Saturday, January 13, 2018

The Ramblings

It's out with the old and in with the new; the cliche that sums up the end of another year and the start of new things to come! It's true that every day is an opportunity to star afresh, to set goals, and basically just be a better human; but, there is something about the new year that makes even a cynic seem hopeful. It's up to us to create our happiness, to keep the focus on the positive, and to seize our moment and run with it. 

It may sound cliche, but 2017 continued to be a year of growth, of life lessons, resilience, and spending way too much money on lice treatments (note to self: no more Beyonce braids in Jamaica). Coco and I celebrated 10 years of marriage and went on our first vacation without the kids. Maya started Kindergarten and Rocco made his daycare/preschool debut, and since then, I've grown more sane! Plus, it's extremely helpful when it comes to getting my work done. We enjoyed family vacations, staycations, beach trips, rollercoaster rides, tastings, and so much more! Everyday I grow more thankful and more aware that the greatest gift I have, are the three meatballs that make up my Buccio clan. It's easy sometimes to lose focus and perspective when things aren't going according to plan or when life throws you some curve balls  and you realize you have to work even harder to get over the humps, but then you circle back and remember how truly lucky and blessed you are. At least I do. When my mind wanders and goes negative, I bring it right back to the blessings and silver linings in my life. Try it. It's not always easy breezy, but it sure does feel good when you set your mindset to 'gratitude mode.' 

Which brings me to 2018.  

I'm a non-resolution kind of girl. I understand that setting goals and aspirations and resolutions helps many people, but for me, I like to go into the new year with an open mind, heart, and zero pressure. Life is stressful as it is, and setting these definitive goals and high expectations with little room for failure at the start of something new, can be well, daunting and stressful. That's not a positive way to kick off the year, at least in my opinion. It also doesn't mean that I'm going into the new year clueless and unmotivated; on the contrary. I am always striving to be better- a better human being, a better wife, a better mom, a better friend, and a better student. I'm not perfect and I'll never be (even though we all like to think we are), but there is always room for self-improvement and for self-actualization whether it's in your personal or your professional life. It's about focusing on the little things like living in the moment and not on my phone, having more patience with people in general but more importantly with my kids and husband, taking care of my body and mind by continuing to do some form of exercise that's rewarding, and above all, taking the time to nurture myself and the things that I like to do. Whether it's reading, writing, watching a movie or a tv show, getting together with friends, or simply just going for a walk, doing 'you' allows for the best version of who you are to shine through. No one likes crabby Kathy. Just ask Coco. =) 

I've also been thinking about my mom a lot. You never stop missing or mourning your mother. It doesn't matter how long it's been. I miss her daily. I miss her when I see my kids' faces, when I see a mother-daughter grabbing lunch together, or really just when I'm feeling down and need someone to talk to that isn't my therapist or my husband. I constantly talk to my kids about their Mami Tere because I want them to know just how special and wonderful she was and how she will always be a part of their lives.  

Part of the reason I wanted to go blonde for a while was to feel more connected to her, and strangely I do. When my friends or family tell me, "You look so much like your mom right now," it actually makes me smile. There's a connection- a memory that is comforting and soothing. It's the same with this outfit. I remember vividly my mom wearing this checkered blazer. I remember it hanging in her closet and the shoulder pads that made her look more fierce than she already was. When I slide it on, I feel her and it brings me such joy. She was a fashionable woman and enjoyed dressing up and living her best life every single day. So when you see me sporting this special vintage piece, know I'm a little happier, a little more confident than usual on that day because I'm wearing a part of my mom with me- my  'superhero cape.' 

As far as this outfit, I wanted to pull off a power suit look (with a twist) after I found similar pants at Forever 21. I paired it with a vintage Mickey tee and white booties and love how it looks. It's fun, classic, with a side dish of vintage. 

