Thursday, December 6, 2012

NOTD -- Essie's Butler Please and OPI'S Pirouette My Whistle

Hey everyone! Here's an appropriately wintery manicure for you today, even though the temperature outside in Georgia is like.. um.. 60? I swear it feels more like Spring than it does Christmas, but I hate cold weather so I'm really not complaining!

Pictured is 2 coats of Essie's Butler Please from the Winter 2012 collection, which is a bright blue  creme similar to Nails, Inc.'s Baker Street. The first coat goes on a bit streaky and it doesn't really like to level itself out very well, but topping it with OPI's Pirouette My Whistle from the Spring 2012 NYC Ballet collection helped to smooth everything out.. and the overall look was very delicate and snow-like!

It literally pained me to take this off, so I think I'm going to have to wear it again ASAP! I love winter/holiday combinations that don't always scream "CHRISTMAS!!!", and this would definitely be perfect for celebrating Hanukkah! :)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

NOTD -- Orly Miss Conduct

Hey everyone! Quick NOTD for you today. This is Orly's Miss Conduct, which is part of their new Holiday 2012 collection. It's a pretty, raspberry scattered holo. A little thin, I believe this is three coats. It dries smooth, so I just needed one coat of top coat to even it out and make it shiny.

Even though I love this polish, I just don't have much to say about it! It's great.. you should probably get it. So.. yeah. Have a great day! I'll see y'all tomorrow!

Monday, December 3, 2012

REVIEW -- OurSkinny, the Easiest Diet Ever

Back in September, I got in contact with OurSkinny, which is a company based out of Savannah, Georgia. They promise to have "The Easiest Diet Ever" and offered to send me some samples of their products to try. While I knew the products probably wouldn't be right for me (I'm currently 13.5 weeks pregnant and still weigh 97 lbs.. don't hate me!), my husband has some excess weight that he's been wanting to drop. I shared this with them, and they were more than happy to send Chris a box full of goodies to see what he thought of them.

The OurSkinny Weight Loss Program aims to keep you feeling full and satisfied all day, while still allowing you to eat one meal of your choice. The key to their plan is having you make good, healthy choices with your free-choice meal, and it teaches you the basics of a healthy diet that you can then continue once you've reached your healthy target weight.

Sounds easy enough, right? It's actually so easy that their entire weight-loss guide is only 12 pages long. ...Seriously.

Here's how it works:

Your OurSkinny Order provides you with:
  • 4 Shakes +
  • 1 Bar per day.
The initial phase of your diet also requires:
  • Your "Main Meal" each day +
  • A daily multi-vitamin +
  • Supplemental fiber (optional).

So.. I kind of didn't tell Chris that his OurSkinny surprise was coming. I mean, how exactly do you broach "Hey, I have some weight loss stuff that I'm gonna have you test and review for my blog!" to your darling husband?

For the record, before I get hate comments.. I think he's perfect in absolutely every way (minus his snoring, naturally). I'm not out to change him, I love and accept him unconditionally. But after our 7+ years together, yes.. he's put on a few extra pounds, mostly due to me making him finish all the food that I don't eat on a daily basis.. and he has expressed that he would like to drop some of the excess weight. I applaud him for wanting to make a healthy change.

Thus, when the big OurSkinny box arrived on our doorstep, he was obviously bemused at why I was receiving something called OurSkinny until I yelled "SURPRISE! It's some diet thing that they sent you to try.. and I'm going to review it for you on my blog!" Maybe that wasn't the right tactic? I'm not sure.. but I've never been very good with subtlety.

"Ohhh no. No. NO. No way. I'm not doing some "diet" thing. I'll lose the weight on my own. No. Send it back."

"I can't send it back! I've already agreed that you'll review it!" I snapped. "Besides, they say it's really easy and some of my blogger friends who have tried it say the stuff actually tastes pretty decent. At least open it."

So he opened it, and looked inside. They sent him enough shakes for 4 days (16 total), a variety box of 7 different protein bars, a variety pack of 7 different crispy mini meal bars, and the 12 page weight loss guide.

After forcing him to read he read the weight loss guide, he seemed a little more enthusiastic. It really is as simple as I say above: Drink 4 shakes and eat 1 bar per day, eat a regular meal (they show you how to plan it to be healthy!), take your multi-vitamin, drink lots of water. Lose weight. Done.

