Saturday, May 28, 2011

GET THE LOOK (For Less!) -- Orly's Space Cadet / MAC's Mean & Green

Y'all, I would like to introduce you to Beetle. It's an amazing polish from Hard Candy that I have been dying to get my hands on. because not only is it an absolutely gorgeous duotone shimmer polish... BUT it is an exact dupe for both Orly's Space Cadet AND MAC's Mean & Green. And all of Hard Candy's polishes come with coordinating big chunky rings! How fun!

I haven't actually used Beetle on my nails yet, as I am getting a fill tomorrow and don't see the point in wasting an hour trying to scrub all the glitter from OPI's Spark De Triomphe off of my nails when I can just let my nail tech sand it off for me in like 2 minutes.. but I have tested it on practice nails and swatched it on regular paper to see what it looks like and let me just tell you that it is gorgeous!

Unfortunately, I have tried everything I can think of to accurately capture the true intensity of the duotone on camera and nothing has worked. The two best pictures I got were outside this afternoon and I'll post them below.

Here's the brand new bottle at face value. It just looks purple and sparkly... but there is so much more to this polish than that!


This is the best photo I got where you can start to see the nature of the duotone.. but just barely. It's nowhere close to the true effect. 



After studying it for a while, the best analogy that I could come up with is a rainbow oil spill:

This is oil on concrete, NOT the polish. But this is what the polish most resembles.
Now I'm going to be honest with the fact that I do not own Space Cadet OR Mean & Green. However, I've done my online research and can confirm that Beetle is, as I said, an exact dupe for both. From what I've read online, Space Cadet is nearly impossible to get opaque.. and by the time it IS opaque, it's too thick and gloppy to dry completely. And no one likes a dented mani! :(

I have several Hard Candy polishes and I am in love with their formula. It's basically perfection! Beetle seems to be more pigmented than Space Cadet. In my swatching, I only needed 3 thin/medium coats to achieve complete opacity and it dried super quickly, too!

How much can you save by grabbing yourself a bottle of Beetle over Orly and MAC's polishes? Well, as of this posting:

Orly's Space Cadet retailed for $10.
MAC'S Mean & Green retailed for $13.
Hard Candy's Beetle retailed for $4.99.

You do the math. Hard Candy polishes and cosmetics are sold exclusively at WalMart.

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And now I'm off to go grab the Hubby from work so that we can figure out what to do for dinner. I hate it when he gets off at midnight... Neither of us want to cook, and most eating places are already closed. Lame. :/

♥ M

TAG -- 25 Random Facts About ME!

Photo Credit: Lasting Light Photography

Bahahahaha... that picture cracks me up EVERY time I see it! My boss and I were testing the lights in the studio one day and... I did that on a whim during a test shoot, haha. Anyways, today is just a fun silly post because I'm in a fantastic mood! Without further pause, I give you... 25 random facts about me:


1. I am SO obsessed with Hello Kitty but have never even talked about her on my blog. How weird is that? My love for HK is so deep that I even rhinestoned her face onto my college graduation cap.. No joke.
And yes, it took FOREVERRRR...

2. I am an only child, which is simultaneously both a blessing and a curse. No offense, Mom!


3. Chris and I are sort-of secretly into WWE wrestling. I don't care if people know that we watch it.. but he does. Pretty sure that's supposed to be the other way around, haha!

4. I definitely have hair and nail ADD! As soon as I change my polish or hair, I start thinking about the next thing to try.

5. I am a SUPER PLANNER. Y'all.. no joke. I plan everything. I mentally plan out everything I have to do the next day down to my clothing, hair and makeup choices so that I don't have to make any decisions on the spot. I like knowing exactly what I'm supposed to be doing and when I'm supposed to be doing it.

6. I loathe birds. Absolutely cannot stand them. Wild birds are one thing. They're generally okay. But pet birds make me want to bash my head against something. And we've been taking care of Chris' mother's cockatiels since January. I hate them. 

7. Chris and I have nicknames for each other. He is Mo and I am Poss. And together.. we are MoPo!
Yup! 'Poss' as in 'Possum'!
8. I have the unhealthiest obsession with thin crust pepperoni pizza. Every Monday night Chris and I order pizza and I get a large and I eat the entire thing by myself in less than 3 days. It's AWFUL! But it's so delicious!

9. I rarely watch movies. If I do watch one, I have to be doing something else as well. I'm not a person that can just sit and focus on a movie.

10. I absolutely love to color. I have at least 4-6 coloring books (most of them are Hello Kitty!) and at least 3 massive boxes of crayons. I don't think I'll ever outgrow it! :D

11. I love computer solitaire games. I think we have like 9 of them downloaded on our laptop.

12. My irritation/anger fuse is literally about |--| that short. I absolutely cannot tolerate stupidity, rudeness or people who don't pay attention to their surroundings. And by golly, I will LET you know it!

13. I love accessories and jewelry, but I don't do earrings. I have a bunch of pairs that I've gotten as gifts, but I only wear my 1 CT total weight diamond studs that Chris got me several years ago.

14. I am probably the coldest human being you will ever meet. It's pathetic. I'm still wearing hoodies and fleece pants in the middle of July IN GEORGIA.. Where it's easily hotter than 95 degrees outside with like 88% humidity... because I'm cold. You should see how many layers I wear in winter. It's horrible.