What's coming to the blog in 2018? Well, I'm re-branding. Little by little because believe it or not, I'm slightly technologically challenged and one of my very best friends is helping me throughout the process. I'm excited and nervous, and I've been feeling that it's time for a change. Who I am as a micro-brand is continuously evolving. I love fashion and it is still at the forefront, but I've been doing a lot more food, some beauty and travel as well. I'll always be the 'freshlysqueezedfasionista,' but as I evolve and the blog evolves, using my name, @kathybuccio, is more inclusive when it comes to my writing and production assignments and it can all live under one umbrella. Kathy Buccio is who I am, and who I will always be and I think I want that to come across even more prominently on my blog and in my work as well. 

So here's to each and every one of you, squeezers! My loyal followers and friends. I toast to your health, to your ambitions and dreams, to your ability to keep going in the face of adversity, and to your passions. May 2018 continue to enlighten and brighten you and may your wardrobe always be just as fabulous as you! 

In Style, 

Kathy Buccio 

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Microblading- The Gift That Keeps on Giving.

Getting ready for my microblading appointment

 Six weeks ago,  I did something that was life-changing for me in the beauty department- I took the plunge and got microbladed! It was something I had been thinking about for a while and dove deep into researching the technique- from how it's done to how much pain to expect (I have a very low tolerance for pain). More importantly, I needed to do my research and find the best aesthetician that was fit for the job. I mean, this is my face we're talking about! While there are many amazing and talented technicians, not all are qualified to do microblading. Before I get to how I chose mine, I want to share why I wanted to get microblading done in the first place. 

Because such is the beauty of aging and time, your eyebrow hair can start to thin and/or fall off, and hair growth becomes stagnant, especially when the follicles are dead and there's no hair growth. No two eyebrows are exactly the same- they'll differ in size, thickness and even rate of growth. My left eyebrow is fuller, thicker, and slightly longer than my left. It even has a defined arch that's easy to spot! My right eyebrow is a little bit thinner but still full; but, I started to notice these gaps in certain areas, and no matter how long I was letting my brows grow, hair was just not growing in. This year, I actually started filling in my brows because of these gaps, but really I just wanted to wear my natural, full brows the way that God intended, or at least how Brooke Shields would. That's where microblading comes in. 

Taking the 'before' photos with Kitty.

So in a nutshell, what is microblading? Yes, there's a tattoo element to it- more like semi-permanent tattoo.  Hairlike strokes are created to fill in those gaps to create the illusion of real hair and to also create a more defined and fuller brow that is proportioned to your face using these strokes. The whole process takes about an hour and a half. I'll go into more details on the actual process in just a bit, but first, lets discuss how to pick the right aesthetician that's going to give you those brows that wow! Important to note that you have to be a licensed tattoo artist to microblade. If you do not have a license, then you cannot microblade. Remember that when you do your research. Seems like a no-brainer, but finding the right person is going to be the most important decision you make in this process. I'm always weary of microblading deals on Groupon or that are on sale. That's a quick 'no, thank you' in my book.  At the end of the day, what you're getting is a tattoo on your face so you definitely want an artist who is educated, talented, and methodical when it comes to their technique. 

I was actually working on a beauty story at the time and was able to meet different aestheticians that were known for their microblading work. In total, I did four consultations. First and foremost, I looked for precision. I stalked their Instagram to see all the 'before and afters' because that gave me a first hand look into their work. I read testimonials from other clients and for me, proximity and follow-thru were also two factors that played into my decision-making. I can say with honesty and sincerity that everyone I saw was talented and passionate about their work so I would have been in good hands with any of them; but, it was Caleb at Skin by Caleb McGrew whom I completely meshed with in terms of personality and style. His medi-spa is located inside the Junior and Hatter salon  in Wynwood, and he's got a really sweet assistant named Kitty, who diligently manages appointments and follow ups. Caleb really blew me away during our consultation and answered my one million questions knowledgeably and confidently (and with no sign of annoyance for hence one million questions). He's also a certified trainer (this is a big plus when you are doing your research), and he is SO meticulous in his craft- making sure to achieve the right dimensions, shape, and thickness that will compliment your facial structures and alignment. 