They even have different phases of your weight loss goal, where you adjust the amount of OurSkinny products you consume per day and start adding other healthy foods back into your diet. It's a pretty cool system, and perfectly prepares you for the maintenance stage once you reach your healthy target weight.

Well, as is usually the case for us these days, life unfortunately got in the way and the OurSkinny box got shoved into a spare bedroom when I was frantically cleaning the house for company to come over. I found it a couple of weeks ago and Chris was finally willing to give it a good, solid try.. even though he was still a little skeptical about doing nothing but the shakes and bar for an entire day at work, leaving his "main meal" to be dinner.

He even decided to go all out and not pack any other food to take with him, other than the shakes and box of protein bars, which even I thought was a risky choice. "What if you hate it? You'll be starving and miserable! Take some extra food just in case!" I begged. He refused. I feared for his coworkers' safety.. he turns into the biggest, meanest bear when he's hungry, but I wished him luck and off he went.

Imagine my surprise when I had a happy, smiling hubby come home at the end of the first day.. In fact, a happy, smiling hubby who didn't immediately go gorge himself on food in our pantry. I was stunned. "How'd it go...?" I ventured cautiously.

"I felt fine, actually! I had a few moments of hunger, but I'd either just have another shake or the bar and I felt better after that."

"And how did it taste?"

"The bars are AWESOME! I kind of wanted to eat more than one, just because the first one was really good.. but I didn't. The shakes aren't bad, but they still kind of have that protein shake taste to them, you know? Like, I know I'm drinking a protein shake, but it's not terrible. I definitely learned that you need to make the shakes with cold water, though. The first one I made, the water wasn't cold enough and it was kind of hard to get down after the first few sips."

"Sooo... are you gonna do it again tomorrow?"

"Yeah! It made planning my food for the day so easy.. just grab four shakes and go, since the bars are still in my bag." (Usually we have to try to make dinner that has leftovers the night before or make sure we have lunch-y stuff (sandwich meats, bread, snacks, etc) on hand for him to have food for work.)

Let me tell you, it's rare that my husband is able to surprise me after all this time, but I was shocked. Not only did he do the OurSkinny diet for the next day, but he also did it the day after that.. and he seemed happy with it. 

He decided to leave the last 4 shakes and some of the bars for me, so that I could try them at my leisure, and especially since I need more protein now than I did before my pregnancy. I have to say, he's spot on.. the bars are delish, and the shakes really aren't that bad. I see what he means about the "protein shake" taste, but they still do actually taste like what they say they are.

3 days wasn't really enough time to see Chris drop any weight. He weighed himself at the end of each day. He lost .4 pounds the first day, went up .2 pounds the second day, and dropped .6 pounds on the third day.. so take that as you will.

I think if you were looking for an easy way to kick-start a diet, the Our Skinny plan would be a fantastic choice. It's quick, easy, and convenient.. plus I like how it teaches you to make healthy choices on your own and prepares you for maintenance once you reach your goal weight! 

So there you have it.. easiest diet ever? Tell me what you think in the comments!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

HOLIDAY SHOPPING GUIDE 2012 -- New Men's Fragrances for 2012

Hey everyone! Today is the last day of my 5 day series where I show you a comprehensive holiday shopping guide based on my experience working in beauty retail!

Today we'll be looking at a selection of the new men's fragrances for 2012. Of course, these aren't all of the new releases.. but it's enough of a selection to definitely give you other options beside the classics that I showed you on Thursday. I've included a brief description of each one below the collage! For the fragrances, I won't be including prices because they are so subjective based on where you shop, whether you get an EDT or an EDP, and what size you get.