15. I am a tiny little girl who loves nothing more than driving her Daddy's big, huge truck! I look SO funny in it, but it's like the biggest power trip ever and I absolutely LOVE it!
Yes, that's REALLY me in there!

16. CathyMay15. WEEHO! This is SO one of my most favorite YouTube videos EVER. WEEHO! And it makes Chris want to stab his eardrums out. He obviously has no sense of taste because CathyMay15 is simply awesome. ...I'm tempted to make it my ringtone just to watch his reaction when my phone goes off! WEEHO!


17. I refuse to eat anything that is opaque and white aside from vanilla icing and vanilla ice cream. Anything else isn't even open for discussion. No mayo, sour cream, cream cheese, cottage cheese, bleu cheese, ranch, milk, whipped cream, etc etc. I'll only do skim milk if it has massive amounts of chocolate, is with cereal (but it HAS to be skim and I only use the smallest amount) or is in something. The other products that I mentioned will not be consumed in ANY way.. even if they're mixed in something. It's so bizarre, I know.

18. I have learned that I'm not meant to have blonde or red hair. I've done both and I thought I looked okay, til I saw pictures of myself after the fact...

19. Salmon is undoubtedly my favorite fish. It's yummy, good for you... and pink! :D In fact, I'm eating grilled salmon, spicy grilled lime shrimp and bacon & cheese mashed potatos right now!

20. My three favorite "adult beverages" are: Margaritas, Amaretto Sours, and my own secret concoction called a "Mandizzle"!

21. I looooooove baths. In big bath tubs. Seriously. Love them. The only thing I miss about our old apartment is the garden-size tub. It was amazing.

22. I am absolutely hopeless with styling hair. I can't braid or use a curling iron. It's pathetic.

23. I love playing in the pool, but I only like being in the shallow end. Not because I can't swim, but because it makes me feel better knowing that my feet can touch the bottom. And I have to wear goggles because chlorine literally burns my eyes to where I can't even open them. :\

24. Two jobs I will never hold again: Retail and Food Service. I have witnessed horror stories so awful you'd probably accuse me of making them up. But there's no way my imagination could be that sick and twisted...

25. If I were to have a super power.. I think it would be the ability to find myself in the most outrageous, awkward and uncomfortable situations imaginable because that's basically where I find myself ALL the time. And sometimes it really sucks.

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Whew! Okay! So.. that took a lot longer than I expected, but it was still fun! You're all tagged to share 25 things about yourself with us!

♥ M

Friday, May 27, 2011

FRIDAY FAVORITES -- DOUBLE WHAMMY! V8 V-Fusion Energy in "Peach Mango" / Scratch Track's First Music Video


So early this morning/late last night (depending on how you look at it) I posted on Facebook that I had no clue what I was going to pick for this Friday's "Favorite" but I was forgetting this fruity deliciousness!

As you may or may not know, I feel like I consume so much caffeine on a daily basis that I just need to have a permanent IV placed in my arm. Ironically enough, I only drink decaf coffee though.. explain that? Anyways, to avoid constantly drinking 9 billion Cokes and sweet teas (Can you tell I live in the South much? Haha..) I'm always looking for new ways to consume "energy."

Hubby and I were at WalMart when we saw these packages on the shelf in the juice aisle. He prefers the pomegranate blueberry, but I'm absolutely smitten with the peach mango. It's seriously soooo yummy! And it's natural and so much better for you than soft drinks! It supposedly has a caffeine level that is just slightly less than a cup of coffee, in case you're wondering.

So.. that was my original Friday Favorite. However, since I've been typing this, my dear friends Jason and DJ that have a great band called Scratch Track just posted their first music video! And I'm so proud of them and excited that I have to share it:


If you'd like to learn more about them, you can check them out at scratchtrackmusic.com.

So those are my Friday Favorites! As always, hope everyone has a great weekend and I'll be posting the response I got from Ulta regarding my China Glaze post in a little while. I just have to run some errands first!

♥ M

Look What I Got Yesterday!


I finally got my hands on the Limited Edition Wet n Wild 2011 Summer Nail Pail! It's a CVS Exclusive item, but as with all drugstore seasonal/LE products, it's up to the individual stores as to whether they will carry them or not. I've been scouring my local CVS stores for almost a week trying to find them and I finally found one. I snatched it up as soon as I saw it.

The reusable pail contains:
  • 7 full size Fast Dry polishes
    •  Fuchsia Rama 
    • The Wonder Yellows
    • Saved By The Blue
    • Everybody Loves Redmond
    • Sage in the City
    • Teal or No Teal
    • How I Met Your Magenta
  • Nail File
  • Toe Separators
  • Nail Art Kit
    • 1 white nail art polish
    • 24 stencil stickers
The pail is a $30 value, but is retailing for $9.99. I wasn't interested in the toe separators, but the nail file, pail, and nail art kit are all REALLY cute. And the polishes alone are a retail value of $14! ..So I was more than able to justify it. :)

♥ M

Nicole by OPI Texture Coat Preview!


So Nicole by OPI just released the preview of their new texture collection which is basically.... more crackles/shatters/whatever you want to call them. Since these are made by OPI, expect them to fall more into the "shatter" category than the "crackle" one.

