Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Ebates: Earn Cash Back for Shopping Online - Fact or Fiction?

Over the past year, I've heard so many people on YouTube talk about Ebates and have seen several TV commercials recently for it as well.  While it sounds great to be able to "earn cash back just for shopping online", frankly, it sounded too good to be true.  

About 2 months ago, a friend from church that knows I love to shop online, asked me if I'd ever heard of Ebates.  She had joined and was quite pleased with it and thought I might find it very rewarding too.  So I joined to check it out firsthand and see what all the fuss was about....

What is Ebates and how does it work?

It's like an online "portal" that you use to access over 1500 merchants' websites (i.e., Sephora, Ulta, Target, Macy's, Nordstrom, Vitacost, Walmart, etc.).  By using the Ebates "portal", you earn cash back based on the amount of the purchase you make with a merchant. The cash back percentage varies by merchant (anywhere from 1.5% to 15%+). Ebates also tracks all of the current offers for each merchant and gives you the applicable coupon codes when you search a merchant.  Here's how it works:
1. Go to the Ebates website first before you begin shopping
2. Look up the merchant where you want to shop (any coupon codes will appear next to the merchant's name as well as the current cash back percentage for that merchant)
3. Click on the link to take you directly to the merchant's website
4. Shop and make your purchase like you normally would 
5. Once your order ships, Ebates credits your account with the cash back for that purchase 

How do you get paid and how often?

You can either choose to have the "Cash Back" deposited into a Paypal account or have them send you a "Big Fat Check".   Payments are made once a quarter (every 3 months).

Bottom line, is it "Fact or Fiction"?

FACT!  I've not only received my first "Big Fat Check" but also received my introductory $10 gift card for Macy's (which came about a month after my first purchase). 

So, whether you are still wrapping up some last minute Christmas shopping or are dreaming about what to spend your Christmas money on, sign up for Ebates and get some extra cash back on those purchases!  It's free to join and if you click on the link below, you will receive a special introductory offer after making your first purchase through Ebates, and I'll receive something extra too :-)  Happy Shopping!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Younique Moodstruck 3D Fiber Lashes - Review

One of the hot new products to hit the market over the past year is the Younique Moodstruck 3D Fiber Lashes.  

After seeing lots of posts on Facebook and watching several YouTube videos about this mascara, I decided to give it a try.  I've had several weeks to play around with it and apply it in various ways and now feel like I can give it a full review.

First of all, what is it?
It's a 2-part mascara system that includes natural fibers and transplanting gel. By applying the fibers and transplanting gel to your lashes, you get amazing volume and added length to your natural lashes.  Whether you have really short, sparse lashes or are someone like me that loves the look of false lashes but is terrible at applying them, this fiber lash system may very well become your best friend!  It's like false lashes in a tube :-)

Transplanting Gel is a black "glue" that helps the fibers adhere to your lashes.

Natural Fibers are 100% Natural Green Tea Fibers. They are black and are easily applied with this thin wand.

Safe for Contact Lens Wearers?
Yes.  Several of my friends that wear soft contact lenses say that they experience no discomfort whatsoever.  I wear hard contacts (gas permeable) so my eyes are a little more sensitive.  But I find that I can wear this mascara comfortably for about 6-8 hours.  It is really important that you are SUPER careful when applying the fibers because if any fall in your eye, it will cause a great deal of discomfort!

Cost:  $29 + shipping
*This system is not cheap!  However, it is comparable to a lot of high-end mascaras and false lashes.  Personally, this will not be something I can afford to always have on hand but will be one of those "splurge" purchases when the budget allows :-)  It also makes a great gift for any makeup enthusiast.