  1. Dolce & Gabbana The One Sport -- Designed for active men and "modern gladiators," it opens with aquatic notes and rosemary which turns into a heart of cardamom and Sequoia wood. It closes with patchouli and musk as the base.
  2. MontBlanc Legend -- A subtle, but strikingly masculine fragrance. Legend opens with bergamot, lavender, pineapple leaf, and verbena. The heart emphasizes oak moss, geranium, apple, and rose; and the base closes with sandalwood and tonka bean.
  3. Giorgio Armani Armani Code Ultimate -- Fresh and energetic, this fragrance has grapefruit, mandarin, star anise, cedar, cypress, olive blossom, heliotrope, tonka bean, and vanilla.
  4. Guess Homme Blue -- Top notes of citrus caviar, cardamom, and black pepper. Middle note of geranium; base of cashmere wood and moss.
  5. Nautica Aqua Rush -- Created to represent the feeling of sailing on waves and the scent of salty air, this fragrance has notes of citrus, yuzu, coriander, aquatic mint, clary sage, violet leaves, amberwood, aquatic musk, and teak wood.
  6. Calvin Klein Encounter -- Notes of mandarin, cardamom, rum, pepper, Egyptian jasmine, patchouli, cognac, cedar, and musk.
  7. Chanel Allure Homme Sport eau Extreme -- An aromatic fragrance, it combines Sicilian mandarin, mint, cypress, clary sage, black pepper, sandalwood, cedar, musk, and tonka beans.
  8. Guess Seductive Homme -- Notes of cardamom milk, mandarin pulp, pink pepper, vanilla orchid, violet leaves, vetiver, patchouli, sandalwood, amber, and musk.
  9. Hugo Boss Boss Bottled Night -- Opens with lavender and birch tree aromas, middle note of African violets, and closes with a base of sensual musk.

And there you have it! I'm definitely a little tired of reviewing fragrances, I'm not going to lie.. lol! I hope this shopping guide has been helpful to you in finding the perfect gifts for people on your list! 

I'll be back to regular product reviews on Monday! Enjoy the rest of your weekend! :)

Friday, November 30, 2012

MARC JACOBS' DOT -- Review + Matching Nail Art!

Hey everyone! Today I'm taking a break from my Holiday Shopping Guide to do an in-depth review of Marc Jacobs' newest fragrance, Dot.

Dot is a bright, cheerfully fruity fragrance that combines red berries and dragon fruit with honeysuckle, jasmine, orange blossom, coconut water, driftwood, vanilla, and sensual musk. It's a modern, trendy scent that is perfect for any woman.

I love wearing Dot.. It's one of those perfumes that literally makes me smile whenever I smell it! It's very happy and definitely puts me in a great mood.

As y'all know, I love doing nail art and the Dot bottle is so cute.. it's a great source of inspiration! I actually did two different designs based off of the bottle. The first one was a total flop (due solely to my poor execution), and I'll share it with you just for fun at the end of the post. But here's what I "officially" came up with:

I used the red and black polka dot design on the bottle as my main motif. On the black nails (ring and thumb), I added gold stripes for the gold accents on the bottle and also did red and white polka dots to incorporate the dots in the center of the butterflies.

Polishes used:
  • Milani -- Rapid Cherry
  • Wet N Wild -- Ebony Hates Chris
  • Color Club -- Disco Nap
  • Orly -- Au Champagne

And here's a random silly pictures of me posing with a bottle of Dot at work! I had the matching nails, outfit, makeup, and even an appropriate backdrop.. I mean it seemed like a shame not to make a mini photo op out of it, right?!

Same polishes used, here's the flop version:

As you can see, I still used the red and black polka dot design of the bottle for my main motif, and added gold french tips to incorporate the label and neck of the bottle. On my thumbs and ring fingers, I decided to recreate the butterflies. Unfortunately, to me, they just look more like clovers? I don't know. I just don't think I captured the bottle accurately. And the black dots smeared everywhere when I applied top coat.. But hey, practice makes perfect.. right?!

Even though I like my second version much better, I still wanted to share these so that you could laugh at them with me.. especially since I spent so much time on them! :)

And there we have it! If you haven't experienced Dot yet, I highly suggest that you do! I think it will definitely be a best-seller this holiday season! 

I'll be back tomorrow to conclude my Holiday Shopping Guide!

**Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Marc Jacobs via AOL Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Marc Jacobs.**

Thursday, November 29, 2012

HOLIDAY SHOPPING GUIDE 2012 -- Best-Selling Men's Fragrances

Hey everyone! Today is Day 4 of my 5 day series where I show you a comprehensive holiday shopping guide based on my experience working in beauty retail!

Today we'll be looking at a selection of the top selling men's fragrances. These are classic staples that are perfect gifts for everyone from your boyfriend to your dad. I've included a brief description of each one below the collage! For the fragrances, I won't be including prices because they are so subjective based on where you shop, whether you get an EDT or an EDP, and what size you get.