The shades are pretty standard fair for what we've seen and, truthfully, the only actual new color for OPI is the gold one. The 6 colors are as follows: black, turquoise, white, silver, gold and red.

The Texture Coats will be available July 2011 for $7.99 a piece and can be found at ULTA, Target, Meijer, Harmon, Wegmans, Sears, and H-E-B. They will also be available in Canada at Shoppers Drug Mart, WalMart, and Loblaw. I wonder why they're not being marketed in the US WalMarts? Hmmm...

For more information, visit their website.

What do you think? I'm less than enthused about these new shatters because I feel like OPI has simply repackaged all of their current shatters just to re-release them and gain more hype. With that being said, will I pick up the gold one? Absolutely. Will I be as excited about it as I was for the release of Silver Shatter? Absolutely not.

♥ M

Thursday, May 26, 2011

TAG -- What's In My Purse?!


Y'all know I just loooove me a good "What's in my purse?" tag and the lovely Hannah Michelle just did one and of course I knew I had to share mine as well. :)

So the top picture is my purse of the moment. I love my little Coach. Seriously, if I was a purse.. that's what I would look like. No doubt in my mind whatsoever. I got it a couple of months ago when my bffl and I went outlet mall shopping. It was so cheap I literally felt like I was stealing it when I walked out of the store! It was reduced on clearance, then the Coach outlet was running a special where you could take an extra 50% off of all clearance merchandise.. and then they were handing out in-store coupons for an extra 25% off of everything in the store. How could I not snatch it up?!

So here is what everything looks like when it's all in my purse:
I like to think of it as a cluttered organization. It's full of stuff, but everything has a place. And here's what's actually inside:
  1. Spearmint Orbit gum. I ALWAYS have gum. Always.
  2. Fruit Punch Icebreakers mints. I stole these from the Hubby. They're delish. :)
  3. Victoria's Secret "Heavenly" body spray and lotion. I love that the bottles are plastic so they won't break in my purse. And I always have a spray with me just in case.. you never know when you're going to need to smell great!
  4. Sonia Kashuk makeup bag that I got in my Target Beauty Bag freebies. It holds all my "girl stuff" and medicines (headache stuff, extra allergy pills for the Hubby, etc).
  5. Mail that needs to go out today: Azur and Asmar is going back to Netflix, thank you note for my aunt, and pictures for a client. I hate going to the post office. :\
  6. My phone! HTC Droid Eris. Hubby and I are due for upgrades. He has the Moto Droid. We're debating on getting HTC Thunderbolts.
  7. Mini Kleenex package.
  8. Ulta Citrus Hand Sanitizer. After my B&BW Pocket Bac exploded all over the outside of my purse and I threw an absolute fit, I decided to take it off for a little while.
  9. Crystal Light Go Packs. I practically live on caffeine and those little babies make very caffeinated yummy water! 'Focus' is citrus and 'Energy' is Wild Strawberry. Great when I'm in a bind.
  10. My "wallet" is a Coach coin purse that I got to match the purse. I seriously carry like 5 cards and rarely some cash. I don't need a big wallet.
  11. Smooth Mint eos lip balm. It was my Friday Favorite last week and I am in love with it.
  12. My makeup bag. Usual goodies: powder compact, 4 lip glosses, lip stain, lip liner, blush, blush brush, eye liner, mascara, comb, hair ties and clips.
  13. Pens! Because who doesn't need a pen? ...Or 3.
  14. $5 WalMart sunglasses. I refuse to spend a lot of money on sunglasses because if I do they will get broken or lost. The cheap sunglasses on the other hand, are the ones I can never seem to get rid of.
  15. Journal/book thing. I like having access to (pink!) paper at all times in case I need to write something down.
And here's what it looks like when I go to the tanning bed.. like I'll be doing today:
Sorry the pics are blurry. They looked alright on the camera when I took them, and I was too lazy to re-shoot once I uploaded them to the computer.

So... that's what's in my purse! Nothing too crazy this time! And if you thought this was fun.. Consider yourself tagged!

♥ M

REVIEW / GET THE LOOK (For Less!) -- Hard Candy's Sheer Envy Skin Perfecting Primer

Much like with everything else I review for y'all, I picked this up on a whim. There wasn't really a rhyme or reason.. I just decided to grab Hard Candy's Sheer Envy Skin Perfecting Primer for something new to "research" for the blog while my mom and I were making a quick WalMart run. :)

THE PRODUCT:
As I said, I snagged this at WalMart. It comes in a squeeze tube and was $8 for 1.3 ounces. Compared to other drugstore primers that can retail for as much as $12-16, I thought $8 was pretty reasonable. Be advised that this is a silicone-based primer (specifically dimethicone). Silicone acts as a "slip" agent, making the surface of your skin smoother. However, unlike other silicone primers, like Smashbox's Photo Finish Primer, Sheer Envy is actually very light on the skin.

Hard Candy says:
Sheer Envy Primer helps to even out the skin while reducing shine. Improves foundation application while minimizing skin imperfections. Make-up lasts longer and skin is left velvety smooth. Skin Perfecting Primer – A skin tone perfecting primer that brightens dull or sallow skin. Fills in fine lines, wrinkles and pores for a flawless, smooth finish. Gives your face a beautiful, natural color complexion that lasts all day long. Evens out skin tone and diffuses redness and blotchiness. Can be worn alone or under makeup.
Here's a picture of the consistency:

As you can see, it's clear like Smashbox's Photo Finish, and also has a similar texture... which is why this post isn't just a review, it's also a "Get the Look for Less"!

