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LipSense Experience

Happy Saturday Friends!!

I don't know if you're following me on Instagram or not, but if you are, you've fallen witness to my new OBSESSION with LipSense!!  A very sweet LipSense distributor, Marcie, reached out to me a month or so ago and asked if I'd like to try out there products...  I was a little skeptical at first.   I'm not accustomed to buying beauty products outside of department stores (Belk, Dillards, Sephora, Ulta, etc.)  And although I had heard of LipSense before, I really knew nothing about it...  But I am so please to say that I am now a true LipSense believer!!  

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From right to left, these products are: 1) LipSense remover, 2) Red-Blu, 3) Pink Champagne, 4) Gold Champagne, and 5) Glossy-Gloss (the finishing touch)!

The first one I tried was Blu-Red - the most perfect "Red-Lip" lip color for those of us with super fair skin ;)  I wore it out to lunch one Sunday afternoon, and that's when my love affair with LipSense began!!  I documented my experience through the day:

The first pic was taken on the way to lunch, just minutes after I had applied LipSense for the first time!  That vibrant red color is so freaking pretty (these are all iPhone pictures with no filters)!!!  The second picture was taken just after my first bite of lunch!!  You can see from this pic of my Groucho's sandwich that the lip color is permanent!!  Not a single bit transferred from my lips to my sandwich!!  This non-transfering feature is one that Blake loves VERY MUCH ;)  And then the third picture was taken about 4 hours later and my lipstick was still PERFECT!!  It lasted much later into the night, but the rest of my makeup did't look so hot anymore so the pictures stopped there LOL!

I learned so much about LipSense that day:

1) There's a special way it needs to be applied (swipe it on in one direction, no back-and-forth).

2) Cosmetic grade alcohol is the color carrying agent, making it anti-bacterial!!

3) Once the alcohol evaporates, the color hardens onto your lips, making it permanent!

4) Meaning no fading, or smearing!!  When I put it on now, I'm confident that the next time I look in a mirror (whether 1 or 6 hours later), my lipstick will look just as perfect as it did when I left home that morning!

5) There is a gloss that goes on top to add a glossiness to the color!

6) But not only does it provide the glossy look, it is actually a legit moisturizer... My new LipSense consultant told me to start using it a couple days before trying the colors to hydrate my lips... Its AMAZING!!  My lips finally stopped feeling so chapped (because apparently waxy chapsticks don't really work)!  I use it everyday now, whether I'm applying the colors or not!!

7) Because its permanent, there is a special formula LipSense remover to take it off.

8) And last, but not least, I learned how fantastic LipSense is and that I don't think I'll ever buy any other lipstick again!  You can't beat the quality of this product!!  It is TRULY UNIQUE!!

The second color I tried was the Pink Champagne!  This is the most natural looking of the 3 I chose!  Its so perfect for everyday wear because its almost a lip neutral, with a hint of champagne ;)  It goes with almost any outfit for any occasion!!  You can see the variety of outfits I wore it with for my photoshoot last weekend (P.S. 2 of these pictures are spoilers for upcoming blog posts.... So, shhhh).

The last color I tried was the Gold Champagne!  It is such a great color for Fall!  It is a perfectly neutral color for those that don't like to wear much color on their lips because they feel like they can never find the right color to go with their skin tone (but I'm not speaking from experience or anything...)  I'm totally guilty of that!!  I have at least 6 lipsticks in my makeup bag that have only been wore once, because once I got home from the store and wore it out for the first time, I realized that it just wasn't for me...  So, I've actually stopped buying lipstick (haven't bought one in a year and a half) and why I asked Marcie to send me 3 LipSense colors to try out because I was afraid none of them would work for me...  

Imagine my surprise when I actually LOVED ALL THREE!!!  

The Gold Champagne also has some coral undertones that would be great to carry you back around into Spring!!  However, its not currently being made right now, so Marcie suggested that Dawn Rising would be a great substitute :)

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Overall, I think that the Pink Champagne is my favorite of the 3 colors!  Honestly, its the most perfect for EVERYDAY wear...  Buying that one would give you the most bang for your buck!!  To purchase, you would have to speak with Marcie directly because she doesn't have a website, but has given me a link to her Facebook Group where she does most of her consulting and distributing!  You can get there by clicking HERE

Marcie started selling LipSense because she loved how it made her feel like she was a little more put together!  She says that just adding LipSense and mascara to her daily routine just makes she FEEL so much better!!  And even though I wear a face full of makeup EVERY. SINGLE. DAY, even I can attest to the fact that LipSense makes you feel more put together because my makeup routine hasn't included lipstick on a regular basis before now!