  1. Giorgio Armani Acqua Di Gio Pour Homme -- A scent of freedom, full of wind and water. Bitter citrus combines with rosemary and salty sea nuances. A woody base and soft, smoky trail soften sharp notes of spices.
  2. Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue Pour Homme -- A classic citrus fragrance. Top notes are sicilian mandarin, juniper, grapefruit, and bergamot. Middle notes are rosemary, brazillian rosewood, and pepper. Base notes are musk, oak moss, and incense.
  3. Chanel Bleu de Chanel -- A woody, aromatic fragrance. Bleu de Chanel features nutmeg, ginger, sandalwood, patchouli, mint, jasmine, grapefruit, citruses, vetiver, incense, cedar, and pink pepper.
  4. Calvin Klein Euphoria for Men -- Another woody, aromatic cologne. Top notes are: ginger and pepper. Middle notes are black basil, sage, and cedar. Base notes are amber, patchouli, brazilian redwood, and suede.
  5. Ralph Lauren Big Pony Fragrances for Men -- A collection of four unique scents, 1 is based on lime and oak. 2 is based on chocolate and musk. 3 is based on mint and ginger. 4 is based on pink grapefruit and kyara wood. 
  6. Giorgio Armani Armani Code for Men -- An Oriental, spicy fragrance. Top notes are bergamot and lemon. Middle notes are star anise, olive blossom, and guaiac wood. Base notes are leather, tobacco, and tonka bean.
  7. Ralph Lauren Polo Black -- Features sandalwood, tonka bean, patchouli, mango, sage, tangerine, lemon, and wormwood.
  8. Ralph Lauren Polo Blue for Men -- Top notes are melon, mandarin orange, and cucumber. Middle notes are basil, sage, and geranium. Base notes are musk, woodsy notes, and suede.
  9. Dolce & Gabbana The One for Men -- A very classic fragrance. Top notes of bergamot, coriander, and basil. Middle notes are cardamom, ginger, and neroli. Base notes of cedar and tobacco.
  10. Gucci Guilty Pour Homme -- Designed for the charismatic alpha male. It opens with lavender,  lemon, and orange blossom and closes with hints of cedar, patchouli.

And there you have it! I usually get Chris a new cologne every Christmas and this year I really have to.. the one I got him last year isn't doing it anymore now that I'm pregnant. I know there's a couple of fragrances on this list that I'll be looking at specifically!

Tomorrow I'll be taking a break from the Holiday Sopping Guide to bring you a fragrance review. See you then!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

HOLIDAY SHOPPING GUIDE 2012 -- New Women's Fragrances for 2012

Hey everyone! Today is Day 3 of my 5 day series where I show you a comprehensive holiday shopping guide based on my experience working in beauty retail!

Today I'm back with a selection of the new women's fragrances that came out this year. I've included everything from Justin Bieber (surprisingly popular with soccer moms for.. themselves?) to Prada. I have included a brief description of each one below the collage! For the fragrances, I won't be including prices because they are so subjective based on where you shop, whether you get an EDT or an EDP, and what size you get.

  1. Marc Jacobs Dot -- A bright, cheerfully fruity fragrance that combines red berries and dragon fruit with honeysuckle, jasmine, orange blossom, coconut water, driftwood, vanilla, and sensual musk.
  2. Lancome La Vie Est Belle -- This fragrance inspires you to find pleasure in the small things. The key ingredient is iris, surrounded by orange blossoms and jasmine. Black currant, pear, tonka bean. patchouli, vanilla, and praline also lend themselves to this fruity, gourmand scent.
  3. Ralph Lauren Big Pony for Women -- Since there are four scents to describe here, I'll let you read about them in this post I wrote when they first launched. 
  4. Gucci Premiere -- Gucci celebrates the star in every woman with Premiere. Bergamot, orange blossom, white flowers, musk, leather and wood combine to create the perfect seductive allusion required of the stunning modern woman.
  5. Coach Poppy Blossom -- A limited edition fragrance for 2012, Poppy Blossom combines the vivacious energy of Coach Poppy with the floral femininity of Coach Poppy Flower. It is made up of litchi, mara strawberry, mandarin, freesia, lily of the valley, rose, tuberose, gardenia, jasmine, praline, vanilla, blonde woods, and musk.
  6. Juicy Couture Viva la Juicy la Fleur -- Similar to Viva la Juicy, except more of a floral fragrance and without the gourmand caramel undertones of the original. Viva la Juicy la Fleur has honeysuckle, gardenia, waterlily, jasmine, vanilla, and red berries.
  7. Prada Candy -- A rich, gourmand fragrance, Candy has a musky caramel scent that also contains benzoin.
  8. Justin Bieber Girlfriend -- Girlfriend is Bieber's second perfume dedicated to his legions of female fans. It's flirty, personal, and inviting, combining mandarin, blackberry, pear, and strawberry with pink freesia, star jasmine, apricot, orange blossom, vanilla orchid, musk, and amber.
  9. BCBG Max Azria Bon Chic -- Meaning "good style" in French, Bon Chic is more sensual and sweeter than its 2011 predecessor. It contains black raspberry, mango, Asian pear, pink peony, violet, orange blossom, soft woods, vanilla, and cashmere musk.
  10. Dolce & Gabbana Pour Femme -- Originally created and launched in 1994, designing team Dolce & Gabbana decided to "return to their roots" in 2012 and relaunch Pour Femme and its' male counterpart. Don't be fooled though, the fragrance and bottle have both been "retooled" a bit, since the famed designers have matured since the original release. The new Pour Femme contains neroli, raspberry, tangerine, jasmine, orange blossom, marshmallow, vanilla, sandalwood, and heliotrope.
  11. Taylor Swift Wonderstruck Enchanted -- The next chapter in Taylor Swift's fragrance story, Wonderstruck Enchanted is a bit more mature than the original. Combining wild berries, pink poppies, passion fruit, peony blossoms, sugar-glazed champaca petals, white freesia, white musk, vanilla, and blonde woods, Wonderstruck Enchanted is truly a blend of the oriental and gourmand.
  12. Lady Gaga Fame -- Again, I covered this fragrance when it originally came out. I'll let my original review do the talking for this one, since it is quite a complex fragrance.

