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Beauty // July 21, 2014

Not every artist uses paper and paint. Some use a guitar or a cupcake tin. Brandy Allen uses a mascara wand. A professional makeup artist to the stars, with clients including model/actress Jessica White and singer Marsha Ambrosius, Brandy Allen uses her passion and her pursuit of all things pretty to make people look as beautiful on the outside as they feel on the inside. Her work has transformed some of our favorite stars and graced red carpets everywhere. Recently, she was featured in Essence Magazine. We caught up with this beauty expert and had her break down some of our favorite celebrity looks.

Makeup Made Easy With Celebrity Makeup Artist Brandy Allen


Brandy Allen: The inspiration behind Uzo Aduba's (Orange is the New Black) look was red carpet ready. Soft neutrals with a smokey eye.

Step 1: Skin
- Prep the skin with an oil controlling moisturizer and a mattifying gel.
- Apply Keyvn Aucoin Liquid Airbrush Foundation and powder the skin lightly in shiny areas.
- Use Iman's Clay Bronzer around the face for a soft glow and highlight.

Step 2: Eyes and Cheeks
- Apply Bobbi Brown 'Charcoal' Eyeshadow all over the lid and around the bottom lash line.
-Add a small wing liner at the top with Stila's 'Stay All Day Liquid Eye Liner'.
- Use Anastasia's Brow Wiz in 'Ebony'.
- Add individual lashes with Loreal Volume Million Lashes mascara.
- Add Bobbi Brown Shimmer Blush in 'Coral'.

Step 3: Lips
-Use MAC's Chestnut lipliner with Viva Glam V lipstick and gloss.


Brandy Allen: The inspiration behind Michelle William's look look was a bright lip with bronzy skin.

Step 1: Skin
- Prep and moisturize the skin.
- Apply Cover FX Full Coverage foundation on the face, this can also be used as a concealer under the eyes and on any blemishes.
- Highlight under the eyes, forehead, nose and chin with Ben Nye's Banana Powder.

Step 2: Eyes and Cheeks
- Apply MAC 'Texture' and 'Bamboo' on the lid and crease, conceal the brow bone.
- Use Anastasia's Brow Wiz in 'Ebony'.
- Add Dior Show Mascara top and bottom.
- Add NARS 'Taj Mahal' blush.

Step 3: Lips
- Finish this look with Maybelline 'Fuchsia Fever 140' with clear lip gloss.


Bandy Allen: The inspiration behind Angela Simmon's look was a classic red lip and bronzed skin.

Step 1: Skin
- Prep the skin with an illuminizing primer (MAC Strobe Cream). This hydrates, preps and smooths the skin with an iridescence.
- Apply Dior Nude Skin with a double fiber blending brush. Conceal any pigmentation with Cover FX Full Coverage.
- Dust Iman's Clay bronzer around the face and on the contour of the cheek.
- Highlight the cheeks, nose and chin with Benefit Cosmetics High Beam.

Step 2: Eyes and Cheeks
- Apply MAC's 'Woodwinked + Teddy Kohl eyeliner.
- Use Anastasia's Dip Brow in Dark Brown.
- Add your favorite lash strip, I used Whip Your Lash 'Fancy' with Younique 3-D Fiber Mascara.
- Add NARS Orgasm blush to the cheek.

Step 3: Lips
- Finish this look with MAC Ruby Woo Matte Lipstick.



Brandy Allen: The inspiration behind Mya's look was a fresh, clean face with minimal makeup. I wanted her to look perfect and angelic.

Step 1: Skin
- Prep the skin with an illuminizing primer (MAC Strobe Cream). This hydrates, preps and smooths the skin with an iridescence.
- Apply Dior Nude Skin with a double fiber blending brush. Conceal any pigmentation with Cover FX Full Coverage.
- Dust MAC's Mineralized Skinfinish as a bronzer to add dimension and glow. On the highlights of the face, add Smashbox's Artificial Light Luminizer.

