Wednesday, July 31, 2013

NOTD -- Color Club Mod in Manhattan

Hey everyone! Today I have a Birchbox exclusive Color Club polish to share with you! It's called Mod in Manhattan and is part of their 4-piece Wanderlust collection. I've received 2 of the other mini polishes in my last 2 Birchboxes (London Calling and Reign in Spain), but they weren't the two out of the collection that I particularly cared for. While doing some shopping on their website, I came across an option to get a bottle of Mod in Manhattan and a Twistband headband added to my order for free and I couldn't pass that up!

Mod in Manhattan is an off-white cream that leans slightly more yellow than it looks in my picture. It's got great opacity and self-levels well with two coats. Pictured is two coats with top coat.

The only downside to this shade is that it's very unforgiving so your clean up and edging had better be immaculate. You can see where I didn't quite get it all off right at my cuticle on my index and middle fingers and it makes my cuticles look extremely dry.. It's not noticeable at all in real life, but photography shows every flaw! Oops!

Still, I'm glad I finally got a chance to try this polish. It's very sophisticated, clean, and fun. Perfect for spring and summer, and actually manages to make me look a bit tan! That makes it full of epic win in my book!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Shabby GIVEAWAY!!!

Hey everyone! Today I have a super fun giveaway for you! The lovely team over at Shabby Apple contacted me and asked me if I would like to host a giveaway for them.. and after checking out their fabulous online boutique that specializes in retro and vintage dresses, I just couldn't say no! 

Here are just three of the adorable dresses they carry, and they also sell tops, bottoms, swimwear, shoes and accessories.. oh yes, and they have maternity options as well! Why didn't I know about Shabby Apple like 5 months ago when I looked like a grumpy (and frumpy!) pregnant cow? Live and learn, right?

Sea Breeze
Sunset Boulevard
I am seriously obsessed with these dresses.. especially Joyride! And Shabby Apple has graciously provided a $50 gift card for one lucky MandysSecrets reader! (And I am so jealous of you!) 

However, if you need instant gratification and want to purchase something now, you can take an additional 20% off of the entire site with the promo code SummerSale.. and they have free shipping for orders $150+!

So now on to the nitty gritty.. how do you enter and secure yourself a shot at winning this awesome gift card so that you can pick out an even more awesome dress? Simple! Keep reading! :)


1. Be a public GFC Follower of MandysSecrets. (Click on the blue 'Join this Site' button under the 'READERS' tab in my right side bar! >>>)
2. 'Like' Shabby Apple on Facebook.
3. Follow @ShabbyAppleClothing on Instagram.
4. Provide a valid email address.


5. 'Like' MandysSecrets on Facebook.
6. Follow @MMMandysSecrets on Instagram.
7. Leave a comment on this post with the Shabby Apple item(s) you would buy with your awesome $50 gift card!

This giveaway is for one (1) $50 gift card to and is sponsored by Shabby Apple. Mandy McCullough is not providing the prize, nor is she responsible for its fulfillment.

It is open from 12:00 AM EST 07/29/2013 through 12:00 AM EST 08/13/2013. Entries will be collected through the Rafflecopter widget below and then be validated by Mandy McCullough. Falsified entries and entries that cannot be verified will be removed without notice.

Once a winner is selected and emailed, they will have 48 hours to claim their prize and in doing so, understand that their email address will be passed on to Shabby Apple for their prize to be awarded. Failure to respond within 48 hours will result in their prize being forfeited and a new winner selected. No exceptions.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

Monday, July 22, 2013

My 10 Minute Makeup!

Hey everyone! Being a new mom, I'm doing good to just get a shower and brush my teeth most days. And since I'm still out on maternity leave for the next 6 weeks, I don't really wear makeup anymore unless we're leaving the house.. and even then, it's iffy. Trust me, I'm still not the worst looking person at WalMart, even without makeup!

These days whenever I have to get "fully" ready, I also still have to look after one precious baby Care Bear .. and thus, my time to do makeup has effectively been cut in half. (Or less. Ugh.) So how do I still manage to look presentable? I use some tried and true products, and have cut out about half of the makeup that I used to wear: face powder, bronzer, eye liner, full smokey eye?

But seriously.. here's how I condensed my 20-30 minute makeup routine down to only 10 minutes!

