Friday, July 27, 2012

Tired of Tarnish?

Most people do not enjoy the task of polishing their jewelry.....myself included!  So, I thought I'd share a couple of tips I've learned along the way, including some great new products that I've added to my store that will help prevent tarnish in the first place.

One of the most important things to consider is how you store your jewelry.  Most people love to have their jewelry out on display, hanging on a super cute jewelry "tree" on their dresser.  This is fine for your jewelry that has antiqued metal or for something that is mostly made up of beads, pearls or some other type of gemstone.  However, this will wreak havoc on your bright metal pieces, especially sterling silver.  Things like hairspray, perfume, humidity all contribute to the tarnishing of silver.....definitely eliminating the ledge in the bathroom as a viable jewelry storage space as well :-)  So what are you to do?

First, remove any tarnish that's built up on your pieces.  Then I recommend putting your silver, gold (it doesn't tarnish like silver but it can darken and become dull) and copper jewelry in a sealed bag or an enclosed jewelry box, along with an anti-tarnish strip like this...

These strips will protect gold, silver, copper and brass jewelry from tarnish and dulling for 6 months (or up to 2 years if in a sealed environment).  You can insert one strip in each drawer of your jewelry box or cut them into 1" squares and insert them along with your jewelry in small zip-close, plastic bags.  These strips are completely safe and non-toxic.  They don't emit anything but rather absorb the sulfurs and moisture in the air that cause tarnish.

Another option are these copper-colored anti-tarnish plastic bags...

They provide kind of an "all-in-one" solution as the bag zips closed to seal out the air and it's treated with a tarnish and corrosion inhibitor.  It's completely safe for all metals, even when in direct contact, and is non-toxic, environmentally-friendly, and fully recyclable—containing no charcoals, oils or volatile chemicals.  The cool thing about these bags is that they include a color indicator....when the copper color on the bag turns black it is time for a new bag.  I've been using these to store my sterling silver chains for my store for over a year now and haven't had to change to a new bag yet!  

Both of these products I use on a regular basis and I've noticed a HUGE decrease in the need to polish my jewelry.  But in the event a piece does start to tarnish, I take out my friendly Sunshine Polishing cloth....
...and gently buff the piece to remove the tarnish.  These cloths are pretreated with non-abrasive cleaning agents.  You can use these cloths until they are completely black on both sides and then discard. 

So, if you are tired of tarnish, hop over to my store and pick up some of these great products!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Bare Escentuals' Liners Contain Hidden Tools

I made an exciting discovery this morning and had to share it with you all.  Bare Escentuals (yes, this is the proper spelling :-) retractable eyeliners and lipliners have helpful "tools" hidden in the ends of the pencils.  Both contain a small sharpener, which you might think is silly since they are retractable.  However, one complaint people have had with retractable liners is the inability to maintain a sharp point for precise application.  Bare Escentuals solved that problem by smartly including this little sharpener.  They also hid a sponge-tip smudger in the eyeliner as well so you can easily blend out your eyeliner for a softer look.  Brilliant!

Here's a look at how they work:

 We start with the typical looking liners.....

The top of the eyeliner has a band of color representing the color of the eyeliner.  This is the removable part of the pencil.  Grasp the color band and gently wiggle free from longer part of the pencil.

You now have the sharpener ready to use.

 Pull off the cap on the other side of the sharpener to reveal the sponge-tip smudger...

Replace the sharpener back into the liner casing to smudge your liner.

 Similarly, for the lipliner, gently wiggle free the colored "cap" at the end of the pencil to reveal the sharpener...

 Sharpen the liner to your desired point and replace the sharpener back in the end of the pencil.

After making these discoveries, I decided to check my "Buxom" products as well since Bare Escentuals also manufactures this brand.  I pulled out my "Buxom Big & Healthy Lip Stick" and my "Buxom Insider Eyeliner" and discovered....
....they have sharpeners too! 

So "cheers" to Bare Escentuals for making great formulas and brilliant packaging!

Friday, July 20, 2012

New "grownup" snacking crackers....

