October 24, 2014

The Yummiest Manicure on Earth | Jamberry Wraps! {GIVEAWAY}


Nail wraps! Nail art! Nail appliques! Nail design! Funky nails have really taken a step forward in the past few years. Experimenting with different textures, prints and designs has become very mainstream and now easier than ever with Jamberry! I had the pleasure of playing around with these awesome wraps today and I have to say, I'm hooked. I was a bit skeptical to the whole "oh you can get so many manicures out of one sheet!" line...but truth be told, YOU CAN! I'm not even kidding! I got an entire manicure (all 10 fingers, last time I checked) and still had a ton of wraps left over! I chose "Sugar Rush" because HELLO they were sprinkles! I mean....how could I not?! Here's what was left of my wraps after a full manicure..


It barely looks like I used any and I still have enough for another complete manicure (plus some larger ones for my big toes) or if I really wanted to stretch it, I could use them as "accent" nails and paint the remaining nails a solid color. Such a great value! I totally dig these for multiple reasons, but the biggest perk for me, being a mom of a very active toddler is there is no dry time! I should have filmed me applying these because literally halfway through my manicure, my son woke up from his nap and I had to go grab the little rascal out of his crib. That would have been soooo unfortunate had I just applied a fresh coat of polish to my digits. I got him all settled and just finished right up! Each set of wraps has the application instructions printed right on the packaging which is really helpful, but if you for some reason lose the package, you can find the instructions online. If you scroll down past the written instructions, there are a couple useful videos you can watch if you're more of a visual person.

I could go on and on about all the great things about these little wraps, but I'll let this cute little chalkboard do the talkin' for me!


And now...for quite possibly the coolest thing I've seen in the "nail art" arena in quite some time...Jamberry Nail Art Studio! The ability to design your own wraps! You can upload pictures, prints, textures, etc. from online and have them "printed" onto your nail wraps! How cool would that be for a personalized gift for a friend?! I am really obsessed with Tartan plaids right now so I just "Googled" 'tartain plaid', found one I liked, and uploaded it into the design studio and look how cute it turned out (bottom left) so cute for Winter! I also did a Google search for "twinkle lights" because...why not...and look at the other one I created (bottom right). As you can see, the possibilities are endless! You can have text printed on them as well which would be so cool for a special occasion (bridal parties, milestone birthdays, anniversaries, etc.)


After you check out the application techniques that I linked up above, here are a few super helpful tips that Jill gave me that made application a breeze and ensured my manicure would last as long as possible.


1 | Nail prep is EVERYTHING. If you don't push back your cuticles fully or use alcohol/white vinegar/acetone (this is what I used) to get the oils off your nails before applying the wraps they won't stay on for as long or go on as smoothly
2 | If you have a choice between a wrap that is a little too big or a little too small, go for the smaller one.  You'll get bubbling around the edges if the wrap is on your cuticle at all.  
3 | When you first put the wrap on your nail, be sure to smooth the wrap first down the center (from cuticle to tip) and then from the center down the sides.  That way you can avoid getting a crease at the center tip of your nail.  
4 | When removing the wraps, fight the urge to just peel them off because that will damage your nail.  If you soak them for a few seconds in acetone they come right off and won't damage your nails at all.  I've been using Jamberry nonstop for five months and I have no damage to my nails because this is the way I remove them.  

If you are interested in hosting an online Jamberry party, Jill will get you all set up and do all the work! All you have to do is invite any Facebook friends you think might be interested and she'll tell you what's next! No worrying about having people over to your house, you can do it all online! Contact Jill HERE or you can email her at jamswithjillb@gmail.com if you have any questions. It's a great way to earn free wraps!

