blogs, and actually had a (happy) mental breakdown when I saw my makeup work displayed on over 60 Scott Clark Toyota billboard ads all over Charlotte. 

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I think it's normal to feel lost. We all want to succeed--to impress our family and peers, to have people say about us,"Wow she makes a difference. She is extraordinary." I think it's hard to see ourselves in that role and we trap ourselves through the eyes of comparison. We stand in our own way of being great because greatness involves many disappointments, a lot of work, and some luck thrown in for good measure. We don't make the leap because we are too focused on looking down at the cavern below us. "What if I fail?" "What if people think I'm a joke?" We look at people like Steve Jobs and Oprah Winfrey and assume that that greatness is for others, not me.

Greatness is for you. We've all just gotta make like Dory and "Just keep swimming."

 

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How to Sneak Pampering Time Into Your Cleaning Schedule

How to Sneak Pampering Time Into Your Cleaning Schedule | www.annemariemitchell.com We women spread ourselves too thin. With busier lifestyles than ever, the multiple roles we juggle leaves most of us exhausted. Taking on the role of chef, maid, family psychologist, lady entrepreneur and overall badass leaves us feeling like it's impossible to get it all done.  

I've found a method that perfectly streamlines my work and allows me to sneak some pampering time into a cleaning plan. This plan is perfect for busy stay-at-home, working moms or anyone who feels overwhelmed by their to-do lists. You'll finally have time for "you" time and look and feel less frazzled. 

This cleaning plan works because it starts off with quick, simple tasks that "clean themselves" so to speak. So while things like the dish washer and laundry are running, you're cleaning and attending to other areas. This allows you to maximize your time. The pampering part of the strategy capitalizes on leave-in beauty products that can sit on your skin and hair while your cleaning. Killing 2 birds with 1 stone, my friends.

Some general tips that help me while cleaning: 1.) Play some music to make it more entertaining. Also helps you get in the cleaning "zone". 2.) Make each step your mission--don't think about the next one. 3.) Set a timer for each "mission" or set a 2 hour timer to keep yourself moving and on task.

Finally find the time to pamper yourself by using this cleaning plan each week:

2 HOUR HOUSE-CLEANING & PAMPERING PLAN:

10 minutes- Pick up dirty clothes off the floor of all rooms, placing them in a hamper/basket. Put on a load of laundry. 

10 minutes- Pick up any stray mugs or dishes left out in other rooms. Load dirty dishes into the dish washer and run it (or hand wash). Spray sink with kitchen cleaner and rinse.

10 minutes- Clean all bathroom sinks and wipe down mirrors. Squirt toilet cleaner along inner rims of toilet bowls and scrub inside. 

10 minutes- Go to your bathroom and apply your favorite face mask. Put in some whitening strips (my favorite are the Crest Whitening Strips for sensitive teeth). Put a hair mask, deep conditioning treatment or your favorite oil in your hair. We are going to let all of these marinate for 30 minutes while we multi-task like a boss and clean. (I usually leave the hair mask in a bit longer)

10 minutes- Walk through the house, look for misplaced items and put them back where they belong. Organize and straighten up any messy tabletops, shelves...etc. Throw out unwanted magazines, papers etc. Take out the trash and put in a new liner.

15 minutes- Quickly wipe down/dust all surfaces with multi-surface cleaner. The kitchen and bathroom counters, coffee table, dining table, side tables, desk, vanity, toilets...etc.

15 minutes- Vacuum all carpeted areas of the house. Spritz air freshener as you travel between rooms. 

5 minutes- Go to the bathroom, wash off the face mask and take off the whitening strips. 

15 minutes- Go to the laundry room and load wet clothes into the dryer and run it. Put in another load of laundry to wash. Fold dried clothes and replace towels in bathrooms with clean ones. 

10 minutes- Rinse hair of hair mask in sink or take a quick shower. Apply some body lotion to your legs and arms. 

10 minutes- Get dressed, spritz some perfume and put some makeup on. I have some tips for super speedy makeup application that might help. 

