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! :)