Monday, December 7, 2009

On the 7th day of Christmas...Seven Swans a Swimming

"On the seventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me
seven swans a swimming,

illustration from the "Hortus deliciarum" of Herrad von Landsberg, A.D. 1180

According to "The New Dial" the seventh day represents the 7 Liberal Arts that God gave.  I looked them up:
  1. Grammar
  2. Rhetoric
  3. Logic
  4. Geometry
  5. Arithmetic
  6. Music
  7. Astronomy
Pretty neat!  I had no idea that the Catholic church considered these to be gifts from God.  On the completely opposite end of the spectrum, the Heavy Metal 12 Days of Christmas gift is "7 leather jackets".  Check out what I found on Etsy:

(I LOVE this one - someone let Mr. [ReDeemed] know I'd like it under the tree along with a medium sized body to fit in it.  Thank you!)

Somehow I got hung up on pink today, but it turned out to be really fitting for our 7th day, swans.  There have been plenty of times that I have felt like an ugly duckling, but today's guest blogger is an expert in bringing out the swan in everyone!  Courtney's company ,"The Art of Beauty" is committed to taking you from drab to diva!  I used her tips from her most recent guest blog appearance at QUiD essential on having Hollywood Hair for my family's recent photoshoot:

A friend told me yesterday "I loved you family pics - your wig was great!" 
She barely believed that it was my hair!

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Favorite Things

With Christmas right around the corner, there’s not a lot of time left to find the perfect gift for the women on your shopping list. Whether the recipient is your mother, grandma, sister, or best friend, all women have one thing in common – they all want to be beautiful.

This is Courtney. 
If you should not take cooking advice from a skinny cook, then it goes without saying you shouldn't take beauty advice from the less than glamourous - so you see, you're in good hands!

As a beauty addict myself, I cannot pass up an opportunity to try out a new product. Be it mascara, hairspray, or teeth whitener, I have a burning desire to find the best of the best. Trust me, if there is a product worth testing, I’ve bought it (and possibly returned it). Once I’ve tried something out, my review is filed away in a vast mental rolodex of beauty products, along with my very own ranking system. Is it a sickness? Yes. Does it hurt my wallet? Yes. Do you benefit from my sickness? Yes!

The following products are not only my favorites for personal use, but as a makeup artist I also use many of them as a part of my professional kit.

Watch out, Oprah. Courtney’s Favorite Things has arrived! (Sorry, no free cars)


  • Primer – Smashbox Photo Finish  Photo Finish not only allows your foundation to go on smoother and stay on longer, it also seems to camouflage lines, pores, and uneven skin tones and leaves your skin feeling like silk. 
  • Foundation – Makeup Forever HD Foundation Containing microsilica beads (Don’t ask. All I know is that they do their job!), this foundation gives a flawless effect without looking cakey. Best of all, it is oil-free and won’t clog your pores. 
  • Powder – Estee Lauder Double Wear Most pressed powders can appear chalky and dry, but not Double Wear. In addition to absorbing oil and maintaining a fresh look, it also contains SPF 10. 
  • Blush – Maybelline Mineral Power Natural Luminous Blush I usually prefer shopping for makeup at Sephora rather than Wal-Mart, but Maybelline’s Mineral Power blush is far superior to most drugstore brands. The color is highly pigmented so you only need a small amount. I have almost every color that they make in my train case, but my favorite is True Peach!
  • Eyeshadow – MAC This was a hard one for me. I have several other favorites such as NARS and Urban Decay, but MAC is the only line that offers such a broad line of amazing colors. The colors have a lot of pigment and stay on well even without a primer. 
  • Eyeliner – TIGI Big Fat Fun These eyeliners sharpen up beautifully, glide on easily, and have real staying power.
  • Mascara – Make Up For Ever Smokey Lash Sometimes less is more, but when it comes to mascara, more is definitely more! Smokey Lash is the closest you will come to the false-lash look without actually getting glue in your eye. 
  • Lip gloss – Clinique Full Potential This plumping lip gloss is the perfect combination of sheer, opaque, and shimmer! As for the plumping effect, I honestly cannot tell much of a difference, but at least my skinny lips are nice and shiny!