CHECKLIST: 

2 Hour House Cleaning and Pampering Check List

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Download:

2 HOUR HOUSE-CLEANING & PAMPERING PLAN 

Follow my "Cleaning" Pinterest board for more awesome ideas: Follow Anne-Marie Mitchell's board Cleaning on Pinterest.

 

Do you ever have a hard time getting everything done each day?

 

 

New Years Beauty Resolutions

New Years Beauty Resolutions | www.annemariemitchell.com

I love the "newness" that comes with new years. Like buying fresh new grounds for your coffee machine--new years are refreshing, energizing and serve as a sort of "caffeine" for life. I'm all too eager to cast aside 2014 to see what's in store for this new year. I've found that a great way to keep resolutions is by committing it to writing. I scheduled and planned a lot of my year out in my new planner and color coded it for organization. 

I'm definitely late to the dance on this one, but I've listed some beauty and personal resolutions for some 2015 booty kicking:

BEAUTY RESOLUTIONS: 

1.) Cleanse that nastiness every night

When the options are 15 minutes of zombie sink time or a fluffy pillow--you know who wins. No matter how tired I am, I need to tell myself to get my booty up and do my skin care routine every night. No more crusty crust eyes to pry open or makeup crime scenes on my pillow cases. 

2.) Wash makeup brushes when they are dirty--not disgusting

My client brush role is always pretty and ready to go yet my own personal set...well, let's just say sometimes it gets out of control up in there. This is mostly due to laziness. My goal is to wash my own personal set at least every 2 weeks using this super easy method. 

3.) Stop anxiety biting 

All it takes is some pensive thought and I look down to nails that magically resemble a chewed dog toy. I've yo-yoed back and forth with successful months of no biting but I really need to commit it to a forever sort of thing. 

4.) Become one with the makeup cheetah

I take way to long to put on my makeup. Simply put. It's all too easy for me to succumb to perfectionism and sit forever agonizing over a cat eye flick or what have you. I've found tricks to speed up my makeup routine but I struggle when it comes to getting ready for a night out. 

5.) Intake water like a normal person

I actually had a kidney infection this year and let me tell you--it was NOT fun. I learned the hard way that if you don't drink, you'll be lethargic, have dry skin, and suffer the consequences of organs that hate you. 

PERSONAL RESOLUTIONS:

  • + read at least 10 books  + write and publish an ebook
  • +  stop procrastinating about pretty much everything
  • + know that perfection and success does not equal my self worth 
  • + open an online/in-person makeup class + double my social media followers on all platforms + lose my pregnancy weight and maintain a gym regime
  • + learn the stock market 
  • + do more things that feeds the soul and makes me happy  + post 4 times a week religiously + keep a clean house on the regular + reorganize, declutter and simplify closet space, pantry, bathroom (every room of the apartment...) + start a creative scrapbook binder with sections for baby, vacations, random days out + become a more positive thinker
  • + live only in the present--not the past or future

 

Do any of my beauty and personal resolutions resemble your own?

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DIY Inspiration Cork Board

DIY Inspiration Cork Board | www.annemariemitchell.com The new dawn of 2015 is fast approaching my friends. New Years resolutions will undoubtedly be made--and many broken. I don't know about you, but becoming a more organized, less slob of a human being is top priority for me this coming year.

I decided to take action and create my own fun inspiration board out of an old cork board I had laying around. It's a fun way to keep yourself motivated, inspired and on track each day. I use it to hang ideas I might use for blog posts, inspirational quotes, reminders, and my home and work to-do list. Keep it by your work desk to easily pin things in arms reach and keep yourself organized with one glance. 

DIY Inspiration Cork Board | www.annemariemitchell.com

WHAT YOU NEED:

*Note- Do this project on a porch or outside just in case of accidents with the spray paints or glue

DIY Inspiration Cork Board | www.annemariemitchell.com

ONE

Lay down some newspaper or magazine pages to protect the floor or ground outside from the spray paint. Place your cork board in the center on top. 

TWO 

Shake spray can well then spray your first layer of paint over the board. I chose white as my first layer to act as a base for the more colorful spray paint to go over top. 