Step 2: Eyes and Cheeks
- Apply MAC 'Amber Lights' on the lid, 'Espresso' in the crease and Teddy Kohl Eyeliner top and bottom.
- Use Anastasia's Brow Wiz in 'Ebony'.
- Add your favorite lash strip, I used Whip Your Lash 'Fancy' with Chanel Volume Mascara top and bottom.
- Add NARS Orgasm blush to the cheek.

Step 3: Lips
- Finish this look with MAC Snob Lipstick and Viva Glam V gloss.


Published in Beauty

Beauty // May 19, 2014

Beyonce may have “woke up like this” but being cute isn’t as easy for everyone else. Knowing how to correctly apply your makeup, keep up with trends and do it all flawlessly is time consuming. Here are some helpful beauty hacks that will both save you time, and help you put your best face forward.

1. Use Mascara as Eyeliner

In a pinch and only have mascara? Your mascara can also double as eye liner. Take an eyeliner brush and dip it into the mascara. Apply the mascara to the the eye just as you would a gel liner and add some drama to your makeup look.



2. Depuff with Green Tea

Suffering from a few late nights? Reduce under-eye puffiness and redness with green tea. Soak green tea bags in warm water to seep and then refrigerate until cold. Squeeze out excess water and place on eyes for five to ten minutes. The antioxidants and caffeine in the tea will reduce reduce redness and tighten skin.

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3. Use Advil to Zap Pimples

Got a surprise pimple on the day of a big event? Don’t bust out the concealer, use Advil to zap it. Pierce or cut a gel capsule and apply directly onto the affected area. The anti-inflammatory medicine used to treat aches and pains will reduce any redness and swelling caused by unsightly blemishes.



4. Use Toothpaste to Whiten Nails

Are you a nail-color addict? We have all been there where that beautiful dark red has left our nails stained and no amount of nail polish remover can get it out. So how can you change from black to pale pink? Use toothpaste to get stains out of your nails. Apply a small amount of whitening toothpaste to each nail and sit for about five minutes before rinsing off. Do this three times a week for nails to look whiter and brighter.

Bonus: You can also make your own whitening paste by combining 2 ½ tablespoons baking soda and 1 tablespoon hydrogen peroxide.



5. Baby Powder as Dry Shampoo

Late again with no time for a shower but have greasy hair? No problem! That neglected bottle of baby powder is just as effective as any dry shampoo. The absorbing powder will soak up oils that collect in your roots. Sprinkle and massage powder into the roots and blow dry to absorb on the go.



6. Make Your Lipcolor Stay All Day

Hate a great lipstick that is gone before lunch? Make sure your lipcolor stays all day, and has a flawless finish with translucent powder. After applying lipstick, hold a tissue over your lips and lightly dust on some translucent powder over the tissue. This will help set lipstick to last all day.




7. Hand Sanitizer To Combat Shine

Got a mid-afternoon shine? That hand sanitizer in your purse could come in handy. Rub a small amount on shiny areas of your face, especially the T-zone. Besides the alcohol in the hand sanitizer which dries up excess water, there are also other ingredients similar to silicone that smooth like a primer and give your skin a protective coat that lock in moisture, reducing shine.



8. Remove Makeup With Vaseline

Out of makeup remover? Vaseline works just as good as the best cleanser. Put a small amount of Vaseline on a washcloth or cotton swab and rub on to remove stubborn eye makeup, lipstick or mascara.




9. Use a Spoon to Get the Perfect Winged Eye Liner

Want to get the perfect winged look with your eye liner? Use a spoon to help guide you like the photo above. Hold the straight part of the spoon against the outside corner of your eye and trace the line upwards. Take the round end of the spoon and place above your eye and trace until the lines meet. Fill in and smudge to get the perfect winged shape in no time that is even on both sides.


10. Get Soft Lips With a Toothbrush

Your toothbrush can do more than just clean your teeth. It’s also a great tool to exfoliate your lips. Moisten your toothbrush and rub lightly in circles on lips to exfoliate and remove dead skin. Regular exfoliation ensures super-soft lips.


