Category Archives: Fashion, Beauty & Fitness

The At-Home Holiday Manicure

nailed it

Christmas time is here.  And all things festive are in full swing.  Lights adorn windows and outdoor cedar trees.  Wreaths dress shutters with red berries in full circle too. Our world lights up in honor and adoration for the One who was born.

Yes, you can even find fashion nestling into the holiday season. Crisp apple red wool is announced as city sidewalk shoppers mill in & out of stores bundled in coats & scarves.  Deep greens decorate our legs in corduroy or leggings just the same.


And merry can even be found on the tips of fingers too.  Nail salons see a bountiful increase with holiday clients hopeful for a little fingernail festive.  If you’re like me, the budget doesn’t allow for extra frilly splurges in the nail department.  But keeping good record of the green you spend doesn’t have to hinder you when it comes to having great nails.  Allow me to assist you with an affordable at-home holiday manicure!

base tools

The above are the basic essentials to a beautifully done manicure.  The only additional ingredient is about 35-45 minutes of time.  My favorite time to do my nails is right before our family sits down to watch a movie.  This allows ample time for your polish to set/cure decreasing your chances of smudging.  All of these essential products were purchased at Sally’s Beauty Supply.


Make sure your nails are clean before you begin.  Cut and file nails to your desired shape and length.  Use the buffing pad to scuff the top surface of your nails to roughen the surface a bit. Then apply a thin layer of the above base coat.  The trick to a great at-home manicure is applying THIN SMOOTH layers in each step of the application process.


Choose your favorite holiday hue.  The above are some of my all-time favorites.  It’s important to note here that a respected nail brand is another key in a good at-home manicure.  Off brands don’t tend to have the longevity that the more trusted brands do.

Apply 2 THIN coats of your happy shade.  Remember: THIN & SMOOTH.  I start at the base of my nail and work around the outside edges.  Lastly, I fill in the nail center.  You do not have to have a huge amount of wait time between each coat.  I typically wait about 2 minutes between each application.


Alright, ladies.  The above top fast drying top coat is the As in, I’ve tried several top coats in my day and this one runs shop on them all.  It’s about $6.00 at Sally’s.  This needs to be your 4th coat.

  • 1st coat:  base coat
  • 2nd coat: nail color
  • 3rd coat: nail color
  • 4th coat:  THIS TOP COAT

AGAIN:  THIN & SMOOTH, sisters!


Last but oh so not least, I give you my secret weapon.  This acrylic top coat is magical much like Santa’s elves.  It needs to serve as your 5th and FINAL coat.  It IS NOT a fast drying top coat.  This translates into: “Sit still.  Watch the Christmas movie.  Have your kiddos/spouse feed you the popcorn.”

This product is also found at Sally’s Beauty Supply.  It is around $7.00.  And.worth.every.penny.


5 THIN and SMOOTH coats + about 45 minutes = an at-home holiday manicure that will brighten your Christmas spirit without breaking your Christmas budget.


This manicure lasts roughly 7-9 days before MAJOR chipping occurs.  I can easily go 5 days before a I see a single tiny chip. Being a designer by trade has my hands very active in fabrics for pillows and wax for candles.  This manicure lasts through my custom makings as well as the umpteen bajillion loads of laundry not to mention dishes that are on my motherly resume.

So give yourself a treat this holiday and settle in for an at-home manicure while being pampered with being popcorn fed during family movie time. A basket full of these items would also make a wonderful Christmas gift or stocking stuffer too.

From my fingertips to yours, Merry Christmas!


cape 850

Shhh.  In the words of Elmer Fudd, “Be vewry, vewry quiet.  I’m hunting wabbits.”

Nah, guys.

I’m Goodwill hunting!

Last month I came at you with all “Find Your Floral, sisters.  It was sweet and fragrant with super deals on this brilliantly trending print.

This month I’m here to spend some quality time bringing a BIG OLE GLOWY SPOTLIGHT on an accessory highly underrated.  This article of clothing is flowing with spectacular notions of dramatic appeal.  It’s roomy. Leaving space to relax and find comfort while being so.darn.cute.

And it’s simply underestimated.  Why I ask you?  Well, most likely because it sometimes looks like your wearing your bed sheet.

