I am very low maintenance when it comes to my hair. So low maintenance, I’m writing you in a dirty ponytail that hasn’t been washed since Saturday. Effortless hair is what I go for …and I’ll hold onto it for days, until I reach, well, this point (dirty ponytail).

The Brunette Blend-Effortless Hair Three Products One Tool

Recently, I read an article that was written about the hairstylist who invented “The Rachel” from Friends. Michael Canalé shared the next big thing is to “embrace your natural hair.” According to well+good, he believes the next hair trend is working with your natural texture and hair pattern. COUNT ME IN.

Three hair products + one tool helped me achieve this mega easy, effortless look.

Our hairstylist turned me onto three amazing Aveda hair products that are lightweight, yet provide hold. A heat protectant, styling mousse and a hairspray. BTW: nothing is sponsored, I’m genuinely loving these products and all they have done for my hair + scalp.

The-Brunette-Blend-Effortless-Hair-Three-Products-One-Tool-Aveda

Step by Step: Effortless Hair


O N E | apply small amount of damage remedy™ daily hair repair focusing on the ends.
This is a leave-in treatment that protects against heat and breakage.

T W O | apply 3-4 pumps of phomollient™ styling foam focusing on the roots. With a wide-tooth comb, comb through hair to distribute product.

T H R E E | blow dry while running fingers through your hair to achieve the most natural curves of your hair.

F O U R | using a curling wand pointed down, wrap sections of hair outward (away from your face). I like to alternate to create a less than perfect curls.

F I V E | spritz air control™ light hold hair spray in short spurts. This will make the hairspray come out more concentrated and provide a better hold (thanks for the tip, Monica!) This hairspray doesn’t make hair sticky or crunchy and allows you to build without creating helmet hair.

It never hurts to shake hair + lightly comb through to loosen curls.

The Brunette Blend-Effortless Hair Three Products One Tool-2

Chat soon,
The Brunette Blend-Samantha-Signature

We are now entering fall wedding season. For me that meant bye baby pink dress and BYE SHAVING MY LEGS. I wanted something different, yet classic. So I opted for a jumpsuit. To be more specific, a $14.99 jumpsuit. A ruffled, off the shoulder, straight black jumpsuit. It was a blank canvas.

The Brunette Blend-GRWM Wedding-Samantha Boots

For this look, I wanted sleek with subtle pops.

First things first… the smile.

The Brunette Blend-GRWM Wedding-Smile Brillaint

You know I’m pretty psycho when it comes to my teeth. Before hair and makeup for an event, I pop in my custom teeth whitening trays from Smile Brilliant for a little touch up. If you remember an earlier blog post, you know Smile Brilliant helped cut through the coffee stains on my teeth. Today its a perfect tool to amp up the smile wattage while I do my hair and makeup. You can find more of my whitening tips HERE.

Hair

I don’t know about you, but anytime I need my hair to look good, it turns into a frizzed mess. Taking this into consideration, I opted to do straight hair with a little lift. This would bring in the sleek style element as well as look good behind my shoulders so you could see the jumpsuit in its entirety.

The Brunette Blend-GRWM Wedding-Aveda Hair Products

I only used three products on my hair: Aveda Damage Remedy Daily Hair Repair (heat protectant), Phomollient Styling Foam (hold + volume) and Air Control Hairspray. I’ll do a separate post on these products, until then, our hair stylist made my a convert. LOVE!

I blew dry my hair with a round brush and went over with a straightener. Then finished with a few spitz of hairspray. Done.

Makeup

Here is where the pops come in. Bright red lip and long lashes. I didn’t switch up my makeup routine here. The only difference was add a little more mascara. My only rule I implement: if I wear a bold lip color, I don’t wear eyeliner. Natural and effortless is what I wanted.

The final look with my husband accessory (don’t forget to take out your whitening trays!)…
The Brunette Blend-GRWM Wedding-S and G

This was hands down one of my favorite wedding looks. It was super minimal and easy to execute. Bonus, I felt like it blended in nicely, but still has some uniqueness. Once again, you know I love a classic with a twist. This twist had pants.

Chat soon,

The Brunette Blend-Samantha-Signature
This post was sponsored by friends at Smile Brilliant. As always, all opinions and love for products are those of The Brunette Blend.