Okay, so now the moment you've all been waiting for- let's get down to the business of microblading! 

Numbing cream is applied to the brow area before the procedure. 

I mentioned pain early in my post and here's the part where we talk about it. I have a very low tolerance for pain. Ironic, considering I pushed two babies out of my vagina, but still, the mere thought of getting microbladed scared me. I'm here to tell you- it's not that bad. Before starting the procedure, numbing cream is applied to your brow area (thank goodness for Lidocaine) and you have to let it sit for 30 minutes so it can take effect. Already feeling at ease knowing my pain will be felt minimally. 

Aesthetician, Caleb McGrew, begins brow mapping. 

Caleb maps out brow measurements with a removable ink pencil and ruler. 

It is then time for the master to do his job. In comes Caleb in his beauty super hero mask and robe to start measuring brows and filling them in with his trusty pencil. What is he doing here? He's creating the brow shape. This process takes time because everything needs to be proportioned and symmetrical. At this point, I'm feeling anxious but giddy with excitement at seeing my new brows. The 'tattoo' part of it was a little shocking for me considering I've never had a tattoo in my life, but for the sake of beautiful brows, semi-permanent tattooing was something I could definitely do. 

Getting rid of tiny hairs around the surrounding area. There is no need to shave the brows in order to perform microblading. 

Caleb works diligently to create a natural brow line.

Once Caleb has finished mapping out my brows and he's confident on the shape, he uses a small blade to shave off any small hairs in the surrounding area. Note, Caleb DOES NOT shave off your eyebrows like some technicians do. That's a pretty extreme practice. 

Caleb and I discuss the brow shape achieved and what comes next. 

It's now time to discuss with the client (in this case, me), what the brow drawings mean before we move on to pigmentation. This is one thing I love about Caleb- he is super informative throughout the process. He talks you through what he's doing, and once he's done, he shows you exactly what he did, why he did it, and what to expect. 

Microblading is performed manually with a bladed pen. The pen creates the strokes and simultaneously adds the pigment in the skin opening created by the strokes. 

The hairlike strokes give the illusion of natural hair. 

The brow color will appear darker the first few days but will then lighten up.

One of the features that sets apart microblading from let's say, getting a tattoo or permanent makeup, is that the color pigments used to insert into your skin are done manually. The pen used has blades and it's these blades that will create the fine hairlike strokes (it's like really teeny tiny cuts) and it simultaneously adds the pigment into these teeny tiny cuts like strokes that were created. That's how the color is achieved. The natural color of your eyebrows will determine the color used for the pigments. It will closely resemble your natural brow. Do not be alarmed if the color is darker than what you expected. This is quite normal and will lighten up after a few days.

Caleb said he used a 14-blade pen to create the strokes and apply the pigment because my eyebrows were dark and thick! By the way, it's beyond insane how real and natural these strokes look. When I look at my brows now, sometimes I can't even differentiate between the real hairs and the microblading ones. You're probably saying, "Ouch, that sounds like it hurts." Yes, it did hurt a little. I did squeeze my eyes really tight and made the occasional grunting sound, but again, it wasn't completely horrible. 

As my mother used to say to me growing up, "Sometimes, you have to suffer for beauty." Typical Latina mother. 

After Caleb is done creating the strokes and adding the pigments, he applies a pigment mask just to be sure that it all absorbs very well. The mask is left for a few minutes, then wiped off to reveal.....


Taking the 'after' shot after the procedure. 

I was ready to walk out of the salon right after the procedure! I didn't experience any redness or any reaction, so for me, it was great to be able to get back to work and back to my day. It's important that I stress that the results may not be the same for everyone. Some clients are good with just one session and don't need a touch up, while some may need up to three sessions. It's all dependent on skin and how well you take care of those brows the first 10 days. 

