Sunday, January 29, 2012

NOTD -- Imperfectly Painted's Franken: The Final Frontier


Hey everyone! Today I'm very honored to share a special polish with you. My awesome friend Steph recently made a gorgeous franken that she calls The Final Frontier. And it is UH.MAY.ZING. Seriously. It looks just like outer space and I love it.

Steph describes The Final Frontier as "a black jelly with copper shimmer, iridescent glitter, and multi-colored flakies." It combines a whole lot of polishes and I love how the glitter and flakies still show through each layer of polish.

Here I'm wearing two coats with 1 coat of SV. Application was very easy, and it's not gritty at all!

Click here to read more about The Final Frontier from Steph or just to stop by and tell her hi! Her blog is one of my faves! ♥

Saturday, January 28, 2012

BLOG AWARDS -- Liebster Award / Cute Blog Award


Hey everyone! Today I have two blog awards that I've never gotten before! How exciting! I'm always so tickled when people give me awards. It's nice to know that people read and like my blog.. and more importantly that they think of me when they're picking blogs worthy of awards. ♥

First up is the LIEBSTER BLOG AWARD. I received this one from Nik over at Confessions of a Make-Up Addict. Her blog is fabulous, and she covers such a wide variety of topics from sales info to DIY tutorials and fashion! I love it!

The rules on this one are super simple:
  1. Thank your Liebster Blog Award presenter.
  2. Link back to them.
  3. Post the award on your blog.
  4. Reveal your top 5 picks.
  5. Let them know you picked them!

Next up is the CUTE BLOG AWARD from my bestie Christina over at Red Lip Gloss. I love the look of this one! It's super cute, and owls are kind of my thing. :)


The rules on this one state:
  1. Link back to the person that nominated you.
  2. Answer the award questions.
  3. Tell us something about yourself that you haven't shared on your blog yet.
  4. Award as many blogs as you find worthy.
  5. Let them know you picked them!
1. What is your go-to makeup brand?
Uhhh... this is a tough one! For face, probably Pur Minerals. (I'm a recent devotee.. review coming soon!). For eyes, definitely Wet N Wild and E.L.F. For lips, I'd have to say Tarte.

2. What was your favorite fashion trend of 2011?
I'm going to have to agree with Christina and say maxi dresses. They are amazingly comfortable and stylish. I love how it's a complete outfit! I can't wait to break them out again when we go to Vegas in a couple of weeks! :D

3. What is your favorite dessert?
Longhorn's Chocolate Stampede. It's so delicious and sinfully bad for you. Mmmmm...

4. Favorite Color?
Pink. Duh.

5. What's your middle name?
Like Christina, my middle name is also Marie! We really are long lost twinsies! I love it.

6. What's the last song you listened to?
Glee's version of 'Isn't She Lovely?' ...Hot damn, Artie can sing. :swoons:


7. Cats or Dogs?

SOMETHING YOU DIDN'T KNOW ABOUT ME: My grandparents' high school mascot was an owl, and my college mascot was an owl. So... yea.. owls are kind of my thing. I inherited a little owl statue that my grandma got for her 50 year high school reunion. It sits on our bookshelf and means a lot to me. :)

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Now to pass these awards on to some other fabulously wonderful ladies:


Friday, January 27, 2012

FRIDAY FAVORITES -- Pinterest!


Hey everyone! Happy Friday! Sorry I've been a little MIA lately.. Chris and I have had a lot going on in our personal life that has required most of our attention. I hope you'll understand.

My Friday Favorite this week is literally my newest obsession: Pinterest. If you're unfamiliar with the concept, it's a virtual pinboard where you can organize and share anything you find online. You can browse other peoples' boards by theme or specific topic to get inspiration on everything from beauty to DIY crafts, vacation and "bucket list" ideas, and recipes. I love looking through people's boards and finding new things to try!

Chris and I have even started trying recipes. Well, so far we've tried one: chicken tortilla soup. And it was delish! We've got plans to try a couple more!

Feel free to follow me!