You won't find quality lip color like LipSense anywhere else, and you won't find a consultant as eager to help you love LipSense as much as Marcie will anywhere else either!  Check her out - you won't be disappointed!!

XOXO

- Rachel

These products were given to me by Marcie with Love Your Lips With Marcie, but all experiences, thoughts, and opinions are my own!

Send Hope

This week I've partnered with HopeBox to bring you an amazingly unique & uplifting subscription service.  This company does nothing but strive to send HOPE to all those that need it!!  

Seriously, this company's entire goal in the world is to make sure that no one feels hopeless!!  What an incredible ministry!!  The moment I started interacting with HopeBox, I knew this was a company I wanted to tell the world about!!  They're sheer generosity BLEW ME AWAY!!!

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I happen to have a friend whose life has recently been turned upside down when she found out that her 19-month-old son has cancer!  And within 20 minutes of talking with HopeBox, they had offered me a free box, offered you all a chance to win a free box, and offered this friend of mine a free box (sent to her in my name)!!  Without hesitation they wanted to make sure that if my friend needed some hope right now, then she would get some!!!!

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HopeBox creates new boxes each month so that each one is a little different!  So if you did want to send a HopeBox to someone more than one month in secession, then they wouldn't receive all of the same things over and over again.  Each box is filled with 10+ made-made, hope-inspiring items!  All of which are designed to help encourage someone through their next stage of healing!  This faith-based organization sends hope from the Hope-Giver Himself, but does also include hope-filled items that aren't necessarily based in the Christian faith.  If you need to send hope to someone that isn't a believer, it would be perfectly suited to them too!  Though, honestly, it does seem like a great, easy way to get THAT conversation started if they, in fact, don't know the Lord... Honestly, rock-bottom is a really good place to meet Him!!  

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Included in my box (from left to right):

1) 3 tubes of differently scented bath salts! 2) Peach colored druzzy stud earrings. 3) Lenus Cocoa Lip Balm. 4) An elephant ornament. 5) A wooden magnet that reads, "GOD'S GOT THIS" (the most amazing reminder to see every time I pass my refrigerator). 6) Artwork that reads, "There's Always a way." And also has Luke 11:9 beautifully scribed! 7) A very artsy book entitled, "Read This Till You Believe It." 8) A hand-poured Peach scented candle. 9) A cross-stitch reading, "Hope." 10) And 2 tokens that I assume I'm supposed to hide places, and when I come across them again, they will remind me that there is always HOPE!!

The book is probably my favorite item!  If you're going through a hard time, it really is something that would be good to read at the start of everyday!!  Its filled with the most beautifully painted pages and short sentences on every page reminding you that you'll make it through whatever it is you are dealing with!!  And in my opinion, the encouragement could fit almost any hope-draining situation!!

And of course I really loved the girly things too!!  This handmade lip balm and earrings were really fun to receive!!  I love them both so much!!  The earrings in particular are so gorgeous and well made :)

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And a close-up of this hand-drawn artwork!!  Its so beautiful!!  I know I'm not the only one that loves some great hand-lettering ;)

This is such a great service for those of us that live farther away from our loved ones!  These boxes are such an inspiring thing to come home to, even if you aren't in a place where you feel hopeless... So, I can only imagine how uplifting it would be to come home to if you are going through something really hard!!  Death in the family, loss of a job, depression... This box could do someone some good!!  Heck, I know school is about to start back... How many of you would have loved to receive something as great as this care package during finals week!? *raises hand*  And you can include a sweet, encouraging, personal letter with every box you send as well!!  Send it once, or send it over the course of a length of time that you choose... But,

"When you don't know what to send... Send Hope." 

Y'all, this collaboration includes a Giveaway!!  Details of that will be posted under the Subscribers Only Content tab & Instagram on Monday the 21st!  Have a wonderful rest of your week & weekend!!  Start thinking about someone who you'd like to send some HOPE to...

XOXO

- Rachel

This post is sponsored by HopeBox, but all thoughts and opinions are my own!

NEW J Crew Dress

Y'all, I have a SUPER short & sweet post for you this Wednesday night!!  I have a lot going on this week, so I didn't have time to sit down for too long to write, plus I think this piece speaks for itself:

This is my first J Crew dress ever!!  As obsessed as I am with the company, and as often as I incorporate them into my outfits, I know that must come as a complete shock for you... But its true!!

