New Thing: Attempt contouring

contouring for beginners
Each year I make a list of new things I want to try; it’s part of how I live my life on purpose. Some of these new things are exciting, many are terribly mundane.

While the good Lord/DNA blessed me with some pretty amazing stuff – great hair, big lips, a Scandinavian lack of body hair – cheekbones didn’t make the cut. When Amy Schumer said that she had an ‘at risk chin‘ I laaaaaughed because I get it. Turkey neck is coming for me.

So when I added ‘contouring’ to my New Things list, I did it for three reasons.

1. It’s nice to learn new things! I’d like to add another skill to my beautifying tool box!

2. Contouring is a pop culture phenomenon. Do we even know what the Kardashians would look like without it? Is my ladyhood badge going to be revoked if I don’t know how to do it?

3. I was quietly hoping I could somehow draw cheekbones and a jawline onto my face because that’s a lot easier than dieting and/or plastic surgery – neither of which I’m particularly into. #guac4eva

If you’ve never heard of contouring, it’s the practice of using different colored makeup to accentuate the angles of your face. When done correctly, it can slim noses, emphasize jawlines, or create the illusion of cheekbones where previously none existed.

To me – someone who applies $6 bb cream with her hands – contouring is some Next Level Makeupry. I mean, look at this business:

advanced contouring

While I am totally committed to trying new things, I am less committed to investing $45 in contouring makeup that I might never use again. A bit of googling suggested this little beauty for beginner contour-ers, and what luck! It cost $12, wasn’t tested on animals, and was on the shelf at my local Target. Sold.

Let’s talk about the five stages of contouring

1. Denial
“This is what my face really looks like without makeup? I THOUGHT I WAS SO MUCH CUTER THAN THIS.”

2. Bargaining
“Please, NYX Wonder stick, I swear I’ll keep buying you if you can make me look awake. Or least slightly less flu-ish.”

3. Confusion
“And then I draw a line down the middle of my nose? Do I rub this into my hairline? When I draw a white line on top of my cheekbone and a dark line under my cheekbone … which way do I blend them? Into each other? Away from each other? Where is my cheekbone I can’t find it.

4. Acceptance
“Okay! Well, that doesn’t look terrible! It also doesn’t really look that different from what I normally do. Hmmm. Mostly it just looks like I got a tan along my hairline.”

5. Neglect
(perfectly useful makeup tool + skill gathers dust till I remember it before a fancy party and half-heartedly use it again.)

Maybe if I’d gone all out with super opaque concealer and a multi-color contouring kit, I could have coaxed a more dramatic result out of my face. But honestly? I’m pretty happy with my five-minute makeup routine and my pretty average cheekbones.

But I want to know about you! Have you ever tried contouring? What products do you use?

P.S. If you’re curious about my ‘normal’ makeup, I wear this $6 bb cream, this $6 mascara, and this $2 brow pencil. I’m will talk your ear off about Revlon Lip Butter (I’m wearing Candy Apple in the above photos) and if I’m feeling ambitious, I’ll wear this liquid eyeliner.

photo credit: sabrina // youtube

Mornings In: Slovenia

Slovenia beauty routineName: Tanja Jurgec
Hometown: Maribor, Slovenia
Age: 22
Occupation: blogger/full-time Supernatural fan
My alarm is set for 7.00am

Sloveninan breakfast

My Slovenian breakfast:

I usually eat fruit or a light salad; I don’t eat a lot in the morning. A lot of Slovenian children eat Lino Cokolino – particularly the chocolate flavor. Most adults eat eggs or bread and marmalade and – of course – coffee.

A decade ago, a traditional Slovenian breakfast would have been buckwheat or millet porridge or white coffee and bread. There was also polenta that you ate with milk and the still-very-popular butter and jam on bread with tea.

Slovenian beauty routineMy Slovenian beauty routine:

I don’t really wear make-up regularly, but when I do I love Alverde foundation and for eyebrows I ALWAYS use Essence brow pencil. I don’t think I could ever survive without my Essence lipstick in ‘Oh, So Matt!’  When I wear mascara, I love Catrice’s  All Round Waterproof Mascara.

(editor’s note: Essence cosmetics are available at some Targets and I use them and love them! They’re super affordable and cruelty-free!) 

At least twice a week, I will do a face scrub with sugar and raw cocoa, and when I finish I gently apply coconut oil all over my face and neck. 

I’m actually working from home at the moment but when I go to the city, I go by train!

Thanks so much for sharing, Tanja! International Yes & Yes readers, I’m always looking for new Mornings In contributors! If you’re a local (rather than an expat) and we haven’t covered your country – please drop me a line! sarah (at) yesandyes (dot) org.

P.S. My minimalist, 3-product makeup bag!

photo credits: Gilad Rom // coolinarika // jacob’s kitchen // cook republic // Luke Price

True Story: I left Scientology

i left scientology

Guys, this interview is a doozy. I completed it two years ago, but Jeff’s answers were so off the wall, well, I didn’t quite believe them. Then ‘Going Clear‘ came out and I realized that what he’d experienced was actually incredibly common.


Simple Ways To Improve Your Site Navigation (even if you’re not super techy)


Guys, the only thing I know about site navigation is that it’s Super Important. No matter the size of your readership, a cluttered, confusing layout can distract people from your awesome offerings, amazing writing, or gorgeous photographs. Since I don’t know that much about it, I brought in the big guns for today’s guest post over on my small business blog.

If you’d like some incredibly doable tips to improve your site navigation (without bringing in a coder or developer) have a read!

16 Questions That Will Make Small Talk (a lot ) Better

better small talk questions
Here are some real, actual small talk questions I’ve used lately:

1. “So, who are you guys using for your taxes this year?”
2. “What’s your deductible like with Health Partners? Is there a co-pay?”
3. “What sort of productivity tools are you using? What’s your on-boarding process for new clients?”

Did you just give yourself a migraine from eye rolls? Are you thinking “Wow, I thought Sarah seemed cool(ish) BUT CLEARLY I WAS MISTAKEN.”

Yes? Because those are the very thoughts that I had when I tuned into my own conversations. Between icky gossip, taxes, and real estate, I’ve inadvertently allowed most of my conversations to derail into Snoresville, population me + this person I’m talking to.

Conversations – even small talk with strangers – can be an opportunity to connect with our fellow humans, learn new things, or make a new buddy. If we stay away from boring topics or things that bring out our less-than-best-self (mean-spirited gossip or super negative stuff) conversations can be the start of something beautiful.

But where does one start? How does one go about having better, more positive, more meaningful conversations? It starts with better questions.

Here are 16 better small talk questions that might just lead to awesome things.

(P.S. A huge thank you to my Facebook buddies for helping me brainstorm these!)