Caleb gave me specific instructions as to how to care for my new brows. First and foremost, avoid wetting the area. This was definitely challenging, but absolutely doable. I even went to Jamaica a week later and did not let the pool water or salt water touch my brows. I made sure to wash my face while avoiding my eyes and brows, and was very adamant about applying Aquafor to my brows twice a day. For the first three days, Caleb advised me to use a Q-tip with water and a very small amount of lathering soap and apply to the brows. This would help with any scabbing. Luckily, I did not have scabbing. I also avoided any brow makeup on the brows or surrounding areas (not that I needed it because my brows were out of this world) and any direct contact with the sun. My color did slightly fade as expected, but not drastically as they are still dark and bold. 

Tomorrow I go in for my six week touch up appointment with Caleb and I cannot wait. Just when I think these brows can't get any better, I know tomorrow they'll be holiday-ready in all their sexy, bushy glory, all thanks to Caleb and microblading. After an initial microblading session, you are usually asked to come back 4-6 weeks later to refresh the brows and also to do any touch ups that might be needed after the first session. I haven't touched my eyebrows since I saw Caleb in early November- I haven't even plucked my brows, so I am definitely ready for a touch up. 

I titled this post, 'Microblading- the gift that keeps on giving,' because it's a legitimate truth. Whether it's a gift for a loved one or a gift for yourself, I say, TREAT YO' SELF! Throw away those eye pencils and make the splurge! 

Having great eyebrows isn't just a cosmetic thing; its a confidence thing. A good set of brows let's you put your best face forward. It gives you confidence and helps with self-esteem and self-assurance, and we all deserve a little of that. 

Before and Afters. 

To book an appointment with Caleb and to check out his other services click here .

In Style, 


Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Jamaican Me Happy With Seagram's Escapes

 A few weeks ago, my husband, Coco, and I, spent a few days in paradise all thanks to Seagram's Escapes. We boarded a plane from Miami to Ocho Rios, just us two, to celebrate the launch of some new fizzling fun beverages at the Jewel Dunn's River Resort. Now, this wasn't just any trip for us, it was our first trip without our Buccio babes. We're big on family travel, but this was going to be just us riding solo, and you know what, it's good for you and your significant other to get quality time together to let loose and have fun. I couldn't think of a better way to unwind- with the Jamaican sun on my face and a Seagram's cocktail in hand!

Once we arrived at the Jewel Dunn's River Resort, Seagram's and the hotel team really rolled out the red carpet for us! Our room had a breathtaking ocean view, and the perfect little balcony to enjoy libations- and that we did! Easy to say, that Seagram's New flavor, Jamaican Me Happy, was an instant hit! With flavors of strawberries, melon, and guava, this was my go-to refresher on the trip! Our mini bar was stocked with all the flavors and how cute is this floatie that came in our gift bag? Even our Seagram's Escapes bottle was going to enjoy Jamaica in style!

Jamaican Me Happy ready for a day on the beach! 

Swim Up bar- yes please! 

Coco and I would end up here nightly for one more Seagram's Escapes cocktail before bed. 

All the hotel bars were stocked with Seagram's Escapes (it also happens to be an all-inclusive resort), so whenever we were at the pool or at the 'tree bar,' as Coco and I dubbed it, Seagram's was on the menu. I even made up my own concoction- Jamaican Me Happy, champagne, and a dash of Sprite! Oh, just writing this takes me back to laying on a beach bed sipping on my special Seagram's creation! 

The first night was all about getting to know our fellow travelers and sample some more cocktails and delicious appetizers at the Seagram's Welcome Party. Chic lounge chairs and table tops were set up on the hotel lawn while people mingled, ate, and drank. An amazing calypso band was playing in the background. What a way to kick things off! If this was day one, I couldn't wait for the rest of the weekend with Seagram's Escapes. 