MY RESULTS:
I wear a tinted moisturizer with SPF 15 every day but even that slight amount of SPF is preventing my face from tanning in the tanning bed, so I wanted to find something to prime my face so that my skin's texture would be smooth enough to skip the tinted moisturizer and simply apply powder and concealer and go. I don't know how well I was able to explain that.. hope it made sense!

I quickly learned that you only need the smallest amount of Sheer Envy to cover your entire face. Literally, like the size of a pea. After applying it, I like to give it a few minutes to really absorb into my face before I apply anything on top of it. Now, let's get to it's claims, because this product has a lot of them:
  • Reduces shine and improves makeup application? Check.
  • Minimizes skin imperfections? Nope.
  • Prolongs makeup? Check.
  • Makes skin "velvety smooth"? Check.
  • Brightens "dull or sallow" skin? Nope.
  • Fills in fine lines and wrinkles? Can't confirm or deny.
  • Fills in pores? Check, but doesn't minimize them.
  • Evens out skintone and diffuses redness/blotchiness? Nope.


I don't really have an uneven skin tone or skin imperfections, but I have used it over a small red spot left over from a breakout and it did nothing to cover it. Honestly, though.. I didn't expect it to. After all, it's clear. I will say that it helps my face makeup go on much more smoothly and makes it much easier to blend. It also helps control the oil on my face, even when I do use a tinted moisturizer. I've never had to touch up my T-Zone in the middle of the day since I've started using Sheer Envy.

FINAL VERDICT:
If you are not a fan of Smashbox's Photo Finish Primer or silicone primers in general, you're not going to like Sheer Envy. Let me just tell you that upfront. Also, the "oil control" seems to have no consistency to its effectiveness. I've read a lot of reviews online and some users praise it as a holy grail, others say it made their oily faces worse. I can't explain that, I can only tell you that from my experience, it has made my face less oily and shiny.

Lastly, I think it all comes down to what you're expecting Sheer Envy to do for you. I broke down the results of the product claims as best I could. If you're looking for something that will brighten skin and cover imperfections, I suggest trying a tinted primer. In fact, I believe Hard Candy makes one if you're interested in trying the brand. If not, there are plenty of other tinted primers on the market.

However, if you're looking to try a decent drugstore primer, I would definitely suggest picking it up. It's not as inexpensive as elf's Mineral Face Primer, but it's a better value than Revlon's Smoothing Primer.

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What do you think of primers? Love them? Loathe them? Do you have a favorite? Let me know!

♥ M

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

NOTD -- OPI's Spark De Triomphe

So I told y'all that I bought OPI's new Glam Slam set on my birthday. They have two versions, but I bought the one with Spark De Triomphe and White Shatter. And even though I was seriously in love with my neon pink nails, I had to give Spark De Triomphe (henceforth known as SDT) a try almost immediately.

Even though I do adore OPI's brush, I know I've said I don't like their formula for acrylic nails, and for the most part, I still don't. Most of their polishes take FOREVER to dry on acrylic and stay dentable for upwards of 24 hours, plus I think they tend to be on the streaky side. I don't know why. However, SDT is an exception. It dried almost instantly and wasn't streaky at all! 

Be warned, though.. this is one hungry hungry glitter. I meant to take pictures of SDT right after I applied it, but I didn't have a chance until today. And I wanted to wait to apply top coat until after I'd photographed it so you could see just the polish. I've added 2 layers of top coat and my mani looks exactly the same as it did before, complete with texture. I just don't feel like adding any more polish to my nails, as the glitter is going to be hard enough to get off.

But now, onto the good stuff! All of these pictures are day 3 of my mani with three coats of SDT and no top coat. Note that there's no tip wear at ALL. I'm definitely impressed!

Indoors. No flash.
Outside. Shade. No flash.
And for the last two, I really did try to capture SDT in sunlight. It's so amazing. Unfortunately, I was a little late for the sun and I was chasing it around on our deck and in our driveway. I bet the neighbors think I'm crazy...
Outside. Semi-sun. No flash.
Outside. Better sun. No flash.
What do you think?! I'm sooo in love with SDT. And I really want to do some nail art with it, but I can't bear to cover in up in any way. It's just SO gorgeous. I mentioned to the Hubby that I wanted to go back and get the other Glam Slam set and he told me to do what I need to do. He's so good to me. :)

♥ M

DIY -- Cleaning Your Make Up Brushes


My "project" tonight was deep cleaning my make up brushes. Originally I was going to take pictures and show you how I did it, but there are already so many tutorials on how to do it... and I didn't really feel like re-inventing the wheel, so to speak.

The method I used is from the YouTube guru EnKoreMakeup but it has also been done by MakeupGeekTV and whats-her-face Kandee Johnson. I'm going to post Marlena's version below.



Now I'll be completely honest and say that I quick clean my brushes once a week and deep clean every other week instead of weekly like I should. But I don't think my brushes suffer because of it and I know there are some people who never clean their brushes at all (Gross!) so.. I think I'm alright.

