Friday, September 28, 2012

FRIDAY FAVORITES -- Our NEW Tommy Bahama Pillows!


Happy Friday, everyone! Hopefully your day is going better than mine.. I managed to get cussed out TWICE by customers at work today.. all before 1130 am! Haha, oh well. I'm still smiling, so that's all that matters, right? :)

Today's Friday Favorite isn't really a "beauty product" per se.. but we all know that the secret to waking up looking fabulous is a great night of sleep!

A couple of years ago, hubby and I bought some cheap pillows from WalMart in a pinch (I was still in college and we were broke.. don't judge us! lol) and we've been using them ever since. For the past couple of months, they've really just seemed like bricks, though! Flat, hard, and miserable to sleep on. We knew we had to do something, and we happened upon this twin pack of Tommy Bahama pillows at Bed, Bath & Beyond when we were there a couple of weeks ago!

Not only are the pillows super thick, soft, and squishy, they're also a down alternative which makes me feel a lot better about buying them. But the best part? The price! Both pillows were in a pack for $20! Hallelujah!

We feel like we're sleeping on fluffy clouds.. seriously, it's amazing.


Have you ever noticed how sometimes the simplest changes can make the biggest difference in your sleep routine? We have a favorite pair of sheets that always sleep better, now we have awesome pillows, and I can't wait until it gets a little colder so that we can put our super-thick winter comforter back on the bed too!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

I'm Now a "Makeup Maven" for Pretty In My Pocket!


Hey everyone! Quick post today.. I have SUPER exciting news! I'm beyond thrilled and very honored to tell you that I am now a Makeup Maven for the new iPhone/iPad app called Pretty In My Pocket!

Haven't heard of it yet? That's okay! The *free* app (which is currently available on the iPhone and iPad, but will be released in the Android Market soon) lets you scan bar codes on beauty products while you're out shopping and will then pull up any reviews of that specific product that were written by the Pretty In My Pocket ("PRIMP") Makeup Mavens!

Once you get the app, you'll have the option to match yourself up with a Maven based on various attributes (same hair/eye color and/or skin tone, makeup styles, etc). If you choose me, you'll get to see everything that I put into my virtual makeup bag.. which means everything that I rate "5 stars" will be right at your fingertips whenever you want it! PLUS you'll have a direct link to my blog in case you need to pull any other information up quickly!

Currently, PRIMP includes products from Drugstore.com, Sephora, and Nordstrom.. but they're working on adding new beauty retail sites and products every day!

Be warned: Things will be a bit slow for me in the beginning. Not only is the "Makeup Maven" section of the app under construction, but I'm having to input all of my reviews (because I'm starting from scratch with them) and have the PRIMP team upload them manually for me since I have an Android phone and don't currently have access to the actual app.

Rest assured, though.. I'll definitely keep you updated with what's going on, and you'll always be able to know what content I put on the app by looking for this image on my blog reviews:



So.. yeah! To say that I'm excited is an understatement. I can't WAIT to get started with PRIMP. I think it's such a fantastic idea, and there's such a need for something like this in the beauty industry! Speaking from experience (remember, I work beauty retail for a living!), even though most women still buy their products from a physical store.. they end up doing a lot of their research ahead of time online.

But even for an expert like myself, sometimes you forget specifics or get confused between products once you get to the store and Google (while wonderful) is not always the easiest place to turn to in a pinch. There are too many search results to sort through and it can be challenging, not to mention time consuming, trying to browse various websites and blogs from your phone in the middle of a store.

Not to mention from my end on the retail side of things.. even though I know "a lot" about a lot of beauty products, it's impossible for me to know everything about every product we sell in my store. That's where PRIMP comes in!

- - - - - * - - - - -

What do you think? Does taking my beauty expertise shopping with you whenever you want sound like an awesome idea or what?! :)

You can currently find Pretty In My Pocket in the iPhone App Store.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Pretty City's LiveBEAUTIFULLY VIP Ticket Winners!