How to Apply:
*Apply a coat of regular (NOT waterproof) mascara. I like to use the Wet 'n' Wild Mega Length mascara for the base coat because it helps separate the lashes and it's super cheap!   
****NOTE:  Many people skip this step and go straight to the transplanting gel.  If you are going for a more "natural" look, then you may want to try this.  However, if you are going for a dramatic look (yes, please!), you will have to add more layers of the gel and fibers, and it can start to look a little clumpy.*Apply an even coat of the transplanting gel to the upper lashes of one eye then immediately apply a thin coat of the fibers.  You must apply the fibers before the gel dries or the fibers will not stick to your lashes.
*Follow with another coat of the transplanting gel.  If you want to add another coat of fibers, do that now and follow with another coat of the transplanting gel.
*Once you are satisfied with the results, repeat the steps on the other eye.
*You can apply these to your lower lashes, but I never do.  

Tips and Tricks for the BEST results:
*To give the eye a lifted look, apply the transplanting gel and fibers just to the outer half of the upper lashes.  It will mimic the look of applying a half strip of false lashes.
*Take your time applying the gel and fibers!  I never apply this if I am in a hurry and need to quickly get out the door.  If you start "slapping" on the fibers, they can fall into your eyes and that is NOT a pleasant experience!
*Don't apply more than 2 coats of the fibers.  Otherwise, your lashes can start to look "spidery" and clumpy.....that's not the look we're going for here :-)
*Keep a clean spooly brush or a lash comb on hand to comb through lashes if they start to get a little clumpy.

Where to Buy: 
*This is sold by independent consultants.  If you don't already know someone who's selling it, please consider purchasing from my sister-in-law, Catherine!  Orders are processed expeditiously and she's quick and thorough at answering any questions you may have.  Here's the link to her website:

*Disclosure:  This product was purchased with my own, hard-earned moola and I have not been compensated in any way for my review.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Quick Tip Tuesday: DIY Sachet

Musty, stale smelling clothes that have been stored away for the season.  Even though the clothes were clean when you put them away, you find you need to wash them again or hang them outside for several hours to get rid of the smell.

Make this simple sachet with Downy Unstoppables and a dryer sheet.  Place the sachet in with the clothes and store in a Space Bag and/or in a Rubbermaid container with a good-fitting lid.  When it's time to switch out your wardrobe for the next season, you will be pleasantly surprised at the fresh scent that greets you when you open the box/bag.

I just pulled out my winter clothes that had been stored for over 5 months and they smelled like they'd just come out of the wash.  Cheers to the easiest seasonal clothing switch ever!
DIY Sachet
Items Needed:
1- Dryer Sheet
1 Tablespoon (approx.) - Downy Unstoppables 
1 - twisty tie

*Place Downy Unstoppables in the center of the dryer sheet
*Carefully gather the edges of the dryer sheet up around the Downy Unstoppables
*Secure with a twisty tie

Saturday, October 25, 2014

New at the Grocery Store: Limited Edition Seasonal Goodies

While I'm grocery shopping, I'm always on the lookout for new snacks and foods to try. I realize if you despise grocery shopping and make it your mission to get in and out of the store as soon as possible, there is no way you are going to slowly browse each aisle looking for new foods. So I thought it might be helpful for me to share the new things I've tried and a quick review so you'll know whether to add it to your list the next time you are making a mad dash to the grocery store. 

At this time of year, there always seems to be an inordinate amount of new items in special edition fall flavors and this year is no exception. Just look at all of these pumpkin and apple flavored items....
Thomas English Muffins - Limited Edition Flavors:
*Pumpkin Spice - Absolutely delicious, especially when toasted with melted butter and cinnamon and sugar. Yum!
*Apple Pie - These are ok....for me it wasn't a strong enough flavor.

Thomas Bagels - Pumpkin Spice
*Really like these, especially when toasted and smothered with homemade pumpkin spice cream cheese! Just blend regular cream cheese with some brown sugar and pumpkin spice powder...yum!

Noosa Finest Yoghurt - Pumpkin
*Tastes almost like pumpkin cheesecake....who doesn't love that?! I guess you could just eat this with a spoon but this brand of yogurt is pretty rich so I like to use it like a dip. What goes better with Pumpkin yogurt than cinnamon Scooby graham crackers!