As a self-proclaimed "Snack Queen", I'm always on the lookout for new foods to munch on.  This past week, I was browsing the cracker aisle and happened upon several new flavors of Wheat Thins.  Since I already enjoy the original flavor of wheat thins, I was immediately intrigued when I saw all these new flavors...Zesty Salsa, Tomato Basil, Ranch, BBQ, Spicy Buffalo.....after reading the ingredients to make sure there was no MSG, I hurried home with my Zesty Salsa and Spicy Buffalo crackers. 

I have to say I'm very impressed!  Zesty Salsa has more of a "green salsa" flavor with just a little spice.  My favorite of the two, Spicy Buffalo, reminds me of buffalo chicken wings (minus the chicken :-) with that tinge of tang and then the spicy kick at the end.  Delicious!  They have a little more spice than the Zesty Salsa but are still in the "medium" range of spiciness.  So far, I've enjoyed them just plain, right out of the box.  But I think they'd be great with ranch dip or flavored cream cheese.

So, if you're on the hunt for a "grownup" snacking cracker, try one of these new flavors from Wheat Thins.  I think Tomato Basil is next on my list to try....let me know if you've tried them, which is your favorite!


Monday, July 16, 2012

Urban Decay Smoked Palette - Review


If you haven't guessed by now, I love makeup :-)  Most people view putting on makeup as a chore but I enjoy the process of combining various colors and experimenting with new products.  So when I found out that Urban Decay was releasing a brand new eye shadow palette last week, I couldn't wait to try it out!
For those of you new to the makeup world, Urban Decay is most famous for the "Naked" palette, released a couple of years ago. They followed that palette with the "Naked 2" palette which wasn't received with quite the accolades of the first palette but is still one of my favorites.

Now they have introduced Smoked, which has 10 beautiful shadows to create the perfect smoky eye.  And, all of the colors are different than the ones in either of the "Naked" palettes, with the exception of "Blackout" (which is also in the Naked 2 palette, but this time in it's new formulation...more on that later).  The new "Smoked" palette includes the brown, black and gray shadows that you'd expect for the typical smoky eye, along with a deep purple, vibrant blue and dark green.  The travel-friendly zippered case has a large mirror and a vinyl cover that you can easily wipe clean.
 
Included with the shadows, is a full-size eyeliner in their blackest-black color called "Perversion" (who comes up with these names?)...
 ...a travel-size eye shadow primer...
 

...and a booklet with detailed instructions of how to create 12 different looks with the palette.  This is a first for Urban Decay and I think it's great for those new to creating "smoky" looks.

Also, what's different than the other palettes is that this is the first one produced since they reformulated their eye shadows.  Their shadows were great before so I wondered how they could make them any better.  The color pigmentation is still superb as well as their blend-ability and staying power throughout the day (primer helps too :-).  But in the few days that I've been using this new palette, the biggest difference that I've noticed is that there is less shadow displacement when you put your brush into the shadow (hooray for less mess and waste!) and there is a LOT less fallout (technical term for those little flakes of shadow that fall below your eye when applying shadow).


Here are closeups and swatches of the colors.....
 
Kinky - Matte ivory (perfect brow highlight color)
Freestyle - Matte peach (great for blending on light to medium skin tones)
Mushroom -  Frosty gray with a hint of warm, taupe undertones
 Backdoor - Matte deep, dark espresso brown
 Blackout - Matte jet black

Here are the swatches of the first 5 colors on my arm with a little primer underneath.....

 Barlust - Frosty warm brown with just a hint of mauve or purple (LOVE this color!)
 Rockstar - Frosty warm purple
 Evidence - Frosty blue with hints of black (probably my least favorite shade but looks amazing over smudged black eyeliner!)
 Loaded - Frosty emerald green (gorgeous!)
 Asphalt - Frosty charcoal

Here are the swatches of the last 5 colors on my arm with a little primer underneath.....