And there you have it. Now, this is not a full list of all the new 2012 fragrances, I'd be here all year if I attempted that! But these are the ones I feel were most notable, or had the biggest release campaigns.

Tomorrow I'll be showing you the best selling classic men's fragrances! Stay tuned!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

HOLIDAY SHOPPING GUIDE 2012 -- Best-Selling Women's Fragrances

Hey everyone! Today is Day 2 of my 5 day series where I show you a comprehensive holiday shopping guide based on my experience working in beauty retail!

Today I'm back with a selection of the top women's fragrances. These are staples that range from  classic to trendy and that any woman is sure to love. I have included a brief description of each one below the collage! For the fragrances, I won't be including prices because they are so subjective based on where you shop, whether you get an EDT or an EDP, and what size you get.

  1. Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue -- Easily one of the most popular fragrances of the decade. Casual, crisp, and breezy, this fragrance has notes of lime and cedar.
  2. Chanel Coco Mademoiselle -- Perfect for the modern women. This fragrance has top notes of orange blossom and bergamot, middle notes of jasmine and Turkish rose, and base notes of tonka bean, vanilla, white musk, and patchouli.
  3. Philosophy Amazing Grace -- A light, floral fragrance. It has a musk base with notes of mandarin orange, grapefruit, bergamot, freesia, jasmine, and rose.
  4. Coach Poppy -- Poppy is a bright, sweet fragrance. It opens with notes of cucumber, mandarin, and freesia. Middle notes are jasmine, pink water lily, southern gardenia, and red candied rose petals. Base notes are cedar wood, sandalwood, vanilla, and marshmallow.
  5. Burberry Brit -- Another "classically modern" fragrance. This one has top notes of green lemon, frosted pear, and white almond. It has a heart of white peony, and dies down to vanilla, amber, and mahogany.
  6. Chanel No. 5 -- One of the most legendary fragrances of all time. Top notes of ylang-ylang, neroli, bergamot, and amalfi lemon. Middle notes of iris, jasmine, and lily-of-the-valley. Base notes of vetiver, musk, sandalwood, patchouli, amber, and vanilla.
  7. Juicy Couture Viva la Juicy -- A gourmet floral fragrance, Viva la Juicy combines wild berries, juicy mandarin orange, honeysuckle, jasmine, gardenia, amber, caramel, vanilla, sandalwood, and pralines.
  8. Clinique Happy -- Happy is a joyful fragrance! It contains fresh apple, plums, bergamot, freesia, lily, rose, orchid, musk, and amber.
  9. Ralph Lauren Romance -- Romance is the timeless scent of optimistic, romantic love, and intimate moments. It blends rose with citrus, water lily, white violet, carnation, ginger, patchouli, oakmoss, and white musk.
  10. Estee Lauder Beautiful -- Launched in 1985, Beautiful is truly a classic favorite. Rose, mandarin, tuberose, and marygold combine with orange flower, ylang-ylang, jasmine, sandalwood, and vetiver.
  11. Dior J'Adore -- A truly glamorous fragrance, J'Adore has garnered a cult following. Mandarin, jasmine, plum, orchid, rose, musk, and blackberry make up this perennial favorite.