TARTE Clean Slate Flawless 12-Hour Brightening Primer -- I got a sample of this from one of the vendors at my work and I love it! It preps my skin and makes my makeup apply so much more evenly, and smells like oranges! I'm not sure if it really "brightens" but it does keep my oily skin from getting out of control all day long, which is definitely more important in the middle of summer in Georgia! I'll definitely invest in a full size of this when my sample runs out.

MAYBELLINE Dream Fresh BB Cream (Light/Medium) -- I'm not very particular to which tinted moisturizer or BB Cream I use, but I've bought this one twice so far. It has light (but decent) coverage and matches my skin perfectly. A dime-sized dollop gets my whole face and neck looking flawless.

MAYBELLINE Cover Stick (Ivory) -- This has been my go-to/Holy Grail concealer for YEARS. It just works for me, and always matches my skin. It's got good coverage and is great at concealing my under eye dark circles or any blemishes that I might have.

BE A BOMBSHELL Blush (Sweet Cheeks) -- I got this in one of my Ipsy bags. It's a medium rosy pink blush with just a hint of shimmer. I love that it's super pigmented, so just the tiniest tap with my blush brush is enough to give me a great color payoff.. because if I don't have time for eye liner, I certainly don't have time to sit there and reapply my blush to make sure it shows up.

NYX Eye Shadow Single (Iced Mocha) -- This has been my go to "brow powder" for a while. It matches my hair, is inexpensive, and lasts forever since I only use it on my brows.

URBAN DECAY Naked Palette & Primer Potion -- My sample primer potion that I got with my Naked palette is almost completely empty, so I'm going to have to buy a full size one soon, but I use it faithfully every time I wear shadow. Depending on how lazy/rushed I am, I generally do one of the following looks:
  • Sin, Sidecar, or Halfbaked on lid, Naked in crease, Virgin on brow bone and inner corner.
  • Sin, Sidecar, or Halfbaked on lid, Naked in crease, Buck in outer corner, Virgin on brow bone and inner corner.
  • Sin, Sidecar, or Halfbaked, Naked in crease, Buck and Smog in outer corner, Virgin on brow bone and inner corner, Darkhorse on lower lash line.
    • If I have the time or motivation to get this in depth, I'll also throw on some Urban Decay eye liner in Perversion really quick, but this is a rarity.
COVERGIRL Lash Blast Fusion Mascara (Black) -- This was always the first mascara that I would use to layer back when I had the time and energy to wear 2-3 different mascaras every day, and for good reason. It's fabulous at lengthening and defining my lashes while still looking natural enough to not overpower the rest of my minimal makeup. If I can only wear one, might as well be this one!

NYC Applelicious Lip Balm (Pink Lady) -- I love the way this smells! It's not the most moisturizing, but then again.. almost everything dries my lips out, so I won't hold that against it. I just make sure to put a good lip balm on before applying this. The color is light enough to add a finishing touch to my look, but not overpower my makeup.. or show up all over Carey when I give him tons of kisses because he's just so stinking cute!

Seriously, I know I'm a proud (and biased!) mom.. but how can you not just love that precious face?!

I really like my new makeup look! It's very light and natural-looking (compared to what I used to wear), but still lets me look pulled together. I never thought I'd see the day where I'd skip wearing face powder of all things, especially with my oily skin.. but I really like how the Maybelline BB Cream gives me a nice, fresh-faced finish without being greasy or shiny.

What are your "go-to" makeup products when you're pressed for time? Let me know in the comments!

Friday, July 19, 2013

NOTD -- Mint Nails for Talia

Image Source

Today's post is both a somber and joyful one. By now, I'm sure you know that the beauty community has lost one of it's most precious contributors this week. 13 year old Talia Joy Castellano was an inspiration to everyone she touched.. both for her talented makeup and nail art looks which she shared on her YouTube channel, and her optimism and perseverance while battling two types of cancer: neuroblastoma and preleukemia.

Her last post on her Instagram account was of mint green creme nails, posted just days before her death.  Nicole from Nail Polish Wars thought it would be nice for the online nail polish community to come together today and share our own mint nails in remembrance of Talia's passing.

Here are my nails! I used Essence You Belong to Me, which actually has the most impossibly subtle hint of silver microshimmer that is virtually impossible to detect on the nail. So for all intents and purposes, I'm going to classify this as a creme. 2 coats, 1 coat of top coat.