Brach's Apple Pie Candy Corn
*I really didn't care for these at all! I thought they might be comparable to the "Caramel Apple" flavor which they've had in the past. Unfortunately, "Apple Pie" didn't measure up.

Milky Way - Caramel Apple
*Think of a traditional Milky Way bar and then add just a hint of crisp apple flavor....delicious! These have also been a hit with my piano students :-)

Dreyer's Pumpkin Patch Ice Cream
*Pretty good but a little on the tangy side....if that makes sense. I think this one is missing a little of the "spice" that I like with my pumpkin flavored treats....you get more of just straight up pumpkin taste here.

Trident Pumpkin Spice Gum
*Yes, you are reading that correctly....GUM! I thought this would be horrible but instead I found it absolutely wonderful! There is just a hint of pumpkin and then you taste cinnamon, a little clove and maybe a little vanilla.  It's so hard to describe so you'll just have to try it ;-) I'm going to be stocking up on this limited edition flavor!

Hopefully that was helpful and gave you some ideas of what to shop for or to skip on your next grocery shopping trip.

Happy shopping :-)

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Palette of the Week: Lorac PRO Palette 2 ~ Makeup Looks

Part 2 - Makeup Looks

Here are a few of the makeup looks I created, using the Lorac PRO Palette 2.  If you don't have this palette, you can easily recreate these looks using similar colors you may already have in your makeup collection.  Or, get inspired with these application techniques and create your own unique look with completely different colors!

Look #1:  Silver Smoke

Buff ~ Brow Highlight
Lt. Brown ~ Transition Crease Color  
Cool Gray ~ Inner 1/3 of Lid
Silver ~ Center of Lid  *Note:  To increase color vibrancy, first apply Maybelline 24Hr Tattoo Shadow in Silver Strike as a base in the center of the lid; then apply Silver eyeshadow over it.
Charcoal ~ Outer 1/3 of Lid
Black ~ Darken the Outer "V"
Rose ~ Using finger, layer over Silver in the Center of Lid
*Finish with NYC liquid black liner along top lashes; L'Oreal Black Kohl liner along inner rim and lower lash line

Look #2:  Jade with Envy

Buff ~ Brow Highlight  
Lt. Brown ~ Transition Crease Color
Jade ~ All Over Lid but avoid the inner corner *Note:  To increase color vibrancy, first apply Urban Decay 24/7 liner in Mildew all over the lid; then apply Jade eyeshadow over it.
Black ~ Darken the Outer "V"
Beige and Snow ~ Dip brush in both and lightly apply to inner corner for highlight
*Finish with your favorite black gel liner along top lashes; Mally black liner along inner rim and Urban Decay 24/7 Stash liner along lower lash line

Look #3:  Everyday Rose Gold + optional pop of Navy Blue
**Favorite Combination** 

Buff ~ Brow Highlight 
Lt. Brown ~ Transition Crease Color 
Rose ~ Inner 2/3 of Lid but avoid the inner corner *Note:  To increase color vibrancy, first apply Maybelline 24Hr Tattoo Shadow in Barely Branded; then layer Rose over it.
Mocha ~ Outer 1/3 of lid  
Cocoa ~ Darken the Outer "V"
Cocoa, Mocha and Rose ~ Blend along lower lashline from outer corner inward using darkest shade in the outer corner
*Optional: Navy ~ Instead of the colors above, line the lower lash line with a navy eyeliner and then top with Navy shadow
*Finish with L'Oreal Intense Liquid Liner in Earthen Rock Brown along the upper lash line or NYC Liquid Liner in Black if adding Navy along lower lash line.