Honestly, J Crew tailors their dresses (literally) for those of us that don't have booties or boobs, so they, more often than not, just don't fit me right, for obvious reasons...  But this dress is really fantastic!!

Its shift style cut doesn't hug too much in all the wrong places, and I was even able to go down to a size 2 (I usually wear size 4 there)!  It has a great tie at that top that forms a cute key-hole at the neckline!  The color is great!  AND best of all, the price point is STELLAR for J Crew!!  Its only $88 and you can get it HERE!  And also, to achieve the same look, my exact wedges are HERE, my clutch is HERE, and my bangle is HERE :)

Happy Humpday Babes!!

XOXO

- Rachel

Choosing Happiness

You know how they say that LOVE is a choice... That you have to wake up everyday and CHOOSE to love!?  Well, I think the same goes for HAPPINESS!  And that you have to purposefully choose to be happy!!  

I promise I am preaching to the chior when I say ALL of this, because I seriously struggle with it more than any one person should, but I'm understanding more and more with every passing week that happiness is a choice, that I can choose to be happy, no matter my circumstances!!  

The take home message here is that YOU too can wake up every morning and CHOOSE to be happy... What an incredible way to stat any day!!!

And when I say I struggle with it, I mean, I really struggle with it...

I have the heart of an entrepreneur... I want to be my own boss with every fiber of my being... And that deep desire of my heart is pushing its way closer to the surface of my life more and more everyday!  Because of that, I STRUGGLE deep within my soul to work for someone else...  It is so hard for me to get up every morning at 6:00 (ok, 6:30 when my feet actually touch the ground) and drive to a job in which I am dedicating a VERY large portion of my time to making someone else's dreams come true... If you follow me on Instagram, I shared a couple of weeks ago about feeling like I am someone else for 9 hours a day until I get to come home and be the boutique owner/fashion blogger that I feel like I am meant to be...  And its just really hard living a life that *feels* like that!! 

But, on the other hand, Blake and I have longterm financial goals, and current lifestyle requirements that require 2 salaries, just plain and simple... So, I'm stuck in this mental/emotional battle where it can be so stinking easy to just be... Unhappy!!  I have a 40-hour-a-week job, and then I come home and do another 20-hour-a-week job; the latter of which is so fulfilling, but at the same time is still very hard work... So, I've let myself become tired and pretty drained, which allows so much space for The Enemy to take root in my life and breed unhappiness...

It's awful, and could easily put me into a downward cycle... I've suffered from depression before, and desperately don't want to let myself get back there... So, I've started to pray for CONTENTMENT!!  I've been asking God to help me to be happy where I am!  Happy where He's got me, because He knows best after all!!  CONTENT, but not COMPLACENCE... I don't want to settle for something that isn't the best it could be, because God doesn't want us to just sit around and wait for Him to make things happen.... He wants us to work hard and be CONTENT!!  

And like I've said, I am NO GOOD at this...  I've had to have Blake's help with this almost DAILY!!  He points me to the Lord, which is where I should go with all feelings of discontent anyway... Try telling the Master of the Universe that you aren't happy with what He's given you, LOL!  It kind of makes you sit and think before you open your mouth, and reconsider that you're just being selfish or greedy...  It reminds you of your place in this world and allows you to be more grateful!!  Praying for contentment has given me the ability to be more grateful for the job I do have...  At least I have a job, that pays the bills, allows me to have extra spending money to support all of my shopping habits (HAHAHAAA), and helps us to invest in our futures!!  Who am I to not be grateful for that!!?

So, when a local small business owner approached me about collaborating with her; with the offer of designing a custom t-shirt, I knew exactly what I wanted it to say!!!  I jumped on it without any hesitation!!  I had been thinking I needed a shirt to serve as a reminder to be grateful for how far I'd come, instead of constantly critiquing where I thought I should be, for a while!!  And #blessed just seemed so appropriate since I spend a good chunk of my day on social media LOL!  And look how amazing it turned out!!! 

Rachel is a graphic design student at USC (my alma mater), that decided to start a small business while still in school!!  Its called Old College Try Press, and she is so talented!!  She designs the fonts she uses HERSELF and then also prints the t-shirts HERSELF!!!  And, from the eyes of a business owner myself, since she cuts out all the middle-men, her prices are REALLY INCREDIBLE!!!  You can get this exact t-shirt HERE for just $15!!  Plus, Rachel has been generous enough to offer my followers a 20% off discount code so that you can design your own custom t-shirt with her as well!!!  CUSTOM t-shirts (a.k.a anything you want) are only $20 originally!  And if you use code: ADEMURELIFE at checkout, they will only be $16 HERE!  A custom shirt for that price is pretty unheard of!!  For size reference, I'm wearing the small. 