Relax.  Meg’s here.  I have plans to dispel those outdated “Mamaws-sitting-in-rockers with their dentures beside them floating in a cup” mindsets about the cape.  Yeah, I said cape.  Super Moms of the world, let’s “wrap”.

black dress-850

I was gifted this plaid cape from my sweet mother-in-law who hadn’t worn it in ages and just wanted rid of it.  One glance at the Burberry print, and she.was.mine.

black dress stats

I’ve decided to give you further proof in this undercover OPERATION: PLAID CAPE.  It is my hope that this hard evidence will have you climbing into your Granny’s attic to find you one of your very own or perhaps dive digging and rack shuffling in my good ole G-dub.

plaid with boots-850

mock turtle

shaw leopard-850


blur 850

Because let’s be honest, we all could use a little happy.  Some comfy room.  Some so.darn.cute. And a place where drama is kindly found & welcomed in your clothing NOT your life.  Can I get an AMEN? Like I said earlier, “Supermoms of the world let’s “wrap”:


operation plaid cape

The Busy Mom’s Favorite Beauty and Makeup Products


I’m excited to share with you all some of my FAVORITE Beauty and Makeup Products! Keep reading for body care products, facial care products and makeup!Read More

Shapewear You Can Live IN


I’ve had seven kids. Did I mention that? Our oldest and youngest are twenty years (yes, twenty) apart! Pregnancy was not kind to my skin… and I’ve got the stretch marks to prove it.  I’m good with it—but still.  If you’ve had a baby, you know what I mean. Over the years I’ve tried a few of the torture devices called “shape wear” and I’ve never been impressed … until now.

Last month, a friend took me consignment store shopping in an effort to freshen up my wardrobe.  After saying goodbye to my mom jeans and a few other outdated items, I was introduced to “Yummie Tummie!”  Hello, new friend!

If you’ve been trying to figure out a way to smooth out your figure without flat-out fainting—then check these out!

It’s shapewear you can live in for more than just a couple of hours.

You’re welcome.




Find your Floral

find your floral logo

People.  I have missed you.  Yes, all 1-2-3-4 of you who left me comments since the last time I was ’round these parts.  And I am back.  For all FOUR of you and the twenty-one million who most likely stalked the page and never left any hard evidence of their lurking.  It’s okay. I completely understand.  I, too, am a lurker.  I scan & peruse all kinds of people’s spaces.  Straight up in my night gown AND with furry teeth.  It is here where I would like to interject the beautiful element of the adjective.  Yes, I lurk.  People’s space, uh huh.  Let’s be more specific. People’s ONLINE spaces. Because the last thing my sweet little East TN town needs is a round-up-to-40 year old woman tip-toeing around people’s houses with furry teeth.

I’m the new gal.  And with this being my 2nd official TBM post, I feel we need a refresher on good ole Meg. I live in East TN.  I homeschool.  I run a custom designing business. I am a writer.  And I am HYPED up on B-12 to make all of the above happen.  I love dancing.  I also outfit 90% of my family’s closets by shopping at Goodwill.  No.  The dancing is not HOW I am able to outfit my family with clothes from Goodwill.  Let’s clean this up.  Because, truly, clarity matters.

I love to shop Goodwill, and I love to dance.  Not related in the least, but both truths equally as important to my innards.

We ready to do this?  Alright.  Let’s!

It is a known fact that floral prints are totally hype-a-docious for the fall.  The aztec prints of early summer are muffling their tones as the easy breezes of autumn are slowly unpacking.  And just who does Fall happen to be pulling out of his cardboard boxes?  FLORAL PRINTS.  That’s what.  The romantical kind.  The hippy kind.  The muted jeweled hues and the electric neon ones too.

TBM floral collage

So I put my Goodwill hunting to the test.  Nah.  That’s a lie.  I didn’t. See?  Clarity matters, dear ones. Truth?  Our family is on a strict budget.  We stick to it as best we can.  Why?  Because how else are we going to pay all those overdue public library book fines?  For real though.  We do keep a tight budget.  Hence, the Goodwill shopping.  So, for this fashion exercise, I only used what I currently had in my closet. 95% of these outfits were purchased from Goodwill minus 3 of the pairs of shoes & one pair of skinny jeans & a pair of shorts.