Personally, I use the palm of my hand to scrub my brushes on instead of a sponge, just out of personal preference. Sponges can harbor bacteria so if you are going to use one, I suggest using a brand new sponge every time you clean your brushes or at least properly sanitizing the one you've been using.

How often do you clean your brushes? Do you just quick clean or do you actually deep clean them as well? Let me know your thoughts!

♥ M

CLOSED -- Christina at Red Lip Gloss' Phenomenal Palette Giveaway!

Photo Credit: Christina from Red Lip Gloss

EDIT: I ended up winning the contest! I was SO shocked to receive Christina's email, and I can't wait to blog about all of these gorgeous palettes for y'all! Many thanks to Christina for being kind enough to have the giveaway. If you haven't already checked out her blog, please be sure to do so! You'll love it!


I just wanted to take a minute to tell y'all about a great little blog I love. Christina over at Red Lip Gloss has great product reviews and I seriously love her "DIY Beauty Friday" series. Right now she's currently having a fabulous giveaway featuring all the palettes you see above!

The palettes are:
  • Sephora Color Play - 5 in 1 Limited Fashion Edition Palette (check out pics here)
  • ELF Studio Mini Makeup Collection (check out pics here)
  • Mark It Kit Trend Color Compact (check out pics here)
  • Marcelle Wet & Dry Eye Shadow Quad in Teal Chic (check out pics here)
Anyways, you only have 2 days left to enter her giveaway if you're interested! The official deadline is May 27th at 11:59 PM PST. Complete rules and the ways to enter the contest can be found here!

Good luck to anyone who enters!

♥ M

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

EXPIRED -- ANOTHER Zoya Promo for TODAY ONLY (05/24)!

Well, I guess Zoya REALLY wants to promote brand loyalty because they're offering us yet another freebie!

TODAY ONLY (May 24th, 2011), Zoya has a promo code for a FREE nail polish from their Sunshine, ModMattes or Summertime collections. To get the free polish, simply go to their website, pick any ONE color from those collections, add it to your cart and enter code SUMMER1. All you'll pay is shipping!

And now for the mandatory fine print:
*Online only, cannot be combined with any other offer, promotion or coupon. US ONLY. Promotion ends TUESDAY May 24, 2011 at 11:59 PM EST. Offer good for 1 (one) free bottle of open stock .5 oz bottle from the Zoya Summertime, Zoya Sunshine or ModMatte Collections ONLY. Code: SUMMER1 must be entered in order to obtain discount. Art of Beauty Inc. will not honor promotions that are submitted after promotion has ended - No exceptions. No exchanges. No returns. Worst case scenario please allow 4-6 weeks for delivery. Comments, videos and pictures posted about this Zoya Nail Polish Offer outside of Zoya.com or zoyanailpolish.blogspot.com are not representative of the opinions of Zoya Nail Polish, Art of Beauty, Inc., Qtica and Qtica Smart Spa and we do not confirm the accuracy of any postings. Customers are responsible for maintaining active accounts. If username or password have been lost we (Art of Beauty, Inc.) are not responsible for restoring accounts or giving out any account information. S/H not included.

I think I'll definitely be snagging a bottle for myself this time! I always share freebies with y'all and then never take advantage of them myself. It's so weird. I don't understand it. What shade will you be getting to try?

♥ M

EXPIRED -- Get Lady Gaga's New Album for 99 CENTS!!!


So Gaga's new album, Born This Way, dropped today and while I don't think it's her strongest one to date, it's definitely worth buying. Especially when you can buy it in its entirety on Amazon for 99 cents! Now, I'm not sure how long this will last, but how can you beat it?!

Also, if you have Amazon's Cloud Player (which is AMAZING) and you buy any album from Amazon, they will give you an extra 20 GB of free music storage for a year. 

Don't know what the Cloud Player is or how it works? Let me explain: Cloud is Amazon's version of iTunes, except it only gives you 5GB of music storage for free instead of an unlimited amount. BUT unlike iTunes where you can only take as much music with you as your iPod can hold, you can access your Cloud Player for free from any smart phone, computer, iPad, or basically anything with internet access. And if 5 GB of storage isn't enough, you can always upgrade to get more. 

One of Hubby's awesome coworkers (Shout out to the Yeti!) introduced him to the wonders of the Cloud Player and it's pretty much become our favorite thing. I never used to make it through the day without reaching for my iPod, but I haven't even touched it in weeks. If we're being completely honest, I think it's actually been shoved to the back of the junk drawer... :\

OH! Another upside to Amazon and the Cloud Player? Their music is generally cheaper than iTunes and they always have specials and sales going on. Plus, I totally love having the equivalent of a 20GB iPod that I can access from my phone anywhere for 99 cents AND I got Gaga's new album to boot! Y'all know I love me a deal! :D

Like I said, I don't know how long the 99 cent album price will last, so grab it now if you were planning on grabbing it!

♥ M

Monday, May 23, 2011

What's the Best Type of Nail Polish Remover and Why?


Special thanks go out to my cousin's lovely and fabulous wife for the idea for this blog because I honestly had no clue what I was going to write about today. :)

Nail polish remover is one of those necessities that you never really think about until you grab the wrong bottle by mistake and end up hating it. With all the formulas and special ingredients, which is the best one? Well, I think that depends mostly on your nails and what type of polishes you use.

