How To Keep A Clean House

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Isn’t this what every person wants? To come home and have a clean (and presentable house)? Now in my fantasy, I would have the little cleaning fairies come in and clean my house for me. That way I don’t have to do any actual cleaning. Cause lets be honest who likes doing that? But alas, the fairies have lost my address and don’t visit me. This forced me to come up with a system to keep my house acceptable, without it being all that I do.

There are two ways to tackling cleaning your house. First, you can pick a day and have a once a week cleaning day. This is what we did growing up, and it was always Saturday morning. Trust me it stunk to waste my Saturday scrubbing bathrooms. The second, is what I prefer now and what I will be showing you, break it out into little bits every day.

I am a HUGE fan of breaking things up. As you could tell from my post How To Prepare For Overnight Guests, which you can find here. It makes it easy to check it off your list and move on. Plus, your house will always be ready for people to pop by. Well in theory, it will always be ready.

How To Clean

 

There is my break out. I have a few items to do every morning, and a few items to do every night. Easy, quick, little things that make life a little easier and prettier.

My daily chores are the bigger items, the ones that you don’t really want to do but have to do. The breakout is:

  • Monday-
    • Meal Plan
    • Grocery Shop
  • Tuesday-
    • Bathrooms
  • Wednesday-
    • Dust (including blinds, shutters and so on)
  • Thursday-
    • Vacuum or Mop
  • Friday-
    • Scrub Kitchen (including cleaning out the fridge)

And you can see that I am boycotting cleaning on the weekends all together now as an adult. There is no need to waste your precious downtime scrubbing the floor. My girls have to take care of their own bedrooms and the school room.

That is my plan, how do you tackling cleaning your house? Did I miss any big chores that need to be done? Let me know.

Witches Bounty

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LOVED this book!! It was so well laid out, like it was actually pretty to read (well once the ARC watermarks are removed). Which actually makes the ready experience so much better. And you can tell that she put a lot of time into the editing of the book. Even with it being an ARC copy, I think there were only two sentences that I had to re-read. So structurally the book is very sound.

This book deserves all five stars because-

-the characters were well developed (and I actually cared about them)
-the plot had twists and turns that I did not see coming
-it kept me turning the pages to find out what happened
-LOVED the ending

While I have to admit, it took a while to get into the book. I was hoping that it was going to come out and bite me, it didn’t. But once it started to get rolling I did not want to put it down. The names of the characters took a bit to get use to, they are not your normal Matt and Katie type names. And I wish that there was a pronunciation guide (that sounds really weird, but I have no idea how the names are suppose to be pronounced). But that did not take away from the character development and the background that went into each one. She does a great job of letting you get to know each character, with little tidbits coming out at just the right times.

Overall though, I am looking forward to more books coming out by Ann Gimpel.

Easy Ways To Look Younger

Eays Ways To Look Younger

In my head I am going to age gracefully. That one day, I am going to wake up and embrace my wrinkles and gray hair. That I am going to love seeing a wise woman in the mirror looking back at me. I am going to see a beautiful face, full of the life she has lead.

But lets be real, that is not happening today or any time soon. Movie stars, models, and the like age (cause we all do) but without any outward sign of getting older. That is going to be me. While I probably won’t be getting any plastic surgery or botox, only because I am to worry about having some weird rare reaction. Then I will really be hosed.

There are some very simple makeup techniques that can give you the appearance of a younger face. Best part, there is no crazy contouring to learn how to do, no “only a professional makeup artist can do this without looking like a clown” ways to apply it. Simple, do today, every one can do these, techniques; that are not going to take you any longer then you already spend doing your makeup.

Now some of them are going to seem a little odd. And some you might fight me on (I know this because it took me a while to come around on a bunch of these). Some of it is even going to seem counterproductive. But I promise that they will all work and having you looking younger in a few moments.

Lets start by thinking about what makes a face look young?