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Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

NOTD -- Nfu-Oh #61


Hey everyone! Today I have one of my biggest polish lemmings for you: Nfu Oh #61! I'd had the worst time tracking it down and then my dearest friend Steph surprised me with it. Y'all, I had a moment. I held it and stared at it for like 5 minutes straight. And I may or may not have hugged it. Twice. :ahem:

Aaaaannnyyyywho.. Nfu Oh 61. It's gorgeous. Linear silver holo.. is there anything better?! Application of it is so ridiculously tricky, though. I applied a coat of L.A. Colors Nail Strengthener (the blue one), then 2 coats of Nfu Oh 61, a coat of SV, and then another coat of #61.

The wear time on it was surprisingly awesome.. this picture was taken 4 days in and there's not even any tip wear! You can see a slight bubbling on the side of my ring finger.. that happened during playtime with Penny, but I was able to apply some SV under it and push the bubble back down.

I plan on getting back to regularly scheduled beauty posts next week, I promise. I've been in a little bit of a blogging funk and nail posts are the easiest for me to do when I'm feeling otherwise uninspired. :)

Friday, January 20, 2012

FRIDAY FAVORITES -- Glee


Hey everyone! Happy Friday! ...Ok, I admit it: I'm a late-blooming Gleek. It's been on our Netflix Instant Queue for a while and I finally had the time to sit down and start watching it. Yea, it's official. I'm addicted. 

In less than a week, I've watched all 22 episodes of the first season and I'm well into Season 2. I love the music and dancing.. and how it tackles such serious issues in a touching and comical way. Plus Cory Monteith is adorable and reminds me a lot of a certain guy I had a hopeless crush on back in my high school days..

Even Chris likes the show, so I'm also re-watching the episodes with him from the beginning. I had no clue he'd even be interested in it, so it's kind of awesome!

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

PS -- We're totally watching Season 1, Episode 3 right now... "I BUST THE WINDOWS OUT YOUR CARRRRR!" Go Mercedes, go!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Makeup Companies Supporting SOPA & PIPA


Generally, I try to keep my personal and political views off of MandysSecrets because I'm a firm believer in not discussing politics or religion, but when something happens that could threaten the very existence of my blog... I think it becomes appropriate to express my personal feelings.

By now, I'm sure everyone has heard of SOPA and PIPA. If not, they are anti-digital piracy bills being pushed through Congress right now. This video does an excellent job of explaining what it means for the internet if these bills are passed:


Sounds grim, doesn't it? But it's more than a world without Facebook that we're talking about here. Makeup companies have also started stepping up in support of these bills, and in doing so have effectively waged cyber-war on the very bloggers, vloggers, YouTubers, and consumers who buy, review and promote their products.

I don't know about you, but I personally refuse to buy any beauty product without first looking it up ONLINE to see swatches and reviews. I'm the most informed person at my work on when and where new products will be available because I blog and have access to this information. Imagine a world without the online beauty community: No Nouveau Cheap. No Scrangie. No LTHP, MakeupbyTiffanyD, or Elle and Blair Fowler.. THAT's what will happen if SOPA and PIPA are passed.

Now.. which makeup companies are supporting these bills?

COTY, INC.
(COTY makes Rimmel, Sally Hansen, OPI, essie, etc)
REVLON
L'OREAL
(L'Oreal makes Lancome, etc)
ESTEE LAUDER

I'm not even going to mince words here. SHAME ON THEM. These bills don't even have anything to do with their companies and they support it. Klaire de Lys has proposed a "Bloggers and Consumers Against SOPA Movement". If you oppose these bills, please consider taking any or all of the following actions:
  1. UNFOLLOW the companies mentioned above on Twitter and Facebook and tell them why you are unfollowing.
  2. WRITE a blog post on this topic to raise awareness. Also name (and shame!) the companies mentioned above.
  3. BOYCOTT the brands. Don't blog about them (except to shame them) and don't buy their products.
  4. SIGN the petition linked below and help stop these acts from being passed.
Voting on SOPA and PIPA is scheduled for January 24, 2012. 
THE TIME TO ACT IS NOW.

Click HERE to sign the petition.

Click HERE to see the full list of companies supporting SOPA and PIPA.


CONSIDER THIS:
Under SOPA, you could get 5 years in jail for uploading a Michael Jackson song. 
That sentence is one year longer than the man who killed him will serve.