What are your ultimate beauty tips? Leave us a comment or tweet us @MadeWomanMag!

Published in Beauty

Made Mommy // May 19, 2014

I’ll be honest: Setting up my baby’s nursery hasn’t exactly been as fun as I imagined it would be. Living in the land of the expensive San Francisco Bay Area real estate means baby is coming home to a two-bedroom apartment instead of the large, lovely house I imagined I’d have when I started to have children. But alas, we’re working with what we’ve got, and with a bit of organization and planning, our nursery has really come together—just in time for baby girl’s due date.

Since this isn’t our permanent residence, I didn’t want to go overboard and create one of the adorable baby wonderlands I’ve seen on Pinterest. I have a feeling that few moms really do the dream nursery, anyway. Here’s the approach I took to get my baby’s room ready so that it’s still a sweet, cozy space that will meet our family’s needs.

Clear Out The Clutter

Unless you already have an empty room waiting to become a nursery, you’ll likely need to de-clutter your current space to make it baby ready. This is important: Before bringing any new stuff in, get the old stuff out. Make a few Goodwill donations, reorganize your living space and clean out the closet. That way, when all the baby gifts and goodies start accumulating, there will be space for it all and you won’t get overwhelmed.

Paint

If you plan to paint the room or change out flooring, etc., be sure to do it after clearing out the space and before bringing in new stuff. We can’t paint in our apartment, but if you can and want to, this is the time to do it.

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Set Up The Basics

Before installing fancy window treatments, special lighting or custom wall art, be sure to set up the room with the essentials. Usually that means a crib, dresser, changing table (dresser/changing table combo, in my case), a glider, and possibly a bookshelf or nightstand. Once there’s a place for baby to sleep, get changed and be rocked and fed, you can jazz up the space with accessories. Be sure to allow plenty of time for furniture assembly!

Wash Everything

After all the furniture is in, it’s time to wash all the blankets, bedding and baby clothes. Believe me, there’s more to wash than you might think! Be sure everything that is washable and will touch your baby’s skin gets a run through the washing machine before you use it.

Accessorize

Now the fun part (and also the part that I’ve been putting off). Once you have everything in place, washed and ready to go, you can add those finishing touches that give the room personality and pizzazz! I’ve been checking out cute area rugs, handmade art, decorative mirrors and pretty window treatments. I haven’t totally figured out where I want to take the décor, but it’s fun to work through the process.

So, Made mommies and mommies-to-be, what’s your advice? How did you set up your baby’s room, and is there anything missing here that you’d recommend?


Published in Made Mommy

Relationships // May 19, 2014

This is for all the women out there that want it all (myself included): a thriving career, close friends and a fulfilling relationship with a “special someone.” But what’s the problem when you have everything at your feet and the “world is your oyster?” There are simply not enough hours in the day to enjoy and dedicate yourself to everything.

I was inspired to write this piece based on my own personal struggles to have it all. A few years ago, after just moving to LA, I had a few pieces of the puzzle: a promising relationship and a brand-new masters degree from USC—but I didn’t have many close friends and I was just on my way to building a career path.

Fast forward a few years later, and today, I have everything in spades. That promising relationship turned into a marriage, budding friendships turned into close friends and my career became more focused with every step. Granted, I am still working out the ins and outs of how to have (and enjoy) it all, but here are a few tips that have helped me and my marriage along the way.

1. Set Clear Goals and Communicate Them

One of the most important pieces of my life is my relationship with my husband. He is one of my biggest supporters when things are great (and when things go south in other parts of my life). Balancing a demanding career and a relationship (or marriage in my case) means open communication. We frequently discuss what’s happening at work and our goals. I know where he’s headed at work with both his short and long term plans for himself and he knows the same about me. We tell each other what’s going on and during periods of high work volume or unique opportunities, (like a networking event) we allow each other time to take advantage. Frequent communication and discussions make us a team in both home and career.

