Saturday, April 30, 2011

Follow Me Around! 2011 B.O.P. & C. Show Vlog

The beloved Wagon that didn't make it. :(
Hey y'all! Semi quickie blog number 2 of the day. TOTALLY non-beauty related BUT today was the B.O.P. & C. Show and I made a fun "follow me around" vlog that I thought y'all might like to see It's pretty cool. I love classic cars. My dad has been involved in the car industry for like over 40 years now or something crazy like that, and I grew up going to car shows with him.. so it's one of those great ways to spend quality time with my Daddy. You get to meet him in the video! ...Kinda! Haha!

Alright, here's the video and I posted a bunch of pictures on my MMMandysSecrets FB page here. Enjoy!


Regular beauty blogs return tomorrow! Hope you're having a great weekend!

♥ M

NAIL ART: Sponge Mani with Rhinestone Daisies

THE DESIGN:
Ok. So.. The newsprint nails did NOT last. I mean, they were cool. But I wasn't super attached. So I replaced them with these! In hindsight, I think I should have picked another color than yellow for the base because it ended up a little darker than I intended.. but it's not the end of the world. I think a pale pink would have looked cuter. Maybe next time! This mani is inspired from a tutorial by the YouTube guru LOVE4NAILS.

PRODUCTS USED:
  • Ulta -- Sweet Nothing
  • essence -- Sundancer
  • Sinful Colors -- 24/7
  • Pure Ice -- Gold Mist
  • Maybelline -- Fairy Pink
  • Wet N Wild -- Hallucinate
  • Sinful Colors -- Snow Me White
  • 1 mm Rhinestones
  • Small Brush, Toothpick or Dotting Tool
  • Cosmetic Sponge
  • Scrap Paper
  • Ulta Salon Formula -- Clear Top Coat
HOW I DID IT:
  1. The mani is supposed to have a somewhat milky base so I painted my nails 1 coat of Ulta's Sweet Nothing and let them dry.
  2. I grabbed my cosmetic sponge and swiped a little patch of Sundancer on it and lightly sponged the bottom 2/3 of my nails, leaving my tips free. I swiped a patch of 24/7 on another clean part of the sponge and lightly sponged my tips. Then I let them dry.
    • If you want to see how to do a sponge mani, check out LOVE4NAILS' channel. She uses sponges in almost every tutorial. :)
  3. To deepen the colors a little bit, swipe Gold Mist on another clean part of the sponge and dab it over the yellow part of your nails. Finally, swipe Fairy Pink onto the last clean quarter of your sponge edge and sponge your tips. Let your nails dry
    • Did you know you can reuse your sponge? Take scissors and snip off the little edge that you used and you can reuse your sponge several more times!
  4. Take Hallucinate and paint all of your nails. It's a fabulous glitter polish! I had to use 2 coats. Let those dry.
  5. Grab your thin brush/toothpick/dotting tool and your Snow Me White. Glop a little bit of polish onto your paper and use your tool to create a small flower on each nail. I literally drew little asterisks with 8 points.
  6. While the center of the flower is still wet, grab a rhinestone and place it in the center of your flower.
  7. Seal with a top coat and you're done!
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And that's it! Not too hard! Like I said, I think I'd definitely pick another color other than yellow if I ever re-did it. But I think it's perfect for Spring!

Alright, so one more thing: I recently created a spreadsheet with all of my nail polishes in it so that I can keep track of my collection. I know, I know. I'm pathetic. BUT it made me realize that I need to branch out on my brand experimentation a little bit! If you'd like to see it, you can find it here.

OH! And lastly.. If you haven't already, follow me on Twitter! My followers got a sneak peek of this mani before this post went up! And while you're at it, 'like' me on Facebook too! Links to everything are in the right sidebar!

Hope y'all have a great weekend! Chris and I are going to a really great classic car show with my Daddy today! SO excited! I always went every year when I was growing up and it's such a fun time! This will be the first time Chris and I are going since we've been dating.. so I'm so happy to share this with him! I might do a "Follow Me Around" vlog video for the day.. I haven't decided yet. Anyways, it's 4am and I need to be up by 730am. Aaaaand... I'm not even tired. We're watching Katt Williams on Netflix, so I'm laughing too hard to be tired. Haha. Oh. And I've had a lot of caffeine. Can you tell?!

Alright, Alright. I'm rambling, I'm sorry. Seriously, have a great weekend. Be safe. Love y'all!

♥ M

Thursday, April 28, 2011

FRIDAY FAVORITES -- Britney's New Album "Femme Fatale"

Yay! New blog fixture! Do you like it?! I thought it would be fun to give y'all one thing per week I'm absolutely loving that will most likely be featured in my monthly favorites videos! I'll try to keep them beauty related, but since I don't go out and buy new beauty stuff every week (Say WHAT?! I know, right?) there will be other things featured too. :)

For the first week, my Facebook friends won't be surprised at all. It's Britney's newest album "Femme Fatale"! And I have been raving about it alllll week.

So glad to see that she's back to her old (fantastic) ways and I think this is definitely going to become one of my favorite albums of hers. I was going to tell you which songs were my favorite, but.. then I started looking and realized that I'd be listing almost the entire album. I can say, however, that Criminal is my least favorite song. I don't know.. That one's just slower and.. eh, it's not my cup of tea.