What I wore- Day One- H&M off the shoulder top with a Forever 21 polka dot skirt and Steve Madden heels.

After a night of music and conversation, we were ready for Day Two! 

Calypso Colada- Where Have you Been All My Life! 

I woke up like this- seriously. I decided to kick start our morning with a full breakfast and a  Seagram's Escapes Calypso Colada cocktail and boy, was it delicious! Now this tastes like vacation in a bottle. The flavors of coconut and pineapple with a little champagne is what I like to call a breakfast of champions. It was close competition with Jamaican Me Happy, but this flavor really encompasses paradise for me! 

We spend our day relaxing and lounging on the beach and pool. We opted out of the activities this afternoon so we could actually enjoy doing absolutely nothing. When you're a parent, a day to yourself doing nada is a luxury and we were spending ours in beautiful Jamaica, so instead of cramming my husbands schedule with activities, we literally spent the day running from the pool to the beach and back. I like to call that exercise. Ha! I do want to point out that Coco did join in on all the pool games- but that was his choice- not over scheduling on my end! 

Just me and the big blue Jamaican sea. 

Jamaican Me Happy, Mon! 

How could you resist these stunning waters of the Caribbean? Tranquil waters, blazing sun, and all the jerk chicken you could eat alongside your favorite cocktail. And because I don't like playing favorites, I would switch back and forth from the Calypso Colada to the Jamaican Me Happy. I mean, look at how happy I am with my Seagram's Escapes! That is not just for show, people! That's the face of a happy beach bum..I mean, customer! 

Okay so when I said I didn't plan anything, that was a bit of a fib! Seagram's actually did set up massages and a honey and sugar scrub at the Radiant Spa at the resort for Coco and I, and oh my goodness! First off, the ladies at the spa were absolutely delightful and made sure we were happy throughout our whole experience (sorry, no pictures of me getting scrubbed down)! My massage was glorious and they finished up the treatment with a full body scrub, which was so refreshing! Its been years since I've had a body scrub and I seriously felt like I just got a new layer of skin. It was heavenly! If Coco could have stayed for another massage and another scrub, he would have. He could not stop raving about his treatment. It was serene, invigorating, and pretty much, awesome! 

After massage treat- a little Seagram's Escapes to wrap up our spa experience. 
Our day of relaxing continued through the evening and we went back to our room, took a nap (unheard of), and got all dolled up for dinner at one of the hotel's specialty restaurants. We were craving some Asian fare and had heard great things about The Jade Samurai, a Teppanyaki style restaurant that serves up grilled specialties as well as table side entertainment with its meal! It was also a fun way for us to meet other folks on the same Seagram's getaway. Between lots of shrimp flying in the air, an unexpected birthday celebration, and plenty of cocktails, its safe to say that this was a really a engaging and fun dining experience! 

What I wore on day two. Zara pants, H&M off the shoulder top, and Steve Madden heels.

Momosa Bar set up at breakfast at the Jewel Dunn's River Resort

Face Timing with our Buccio Babes before we headed to our horseback riding excursion. 

Hello Saturday! It was the perfect day for a little horseback riding. I was determined to do one adventurous activity and so happy we went with this excursion! Seagram's really outdid themselves setting up unique and entertaining off-site activities that really covered every kind of traveler. Kudos, Seagram's! I don't know was was more impressive, though- the horseback riding or the 'Momosa Bar' featuring Seagram's Escapes flavors set up outside the breakfast restaurant. Talk about a welcome! Can you guess which I had? If you guessed Calypso Colada, you got it! That went swimmingly with my egg white omelette! I took one for the road, because you know, horseback riding can make you thirsty (ha!). 

Before we boarded our bus, we made sure to Face Time our babies,who were back home in Miami with grandma, who was amazing enough to fly down from New York to watch them, while mom and dad 'turned it up' in Jamaica! They were just really excited about us riding horses than making conversation. 

Whisper thinks this Seagram's Escapes drink is for him. Not. 