I tried HGTV’s Flip or Flop star, Christina El Moussa’s favorite black bean brownies. After the first batch, here is how we felt about them…

The Brunette Blend-I Tried Christina El Moussa's Favorite Black Bean Brownies-View 2

If you’re an HGTV lover or someone that just pays attention to the media, you know of Christina El Moussa from Flip or Flop. Successful, worth $$$ and looks fabulous. Blah, blah. What really interested me was that this girl ate brownies. Sometimes she ate them for breakfast, sometimes she’d eat them everyday, she feeds her kids brownies. (I really like chocolate) and she looks healthy and strong and based on the brownies, she doesn’t deprive herself. I want to be healthy, strong and eat brownies. I click to learn more.

Plot twist, the brownies are BLACK BEAN brownies.

PART 1:
Make brownies + initial reactions:

The thought of black beans in something sweet may sound dangerous, exciting, odd or if you’re Grant, disgusting. I teetered on exciting and odd. I had everything to make them, so why not? PLUS, I could try to trick Grant into eating them. Christina doesn’t tell her kids about the secret ingredient. I don’t have kids to trick, so husband it is.

Black Bean Brownies

recipe found on delish.com


The Brunette Blend-The Brunette Blend-I Tried Christina El Moussa's Favorite Black Bean Brownies-Delish Recipe

The brownies took me about 20 minutes from start to finish and I was taking a bite a half hour in. As someone who loves chocolate and is an avid hater of foods pretending to being other foods, I WAS LOVING THESE BROWNIES! They were simple and great with minimal ingredients. 10/10 would make them again.

PART 2:
deceive your partner, children, roommate, WHOEVER:

While I was really proud of my decoy brownies, I offered brownies to Grant multiple times. “Don’t you want a brownie? I made them from scratch. I LOVE them. Here, take one.” These should have been clues. I never make brownies, nor do I avidly offer them at home. Four days post brownie bake, Grant tried ONE.

One brownie for him is like a fish on land taking a sip of water and being like, “I’m good.” It doesn’t happen. If there are brownies, there is more than one casualty. I knew he didn’t like them, but he was being supportive and said he did. After continuous pressing, he told me it had a taste. I shot back, “a beany taste? 😏” bottom line, Grant didn’t care for them, he prefers boxed brownies.

The Brunette Blend-The Brunette Blend-I Tried Christina El Moussa's Favorite Black Bean Brownies-Delish Recipe brownies

I shared with my mom and brother and got positive feedback.It’s chocolatey and doesn’t taste like beans. It was also said it would taste great in ice cream. The only thing? It is missing the flour texture. Makes sense. There is no flour in this recipe and most likely why G wasn’t a fan.

Just like everything in life, some people are going to like it and others may want to spit it out while you’re not looking. However, i highly encourage trying these brownies. Great taste, easy to make and fun to trick your husband with. At the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about, right?

Chat soon,
The Brunette Blend-Samantha-Signature

Make Up For Ever Ultra HD foundation is providing color matches for unique coloring. No makeup-makeup has never looked so good.

The Brunette Blend-No Makeup-Makeup Look Has Never Looked Better feat. Make Up For Ever Ultra HD-R210 Foundation

Foundation is relatively new for me. I never saw my mom use foundation, I used it incorrectly all throughout college (probably because my mom never wore it) and then I’d pick an incorrect shade for my fair skin (in my mind I had an olive/tan tone- ha!)

Our skin colors are so unique. There isn’t just light, medium and dark anymore. I can’t tell you how many times my “light” foundation was just a little too warm. Colors have undertones that give us all our beautiful + individualized shade. I didn’t actually put the two together until I was introduced to Make Up For Ever’s Ultra HD foundation.

The Brunette Blend-No Makeup-Makeup Look Has Never Looked Better feat. Make Up For Ever Ultra HD-MUFE Line Up

{Source}

When a stubborn blemish was hidden without concealer, I knew the Make Up For Ever Ultra HD worked its magic.

With 40 shades to choose from, you can choose your perfect shade. I have some pink undertones in my coloring, so I went with R210 and let me tell you, it is quite the match. So much of a match, it looked like I wasn’t wearing makeup- a stubborn blemish was hidden without concealer, so I knew it worked it’s witchcraft.