Final thoughts.....I do love that there are both matte and frosty shades in this palette (thankfully none with glitter!).  The only thing I would change about the palette is adding 2 more colors.....a slightly darker matte shade like "Buck" for blending and a light-medium frosty shade.  However, if you use this palette alongside your Naked palette, you will have all the colors you need to make every kind of eye look imaginable!

If you are interested in purchasing this palette, it's $49 and is currently only available on Urban Decay's website.  Eventually, it will probably be sold by Sephora and Ulta too but it's not available through them just yet.

Hopefully this review was helpful but if you have any questions I didn't address, feel free to put them in the comments below!

**Important Note:  I am not a paid spokesperson for Urban Decay and I purchased this palette with my own, hard-earned cash :-)  These are my own, unbiased opinions and the purpose of this review is simply to provide detailed product information so that those interested in this product can make an informed purchasing decision.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

New Jewelry Designs...

Here are some brand new designs just added to my shop today....
 Aren't daisies just the friendliest flower? :-)

 Bright copper...the look of rose gold at a fraction of the cost!

 Check out these and more amazing designs in my shop!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Whoa! Those are some bright lips!

We've all been there......standing in a store, staring at all these beautiful, bright shades of lipstick.  You're wishing you could wear those colors....wondering if you could be brave enough to do it....it becomes almost a dare to yourself to try it....suddenly you are through the check out and rushing home to try on your new bold lipstick purchase.  It looks great on and you can't wait to wear it to work the next day.  You awake, feeling invincible, don your bold lipcolor and spend the day receiving compliments on your lips.  However, the following day, you aren't feeling as confident....a few days/weeks later, that lipstick is in the back of your drawer or bottom of your makeup bag and you chide yourself for wasting money on that lipstick!

Well, not too long ago, I was reorganizing my lip products and pulled out those seldom used shades.  Some were ones I'd purchased, others were ones that came as "free gifts with purchase".

Two of my favorites are NYX "Sunflower" lipstick and Tarte's "Lively" Lipsurgence Liptint.....


I was determined to make them more wearable on any given day.  As I experimented, I discovered the following solution....

Apply a thin layer of the bold color; blot your lips and add one of the following:
*Add a gold-tone, shimmery gloss or lipstick to tone down fuchsia pink or any blue-tone red.
*Add a frosty, gray-tone taupe or mauve to tone down tangerine orange, bright corals or orangey reds.
By doing this, it obviously lightens the color but also brings the extreme color back to the middle of the color spectrum, back to the more "wearable zone".

Now for me, I've found that whether you choose a lipstick or a gloss, the effect is pretty much the same, just a little less shine with the lipstick.  Depending on how much I want to tone down the color, sometimes I'll use the lipstick and gloss over the bold color.

As for picking the "neutralizing colors", you don't have to spend a lot of money....afterall, the goal is to help you NOT feel you've wasted money on that bold lipcolor!

My favorites are two lipsticks from NYX:
*"Celene" - gold frost
*"Galaxy" - gray/taupe frost

These retail for $3.99 each and you can get them at Ulta stores or online at ulta.com or nyxcosmetics.com. Right now, Ulta has NYX products on sale - buy 1, get one 50% off so you could get both for $6!

For lipglosses, I love the NYX Mega Shine Lip Gloss in "Beige Pearl", which is a golden tan frost.  It retails for $5.49 and also looks beautiful worn on its own!  

The other gloss in the taupe family is "Iced Mauve" from Bobbi Brown.  I picked this up at the cosmetic outlets but I'm sure you can find one cheaper from NYX (perhaps "Sugar Pie"??) or another drugstore brand (like Revlon Super Lustrous Lip gloss in "Foiled"??).  This Bobbi Brown gloss was one I already owned so now it's doing double duty for me :-)  Just be sure when picking out a neutralizing gloss that there is plenty of color pigmentation and not just a clear gloss with a few gold flecks, as that will not do much for toning down the bright color.  Some of you may already have similar colors in your collection.  But if not, keep in mind these gold and taupe shimmery colors will also look great over lighter colors as well so you'll get your money's worth! 