Okay guys, getting to ride horses on a trail and then in the ocean was absolutely awesome! I'll be honest, I was a little more relaxed when we hit the water, and by relaxed I mean that I was feeling like Khaleesi ready to take over the Seven Kingdoms. On land, I was a little more rigid and Coco kept telling me to relax so I wouldn't spook my horse. Oh, my horse's name was Whisper. He was actually a gentle soul. Though I did give him the stink eye when I saw him eyeing up my Seagram's. 

Horseback riding with my Ride or Die companion.

Coco somehow managed to be the only person who fell off his horse when he hit the water. It was hysterical! We both had such a great time and made sure we really lived in the moment, feeling gratitude for this unbelievable experience that we were enjoying thanks to Seagram's. I mean, there's nothing really like galloping in the ocean, feeling the sun, and the water splashing on your face. I know it sounds like a Hallmark card, but it's really true! 

The best place for jerk chicken in Ocho Rios- Scotchies.

Preparing the chicken.

Now I'm going to eat this chicken. 
Naturally, after so much adventure, we were famished and thankfully, we were riding on a bus with a bunch of foodies who loved to eat as much as we did! Our tour guide suggested we visit the best spot on the island for jerk chicken, so we made a pit stop at Scotchies, a favorite amongst locals and tourists. It's a true Jamaican experience- order at the window, watch as they cook your chicken or jerk pork on a man-made grill, then grab one of the tables underneath the huts scattered on the beachy open-air property. I also ordered Bammy, Jamaican flat bread that is made with cassava, dipped in coconut oil and fried to perfection. Yum! 

We spent the rest of the afternoon by the beach and even took the catamaran out for a spin. Coco loves the catamaran. Before we had kids, we used to love renting them out whenever we went on vacation. I'll admit, I had a Moana moment for a second as we got close to the reef! It was so peaceful and relaxing and did I mention, we were phone-free?! 30 minutes without technology is a huge feat, especially when you're with your significant other. No Instagram distractions on the waters!

Once we got back to shore, it was time to get all gussied up for the Seagram's Escapes Keep It Colorful Fiesta! I visited the Radiant Spa again, and this time treated myself to a braided updo for the party. I knew I was going to be dancing, so I wanted to keep my tresses fashionably in place. 
Saturday Night with Seagram's Escapes and this Stud. 

Live Music at the Seagram's Escapes Keep It Colorful Fiesta. 
What an epic night of music and celebration, not just celebrating Seagram's Escapes, but also the flavors of Jamaican culture. Seagram's and the Jewel Dunn's River Resort went all out and put together a festive and vibrant seaside bash that had us dancing and drinking until the rain shut us down! A few raindrops couldn't stop us from having a good old time on our own dance floor. The resort put out an impressive array of food and appetizers, there were entertainers on stilts, a DJ, a calypso band playing all the biggest hits and local Jamaican talent belting out island melodies as we swayed with our Seagram's cocktails in hand! 

Getting to be a part of this trip was extra special because I got to meet some beautiful blogger babes I follow on the regular. They were so sweet and fun and to meet them in person and spend the evening dancing and getting silly, was the icing on the cake! 

This was truly an unforgettable experience and I'm so happy Coco and I got this time to reconnect and let our hair down a bit. When we got back home and after we kissed our babies, we made sure to stock our fridge with some Seagram's Escapes. I'm already brainstorming Christmas cocktail recipes to bring out during the holidays, because nothing says holiday cheer like some Jamaican Me Merry

 Have you guys tried Seagram's Escapes? What's your favorite flavor?
Loved meeting these wonderful blogger babes on the trip! (From left: @Kathleen_Barnes of Carrie Bradshaw Lied, Courtney Kerr of @kerrently,  Karina from @kcyouthere, Joni from @nytrendymoms, and me)

The Real Housewives of Seagram's Escapes. 

In Style, 

Kat Buccio