If you're on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, you can use the hashtag #MintManisForTaliaJoy today to see all the manis and nail art dedicated to Talia's memory and incredible legacy.. or you can check out the InLinkz gallery below. (If you'd like to submit your own mint mani, you can find the submission link at Nicole's blog that I linked above!)

Finally, I'll leave you with a video of one of Talia's happier times.. she was a guest on The Ellen DeGeneres show back in 2012, and she was even made an honorary CoverGirl Cover Girl! So amazing!

Rest in peace, Talia. Your beauty, spirit, and talent will be greatly missed. ♥

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

NOTD -- Urban Outfitters Silver Holo

Hey everyone! This is a super old picture that I found floating around in one of my folders, and I don't know why I haven't posted it before now! Urban Outfitters Silver Holo has one of the most boring names ever.. but it's definitely not a boring polish by any means.

Look at all that holo-y goodness! Silver Holo is definitely in my "Top 10" polishes of all time. The formula is amazing and it is one of the strongest silver holos that I know of. Plus, it's easily available! You can purchase it either in Urban Outfitters stores or on their website.

Pictured is 2 coats of Silver Holo over the LA Colors blue basecoat that is in my hand. I sealed everything in with 1 coat of Sally Hansen Insta-Dri top coat. That seems to be the magic formula for me when it comes to holographic polishes. And the top coat doesn't even dull any of the awesomeness!

Looking at this picture makes me long for sunny days. I don't know about you, but lately it seems like Georgia has turned into the Pacific Northwest. It's rained almost constantly here for the last 3 weeks or so. I miss my sunny summer days! :(

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

July 2013 Ipsy Bag

Hey everyone! Look at me, posting 2 days in a row! I feel like super woman! Last night I spent a lot of time doing some minor blog overhauling, and it feels so good to finally have things updated like I want them. :)

Today I have my first "Ipsy bag unveiling" post for you. I tried to make this work with my Birchboxes (which the hubby and I still subscribe to, by the way!), but it was like "fetch" in Mean Girls.. It was just not going to happen. Maybe I'll try to resurrect it next month.. Unfortunately this month's Birchbox has already been unboxed and the contents have been scattered between my bathroom and donate pile.. there's no hope of reconciling them now.

Anyways, back to Ipsy! Ipsy very similar to Birchbox: every month you get 5 sample beauty products in the mail for $10 with free shipping. Instead of your products coming in a box, every month they come packaged in a different reusable makeup bag. Ipsy focuses more on makeup samples than skincare samples, which I appreciate. And unlike Birchbox where you can earn site credit to buy full size products, Ipsy offers discount promo codes on the purchasing that month's products through online retailers.

So what did I get? Let's find take a look!

First up, this month's bag is a see-through hot pink plastic pencil case. It's not horrible, but not one of my favorites from them. I can see myself using it with my work purse, since we have to have everything in clear/see-through bags. It's definitely bright and fun, though.. perfect for summer!

BIG SEXY Weather Proof. This is a humidity resistant hair spray that I've used before, and it's too hard of a hold for my liking. Into the "donate" pile it goes! Promo offer: $5 off $25+ on Sexy Hair products at with code.

BH COSMETICS California Collection Eye Shadow Sample. Decent colors, but nothing unique or amazing. I have about 10 dupes of each shade between my other various makeup palettes. Will probably end up getting donated. Promo offer: 10% off the California Collection at with code.

POP BEAUTY Pouty Pop Crayon. I've swatched this at my work and enjoyed the color and texture. I can't wait to try it out on myself! The color I received is called Coral Crush. Definitely a keeper. Promo offer: 20% off at with code.

COOLA Mineral Face SPF 20 Unscented Facial Moisturizer. I get that it's the summer bag and they had to include some type of sunscreen, but I have more than enough skin care/sun care products to last me for a very long time. To the donate pile it goes! Promo offer: 30% off at with code.

DEMETER Salt Air Roll On Perfume. Love perfume samples! I can NEVER have too many.. unless they stink. Thankfully, this one does not. Not quite sure I detect the "salt" note, but it's a light and pleasant aqua scent nonetheless. Promo offer: 20% off at with code.

Even though I'll probably donate more than I'll keep out of this bag, I'm still pleased with it! The products and bag were fun and appropriately summer-themed!