Hey everyone! Today's just a quick post to let you know who won the VIP Tickets to Pretty City's LiveBeautifully event in Atlanta TOMORROW at Tongue & Groove!
I had 10 pairs of tickets up for grabs, and luckily everyone who entered was able to snag themselves a pair! I'll be forwarding these names onto the Pretty City event people, and they'll distribute the tickets via email later today!

Without further adieu, the winners are:

Tereonne B.
Kisten
Hamilton Y.
Justina
Natalie

Winners, check the email you listed today for your tickets.. if you haven't received them by mid-late afternoon, you might try checking your spam folder just in case! Remember that you MUST print the tickets and bring a photo ID with you to be admitted, and that you must also be present to receive your VIP goodie bag!

I hope to see all of you there! If you see me, please come say hi! :)

Friday, September 14, 2012

WIN TICKETS to Pretty City's LiveBEAUTIFUL Event in Atlanta!


Hey everyone! Happy Friday! Instead of a Friday favorite, today I'm going to let you in on how you can WIN tickets to Pretty City's LiveBeautifully event in Atlanta.. and you'll even get to meet me there! :D

EVENT DETAILS

Date: Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

Time: 6:30 pm - 9 pm

Place: Tongue & Groove, 565 Main Street NE, Atlanta, GA 30324

- - - - - * - - - - -

Pretty City is giving away FREE tickets which will include: a glass of wine and appetizers, sweet treats, and complimentary salon and spa services.. plus shopping and samples! RSVP for your FREE tickets here.

OR

You can register for a VIP ticket which will get you all of the goodies mentioned above plus a goodie bag which consists of some amazing beauty products stuffed into a reusable designer tote bag! That's a $158 value! To get your VIP tickets for 40% OFF.. enter the code blogger into the box at the top of the form that asks for a reference code and then click "Apply Code"! That brings the price of the VIP tickets down from $29 to only $17.40! RSVP for your VIP tickets here.

Here's a sneak peek at the goodie bag:




ABOUT LIVEBEAUTIFULLY

LiveBeautifully is a campaign and event series celebrating, demonstrating and sampling ways to bring more beauty into daily life. Discover new product launches from brands you know and little-known secrets from brands everyone will soon be talking about. Embrace wellness, style, and luxury trends and treatments paired with the best in beauty, all under one roof. LiveBeautifully is presented by PrettyCity.com in partnership with SHAPE Magazine. Guests will be offered an extensive array of beauty product samplings, on-site makeovers, complimentary spa and salon treatments such as chair massages, dry styling, mini-makeovers and nail polish changes, plus shopping and swag galore.


AND NOW FOR THE GIVEAWAY...

Pretty City is giving me 10 PAIRS of VIP tickets (2 tickets each) to give away to my Atlanta-based readers!

In order to attend LiveBeautifully, you MUST be 21 years or older and bring a valid form of ID with you. Additionally, you MUST be in attendance to receive your goodie bag. Giveaway ends on September 18th at 12:01 AM EST. Giveaway is sponsored by Pretty City. The winners will be announced the following day and Pretty City will them email the tickets to you at the email address you provided on the entry form. You will need to print your tickets and bring them with you to the event.

You may enter this giveaway as many times as you like.. there will be 10 winners!



a Rafflecopter giveaway


Thursday, September 13, 2012

SALE ALERT!!! 3 Butter London Polishes + Top Coat via Coterie.com


Hey everyone! Earlier this week I got an offer to preview a new website called Coterie through the blogger group iFABBO.. and as part of that sneak peek, I was able to pick out THREE Butter London polishes and a matte top coat for FREE with free shipping!

My order should be here tomorrow and I'm SUPER excited about it! Now onto more awesome news:

Coterie is letting me offer you exclusive access before they officially launch on September 17th.. and you can also get 3 Butter London polishes with a matte or regular top coat! The regular price of this promo is $36, but it's really a $60 value! Once you sign up for the site, you will be given a $25 promotional credit, which means you could potentially score the Butter London polishes for the AMAZING price of only $11! This offer is available to US residents only until 12 noon EST on Monday, 09/17/12.