DIY Inspiration Cork Board | www.annemariemitchell.com

THREE

Once the first coat of paint has dried for a few minutes, spray your choice of colorful spray paint over top. I waved my hand in zig zagging motions while spraying to achieve a sort of whimsical, cloudy effect with the white. I also splattered some paint in random areas of the board for a cool paint splattered effect. To seal it all in, spray a clear top coat to finish it off. Let the board dry for a few hours or overnight if you have done many layers of paint. 

FOUR

Once the board is completely dry, measure out your washi tape to fit the length and width of the board. Apply a Krazy glue pen or wood glue to the borders, then lay your washi tape over top. Press on it with your fingers to ensure all parts are sticking. If you try to lay down the tape with no glue, it will fall off too easily. 

DIY Inspiration Cork Board | www.annemariemitchell.com

FIVE

Spray the back of your mini chalk board with spray adhesive and lay it down wherever you want on the cork board. Press down on it with your fingers to ensure it sticks well. I use my mini chalk board to write down reminders for myself that I want to get done that day. 

SIX

Use fun pins or adhesive dots to stick any sort of papers or pictures to your board. I chose fun Nate Burkus push pins to match the metallic look and feel of my board. 

If you're looking for more DIY awesomeness, take a peek at my DIY Pinterest board for lots of fun ideas:  Follow Anne-Marie Mitchell's board DIY on Pinterest.

Are you going to make your own inspiration board? If you do, tweet me what yours looks like at @amitchellblog or tag me on instagram: @annemariemitchellblog or #annemariemitchellblog. I would love to see your version! 

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Winter Home Decor Inspiration

Winter Home Decor Inspiration | www.annemariemitchell.com It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas and that means your home might need a little winter spruce up. Stock up on a few festive home decor pieces to use every year and repurpose them for new arrangements. I've stalked Pinterest and blogs galore to bring you some ideas to set your holiday spark aglow.

ONE 

Who doesn't love the warm glow of a candle during the winter? I'm loving this gorgeous, wintery silver center piece paired with glittery baubles on its crisp white background. Simply take a tray and lay out some lovely candles and accent pieces and you have yourself a gorgeous center piece to dress up any living space. 

Winter Home Decor Inspiration | www.annemariemitchell.com

TWO 

Add a refined, festive mood to your entryway or hallway with winter wonderland themed side tables and mantles. Lay some ornaments in a bowl along with a sprinkle of fake snow flakes, or use metallic spray paint to liven up some cute little figurines and pinecones. 

THREE 

Bouquets of Baby's Breath all over the house is a simple, cheap and unique way to add some winter beauty to the home. I love the lavender accents in the bouquet above and how the Baby's Breath looks like delicate snowflakes freshly fallen on some branches. 

Winter Home Decor Inspiration | www.annemariemitchell.com

FOUR 

Cutesy cliché holiday sayings, although overused--are just so dang cute when you combine pillows. This "Baby it's cold outside" pillow is a simple way to spruce up any sofa to make it holiday ready. 

FIVE

Delicious smells are in your future if you decide to whip up this easy cinnamon spice simmer. Fill your home with cozy goodness just by adding your favorite whole spices to a pot to simmer. Fresh pine needles, cloves, nutmeg berries and rosemary added to a pot with some oil will make your home smell like Christmas itself. 

 

What are some of your holiday home decor ideas?

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Effective Holiday Gift Shopping Organization and Planning | + Free Printable Holiday Shopping List

Effective Holiday Gift Shopping Organization and Planning | + Free Printable Holiday Shopping List | www.annemariemitchell.com

Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the holidays are arriving soon--and oh, you know what that means. 

Stampeding Women. Salespeople you want to stab. Empty wallets (a.k.a Crying husbands). 

Just kidding. But not really. Although the holidays are fun-filled it can definitely be stressful--like pull your hair out stressful. So translation = we're all balding. Time to add a weave to the Christmas list.

Our lives are already busy enough without trying to get the holiday shopping in a reasonable time and with sanity in tact. I've run the gauntlet a few times and pieced together what keeps me on track. 

These holiday gift shopping tips will help you stay organized and timely with a laid out plan. My free Holiday Shopping List Template will help you sort out who to buy gifts for and how many gifts you need with a helpful checklist to remind you of anyone missing. Budget your spending with a list of prices and totals for each person. Just check off which presents have been bought and wrapped and you have yourself an organized life--just in time for the holidays. Yay, gift to yourself! 

