Author Archive for Suzanne Barrock – Page 2

17 Outdoor Flower Pots for a Fabulous First Impression

Even if you don’t have time have your entire house look showroom ready all the time, your front stoop can give the impression that you do.

It is FINALLY starting to warm up enough to get some plants blooming outside. Pots are a great way to make a great first impression- check out some of these ideas that can add a little whimsy, sophistication, pep or smile to your front stoop.

And by the way, my kids leaving my front door wide open  when they leave the house isn’t the kind of whimsy I am looking for. xXx Suzie                     Oval-Wooden-Planters-P14780866



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What to bring? What to bring? Hostess Gifts!

It seems to be the time of year for a party!  Housewarmings, BBQs (or as we say here in Wisconsin “fryouts”), dinner parties, birthday parties, baptisms, weddings, graduations…the list goes on and on.

What to bring the host and hostess?  Some of the best hostess gifts that I have received are things that are not necessarily something I would buy myself (fabulous crystal salt and pepper shakers) have an essence of scarcity (candle from Anthropologie which is an hour away from where I live) or have become a life changing item in my life (Pampered Chef Mini Spatula).

While some of these require a little planning ahead, here are some fabulous gifts that you will love so much you just may have to buy two- one to keep and one to give away! What about you? What are some of your favorite things that you have received? Or do you have a few standard gifts that you like to give? Let me know in the comment section below!

Gifts for the Host/Hostess

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And for your wildly inappropriate, laugh-at-anything friend:

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One, two, three step…Make me up!

Makeup is something that I started getting interested in later than most women I suppose, and by the time it became somewhat of an emergency (due to major dark circles under my eyes from sleep deprivation of a growing family) I had no idea where to start. I also had no time to learn. Cue YouTube videos- The perfect companion to those middle of the night feedings! These handy clips gave me lots of tips on skin care and makeup application, and most importantly gave me confidence to try some new things.

Over the years I have ramped up my makeup routine and am able to complete it in 5 minutes feeling complete and pulled together. But there are some days when I don’t even have 5 minutes- and that got me to thinking: If I have a minimal amount of time what are the three things that I would put on my face? We all have different things that we like to conceal or accentuate. For me I have absolutely no lips so I have shied away from lipstick my entire life. However, I have seen women looking great with just a dab of lipstick, a touch of bronzer or a swipe of mascara. After giving this some thought, here are my three things:

1.) Concealer– I have tried a number of different ones over the years with varying results but am currently using Estee Lauder Smoothing Cream Concealer. To give you an idea of the gravity of my dark circles, the woman who sold it too me sang its praises by indicating that people even use it to cover up tattoos. Now that’s an endorsement!

2.) Mascara– For many years I swore by the classic Maybelline Great Lash in brown/black. It’s inexpensive, you can find it anywhere, and it does give you pretty good results. Recently I was introduced to a wonderful three step fiber lash system from Younique, and it yields wonderful results. But since this post is about being speedy, try Estee Lauder Sumptuous Infinite.  In the event that you do have an extra moment, try a lash primer with it- I use Estee Lauder Lash Primer.

3.) Highlighter/Illuminator– I am a huge Carmindy fan from TLC’s no longer running show “What Not To Wear”.  One of her makeup staples is to use a strategically placed highlighter or illuminator on the faces of her makeover clients. This trick alone will make you look (or at least feel) 21 again. One of my favorite standbys is Smashbox’s Halo Highlighting Wand. I use this product down the bridge of my nose, in the cupid’s bow of my lip, in a “C” around the outer edges of my eyes and again pressed into the inner corners. This is such a good tool I can’t believe I am listing it third on my list!

I can accomplish those three things in a minute and a half. And that’s just the amount of time I have before someone starts to yell “Mom!“. And yes I admit, on occasion I have walked out of the house with mascara on one eye only. Hey, a girl’s gotta try, right?

What do you think? What are your three things? Sound off in the comment section below!