Here is my referral link. If you sign up through me, I will get credits for future purchases. (I'm thinking this will end up being a site like HauteLook, only better.) You will also get an option to get your own referral link to use once you sign up!

The access code to the site is OBSESSED-VIP. Once you get into the site, you just select the Butter London promo on the main page, depending on if you would like a matte or regular top coat and then pick 3 of the 6 colors that they have to choose from:


Your top coat will automatically get added to your order. When you check out, enter promo code VIPMEMBER to receive $25 off of your order and free shipping, making the 4 Butter London polishes only $11.. but remember, the original price is $36.

I used this code myself at 11:00 pm EST last night (09/12) and it worked with no problems, so I scored all 6 polishes and 2 matte top coats for $11 total (thanks again to getting the first set free).

AGAIN, here are the steps to getting this AMAZING deal:
  1. Use my referral link.
  2. Enter access code OBSESSED-VIP and create your Coterie.com account.
  3. Select your 3 Butter London polishes from the colors offered and your matte top coat will automatically be added to your order.
  4. Check out and use promo code  VIPMEMBER  to receive $25 off of the $36 promo price, bringing the cost for all 4 polishes down to only $11 and also giving you free shipping!
  5. Complete your order, sit back, and wait for your polishes to arrive!
Remember, this is a $60 deal because Butter London polishes retail for $14 A PIECE! 

Let me know if you decide to partake! I'd love to thank you for helping me out with my referrals, and I'd also love to know which colors you get! :D

**EDIT**
I just wanted to let you know that I received my first order from Coterie TODAY! I placed the order on Friday, it shipped Monday.. and now I have it! I'm SUPER impressed! Here's a picture of it, just for fun:




**The links contained in this post are referral links. By clicking on them, you will give me site credit on Coterie.com for future purchases. Once you create your own Coterie.com account, you will be able to create your own referral link.**

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

31 MANI CHALLENGE -- Mani 3: Yellow Nails


Hey everyone! Today is the third day of my 31 Mani Challege.. which means YELLOW nails. Admittedly, yellow isn't my favorite color of polish to wear, but there's something about the polish I chose that makes me love it anyways.

Color Club's Almost Famous is the perfect yellow! It's opaque in 1 coat, but I did 2 for an even coverage. I decided to do two accent fingers of China Glaze's Ultamate Holiday, which was an Ulta exclusive polish from last holiday season. It's a full coverage yellow glitter polish with scattered holographic glitter. I used 2 coats.. and man is it a hungry glitter! I had to use two coats of top coat to make it smooth and shiny. Finally, I still felt like something was missing so I added two rhinestones to each solid yellow nail.

I think it really came together to form a cohesive look! Originally, I had wanted to do Pikachu nails again like I did last year.. but after 3 failed attempts (I was going for a more artistic/realistic comic book style this time around), I gave up and decided to take the easy route instead. I know, I know. Oh well.



What do you think of yellow polish? And what's your favorite one? :)

Monday, September 10, 2012

Check Out My Awesome FREE Glasses from Firmoo.com! (+ MATCHING NAIL ART!)



Hey everyone! My smug little mug up there is smiling today because of my new glasses that I received from Firmoo.com! Firmoo is the world's most popular online eyeglasses store. They're committed to offering customers the best quality products at the most affordable prices. They contacted me and asked me to help promote their program by offering me a FREE pair of glasses and then letting me show you how to score the same amazing deal!

Since I already have a pair of solid black frames, I definitely wanted something bright and fun this time around.. so I went with this pair. I fell in love with them as soon as I saw them, and just knew they would be perfect. To be sure, though, I used their handy "Try It On" feature which lets you upload a picture of yourself to the site to see what each of the frames will look like on your face. How COOL is that?!