Furthermore, I know a few of you are getting married pretty soon... And I think Rachel could hook you up with some pretty rad monogrammed t-shirts for bridesmaids' gifts or bachelorette parties!!  Just go to her Etsy shop, select the "Your Design Here" option, select your font, font color, and t-shirt size, add to cart, type in the girls' initials in there, and then type in the coupon code during the checkout process!!  Sixteen dollar, custom shirts for the win!!!

"Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth.  After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can't take anything with us when we leave it.  So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be CONTENT." - 1 Timothy 6:6-8

Have a wonderful rest of your holiday weekend!!

XOXO

- Rachel

This t-shirt was gifted to me, but all thoughts are my own!

H & M Finds

Y'all I just shopped at H & M for the first time in Charlotte for my birthday... Can you believe it, I was 26 years old before I had ever purchased anything from there!!  Well, actually, I didn't purchase anything on that exact trip, but I came home, convinced that that couldn't have been all the merchandise they had to offer, and proceeded to look online... AND BOY WAS I RIGHT {I love being right}!!!

So, even though I didn't really love my in-store experience, I REALLY loved my online one!!  I purchased both of these tops via hm.com, and I received them within 4 days!!  BONUS: I typically wear a small in tops, but I got this pink peplum shirt in an XS **Woot Woot**!!!  And then I got the cropped, lace top in a small, like I normally would!  They fit very well!!  

You can grab this top  HERE

You can grab this top HERE

You may be a little suspicious of the pink peplum top because it was only $17.99, but it is truly made very well!! The shirt part is a soft knit, and the peplum is a cotton blend.  LOVE IT!!  So hurry and snag yours because sizes are going fast!!  And OMG they have it in orange now too!!!

You can grab these heels  HERE

You can grab these heels HERE

And then I got this lace, cropped top!!  I am head-over-heels in love with high-waisted pants, as you all probably know already... So I've been trying out different cropped tops to compliment them recently.  I usually dress pretty modestly, so it is a huge step for me to embrace the cropped top trend!!  I still do not like my actual belly button to show, but a little mid-riff has been alright!!  I actually went out in public for a nice dinner with the hubs in this, and I can honestly say, I wasn't that uncomfortable!!  Plus, it helped that the lace detail on this top is quite elegant!!

You can grab this top  HERE

You can grab this top HERE

This one was only $24.99 and I got free shipping!!  So, all-in-all, 2 tops delivered to my house for under $45!!  What!?  Thats a steal!!  I am definitely a new fan of H & M (online)!!  Y'all should definitely give them a try as well too!!

XOXO

- Rachel

My Baby is THREE

Y'all, Demure is THREE YEARS OLD TODAY!!!  

That boutique of mine has been quite a work in progress!!  Owning a boutique is like laundry... Nothing's ever really quite done!!

Ever since starting this blog, and having another platform from which to tell people about Demure, I've actually gotten more questions about how to open a boutique than I have about how to start a blog LOL!!  I'm not sure why that is, because really, in its infancy, A Demure Life would be considered more successful than Demure was at the same amount of time...  But that's ok, I've learned a whole lot in the past 3 years {which is mostly why A Demure Life has found quicker success} and I'm totally willing to share the facts of "how to start a business" with you!!

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First things first - I will assume you have already thought out your plan, consulted someone older and wiser {and maybe even an expert in the field}, and have researched the particulars of your business so that the general how-to's here will makes since!  And just so you know, I didn't write a formal business plan until I had already been in business for 2 years, because my business was constantly evolving into what it was going to become, and I just didn't know for sure yet what EXACTLY I wanted it to be...  So, here's were to begin:

1.  Claim Your Name:  I did this by forming an LLC... A Limited Liability Corporation... Which protects you and your personal finances from being entangled in any potential lawsuit or bankruptcy!  This is done at your state's Secretary of State's office, and costs $110 {at least that's what it costs in SC}.  Before driving down to do it though, you should check their website and make sure that the name you want your company to have has not already been taken!!