Hair care
  • Color – Revlon Colorsilk As a licensed hairstylist, I have access to the kind of professional haircolor that most consumers would need to have applied at a salon. Although, occasions arise where I need a quick color fix and do not feel like driving to my nearest professional supply store (which is not so near). In that case, I have always purchased Revlon Colorsilk. Available at any drugstore and at less than $3 per box, it is literally the cheapest haircolor on the market. I have used it several times, and my hair always turns out soft, shiny, and exactly the shade I was going for! 
  • Shampoo – Biolage Fortethérapie I like for my shampoo to leave my scalp squeaky clean, yet tend to my dry and damaged ends as well. This fortifying shampoo does just that.
  • Conditioner – TRESemmé 24 Hour Body  Nothing is worse than dry, under moisturized hair! Well, except for maybe limp, over moisturized hair. Which is the lesser evil? Luckily, you don’t have to choose. 24 Hour Body conditioner provides just the right amount of moisture, so not only does it not weigh your hair down, it actually gives it volume (hence the name)!
  • Volumizing agent – Aquage Uplifting Foam A root lifter that surpasses all others! Uplifting Foam gives incredible volume without that yucky “crunch”. 
  • Frizz serum – Paul Mitchell Super Skinny Even if you don’t have curly or frizzy hair, everyone could benefit from a drop of Super Skinny. This serum tames fly-aways, calms frizz, and adds some wicked shine!
  • Hair spray – Big Sexy Hair Spray & Play I actually love all of Big Sexy Hair’s products, but this volumizing hair spray sets the standard. Providing great hold, shine, and bounce, it is workable and not as stiff and sticky as some other “super hold” hair sprays on the market.

For more Favorites, check out QUiDessential where I am a monthly guest blogger. My blogs, titled “She Says – An Opinionated Girl’s Review of Beauty”, are made up of reviews, tips, and thoughts on all things beauty, fashion, and girly! December’s blog will be a continuation of Favorite Things, including favorite self tanner, teeth whitener, beauty gadgets, and skincare.

Be sure to check out The Art of Beauty for information on my latest venture as a professional makeup artist! As a licensed cosmetologist, beauty addict, and mini-entrepreneur, I’ve finally put a name, “The Art of Beauty”, on a business that I have actually been working for years. Making women beautiful is my passion, and I couldn’t be happier to now offer my services full-time.

Mention this blog and receive a
20% discount off of any makeup service!

Well, I hope my recommendations have given you some good stocking-stuffer ideas this holiday season!

I wish you all Happy Shopping and a Merry Christmas!
~ Courtney Mair
The Art of Beauty

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Don't forget about our gift certificate giveaway - with a drawing, from ALL the comments on all the days!

To enter:
  • Post a comment (1 per day – so after you check out the next day’s blog, come back here and enter again – just like the song builds every day, so do your chances!
  • If you haven't already, post the button (then a comment letting me know)
  • Blog, Tweet or Facebook about this giveaway with the link (then a comment letting me know)
  • Follow me (then a comment letting me know)
  • BONUS entry! Visit Courtney's site and then leave me a comment letting me know what you like best!
The fine print:
  • You must leave a SEPARATE comment for each entry – this is the only way to keep it fair and straight (and keep me from having to kill a tree printing them out and cutting them apart!)
  • All giveaways will be held on December 13th
  • A random number generator will be used to determine the winner(s)
  • If your e-mail address is not publicly listed on your profile, please include it with your comment(s)
  • We reserve the right to re-draw if the first winner does not respond within 48 hours (please don’t let this happen – that would just be sad!)


  1. Thanks for all the tips! I love the jackets and nice family photos!

  2. Your family photos are beautiful! And your make-up and hair look gorgeous!!
    Sweet babies!

  3. I am in love with make up forever and mac. seriously don't think I could live without them. and eye primer of the Too Faced variety! Fun post!

  4. Love the vintage picture of the girl with all that hair!


  5. Beautiful illustration to open this day's blog post with.


  6. I really wish you were giving away that cute jacket!

  7. I'm afraid I don't go to the trouble to put on make-up. Have to rely on the beauty God gave me naturally! ha


  8. The illustration at the top has become one of my favorites!



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