Hopefully this gave you some more ideas of how to use the Lorac PRO Palette 2!  If you don't own this palette yet and want to see a full review and swatches, click on the link below.  Have a great day!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Palette of the Week: Lorac PRO Palette 2 ~ Review and Swatches

Part 1 - Review and Swatches

Several months ago, Lorac released the second edition of the Lorac PRO Palette.  I absolutely loved the first edition so I was excited to get my hands on this baby.  As with the first palette, it contains 8 matte shadows and 8 shimmer shadows.  And, with the exception of the matte black shade, there are no other shadow colors repeated from the first Lorac Pro Palette.

The palette has a matte gray rubberized cardboard cover....

 Inside is a nice sized mirror and 16 shadows....

Where to Buy:  Ulta, Beauty.com, Lorac Cosmetics

Cost:  $42 (includes a mini Lorac Behind the Scenes Eye Primer)

Favorite Colors:  Buff, Lt. Brown, Cool Gray, Rosè, Cocoa

What's To Love:
*Buttery soft texture
*Highly pigmented colors
*Great color variety
*Super slim packaging, which makes it super travel friendly

What's Not To Love:
 *Because the shadows are so soft, there can be some fallout when applying - just be sure to tap off the excess before applying to your eyes.

Summary:  Exceptional quality at a great price!  At first glance, I thought it might be hard for me to pull off some of the jewel tones and cooler toned shadows.  However, because of the great taupe blending shade and the large variety of matte colors, I found I was able to make very wearable looks with all of the shadows, making this a very versatile palette!

*Note:  These were photographed in natural daylight and swatched over primer
Matte buttery yellow-based cream
Favorite Use:  Perfect brow-bone highlight for those with yellow undertones in your skin
Matte warm taupe
Favorite Use:  Perfect crease blending shade
Matte medium gray with slight purple undertones
Favorite Use:  Blended in the crease and outer "V"
Matte peachy pink
Matte vibrant grape
Matte vibrant navy blue
Matte dark gray with slightly bluish undertones
Matte off-black (not super "jet-black")
Shimmery white
Shimmery champagne with slight pink undertones
Shimmery rose gold
Favorite Use:  All over the lid and paired with Cool Gray or Cocoa in the outer "V"
Shimmery medium warm brown...when light reflects on it you can see hints of pink shimmer
Shimmery gray with slight purple undertones
True shimmery silver
Shimmery deep forest green with slight olive undertones
Shimmery dark reddish brown
Favorite Uses:  Blended in the outer "V" or smudged along the lower lashline

Now it's time for the fun part....three makeup looks I created using this palette!  Check back tomorrow for Part 2 in this series!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

It's Been Over a Month....Where Have I Been?

When Facebook sent me a message saying that it had been over a month since I'd posted anything on my page, I was shocked to realize that much time had passed!  So I thought I'd jump start my blogging with a brief little update on what's been going on in my world over the last month....

I think one word could encapsulate most of my busyness these last several weeks...."Piano"! 

As many of you know, I've started teaching piano again.  After a break for summer, lessons resumed and I've been a bit shocked at the continued growth of my student base.  A few days ago I added my 14th piano student!  Little did I know that 18 months ago when sweet Abby from church asked me to give her piano lessons that I would wind up with 14 students!  Because it had been more than 15 years since I'd taught piano, I was a little unsure of my teaching abilities.  But since I'd closed my jewelry business a few months prior, I was trying to determine what direction God was leading me and this seemed like an "open door".  One student led to another and another and now I've got my hands full with 14 students, ranging in age from 6 to retirement age.  So it would appear that I'm on the path where God wants me to be right now :-).

In addition to adjusting to my new teaching schedule, I was honored to be asked to play "background music" at the Village Retirement Center for 3 events they hosted.  Because I'm used to playing primarily for church, I had a lot of work to do to learn enough music to fill each of the time slots.  After weeks of preparation and hours and hours of practice, I had 45 songs ready for the events, including everything from Glen Miller's "Moonlight Serenade", selections from the Phantom of the Opera, Billy Joel's "Just the Way You Are",  to classical pieces like "Sonata in C Major" and "Clair de Lune" (my all-time favorite :-).