And now for the giveaway! Enter below for a chance to win an entire sheet of wraps! One sheet will give you at least 2 manicures! Here are all the different wraps to choose from (over 300 designs!) Make sure you notice all the categories to the left so you can see just how many options there are! I think out of all the categories, my favorite is the "Graphic Punch" category. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
October 23, 2014

Equitance Brightening Serum & Spot Corrector Review



I love a good serum. I love collecting as many as I possibly can and seeing which one will give me the flawless skin they all promise. Luckily I have never had any adverse reactions or horror stories with any of them, but I have used a few and wondered to myself "uh....what's supposed to be happening here?" If it was a drugstore on bargain serum (geez that sounds like an oxymoron now that I see it typed out...not that you can't find a great serum at the drugstore! But I digress...) then I don't feel quite as bad if I don't see results after a few weeks. However, if it is a serum I forked serious dough over for, I want it to work dammit! Is that too much to ask?! I think not.

Imagine my surprise and delight when I was asked to test and review a serum by Equitance called the Equitance Brightening Serum + Spot Corrector. My first response was a hearty "YES". I pulled up the website and started doing some research and let's just say this: Mama liked what she saw. It was as if this serum was designed just for me. It promised to fix the two things that bother me most about my complexion: dullness and hyper-pigmentation. When it arrived in the mail, I tore open the package, read all the literature and ran right upstairs to cleanse my face and get to applyin'! What happened next was what dreams are made of.

When I woke up the next morning around 10am (yes my 21 month old sleeps in like a teenager and sometimes I reap the benefits SUE ME) I went and looked in the mirror not really knowing what to expect. I noticed a very even complexion staring back at me. No redness, no blotchiness. It must have been a fluke. I repeated the same steps the next night, this time applying a thin layer of my Alpha Hydrox lotion over the top of my new miracle serum and hopped into bed. When I awoke the next morning, my skin was even more toned, even and bright. I was shocked that after just two uses I was able to tell a noticeable difference. I typically don't run errands without applying even a quick coat of a BB cream to even things out, but the Equitance Serum + Spot Corrector is giving me the skin I remember having in high school! I no longer feel like I need to put anything on to leave the house! My skin looks and feels smooth, even, bright and youthful!

For the price, you get a very generous amount of serum. You only need a tiny amount (smaller than a pea) to cover your entire face and neck (don't you forget your necks, girls! Ever!) Here is the exciting part! I have a coupon code for all of my beautiful readers for 15% off their purchase of this dream serum AND if that wasn't enough, you'll also receive a FREE Equitance Trial Skin Care Kit (value $37) How cool is that?! Make sure you enter code: INFL15 at checkout to get this offer (offer expires 11/20/14).


I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes. All thoughts and opinions are my own. +Equitance USA  +Influenster +Influenster #equitance
October 21, 2014

TEMPTU Airbrush Makeup | #TEMPTUDaynNight Campaign


How to "vote" for me:
2 | "Share", "Like" or Tweet my link to automatically be entered to win $200 of your own on the TEMPTU website! Good Luck!

When I asked a number of my friends what came to mind when they heard the words "airbrush makeup", a staggering amount said things like "something I'd have a professional do for a wedding or special occasion" or "not for everyday" or "perfect for actors on TV or in movies". The next thing almost every single one said was "I've always wanted to try it!" followed by "it seems like it would be too complicated to figure out!" Well guess what....? Total bologna! I'm here to tell you, even the clumsiest of gals can look Beyonce flawless with this bad boy!


When TEMPTU reached out to me and asked me to create a "classic day" look for their #TEMPTUDaynNight campaign using their TEMPTU Signature Starter Kit, I was beyond thrilled for two reasons: 1) I have always wanted to try airbrush makeup and 2) I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to show you all just how easy it is to use airbrush makeup for everyday use! I was so stoked that I got assigned the "day look" because I wanted to prove that I could achieve my "everyday look" using airbrush makeup without getting too complicated. I was going for healthy and flawless and I wanted my skin to glow, not be covered up with tons of layers. The best part (besides looking like a porcelain doll) is that there are no brushes to mess with or clean up (so hygienic!) You get to choose each color when you build your kit which is so much nicer than getting stuck with random "one size fits all" colors that don't work for you. I was expecting to receive a big, bulky machine in the mail and I was so surprised that the entire kit was so portable and easy to pack up! The entire kit, including the AIRpods, fit into the cute, clear zip tote pictured below! Perfect for travel!