When it comes to makeup, I like to make it as naturally looking as possible with a bold lip (reaaaallly red) usually. This requires minimal product + some trial and error techniques. The techniques make ALLLLL the difference.

The Brunette Blend-No Makeup-Makeup Look Has Never Looked Better feat. Make Up For Ever Ultra HD-R210 Foundation Look

The Make Up For Ever Ultra HD foundation is $43 dollars, which is pricy in my book, but I truly think the quality + size your getting is worth it. PLUS, 1-2 pumps goes a long way paired with one little trick I’ve picked up.

Put the foundation directly on your face: obviously it’s going on your face, but instead of picking it up on your makeup sponge, take your finger + dot the foundation your face. Then you can take your damp (water or facial oil) makeup sponge + dab and blend. You’re no longer soaking up so much product on your sponge, you’re instead dabbing it directly onto the surface you want it to be on.

I’ve been pairing this foundation + technique for a few weeks and could not be happier with how my makeup has been looking. As of right now, Make Up For Ever Ultra HD is my first choice for foundations for naturally looking and build-able coverage. The chances of me getting another bottle when this one is out is HIGH x36636382.

Chat soon,
The Brunette Blend-Samantha-Signature

This complimentary product was provided by Influenster + Make Up For Ever. All opinions + thoughts are those of The Brunette Blend.

Thrift stores are great places to find budget-friendly clothing pieces, but can be overwhelming. We’re sharing tips + insights on what to look for before purchasing to make sure you go home with a great item.
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On Instagram I shared a little snap of an amazing button down. As promised, I’m sharing the details of the under $20 outfit:

Tie Trousers: $15 at TJ Maxx
Lands’ End Button Down: $5 found at a thrift store

(this sounds like a credit card commercial…just go with it.)

Whoa, whoa, WhOA! $5 for a killer button down? Yes, you read that right. An amazing thrift find.

The Brunette Blend-Tips for Scoring the Best Pieces at Thrift Stores-Samantha Boots

However, I can’t take credit for the find. Some of you may or may not know The Mighty Jane. The Mighty Jane is my mom and she is truly mighty. She’s a costumer, choreographer, one of the best Jazzercise instructors and the creator of all things delicious. I find myself thinking, “Is there anything she CAN’T do?” She can’t install a printer, but other than that she pretty much owns everything she does.

“If you see something you like… Buy it! If you don’t, there’s a 95% chance it will not be there the next time you come in.”
– The Mighty Jane

One of her hidden talents is the ability to score great items at thrift stores. I’m not kidding, she is like a MAGNET. She was kind enough to share some of her tips with us today! Without further adieu, I present The Mighty Jane’s Guide to Thirfting (Clothing Edition). If you like thrifting furniture, don’t worry. MJ has you covered in a future episode.

The Mighty Jane’s Guide to Thirfting (Clothing Edition)

-When buying clothing look for wear at the neck, at the elbows and at the cuffs.

-Make sure all the buttons are there, that zippers & snaps work, and that there are no holes or stains on the item.

-Many times you will find clothing that has never been worn & has original sale tags on it. You should still check for stains.

-Bring a tape measurer (she stands by this one). Vintage clothing is sized differently than today’s sizes. A chest, waist and hip measurement will help you decide if a piece of clothing is likely to fit if there is no fitting room.

-Reinvent a piece. Don’t be afraid to cut jeans to make shorts. Get creative!

The Brunette Blend-Tips for Scoring the Best Pieces at Thrift Stores-Shoulder View

Want to hear more from The Mighty Jane? Let us know! From style to theater auditions, she has some serious insight. Good luck thrifting + please, please, PUHHHH-LEASE share your finds!

Chat soon,

The Brunette Blend-Samantha-Signature

If you haven’t noticed yet, the blog has taken the slightest of creative turns.