Do you subscribe to Ipsy? If so, what did you get in your bag? If not, and you would like to join.. you can do so by using my referral link. In the interest of full disclosure, if 2 people sign up through me, I get to have my choice of a full size Urban Decay Moondust shadow, BaubleBar O-Ring Stud Wrap bracelet, or Nicole by OPI 'Pretty in Plum' polish added to one of my future Ipsy bags for free. Not the best incentive, I think I'd rather have the option to receive future bags for free or something else.. but hey, a freebie is a freebie, right?

Let's hope I can actually keep this going next month!
**If you would like to sign up for Ipsy without using my referral link, please visit**

Monday, July 15, 2013

REVIEW -- Pure Natural Diva Botanical Perfumes

Image Source: PND Botanicals Website

Hey everyone! I hope you're all doing well. :) I'm thrilled to officially be back from my blogging maternity leave with a review, and I promise that it won't disappoint!

Fellow blogger Tania Reuben has recently launched her own line of 100% natural botanical and organic perfumes! The Pure Natural Diva line is free of all synthetic ingredients, phthalates, and ingredients that contain gluten... plus they are not tested on animals. 

There are 4 Eau de Toilette scents:

PURE is sensually uplifting, like a sunny day in a mixed field of lemongrass and Lavender. Notes include uplifting cassie, soothing chamomile, lemon, lime and an Egyptian neroli.

NATURAL is fresh and inviting: Imagine a picnic in a rose-bordered citrus grove. Notes include a hint of clary sage, exalting pink grapefruit, Moroccan rose, and soothing ylang ylang.

DIVA is full of soul--sultry and mysterious. Notes include a natural musk derived from Ambrette, sinfully smooth New Caledonian Sandalwood, blended together in a lusciously robust Vanilla.

ELIXIR wakens the senses, like a lingering morning with an ocean view. Notes include aphrodisiacal vanilla, a hint of oakmoss, exquisite osmanthus, married with rejuvenating pink grapefruit and red mandarin.

Full size bottles are 1.69 fl oz and come in atomized spray bottles that are imported from France and decorated in Los Angeles. Pure, Natural, and Diva retail for $100; Elixir retails for $150. You can also purchase a sample set of all four fragrances for $16 to try before investing in full-size bottles. Plus, if you join the PND VIP List, you will get free shipping on orders over $50 along with members only benefits and exclusive access to preview beta products!

I actually received my samples months ago and about the time I got around to reviewing them, my pregnancy had made me unable to wear any fragrances without either getting a headache or becoming horribly nauseous.. or both. And if you know anything about me, you know I love me some perfume! It was SO sad. Thus, my PND samples sat on my blogging desk, staring forlornly at me for months until I was finally able to start using them a couple of weeks ago.. and I have to say that they were well worth the wait!

Synthetic, mass produced fragrances have never worn well on me. They either turn very sour on my skin, or simply don't last more than an hour.. which means that I've resorted to spraying them on my clothes instead. This isn't always the best option, and it's also how I've ruined many a shirt. Naturally, I was curious to see if natural perfumes would be any better. Plus, with baby Carey being a newborn who loves to snuggle, I didn't want to wear any fragrances that could irritate his sensitive skin.

I've worn all 4 on my skin, and the wear time on them is excellent! So much so that I woke up the next morning and still smelled a bit of Elixir on my wrists. That was a first for me! Another thing I like about the PND perfumes is that they're noticeable without being overpowering. I don't know about you, but I hate when I'm near someone and I feel like I'm literally choking on their fragrance.

But now.. on to my interpretations of each one!

Pure is fresh and clean, while being slightly spicy. It reminds me of a cup of chamomile tea: relaxing and soothing.

Natural is warm, classic and luxurious. If you're a fan of traditional "classic" fragrances (like Chanel No. 5), I could see you enjoying this one as well. It has definite notes of citrus. 

Diva is one that I can't quite place. It's deep and pleasant, almost like fine incense. 

And last but not least, my favorite of the four: Elixir. 
Elixir is warm and sensual with strong notes of orange and vanilla. It's heady, and wears very well on my skin. Bonus: it's also my hubby's favorite as well!

I enjoy all 4 of the natural perfume selections from Pure Natural Diva! They're very pleasant and wearable. As I mentioned earlier, their wear time is exceptional without being overpowering. I also like that they are organic, and I can wear them without worrying about irritating my skin or my son's.

I'm excited to give them 4.5 out of 5 stars, and hope that Tania plans to expand the line in the future! I would love to see more scents!

RATING 4.5 out of 5 STARS