Tomorrow I'll be showing you some of the hottest women's fragrances to come out this year. Be sure to check back and see if any of your new favorites or on the list or to discover any releases that you might have missed!

Monday, November 26, 2012

HOLIDAY SHOPPING GUIDE 2012 -- Beauty Steals $50 & Under

Hey everyone! Today starts a 5 day series where I show you a comprehensive holiday shopping guide based on my experience working in beauty retail!

Today I've rounded up some of the best beauty products and holiday gift sets that are $50 and under. The next 4 days will be devoted to fragrance, both women's and men's! Fragrance is typically the most sold item during the holidays, yet it's the product that people spend the most time agonizing over, so I'll be here to help you out!

  1. Stila Seeing Stars Smudge Stick Waterproof Liner Set ($32) -- A $100 value, this holiday set contains 5 shimmery metallic shades: Moray (golden olive shimmer), Stargazer (black with gold and silver pearl), Tetra (deep shimmery purple), Oscar fish (warm brown with gold pearl, limited edition), Angelfish (metallic pewter). Perfect for any day or evening look, these pencils require no sharpening and won't smudge, budge, or fade.
  2. Stila All is Bright Lip Glaze Set ($25) -- A $110 value, the Stila Lip Glaze Set has 8 delicious flavors and scents in their classic formula to make sure that your lips are dazzling for the holidays and after! Shades included are: Black Cherry, Sugarplum, Jolly, Jingle, Holly, Splendor, Joy, and Jack Frost.
  3. Urban Decay Naked OR Naked 2 Palette ($50) -- These are so similar, that the difference in them is really up to the person receiving them. When trying to decide, it all comes down to this: Naked has more shimmer and warmer colors, while Naked 2 has some mattes and more greige/taupe colors. Naked also comes with a shadow brush and a mini primer potion, Naked 2 comes with a double ended crease/shadow brush and a mini Lip Junkie lip gloss in... Naked.
  4. Philosophy Sugar Plum Fairy Duo ($20) -- Any of the Philosophy gift sets will be a great gift, Sugar Plum Fairy just happens to be my personal favorite holiday scent! ;) Each duo comes with an 8oz Shower Gel/Bubble Bath and a .5oz high-gloss, high-shine Lip Shine in the selected scent.
  5. Conair Infiniti Pro Hair Dryer ($34.99) -- This dryer packs an 1875 watt professional grade AC motor (similar to those found in CHI dryers!) into a sleek, folding handle model that is also perfect for travel! It has ionic technology to promote healthy, shiny hair while fighting frizz, a true cold-shot button to lock in curls and waves, 3 heat/speed settings, a concentrator and removable filter to prevent lint build up. Plus it also has a limited 4 YEAR warranty and a travel tote. This is absolutely my favorite hair dryer under $50 and easily one of our most popular models.
  6. Benefit Upgrade to Gorgeous Gift Set ($34) -- This "Best of Benefit" limited edition set has everything you'll need to be absolutely fabulous this holiday and well into 2013! It contains: The PORE-fessional mini, Highbeam, Sugarbomb blush, They're Real! mascara deluxe mini, and a Laugh with Me LeeLee fragrance mini. (Note: There is also the Benefit Fast Train to Fabulous Set which is very similar and also retails for $34. It contains: The PORE-fessional (full-size), Benetint, They're Real! mascara deluxe mini, and a Laugh with Me LeeLee fragrance mini.)
  7. Urban Decay Smoked 24/7 Glide-On Pencil Set ($38) -- This set of 3/4 size pencils brings back two beloved LE shades and introduces two NEW shades not available anywhere else! Versatile, yet subtle enough for even the most color-shy, the Smoked 24/7 set contains: new shades Smog (copper) and Mainline (dark green/blue matte), returning LE shades Uzi (gunmetal taupe w/ silver microglitter) and Empire (dark eggplant satin), and best-selling core colors Zero (zealous black) and Demolition (deep brown matte).
  8. Benefit They're Real! Mascara ($23) -- This "holy grail" mascara is certainly a best seller for a reason! It lengthens, volumizes, lifts, curls, and separates.. all in one formula! It's jet black and water resistant, and would make the perfect stocking stuffer.
  9. OPI The Man With the Golden Gun 18k Gold Top Coat ($30) -- Part of the new OPI Bond Holiday 2012 collection, this 18k gold leaf top coat is sure to add some glitz to any manicure. Perfect for anyone who is trend and/or nail-obsessed, or just enjoys the finer things in life.
  10. Too Faced Better Than False Lashes Nylon Lash Extension System ($35) -- Definitely the most user-friendly temporary fiber lash extension product on the market that I've seen. This one doesn't irritate my eyes (and I wear contacts), and truly gives stunning results, providing dramatic volume and stunning length in less than a minute per eye. Worth every penny of the $35 price tag. Would be perfect for anyone who is addicted to wearing falsies daily, or just can't seem to master them at all!
  11. Tarte Statement Lips 5-Piece LipSurgence Collectors Set ($34) -- This limited edition set contains 2 favorites and 3 new shades: Elite (sheer melon), Enchanted (sheer rose), Sweet (shimmering peachy-pink), Escape (shimmering pink), Exposed (matte nude). Each LipSurgence crayon retails for $25 a piece, so this set is truly an amazing value!
  12. Hot Tools 24k Gold 1" Curling Iron ($46.99) -- Truly the "gold standard" as far as curling irons go, the Hot Tools 24k gold iron heats up quickly and the gold provides maximum heat retention, making sure that curls will last all day. Be warned, however.. higher heat is also more damaging on hair. Be sure to use a thermal protectant spray with every use! (CHI Iron Guard is a favorite.)