  • Big Eyes
  • Full lips
  • No Dark Circles
  • Rosy Cheeks

Let’s break out how to achieve that look-

  • Big Eyes
    • Put down the black eyeliner and back away. This was the hardest for me, I am/was addicted to my black eyeliner pencil. Not only that, I was a line the waterline all the way around type of girl. While, my eyes always stood out, and it was the first thing that people saw; they looked small. Black line around anything will make it look smaller. Swap that black out for a dark brown. I actually use MAC- Brun now for my eyeliner and it looks perfect.
    • Don’t line all your eye. Again this was a hard one. For the longest time, I struggled with feeling weird without having any eyeliner under my lower lashes. But I promise you, it will open up your eyes without it.
    • Only line the outer half to two-thirds of your upper lid. And even a slight, super super slight, wing will pull your eyes upward. Mini eye-lift thank you very much.
  • Full Lips
    • This seems to be the one that I argue with people the most about. Don’t use a dark lip color during the day. Yes a bold red lip is always chic, but just like lining all around your eyes will make them look smaller, a solid dark lip will make it look smaller too. Now people will notice your lips, but they won’t have that pouty full look, that is associated with a younger face. If you have a lot of pigment in your lips, go easy with just a chapstick or a light, non-sparkly, gloss. If you are losing the pigment (cause we all will) ease up on the color and move to a light pink or a color that was close to your natural color.
  • No Dark Circles 
    • Okay here is one that you are going to argue with me again on. Stop using mascara on your lower lashes. While in theory, it would make your lashes stand out; making your whole eye area look bigger, this is not what happens. It can send dark shadows under your eye giving the appearance of dark circle.
    • Find a great highlighting concealer. Highlighting doesn’t have to mean having a sheen to it, but it will be designed to lighten the area. I LOVE No7 Radiant Glow Concealer and use it daily. While it is quite light, just blend it in and it is amazing. Plus it stays put all day, without any creasing.
  • Rosy Cheeks
    • Ditch the tera cotta colored blush. I am not totally sure where this trend started, but it seems like a vast majority of women have this brownish, orangish, reddish blush color. It is not a natural flush color and does not help your rosy glow. Instead opt for a blush with slight highlighting capabilities and something that is way more on the pink side. I use Laura Geller Baked Blush in Pink Grapefruit. It has a bit of bronze in there, way more natural pink, and a hint of shimmer. Also, Tarte has a great new blush in Glisten. It has a lot of the same properties of the Laura Geller.

So what are your thoughts? Which of these are you going to fight with me over? Do you have any tips or tricks to looking young? Do you even try to look younger, or is that a weird me thing?

 

How To Organize a Kids Closet

I am so excited to have partnered with partnered with Modernize to get today’s post to you. If you have not checked them out, take a moment to pop over there and see the amazing ideas that they have on all the rooms of your house. But be careful, you might just spend hours over there, it is that good.

Creative Ways To Organize Your Child’s Closet

Organizing your child’s closet can be a ghastly chore. With so many tiny sized things, the closet can become cluttered and disorganized quickly. With only a few minutes to get your child ready in the morning, digging through piles of disorganized items can add unnecessary stress to your day. You can use a few creative solutions to your child’s closet organization. Soon it will be easy to find even the smallest items at a moment’s notice.

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Via Modernize.com

With so many small items stored in your child’s closet, installing a chest of drawers or shelving unit will help immensely. Fold neatly all sweaters and and everyday tees. Pack the items in the drawer vertically so you can see each item from the top of the drawer. This will help you pull out exactly what you want without disturbing your pile. Create a label for each drawer so your child knows what’s inside.

A shelving unit makes a great storage solution for shoes. You can line your child’s shoes along each shelf with the most often worn pairs towards the middle so they are easiest to grab. Baskets can be used to store more utilitarian shoes and socks such as flip flops, ballet shoes or sports gear. One creative way to store shoes or folded items is to place a ladder in the closet. The steps of the ladder can be used as a rack and create a whimsical and functional display.

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Via Modernize.com

Using a curtain instead of a door for your closet will allow your child to move freely in and out, learning how to put away his or her own clothing and clean up. Large doors can be damaged as your child flings them open and closed. Sliding doors are dangerous for children because they can run off the track and injure your child. Choose a fabric that matches your child’s room decor and let your child move freely into the closet, learning to dress themselves and making life easier for you.

You can buy dividers to label your child’s hanging clothing. There are printable dividers you can download to make labels of your own. Dividers can be especially helpful for someone with more than one child sharing the same closet space. You can sort your child’s garments by size, age, person, or type. This also gives your child a sense of responsibility for their things.