Spring Coats!

“A Good Coat Can Hide A Multitude of Sins.”      – Carole Soeldner

I have uttered these words a hundred times over the years- and you know why? Because it’s true!  I will be forever grateful to my coat collection and my mom for her wisdom.

If you are trying to make a good impression and only have 5 minutes- make sure that you have a cute coat to pull your look together.  Nobody wants to wear a letter jacket with their prom dress!  The inverse theory applies here though- because you can look like absolute and total crap underneath your cute coat and no one will be any the wiser.

Even though the calendar says it is so, the weather is saying something different. I am still going between my down winter coat, a short wool coat, a trench or no coat altogether- all within the same week. Which got me thinking on how much I love my coats…because you can look pulled together with nearly no effort at all.


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Car Coat

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The Dreaded March Door


Ugh. March is here and I am having the winter blahs. Valentine’s Day is done and to be honest I always struggle with what to put on my front door between now and full-blown Spring. You know, something to make it look like people actually live there (even if it feels like we have been cooped up forever). For all of you St. Patrick’s Day enthusiasts I realize that is an option, but that will still leave me with a few weeks of needing something before it becomes Spring.

Fortunately for us in Wisconsin we have been seriously flirting with Spring the last few days- highs of 50 and lots of sunshine!  I also have a sick little one at home 🙁 so I have had some time to research this dilemma of what to do with my front stoop and door at this time of year.

If you feel like this winter has been a marathon, we are finally at the 24 mile mark. As we push through these last few weeks, check out these fun ideas that will put a spring in your step and a smile on your face- even if it isn’t quite spring…yet!


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Door Decorations


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Starting with the Basics- Nails!

You definitely don’t need to draw attention to your nails with flashy colors or designs, but you also don’t need to draw attention to them for looking raggedy and unkempt. Sometimes less is best. Personally I am a believer in short, clean nails. Most of my life I have played the piano and guitar, so short nails are the best option for me.

Winter in Wisconsin wreaks havoc on my nails! There is no point schlepping polish on nails that are cracking, peeling and breaking!  Fortunately because it is winter, you are able to conceal hands that are less than amazing with gloves and mittens. However, if you are trying to get your winter nails back on track, here are a few things to check out:





This product is an overnight mask for your fingernails that washes off with soap and water-  No need for remover.  Fix it…and forget it!

Another option is a daily supplement you can take that will help your skin, hair and nails stronger and healthier. I have taken these on and off for several years and always notice an improvement when I am taking them.



And while you’re at it, you might want to soften those cuticles too!


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Take 5 minutes today (even less than that) to get your nails back in shape. Because we all know that the snow is going to melt…eventually!

Coming Soon!

The Everyday Necklace











One thing I have noticed about women who look pulled together on a consistent basis is that many of them wear what I call an “everyday” necklace. Whether they are heading to the gym, running errands or meeting with clients a simple yet classic everyday necklace can do a lot of legwork- and give you a jumpstart on looking like you actually give a hoot.



Here are some ideas to get you started:


Makeup Mirror

MirrorI have fond memories as a little girl watching my mother getting ready for an evening out as she put her makeup on in front of this mirror.

She may have been going to the disco. Or bowling. Perhaps the Avon lady just visited. The point is my sister and I loved to play with the dials between Day/Office/Evening/Home and watch the lights change different colors on the Miss Clairol True to Light makeup mirror. It was so glamorous, so mysterious, so fun!

I moved out. For many years I grew accustomed to sitting on a sink and sticking my face 2 inches from the bathroom mirror to put on my makeup. Finally one day while staying in a hotel I noticed a very handy mirror with an extension arm. Unlike the Clairol love of my youth, this one did not switch colors. However, it DID flip to a magnifying side. I felt like for the first time in my life I could really see my face. 

If you don’t have one you need one. Trust me. You can thank me later. After all, if you only have 5 minutes don’t you at least want to make sure that your eyeliner is where it is supposed to be?