Image of my frames on the Firmoo site. Source.
After I selected my frames, I gave them my lens prescription and they shipped my glasses shortly after. Shipping was incredibly fast, especially since the glasses came from China! They arrived securely packaged, and also came with a hard and soft case, lens cloth, screwdriver key chain, and an assortment of extra screws. 


Close up! I love them!
Once I got my glasses, I was instantly inspired by the temple pieces! They look like a swirly water marble or saran wrap mani, to me.. and I was dying to do some nail art! Naturally, I went with the saran wrap technique because it was much easier than water marbling. I used Orly Dayglow and Orly Fancy Fuchsia for the saran wrap portion, then sponged on Essie Penny Talk and Color Club Disco Nap on top before I sealed everything with a top coat. I think they turned out pretty well! :)


NOW.. on to the important stuff. Here's how YOU (yes, YOU!) can get your own FREE pair of prescription glasses, sunglasses, or safety goggles from Firmoo.com.. All you pay is shipping!


You can either...
  • Click on ANY EYEWEAR on the site and view the details OR
  • Click on the button "New customer? Get your first pair free now!" and then share the eyewear. Once you share it successfully, you'll get a voucher of an equal value.


It's no secret that I'm in love with my new pink Firmoo eyeglasses! They're super cute and suit me so well. I get tons of compliments on them whenever I wear them, and you definitely can't beat the FREE price tag! My hubby is definitely looking at getting his own pair in the near future as well. He's totally jealous of my awesome new specs, even though he won't admit it. ;)



Friday, September 7, 2012

FRIDAY FAVORITES -- Bubble Baths!

Yes, those are my little Instagram-ed feetsies!
Hey everyone! And HAPPY FRIDAY!!! It's been, um, like foreverrrrrr since the last time I did a Friday Favorite. In fact, it's been SO long that I don't even want to look at how long it's been! Don't you get curious and go look either! Let's just say that it's been TOO long! lol

Today's favorite is one that I'm sure most people will agree with... BUBBLE BATHS! I love 'em! Light me some candles (see above!), give me lots of bubbles, and some scalding hot water... I will be one very happy Mandy.

I don't know what it is, but baths are SO relaxing! It's like my time to just re-center myself and replenish and refocus my energies. Almost like my version of meditation, I guess?

I also like to use my bubble bath time to do a face masque or a Biore pore strip.. It's like doing double duty: beautification AND relaxation! :D


What are your favorite ways to relax? When I'm not taking bubble baths, I also enjoy playing Bingo on Facebook to unwind for a bit. I know, I'm like an 80 year old person.. but it's okay. I'm enjoying myself!

Hope you all have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

31 MANI CHALLENGE -- Mani 2: Orange Nails


Hey everyone! Today's 31 Day Mani Challenge theme is ORANGE nails. While I like orange, it's not always my favorite color to wear.. and I didn't intend to actually make a full mani out of this. However, once I got started, I ended up liking it more than I had originally anticipated, so it stuck around for a couple of days!

I did a trigger mani accent with 2 coats China Glaze Papaya Punch on my accent fingers, 2 coats of Color Club's Wham! Pow! on my other fingers, and I followed that up with 1 coat of Ulta's Pinyata-Yada-Yada on all of my nails for some extra sparkle!

Pinyata-Yada-Yada is one of the easier chunky glitters to work with.. IF you show it some love first. I always invert the bottle while I'm painting my base colors so that the glitters sink to the top. Then I'm able to just brush the polish on and spread the glitters around. I'll dab a few extra glitters into a bald spot, if I need to, but it's really a very painless application!

This was kind of my "last hurrah" of summer mani, as I actually wore it earlier in the week for Labor Day. I got lots of compliments on it for it being as simple as it is.. I was a little surprised! But then again, I never shy away from a compliment so I was all like "Oh yeeeeaaaahhhh!!!! Aren't they fab?!" Haha! :P

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Perfectly Posh Giveaway Winner!