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

NOTD -- Lyndrella's Connect the Dots


Hey everyone! You know how sometimes there's that one polish that just makes you drop everything and go "Wow..."? Lyndrella's Connect the Dots did that for me. 

Admittedly, I'm not a huge devotee of her polishes.. but this one is special. I've never seen anything like it, and I knew I needed it for my collection. I mean, look at it! It's like instant nail art. Lyndrella describes Connect the Dots as "black and white hexagon, square and bar glitter with slight sparkle in a clear base."

Unfortunately, with the incredible demand for her polishes, I'd contented myself to never owning CTD unless I bought it for an exorbitant amount off of ebay or sold our unborn first child to get it. Thankfully, I was able to buy mine from my dear friend Amanda.

Here I have paired 1-2 coats of Connect the Dots over two coats of Sinful Colors Cream Pink. While the application of CTD is fairly forgiving, the bottle has a wonky brush so I had to fill in bald patches on some nails to the best of my ability. I will, however, say that removal was a nightmare. But that's the price we pay for beauty, am I right? :)

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Lyndrella has begun selling her beautiful polishes on Llarowe now. They are currently sold out until February, but I'd say Llarowe will be your best bet for purchasing her polishes at this time. It's also a fabulous e-tailer for other harder-to-find brands like HITS, Glitter Gal, Ozotic, and a England.. and the woman who runs it, Leah Ann, is beyond fabulous.

Friday, January 13, 2012

FRIDAY FAVORITE -- Longhorn's Chocolate Stampede


Hey everyone! Happy Friday! Today's Friday Favorite is Longhorn Steakhouse's Chocolate Stampede dessert. Mmmmmm... Just LOOK at it! You can totally judge me for eating it, but I'd dare you to judge me for loving it.

Deliciously moist chocolate cake layered with 6 types of chocolate (including yummy mousse and chocolate shavings!) and served with vanilla bean ice cream. And for the record: Yes, it's supposed to serve two... as if you'd really want to share it!

Out of curiosity, I just looked up how many calories it contained.. and I seriously wish I hadn't. 1 order (which again, serves 2) contains 2180 calories and 131 grams of fat (73g of which are saturated). Hmm.. thankfully I always take it home and get 4 servings out of it! And I suppose I'll be using my Kinect Fitness for a little longer than normal over the weekend... but it is so worth it!

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What's your favorite overly decadent dessert? I love hearing everyone's guilty pleasures, and it's definitely okay to indulge in them every once in a while!

Hope you have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

THE NEXT REVOLUTION IN BEAUTY -- Fotoshop by Adobé


You may have seen this snarky little video making its way around the interwebs today... and I'm absolutely in love with it! Instead of bashing photo retouching, it takes a light-hearted, tongue-in-cheek approach to the beauty industry's worst kept secret.

Personally, I'm not a hater of retouched photos.. unless they're advertisements that are giving blatantly ridiculous results of what a product can deliver. (Yes, I'm looking right at you T-Swift and Covergirl..) I feel like in today's society, you have to be incredibly naive to believe that celebrities have perfect hair, eyes, teeth, and bodies.. and no pores on their skin. And there's no shortage of original/retouched photo comparisons available online.

And honestly, even though I've always been one to stare at magazine photos and analyze them.. I've never looked at a picture and been like "Oh, I feel like crap about myself now." I think I've always just seen it as art and nothing more. But maybe I'm in the minority.. Who knows?

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So what are your thoughts on Photoshop.. Unrealistic beauty standards? Or smart marketing? And what do you think of the video? I'm truly interested to hear your thoughts!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

BLOG AWARDS/TAGS -- Nail Polish Tag / Versatile Blogger Award (x3!)


Hey everyone! Today I have some fun tags for you! Both of these were given to me by the darling Taylor of Simply Beauty. Her blog is awesome, and focuses on both polish and beauty goodies! Many thanks go out to her for thinking of me.. especially twice! :)

First up, we have THE NAIL POLISH TAG... Pretty straight forward: Answer the questions, pass it on.