I have the Deluxe Edition which contains 4 bonus tracks and they're pretty awesome.. so I definitely suggest getting that version if you can find it.

Alright! Well, what is your favorite thing this week? Let me know in the comments!

♥ M

NAIL ART -- Newspaper/Newsprint Nails

THE DESIGN:
Ugh. So, I totally apologize for taking the ugliest picture of a human hand ever.. but since I've completely lost my left pinky nail, I have to take pictures of my right hand. And they don't turn out as well, apparently. :(

Anywho, I wanted to branch out and try something different for nail art and I read about newsprint nails online and thought they would be fun to try. I think they turned out okay for my first time!

PRODUCTS USED:
  • Sinful Colors -- Snow Me White
  • ONYX Quick Dry Finishing Spray
    • Found at WalMart
  • Ulta Salon Formula -- Clear Top Coat
  • 10 newspaper clippings bigger than your nails
    • I used approximately 2" x 2" squares.
  • Cheap, unflavored vodka if you are of legal age to purchase/consume alcohol
    • Rubbing alcohol if you aren't.
  • Small Glass
  • PATIENCE
Really, which liquid you use is up to you but I've found that the vodka gives you a darker transfer of the newsprint. Chris and I don't drink vodka, so we tried to find a mini bottle that was unflavored, but we had absolutely no luck with that.We ended up buying a 750 mL bottle of super cheap vodka for $6, and that was at a higher-priced liquor store.

One last note: Normally, I would consider a finishing spray to be optional. Personally, I love my bottle and use it all the time. However, for this manicure, it really helps to flash dry your nails after you pull the newspaper off. If you wait for them to dry on their own, the newsprint can start wearing off very VERY quickly unless you seal it with a top coat as soon as possible.

HOW I DID IT:
  1. I painted my nails 2 coats of white and let them completely dry without cleaning up my cuticles. I also gave them a quick spray with the finishing spray before I soaked them in vodka.
  2. I cut my pieces of newspaper and poured vodka (or rubbing alcohol) into a small glass. You only need enough to stick your finger in so that your entire nail will be covered. 
  3. These steps have to be done one finger at a time: Stick your finger into the glass and hold it in the alcohol for 5 seconds. I counted 1 one thousand, 2 one thousand, etc.
  4. Place 1 square of newspaper on your nail immediately after removing it from the alcohol. Press it down firmly for 25-30 seconds, and make sure not to move it around on your nail.. Otherwise you'll have a big smeared mess!
  5. Remove the newspaper carefully. If you have a little bit of paper stuck to your nail, you can try to gently peel it off with a pair of tweezers. Spray your nail with finishing spray.
  6. Clean the nail polish and newsprint off of your cuticle which will give your nail a little more time to dry.
  7. Apply a top coat to your nail. If you have any newspaper residue, be warned.. your mani will become very top coat hungry!
  8. Repeat steps 3-7 to your remaining 9 nails.
  9. After all your nails have dried, re-apply another layer of top coat to all nails.
Really, it's not a hard process.. but I'm super OCD about my nails and I had to redo several of them because they were slightly smudged or not dark enough. Ooo, not being dark enough was my biggest irritation! And I still want to redo some of them again but I honestly just don't have the patience.

Anyways, they look SUPER cool and you could even switch the background color up and do any pastel color! I did mine last night and I've gotten tons of compliments on them when I went out today. If you decide to give these a try, let me know how yours turn out! I'd love to see them!

Happy reading... Your nails! Haha!

♥ M

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

REVIEW -- Olay Shine Control Lathering Cleanser

I bought the Olay Pore Minimizing Cleanser + Scrub on a whim about a month ago, and I really like it. It does seem to minimize my pores and it doesn't make my face oily. But I decided that I wanted to try switching back to less of a "scrub" and try a normal cleanser. I decided to try this since it is oil free, supposed to control shine (aka oil) and it's a lathering cleanser.

THE PRODUCT:
I picked Olay's Shine Control Cleanser up at WalMart. It is a very thick, pearlescent cleanser that is highly perfumed. However, unlike the Pore Minimizing Cleanser + Scrub, this actually smells like a perfume as opposed to laundry detergent. I can't remember the exact price, but I feel like it was between $5-7. The back of the tube says:
Shine Control Lathering Cleanser deep cleans to purify skin's surface with the cleansing power of a mack, in an everyday form that minimizes shine. This detoxifying mud cleanser lathers and rinses like a daily deep cleanser for thoroughly purified, clean skin. Dermatologically tested.
 MY RESULTS:
I quickly learned that a little bit of this cleanser goes a long way. Since it is so thick, it takes forever to spread around with your hands and work it into some sort of lather on your face. And it takes even longer to rinse off. I always use my hands to rinse my face, but I've found using a wash cloth to rinse this one off is really beneficial. It also makes your face feel.. overly cleaned? Not in a drying way, mind you. It hasn't over-dried my face at all. But.. I don't know. I've been trying to think of a way to explain it and the best way I can come up with is that if you try to run your hands over your face, you can't do it smoothly because they get stuck. Same with your hands, and I have to wash my hands with hand soap immediately after washing my face to get them back to normal. However, I will say that I think it takes my face longer to become oily after using this product as opposed to using other face washes.