Instead of hosting a lifestyle blog, The Brunette Blend has become officially a hub for beauty + personal style (from clothing to your mantel)! For the most part, this is what I regularly blog about. Its also the two topics I receive questions on the most, so this feels like a natural spot for The Brunette Blend to be in. This blog and the people that are kind of enough to read it (thank you!) drove us here. I’m excited for this and hope you are, too! If you want to learn a little bit more about what to expect, check out the updated About Me page HERE. Bear with me while I do some redecorating with the tabs on the site 🙂

Now on to the post!

The Brunette Blend-New Direction + the Latest in My Makeup Bag

There are a few new members in the makeup bag that I’m loving already! Two face based + two LASH MASTERS.

Hoola Matte Bronzer
I’ve tried this in the past when I was 5 shades too orange from a spray tan, but just recently found out how much punch it packs! In my opinion, a matte bronzer allows for a more natural, sun kissed look opposed to one with shimmer. This bronzer provides a great, natural looking color. Since this bronzer is highly pigmented, you want to apply with a light-hand and build onto the color to get the shade you’re going for.

Hoola Quickie Contour Stick
I AM LOVING THIS LITTLE THING! Its a cream to powder formula that adds color and sculpts. I usually do a light contour to add color to my face and it forces to me to not fall back into old habits and go over board on bronzer. This contour stick makes it easy to sculpt and bronze, its also super mess-free. Just apply and blend with a brush. I’ve been using this solo for a few days and its really warmed my face and lasted throughout the day. I think I’ll get a full size when I’m finished with the mini.

I LOVE getting travel sizes of product to try before spending money on a full-size. Snag a mini Hoola Bronzer + Quickie Contour Stick in the Bronze n’ Sculpted kit. It also comes with my favorite highlighter.

Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara
This mascara is really impressive at only $9. I saw dramatically longer + fuller lashes when using this. If you saw my Instagram story, you saw the difference after a few coats. No primer, just the mascara. This mascara is definitely a repeat purchase and can be found everywhere from makeup stores to Target.

Superhero Mascara
You’ve seen in other posts that I REALLY like it Cosmetics. Their mascara did not disappoint. Once again, if you saw Insta stories, you saw the difference! It did a great job of lengthening and making my lashes appear fuller, which I loved! Bonus is that it comes in a travel size so you can try before you commit, however, you won’t be disappointed if you get the full tube.

P.S. The Mascara Master List has been updated! Check it out HERE for the scoop on more mascaras.

What is the latest in your makeup bag?

Chat soon,

The Brunette Blend-Samantha-Signature

I’ve always had this thing for jean jackets. It started when I first found my mom’s denim jacket in the downstairs closet growing up. To say it was 80’s would be an understatement. It was oversized x2, light washed and decked out in sparkly pins. I can still remember this one pin DECKED OUT in rhinestones, the metal was so sharp. It was more of a decorative weapon than anything. Regardless, I thought it was the coolest thing.

The Brunette Blend-Jean Jackets Aren't Going Away - Your Forever Staple Piece-Samantha + JCrew

Why the brief walk down memory lane? To get the point across that jean jackets are forever in style. Sure, their style may fluctuate, but the denim stays. My mom’s was approx. 5 times too big for her and mine growing up was, well, cropped. Flashback to circa 2006: cropped jean jackets paired with a laced cami and maybe some flare jeans or jean skirt. Don’t forget the Uggs! Thankfully any potential, future children won’t come across a tiny, baby sized jean jacket in the closet. I tossed it out with my Kelly Clarkson chunky highlights years ago (#MissIndependant).

Trends are pretty much recycled, so we can safely call jeans jackets a staple.

Now that I’m older, wiser and own a full size jean jacket (adult status), I realize trends are pretty much recycled and I can safely call a jean jacket a staple. Its a staple that will be following me from season to season. I’m serious. I’ll sweat in it in the sumer. Fashion before function, baby. JK. ITS ALL FUNCTION.

Jean jackets are SO versatile. Pair it with dresses, shorts, rompers, jeans, leggings, etc. It effortlessly ties any look together. I’m all about an in between wash– not too dark and not too light to go with more items in your closet.