1. How many polishes do you own?
NOT including the ones that I've ordered and are on their way to me, 252. I just updated my spreadsheet the other day, actually. :)

2. What is your favorite nail polish brand?
Ooo.. This is so tough. Probably a 3 way tie between ChG/OPI/Zoya? I used to not like OPI because they don't play so well with acrylics, but I'm learning to love them now that I'm back to natural nails!

3. Do you like or hate crackle nail polish?
I liked it for a while, but now I'm really and truly over it. I'm keeping a bottle of black shatter just because it's the most versatile.. but I probably won't buy any more and I regret buying the other colors that I did.

4. What was your first nail polish brand?
Bonne Bell. It was a bubblegum pink creme polish that was bubblegum scented. It came in a round bottle with a silver cap, and my mom would paint my nails. Then I got a couple of Sally Hansens in the square-ish bottle with the flat back and rounded front. You know the ones I'm talking about? I think they were super old school Hard As Nails ones. I had a sheer silvery blue and a sheer shimmery charcoal. My first "expensive" polish was ChG Ruby Pumps. I revered that bottle for EVER and I still have it today!

5. If you created a nail polish line, what would you name it?
Probably Mandizzles or Poss Polishes. Maybe Posh Polishes..? Hmmm...

6. What nail polish color does not compliment you?
I don't like golds, pea greens, putty colors, or browns. I think that's more personal preference versus them actually not looking good against my skin, though.

7. Name two of your best nail art friends.
My best polish buddy of all is undoubtedly the fabulous Steph over at Imperfectly Painted. I absolutely adore her and can't go a day without talking to her or I start missing her like crazy. Outside of the blogging world.. my bff Catherine is probably my next choice. She puts up with my constant searches for polish every time we go shopping and doesn't judge me when I drag her to 5 different drugstores in one afternoon. :)

8. What was the best nail polish gift you've ever received?
When I opened a swap package from Steph and saw that she sent me a bottle of Nfu Oh 61 that had been my biggest lemming forEVER.. and I could never find it in stock on Fabulous Street... My heart literally stopped and I screamed and squealed with joy and just held it for probably a good 5 minutes. Second best: Revlon's Whimsical from Jacqui over at The Scholarly Nail. I've wanted GITA for a hot minute and that dupe is perfect.

9. Make a speech thanking the blogger that gave you this award.
As I said before, Taylor is super sweet and her blog is adorable! You should all pop over and say hi to her! ♥

Next up.. We have THE VERSATILE BLOGGER AWARD... This one and I are old friends! The tag is to share seven things about yourself and pass it on.


1. I think I take the world's hottest baths and showers. The hotter the better! I need to have the bathroom completely steamed up and emerge from the water lobster red.. otherwise I'm the crankiest person you've ever met. Few things make me as miserable as a bath/shower that's not hot enough.

2. I think my least favorite part of blogging is having to photograph myself without makeup. I hate it and try to procrastinate it as much as possible, but it's a part of the job sometimes.

3. Chick-fil-A's new tortilla soup is legitimately my new favorite thing in life. And it's "for a limited time" which means two things: 1) I need to consume as much of it as humanly possible while it's available and 2) I will cry when they finally pull it from the menu.

4. This picture of Kermit the Frog Tebowing is the funniest thing I've seen all day:


5. Earl has been by my side constantly for the past 3-4 days. Like, literally: non-stop glued to my side every minute of the day, waking or sleeping... and this is unusual behavior from him. I'm kind of feeling like Paranoid Parrot: "PET WON'T LEAVE ME ALONE... IS ANIMAL OF DEATH. I'M GONNA DIE." 

6. I recently ordered an Angry Birds knitted hat and I'm honestly more excited for that to arrive than I am my polish pretties that I'm anticipating. And that's saying something. Seriously, though.. You can't tell me this hat is not fantastic:


7. I love Olive Garden SO much. I could eat there every day and never get tired of it. I'd be fatter than a blimp from all the carbs, but I'd be soooooooo happy and it would be sooooooooo worth it. ♥

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And now.. to pass the tags on!


These ladies never fail to amaze and inspire me. Please pay them a visit if you get the chance! Again, many thanks to Taylor for sharing these two tags with me. I always have so much fun doing them! Please remember to check her out as well. :)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

NOTD -- OPI Nicki Minaj Mani!