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2. Keep a Calendar

Juggling so many activities, events and dates is difficult, but making and keeping a clear calendar is key. I have a work calendar of course, but a home calendar is just as important. This way, both of us know when we have a dinner, late meeting or other event without getting flustered at the last minute over a forgotten commitment. A calendar is also a great way to keep track of your goals and check up on progress. If things are super hectic, (especially if you have kids too) you can use Google’s calendar which you can share with your honey.

3. Make a List

I am a big list maker. I love them! Grocery lists, shopping lists, travel lists, to-do lists, it’s part of my process and organization. Make a list of your projects, pending items, goals and specific tasks. Organize them by priority level and due dates. Include items that mean extra time at the office. If you know that you have to put in extra work time one weekend for instance, you might need to schedule your grocery shopping during the week to be able to spend your remaining free time with your partner. Making a list also helps you keep things in perspective and be realistic about your time commitments.

4. Set Work Limits

If I didn’t force myself to “unplug” from work, I would end up working 24/7. After spending too many anxiety-ridden weekends worrying about work, I have learned that you have to disconnect and take a breather. My husband and I have a rule not to check work emails past a certain time at night (or even if I slip up and do, I make a point of not responding until the next work day). Get into the habit of sticking to your “work hours,” whatever those might be and really allowing yourself to enjoy something else.

5. Schedule Dedicated Time

Be it a nice dinner or a day a beach, set dedicated time to appreciate your significant other and make sure that you are only going to be doing that one thing during this precious time. At dinner, don’t check work emails, and at the beach, logout of Facebook. Enjoy what’s in front of you and make the most of moments designated for family, friends and loved ones.

6. Work on Projects Together

As a counterpart to dedicated time, I also like to align my goals with those of family and friends. Chances are, your partner (and maybe even your friends) want to be involved in all the cool things you’re doing. Invite them to a networking event or include your partner in your passion projects.

7. Allow Yourself to Grow

As more things are added to your to-do list, and as commitments grow, it’s also important to know that no one is perfect and everything might not get done each week. There are plenty of weeks where my to-do list is neglected in favor of a movie night on the couch—and that is OK. Allow yourself to make mistakes, learn what works best for you and your boo and where your priorities are. But most of all, invest in things that make you happy. After all, living a fulfilling life is the end goal. Learn how you can get there by experimenting and trying different things.

What are you doing to balance your home and work life? Leave us a comment or tweet us @MadeWomanMag!

Published in Relationships

Business // April 22, 2013 

Whenever I work with clients, I’m a little bit of a party pooper. I’m always reminding them about CAN-SPAM laws and Facebook regulations. I’m not the cool consultant who lets you underage drink at my house and won’t tell your parents. Over here it’s lights out at 10 with a cup of warm milk.

That might not be for everyone, and I totally get that. But it’s my job as a professional to work ethically and keep my clients up-to-date.

And there’s a reason I really like following the rules – because as a consumer, it really irritates me when brands break them! Especially when it comes to email communications. Recently, I’ve received a few emails that I never opted in to receive and that have no way – that I can identify – to opt out. So, my only option would be to send an email directly to the person and hope that she removes me from her list. That’s not cool. It’s awkward and annoying. And, it’s against the rules.

Spamming people does not make them want to buy your product. It does not make people want to refer their colleagues to you. It just makes them mad and then, in turn, makes them passively aggressively write nasty articles about you.

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So, if you’re thinking about sending emails to your clients and prospects (which can be a very effective strategy for some businesses) here’s what you should do:

  • Set up an account with MailChimp. It’s free and very easy to use.
  • Create a list and opt-in form in your new account. You can even add a code on your website and Facebook page to capture addresses.
  • Promote your sign-up form. Publicize it on Twitter, Facebook and in your email signature line. Send personal emails to your contacts asking that they sign up and give them a great reason why (discounts, tips, VIP access…)
  • Generate great content and send it to the people that WANT it.

When you use a service like MailChimp, you are sure that everyone has opted in and that they can easily opt out if the information is no longer needed. It’s a simple and free process and it will actually help build your list beyond people you know personally or have met at a networking event.