 Products used:
 TEMPTU Signature Starter Kit: 004 Sand Foundation, AIRpod Blush in Sheer Berry, AIRpod Highlighter in Champagne

Let's get started shall we? Here's how to apply! Make sure your skin is clean and moisturized. You want to hold your airbrush about a palm's distance (4-6 inches) away from your skin and work in small circular motions. Start with the areas that need more coverage, for me that's my inner cheeks, forehead, nose and chin. A little bit goes a long way so pull back and inspect your work often. You can always build up more coverage if needed.


In the same small circular motions you used for your foundation, keep your airbrush the same distance from your face and apply your AIRpod blush to the apples of your cheeks and up slightly to meet your hairline. I was worried I would apply too much so I started about 6 inches out and gradually got closer until I achieved the intensity I was going for for my day look. You'll know exactly where you're applying your makeup because you'll feel the air coming out of the airbrush. Product won't come out (just air) unless you "pull the trigger" at the top so don't be intimidated! You're in complete control. Say it: "I'M IN CONTROL". There now, feel better?


Lastly, you're going to apply your AIRpod Highlighter right along your cheekbones just slightly above where you applied your blush. I also applied a little bit down the bridge of my nose and right above the cupid's bow of my lips. I wanted to look like my skin was lit from the inside!


That's it! You're done! I completed my look with a neutral eyeshadow palette of browns and taupes, drew on a line of black liner then smudged it out on my top lid, applied a hefty dose of black mascara and a pinky-nude cream lipstick.


If that isn't flawless skin, I don't know what is. Completely un-retouched, un-filtered photos. Just good old-fashioned flash photography and very bright lighting. I mean, LOOK at this highlighter! It is making my heart skip a beat!

Here is a before & after of me with absolutely nothing on my face (left) besides moisturizer, and after (on the right) with my finished "classic day" look. Fresh, healthy, glowing and pulled-together.

I love that you see SKIN and not makeup. This is the epitome of high-def and the most extraordinary part is it felt like I didn't have a thing on my face. It felt completely naked! Perfect for foundation-phobes (you know who you are!) This is the perfect secret weapon that every gal needs in her arsenal. You can most definitely use it for everyday, and it is a MUST HAVE if you have any sort of photos being taken (weddings, prom, senior pictures, family photos). You will look absolutely flawless in every single picture. If I can make my skin look like it does in the above photo, complete with giant pores, a few zits, sun spots and redness all over, then anyone can!

How to "vote" for me:
2 | "Share", "Like" or Tweet my link to automatically be entered to win $200 of your own on the TEMPTU website! Good Luck!


October 15, 2014

Trend Watch: Liquid Lipstick

Trend Watch: Liquid Lipstick



It seems like everywhere I look these days, liquid lipstick is popping up. You may see it under other names like "lip lacquer", "liquid lip color" or "long wearing lipstick or lipgloss". This stuff rocks. If a highly pigmented classic lipstick and a super shiny gloss got together, did too many Jäger-bombs and had a little baby, you'd get one of these little darlings.With the exception of the Lime Crime Velvetine which has a velvety matte finish (hence the name...clever devils). What I love about liquid lip colors is how comfortable they are on the lips, similar to a cushy gloss. Yet, the color payoff is unrivaled. Luckily the manufacturers of most of these have figured out that a small, tapered sponge or brush is the best way to apply these so most of them can be applied right out of the tube. It makes it incredibly easy to be precise and in most cases, skip the lip liner! If you haven't experienced this awesome lip trend but you think you're ready to pull up your big girl panties and hop on board, here's what you need to know:

1 | Just like your skin before your makeup, make sure your lips are moisturized. Certain finishes really draw attention to dry, peely lips and this is one of them. If you need to, exfoliate beforehand using a clean, warm, damp washcloth to gently massage lips in small circular motions. Or you can use my favorite lip exfoliant

2 | I like to give my kisser a quick "once over" with a swipe of a basic lip balm and rub my lips together.