Hey everyone! I've been sitting on this mani for a couple days, and waiting to post it has nearly KILLED me. I could barely even wait to use my Nicki Minaj polishes as soon as I got them. So far, I only have three: Fly (teal), Pink Friday (pink) and Save Me (silver glitter).. I'm waiting to see if I need 2 more, but I know I won't be getting the Super Bass shatter.

In an effort to use all my new pretties at one time, I settled on this skittle mani. Fly is on my index finger, Pink Friday is on my thumb, middle and pinky fingers, and Save Me is layered over LA Colors Live on my ring finger. Even though Fly and Pink Friday are dupes of polishes I already own.. I love Nicki so I decided to suck it up and get them anyways. :)

Here's a close up of the awesomeness that is Save Me:


It's small silver glitter and blue and holographic bar glitter suspended in a clear base. I'm really surprised that OPI did a bar glitter, but hey.. I'm slowly learning to love the stuff! It's a pretty sheer polish on its own, which is why I layered it over Live to give it some opacity.

Formula wise, Fly and Pink Friday were a little thick but easy enough to work with. Two coats and their streakiness disappeared and they leveled themselves out nicely. Save Me is thick, but not obnoxiously so. I think it could benefit from some thinner, but the bar glitter does behave itself, which is more than I can say for some brands. 

PS -- Fly also makes a fabulous pedi color, too! ;)

Saturday, January 7, 2012

NOTD -- NOPI Kendall on the Katwalk


Hey everyone! Hope your weekend is going well! Today I have another NOTD for you.. This one is Nicole by OPI's Kendall on the Katwalk from the Kardashian Collection. It's blue, green and purple microglitter that can be built up to opacity on it's own, but I decided to take the easy way out and layer it over OPI's Swimsuit... Nailed It! from the Miss Universe Collection.. which is the bottle I'm holding in the picture above. :) (It's a cerulean blue foil!)

Both polishes are so gorgeous and amazing on their own.. but I really think they're just absolute perfection when you put them together! This is 1 coat of Swimsuit... Nailed It! and 1 coat of Kendall on the Katwalk. Look at all the sparkle!

:swoons: I'm in love! So in love that I actually picked up a backup bottle of Kendall on the Katwalk. Don't judge me! Haha!

The Kardashian and Miss Universe collections are currently available at Ulta, although the full Kardashian collection isn't available. I know Kim-pletely in Love is missing and maybe a couple of others? Those are still floating around at Wal-Mart, so if you're looking for them, check in the regular NOPI display. That's where I've found mine!

PS -- I'm finally caught up on all of my comments! I'd taken a break from replying during the holidays. Thanks for being patient with me! ♥

Friday, January 6, 2012

FRIDAY FAVORITES -- Very Mary Kate


Hey everyone! Happy Friday! Today's Friday Favorite is Very Mary Kate! It's a webisode series based on the fictional goings-on of Mary Kate Olsen (played and created by the hilarious Elaine Carroll), her sister Ashley, her hunky Bodyguard and other assorted friends (Fat Professor, Jewish-Looking Girl). Each episode is between 1-2 minutes long, and practically every line ends in a joke.

VMK and I have so much in common.. she loves coffee, is essentially a helpless and overgrown 5 year old, and she's always cold. Chris can relate to Bodyguard. In fact, watching any VMK episode is like looking into our marriage, just with a lot less prescription drugs.

The new season has just started back, and here's my favorite so far:


See?! HILARIOUS.

Now.. can anyone get me a blanket? It's really brrr here under all these blankets... :P

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

NOTD -- China Glaze Tinsel Town


Hey everyone! Today I have China Glaze Tinsel Town. I picked this one up at work during the after-Christmas clearance sale last week. $3 for ChG? YES, PLEASE! 

Tinsel Town is a great 'holiday' polish that doesn't scream "CHRISTMAS!" with big blinking neon lights. It has various-sized silver glitter in a dark, charcoal grey base. Formula-wise, it was pretty good. 2 easy coats gave me what you see above.

If you see this one lingering around in the clearance section, be sure to grab it! I think it'll be amazing for Halloween. :D

PS -- Chris got me a new camera for Christmas and I'm loving it! Do you think it takes better pics??