Published in Business

Style // January 13, 2014

In dating, as in life, how you show up speaks volumes before you even get the chance to share how witty, smart and accomplished you are already.  So, you have to show up as the best version of you. How can your potential partner connect with you if you aren’t feeling like your most beautiful, confident self?

We may be talking dating and attraction and style here, but the first step for attracting your ideal guy is all about YOU. Your hopes, dreams, career ambitions, lifestyle wants, values, etc. You want a guy (or gal) who complements you, your goals and your lifestyle. Maybe they push you a bit outside of your comfort zone, but in a way that helps you grow.

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Style is not about frivolity. Great style means creating an outer presentation that reflects the inner you. So be clear on your values and WHO you are before you even start to incorporate the following hints and tips to put a little extra polish on your look.

Wear Color

Color influences your mood as well as how other people perceive you. How many times do you get complimented when you’re wearing your favorite hue?

People notice color. Especially in a sea of boring black and white.

Your favorite color actually speaks volumes about your personality. My website has a great, yet quick summary of the meaning of each shade.

Flattering Fit

This is the number one mistake women make. Either their clothes are too big or too tight. Neither is good. Usually, women who want to hide are wearing clothes that are too big so they don’t show their body. Well instead, you’re making yourself look bigger than you are! You want clothes to skim your body and show your shape. You shouldn’t have to tug at a dress to keep it in place, nor should it bunch up in a funny way because it’s too tight.

An easy go-to look if you want to cover a bit, but still look alluring? Skinny jeans + heels + flowing blouse + sexy accessories.



Now when I say flowing, I mean something that really flows. Not a potato sack. You should be able to see your waist and shape, but be forgiving.

Accentuate the Positive

If you’ve got a great bum, rock it by wearing blouses that hit at the hip bone. If you’ve got a great rack, flaunt it (tastefully)! If you’ve got strong legs or arms, show them off!

Dress to accentuate your assets. Every woman’s body is different and there is someone to love every body type. So stop trying to have the tiniest waist or the smallest thighs. Your body is perfect just as it is, to that perfect person. So, work it!

Wear skirts if your legs are your assets. If you’ve got killer curves, focus on fitted outfits that define your waist.

Be YOU

If you’ve got some rock n’ roll in you, let it rock. If you’re the girl who could spend a whole day reading, own your nerdy. If Saturday morning golf sounds perfect, then you may have a bit of prep in your style. Maybe you’ve got a blend of preppy-rock-nerd that is uniquely YOU.

The bottom line is that you can’t try to dress like anyone else. You can go outside of your comfort zone to grow to the next level in style, but do not go out of your comfort zone for the sake of a trend. You have to be you. Bring out the best version of yourself by wearing color, clothes that fit and adding a bit of personality to your style.

You can take these tips and apply them to dating, speaking on stage, showing up for work and in your everyday casual life.  Your personal style should translate across all of these different lifestyle needs. If you’re being true to you, your style can attract more than just love.

Published in Style
Monday, 16 December 2013 04:12

Relationships | How to Break Up

Relationships // December 16, 2013

When it comes to romantic relationships, almost nothing is more anxiety provoking than these two words: break up. It just sounds traumatic, doesn’t it? I guess that’s why we do crazy passive-aggressive things to end relationships instead of just confronting it head-on. Things like: 1. Not answer the phone as much (great idea: make him call you more) 2. Take hours to reply to text messages and hope he gets the hint (because text messages can transmit your internal motivations) 3. Be super busy at work (because it’s super realistic to be working 24/7/365 and never have time to eat or sleep, let alone reply to a text message). Stop the madness! I know this isn’t easy, but hopefully these tips can help you in this process.