Below you will see how the above ensembles faired when they magically became 3-D.

TBM white jean floral

White skinny jeans: Old Navy clearance. $6.46

{SCOFF & GASP}  Yes, I am wearing these bad boys after Labor Day.  I am looking at wearing the w-word after this holiday like the good ole comma.  None of us really know where that sucker belongs in a sentence.  So ignorance is bliss, and I am, wearing, white, after, Labor, Day.

  • leopard print peep toes wedges WITH bow:  $1.00 GW
  • mod floral blouse:  $1.99 GW


TBM moccasins

STOP.  Right there.  I have a step mother-in-law who LOVES me.  And she gifted me the moccasins. Straight up for FREE!  She originally purchased them for her, but she didn’t enjoy them like she thought she would, so VOILA! 

  • shorts:  $.50 yard sale
  • navy & white striped tank:  $1.99 GW
  • floral button up:  $2.25 GW


TBM red & yellow

  • skinny jeans:  $7.99 GW
  • nude pumps:  $19.99 TJ Maxx
  • Ralph Lauren cable knit lemon sweater:  $2.25 GW
  • red & white floral button up:  $1.00 GW


TBM yellow & gray

  • mustard floral peasant blouse:  $2.25 GW
  • black crop jeans:  $3.50 GW
  • gray vest:  $1.00 GW
  • mint slim belt:  $2.50 GW
  • mustard booties:  $19.99 online purchase from Shoe Dazzle


find your floral title 850

I did it. I found my floral. Now if East TN would ever so kindly find the temperature dial and begin to ease in that breeze otherwise known as “less-than-95”, I would be ever so gracious.

Now it’s your turn.  Whether it’s the happening floral prints of now or someone’s deceased Mamaw’s assortment of holiday handcrafted puff paint sweat shirts, Goodwill is waiting.  It’s best you get there.  You just NEVER know with fashion. First aztec prints.  Next florals.  Then BAM! Puff paint.  You snooze you lose, people.  

Until next time!

.mac :)

Heidi St John Homeschooling Guide to Daylight

Motivated to Move : How to Keep Exercising Through the Hot Summer Months

summer exercise 2

“Bees a buzzing, kids’ll blow dandelion fuzz, and I’ll be doing what tired moms do in summer!!” Sleeping in! Right?! Well, perhaps SOME mornings. Especially on those lazy mornings at the cottage or camp ground when the kids are sleeping peacefully… oh no, wait, they’re dashing around like caged animals at 6:15 because, what’s that?! the sun is up so they’re up?! Good grief, there goes my summer beauty sleep.

Along with our regular daily schedules, another thing that seems to fall to the wayside during the summer is our exercise routine. Oh yes, we figure we’ll have far more time to exercise now because the sun is up earlier and stays out later, or the kids are off at summer camps, or we can take them on our run/bike/walk to the park.

Except, for some reason, it never quite seems to happen that way.

My intentions are always very good to keep my exercise routine going through the summer. But the reality is that we all stay up later, the kids are up earlier (thank you, early morning sunshine!), and it’s plain and simply SWELTERING outdoors for most of the day. The LAST thing I want to do is step outside at 6 am for a run and melt in the heat before I’ve even made it past the front steps.

hot summer months and exercise

So what’s a hot, tired out and really still very busy mom to do in order to stay motivated to move in the summer? Here’s what helps me:

1. Get a goal

I’ve been running since April 2013. I never thought I’d EVER become a runner, but through prayer and determination, plus accountability, I’ve done it! Now I want to KEEP on doing it.

However, running is not my exercise of choice. I’d much rather do cardio or strength training. So in order to keep at it, I need to set a goal. For me, it’s a 10k race at the beginning and end of summer, then perhaps another one in the mid-Fall. Having those goals and dates in mind helps me keep training and running, where I might easily fall off that wagon.

2. Get accountable

Accountability, AKA POSITIVE peer pressure is one of the best motivators! Have someone you can workout with, either in person, or in a group online. Having someone else to answer to for your exercise goals, and vice versa, is a great way to stay on the health track.