Whew! That's a lot of information! I hope it's given you some amazing ideas for the wonderful people on your lists this year.. or maybe even an idea or two for yourself! Stay tuned.. tomorrow I'll be sharing the best-selling fragrances for women with you!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

My Experience with + A GIVEAWAY!!!

Hey everyone! Back at the beginning of October, I was contacted by Printcopia and they asked me if I would like to receive one of their 8x10 canvas prints. It's a little outside of my normal beauty realm, but they also offered to sponsor a giveaway for one of my awesome readers.. so.. I couldn't really say no. I mean, who doesn't love free custom art, right?!

Plus, I had just the picture! It's one of Chris's favorites from our wedding and I'd been meaning to do something with it for him.. naturally, this was the perfect opportunity to surprise him with a little impromptu gift!

Image credit Derek Shane Fotos
Above is the original image. Once I went to the Printcopia website, I selected an 8x10 canvas print, sized up my image and approved it! If you want to do a portrait image instead of a landscape, you would just create your own size and do a 10x8 instead of an 8x10. :)

I also had the option of having the image "wrap" around the frame, or choosing a solid color for the sides. I looked at both options and decided that letting the image wrap looked most natural to me, so that's what I ended up choosing.

Shipping was super fast, I want to say that I had my finished canvas in 3-4 days? (I can't quite remember the specifics, but it was impressive nonetheless!) And my canvas arrived securely packaged and wrapped.

Click to enlarge.

Chris was absolutely THRILLED with his surprise when he saw it, and immediately demanded that it go on our mantle. Naturally, I obliged him! It looks so cute, and I might have to get a bigger one later to make an even better centerpiece!

Here's a closeup of our little print! I apologize that my camera just would not focus on it. I tried taking pictures of it for over a week, and tried photographing it in different settings and lightings. This was the absolute best picture I was able to get.

My photograph aside, trust me when I say that the quality of the Printcopia canvas print is excellent. I was wondering how well the little indentations in the canvas would be covered.. they're all filled in. It's a completely even print. The coloring is accurate, and the detail is actually better than I expected considering that it was printed on canvas, which can soften or slightly blur fine details. Lastly, wrapping the print around the canvas didn't detract from it at all. The only thing that's really missing is Chris's shoes. They're on the bottom of the canvas now, but you would never notice it if I didn't point it out to you!

And now on to the awesome part! I told you that Printcopia has generously offered to give one of you lucky readers your very own custom 8x10 canvas print! This could be an awesome holiday gift for someone you know, or even just an amazing treat for yourself!


This giveaway is open to readers in the continental United States and Canada who are 18 years of age or older. This giveaway is sponsored by Printcopia and being run by MandysSecrets. Mandy McCullough and MandysSecrets will not be fulfilling your prize, and will be passing the winner's information on to Printcopia. The winner will be contacted by Printcopia to redeem their free 8x10 custom canvas print.