I’ve rounded up 5 FABULOUS jean jackets below that dip into a variety of (reasonable) price points:

Old Navy ($37) –

Shop HERE

The Brunette Blend-Jean Jackets Aren't Going Away - Your Forever Staple Piece-Old Navy

J.Crew ($138- or hit up an outlet) –

Shop HERE

Loft ($69.99) –

Shop HERE

The Brunette Blend-Jean Jackets Aren't Going Away - Your Forever Staple Piece-Loft

Blue AGE ($27.99) –

Shop HERE

The Brunette Blend-Jean Jackets Aren't Going Away - Your Forever Staple Piece-Blue AGE

KUT from the Kloth ($74.50) –

Shop HERE

The Brunette Blend-Jean Jackets Aren't Going Away - Your Forever Staple Piece-KUT from Kloth

Tell me. Is there some denim in your closet?

Chat soon,

The Brunette Blend-Samantha-Signature

Red lipstick is currently my jam, MY JAM, I tell ya! I’m in LOVE. I love how bold it is, the pop it brings to a natural look and how it can transition from day to night. Its like the bow on your beautifully wrapped package.

I’ve rounded up my top 5 favorites for the summer. Number one has been on SERIOUS repeat.

The Brunette Blend-This Summer's 5 Best Red Lipsticks-Red Lip Classic

Wearing ‘Love That Red’ by Revlon

The Brunette Blend-This Summer's 5 Best Red Lipsticks-Red Lipstick Lineup
{Source is PatsyFox.com}

Top 5 Favorite Red Lipsticks

Revlon’s Super Lustrous Lipstick in Love That Red

NYX’s Matte Lipstick in Eden

Sonia Kashuk’s Moisture Luxe Tinted Lip Balm in a Tint of Red

Neutragena’s Moisture Smooth Lipstick in Classic Red

Covergirl’s Colorlicious Lipstick in Hot

The Brunette Blend-This Summer's 5 Best Red Lipsticks-Jean Jackets + Red Lips

Since red lipsticks can be so bold and rich, a few tips are needed:
1. Always remember to line your lips to prevent the lipstick from bleeding and to define lips. My favorite is the Sonia Kashuk Lip Definer in True Red. I use it with all the red lipsticks I own.

2. Fill your lips in with the liner before applying your lipstick. Lipstick tends to run off throughout the day and in between eating and drinking. The liner will hold the color and make sure you’re not walking around with patchy colored lips.

3. Be sure to blot your lips to prevent smearing or lipstick on your teeth (yikes!) Plus, I think it looks a lot better.

4. FINALLY. If you ever find yourself with red stained lips from your lipstick, turn to your trusty…TOOTHPASTE. Toothpaste is a great weapon for removing stubborn stains. With some warm water and a washcloth, you can have fresh + clean lips.

What shade are you rocking this summer?

Chat soon,

The Brunette Blend-Samantha-Signature

Eyebrows. These are big one in my book and I feel like if my brows are off, my whole look + feel is off. We’ve now entered a world where tinting + filling your brows is normal. I have a spot on my left brow that has scarce hair thanks to a tragic waxing incident. Its not horrible, but I’m not always feeling it.

I’ll be the first to tell you, I had NO idea how to fill in my eyebrows. Instead of a pencil, I used…

A few years ago I started filling in my eyebrows. Let me be the first to tell you, I had no idea what I was doing. It was scary. They were awful. I USED BROWN EYE SHADOW. That’s right, forget a brow pencil or any makeup tool DESIGNED for brows, let me take a tiny brush + block my brows. I’d show you a picture, but I’m almost positive I’ve digitally burned them AKA deleted them. I’m sure one will creep up soon.

Anyway, lets move off of the tragedy that graced my face. On a positive note, I learn a few tips and found an AMAZING brow pencil. The Goof Proof brow pencil by Benefit will 100% change your eyebrow life. Note, this isn’t sponsored in the slightest. I just feel the need to spread the eyebrow filling love.

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I originally picked up a travel size of it back in March and only last month did I upgrade to the full size. It was being used pretty much everyday and still lasted 3 months. WIN. It provides a natural fill and with a pointed edge, you can create a great shape. This pencil is a good choice due to its shape, its user friendly and it enhances your natural brow opposed to completely reconstructing it.

It comes in a variety of colors so you can get the perfect shade. I use shade number 3, which is a medium brown.