When organizing your hanging items, group the clothing by like items. By placing things of similar lengths together, your hangers will fit together snugly and you can fit more things onto your closet rod. Everything will look more organized. You can add a tension rod into the closet to make a second hanging rack below. You’ll be able to hang your child’s clothing in a way that has more space between each item and the closet will look much more attractive.

Organizing your child’s closet doesn’t have to be stressful. Use a few of these creative solutions and your child’s wardrobe will look great. You can enjoy looking at all of the miniature sized clothing items that become sentimental along the way and your child can learn responsibility for his or her things.

For more ideas and inspiration, head to Modernize.com

Mystery Book Review- Z-Train

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From The Back Of The Book

Beneath Brooklyn’s wintry streets, seven people are dead, slumped in their seats on an F train. Fast thinking and good fortune prevent the subway car doors from opening, spilling poisonous gas into the station. It’s not long before a frightened metropolis of eight million demands answers: if this was an act of terror, where will these cruel killers strike next? NYPD detective Flo Ott looks closely at the victims. Each of their stories leads to another, one more colorful and complex than the last. A few of these quintessential New Yorkers catch Flo’s attention: a mysterious off-duty FBI agent; the beautiful woman next to him, who may have been his lover. Then there’s a Russian mobster with more than his fair share of enemies. As Flo battles false leads, conflicting witnesses, and meddling politicians, her investigation delves into the dark side of the city that never sleeps. Flo becomes convinced that this wasn’t a random act of violence, and she fears something much worse may be rumbling down the tracks.

About The Author

Richard Hilary Weber, a native of Brooklyn and a Columbia University graduate, has taught at the universities of Stockholm and Copenhagen, and has been a scriptwriter for French and Swedish filmmakers. He lives in Provence, France.

My Thoughts

Honestly I struggled with this book. Back in the day, I use to love mystery books. They were my all time favorite; any more I just don’t need that edge of my seat, biting my nails, staying up till the early morning terrified because of a book. That being said….. It was really good. My struggles were just that it was not what I was wanting to read.

It was very well written, the characters were great, it took twists and turns that I didn’t see coming. It had me on the edge of my seat for a good chunk of it. If this is the type of book that you like, then you are going to LOVE it and should immediately add it to you must read list.

Where to Buy

Penguin Random House: Penguin Random House
Amazon:  Amazon
Barnes and Noble: B&N
iBooks: iBooks
Google play: Google Play
Books a Million: Books a Million
Goodreads: Goodreads
Kobo: Kobo

Monday MakeUp- YEA BirchBox!!!

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I am so sad to say that this is my last month of BirchBox. While I have loved getting this everything month, it seems like lately I am getting a lot of hair products and moisturizers. Which is good for most people, but I am a blow dry and put into a pony type of girl. And while I love trying new skin care, it is a big over the top. All these samples just get put in my guest room, for my guests to use when they come up. And if I am just stocking the guest room, then I don’t nee to be spending ten bucks a month. It is still a great service and I would highly recommend it to anyone looking into a subscription.

This month I did get some great product, it just wasn’t my cup of tea. So into the box:

  • No4 Prep and Protect- Now don’t get this confused with the No7 skin care/makeup line. They are two completely different companies and products. This is a great leave in conditioner. It instantly detangles even the most rat nest of hair, leaves your hair super shiny but not oily, and doesn’t weigh it down.
  • Paula’s Choice Resist Barrier Repair Moisturizer- It claims to hydrate and firm, repairs signs of aging and reduces wrinkles on the face and around the eyes.
  • Dr Jart Ceramindin- It is a super light weight moisturizer that delivers deep moisture. It does have a strong scent, not a bad smell, but it is to strong to apply to my face. Plus it does not have any anti-aging properties, so not the best facial cream. HOWEVER, it is amazing on the other rough dry areas on my body. I use a pea size amount on my knees and they are now are looking great; same for my elbows. But it is quite expensive for a body cream.
  • Coola Sport Sunscreen- I LOVE LOVE LOVE this sunscreen. The bottle size is perfect to throw in your purse, it smells amazing like mangos, and it works awesome. This time of year you can’t get enough sunscreen.
  • Marcelle Waterproof Eyeliner- Any other eyeliner addicts out there? This is a deep purple color, which I love. If you have brown eyes purple will make them pop; if you have hazel eyes the purple will highlight the green in them, and if you have green eyes then watch out purple will have them shining like emeralds. This eyeliner glides easily and has major staying power.
  • Then last, Pura Vida Headband- It was a lace trimmed light green headband. I say was, because my girls have already claimed this and fight over who gets to wear it. It does not sit well on my head, with it being like a big rubber band it doesn’t stay on it just slides back; but on my girls it stays perfectly and looks super cute. While I would not spend the cost for the pack of these, I am thrilled to get one in my box.