  • It may sound trite, but think about how you would want to be treated if you were the one being broken up with. Seriously, though. Would you want someone screaming and yelling at you telling you all the reasons you are a terrible match for them? Or being mean and telling you why the way you chew food is annoying? I would imagine that you would want someone to talk to you and not play the blame game with you. If you feel that the person is not a good match for you, or the relationship is not working out, it is okay to say that. But, it is a good rule of thumb to be mindful of your delivery and tone. (Unless the guy was a raging jerk to you, then, I will gladly write another article on this topic from a different vantage point).
  • Think about what you are going to say. It seems counterintuitive, but you would be surprised how many people initiate a break-up while sputtering out sentence fragments and things that don’t make sense. If you have made the decision to break up with the person, you don’t want to leave room for them to say things like, “What? Can you explain yourself better?” This can open the door to an unintended argument or a conversation that will feel like it is never-ending.

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  • A break-up is not the appropriate time to initiate sex. No, it’s not “Goodbye sex.” It’s not “Well, this is the last time I will have sex with him!” Sex during a break up is confusing for both parties, and it makes things messy. It also makes you look very unsure of yourself and hard to take seriously. If you are so overwhelmed by his sexual prowess, call him rather than ending things face to face.
  • If you care at all about the person, allow them time to share their feelings on the matter. I am not saying let him talk you into anything, but provide some space for him to talk if he chooses to do so. Try not to make the break up a forum for all your reasons why “this isn’t working for me.” All break up’s don’t have to lead into oblivion and be contentious. I am not saying that either one of you will feel fantastic, but feeling not so great is a heck of a lot better than feeling awful and unresolved.

Yes, ending a relationship can be a difficult and delicate situation. But, it doesn’t have to result in you or your significant other throwing things. Good communication can help smooth over the conversation. Do this the right way and you may end up with a friend rather than just an ex.

Published in Relationships
Monday, 23 September 2013 02:16

Health | The Truth About Waxing

Health // September 23, 2013

Your best friend does it. Your little sister does it. Your next door neighbor probably does it, too.

We're talking bikini waxing -- arguably the second most painful thing to happen to our lady parts next to childbirth. Once considered taboo, pubic hair removal is now something we don’t need to "beat around the bush" about; women from all backgrounds are pouring into salons across the country to get their hair down there bikini-ready. However popular the service may be, some of us still have our doubts and haven't yet tried it out. Esthetician Heather Nelson, owner of WAX by Heather Nelson and creator of "The 7 Minute Brazilian Wax," has seen her fair share of inquisitive first-time waxers and answered their questions. In order to debunk the myths and help us to physically (and mentally) prepare for our debut wax, Heather breaks down the top 5 things we need to do before receiving the signature service:

1. EXFOLIATE, EXFOLIATE, EXFOLIATE!

Before you step foot into any waxing parlour, make sure you've taken a nice hot shower and exfoliated the area. "Get down there and scrub all the dead skin away," Nelson says. Warm water opens up pores and regular exfoliating can lessen the likelihood of ingrown hairs and promotes silky, smooth skin.

2. How long is TOO long?

Been a while since your last "haircut"? Don't be embarrassed ladies -- that's actually a good thing! "I get this all the time!” the wax guru says. "Ideally, hair should be between 1/4 of an inch to 3/8 of an inch long. The longer the hair, the easier it is to pull from the root -- as opposed to just ripping at the skin." Don't want to estimate what 3/8 of an inch looks like? Waxing generally lasts anywhere from three to five weeks, so schedule appointments anywhere from four to six weeks apart. Extra incentive: the longer the hair, the less tearing it out hurts!

3. AHA! So it does hurt! Anything I can do to make it less painful?

"Yes, waxing hurts. It's not the most comfortable feeling in the world, but like anything the more you do it, the more accustomed to the sensation you become," Heather states. Think taking a shot will help loosen you up and make the wax easier to deal with? Think again. Alcohol is dehydrating and makes skin more sensitive to pain. Nelson suggests avoiding caffeinated drinks and steering clear of direct sunlight for 48 hours pre wax appointment. She also recommends taking a pain reliever 30 minutes before your service to ease the discomfort of waxing.