Now, lest you think it was all work and no "play", in the midst of all of this craziness, a dear friend that I've known since 4th grade came for a visit.  Although it was just for 4 days, we still worked in lots of fun like time at the beach, pedicures, shopping and of course lots of talking :-).

Even though I've been absent from the blogging world for over a month, I've still been testing new products, trying new recipes and tackling some DIY projects that I can't wait to share with you all! 

Tune in tomorrow for the long awaited and requested Lorac Pro 2 Palette of the Week review, swatches and makeup looks!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Face Brushes....Do They Really Work?

Some of you may be wondering why on earth I would need a brush for my face?!  Before you jump to the conclusion that I have let my facial hair get WAY out of control, let me explain...

For quite some time, I've been contemplating the purchase of a Clarisonic Brush.  These highly acclaimed brushes are battery operated and receive rave reviews about their cleansing and exfoliating abilities.  While I'm sure they are really wonderful, I just was having a hard time with their $99-$199 price tag! 

Recently, I saw a YouTube video from GlowOfGrace and she was talking about a face brush she found online for under $10 and said the results were comparable to her Clarisonic.  That got my attention!  I started researching face brushes and lo and behold, I found one at Sephora for $7....now we're talkin'!
When I first felt this brush, it was so soft, I really didn't think it would do anything for my skin.  But I thought it was worth a try.  I followed the directions, lathering my face with soap, wetting the brush and then massaged away.  Honestly, I didn't think anything was happening other than my face was getting a nice massage.  But then I rinsed off the soap, and holy cow!  I couldn't believe how soft my skin felt!  Over the last month, I've been using it about every other day and have noticed a remarked difference in the texture of my skin.  My pores are clearer and it's helped reduce the flaky dry skin I tend to get in certain areas on my face. 

I think this is the best $7 I've spent on a beauty tool in a very long time.

Happy Brushing! :-)

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Recipe for Heavenly Whipped Cream

Not long ago, I ran out of yogurt and needed something to add to the fresh strawberries I was fixing for my husband.  I happened to have some whipping cream and suddenly harkened back to my days as a coffee barista at Peaberry Coffee.  The whipped cream we made to top the coffee drinks was absolutely the BEST!  What was the secret?  Instead of adding sugar to the whipping cream, we added a mix of Irish Cream and Vanilla flavored syrups.  When combined, these flavors make what is commonly known as "French Vanilla".
Well, I just so happen to keep "French Vanilla" syrup on hand (it's one of my favorites to add to coffee or tea).  So I whipped up a batch of this heavenly whipped cream and it was SO delicious, my husband and I wanted to just skip the strawberries and go right to the bowl of whipped cream!  Several weeks later, my BFF came for a visit and I whipped up a batch for her to taste.  She thought it was absolutely delectable!  

Some of you may have never attempted to make your own whipped cream.  I'm here to tell you, it's SO easy and the taste is so incredible, you won't want to go back to store-bought!  

Here's how....

You'll need whipping cream, French Vanilla flavored syrup (found in the coffee aisle), a bowl and a hand-mixer with the wire wisk attachment (regular beaters will work too or if you want a great workout, you can do this by hand with a wire wisk).
I usually make this in small batches so I just pour in about 1/2 cup of whipping cream and start beating with the mixer.
 Mix until soft peaks form....
Then add the French Vanilla syrup....about 1 1/2 Tablespoons is the right amount of sweetness for me but feel free to add more or less to make it just right for you :-)
 Mix again until stiff peaks form.  Be careful not to over mix because it will turn to butter!
 After a quick taste test, determine if you need to add any more syrup.  Once you are satisfied with the level of sweetness, it's time to enjoy!  Add it to strawberries, pie or a cup of coffee or tea...
The texture is so light and fluffy and the French Vanilla adds just that extra "something" that truly makes this a "heavenly" treat.  Seriously, you are going to go from, "I'll just have a dallop" to "give me a spoon...I want to eat the whole bowlful!" 