2.  Once you officially have a company created, you will then need to apply for an EIN number!  This is basically your company's social security number, and its used for banking and tax purposes!  It also goes along with protecting yourself and personal finances!!  Plus, its done all online at irs.gov {P.S. I tried to do this too soon after having changed my name after Blake and I got married, and it was a TOTALY NIGHTMARE, but for you it should only take 24 hours MAX}.

3.  You will then use your new EIN number to go file for your business license!  This is done at your state's Department of Revenue and it costs $50 {at least that's what it costs in SC}  While you are already there, go ahead and sign up for a "paying your sales tax" class and get a couple copies of the "sales tax exemption" forms {because some wholesalers request to keep one on file, so you'll want to have multiple}.

4.  Next, go start your company checking account!  I went the traditional bank route first and got charged fees far too often for not being able to keep the minimum balance in my account and it ended up ending badly... So, please learn form my mistake and start your business checking account with a Credit Union!  I'm talking the difference between starting up your checking account with $200 and $25, respectively!!  There my be other banks out there that do things a little differently, but at my bank, business accounts are treated very differently than personal accounts, and $200 was just not something I could keep in my account at all times to avoid a fee (and still can't)!!  Please remember to start your bank account using your EIN number instead of your own personal Social Security Number - PROTECT YOURSELF!

5.  So now, this is where the majority of my questions start, but you have to go through all of those steps before this one is even possible, but most people don't even know 1-4 even exist!  The number 1 question I am asked: "Where do you get your merchandise?"  And the answer is: "I buy my merchandise from various wholesalers!"  But the reason all those other steps are necessary first is because you can not buy from a wholesaler without the Retail (business) License!  That would be illegal because wholesalers don't charge tax {the reason for the tax exemption form} so you have to be buying it with the purpose of reselling it {and charging sales tax at the point of sale} in order for it all to be legal!!

6.  Then, the follow-up question usually is: "Well, which wholesalers do you purchase from?"  And my answer to that is very simple:  I have 2 favorites, though I have purchased from many others!  I buy mostly from The Lookbook Wholesale based out of L.A. and Miss B, a small wholesaler based out of Atlanta, GA in America's Mart, to which I will be going in person in August and I am SO EXCITED!!  You can google search wholesalers and hundreds will pop up!  You will then just have to choose your favorites!!  Make sure to check where their warehouse vs. their headquarters is because I get charged a $4.99 fee every time I order from one particular wholesaler... They have a warehouse in New Jersey, so you get your merchandise pretty quickly!  However, they are based out of France, so the charge is an international one, and most banks/credit unions charge a fee for international purchases!

7.  Next, you need a platform on which to sell these products you have now purchased!  A website of any kind will do if you market it correctly!  Etsy works for some (though I didn't like selling through them much), and I know of one VERY SUCCESSFUL boutique that sells via Instagram exclusively!!  As long as you have a way of getting your merchandise in front of the eyes of your target market, you can succeed!!  I personally use Squarespace for both ADL and Demure!  I love how user friendly it is, how great the customer service/tech support is, and honestly, they are just really pretty sites {very stream-lined, which is something I value}!!

8. Advertise and Market yourself like CRAZY!!!  Social Media is truly, very important to this!  And I would like to say that all you blogger babes reading this already have an advantage that I didn't have!!  3 years ago Instagram was JUST taking off as such a valuable resource for marketing!!  But I was so slow to the game... I didn't even start an Instagram for Demure until I was 8 months in!!  And then, after that it took me SOOO long to catch on to how it worked, how to make it work for me, and honestly, I would sometimes go a whole month without posting!!  I only had 400 followers on Demure's Instagram page until November 2016... I've tripled that number since then - in just 6 months I've tripled the number of followers that I had gotten in the previous 2 years combined!!  It makes me so sad really, when I think back on it...  I don't even know how much farther I would have gotten had I truly understood the importance of the social media influence when I first started... But I was also probably too young to have started a business then, so God has me right where He wants me right now!!!

Ok ladies, this post is already too long as it is!  I will stop here for now, but PLEASE leave your questions below!!  There is really an infinite amount of stuff I could tell you, but it would be so much easier for me to continue this in a series if I have exact questions to answer, so I could condense my thought into what is relevant to y'all, specifically!!

I hope you've enjoyed reading what I've had to say so far!  And I look forward to reading and answering your questions!!!

XOXO - Rachel

P.S. To celebrate being in business for 3 years, I am holding an Anniversary Sale - 40% off your entire purchase!!  Use code: HAPPY3RD at checkout to receive it at http://www.mydemure.com