The two generic types of polish removers are acetone and non-acetone. Acetone is a powerful solvent that is common in most polish removers as it quickly removes polish and helps to dissolve acrylic and gel nails. Unfortunately, it is extremely drying and can make natural nails brittle. The alternative formula to acetone is simply called "non-acetone remover" and contains the gentler solvent ethyl acetate instead.

To physically remove polish, you can use almost anything. Cotton balls or pads are the most common choices. However, you can also use anything from lambswool, paper towels or cotton swabs.

If you have natural nails or acrylic nails and use mostly creme, jelly or micro-shimmer polishes then I would suggest a non-acetone remover. Drugstore staples such as Cutex and Sally Hanson make great varieties, or you can go for the highly acclaimed Zoya Remove + which is pictured below.
I have not personally used Remove + but when I searched online for the best non-acetone polish remover this is the one kept consistently reappearing. I love the spill-proof pump top that this size has but if that's not your cup of tea, it does come in various sizes and bottles and the pricing isn't terrible on it, either.

However, if you have natural or acrylic nails and use mostly holographic, shimmer or glitter polishes then I strongly suggest using a pure acetone remover. Even though the acetone will slightly weaken your acrylic, it is so much easier to remove heavy glitter polishes with acetone than it is with non-acetone. The key to removing glitter polish is to soak a cotton ball in acetone and hold it on your nail for about 20-30 seconds and then slide it off your nail. 

You can find Onyx brand pure acetone at WalMart for a reasonable price, but I'll be honest and tell you that you'll be able to find a bigger (less expensive) bottle at Sally's.
Now let's talk about "extras" for a minute. Do you really need all the conditioning oils and scents? Well, yes and no. If you can't stand the scent of unscented remover, then by all means get a scented one. Unfortunately, no matter what you do, it's still going to stink. As for conditioning oils, they are beneficial but I wouldn't pay extra for them. If it came down to using nail care products after removing my polish or using a remover with conditioning oils, I would pick using separate products after removing my polish every time.

Personally, even though I have acrylic nails I only use pure acetone to remove my polish. Partially because I use a LOT of glitter and rhinestones in my nail art and partially because I'm impatient and don't want to spend a lot of time scrubbing at my nails to get multiple layers of polish off. My acrylics generally don't suffer too much but they do turn chalky from time to time. Although I'll be honest and admit that I can definitely see how it could dry out natural nails.

FINAL VERDICT:
If you're looking for the best non-acetone remover, I feel confident recommending Zoya Remover + based on the sheer number of positive reviews I've seen on it. I looked it up on about 6 different websites and the lowest overall score I've seen it get is a 4 out of 5 with the biggest drawback being the smell. If you're going to go for pure acetone, any brand will work. I buy Onyx or Beauty Secrets (from Sally's) depending solely on where I am when I need to pick up a new bottle.

Just remember what I said about using supplemental nail products to keep your nails moisturized, pampered and healthy!

What's your favorite brand of polish remover? Tell me in the comments!

♥ M

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Belated Birthday Surprise!

Every semester that I took French in college, we were required to attend our campus' French Film Festival and write a paper on one of the movies presented. Last Spring, Azur et Asmar was one of the choices. Weird, depressing foreign film? Or foreign kids' cartoon? You know what I picked to go see! This movie is amazing. The production quality is amazing and the story is so cute and funny!

Unfortunately, Chris wasn't able to see it with me and I knew I had to get a copy of it to show him. I debated with ordering it online, but decided to Netflix it instead. And it came today! I can't WAIT to watch it!

Here is a great review of the movie in case you're interested, and I'll post a few screen shots below. It truly is a gorgeous movie, and I definitely suggest seeing it if you ever get the chance!





UPDATE: So we just finished watching it (in English this time) and Chris really liked it! And I'd forgotten how much I adore the Princess in the movie! She's totally my favorite character. All in all, it was a nice final birthday surprise!

♥ M

Saturday, May 21, 2011

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!!!

Woohoo! I'm officially 25! I have to admit that I don't feel a quarter of a century old! Also.. it makes me sound really old when it's phrased like that, so we're just going to stick to saying I'm 25. :)

I'd also like to congratulate us all on surviving the non-existent Rapture. Or maybe we're all just a bunch of heathens and no one was saved? Maybe congratulations aren't in order... hmmm... Haha, I kid!

My parents took Chris and I out to dinner last night for my birthday. I picked Olive Garden and it was sooo yummy! And then I got to watch Chris make my birthday cake last night. He's so sweet and he did such a good job. He even picked out the decorations all by himself! And it tastes great! Look what a good job he did:
Before lighting the candles!
And after!
I have had a lovely day of doing nothing. We woke up right before Chris had to go to work and grabbed Panda Express on the way in and I ended up having my birthday lunch at his work. Haha, it's okay. I wouldn't know what to do if I didn't eat lunch at his work every Saturday and Sunday. It's pretty much become the norm. I love his work and his coworkers. They're great people. :)

