A life under the Pink Umbrella!

The Pink Umbrella Girl

Balsam Hill Tree
Balsam Hill Tree
Balsam Hill Tree

This Christmas season our home needed a new Christmas tree-the one we had used for the last couple of years no longer had the spirit of Christmas in it! Our old tree was not only too large for our home, the lights had stopped working on a section and the branches were looking rough from years of going in and out of a cramped box! I spent many days researching trees and talking to friends and family before finally deciding on the www.balsamhill.com tree company.

When reading about the Balsam Hill company there were a few things that caught my attention. I was concerned in making the right choice about a tree that I’d have in my home for many years to come and liked their longevity reviews. Customers commented in reviews of having their trees for 10+ years which is great for mother earth too!  Another thing I liked about Balsam Hill trees was the realness appearance to that of a live tree. My parents and grandparents always had a real tree and I love that you can have an artificial tree that looks like a live one.  I was also surprised to find a tree company that included a 3-year warranty for their tree.

My husband and I chose the Woodland Spruce tree at 6.5 feet with candlelight LED lighting. We waited for the Black Friday promotion for 50% off off purchase. We chose this tree for its realness appearance, height, and tapered shape.

Our Christmas tree arrived in 4 days from purchase by FedEx delivery. Once the box was opened there was a ribbon around each section noting where it belonged as well as two sets of gloves included for adjusting and shaping the branches and limbs. Also included, were additional lights and fuses as well as a large zippered bag was included for storage.  I am looking forward to many Merry Christmas’s with our tree from Balsam Hill and am glad we decided on this tree for our home!

Balsam Hill Tree
Balsam Hill Tree

I started out my teenage years with full eyebrows enviable to even Brooke Shields, and while most of my eyebrows survived the 90’s, even few were left after being a guinea pig for services while in Cosmetology school. Over the years I acquired eyebrow pencils, brow stencils, brushes and promises of products to bring my brows back to pre-wax and tweezer days. In a nutshell makeup camouflaged the problem but never truly solved my brow problem.

So, when I heard about Microblading I was excited to have eyebrows again that didn’t require buying stock in Sephora or worrying what my lack of eyebrows looked like when waking up or while swimming! About 2.5 years ago I had a Microblading procedure but wasn’t completely happy with my unnatural results.

I decided to try Microblading again and so glad I did! Shannon of The Housley Institute in Cincinnati, OH took on my brow project and added shading to match the shapes more evenly! I am so thankful I found someone who I could trust and wanted to share my experience!

Microblading is a semi-permanent tattoo service that uses a specialized hand tool to draw hair-like strokes to correct or enhance eyebrows. Microblading is ideal for brows that have been over-plucked/over-waxed, alopecia of the brows, or loss of brow hair loss due to chemotherapy.

My microblading procedure took about 2 hours from start to finish. Shannon started with a very thorough consultation noting hair loss areas, arch height and tint coloring. From there she mapped out my new brows and used a topical numbing agent for the brow area. Overall, I was thankful numbing was allowed/offered for this procedure. It didn’t hurt, but did make the procedure more comfortable. I remember joking to her that I could have fallen asleep during the procedure! Once the shape of my eyebrows was established Shannon numbed the area a second time to put in shading. Shading in the eyebrows helped to add depth and definition to the area. Upon completion Shannon and I went over my eyebrows to note any areas where I would like additional color or anymore hair strokes. I was thankful for her input and attention to detail!

Once completed Shannon scheduled my 5-8-week touch-up session. The touch-up session is done on completely healed brows for any areas that need to be perfected. Shannon also went over Microblading aftercare instructions and what to expect over the next few days and weeks.

I am almost to day 7 and still loving my shape, color and definition. Overall, I am thankful for Microblading because while I don’t know if I could ever rock the big full eyebrows I started life out with I do love that I am able to have eyebrows 24/7 that fit my face and look beautifully doing so!

If you are interested in scheduling an appointment with Shannon of The Housley Institute, click here: www.housleyinstitute.com



Consultation time!
Eyebrows are mapped out and ready for Microblading!
Shannon of The Housley Institute hard at work!
My smile says it all! Already in love with my eyebrows!
Official before and afters
Just amazing!
Look at that arch!