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

BLOG SALE IS UP!


YAY! My first blog sale is up! I'm so excited! There's lots of goodies: polish, makeup, etc..

CLICK HERE to check it out!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

HAPPY 2012!!! / My Resolutions


HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! I hope you all had wonderful and safe celebrations last night. Chris and I ended up making spaghetti, then sharing a bottle of wine while playing Kinect Bowling, watching a NYE countdown and lighting off some fireworks. He had to be at work early this morning so we wrapped up the night soon after midnight. Sometimes it's the simple things in life, right??

Everything was going splendidly until Earl tried to steal all of our bottle rockets and run away with them.  No rhyme or reason.. he just grabbed the pack of them in his mouth and ran. It was honestly one of the funniest things I've ever seen him do!

And now, I'd like to share my 2012 Resolutions with you!

1. STOP SLEEPING IN MY MAKEUP.
Buying Murad and Philosophy products isn't really doing me much good if I don't take my makeup off at night to let my skin breathe. I'm SO bad about this.. it's ridiculous and gross. I'll even buy stock in the Pond's Evening Soothe Wipes if I have to.

2. DRINK MORE WATER.
I failed miserably at this in 2011.. but I want to get back to it. I used to drink a ton of water when I was in school and I felt better overall and had more energy. Plus, it goes along well with my next resolution...

3. EAT HEALTHIER, HOME-PREPARED MEALS.
Chris and I are the worst culprits of "I don't wanna cook. Wanna grab Taco Bell?" and after 4-5 years of it.. I'm just so tired of eating from a drive-thru multiple nights a week. Plus it's expensive! So this year, I want us to focus more on eating meals at home, re-discovering the joys of our long neglected crock pot, and learning to love healthy foods again.

4. SPEND MORE TIME OFFLINE.
I feel like I've officially become internet-addicted. I wake up and the first thing I do is check my phone. I'm on FB and Twitter during my breaks at work. I answer blog emails from the shower.. It's ridiculous! And I feel like having a blog has kind of made the situation worse. I'm always working on a post or editing photos, answering emails, or talking to other bloggers. And while I enjoy all of those things.. I need to re-learn how to take some time away from technology and read a book (or magazine) or... I don't know.. what do you do without a computer in your lap? Well, I aim to find out!

5. GET BACK TO BEING A CLEAN FREAK.
I used to be such a clean freak when we moved into our first and second apartments. But school and complacency broke me of the habitual cleaning. I'd like to get back to it because it's oddly calming for me.. and always a lot more manageable when you're only doing upkeep instead of having to deep clean everything.

6. MAKE MORE YOUTUBE VIDEOS.
2011 saw the rise (and fall) of my YT channels. Blogging is just so much easier and more convenient, but I do miss sitting down and filming videos too. I've contemplated closing my channels all-together.. but I figure I'll give it one more shot before I do.

7. BE MORE ADVENTUROUS WITH MAKEUP.
I took some daring risks in 2011. I conquered purple, turquoise, and hot pink shadow.. as well as intense smokey eyes and red and bright fuchsia lips. And that for me is a LOT. But I want to master blue and green shadows now... Maybe maroons too? Who knows! I have so many gorgeous shadow palettes that have half of the colors going unused. This is the year to change that!

8. DO SOMETHING CRAZY WITH MY HAIR.. AGAIN.
2011 marked the first time I'd had "non-natural" colors in my hair... and I LOVED it. I want to do it again.. but a lot safer this time. I'm not looking to have another 'hair confetti' episode OR spend 4 months trying to repair it from the severe damage it took. I've wrestled with dying it again because I *am* back to my natural color.. so the safe part of me says I should leave it alone. But I figure.. I'm young, and it's just hair. I might as well do it now! I've been thinking about going all over dark purple.. but who knows? I've got a whole year to figure it out!

9. GET PERMANENT STORAGE FOR MY POLISH.
While I have a few very nice displays, there's still about half of my polishes that are in a storage container and it's honestly SUCH a hassle to dig through them. I can never find anything and it's so impractical. I think I definitely want Melmers.. so I'll be looking for some good deals on them!

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What are your 2012 Resolutions?! Leave a comment.. I'd love to hear them!