The Brunette Blend-Your Eyebrow Filling Sidekick-Benefit Goof Proof

Have you tried Benefit’s Goof Proof pencil yet? If you haven’t, go grab a travel size STAT. I promise you’ll be snagging the full size soon enough 🙂

Chat soon,

The Brunette Blend-Samantha-Signature

Switching up the content a little bit today with a get to know me (and blogging) post! I was nominated by Gabriela of I Need More Clothes (could her blog title *be* (*Chandler voice*) anymore relatable?) She has posed 11 questions from personal to blogging.

The rules of this tag are to answer the 11 questions that my nominator asked me, nominate 11 other bloggers and to ask them 11 questions! Without further adieu, let’s start with the first question:

What is your favorite blogging memory?
April 13, 2015. Hitting ‘Publish’ for the very first time! It was exciting, nerve-racking and new. It gave me a place to create and call my own. I sat in a box office during the day thinking up blog names then my childhood bedroom night after night creating the space I wanted. After months, I finally got the courage to to buy a domain name and went full force. April 13th around 8pm, I launched The Brunette Blend and posted it on my Facebook page. Afterwards, I went downstairs to switch my laundry and thought, “I hope I spelled ‘Brunette’ right…”

Here is what it looked like at launch TWO YEARS ago. My has it changed.

What did you wish you knew when you first started blogging?
I wish I had known to start my blog on WordPress.org. I started my blog on a different host that didn’t allow for a lot of customization or tracking. IT was great to get my feet wet, but transferring over a year’s worth of content to WordPress was a pain. If you’re starting a blog or looking to switch host sites, WordPress.org!

Favorite way to edit your Instagram pictures?
My favorite apps to use are A Color Story + Snapseed. I like my images to be bright with a pop of color and a hint of haze.

What is one of your goals for your blog?
One of my goals for The Brunette Blend is to continue to learn to create engaging and interesting content. I never want to stay stagnant.

Who are your favorite bloggers?
I love The Skinny Confidential, What’s Gaby Cooking and The Every Girl.

Do you watch the bachelor/ bachelorette?
Probably one of the few, but I don’t follow along with The Bachelor or The Bachelorette. I think the last one I caught is when Trista chose Ryan Sutter. The year was when it was cool to have chunks of hair in your face. (OMG. Just googled it. It was 2003!) Needless to say, I’m SUPER behind, but like seeing people’s commentary on the show on social.

Favorite show to binge watch on Netflix
Right now I’m REALLY into Charmed. It was one of my favorite shows when it was on. So much so, my friend and I had a copy of The Book of Shadows from Borders. Anyway, started from the beginning when I saw it on Netflix and now we’re here (season 6).

What is your Starbucks order?
Grande cold brew or sweet vanilla cream cold brew. Currently having a problem where everything is too sweet and not enough coffee, the cold brews hit the spot.

Favorite guilty pleasure movie?

Wedding Singer!

What is one fashion trend you wish would come back in style?
Honestly, I don’t think I have one. Plus, I say if you want to rock it, ROCK IT. On trend or not. Chances are it’ll be back in ‘style’ soon enough. You’ll be seen as ahead of the time.

Mac or PC?
Mac, mac, mac! Although, based on the early 2000s, I think a PC desktop is prime for playing the Sims.

ALRIGHT! I now nominate:

Sabrina of The Brunette Ecoholic

Jordie of Pasta & Pearls

Fayrn of Really, It’s Fine

Araceli of Thrill of the Luxe

Abigail of Abigail Kay

Dulce of A Juxtaposed Mind

Savannah of The Trendy Gal Blog

Carly of The Empowerist

Michelle of The Crohnically Blonde

Summer of Summer In Season

Anna of Alive With Anna

Here are your questions:
1. Let’s get this out of the way ASAP. *N Y S Y N C or Backstreet Boys?
2. Has your blog changed directions since you started?
3. Who inspires you to be better?
4. What is one thing you couldn’t live without?
5. What is your social media platform of choice?
6. What is the first thing you do in the morning?
7. What have you learned from blogging?
8. What was the last photo you took?
9. What movie do you quote on a regular basis?
10. What is one of your beauty tips or hacks?
11. What are the three things that ALWAYS make it into your grocery cart?

Chat soon,

The Brunette Blend-Samantha-Signature