What I have learned about Microblading:

  1. Research your Microblading Artist-they need to be certified and licensed!
  2. Talk to your Microblading Artist about their training/apprenticeship and photos of their work.
  3. Ask about topical numbing-not 100% needed but you will be more comfortable.
  4. Take time during your consultation and be realistic of what you want your eyebrows to look like.
  5. Microblading is a semi-permanent tattoo, so follow preparation steps for the best results.
  6. Aftercare Instructions are important for healing and long-lasting results.
  7. How do you put a $ on waking up with amazing eyebrows that even my husband noticed the very first morning after! I justified price based on how much time and money I was spending at the makeup counter on the latest and greatest brow fixes that left me hanging.
  8. You may have an awkward day while they are healing (some flaking or scabbing) but shrug it off because beautiful eyebrows await!
  9. Show up for your touch-up appointment! Even if you don’t want the color adjusted or think a brow stroke is missing-great eyebrows really are an art form and your Microblading artist will guide you on this!
  10. Girl, you got beautiful eyebrows and more time for selfies now!

Are you familiar with the hit show on TLC, Dr. Pimple Popper? Maybe you recognize the name Dr. Sandra Lee from YouTube? After just a few episodes of the show I have tuned in every week to watch Dr. Sandra Lee aka Dr. Pimple Popper access dermatological conditions and treat them while maintaining the bedside manner of a close friend! Dr. Lee has crossed over from the internet and television and onto the bookshelves with her recently released book, titled: “Put Your Best Face Forward : The Ultimate Guide to Skincare from Acne to Anti-Aging”. I didn’t think it was possible, but reading this book makes me love Dr. Lee even more!

Dr. Sandra Lee, a board certified dermatologist started out posting pimple popping on YouTube (www.youtube.com/user/DrSandraLee) and Instagram (www.instagram.com/@drsandralee). She was able to show viewers an in-depth look at dermatology and educate people about skin conditions. Her views on YouTube topped over 2.5 Billion (with a B folks)! That’s a lot of interest in pimples! TLC came along and signed her on for a show. Watching the show sometimes can be hard to stomach because it is showing what is inside the pimple, zit or large cyst. However, it is comforting to see her patients get the help and treatment they need for their skin problems. A lot of Dr. Lee’s work goes beyond just pimples and is an example of how her job affects the patient’s self-confidence!

Reading Dr. Lee’s book, she shares how she got to where she is in life and dermatology and makes the reader feel like you are spending time with a friend talking skincare. Having a background in beauty and skincare myself was one reason I enjoyed the in-depth information she delivered about skin conditions both common and uncommon. Dr. Lee’s book relays skincare information including anti-aging, skin health tips, skin cancer and acne treatment through her book with an approach that I have not seen before.

Within days of reading this I had already spoke about it to at least 5 people who I felt could benefit from the knowledge in this book! As you can see, I would personally recommend this book to teenagers struggling with acne to adults who aren’t sure what the bump is on their arm and wants more information.  Meanwhile, I am thankful for Dr. Lee’s approach to skincare and popping the stigma of skin conditions and looking forward to her next episode!

*New Episodes air Thursdays at 9/8C on TLC

I recommended this book to over 5 people after reading the first 2 chapters!
I found the book at my local library! Does your library do this too? So neat!

Have you ever smelled a scent that took you back to a person, place or time? It’s amazing how much scent influences our day to day lives! Being a Florida girl, I love the scents of the beach through candles in my home. I love the calmness and serenity I feel from the scents like being at the beach! This past week I visited one of  The Candle Lab (www.thecandlelab.com) locations in Columbus, OH for the first time to experience experimenting with scent!

When my friend suggested meeting at The Candle Lab to experiment with scents and make a candle, I jumped at the opportunity! We started out with clipboards and was told to peruse over 120 different scents in candle form and note our favorites. These favorite scents would later be used to pair up to form a personalized scent. I’m a huge fan of clean and beachy scents and went straight for the “Clothesline” but surprised myself with scents like “Yuzu”, “Sunflower” and “Olive Blossom”!

Back at the Fragrance Bar with my list of favorite scents and jar selection we were ready to assemble our candles! I was glad the helpful staff suggested which scents from our favorites would pair well together to help create a favorable scent. Another aspect of personalization was designing the candle label with an assortment of markers! (I may have had a little too much fun doing this!)