He was trying to drive, haha! This is definitely NOT his best picture...
Yummy Panda Bowl for lunch!
After lunch, I ran by my parents' house and my mom and I went shopping. I helped her pick out a necklace to wear one of Granny's pendants on and I think she got one that looks really nice with it. Plus she got a GREAT deal on it! Then I went to Ulta and grabbed the OPI Serena Williams Glam Slam set with Spark De Triomphe and White Shatter. I've been debating on getting it for a while, but the Spark De Triomphe swatches I've seen just look SO gorgeous and my mom gave me a 20% off coupon so I couldn't refuse!
After Ulta, I ran by the tanning bed and decided to treat myself to a new bottle of lotion. Okay, "treat" is the wrong term.. It was really more of a necessity because I tried to use my bottle and realized it was completely empty. So I had to get dressed again and run out to the desk and buy a new bottle, haha! I ended up trying a new lotion called "LoveStruck" from Supre. 
I've never tried Supre lotions before, but this one supposedly has tons of goodies for your skin and it smells SO good. It's got a floral scent, which I love because it doesn't smell like tanning lotion. I hate leaving the tanning bed and letting everyone know where I've been because of the lotion smell lingering on me. This one smells sweet and like a perfume. And it dries SUPER fast, but I'm not sure how "bronzing" it is. We'll have to see.

Also, speaking of tanning beds.. Does anyone know how to prevent getting a welt on your back from where your skin is pressed into the bed? I don't burn or turn pink in the beds, but I do end up with a nasty, itchy welt that makes me miserable for the better part of 12-14 hours after I tan. It makes me go for less time than I can handle because the longer I go, the worse it gets. ANY advice would be appreciated! Thanks!

After the tanning bed, I came home and let the dogs play out in the back yard for a little while before grabbing a snack (Coke, leftover pizza and birthday cake!) and getting online. Over 65 friends and family wished me "Happy Birthday" on Facebook alone! Not to mention the texts, emails, tweets and phone calls I received! I felt so loved! And I responded to each person individually. I have the best friends and family ever. :)

Nap time followed checking the computer, and I snuggled with the kitties for a couple of blissful hours. Birthday naps are the best for sure!

And.. that's been my day! Nothing too exciting, but sometimes relaxing birthdays are the best days! Can't wait to have dinner with one of our dear friends on Monday night to celebrate his recent graduation from college and my birthday! We're going to our favorite local, family-owned, Mexican restaurant that my parents and I have been going to since the late 90's. I can't wait for that!

Hope everyone is having a great weekend! I already know what post I'm going to work on for y'all tomorrow!

♥ M

Friday, May 20, 2011

In Case of Rapture...


Well, my birthday and the Rapture are (supposedly) occurring tomorrow. In case it really IS the second coming, I'd just like to take a minute to say... thanks for reading my blog.

No, really.. I'm serious. Thanks. I've had a lot of fun doing it and hopefully I'll get to continue on. I wonder if you can have blogs in Heaven?

Anywho, in case you're still a little skeptical about the math on this one, feel free to join in on the Post-Rapture Looting because you're not officially invited unless you've RSVP'd on Facebook! I know I did!

My question is which time zone are we talking about for the arrival of Christ? Like, 6pm at the International Date Line or is it just a rolling wave of Rapture? My mom wants to know what's going to happen to all the bodies that have been cremated. Will we just see little piles of dust rising up along with regular bodies? Hubby will be at work, so he says he's just going to grab on to the biggest dog at the clinic because "all dogs go to Heaven" haha..

Lastly.. anyone want to place bets on if we'll see Regular Jesus or Zombie Jesus?!


And if you have absolutely no clue what I'm talking about... THIS article explains it pretty well. Just remember that none of us can truly predict if and when the world will end, so there is no point living in fear. :)

♥ M

EXPIRED -- Zoya's 'French Twist' Promo


Hey everyone! I just wanted to give you the heads up on a new promo that Zoya is offering...

Receive the nail polishes pictured above (Caitlin and Dove) FREE when you make any online purchase (excluding Color Spoons) at zoya.com between now and Monday, May 23rd at 11:59 PM EST!

Zoya is one of those brands I still haven't tried and I'm not sure why. I see tons of their polish swatches and the colors are absolutely stunning and I constantly hear that their formula is amazing. Unfortunately, I don't know of anywhere to buy them locally and I'm weird about buying polish online unless I've actually seen the color in person.

If you'd like to get more info on their promo, you can do so here. :)

♥ M

FRIDAY FAVORITES -- EOS Smooth Sphere in Sweet Mint

I know these EOS Smooth Sphere lip balms aren't new, but they're new to me. I held off buying them even though I heard how amazing they are and I finally broke down a few weeks ago and snagged Summer Fruit. I love that they are 95% organic and 100% natural and how soft they make my lips, but Summer Fruit just had an "off" smell to me. It smelled like rubber or something.. I don't know how to describe it, but I wasn't a fan.

But then I went to Ulta and saw they had a display that included Sweet Mint and I picked that one up because I am a sucker for ANYTHING minty. Oh my gosh. Sweet Mint is UHMAYZING. It smells SO good and minty and makes your lips feel cool and tingly when you apply it! Plus if you lick your lips it acts as a breath freshener! ...I can't believe I just admitted that, haha.

And the egg-shaped packaging is super cute! I bet a lot of girls got these in Easter baskets. I want to go back and get another one so that I can have one for home and one in my purse.

Have you tried EOS smooth spheres? Or any of their other products? I've tried their shave foam and I liked that, but the stores around me stopped discontinuing it. Weird...