Sad to see it go, but I am excited at the thought of finding a new monthly beauty subscription. How about you guys, do you have a subscription to BirchBox? What are your thoughts on it? Would you spend ten dollars a month on these samples?

How To Prepare For Over Night Guests

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Does having guests make you cringe? It is always stressful having an overnight guests. There seems to be a million things to do, and things to consider. If you let it, it can completely stress you out. But it doesn’t have to.

We are so lucky to live in a small town, about two hours away from the big city that my husband and I grew up in. It is close enough that we can visit friends and family often. And they come and visit us; almost every weekend. However, we are just far enough that a simple lunch date turns into a full weekend ordeal. For most of the people who want to visit it is just a smidgen to far for a day trip. So they come up after work on Friday and leave sometime Sunday.

It use to really stress me out. There seemed to be a thousand things to do, and never enough time to get them all done. But then I learned a great routine, and I am going to share it with you. It will lay things out in nice bite sized tasks, with the theory of just a little every day. Then it is never overwhelming or stressful having one person over or twenty (as we are this weekend for the fourth of July). It is going to be a full house!

  • Monday- Pick Up House/Meal Plan
    • Pick UpHouse-
      • Pick Up All Clutter
      • Pick Up Kids toys
      • Straighten Bathrooms
      • Straighten Living Areas
      • Put Shoes/Jackets Away- ours seem to sit by the front door and just stay there.
    • MealPlan-
      • List out all meals that you will be preparing. Normally for me it is two dinners (depending on what time people arrive on Friday night, and Saturday night), then two brunches (Saturday and Sunday)
      • I don’t make lunches. There is a myriad of snack foods that people can help themselves to if they are hungry. But I won’t make a formal lunch.
      • Think of easy to prepare meals- you don’t want to be stuck in the kitchen with everyone having a good time in the living room.
      • Try to plan around people dietary needs. We have several vegans that visit us, so I make sure to have food for them. As well as for people with allergies- it just makes for a good hostess and people will appreciate your effort.
  • Tuesday- Clean House
    • Pretty self-explanatory here. Nobody wants to use a dirty bathroom. Not glamorous but it needs to be done.
  • Wednesday- Wash Linen and Towels/Set up Bedrooms
    • WashLinens-
      • Okay so I am odd here. I rewash all my linens (unless we are just doing a switch over), my linens sit in a closet and lose that fresh, just out of the dryer smell. I want them to smell fresh for my loved ones.
    • Set UpBedrooms-
      • Get all bedrooms/sleeping areas set up, complete with towels.
  • Thursday- Grocery Shop
    • Since you have all of your meal planning done, time to make a shopping list, and do the grocery shopping.
  • Friday- Bake and Enjoy Guests Arrival
    • By the day that your guests are arriving all of the heavy lifting is done. If you are up to it, you could bake a little treat for them once they get there. I try to bake based on what my guests like: when my dad comes I always have fresh chocolate chip cookies; for my best friend I have banana muffins. It makes the house smell amazing and it is so nice having a fresh-baked treat after traveling.
    • So sit back, relax and enjoy your guests arrivals.

There is my system. It really helps having it all broken out over the course of the week. Then nothing piles up, and I can still get my other stuff done. You know like blogging, and schooling the girls lol.

What is your system? How do you prepare for guests? Does it make you anxious or do you have it all down?

The Divorce Papers

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Are you looking for a good summer read? Something to read happily by the pool, or the beach for the lucky ones? Are you needing some good chic lit? Then this is for you.