VERDICT:
I read through pages of reviews on the Olay site, and no one else seemed to have the "over cleaning" complaint that I do. So, maybe it's just me? Besides that, I do like the cleanser... Maybe not enough to repurchase it, but I'll definitely use up the tube that I bought. I'd say if you're on the fence about buying it, definitely give it a try. I'm not displeased with it, I'm just not in love with it like I was hoping I would be.

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Have you tried the cleanser? If so, what are your thoughts? Do you have another favorite cleanser that you love? Let me know!

♥ M

How to Pick a Tanning Bed Lotion

Since Spring is quickly beginning to feel a lot like Summer (in the South, anyways) a lot of pools are opening up early. One of my friends told me she wants to use a tanning bed to get a quick base tan before pool season really kicks off and asked me if I could do a post about the different types of indoor tanning lotions. Naturally, I said sure! And.. here we are.

I'd like to point out that I am not an indoor tanning expert, and you should definitely take your natural skin tone into account and always make sure that the staff at your tanning salon is properly trained and consult them if you have any questions. 

Also, please remember that tanning beds ARE NOT SAFE. Using them (even once) increases your risk of developing the skin cancer melanoma and not wearing protective eye wear can cause cataracts and arc eye. With that being said, I'm not trying to preach. I have used tanning beds in the past and still do on a very infrequent basis.

First, let's give you a mini lesson on how tanning beds actually work so you can understand exactly why lotions are important.

TANNING BED BASICS
The sun emits UVA and UVB rays. Tanning beds, on the other hand, mainly emit UVA rays. These rays penetrate deeper into the skin but is supposed to be less likely to burn you. Using a tanning lotion will further prevent the risk of burning. Many tanning lotions include Tyrosine which stimulates your skin's production of melanin, the pigment that adds color to your skin and thus helps create and maintain your tan. In addition, lotions also have other beneficial goodies for your skin like Aloe Vera to moisturize, Copper to reduce blemishes, and Vitamin E which can help fight signs of premature aging.

And now.. onto the lotions!

ACCELERATORS
These lotions are great for beginning tanners or naturally fair skinned people who don't already have a base tan. They are a "step one" product and usually have good amounts of moisturizers in them. Because of this, I read that you should apply these lotions about an hour before tanning to give the moisturizers time to soak into your skin. Personally, I have used accelerators in the past and I always applied mine right before getting into the tanning bed. I don't think I could get into one comfortably without having just applied lotion. That's just me, though.

BRONZERS
Bronzers can be considered another "step one" product and you'll often see bronzers and accelerators mixed together in one product. These are by far the most popular lotions on the market, and have sunless tanners mixed into them. They are meant to speed up the appearance of a tan with a fake tan while your skin catches up to the fake tan. Just like with regular sunless tanners, there are two types of bronzers: regular (immediate tan) and delayed (gradual tan). Also, remember to wipe your hands off immediately after applying these lotions so that you don't end up with the dreaded orange palms over time!

Personally, bronzers are my favorite indoor lotions. The only time I go to a tanning bed is when I'm super super pale and I love having instant gratification even if it is fake. And like I said, eventually your body will catch up to the sunless tanner in the bronzer and it just makes you that much darker. Also, the sunless tanner in bronzers doesn't streak when it starts wearing off of your body and you don't have to completely exfoliate before applying the bronzer. That's a huge plus and one of the reasons I gave up on regular sunless tanning.

MAXIMIZERS
Maximizers are a "step two" product for tanners who have already achieved a base tan and are looking to further darken their tan level. These lotions generally don't have high levels of moisturizers in them, and should be applied directly before tanning.

TINGLES
Tingle lotions are for advanced tanners only. Possibly considered a "step three" product, they stimulate your skin and cause an increase in blood circulation right below your skin (which can boost the production of melanin) creating redness that can last for hours. You will definitely feel the heat when using these lotions, and you run the risk of burning or ending up with welts. Beginners and people with sensitive skin can find these very unpleasant to use. Also, remember to wash your hands before touching children if you have used a tingle lotion, as they can end up miserable for hours. However, tingles are one of the most effective lotions out there and they produce great results when combined with a bronzer.

I love using tingles when I lay out in the summer. To me, I don't feel like I'm actually getting any sun unless I have that tingle burn going on. Even though I know that's not really the case, I find it very relaxing.. but I would never use a tingle in a tanning bed.

BODY BLUSH
I'll be honest and say that I have no experience with these lotions. From what I've read, body blushes are a substitute for tingles without the burning and heat sensations. Their reddening and blood circulation increasing powers don't seem to be as potent, but they could be a great alternative for tanners who cannot handle the intensity of a tingle lotion.

FACIAL TANNERS
Most tanning lotions are not designed to be applied to the facial area. The skin on your face is much thinner than the rest of your body and can burn much easier. You can choose to use a facial tanner which is specifically formulated for the face, or use SPF to prevent getting a facial tan at all and just use makeup to match your complexion to your body. The only problem with using makeup is that it will wash off if you get wet and then you'll have a white face and a tan body. Yikes! A third option would be to use SPF and then use a sunless tanner on your face. I tell you how the foolproof way to apply sunless tanner to your face here.