Heavenly Whipped Cream
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 1/2 Tablespoons French Vanilla flavored syrup (you can also use a 1:1 ratio of Irish Cream and Vanilla)

1. Using a wire wisk attachment, mix the whipping cream until soft peaks form
2. Add flavored syrup and mix until stiff peaks form
3. Store covered in refrigerator

Friday, August 1, 2014

Fruit and Yogurt Burrito

Some time ago, I was trying to figure out something new for dinner.  Since, my husband and I typically eat huge meals in the evenings, I knew it needed to be something light but filling.  I had a hankering for something with strawberries and all of the sudden the idea of a fruit burrito came to mind. 
As I pondered what all to put in the burrito, I decided Marscapone cheese should be in there (even though I'd never actually tried it before ;-).  I also thought Yogurt could be kind of like a "sauce" to help bring everything together.  Then I needed a fruit combination...my two favorite combos are strawberries, mandarin oranges and bananas; or strawberries, blueberries and bananas.  Finally, I decided a little "crunch" wouldn't hurt so I added some French Vanilla Granola and wrapped it all in a giant flour tortilla.  Not only is this delicious but it's very filling and satisfying too!
This is one of those meals that would be perfect any time of day, especially when you don't want to have to heat up the kitchen by turning on the stove or the oven.  Hope you enjoy this recipe! :-) 

Fruit and Yogurt Burrito Recipe

Mascarpone Cheese
Vanilla Yogurt (Greek or Regular)
Fresh Strawberries, sliced
Banana, sliced
Fresh Blueberries or Canned Mandarin Oranges (drained well)
Granola (French Vanilla Granola is my favorite :-)
Large Burrito Flour Tortilla
*Note:  Recommended measurements of each ingredient are listed below in the directions; total amounts needed will be determined by the number of burritos you'll be making.

1.  Spread a thin layer of Mascarpone Cheese on one side of a tortilla.
2.  Layer bananas, strawberries and mandarin orange slices or blueberries down the center of the burrito.
3.  Top with about 1/2 cup of yogurt and sprinkle about 2 Tablespoons of granola on top.
4.  Fold over sides of burrito to close.
5.  Top with additional 1/4 cup yogurt.  Add a few slices of fruit and a sprinkling of granola and you're done!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Quick Tip Tuesday: Expiration Dates

Opened jars of salsa or condiments, packages of lunch meat, and/or bottles of juice that you have NO idea how long they've been in the refrigerator and therefore don't know if they are still "good" or not.  

While it's true many products have expiration dates on the package, usually once the package/bottle is opened, there is a limited amount of time that you have to use it up before it goes bad (e.g., Bolthouse fruit and veggie juices must be used within 7 days of opening).

When you first open something that you know you won't use in it's entirety the first time, use a sharpie marker and write the date you opened it on the label or on the lid.  Then when you pull out that jar of salsa that got pushed to the back of the fridge or that half-eaten package of lunch meat, you'll know with certainty how long it's been in there and whether to eat or toss it.

Wondering how long food lasts in the fridge?  Here is a link to the FDA guidelines:

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Favorite NEW Products....Jan - June 2014

There have been so many new products that I've tried and LOVED already this year that I couldn't wait until the end of the year to share them with you.  So, I decided to split the year in two and share with you my favorite new things during the first half of 2014.  Some of these were brand new products this year and some were just new to me.

As in my last Favorite NEW Products blog, you won't find a full review on each product but rather just a few bullet points about why I loved it.  If you'd like to see a more in-depth review on anything, please let me know!