I loved this book!!! While I was worried about the topic of the book, a couple going through a rough divorce complete with a daughter in the middle. It gripped me from the very first chapter, or should I say email. This book is written in a completely different format then every other book that I have ever read. It is written in a series of emails: emails employee to her boss, her boss back; emails to their client, the client back; emails to friends; and a few handwritten letters from a little girl who is very scared in the middle of this story.

The characters in this book are so well written that you feel that you know them. You understand their motives, you understand their thoughts, and most importantly you care about all of them (well maybe not all, there maybe a few lawyers in there that you don’t like). They become your friends, and you need to know what is happening to them.

Back Of Book-

“Twenty-nine-year-old Sophie Diehl is happy toiling away as a criminal law associate at an old-line New England firm, where she very much appreciates that most of her clients are trapped behind bars. Everyone at Traynor, Hand knows she abhors face-to-face contact, but one week, with all the big partners out of town, Sophie is stuck handling the intake interview for the daughter of the firm’s most important client.
 
After eighteen years of marriage, Mayflower descendant Mia Meiklejohn Durkheim has just been served divorce papers in a humiliating scene at the popular local restaurant, Golightly’s. Mia is now locked and loaded to fight her eminent and ambitious husband, Dr. Daniel Durkheim, Chief of the Department of Pediatric Oncology at Mather Medical School, for custody of their ten-year-old daughter Jane. Mia also burns to take him down a peg. Sophie warns Mia that she’s never handled a divorce case before, but Mia can’t be put off. The way she sees it, it’s her first divorce, too. For Sophie, the whole affair will spark a hard look at her own relationships—with her parents, colleagues, friends, lovers, and, most important, herself.
 
A rich, layered novel told entirely through personal correspondence, office memos, e-mails, articles, handwritten notes, and legal documents, The Divorce Papers offers a direct window into the lives of an entertaining cast of characters never shy about speaking their minds. Original and captivating, Susan Rieger’s brilliantly conceived and expertly crafted debut races along with wit, heartache, and exceptional comedic timing, as it explores the complicated family dynamic that results when marriage fails—as well as the ever-present risks and coveted rewards of that thing called love.”

This was one of those rare books, that pulls you right in. I laid in bed, while my husband was working next to me, and I was just going to start it. Maybe read the first few emails, then call it a night. Around 1am, my husband started complaining, saying it was late and to put the book down. I couldn’t. This whole book was read in less then 24 hours and I needed more.

It will have you laughing, it will have you rooting for the lawyer that didn’t want this case, it will have you in tears reading how this affects the little girl.

Monday MakeUp- Love My Ipsy

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I have been so slacking on these updates. I realize that. But it is because I get so excited about them coming, that I rip them open and go play with my samples. Then before I realize it, my samples are no good to take pictures of; thus no post. I will be working much harder to contain my 2-year-old response to ripping open packages and playing. It is a perfect monthly present, and one that we will actually want. Not that other monthly present.

Ipsy if you are not familiar is a monthly beauty subscription service. You will get between four and six samples each month (and some months you get extras). Sample sizes can be any where between a foil, at the counter type sample, to a full size item. This month I got almost all full sized items! YEA!! Each month, not only do you get all these samples, you get a reusable makeup bag. That is what set this service apart from the rest. We use those bags for everything and anything. And best part it only costs $10 a month.

Lets get to the exciting party, my June bag was full of all kinds of goodies:

  • Lipitide 24/7 Lip Stain- This came as a full sized item; and the color pay off is great, it lasts forever, and doesn’t dry out my lips (although I still put Chapstick on top of it). But I really don’t like the actual color. I am just not into the bright, Barbie pink color. Guess I am getting old.
  • Trestique Mini Eyeshadow in Kona Coffee- Another full sized item! I am loving this crayon, it is super portable, easy to use, stays put, and the color is amazing (dark coffee color, hence the name). You could probably use this all over your eyes, but I use it as a thick eyeliner.
  • Smashbox Photo Finish Primer- I have gotten this a few times now, while most people complain about getting the same sample over and over again, I am thrilled to get it again. This is hands down the best primer on the market. Smashbox has a full range of primers, and they all rock! A must try for sure.
  • NYC Liquid Eyeliner- Another full size one! I am terrified of liquid eyeliner, especially black liquid. This one comes in a pen form, and has really great reviews about being able to glide along the lid. Now most of those reviews are from twenty-somethings without any wrinkles or extra skin on their eyelids, so we will see.
  • BioRepublic Fiber Masks- Yea for more full sized products! Gotta admit I am so excited to try these. They come as a face sheet; ie nothing to scrub off or try to peel off once the timer dings. Makes for using masks super easy. They came in a pack of three: Aloe Rescue (revitalizing), Green Tea Detox (purifying) and Cucumber Breeze (soothing). Update- I have tried these and they left my skin AMAZING!! They are a must have for EVERYONE. Do yourself a huge favor and check them out here.
  • Last but not least the bag- This is the best part for me, I love their bags. The girls and I fight over them every month; they use them for toys and purses, I use them to organize my makeup and jewelry. This month bag is right up there with some of my favorites. It is an all black bag with a pop of orange for the zipper. The feel is almost a spongy type material. Very cool!

This month I way more product then the $10 that I spent. Very happy with it!

Do any of you guys have an Ipsy subscription? Do you like it? If you don’t have one, is this something that you would pay $10 a month for? What do you think of the samples?

The Dilemma.. Tween MakeUp

Tweens and MakeUp

It seems that every year, the age for acceptably wearing makeup is getting younger and younger. I remember a time when it was frowned upon for anyone younger then high school to wear any makeup. And now it seems like girls in elementary school are wearing some form of makeup every day, to school. It seems that the question to be asking would be, “Is it okay for a tween to be wearing makeup and if so where/when is it appropriate to be worn?”.

Most of our girls are not in beauty pageants (don’t get me started on those and the amount of makeup they have young girls wearing to complete), so there are many reasons to keep young girls from wearing it. In today’s world, it is our job to help keep our kids kids for as long as possible. The media, tv shows, their friends, have such a push to grow up (and wearing makeup is a step in growing up); we as parents should help our girls enjoy being little girls. There is no reason for a tween to be in a full face of makeup, making her look like she is 17. That might be getting her attention that she likes, but it will almost always be the wrong type of attention.

On the other hand, there are a few over looked perks of letting your tween wear makeup. I consider a tween to be an 11 or 12 year old (anything less makeup should be a bare minimum and only for very very special events). At that age, your daughter still thinks that you are cool enough to know what is going on. They still trust you to let them know when they look good, verses wearing to much. They are still at an age where, while starting to branch out and becoming their own person, they still want to be like you. You can take advantage of this; by showing them how to apply it, when it is appropriate to wear it, and when they have applied to much or it is to dark for their age.

My daughter Tink, is one of those tweens that is allowed to wear makeup most days. For me, I decided that it would be okay for a few reasons: fist she wanted to wear it. And had for quite awhile. Second, I wanted her to still be close enough to me to trust that I knew what I was talking about. Trust how I was showing her to apply it, would make her look her best and trust that I would never let her leave the house looking like a clown. I wanted to be the show her how, not some random teenage friend who is trying to figure it out themselves.

So then, what is she allowed to wear and when. Well, my daughter wears makeup just about every day. But before you get on me for letting my 11 year wear makeup all the time, we do online school (I think that if she went to school, in her age appropriate grade level, I would not let her wear it to school) and she is actually in the 8th grade, so when we see friends they are mostly 13 year olds. If it is a typical day (errands, grabbing lunch and seeing a friend), she likes to wear mascara (since her eyelashes are blonde, they are nearly impossible to see), primer (we like Benefits Porefessional, it helps control the redness on her face that she gets from me), and a little lipgloss or a lip crayon. Very natural, very low makeup look, and just focusing on enhancing natural beauty. It’s not a whole lot, but enough to make her feel put together and a little more polished. If we are going out for dinner or charity event, she is allowed to either wear; full eye makeup (shadows, liners, mascara) in any color she likes and a clear lip gloss OR a simple eye (just mascara) and a bold lip (she is a huge fan of red lips). But never both (but many adults can’t seem to pull off both either).

What about you guys, do you let your tween daughters wear makeup? Do you think it is silly for a tween to be wearing makeup on a daily basis? If you only have sons, what are you thoughts when we see a tween girl out and about wearing it?