EFFECTIVE WAYS TO PLAN YOUR HOLIDAY GIFT SHOPPING:

PLAN AHEAD OF TIME

Start your holiday shopping out by getting a good idea of what you want to buy for people. Begin planning by perusing possible store options on the internet (nice and easy since you can do this from the comfort of your own home instead of aimlessly walking around the mall).  After that, simply put aside a day in your schedule that you will shop for presents--either in store or by ordering online. I abide by a rule of buying presents at least one week in advance if bought in store and three weeks if ordered online. This generally ensures that my wrapping gets done and doesn't look like a baby teethed on it. 

WRITE OUT NAMES & GIFT IDEAS THEN ELIMINATE OPTIONS

You want to make sure you are buying meaningful gifts for meaningful people. Buying 50 billion cheapo presents for any random Bob and Joe acquaintance isn't going to leave you or them feeling fulfilled. Write down the names of people who have had an impact in your life or invested time in you--and invest in them in return. Once you find some gifts you think the people on your list might like, save them to your shopping cart and/or bookmark the website. Take some time to think about each person's personality and what they would really enjoy. Then narrow down and eliminate the items until you have picked the present you know they will love. Write it down on your list to keep track.

"Meaningful gifts for meaningful people--a way to invest in those who have invested in YOU" [Tweet this]

SET A BUDGET AND STICK TO IT

Having a budget will ensure you are spending your money with more thought for each person (and keep your wallet in tact and holiday debt at bay too). A budget will keep you thinking, "Would this gift be special to that person while also being a reasonable price for myself?" This way you are being fair to you and fair to the receiver. No more holiday gift resentment--on either side.

KEEP TRACK OF BOUGHT VS. WRAPPED GIFTS 

I can't tell you how many times I've bought a gift in advance, then put it aside and forgotten about it. You know what that means? Crappy last minute wrapping jobs à la moi. OR the reverse situation has happened and I somehow think I've bought a gift for Sally when in reality I've bought one for Betsy. You can avoid epic life failures like this by checking off exactly who you've bought and wrapped gifts for. That's why a cute little "check" space is on my free printable list. 

Print off your free holiday gift shopping list below!

Effective Holiday Gift Shopping Organization and Planning | + Free Printable Holiday Shopping List | www.annemariemitchell.com

GET YOUR FREE PRINTABLE DOWNLOAD:

Holiday Gift Shopping List

Effective Holiday Gift Shopping Organization and Planning | + Free Printable Holiday Shopping List | www.annemariemitchell.com

 Got some beauty-loving friends or family? These posts will help you pick out some stellar gifts they'll love:

What are some of your holiday shopping tactics?

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Gorgeous Prints and Print Shops for the Glamour Girl

Gorgeous Prints and Print Shops for the Glamour Girl | www.annemariemitchell.com

Decorating your home doesn't have to involve epic treks to fancy-schmancy art retailers or shelling out the big bucks. Online print shops are a great way to find beautiful, affordable art--all while still in your pjs and in arms reach of the leftover halloween candy and the next delicious episode of The Vampire Diaries (am I an adult? Questionable.) Added bonus: many of these print shops even give you the option of an instant download. Print straight from home on your inkjet printer (on high quality, photo settings), buy some cheapo pretty frames--and you're all set. 

If you want an even better image, most shops recommend you get your art printed on high quality paper. You can do this either through the seller or take your download to a photo shop or printing lab (like FedEx OfficeStaples or Snapfish). 

The online print shops of Etsy are definitely my favorite--especially if you're a glamour girl who worships all things beauty and fashion. From gorgeous typography to feminine illustrations and even metallic gold foiling, these print shops have everything the avant garde dreamer needs for decorating bliss. 

THE MOTIVATED TYPE

Empowering sayings, inspirational quotes, and simple yet glam typography and images dominate this print shop. I love the fun, retro style and bold, standout lettering. Instant, easy downloads make this shop a no-brainer at just $9 a pop.