Hey everyone! Just a quick announcement that HARRI B. is the winner of the Perfectly Posh Giveaway! Her winning entry was for following Aimee on Twitter (@PoshWithAimee), and she has already claimed her prize! I'll be forwarding her info on to Aimee later tonight for her Sugar Fix scrub to be shipped out. :)

Congratulations to Harri and many thanks go out to everyone who participated in the giveaway, and if you were intrigued by the Perfectly Posh products.. please take a second to check out Aimee's site and place an order! She's been just fabulous to the MandysSecrets "family" and I would love for us to all support her!

31 MANI CHALLENGE -- MANI 1: Red Nails


Happy Tuesday, everyone! Today is my first mani in my 2012 31 Mani Challenge, and the theme is RED nails. Since I'm super excited for football season (it's practically a religion in the South!), I decided to use my red day to celebrate football and my two favorite teams!

The Atlanta Falcons

and

The Georgia Bulldogs

It's super convenient that both teams share the same colors... definitely makes my life easier to bleed red, black, and white on both Saturday and Sunday. I'm not even going to lie!

For this mani, I used 2 coats of Zoya Sooki on my thumb, ring, and pinky fingers and 2 coats of Milani Chocolate Sprinkles on my index and middle fingers. I topped Sooki with one coat of Lynndrella's Connect the Dots (Say what you will.. I almost never use the polish anymore and I acquired it second hand before Lynndrella went off the deep end with all of her crazy bullshit..) then used a white LA Colors striper for the detail on the "footballs".

Overall, I love these nails! They were super quick and will be perfect for game days this fall!

PS -- WOOHOO for my 400th post! I'm so thankful for those of you who stop by to read every day, and for everyone that I've made friendships with since I started MandysSecrets last March. If I could give all of you a big hug, I totally would! :D

Monday, September 3, 2012

31 MANI CHALLENGE 2012! (AKA 31 Day Challenge 2012)

Image is used with permission from Chalkboard Nails

Hey everyone! You may have noticed that several bloggers have already started doing the 31 Day Challenge for this year! (Chalkboard Nails, Rebecca Likes Nails, Nails by Kayla Shevonne, and Gnarly Gnails... just to name a few!)

If you followed MandysSecrets back near the end of 2011, you'll remember that I participated in the challenge during November. I posted faithfully every day, and I remember looking back and thinking that there was a lot I would do differently if I ever did it again.

(Btw.. you can view all of my 31 day challenge posts from last year by clicking here!)

Well, I figure there's no time like the present to try for improvement.. However there's absolutely NO way that I will be posting all 31 entries back to back. It almost killed me last time and by the time it was over, I was incredibly burnt out with both nail art and blogging in general. With my job and life the way they are now, it's just not feasible for me to attempt consecutive posting again. Thus, I've decided to call my attempt "The 31 Mani Challenge" instead. :)

I plan on posting 1-2 challenge manis a week, depending on how much time I have. Day 1 will be up tomorrow, with Day 2 following sometime later this week. I also plan on attempting more nail art on the "Inspired by a color" days which I didn't really do last year, and challenging myself to use more neglected or unused polishes in my stash.. Last year I mostly went with tried and true favorites. In addition, I want to try to avoid using as many of the same polishes that I used last year!

Lofty goals, huh? I think I'm ready! I'm also curious to see how the quality of my nail art and nail pictures have changed (hopefully they've improved!) since last year. I still have the same set up, but a different camera and an extra year's worth of skillz behind me.. so we'll see how it goes!

Wish me luck! I'm excited! And I think I'm MORE excited that I don't have the pressure of posting every day. More power to the bloggers who ARE! I'm loving seeing what they're coming up with every day!

Finally, I'd like to wish all my fellow Americans a happy and safe Labor Day! I will be celebrating mine by... working retail on a day of the week that I always have off... and not getting holiday pay for it. Totally awesome, right?! I know! I'M SO EXCITED! Just kidding. :P