3 | Pick your poison! Open up your liquid lip color of choice and take a look at the applicator tip. Most of them are pointed or tapered which makes it easy to get into the corners. If you're worried about making a big mess and looking like Twisty from American Horror Story (don't even GET me started on that friggin' clown!) then you may want to employ the help of a good old fashioned lip brush. My favorites are small and somewhat pointed at the tip. Always synthetic bristled. Something like this or this. Use this to kind of trace your line along your natural lip line on both top and bottom lips. Then use the applicator to fill in the rest.

4 | This is important: do not rub your lips together like you would after applying traditional lipstick or gloss. Most liquid lip colors need to "set" and you won't get the intended look if you go rubbing those lips together! This part is probably the one where most people take some getting used to since I really think it's in our DNA as women to immediately rub our lips together after we've applied anything to them. Resist that urge! 

That's basically it! The great thing about these formulas being long-wearing is you won't have to worry about re-applying. Quite a few of the formulas have a stain quality to them so even if the gloss factor diminishes a bit, you are still left with a gorgeous wash of color on your lips! Have you tried the lip lacquer trend yet? Which is your favorite?


October 10, 2014

My Experience with Warby Parker Glasses


I've been meaning to try Warby Parker for quite some time now. I like how they operate and I like how easy it seemed to get a hold of some seriously fashionable prescription glasses (or sunglasses!) for under $100. I decided on my own, to try their "at home try on" service and see just for myself what the quality was like and just how simple the process was. If you've been reading my blog for a while, you might remember seeing my post a few months back about how I ordered my last glasses online and how easy that process was. Warby Parker takes it a step further. Although there are a ton of "virtual try on" services available where you can choose the glasses to appear over your newly uploaded photo of your face, you still don't get to touch, feel and look at them from various angles. You don't get to see if they're comfortable on your nose and ears. With Warby Parker, you get FIVE whole days to wear them, model them, snap endless selfies in them and get feedback from your trusted pals to see which ones you love (or loathe). How cool is that?!

Here's how it works:

1 | Head over to Warby Parker (read some very cool stuff about the company while you're at it...they're pretty groovy).
2 | Choose either the "Women" or "Men" category and start perusing their frames (you can choose 'Optical' or 'Sunwear')
3 | You can either set all your search criteria here, or you can just scroll through all the insanely adorable frames.
4 | Let's say you found one that strikes your fancy, click it, and then choose "Home try on...free trial" from the right hand side of the screen (they'll let you know if the frames are unavailable for try on).
5 | Add to cart then choose 4 more styles to try (they even recommend frames you might like based off of your choice!)

Once you've chosen your 5 pairs, you'll go to checkout where you'll be asked for your credit card number. Don't worry! You'll only be charged $1 as kind of a "safety deposit". Here's what they say: "Home try-on must be secured with a valid credit or debit card. Your card will be validated with a $1 authorization charge. You will not be charged for the frames unless you do not return them."

 

My 5 pairs arrived in less than 48 hours. All of the instructions are inside of the box, but it's basically like Netflix. You take them for a test run, note which ones you love and then when the 5 days is up, package them up the way they came and send them back (there's a prepaid shipping label you just slap on the box then drop off at a FedEx, UPS or USPS). All returns and exchanges are on them! No questions asked! If you don't like any of the frames, just send all of them back and you don't have to worry about a thing. You can keep trying them until you find your dream glasses! If you do end up wanting to purchase a pair (or three) you'll need your prescription so that you can enter it in online.

Here are the 5 pairs (4 optical, 1 sunwear) I chose to try on!

I adored this pair! I don't know if I would have ever chosen this style if I was in an optical boutique, but I thought I'd get a little funky since I was in the comfort of my own home and I ended up loving them! They're so fun and I love the chunky tortoise shell pattern! They're called Kimball in Marzipan Tortoise.


This pair was a bit safer and while I really liked them, they weren't quite as sassy as I am used to. They were more of a rectangle shape and were very classic. It's kind of hard to tell in the photo, but they had a slight pinkish tint to them. So cute! These are called Annette in Petal Tortoise.