To enter, use the Rafflecopter widget below. The giveaway will be open from 12:01 AM 11/20/2012 through 12:01 AM 12/04/2012. I will then draw a winner and email them. They will have 24 hours to email me back, and I will then pass their information on to Printcopia. If the winner does not reply within 24 hours, I will select another winner.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, November 16, 2012

FRIDAY FAVORITES -- "It's Thanksgiving" by Nicole Westbrook

Hey everyone! Happy Friday! If you have no clue who the girl singing into the turkey leg in the picture above is, you must have been hiding under a rock for the last week or so. She's Nicole Westbrook, the newest Rebecca  Black-esque internet sensation... with her hit song "It's Thanksgiving" which was, coincidentally, written by the same guy who wrote and produced Black's "Friday." (He's the black guy eating ribs who's dressed up like a turkey in "It's Thanksgiving" ...and no, I'm NOT making that up!)

"It's Thanksgiving" has everything I love about horrible music: Questionably informative lyrics: "April was Easter, and the Fourth of July.. but now it's Thanksgiving!" Say WHAT?! Repetitive lyrics: "We we we are gonna have a good tiiiiime!" And a good white girl rap sequence, among other awesome atrocities.

But what the song lacks in talent, it makes up for with just being really damn catchy.. and the video is HILARIOUS, as my screen shot above clearly proves. I won't spoil all the ridiculousness that goes down in it. You kind of just need to experience it for yourself, if you haven't already!

I'm going to leave you with a couple of my favorite screen shots and an awesome .gif from the video, then I'll let you experience it in it's full awesomeness below! This song has me SO in the Thanksgiving spirit.. I, I, I am so excited!!! Can't be hateful, gotta be grateful.. mashed potatoes on my, on my table!

Well, not really on the mashed potatoes.. but I wish they were! I'm hungry, y'all!


I'm pretty sure I've watched this video like at least 400x by now. It's so amazingly bad and catchy that I just can't stop! Which is why, it's absolutely my favorite thing this week!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Our First MABB Meetup on 11/11/12!

Pam from Pammy Blogs Beauty, Me, Ashley Elizabeth from Ashley Elizabeth's Beauty Blog, and Harri from Trailer Hood Chic

Hey everyone! I just wanted to fill you in on the super fun time I had at the first Metro Atlanta Beauty Bloggers meetup this Sunday! If you're unfamiliar with MABB, it's a focused beauty blogger group that I started back in June to be able to connect with some like-minded local beauties! You've probably seen our Weekly (now Bi-Weekly) Beauty Questions posted on my blog over the last few months. So far we have 7 members and I'm just thrilled with the new friendships that I've been able to make!

Unfortunately, three of our girls were unable to attend due to illness, but Harri from Trailer Hood Chic, Pam from Pammy Blogs Beauty, Ashley Elizabeth from Ashley Elizabeth's Beauty Blog, and I were able to make it out! 

We met at El Porton, which is a fun Mexican restaurant out in Roswell.. the mariachi band was totally playing 'Sweet Home Alabama' when Harri and I got there! It was hilarious! We all liked the food and atmosphere, so we feel like that will most likely be our new meetup spot.

After introductions and conducting some much necessary group business, we got to talk blogs and do an epic beauty swap! Everyone was super sweet and it was so nice to be able to hang out with such smart, savvy women and have a "normal" conversation about blogging! Sometimes it can feel like sizing up your competition when you sit down with other bloggers, but these ladies were just amazing. I learned a lot from them and look forward to picking their brains again at future meetups!

For our beauty swap, we all brought beauty products that were getting no love in our stashes. We all went home with some new goodies to try, and we're going to donate the huge pile that remains to a local women's shelter after Thanksgiving. It is definitely important for all of us to give back to our community, and we thought this would be a fun way to do it while still staying true to our beauty roots!

I'll be sure to keep you updated when we drop our goodies off at the women's shelter! I'm definitely looking forward to playing Santa for a day and surprising them with a huge pile of makeup!

I'm already looking forward to our next meetup in March.. if it were practical, I'd love to have a monthly meetup! Maybe one day... :)

If you're in the Metro Atlanta area and haven't joined MABB yet, we're looking for you! Visit our site and click on the 'Join Us!' tab!