How to Make Your Home Look Expensive On A Budget

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Have you ever made a move, had a significant life event, or did you just wake up one day feeling like SOMETHING needed to change?

A friend in Mesa, Arizona contacted me with just such a situation. A family life change meant that she had less furniture than before and after some introspection, she felt like some fresh style could help.

She used her cell phone to take some simple pictures of the spaces that she felt could use the most help. Some words she used to describe her spaces were “dark,” “bare,” “plain,” and “no sense of style.” When I asked about her artwork, though, she said that it was the one thing she loved.

I used the artwork and a quick peek at joyful pictures from her FB page to get a sense for her “subconscious” style.

I used Adobe Photoshop to place the items into her spaces, and, although they aren’t perfect 3D renderings, the sizes and perspectives are accurate enough to give a great sense of what some small changes can do.

Let’s start with her Family Room. The total cost for this makeover is about $500! Art, a buffet cabinet, and a storage coffee table with a lift-up desktop for just $160 create a huge impact for very little money! Artificial plants are a low-maintenance way to add color and class to a room. 4-foot tall potted plants frame the fireplace. Dollar Tree has vases and artificial flowers that can make a great impact. I chose the fill a glass vase ($1) with seashells ($3) and a variety of flowers ($6). See the room from a different angle below.

Original Family RoomRedesigned Family Room

Here is the view of the Family Room from a different angle.
Original Family Room View 2 Redesigned Family Room View 2
The exercise room/office includes a “bamboo look” exercise puzzle mat that will reduce joint fatigue and protect her floors for just $70! Inspirational Vinyl Wall Art is $40 on etsy, but only $27 on Amazon! and Canvas Inspirational Messages will help draw her into this sanctuary for loving on her body. Cling film on the french doors will let light in, and add high style beauty and privacy when she has guests. The bright paint subconsciously reduces stress and increases energy for just $40. Including new exercise accessories, this makeover costs less than $250!
Redesigned Exercise Room

Every parent knows that the kitchen is the heart of the home. This space was one that she just didn’t know what to do with. A 52″ wide kitchen island was $330 on Amazon, but was on sale on Wayfair yesterday for $265! An armoire to hold extra kitchen wares is only $260 at Ikea. Adding some artificial potted trees, seating, and side tables make a great spot for her kids to relax and work on homework while she cooks dinner. The modern blue rug adds high-class look, anchoring the space and tying it into the dining room next door. Amazon is a great way to turn your memories into wall art! A 24″x36″ mounted canvas of one of your pictures is only $40 (if you want editing or want a picture rendered to look like a painting, I do that for $20/image).

Original Kitchen Redesigned Kitchen

Last, but not least, the dining room. This beautiful room is flanked with wall-to-wall windows, yet still felt “dark.” When I asked her about the paint color, she said that it looked good on the card in the store. She hated the rug, though and felt like the colors belonged outdoors more than in a dining room. Drawing inspiration from her decorations, I found a modern rug at Amazon or Walmart for under $200. Painting just 2 walls a lighter blue color actually helps her artwork stand out more and makes the area look larger. Sheer curtains that match the accent walls open up the area. Again, small and simple touches renew this room for under $250!

Original Dining Room Redesigned Dining Room

Original Dining Room View 2 Redesigned Dining Room View 2

Do you like what you see?

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Why I Get Brazilian Blowouts (despite it being harmful)

What’s the big deal about naturally curly vs straightened hair, anyways? Who cares?

Here’s my story. I’ve had curls my whole life, and being biracial, half of my family thought my hair was amazing and “au natural” to wear it curly, while the other half called it “nappy” and encouraged me to chop it off and keep it short.

I’ve always struggled with my hair. Ive always had tangles and breakage, despite my best efforts in keeping up with it. As a model, I’ve been in many hair shows and have had so many hair stylists ruin my hair over and over for money’s sake (One thong I can say with absolute surety is that Rusk brand is NOT meant for curly hair). And on top of that, after giving birth to each of my babies, my hair starts to form into dreadlocks on its own. I have no idea why this happens.

I’ve tried the Curly Girl Method. I’ve tried relaxers, and vegan dyes and trimming my hair every 6 weeks.. and have spent thousands of dollars on hair products. I’m so sick of people swearing by a certain hair product, only to learn it was an affiliate marketing scheme and the product is really expensive crap I fell into the trap of ordering.

I’m sure Brazilian Blowouts aren’t the best for your hair – or your skin. I’ve heard the stories about the formaldehyde and toxins and harsh chemicals you’re likely putting in your hair, but if I were to honestly look at what I want: long manageable hair that does what I want it to, when I want it to, I believe I’ve found the right method for me!

My natural curls are a 3B/3C. Well, they’re supposed to be. In reality, they’re a fuzzy tangled mess. And everyone else seems to know what’s best for my hair but me, right? I’ve heard it all:

“Wear a pineapple style to sleep to preserve your curls” – It tangles the back of my hair.

“Use shampoo and conditioner without sulfates/parabens/silicones.” – Find me one that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.

“Sleep with a satin pillowcase” – All the hair products soak into the pillowcase and into my skin and then I have another problem: breakouts.

“Wrap your hair up before you sleep” – Has anyone found a wrap that’s 1) actually comfortable and 2) stays on overnight?