4. Brazilian vs. Bikini - What's the Difference?

Brazil has birthed some pretty remarkable exports; supermodel Giselle Bundchen, the Brazilian butt lift workouts and of course, the Brazilian wax. In short, a bikini wax is removing all the hair that could potentially be seen whilst wearing a bikini and a Brazilian wax is umm....all the hair you can and can't see whilst in a bikini. Heather has perfected her waxing technique to accommodate a comprehensive Brazilian wax in seven minutes, so if you are bold enough to go completely bare down there, at least you aren't on the table for too long.

5. Don't DIY

Think you can do a little shaving or home waxing kit touch ups between appointments? It's best to leave the hair removal to the pros. Certified estheticians are well versed in the ways of what works for skin and the most effective ways to maintain it. Likewise, if you have any skin allergies, health conditions or are on any type of topical medications (Accutane, Retin - A, AHA's), let your waxologist know before you book your appointment; certain meds don’t go well with waxing services.

Now you should feel completely at ease about bikini waxing and know what to expect when you do decide to get your first wax. For more information about hair removal by waxing and more expert insight from Heather, click here.

Published in Health
Monday, 09 September 2013 05:24

Lifestyle | Quick & Dirty Guide To Football

Lifestyle // September 9, 2013

It happens on Sunday, Monday and Thursday nights all across America. A typical scene of men staring at the TV, and only coming up for air to grab another plate of hot wings or high-five someone. Expletives get thrown across the room about a bad call from the referee, while you sit quietly pretending you knew that when the the commentator mentioned the “tight end” he wasn’t talking about #54 in those cute little pants. I’ve been in this position before, but fear not, ladies, we don’t have to fake it anymore. For those of us who need a little help, here’s a basic course in football lingo and understanding the game, so maybe next time we can actually join the conversation.

First things first, we have to “tackle” exactly what football is.  The game is played on a 120-yard field divided into 10-yard increments: 100 yards of playing field, and ten yards for each end zone that the players cross into in order to score points.  Football is broken into two sides - offense and defense. OK, class dismissed...yea right, there's more.

How To Score

The way to get the most points at one time is to score a touchdown. Touchdowns are worth six points and happen when the offensive team runs the ball or catches a pass into the defensive team’s end zone. After a touchdown is scored, the team gets to choose if they want to attempt a short kick between two goal posts from the two-yard line for one point (this is called a PAT, or point after conversion) or line up at the two-yard line to run or catch the ball in the end zone, again for two points. This is called a two-point conversion. A team can also score three points by kicking a field goal. This is similar to a “PAT”, but it can be attempted from anywhere on the field. This option is often chosen when it is fourth down and scoring a touchdown is unlikely.

4th & 10, come again? What’s a “down”?

Simply put, a down is a play. The team with the ball has four chances to move the ball ten yards. Sounds easy, but apparently it’s SUPER hard. Each time an attempt to run the ball ends, it’s called a down.  If they get ten yards, they start over with a first down and get another four chances to move the ball another ten yards. Occasionally, you’ll hear phrases like “2nd and 8” or “3rd and 1”.  The first number symbolizes what down they’re on and the second number indicates the number of yards they have left to go. If the team doesn't move ten yards in four downs, the other team gets the ball. If it’s starting to look tricky on the 4th down, the team then decides to either kick a field goal (if they’re close enough) or punt the ball down the field (so it’s farther from their own end zone when the other team gets it).




The Players

Although it looks like a small village, there are only 11 guys from each team allowed on the field at a time. Here are some of them and what their position means:

Offensive Players:

Center: the guy literally in the center of the offensive line. He starts the play by “hiking” (that little squat thing where they pass the ball between their legs) to the quarterback. The passing of the ball is called a “hike” or a “snap”.
Quarterback: If nothing else, we know who this guy is. He’s the one who receives the ball from the Center. Once he has it, he decides if he wants to hand off the ball to a running back, run the ball himself, throw it to another player further down the field or pass it off to someone closer. He’s also the ringleader of the team – he interprets the coach’s plays and can even call “audibles”; a verbal on-field edit to one of the coach’s plays.
Offensive guard: The two guys on either side of the Center.
Offensive tackle: The two guys on either side of the Guards.
Tight end: Plays next to the tackle. (The guards, tackles and tight ends make up    the “Offensive Line.”) Depending on the play called, they will block/protect the QB, block on a running play, or go out for a pass.
Wide receivers: Their job is to get open to receive a pass down the field; they also block on running plays.
Fullback: Primary role is to “lead” block for the running back or protect the QB on pass plays, will occasionally run or catch passes.
Running Back: They run, they block, they receive; they do it all.

