Fashion Friday: Kylie Lip Kits

kylie lip kitI’m a fan of the Kardashians. There, I said it. It’s a not-very-guilty pleasure to watch their show and follow their antics on Snapchat. So when my amazing friend Anna gifted me with one of Kylie Jenner’s lip kits, I nearly screamed.
Kylie’s lip kits sell out pretty much immediately, and I had given up hope of ever getting one. Thankfully Anna surprised me at dinner. None of the guys with us understood my glee but us three girls sure did! And you better believe I immediately ran to the bathroom, wiped off the lip gloss I was wearing, and put on my Kylie liner and liquid lipstick (in Koko K, a beautiful pink neutral with hints of taupe).
The lip kits come with both a lip liner and liquid lipstick and retail for $29. I had only tried one other liquid lipstick (Stila Stay All Day) and hated it, so I wasn’t sure if this was going to work. Turns out it’s a product that’s totally worth the hype. I’ve worn it to yoga classes, meetings and even in the shower, and the stuff does. not. budge.
I think my excitement has crossed over into obsession because I immediately broke my “no screens at dinner” rule the following week when Kylie restocked the lip kits and managed to snag two more (in Candy K and Mary Jo K). I’m desperately trying to resist the urge to buy her newest shade, Kourt K (a beautiful dark purple) when it comes out.
Thank you again Anna for my lip kit!
Have you tried Kylie’s lip kits? What do you think of them?

Fashion Friday: Black Pumps

A long, long time ago (ok, not really THAT long ago) I used to blog about fashion. Besides writing and reading, it’s one of my other passions and something I genuinely miss blogging about – though honestly I could no longer devote the time it takes to blog and write books – but I can blog about it once a week!
Pumps collage
I’m looking to update my wardrobe starting with my shoes – and I’m desperately in need of some new pumps. They need to be classic, but still sleek and fashionable – and alas, the pair from JImmy Choo that I REALLY want are slightly outside my price range. (Just slightly.) I’m looking for pumps in nude shades that don’t have too terribly high a heel, and could go from the office to date night.
I have a few picks that are mostly under $100 (ok, the kate spades would be a splurge!) – which ones are your favorite?
And more importantly – do you have a classic pump you’d recommend?
publishing, writing

Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Writing

I almost called this post “The Business of Publishing a Book,” but changed it. There are smarter bloggers and writers than me who have written extensively on the ins and outs of independent publishing. But there were a few lessons I learned the hard way that I kept thinking to myself, I should really warn other would-be writers about that. I always knew this writing and publishing journey I’m currently on would be a learning experience. I also knew the hardest part about the whole thing would be the writing bit. It’s not easy to sit down and answer the question “What happens next?” over and over again.
But the writing side is only part of the story. If you’re going to publish a book independently, you’ll have to navigate actually publishing your book – or as I like to refer to it, the not so pretty side of being an independed author. It’s the side with tax numbers and Excel sheets and accounting (shudder). It’s far from glamorous – there’s nothing like filling out an expense report months after the fact and trying to track down what exactly you paid each editor/proofreader/cover designer.
Don’t do it that way. It sucks.
Here are some of the things I wish I knew before I published my first book.
Save Your Money  
Some people may argue this step is optional, and I suppose it technically is. You could edit your own book and design your own cover. Nothing is stopping you from being a one-woman (or one-man) show. But I don’t recommend it. First of all, I don’t care how good of a writer you are – everyone needs an editor (I paid for an editor and a proofreader). Whether you find a professional or pay a friend, invest in someone who can find all those stupid mistakes you don’t want your readers to find.
And while the budget is up to you, there are a lot of little expenses that add up fast. Before you even finish your book, set some money aside – and then try to triple it. Seriously, even independent publishing can be expensive.
Once you’re done writing, decide what is worth spending that money on. For me, it was having a really beautiful cover and a talented editor. Those are investments in my work, and I’d spend that money again in a heartbeat.
Look At Publishing Like Starting Your Own Business
Because surprise – you actually will!
For tax purposes, you probably want to have your book expenses and subsequent profits separate from your personal accounts. This means you need a bank account that’s just for your writing, which means you need a tax ID number (known as an EIN number), and to get one, you need to start an LLC.
Yep, 2015 was the year of the LLC for me. I am CEO of Cate Dashwood LLC, and doesn’t it feel good.
Every state is a little different, so it’s probably a good idea to check with someone who knows what they’re talking about re: finances on this.
Slow Down and Keep Editing
This was probably the hardest lesson for me. After so many weeks of work, I just wanted my book to run away and never return. I couldn’t bear reading it again – but I really wished I would have embraced the journey and taken my time. It’s your book – and one of the best things about being an independent publisher is you can take as long as you need to make it perfect – before sending it to an editor and letting them help you make it even more perfect.
This is definitely not an exhaustive list, and I’m sure as I continue this journey, I’ll have more lessons to pass along.