AFTER-TAN MOISTURIZERS
These lotions are sold as "add ons" to your tanning lotion purchase. I've purchased them from the tanning salon, and I've purchased them from other places.. and I'll be honest and say the only difference in getting them from the tanning salon (to me) is the price. You can get great moisturizers almost anywhere, just make sure that you pick up one that is not mineral oil based and apply it within 5 minutes of getting out of the tanning bed. Moisturizers with hemp are especially wonderful post-tanning, in my opinion.

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As far as tanning lotion brands go, I prefer Australian Gold and Designer Skin products but Swedish Beauty is good too. Remember that a good tanning lotion should be an investment, not something you just buy on a whim. This is what you're trusting to get your body tan and not burn yourself. Don't be afraid of buying several small packages to test out several lotions before you commit to buying a whole bottle! Packets usually have enough for 2 applications so you can see how well you really like the lotion to help avoid buyer's remorse.

Hope this was helpful! Happy tanning, whether it be indoor, outdoor or sunless!

♥ M

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Our Date Night Bust... :\

I'm going to warn you.. this post is entirely non-beauty related, but I thought it might make a few of y'all laugh. Maybe? Maybe not.. I don't know. Oh well. Regularly scheduled beauty posts will resume tomorrow. Promise!

Soo.. it's been a little while since Chris and I have had more of a date night than just dinner out somewhere. On the way to my Granny's for Easter, he suggested that we go to Dave & Busters tonight. I was SO excited! I totally love D&B! But... yea... Tonight wasn't so great.

Hubby had been up since 1030 am yesterday morning (without even a nap) trying to readjust his body since he works tomorrow night, and he was understandably tired by the time we started out. And.. I don't know. I've just been irritable all day. We got there and Lady Luck was not with us.. games kept eating our tokens and not giving us the right amount of coupons.. Ugh.

And then we were playing the basketball game and I ended up with an extra ball left out at the end of the game. Before I could even bend down to grab my tickets, some kid ran all up in my personal bubble, put his hand on my expensive new purse and screamed "CAN I SHOOT THAT BACK IN?!" right in my face. (Because I'm short.) Oh. My. God. Y'all. I nearly lost it. Well, actually, I kind of did. And I don't care! Poor Chris was just like "Oookayyy, honey... why don't we go over HERE... Away from the children..." But I bet that kid learned to never make that mistake again!

We ended up leaving shortly after that because we just weren't having a good time and we figured we could save the rest of the money on our card for next time.. so we went to Olive Garden to have dinner because we haven't been in forevvvver and we got to eavesdrop on some couple on a date. I seriously wish all of you could have been there with us to listen to the guy.. All I can say is that poor, poor woman. Bless her heart. She's a trooper. Chris and I started placing bets on how much longer she was going to sit there before she "went to the restroom" and didn't come back.

Mr. Bachelor spent several minutes talking about his WoW (World of Warcraft) obsession while Chris and I snickered. And then. OH. And THEN. We got to hear this gem: "Yea, I've invested a lot of money in Rogaine. Like, a LOT of money..." and this is where he takes off baseball hat to reveal a very bald head. "...Obviously it didn't work that well." We were dying. Literally. I snorted my sweet tea.


That was followed up shortly with "So.. I only have $400 in my bank account. Yea. Meaning we can't go TOO crazy. You know what I mean?" and "Well, I mean, I have a trashcan in my hall so if I don't like it I can just throw it away." ...We have NO clue what that was in reference to, but judging by his previous conversational skills and prowess, one can only imagine. >_<

So, at least our dinner entertainment helped to redeem our night. Chris came home and immediately passed out, poor thing. I twitpic'd a picture of him that he doesn't know about because he's just so cute sleeping. :)

As promised, beauty stuff resumes tomorrow!

Love y'all!

♥ M

Makeup Musings: Pressed Powder VS Loose Powder

I feel like this is one of those age old makeup debates that never seems to have a definitive answer because everyone has a differing opinion. I'm not sure that I have all the answers either, but I'm going to share my thoughts with you!

BASICS:
Hooray for all the things we already know! Besides the obvious differences, loose powder is a great item to have and use at home. It's nearly impossible to carry in a purse, and also requires a powder brush which takes up more room if you're already worried about space in your bag. For portability, pressed powder is a much better choice. Even it's container is compact and the puff used to apply it stores inside. As an added bonus, most compacts have mirrors which can save extra space. 

LOOSE POWDER:
Loose powder is more finely milled than pressed powder, which can give it the appearance of lighter coverage. However, it can also be packed on to provide coverage as thick (if not thicker) than pressed powder if desired. Most loose powders contain talc, making them ideal for oily skin that can help offset even the most stubborn shine. These powders usually come in a wider variety of shades, making it easier to find an exact match. And if your skin tone is not available, it's easy to pry the tops out and mix shades to create your perfect custom color.

PRESSED POWDER:
If you're looking for a matte finish, pressed powder is definitely the way to go. However, it tends to deposit a lot of powder on the face and can be a telltale sign that you're wearing makeup. If you'd like a lighter application, you can always use a powder brush to apply it but that does minimize the space saving aspect of the compact if you are taking it on the go. An advantage to the heavier application of pressed powder is that it can be worn alone, where as loose powder looks best over tinted moisturizer or foundation.