Here's an example of how this technique transformed my "Sunflower" lipstick:
 

I hope this was helpful for you and that you'll give this a try!  

Next Monday, I'll be reviewing the brand new Urban Decay Smoked Palette! :-)

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Pretty & Yummy Pasta Salad

I think everyone has probably fixed at least one version of this pasta salad in their lifetime and has tried another half dozen at potlucks over the years.  I've been tweaking the one my mom used to make and came up with this recipe.  The variety of fresh veggies add color and crunch and a whole new dimension of flavors....delicious and nutritious!


Pretty & Yummy Pasta Salad

Ingredients:
1-16 oz pkg of tri-color spiral pasta
1 pkg of pepperoni (any size pepperoni will work....if using large pepperoni like me, cut it in quarters)
4 sticks of mozzarella string cheese, cut in half and then sliced into small pieces (regular block mozzarella cheese works too but I never seem to have that on hand :-)
1 yellow bell pepper, coarsely chopped
1 red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
1 can black olives, sliced
30 grape tomatoes, cut in half and lightly salted
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1 cup to 1 1/2 cups Italian dressing (use whatever kind is your favorite :-)
Garnish:  Fresh spinach leaves, torn or coarsely chopped

Directions:
1.  Cook pasta and drain.  Rinse under cold water. 
2.  In a large bowl, combine first 8 ingredients and toss.
3.  Add 3/4 to 1 cup of dressing and stir to combine. 
4.  Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours to allow all the flavors to combine.
5.  To serve, add fresh spinach and about 1 tsp of dressing to each portion and toss together.

This recipe can be cut in half (usually what I do since there are only two of us) and you can also change it up by adding hard salami instead of the pepperoni and switching out either or both of the bell peppers for green bell peppers.....whatever suites your fancy or happens to be in your refrigerator at the time :-)

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Weekly Designs Revealed....

Take a little break and see what's new in my store...
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Monday, July 2, 2012

NYC Liquid Lipshine

This gloss was recommended a few months ago by one of the makeup "gurus" I like to watch on YouTube.  However, every time I would see it in the store, I'd remember the plethora of lipglosses I already had at home and wondered if it could really be all that great at a price of $2.27.  Well, last week, I was on Target's website checking out their coupons (which is a great resource for all you coupon lovers like me :-), and lo and behold, there was a coupon for 50 cents off any NYC product.  That sealed the deal.....I figured for $1.87, the gloss was worth a shot.

It comes in 4 or 5 colors but the color I chose was "Brighton Beach", a beautiful, peachy-pink....

The formula is just sticky enough to stay on for a good while but it's not gloppy.  It has a light, sweet scent and good color payoff.  It's frosty but not glittery and the doe-foot applicator is thin and flexible making it super easy to apply just the right amount.

In the end, I'm SO happy with this purchase.  The quality of this product rivals many lipglosses that I've paid more than $15 for....highly recommend!  So, if you're in the market for a new inexpensive gloss in a great summer color, give this one a try!

Where to buy:
Target, Walmart (cheapest price)
Also available at Rite Aid, Walgreens, CVS

Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Second Half of 2012...

As the second half of the year officially kicked off today, I felt like I wanted to set some goals to accomplish in the remaining months of 2012.  Among these goals, I've included a return to a regular blogging schedule & a weekly reveal of new jewelry designs.  So, fingers crossed, here's what you can expect to see starting this week.....

Mondays will be "Monday Makeup Madness" where you can expect to find everything from reviews, new makeup finds, favorite products and maybe even picture tutorials of my favorite eye shadow combos!

Wednesdays will be "Weekly Designs Revealed" where you will see brand new jewelry designs I've been working on during the previous week.

Fridays will be "Fabulous Food Fridays" and will contain everything food-related.....new recipes, reviews of new foods/beverages I've tried, snacking ideas, etc.

Of course, there may be other snippets I want to share that don't fit into these three categories that I'll throw in as an extra bonus too.  So, if you haven't already done so, bookmark this page and I'll see you back here tomorrow where you'll hear about a new favorite lipgloss for around $2!