Defensive Players

Nose guard: Parallel to the other team’s Center; his job is to rush, tackle the passer or QB and stop or tackle the ball carrier.
Defensive tackle: Linemen that rush the passer or tackle the ball carrier.
Defensive ends: Stops or contains plays that go outside of the defensive line.
Linebacker: Rush the passers, cover receivers, stop the runner, basically they do whatever needs to be done to stop a play.
Cornerback: Defend the wide receivers, tackle the ball carrier.
Safety: Safety position is divided into two categories. There’s the “strong safety” that lines up according to the offensive alignment (i.e. opposite the s tight end), and then there is the “free safety” that defends running and passing plays, generally “roaming” the field, going to where he is most needed (also called “playing center field”).

So there you have it; a girl’s guide to understanding the ins and outs (or x's and o's) of football. There’s always more to learn about the game, like statistics, penalties and play strategies, but that knowledge comes with years of following the game. For our basic understanding for the 2013-2014 football season, just know that the quarterback is the one most girls fawn over and nobody likes The Dallas Cowboys.

Published in Lifestyle
Friday, 09 August 2013 03:38

Style | Should You Hire A Stylist?

Style // August 12, 2013

Having a personal stylist isn’t just for celebrities. Any woman who wants to improve her quality of life personally and professionally should try working with a stylist.

Why? Let’s break it down.

Learning how to dress your body type -- and knowing what’s appropriate for different settings -- will help you dress to impress at any event. This will give you the kind of confidence that turns heads and allow you to be more visible both personally and professionally.

Think about it: if you’re in line for coffee behind a hottie but you feel frumpy in your outfit, would you have the confidence to start a little small talk conversation? Not likely. And who knows where that conversation could potentially lead…

It’s you, only better. If you’re working with the right stylist, they will bring out your inner style;  tweaking what you’ve already got so that it’s still authentic, but much more polished and pulled together.

Why does it matter if you’re more polished and pulled together? Because you lead with your look. Communication is 55% physical and, when you meet someone, you’re making a first impression before you even have a chance to speak your brilliant thoughts. You better take advantage of that 55% and comb your hair, define your waist, add some mascara and shine your shoes!

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Need more convincing? You can actually save time and money when you work with a stylist. Of course, you have to invest in the service. But what you spend on the service saves you time getting ready every morning and makes shopping a more streamlined and fun experience.

If you have a little extra money to invest in yourself, having a stylist shop for you is a transformative experience. Items selected just for you and your personal style are brought to you in the comfort of your own home.

In the long run, you save thousands by working with a stylist since you’ll have clothes you love, that fit better and allow you to create new outfits. Compare this to the clothes you have still sitting in your closet with the price tags on them and it’s a bargain!

To get the most out of working with a stylist, you need to keep in mind that you’re making an investment in your sanity as much as in your style and career (and love life!). Book an appointment or a “style session” first to purge and take stock of your wardrobe. Since many women are overwhelmed by the information they get in the first session, opt for 3 or more sessions over the course of the year. This way, you’re updating your looks seasonally and further integrating all the tools your genius stylist is giving you. Under the tutelage of your stylist, you’ll soon be able to create killer outfits on your own.

The bottom line: once you work with a stylist, you’ll be able to open your closet each morning and decide exactly what you want to wear in five minutes instead of twenty. And you’ll always have something ready for that last-minute special event. If you have the resources, investing in a stylist will take your wardrobe -- and your personal brand -- to the next level. Plus, it’s FUN!

Published in Fashion
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