MY THOUGHTS:
Personally, I prefer to use a tinted moisturizer to even out my skin tone and top it with loose powder. I like the lighter, more natural coverage it provides. I also feel like even though it helps control oil, it still leaves me with a slightly dewy look which I'm a fan of. However, I do have a pressed powder compact in my purse for touch ups to my T-Zone.

I think both powders have their place and this comes down to personal preference more than one being better than the other.

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What are your thoughts? Pressed? Loose? Or both?

♥ M

Monday, April 25, 2011

NEW CRACKLE POLISHES ARE COMING!

Ohhhhh... you guys! Today is a HAPPY day! I just found out about new crackle polishes coming out this summer! And by now, I'm sure you all know how much I just ♥ me some crackles! Now, I'd also like to take a moment and add that OPI is also coming out with a silver foil shatter as part of their new Pirates of the Carribean collection that is coming out in May.

SALLY HANSEN CRACKLES
Sorry this picture didn't post so well. However, it is clickable so you can enlarge it and see the names. Out of this collection, I'm definitely looking forward to Fuschia Shock the most. Vintage Violet and Distressed Denim would be close seconds, though. These should be available everywhere Sally Hansen is sold and will come out in June. Hopefully they will also be more available than the OPI and China Glaze versions!

CHINA GLAZE METALLIC CRACKLES
I'm decently excited about these colors. As I've said, I'm not the biggest fan of foils, and I'm not sure how much I'll end up loving a foil crackle. To me, that just spells disaster. However, I'll definitely pick up Haute Metal and Oxidized Aqua as soon as I can get my hands on them, along with Tarnished Gold if I can't get Antique Gold from Sally Hansen. Oh, and Platinum Pieces if I can't snag a bottle of OPI's silver shatter. These will be available June 15th in Europe and sometime in July or August in the US.

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So what are your thoughts on crackles? Love them? Hate them? Over them? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

♥ M

REVIEW -- e.l.f. Essentials "Healthy Glow Bronzing Powder"

I have avoided all powdered bronzers since a very unfortunate bronzer incident during high school. I'll spare you the details.. However, I've recently been conquering my makeup fears and decided I would give bronzers another try now that I am older, wiser and much more makeup savvy. While I know there are some amazing bronzers, I didn't want to spend a lot of money on one in case I didn't like it... which is why I chose e.l.f.'s Healthy Glow Bronzing Powder.

THE PRODUCT:
There are several shades to choose from, but I picked "Sun Kissed." Which, coincidentally, is the exact color pictured above! I picked my bronzer up at Target and, like most e.l.f. products, it was $1. They also have a $3 bronzer that multiple colors in it, but I decided I'd start with the most basic and work my way up from there.

The website says:
A touch of sunshine to warm up every complexion with its soft and silky texture for a beautiful and natural glow. Using e.l.f. professional blush brush, lightly brush over powder, tapping off any excess. Apply to cheeks and across bridge of nose and forehead. Blend with Total Face Brush to insure seamless application. 
 MY RESULTS:
I bought the e.l.f. bronzing brush to go with the bronzer, but it was a HORRIBLE brush and I refuse to use it. I've been using an angled fluffy brush with it since then and I've been much happier. The bronzer provides just enough color and shimmer without looking orange or unnatural, and it blends very well. I use it in the hollows of my cheeks and blend it up into my hair line, then with whatever is left on my brush I swipe down the bridge of my nose and onto my chin. It also blends really well with my blush to give me amazingly sculpted cheeks. In case you're interested, my current blush is Rimmel's "Tickle Me Pink".

The one thing I don't like about this pressed powder bronzer is that it has a lot of fall out. Even the lightest touch with a brush makes it dusty.

VERDICT:
For a dollar, I am totally loving this bronzer! It has definitely won me over and I think bronzers will become a new staple in my everyday makeup bag. When this one runs out, I'll probably try the $3 e.l.f. one just to see how it compares. While I think e.l.f. products are hit or miss sometimes, I would definitely repurchase this item. And I like that it's one of the products you can actually find in stores, instead of just online.

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Have you tried this bronzer? Or any of the other e.l.f. bronzers? If not, do you use other brands? If so, what are your favorites? I'd like to branch out and try different ones! Let me know in the comments! :)

♥ M

Pink Blush Brush? LOVE IT! ...Sort of.

Oh my gosh, you guys! Look at the CUTEST hot pink blush brush I found at WalMart the other day! It was with all the other makeup brushes, but it didn't have a brand name on the packaging and it said it was limited edition. I mean, it's WalMart, so I wasn't expecting an amazing brush. But it was $4 and hot pink, so I had to buy it. Had to. The power of pink compelled me!

I looked online to try to find a product image for y'all, or even find it on the WalMart website but it's not listed anywhere.. I did go to another WalMart and they had them there as well, along with a lovely lavender colored "limited edition" brush that was in the same nameless blue packaging. I don't know how long they'll be available, so you might want to go grab one if you're interested in them.