My scent selection decided, the staff presented me with containers of the liquid scent/oils and a stainless-steel double jigger where we formulated the candle scent measurements. We poured our scent mixture into the jar filled with liquid soy wax and a candle wick and stirred the candle together. Once everything was mixed the candle was left to set for approximately 90 minutes.  Already my candle scent was unlike anything I had smelled before, and I knew I was hooked!

While our candles cooled my friend and I enjoyed lunch and picked them up afterwards. At home I love how my new candle smells like my favorite things but is also a sweet memory of the experience of making it too! I’m looking forward to putting this activity at The Candle Lab into the date night rotation or for when friends want to get together again in the future!

This seriously made me laugh!
Our personalized labels!
Formulating our candles!
Such a fun experience, experimenting with scent!

This week while in Florida I was finally able to cross something off my Florida Bucket List and visit the Keel and Curley Winery! I have been a fan of this wine since I discovered them in a Publix Grocery store about 10 years ago! Even a move to Ohio still had me missing my favorite wine and I have been known to ask family to bring me a bottle or two on their visits! So, as you can imagine, I was incredibly thankful when my mother-in-law and father-in-law offered to take me to the one and only winery for a visit on the way to see family in Orlando!

The Keel and Curley Winery is located in Plant City, Florida and far enough off the beaten path to enjoy the charm that comes with a small Florida town! Plant City is known for their annual Strawberry Festival and their amazing Strawberries which is not coincidental considering that this is my favorite flavor of wine that Keel and Curley produce! Upon arriving to the winery, the building known as “The Tasting Room” looks almost like visiting a southern family’s home-it is where the Oak trees draped with Spanish Moss and Palm trees grow together with rocking chairs and a big swing on the front porch-we are definitely in the south folks! Inside the room is lit up with wine bottle light pendants, there are 2 bars and a large open area with high and low top tables for an abundance of seating and along the back wall are shelves filled top to bottom with freshly bottled wines you can purchase to take home or for gifts.

We picked the perfect time to visit since it was their “Wine Down Wednesday” which meant wine specials including $1 off glasses, $2 off bottles purchased and 25% off charcuterie trays. Along with the great daily specials they also offer a full menu and I won’t lie but the Florida girl in me was tempted to get the Alligator Bites on the appetizer menu! We decided to do a wine sampling option and I picked Peach Chardonnay, Sweet Blueberry, Strawberry Riesling and Key West-Key Lime as my four selections for my wine flight. Selecting only 4 from 12 was a difficult to do since I absolutely love the Strawberry Riesling and savored sampling this flavor at its origin! My favorite thing besides the taste of real Florida fruit in the wine is the aroma of the wine itself. When you swirl the glass and breathe the notes I was taken away to Key West and a Key Lime pie or a basket of Summer Peaches or fresh Blueberry Cobbler or bowl of fresh picked Strawberries on a hot day! I’m not sure how they are able to capture the flavor of Florida fruits in their wine, but I am so glad they do!

After finishing my wine flight, I decided to discover the outside portion of the venue and discovered an outdoor bar, more seating and a stage all under a covered porch looking over a pond and grapevines-so picturesque! Additionally, there is another covered patio adjacent to the connected one to the building called the “Party Barn” which I feel is reason enough to visit again just to experience this!

Back inside The Tasting Room and after some careful consideration I decided to purchase the Black Raspberry Merlot for my parents that I would visiting within a few days. Chris offered me a mini sample to make sure I approved of it for them and offered friendly assistance and answered any questions as well. Chris also shared with me the Vino Brew Keel and Curley Wine Club since I was visiting from Ohio and could have fresh Florida Wine shipped to me directly every month! How tempting is that?

While reading up more about this winery at https://keelandcurleywinery.com/  I learned they also offer a behind the scenes tour every Saturday and Sunday for only $5! I am already looking to plan another trip to enjoy this too! Overall, this winery was everything and more I had dreamed of-my favorite wines, beautiful and charming accommodations and friendly faces!

Nothing better than a front porch swing! Welcome to Keel and Curley Winery
Some front porch sitting!
I have made my choices!
My favorite!
Who am I kidding, they're all my favorite!
Covered patio-ready rain or shine!
The Party Barn!
I love grapevine leaves-they look like hearts!
Enjoying Wine Down Wednesday at Keel and Curley Winery!

I am excited to participate in the Oak Creek Elementary Holiday Shop this Saturday 10 am to 2 pm! I will have over 50 LipSense colors and Glosses including the Diamond Collection!!!