  1. Makeup Geek Gel Liner ~ Immortal
    •  Color is the blackest black with no shimmer or glitter
    •  Formula is smooth and easy to apply
    • Doesn't budge!  Requires eye makeup remover to get it off! 
  2. MAC Pigment ~ Rose
    • Gorgeous unique color that makes green and blue eyes pop!
    • Works wet or dry; my favorite way to apply is with a dab of glitter glue...stays put all day!
  3. Napoleon Perdis Loose Eye Dust - Pink Champagne
    • Highly pigmented; can be used wet or dry
    • Has a unique sifter that only allows a small bit of pigment through each time it's opened so it's virtually mess-free!
    • Absolutely stunning, rose-gold shade...goes with just about any eye combination!
  4. Benefit Stay Don't Stray Primer ~ Medium/Deep
    • When used under my eyes, it keeps my concealer in place all day!
    • The darker color better masks dark circles and helps prevent those white circles under the eyes when my concealer/brightener is just a little too bright ;-)
  5. NYC Eyeliner Liquide ~ Black
    • Small brush applicator is very precise (this is not the one that looks like a pen)
    • Formula, though liquid, is not too runny....makes it easier to apply than most liquid liners
    • Color is really black and stays in place all day
    • SUPER cheap...under $3!
  6. MAC Pro Longwear Waterproof Brow Set ~ Quiet Brunette
    • The small brush deposits just the right amount of gel on the brows
    • Decent, medium-hold power
    • Although I haven't tested how waterproof it is, it doesn't budge on my brows all day
  7. MAC Fluidline Brow Gel Creme ~ Dirty Blonde
    • Color is perfect...not too ashy but not too warm
    • Easy to apply
    • Fills in the "bald spots" in my brows and stays in place all day....this seems to be a common trait among my favorites ;-)
  8. CK (Calvin Klein) One Mascara ~ Black
    •  Provides great volume and length
    •  Does not smudge or flake on me
    • This was my free gift from Ulta on my birthday!
  9. Too Face Chocolate Bar Eye Shadow Collection
    (Click to Enlarge)
    • Great mix of matte and shimmer shadows
    • Very pigmented, high quality shadows
    • Even though the colors are overall pretty neutral, there are several unique shades that set this palette apart from most other nude/neutral palettes.  
    • Smells like chocolate!  Not that gross, fake chocolate smell....because it's made with 100% natural cocoa powder, it's like you've just opened a jar of cocoa powder....delicious!
    • The packaging is absolutely adorable and makes a GREAT gift!  My husband gave this to me for Valentine's Day....I wonder where he got the idea? ;-)
  1.  the Balm Cosmetics Mary Lou Manizer
    • Perfect champagne highlighter...not too pink, not too gold...beautiful!
    • HIGHLY pigmented...a very little goes a long way!
    • Can also be used as an eyeshadow
    • Purchased on Hautelook for only $11!
  2. bareMinerals Prime Time Antioxidant Foundation Primer
    • Tinted primer that gives a hint of coverage and a slight bronze glow (matte, no shimmer)
    •  SPF 30
    • Really helps prolong the wear of my makeup and works great under a liquid or powder foundation
    • I think bareMinerals has re-released this primer now as Prime Time BB primer-cream and is offering it in 2 shades
  3. Gerard Cosmetics BB+ Illuminator
    • A beautiful light, golden champagne glow
    • Sinks into the skin and looks quite natural....no glitter particles!
  4. Chanel Soleil Tan De Chanel
    • Unlike any creme formula bronzer I've ever seen/tried...just melts into the skin and has zero shimmer
    • Can be used to add an all-over bronze glow and/or to contour the face
    • Be aware that it is fragranced but the scent goes away after application and this has not caused my sensitive skin to breakout
    • It's super expensive so this is one of those "special occasion" purchases....perfect to put on your Christmas or Birthday wish list ;-)   You do get a large amount of product and it takes so very little product to bronze up the face that it will last a VERY long time.
  5. Revlon Colorstay Whipped Creme Makeup
    • Amazing coverage and all-day staying power
    • Very unique whipped formula....seems like it will feel heavy on the skin but after buffing it in with a brush, it feels virtually weightless and looks quite natural...no cakiness!