But before you run out and buy it, I have to be honest.. it's not really the greatest brush. I like my Ulta Professionals blush brush a lot better.. but, I mean, it could definitely get the job done. I'm going to keep it anyways because I like seeing it in my makeup brush holder. :)

♥ M

Sunday, April 24, 2011

REVIEW -- Palladio Herbal Eyeliner -- Waterproof/Retractable

So I didn't really have intentions of doing a review on Easter, but I'm just hanging out while Chris is at work and I figured I might as well be productive. And this is much more fun than cleaning the house, haha!

Anyways, I know I've talked about my love affair with Palladio's lip stains before (or maybe it was on YouTube? I can't remember) and I've been searching for a truly stay-put waterproof eyeliner for my waterline, which is what prompted me to pick up Palladio's new Herbal Eyeliners when I was stocking up on Lip Inks.

THE PRODUCT:
There are no great design improvements to mention in the product packaging. It's just your standard retractable crayon eyeliner. I tend to favor these over pencils that need to be sharpened because they just make life easier. It always seems like my sharpener explodes in my makeup bag and then I have eyeliner shavings everywhere.. or I'm running late and my eyeliner is dull and I can't find my sharpener.. Ugh! 

I picked up "Pure Black" and "Ocean Blue" which is a gorgeous bright blue. I haven't had a chance to use it yet, but it looks like this:
They are available at Sally's and Ulta. Mine was $3.99 at Sally's with my Beauty Club card. Normal retail was $4.99. These also come in waterproof lip liners as well. The Palladio website says:
Slim and easy-to-apply, these crayon-like eye and lip pencils require no sharpening. Simply twist when the product dulls and return it to its original state. Our unique water-proof formula ensures no-run, all-day wear. (Great for waterlines!)
 MY RESULTS:
I was excited to see that the website said these were great for waterlines, because that's mainly where I use my crayon eyeliners. At first, I used Pure Black only on my top water line to see if it would transfer to my bottom waterline throughout the day. I can confidently say that it stayed put for as long as I had my makeup on my face, which was just over 8 hours that day. Today is the second time I've used Pure Black and I lined my top and bottom water lines. My makeup has been on for over 6 hours, and my bottom waterline is still black with no touch ups! I'm amazed! And it hasn't traveled into my tear ducts, either. 

Personally, I feel like I "should" touch it up a little, but I think that's more my personal preference than it actually needing to be done.

VERDICT:
I am extremely pleased with these eyeliners! I can't believe I've actually found one that stays put! Now I can actually wear eyeliner on my bottom waterline without having to top it with black eyeshadow and then take the eyeshadow and an eyeliner brush with me... and check my face every 20-30 minutes to make sure it's still there and not all up in my tear ducts! Ahhhh! You guys! I am SO excited! I'll probably go back to Sally's this week and see if they have any other fun colors.

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Have you tried these eyeliners yet? Or do you have another favorite waterproof eyeliner? If you do, tell me all about it because I'd love to check it out!

Happy Easter (again!)

♥ M

Happy Easter!

Hey everyone! I just wanted to post a quick blog for y'all wishing everyone a Happy Easter. And if you don't celebrate Easter, I hope you have a wonderful day as well!

Chris and I will be joining my parents and family at my Granny's house for "dinner" (which is really lunch). We always go to her house for every holiday, and it's so great to just spend quality time with them! Family is so important!

And then Chris has to go to work at 4pm. Having him work on holidays is never fun, but it's one of his job requirements and I guess we've gotten used to it over the last 4 years.

What are you doing to celebrate? Anything fun? Hanging out with family? Easter egg hunts, perhaps?! Let me know, I'd love to hear your plans!

Love y'all!

♥ M

Saturday, April 23, 2011

EXPIRED -- FREE "Deluxe" VS Heavenly Perfume Sample!


As I've said before in my "Scents of Spring" post, this is one of my favorite perfumes.. (You can read all about it here!) So even though I already have a full size bottle and like 4 sample bottles floating around.. you can bet I'll be running out and snatching this little baby up ASAP. Make sure you hurry in because my VS always seems to run out of samples within a week or so. :\

Also.. I have NO clue what makes this sample "deluxe" soo... just in case you were wondering, haha!

And now for the fine print...
No purchase necessary, valid in store only while supplies last. Expires May 9th, 2011.

PRINT YOUR COUPON HERE


♥ M

Friday, April 22, 2011

EXPIRED -- Earth Day Freebies!

While I think everyday should be Earth Day, I'll take some extra love for Mother Nature any way I can get it. Fortunately for us, several companies are offering great freebies and specials today and tomorrow!

ZOYA POLISH EXCHANGE
I posted an entry about this yesterday. You can read it here.

FREE COFFEE (OR TEA) AT STARBUCKS AND CARIBOU COFFEE
Bring any reusable mug, thermos or cup and get a free cup of coffee at any Caribou Coffee location or your choice of free coffee or tea at any Starbucks location.

ORIGINS SKINCARE EXCHANGE
Fill out the form on their website and bring in a bottle of your old skin care product in exchange for a FREE, FULL-SIZE promotional Origins cleanser. And your cleanser that you exchange can be ANY brand! While supplies last!