These green ones were super fun! These would be a great addition to some more wearable colored frames as I think I might get sick of green every day (even though it is my favorite color). I really liked this shape which was kind of a mix between a rectangle and square. This one is called Arthur in Green Spruce.

I. Am. Obsessed. With. This. Pair. Again, totally different from what I'd normally choose but holy CRAP I love everything about them. I never thought I could wear rounder frames but I loved how these looked on my face. And the honey color and the gold arms are so dainty and feminine! This pair may need to find its way into my collection. This is called the Chandler Ti in English Oak

And last but not least. We have the cutest sunglasses on the face of planet Earth. I almost fainted when I saw these. So chunky yet so chic! And again....more tortoise shell but this one is smokey!! I die. I loved how these felt on, so comfy and they covered so much of my eyes and face which is SO important to me when I'm looking for sunglasses. This little doll baby is called Banks in Sea Smoke Tortoise (even the name is sexy!)

I could instantly tell that these glasses were made incredibly well and designed to last. You can read all about Warby Parker's design process here. All in all, I would highly recommend going through Warby Parker if you're looking for new glasses. The process was so painless and you don't have to worry about annoying salespeople bothering you when you're trying to choose your frames. It's a win win WIN!

October 9, 2014

My Cold and Flu Season Survival Kit

My Cold and Flu Season Must Haves


I'm very scared to say what I'm about to say because usually when I say it, I jinx myself and end up waking up sick, but....I rarely ever get sick. There. Maybe because I typed it instead of verbally saying it, it won't happen. Hashtag: 'wishful thinking'. Typically I only ever get sick when I pick up germ-infested hand weights at the gym or forget to wipe down the shopping cart handle (yes, I'm one of those freaks who stands there frantically scrubbing every inch of cart that may come into contact with my hands). However, yesterday morning around 4am, I woke up feeling AWFUL. Like...first trimester of pregnancy awful. Nauseous, dizzy, very angry stomach, cold sweats, the works. I instantly thought I had the stomach flu. Turns out, it was just food poisoning. Haha...JUST food poisoning. I wasn't so blasé while I was curled up in the fetal position on the cold bathroom floor and ralphing into the toilet. What I mean is, I'm SO thankful it wasn't the flu. We are big advocates for the flu shot in this house and all 3 of us have already had ours for the season, but sometimes things happen and you just get sick. 

These are the things that I cannot live without when I'm feeling crummy and suggest keeping handy in your medicine cabinet.

Braun No Touch + Thermometer | WHOA NELLY. All I have to say is, I wish I had this bad boy when my son was a baby. I'm not kidding. Throw out all your other thermometers and replace it with this one. Especially if you have kids. You have 2 options: you can either place it on the forehead between the eyebrows and press the blue button, or you can literally hold it about 2 inches from the forehead and press the blue button. I've used it both ways and have gotten the exact same read both times. Incredibly accurate. This would have been soooo much easier to use on a newborn baby (especially if you had a baby that had severe jaundice like ours did and needed to take their temperature multiple times a day during their light therapy sessions). Fast forward to having a very active toddler (pictured below allowing me to use him as a test subject): I can get an accurate read within seconds (gone are the days of having to slip a cold metal thermometer under his armpit). And for us adults, there's nothing worse than digging the family thermometer out of the medicine cabinet, having to sterilize it, then cram it under your tongue to find out your temp, which I think we can all agree totally sucks when you're not feeling well. I will be adding this to every single baby shower gift for the rest of time. Nothing compares.


Aveda Eucalyptus Oil Singular Note | There are no words to describe just how much I love Aveda. So I'll skip the love song and just tell you this stuff is a must have. Add a few drops to your bath water, massage some into your temples, add a drop to your body lotion and massage on chest before bed. It's so soothing and cooling which is a complete comfort when you're under the weather. 

The Honest Company Organic Healing Balm | I received this as a gift when I was pregnant and I have been buying it ever since. It's one of those products you can use for so many different things. But during nasty colds, I use it on my chapped nose and nostrils that get raw from blowing my schnozola so many times. It's also the perfect moisturizer to use on your dry, cracked hands from washing them so often (which we all know is a MUST when you're sick).