3. Get the kids active!

Instead of driving to the park, get everyone on their bikes, rollerblades (they’re still cool! :D) or walk together. Find a bike park and while the kids ride in circles, take a few laps around the outside track.

Meet up with friends and take a hike on some new trails you’ve never explored before. Join in the practice or learn a sport with your kids.

4. Get inside

If it’s just too hot to be running, biking, walking or whatever else outdoors, retreat to the basement with your favourite workout program. There are plenty of good workout videos on YouTube or Fit Sugar to keep things interesting. Or, find a friend who has a treadmill or stationary bike that you can use when it’s too sweltering outside.

5. Get with the program

Along the lines of setting a goal, using a “timed” workout program is a great way to keep exercising through the hot summer months. By “timed”, I mean something that is 6, 9 or 12 weeks long. Some great program options I’ve used in the past are Slim in 6, T25, and P90X (INTENSE!). The next one on my list is 21 Day Fix, which is definitely a reachable goal and something I can continue to do throughout the rest of the year.

6. Get some sleep

Yes, this is one of the biggest challenges we can face when it comes to exercise ANY time of the year. Getting enough sleep. Or rather, NOT getting enough sleep.

When we get to bed to late or our sleep is restless, then we tend to want to linger in bed longer or find we’re lacking energy throughout the day. How do we fight it? First of all, start turning off electronic devices at LEAST an hour before bed. Your brain needs time to wind down and won’t register sleepiness if artificial light is present (read more about getting good sleep and becoming a morning person). 

Now it’s your turn. What is YOUR goal for exercise this summer? How are you staying motivated to move through the hot summer months?


Find more from Lauren in her Author Box below!

Heidi St John Guide to Daylight

The Good Hunt at the Second Hand Store

head shot-TBM.png

Um, hey.  I’m the new girl.

You and I are gonna really become best friends.  I just know it.  There’s something kindred happening here.  Can you feel it?  Picture it. Us vacationing together, swapping our Great Aunt Louvina’s corn chowder recipes and maybe, just maybe, getting like a matching henna type tattoo together. What’s that?  You don’t have a Great Aunt Louvina?  It’s fine. Totally, it is.  No seriously, it’s okay. I don’t like corn chowder. See? Good friends meet in the middle. But we’re square on the matching henna tattoos, right? Nothing permanent.  Just a little quasi-twinsie ink.

Aw, yeah, baby.

I am here to talk to you about finding the look for less.  I know what you’re thinking. She’s gonna go all coupon binder on us.  Next thing you know we’re gonna have to buy like eleventy-three hundred extra Sunday papers.

Sisters, please. A good friendship begins with honesty.  Does this computer screen look like the mother who coupons?  

computer screen-TBM.png

Wanna go ahead and pinky swear promise on that henna ink now? I’m thinking a tiny flower.  Maybe with a little  overlay “BFF” in script font.  What?  You still need time to decide.  No sweat.  Good friends are not only honest, but they’re patient, too.


Where was I?  Oh, yes.  The look for less.  I am living proof that there is joy in goodwill.  In doing something one louder for others.  In seeking that same fantastic inside yourself. And in remembering just who put it there.  God’s purpose is goodwill. Grace handing and son sacrificing. What he has created in us is worth hunting for.

You need to know my spiritual gifts are teaching and exhortation.  He planted in me the art of instructing all while waving pom-poms wildly in.your.face shouting, “You can do it!”  {I’m not gonna ask just yet, but I am thinking a tiny flower with some scripty-font is all you can think about right now, huh?}

And I just so happen to be extremely frugal.  We can thank a husband who proudly {and quite handsomely if I do say so myself} serves as a public English teacher and head football coach for that. We can also thank homeschooling.  So my presence up in house is to move your closet more towards happy and your wallet more towards…well let’s be honest…less empty.

The above is just a tiny sneak peek at what’s about to go down in your wardrobe, ladies.  You will note 15 outfits.  Completely fashioned and ready for wear with 90% of the articles coming straight from Goodwill.  Consider me your lead dog.  I am like the coonhound of frugal fashion. My sniffer is well trained and seasoned to the trail. It’s time we load up and catch the look for less. But first.  About that henna tattoo…

.mac :)

See more about Meghan in her AuthorBox below!

Heidi St John Guide to Daylight