LOWE'S IS GIVING AWAY 1 MILLION TREES!
Stop by your local Lowe's tomorrow (Saturday, 4/23) to get your free tree! Check out their website for full details.

FREE REUSABLE SHOPPING BAG AT DISNEY STORES!
Just bring in 5 plastic shopping bags and they'll recycle them for you and give you a cute Disney themed reusable shopping bag in exchange!

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Everyone loves freebies, but remember what these companies are trying to achieve: recycling/reducing waste and promoting sustainability! We should strive to improve these causes all the time, not just because we're getting something for free!

Happy Earth Day! Don't forget to hug a tree! Haha!

♥ M

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Follow me on Twitter!

I'm finally trying Twitter again. Yaaaaaaaaaay! Granted, I still don't understand the appeal... But I promise that I'll make an actual effort to keep this one updated! "MandysSecrets" was already taken (lame!) so I'm MMMandysSecrets. There's also a Twitter widget on the sidebar if you're feeling lazy. I won't tell!

Love and Tweets!

♥ M

EXPIRED -- Earth Day 2011 -- Zoya's Nail Polish Exchange Promotion!

In honor of Earth Day 2011, Zoya is bringing back it's popular NAIL POLISH EXCHANGE promotion! Here's how a basic overview of how it works:

  1. Visit their website and choose from over 300 colors. You must choose a minimum of 6, but no more than 24.
  2. Apply the code EARTHZOYA and your cart will be updated to reflect a cost of $4 shipping and processing per bottle.
  3. Submit your order! Zoya will ship your new polishes to you!
  4. Once you receive your new polishes, you can re-package your unwanted polishes and send them back to Zoya with a copy of your order.
    • You don't have to send back 1 NON ZOYA bottle of polish for every bottle you buy, and you can donate more bottles if you choose. You can also choose not to exchange any and still keep the Zoya polish. (But you might get some bad karma!)
    • Zoya promises to dispose of your old polish according to EPA guidelines.
This promotion is only valid until April 27th, 2011... so don't wait! For more information, check out Zoya's website.

♥ M

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

My "MUST HAVE" Hair Products

One of my fellow bloggers, Hannah Michelle, posted this little tag and I thought it would be fun to do since I've been on a "favorites" kick lately. These are just my every day products. I think tools would need their own separate post!

 TRESEMMÉ SHAMPOO & CONDITIONER
I'll be honest and say that I'm not particularly loyal to a shampoo brand... I feel like my hair gets used to a particular shampoo after a while (usually before I can even finish a bottle!) and then it just doesn't work as well. However, I always keep coming back to Tresemmé. You get a HUGE bottle for less than $4 and they smell so good. What's not to love?!

AUSSIE "3 MINUTE MIRACLE" DEEP CONDITIONER
I talked about this product in depth during my March 2011 Favorites video, which I'll post below. But seriously... this stuff saved my hair when it was disintegrating. I owe it a lot.


TRESEMMÉ CURL HYDRATION CREME
Okay, granted.. I don't actually have curly hair since my chemical straightening. However, this is still the first thing I grab and put on my hair after I get out of the shower because I feel like it makes my hair smoother and more manageable.

SUAVE DETANGLING SPRAY
This isn't an every day product, but when I need it.. It's a life saver. My hair is so fine and it tangles by literally doing nothing.. There are some days I get out of the shower and I have one big, giant, painful mess. This stuff detangles without leaving any residue in my hair. And it has an octopus on the front of it. Score.

SUAVE VOLUMIZING MOUSSE
I love this mousse. It provides just enough lift and texture without making my roots greasy. Overall, it's the best volumizing drugstore mousse I've found.

ALTERNA BAMBOO SMOOTH KENDI DRY OIL
I talked about this in my March Favorites video, too. Somehow, a sample of this little gem found its way into my Ulta bag one day.. and I'm SO glad it did. This was right when my hair started falling apart and even though this product is a little pricey, now that I've tried it I refuse to go without it. I spritz it on my ends and it smells amazing and has really helped my hair recover. Plus it doesn't make my hair greasy which is more than I can say for some products...

TRESEMMÉ HEAT TAMER PROTECTIVE SPRAY
A sales associate at Ulta told me I should try this instead of my CHI 44 Iron Guard. It's half the price and works just as well! I'm sold on it! 

OSCAR BLANDI "PRONTO INVISIBLE" DRY SHAMPOO
I am SO in love with this product. In fact, I've already done TWO reviews on it! (You can read them here and here!) It smells just like Froot Loops, it doesn't leave any white residue, and it's great for adding texture when I tease my hair. I use this little baby almost every day and it's lasted me a long time!

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And those are my favesies! Do you love any of the products I've listed? Hate them? Or know of a better one that what I'm currently using? Let me know! And.. if you haven't already done this tag and want to... You're tagged! :D

♥ M

Monday, April 18, 2011

NAIL ART -- "Funky" French with Rhinestones

THE DESIGN:
After doing a post on my favorite polishes for Spring, I was itching to use China Glaze's 'For Audrey' so I brought it with me when I got my nails filled. While I love the color, I wasn't digging plain nails so I decided to jazz them up with a complimentary turquoise tip and silver line. "Diamond" accents on my ring fingers help complete the Tiffany inspired look.