Gorgeous Prints and Print Shops for the Glamour Girl | www.annemariemitchell.com 

EAT SAY LOVE

The fun, witty sayings with girly flair make this shop one of my favorites. If you're a fan of a good chuckle and want some cute prints around your vanity or closet area then these are the prints for you. 

Gorgeous Prints and Print Shops for the Glamour Girl | www.annemariemitchell.com 

COCOMILLA 

Disney is probably one of the most over-done concepts on planet earth but CocoMilla makes each character fresh and come to life with its mesmerizing watercolor prints. I love the playful splashes of color that give each piece a vivid uniqueness. 

Gorgeous Prints and Print Shops for the Glamour Girl | www.annemariemitchell.com 

ALL THINGS PRETTY 

Feminine and sweet, All Things Pretty has a lovely arrangement of simple motivational quotes and cute images. She even offers whimsical original paintings, mugs, blog designing and of course, an assortment of all things pretty. 

Gorgeous Prints and Print Shops for the Glamour Girl | www.annemariemitchell.com 

I SEE NOISE

Apparently this shop can see noises, but all I see are gorgeous prints for the super glamazon. The gold foiled prints are some of the most luxurious looking I've ever seen and have a stunning layered effect. 

Gorgeous Prints and Print Shops for the Glamour Girl | www.annemariemitchell.com

 Do you have any favorite print stores to share? 

 

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Life Goals & Dreams | Bucket List

I've been doing a lot of reflection about my life recently--looking back at my past accomplishments, mistakes and how my goals and dreams have transformed and shaped like a living, breathing being. A greater number of life changes have come flying my way in the past 3 months than in my whole life combined. Some daunting and petrifying, some exciting and truly wonderful--but all firmly gripping onto a vast array of emotions and responsibilities. There are times I feel as if I am blindly free-falling off a cliff with my limbs flailing in protest and other times where I catch my breath in wondrous awe like Harry Potter in his discovery of magic.
I feel it is best to put pen to paper when you want things to happen. Whether it is writing a grocery list or signing the constitution, ink offers a permanence that holds the power to calm the mind or set forth things in motion. I sat down to write this list in order to accomplish both. I want to grip this short life by the horns and start checking off the things that make me happy, inspired and driven. If you are wondering how any of this is remotely relevant to this little beauty blog, the answer is in the name. For so long I've wanted this blog to be so much more than about the superficial--the makeup, the products, the brands. "The Beauty Book" is also becoming about the little things I find beautiful in life. The things that are sentimental and meaningful.
My list includes dreams and goals both big and small. Short-term and long-term. Silly and serious. I'm letting the sky be the limit regardless of whether it is foolish or unrealistic. After all, you never know how life can surprise you. :)

List of Life Goals & Dreams:

- start my own makeup line/brand or develop my own product
- get a dog (or two...)
- raise kind, thoughtful children
- visit Thailand, New Zealand, Bali, Australia, Hawaii, South Africa, Hong Kong
- write a children's/fantasy novel or series
- have my blog featured in a magazine!
- work with a cool makeup brand on a fun project
- swim with a whale shark
- witness a miracle
- see Les Miserables in London or on Broadway
- record a demo/CD
- buy our first house
 - swim in the Dead Sea
- visit an Aztec Temple, the Great Pyramids, the studio's of my favorite authors, Machu Picchu, Palenque, the Parthenon, Versailles & Auschwitz.
- meet someone (or all) of the Breaking Bad cast
- run a fun 5k race--like the Color Run, etc.
- go to an EDM festival--Tomorrowland, Electric Daisy Carnival, Ultra, etc.
-always write and send nice Thank You cards for small kindnesses
- be invited to the VMA's, Grammys, Emmys as a beauty insider!
- go scuba diving
- hit 1,000 subscribers on my YouTube channel! (short-term goal :) )
- meet some of my favorite beauty gurus (Nicole Guerrero, Jaclyn Hill, Carli Bybel, Amanda Ensing)
- do a fun video collab with one of my favorite beauty gurus
- re-visit LA
- play the new Fallout 4 video game (so excited!)
- go deep-sea fishing
- book a ticket for the next random flight out and make an adventure out of it
- go on a "second honey moon" with my husband
- take a cooking class
- see a show in Vegas
- take a class/workshop from a celebrity makeup artist
- visit the headquarters of one of my favorite makeup brands (MAC, Revlon, L'Oreal...)
- pick up playing piano again
- impact someone's life in a major way
- be a member of the audience in a tv show (like the Ellen Degeneres show)
- take ballroom dancing lessons
- grow my own garden
- overcome my fear of public speaking, needles and sky diving (not sure if I wanna get over that one...)
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5 Beauty Lessons I Learned While Sick