“Do the Curly Girl Method” – have you seen how many products these ladies are putting in their hair?? Oil, gel, leave in conditioner, mousse, hairspray, some other spritzy blitz crap, I just don’t want all that in my hair! I don’t have 2 hours to get ready for my day, I have a screaming baby and a 4 year old who wants breakfast the minute his eyes open in the morning! Its gotta be tough for these women keep up with their hair and all the gick they shlop into it.. not to mention “diffusing”. And notice how there’s no actual list of stuff to use, everyone uses their own products and no one can really explain one simple method. CGM is flawed because it assumes tangles don’t exist. These ladies don’t spend an hour in the shower each day separating and detangling chunks of “mop”.

With a Brazilian Blowout treatment, I get to keep it simple. I get it done by a trusted hair stylist, use Honest Company brand shampoo and conditioner when it’s time to wash, and the conditioner again as a leave-in for styling. No tangles, no mess, it grows very quickly, and I can wear it in loose curls or straight. So far this has worked very well for me. Yes it’s ridiculous how expensive the BB is, $100 for a treatment that lasts 3-6 months, and shampoo and conditioners are – $10 for a 10oz bottle, but it also doubles as a gentle body wash. Bam, 2 for 1.

Anyone else want to defy the curly girl rules with me and use this method? No? Then please feel free to share products and methods that truly keep it simple for the curly hair and the wallet. Thanks!

~Yours Truly

Get Free or Low Cost Beauty Products Mailed to Your Home

As we all know, beauty comes at a price, of course no one told our wallets that. Isn’t there a way that you can get all of your beauty wants and needs without breaking the bank??? ABSOLUTELY!!! Here’s the scoop on how you can score free or low-cost beauty products without leaving home!

Let’s start with a brief survey:

Do you ever feel like there’s a “love of your life” product out there that you haven’t met yet?
Do you feel lost in a full and complex beauty world?
Are there products you want to try but your budget doesn’t allow you to take that leap of faith?

If you said yes to any of the above questions then a Beauty Box could be the answer to all your hopes and dreams!! What is a Beauty Box you ask? A Beauty Box is a package sent right to your door, filled with a full range of beauty supplies and products for you to try! These supplies and products often come in sizes ranging from Travel, Deluxe Sample, and Full. Some Boxes focus on Luxury items, others cover a full price range, and there’s even a box that puts the focus on eco-friendly, sustainable, beauty care!

Sounds Great! What are some of these boxes and which one is right for me?

IPSY: This one sends you a full range of beauty, hair, and nail care. Sometimes they’ll even throw in fun things like ear-buds! They stick with domestic brands, so if you fall in love with a product it’s close to home! They are $10 a month. If you’re new to Ipsy, go ahead and use this link and avoid being put on the waitlist! I’ll also get points for everyone I refer so don’t hesitate to use this link to sign up! And as you refer people to Ipsy, you will receive free stuff also!

BIRCHBOX: This is a popular one. It’s only $10 a month or $110 for a one year subscription. They also have a $20 box for the Guys! They send out a full price range of products but tend to favor Medium-High.

BEAUTY ARMY: In all other boxes mentioned your products are chosen for you and are sometimes a mystery. While that may be fun and exciting for some, those of us who don’t like surprises and like to be in control will prefer Beauty Army! With Beauty Army YOU CHOOSE what 6 products your $12 a month brings you! You will have plenty of high-end products to choose from and they promise you that at least one (if not more) of your products will be full size!

GLOSSYBOX: Focuses on High-end Luxury products from all around the globe! Some of these products are ones you could never get unless you went to their exotic locations. Glossybox offers a 1 month ($21), 3 month ($60), 6 month ($115), and 1 Year ($220) subscription.

GOODEBOX: This is the Eco-Friendly Box! They put their focus on finding you the healthiest, green, ingredients and make sure each brands Ethics and Performance is top of the line! Sweet deal for $16 a month!

INFLUENSTER VOXBOX (FREE): If you’re social-media savvy and have a strong online presence, this box is PERFECT for you! You get a FREE (seriously, $0.00 cost) box of goodies that sometimes include makeup, hair products, snacks, new vitamins, lotion, body wash, toothpaste, etc. etc. and in return, you write reviews on these products!! You’ll be asked to take surveys in order to qualify for these products and you don’t get them every month but hey, who can beat a box of FREE stuff? Pretty much no one!

There’s also more beauty box subscriptions that I’ve seen online, such as Boxycharm, Sample Society,  and Lusthaveit which range from $20-30/mo for their subscription, and they send 4-7 deluxe samples of beauty supplies, haircare, makeup, treats and some full-sized products. Beautyfix ($50.00/mo) is a little more on the pricey side, but they send even more samples in the mail, and they’re typically more high-end luxury products and treatments. Not to mention FabFitFun!

For more FREE STUFF, you can also send hand-written personal letters to companies via mail and tell them how much you love their products, what your favorites are, and ask for coupons, OR you can tell them you’re looking for a new favorite product and ask if they have any samples they’d be willing to share. Both get you free or discounted stuff! Go ahead and try it! I’ve gotten soooooooooooo many free samples delivered to my house from doing this including maxi pads, energy supplements, lotion/skincare and haircare samples, candy, energy and protein bars, baby wipes and makeup remover cloths, etc.!

Please share this wonderful news! All ladies deserve to look like a Princess and be treated like a Queen!