PRODUCTS USED:
  • China Glaze -- For Audrey
  • Hard Candy -- Frenzy
  • Ulta Salon Formula -- Clear Top Coat
  • Scotch Tape
  • essence -- Silver Nail Striper
  • essence Rhinestone Picker
  • 1mm Clear Rhinestones
  • 3mm Clear Rhinestones
HOW I DID IT:

NOTE: I skipped applying a base coat because I have acrylic over my nails. However, if you have natural nails ALWAYS remember to apply a base coat!
  1. I had my nail tech apply 'For Audrey' when I had my fill done at my nail salon.
  2. At home, I pulled off pieces of scotch tape and pressed them on my hand first to remove most of the glue. Then I placed them on the tips of my nails, leaving about 1/5th of my nail exposed to create a "tip".
  3. Once my fingers were scotch taped, I swiped a coat of 'Frenzy' over the exposed area on my nails and pulled the tape off immediately after completing each nail. If you leave the tape on while your polish dries,  you won't end up with a clean line.
  4. After giving the polish a few minutes to dry, I took my silver striper and thinned out my brush. I applied a horizontal silver stripe to the free edge of the polish to hide the "seam" of the 2 polishes meeting because I had some minor imperfections where my tape didn't get pressed down completely.
  5. On my ring fingers, I applied a layer of top coat and placed rhinestones in the middle of my nail along the silver line. I used 2 1mm clear rhinestones and placed a clear 3mm rhinestone in the middle of them.
  6. I applied a layer of top coat to all my nails and was done!
And that's it! Super quick and easy, and it can be done using any color combination you like! Enjoy!

♥ M

All About GEL POLISH


One of my friends recently asked me what I knew about the new gel polish craze. Even though it's something I'd been meaning to look into, I hadn't had the time to research them.. so I figured now was as good a time as any to learn something new and share it with you! Here's what I found out:

The PROS of gel nails are that they can be applied to natural nails and provide added strength and durability that promises to be chip free for 2 weeks without any drilling to your natural nails like you would experience with acrylics. And when you take your hand out from under the UV lamp, you are 100% DONE. You won't have to worry about smudging a nail before you even get into your car.

The CONS are that the colors are not true to their descriptions and if you get a dark color, you will have a definite line as your nails grow out. However, I think it actually looks kind of like a half moon mani, so you might be able to get away with it. I'll post a picture from imabeautygeek.com below so you can see what I mean. Another con is that the gel has to be completely soaked off and removed each time you have your nails re-done and unless you want to buy a UV lamp (which can be pricey) they are impossible to do at home. The two brands that I researched were OPI's Axxium and Harmony's Gelish line.

OPI Axxium, week 3. Photo Credit: imabeautygeek.com
OPI'S AXXIUM GEL NAILS
From the way it appears, Axxium is applied more like regular acrylic, with separate brushes and jars. It's also a decently thick gel. You'll get a base gel, 2-3 coats of color and a top gel layer. After each layer your nails will get cured under a UV lamp. To remove the nails, it takes about 10 minutes of soaking in acetone and another 10-15 minutes using a tool to push and peel the gel off.

Here are a few of the colors that Axxium offers:

HARMONY'S GELISH GEL NAILS
Gelish is applied out of a bottle with a brush just like a regular polish and consists of a base coat, 2 coats of color and a top coat. Like Axxium, it is also cured under a UV lamp after each layer. From what I understand, Gelish is easier to apply, thinner and stronger, longer lasting, chips less, and is easier to remove... all with less damage to your real nails, as it is a "soak off" lacquer and shouldn't need to be peeled off. And if you want to actually try a color out on your nails before committing to it, Gelish is a lot easier to do this with compared to Axxium.

Here are Gelish's colors:
As you can see, Gelish also has glitter options. Axxium had a limited edition holiday glitter collection, but it wasn't widely available.

FINAL THOUGHTS
Always keep in mind that the colors are not true to their descriptions. If you want a medium blue, you might want to pick a navy instead. I know my nail salon only offers Gelish, but they have practice wheels pre-made with all the colors so that you can see what they look like before they apply it to your nails. I think that's really helpful. 

Also make sure that your nail tech doesn't get any of the gel onto your cuticles. If they do, your polish will end up peeling off well before 2 weeks.

Axxium seems like it would be very difficult to apply at home, even with a UV lamp because it needs to be evened out like acrylic. I don't know if you've ever tried to do acrylics at home, but from my experience they are nearly impossible to smooth out.

Lastly, from what I was able to research online, the average price for a gel manicure seems to be between $25-35. Considering that the average life of a gel mani is about 2-3 weeks, it's more expensive than an acrylic fill, but much less damaging to your nails while still being much more durable than a regular manicure.

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So have you already tried Axxium or Gelish? If not, would you consider it? I'm definitely interested in trading in my acrylics to see how I like Gelish once my pinky nail has completely regrown. Let me know your thoughts!

♥ M

Friday, April 15, 2011

Happy Birthday to Earl!

Aww, I know it's kinda lame.. but I love my Girl-y Earl-y and it's his birthday so I wanted to give him a little blog post. And maybe some extra kitty treats. Look how festive he is! :)

Bahaha. Hope this made you laugh. Or at least giggle.

♥ M