The saying, "when it rains it pours" has been very true for me this past month. Apparently I've been walking under far too many ladders, breaking way to many mirrors, and unknowingly letting millions of black cats cross my path. Whatever the case--be it karma or some other unknown factor--June has just not been my month.

My husband and I (newlyweds, yay!) moved into our first official apartment together towards the beginning of the month and found out soon after that the tenants before us left the apartment infested with a happy family of thousands of fleas. I was apparently chosen as tribute to participate in their hunger games and broke out in an allergic reaction. To make it even juicier, only a few days later I fell ill with a kidney infection and a whole array of other medical complications.

Although it probably sounds like these situations have left me with a bitter taste in my mouth, I have actually come out of it with some valuable lessons that I am truly grateful for. Visits to the hospital and witnessing other patients there have actually reaffirmed to me how blessed and fortunate I am to not suffer with something much more serious or life-threatening.

Beauty wise, it taught me some great lessons that I will definitely be following more vigilantly from now on: 

1. Drink water like a fish- I have never liked the bland, boring taste of water and have always found it hard to gulp down a healthy amount. It is especially important to drink water while pregnant since your blood volume doubles and dehydration becomes a much more dangerous factor. Oops. When I do drink a lot of water, I always notice that I not only have much more energy, but my skin clears up and glows from within. In an effort to drink more, I have been adding lemon to my water and filling up a plastic canister to take with me everywhere. Something so simple as water really does do wonders. 

2. Sleep is irreplaceable- Getting your 8 hours of Zzz's is important for pretty much everything--stress levels, health, happiness--all of it. I fell in love all over again with the healing power of sleep while sick.  I even took some short naps to re-charge and felt like a different person when I woke up. Sleeping is the best anti-ager and treatment for those dark circles and gives the face a healthy complexion. Sometimes when I can't sleep, I listen to Josh Groban--his voice could seriously melt butter.

3. Moisturizer is a God-send- Maybe it's the summer heat (or probably being sick in general) but my skin has felt pretty zapped of moisture and so I've been lathering on the stuff like 5 layer icing. I love Clinique Dramatically Different lotion for the face and Lush Dream Cream for its luxurious, thick consistency.

4. Oatmeal/essential oil baths rock- To calm the skin and relax the mind, (or itchy bug bites) there is nothing better than a hot oatmeal or essential oil bath. I love the smell as it wafts in the air and the feeling of being caressed by the water (queue sexy Barry White music). Sometimes these types of baths are all I need to be whisked away to my own paradise. I love the oatmeal bath by Aveeno or a nice lavender oil before I go to bed.

5. Health > Beauty- Last and most importantly, health is the greatest gift to have in life and no amount of beauty or products can replace that. Focusing on the exterior isn't nearly as important as focusing on your inside--your mind, soul...(and organs in my case!)

Pregnant at 22: How Expecting Changed My Life

 
Pregnant at 22: How Expecting Changed My Life | www.annemariemitchell.com

 

I have struggled over how to write this--or whether to write this at all, for quite some time now. 
 
Expressing oneself almost always comes with a natural, deep sense of vulnerability. What will people think of me? What the hell am I going to do? We are taught by life's tribulations at a young age to guard our hearts and the weaknesses that others might exploit. We are taught to succeed in a competitive world and to strive to be admired by those around us.
 
I have wanted to tell this story because I hope that in some way, sharing this will help those who have experienced the same situation or who are currently struggling with a similar one now. Most of all, I want to be honest and share the journey I am on. A journey that I now wholeheartedly embrace. It is truly amazing and beautiful how one's perspective can change in only a few short months.
 