Lumene Bright Now Vitamin C BB Cream | I hate wearing makeup when I'm not feeling well. But my skin usually looks "toe UP" when I'm sick, so if I have to be seen in public, a super moisturizing BB cream is a non-negotiable. This one by Lumene feels divine and really brightens my skin.

Vitafusion Power C | I feel like such a 7 year old, but I've been slowly switching out my vitamins to the gummy versions lately. Not all of them, but some. I don't mind taking vitamins in pill form, but if I have the option to take what tastes like a fruit snack...um...I'm going to choose fruit snack! 

Organic Throat Coat Tea by Traditional Medicinals | I used to get sore throats CONSTANTLY before I had my tonsils out in my early twenties. I get them occasionally now, and I just honestly feel there's nothing more uncomfortable. This is the only thing I've tried (and trust me, I've tried everything) that actually makes my throat feel better. I seriously always have it stocked at my house. Plus I love the taste. This brand has a tea for just about anything you can think of. It's amazing. I buy it in the organic section of my local grocery store.

Clinique Superprimer Corrects Sallowness | This is a little trick I just learned in the past few years. I find that if I use a violet or lavender tinted primer before I put my makeup on, it really gets rid of that nasty yellow-ish (sallow) tone I get to my skin when I'm sick. It cancels everything out and perks up my complexion so I don't have to wear as much makeup. 

Hopefully you stay healthy this season and can avoid all the gunk that inevitably floats around this time of year. But if you do find yourself feeling crummy, maybe you can find some relief with a few of my secret weapons! 

I received the Braun No touch + thermometer complimentary from Influenster for testing and reviewing purposes. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

October 6, 2014

Support the Cause: Breasts, Beauty & Where to Donate your Bucks

Support the Cause: Top 10 Beauty Products to Support Breast Cancer Research

We all know when October rolls around and we start seeing the beautiful sea of pink products popping up that it is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. What you might not know is just exactly how purchasing these products helps support the cause. I have chosen 10 of my favorite products out there that are donating portions of their profits to various charities to help support Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I've also included a very handy self breast exam "how to" chart courtesy of Soul Cycle that you can print off and keep handy (see what I did there?) If you're close to one of Soul Cycle's locations, you can go in and grab a laminated copy of this chart to hang in your shower. Looking for a location to receive a mammogram? Check with your general practitioner or OB/GYN to see where they recommend, or you can check the National Breast Cancer Foundation for free or low cost services in your area.

Sephora Collection Together in Pink Hair Ties $6
Clinique Great Skin, Great Cause $38
Bobbi Brown Pretty Pink Ribbon Lip Gloss Collection $60
Estee Lauder 'Evelyn Lauder & Elizabeth Hurley Dream Pink' Collection $29.50
Aveda Hand Relief Lotion $26
Jane Iredale 'Smell the Roses' Hydration Spray $29
Smashbox Limited Edition 'Be Legendary' Lipgloss $20
Eos BCA Lip Balm & Nicole by OPI Nail Lacquer $10
Arcona Magic Pink Ice $40
Pink Honey Marc Jacobs $76
 
This year, Ulta is offering various dollar amounts to be donated to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation either online or in-store. You can donate as little as $1 up to $100 (or more) and you are automatically entered to win a huge beauty bag (pictured above) worth almost $600 of goodies! If you want to check it out, click this link here to be taken to their website.


As promised above, here is Soul Cycle's self-exam "how to" chart. Print it off, laminate it, hang it, put it somewhere you'll see it on the regular. It is so vital to perform this exam monthly so that you can familiarize yourself with what's normal. Please read below this chart for what to do if you DO find a lump.
 
 
What to do if you find a lump - Click here
Warning signs of breast cancer - Click here 
All about mammograms - Click here

What is your favorite way to help support Breast Cancer Awareness month? Keep your eyes peeled for ways to show your support! No act is too small!
 
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