Happy Friday and have a great weekend!

♥ M

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Sorry for My Absence / Remembering My Granny

They were the best grandparents EVER. I love them so much.
Hey y'all. As I've said, I'm so sorry that I have been lax on posting for the last week and a half. I was really busy with some photo shoots for work, and then my grandmother passed away last Friday.

She was my last surviving grandparent. My grandfather passed away in January of 2007 and his death was very hard on her. They loved each other so much. He told her on the day he passed that he liked her just as much as he did 58 years ago when they got married. How precious is that?!

Her health started deteriorating soon after, and it drastically worsened over the last year and a half. She was in the hospital 7 times alone in 2010, with each visit lasting several weeks. And she was in the hospital at least 3-4 times this year as well. When she wasn't in the hospital, she had 2-3 doctors' appointments each week. I know she was tired of having to deal with appointments and medical procedures.

I'm handling it well. I do have my moments, but I think that's to be expected. I love my Granny and PawPaw like you wouldn't believe. We were inseparable when I was growing up. Before I was old enough to start school they felt cheated if they didn't get to keep me at least 3 days a week, haha!

I'd just like to post a few pictures of them and share the eulogy I gave in honor of her at her funeral yesterday. I did one for PawPaw, too. It was such an honor to speak for them on behalf of my family.

Granny as a young girl. Look at those ringlets!
This is my FAVORITE picture of her. She looks like a movie star!
We think this is her senior portrait for high school.
Granny & PawPaw came to visit the day my parents brought me home from the hospital.
I was in preschool when this was taken. My Mommy made my dress!
They loved to sit out in the swing in the back yard! This is how I'll always remember them. ♥
And now for my speech:

Daughter. Wife. Mother. Grandmother. Great-Grandmother. Friend…  these are just a few of the labels my Granny wore during her life, and she wore each one with pride.  Whenever I am asked to name someone I admire, she is always the first person that pops into my mind. Despite her small stature, she is without a doubt one of the strongest people I’ve ever known. However, under that strength was a strong sense of faith, grace, compassion, empathy, and positivity that I respect so dearly and try to emulate in my own life.

I spent all of my summers growing up with Granny and PawPaw. I feel like I would visit for 6 days, go home for a day to get clean clothes and see my parents and then go back for another 6 days. I have so many fond memories of spending time with them! Granny would always let me help carry PawPaw his breakfast, and she taught me how to make a bed. After she was done cleaning the house every morning, she would get herself ready for the day. Even if they were staying at home, Granny always had to have her hair and makeup done. And her nails painted. I think that’s where I got my love of nail polish. I’d watch her fix her hair and then she’d brush mine and pretend to spray it with hair spray so that I could be just like her.

She loved to play board games with me and let me play outside in the backyard. We’d go out in the evenings after watching Braves games on TV with PawPaw and she would pitch a beach ball to me, and I’d smack at it with my foam-covered bat. She was the John Smoltz to my Fred McGriff, and we made a great team. After playing ball, we would either take a walk or sit on their swing and talk until the lightning bugs came out. I loved listening to stories from her childhood and stories about PawPaw from when they were dating. Even though I didn’t realize it then, those conversations also gave me some of the best “life advice” I’ve ever gotten.

One summer afternoon, I was just about to go out to play and it started pouring rain. I was frustrated that I would have to stay inside, but Granny encouraged me to go out and play anyways because she said life is short and everyone needed to go outside and dance in the rain at least once. I thought she was kidding, but she herded me out the front door and I saw her watching me with a big smile from the kitchen window. 

I never will forget one of the last summers I went to stay with them. I was in high school and Granny and I were sitting outside, talking. I lamented over how some boy I liked didn’t return my phone call like he had promised, and Granny told me that boys would be silly, and that was just a fact of life. I still wasn’t convinced, so she told me about a boy she liked when she was in high school before she started dating PawPaw. He had asked her out on a date and she accepted. However, he stood her up. Later, he apologized and asked her for another date. She accepted again and waited at home to make sure he showed up. When he did, she waltzed right out the back door to go hang out with her girl friends instead. I was shocked. I could NOT believe my sweet little Granny had ever stood anyone up! But she did, and all those years later.. she laughed about it and said she did it to teach him a lesson about respect.

One of the most important things I’ll always remember about Granny and PawPaw was their genuine love and respect for each other. They would have done anything for the other, and they shared a wonderful life together that most people can only hope to experience.

There are so many things about Granny I’m going to miss. I can’t imagine not being able to call her and hear her hearing aid whistle when she picked up the phone, or hear her laugh and say “Oh, my stars!” when she gets tickled, or watching her nap in her chair after she fell asleep reading. I’m also going to miss having her support. No matter whether it was for work, dance or school.. she was always there to cheer me on and offer me unconditional love and support.

However, I know she is in a better place without suffering. And I know she is ecstatic to be with PawPaw again. They loved each other SO much, and his passing was very hard on her. She told us to remember her in every bird and butterfly we see, and to know that she is dancing down the aisle today with PawPaw and that’s what I comfort myself with when I have moments of grief and sadness.

I’d like to leave you with the request to take solace in the knowledge that she will always be with us in spirit, holding our hands and dancing right alongside us. Thank you.

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♥ M