I will always remember that day I stood in the bathroom with trembling hands and hot tears burning down my cheeks. The feeling of two cold hands gripping my stomach and wrenching it into my throat. I was staring at my entire future written on a digital stick. I was staring at a reading of "pregnant". 
 
The cliche saying, "your whole life can change in an instant" was never more true on that day. I felt my  whole future--my whole being--violently rip out from underneath my feet. I could feel myself kissing my 4 years of hard work in college goodbye. All those essays, projects and exams for naught. The 5 internships I had under my belt and hours of resume building and job searching might as well be considered insignificant putty in my hands.  
 
 

Now I had to put my life on hold. I would not start an exciting new career. I would learn to change diapers, stay up long nights through crying and sickness, and somehow figure out how to raise a child and teach him or her the right lessons even though I was still learning life lessons of my own.

 
At the time, I felt I had become the very thing I so desperately tried to avoid. A failure
 
I had been so happy only a few months before--my college sweetheart had proposed to me and we were planning out the exciting details of our life together. We were ready to frolick off into the sunset together and lead a life fit for a Disney movie.
 
 
Despite all the excitement around our upcoming wedding, I had already grown accustomed to feeling somewhat alienated from my peer group. The viral article "23 Things to Do Instead of Getting Engaged at 23" sums up a large portion of my generation's attitude towards early marriage. Adding a baby to that equation was just another "no-no" and would serve only to distance me further. While I was trying to figure out how I would tackle graduation, moving, getting married, somehow securing a job and raising a child, I watched my friends either land incredible jobs with giants like Coca Cola or desperately attempt feigning sobriety in their 8 am class.
 
 I was extremely fortunate to have the wonderful support of both my fiancé, my family and my fiancé's (now husband's) family. They never once doubted our abilities to blossom into strong, loving parents and filled our hearts with words and actions that were truly positive and uplifting. It gave me a new appreciation and respect for the many young mothers in this world who despite adversity and little to no support--still become amazing mothers. After all, I was fortunate to have a fiancé whose affection and unconditional love was a towering strength. 
 
Although we found great solace in our families, there were still trials and tribulations to overcome. When I slowly struck up the courage to tell my friends the news of the pregnancy, it was with little realization of how it would so drastically affect those relationships. 
 
Some people acted as if I was reading the obituary section of the newspaper or relaying news of my death sentence. I watched as pity flooded the faces of some and shock and disgust entered the faces of others. My heart sank as one person told me, "but you're so young, you're not ready for a kid...just get an abortion." Yet another admitted to me, "well we aren't going to invite you out anymore...you know...you can't drink." Others sat there dumbfounded, would tell me all the things I could have done differently, or would exclaim that they hoped they wouldn't get pregnant like me.
 
Looking back, I wish I had not let those negative comments impact me and had instead let the positive ones shine through. I was again blessed to have many other friends who were not only happy for me, but absolutely thrilled. I had some friends screaming and jumping up and down, some sending me flowers and lovely heartfelt notes, and others jokingly threaten to abduct the "nugget" as they fondly began to call the baby growing inside me. They really don't know how much their enthusiasm and support touched me to the core--how their love kept me afloat. 
 
I wish I could reach out to all the young mothers who are or who have felt the roller-coaster of emotions that comes with discovering you are pregnant at a young age. It is truly a tragedy that so many women feel they must flee their high schools and universities for fear of the gossip, rumors and shame their growing bellies might inflict upon them. 
 
I had everything in the world to be happy about yet I still let the comments, expectations and actions of others define me and depress me. I placed too much weight on what people thought. I stressed out about how they would perceive my wedding and birth of the baby being so close to one another. I surrendered the joy of the happiest moment in my life. 
 
It's hard to believe how different I feel today. I'm not the same girl that stood petrified in the bathroom that day. It took a journey to arrive at where I am only a few months later, but the insight and confidence I have gained are irreplaceable. We are expecting a beautiful baby girl in the fall and I can honestly say now that I couldn't be more grateful. She is the reflection of the love of my husband and I.What greater love is there than that of a child? 

 
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