    • It's from the drugstore and when found on sale or if you have a coupon, you can get it for under $10!
  6. the Balm Cosmetics Instain Blush - Toile
    • AMAZING pigmentation (just barely need to tap the brush in the powder)
    • Even though it's a powder it does "stain" your cheeks, therefore it will not fade throughout the day!
    • Although this color looks really scary, when applied lightly it provides the cheeks with that "naturally" flushed look...
  7. NYX Blotting Powder
    • Very smooth, finely milled pressed powder
    • Does not add any extra coverage so it won't make your makeup look cakey
    • Makes the skin look smooth and disguises the look of pores and fine lines
    • Can be used throughout the day to blot out shine but won't look like you've just caked on more makeup
  1. Soap and Glory ~ A Great Kisser Lip Moisture Balm ~ Vanilla Bean
    • Smells amazing!
    • Really hydrating and long lasting!  I put this on just before going to bed and when I wake up, I can still feel and see the shine from the balm on my lips!
    • Of course it's not going to make you a great kisser but it will make your lips kiss-ably soft :-)
  2. Too Faced Lipstick ~ Nude Beach
    •  Formula is smooth and hydrating
    • Good color payoff and also leaves a nice glossy finish to the lips
    • This color is my favorite so far...it's nude but has just enough pink that your lips don't look "dead";-)
  3. Milani Brilliant Shine Lip Gloss ~ Luminous
    • Has just the right amount of stickiness that it doesn't just slide right off your lips
    • Smells like sweet vanilla
    • This color looks great alone to amp up your natural lip color or over virtually any lipstick color...it's a sheer warm pink with golden shimmer 
  Starbucks Discoveries Iced Cafe Favorites ~ Vanilla Latte
    • Taste great....not too strong or too sweet
    • Simple, all-natural ingredients
    • Only 120 calories per 8 ounce serving
    • Perfect for those mornings that I don't have time to make and brew coffee....just pour and drink!
Erin Baker's The Original Breakfast Cookie ~ Caramel Apple  
    • I'm already a HUGE fan of the Erin Baker's Breakfast Cookies because of their excellent ingredients and great taste.  
    • This was a new flavor I found at Target (also available online).  Pop in the microwave or toaster to warm slightly and the caramel bits get all gooey...YUM!
Keebler's Scooby-Doo! Baked Graham Cracker Sticks ~ Cinnamon
    • No, I have not been stealing Bojo's treats!  Although they are shaped like dog-treats, they are most certainly for human consumption!
    • These have just a hint of cinnamon and are coated with a thin, sugary glaze
    • Normally, I only eat graham crackers when they include chocolate and a toasted marshmallow or when they make up the crust of a yummy cheesecake.  However, when I tried these, I seriously wanted to eat the whole box!
Similasan ~ Dry Eye Relief Sterile Eye Drops
    • 100% Natural
    • Truly no stinging and provides long lasting moisturization
    • It takes a little longer to clear the redness than traditional eye drops but my eyes stay clearer and less red throughout the day than with other drops.
    • I used to have problems with my eyes watering at the outer corner at least 4-5 days a week.... since using these, I rarely have one of those days.
Bed Head ~ Colour Goddess Shampoo and Conditioner
    • Good for color treated hair
    • Conditions hair without weighing it down
    • Smells absolutely delicious...like sugar cookies or a vanilla cake baking in the oven....yum!
    • Bought these at Ulta in January at their semi-annual sale and they were only $12.99....regular price was $29.99!  Currently, Ulta has them on sale again so if you want to try them, hustle on over to your nearest store!
Orla Kiely Cosmetic Bag (from Target)
    • Keeps all of my lipsticks, glosses and lip liners organized and easily accessible!
    • For as much as it holds, it's relatively small and thin making it easy to throw in your purse or bag for travel.
    • A perfect gift for a wedding or anniversary
    • Has a touch of whimsy without being "cheesy" :-)  The framer thought we hiked a trail in Colorado and actually carved our names in a tree!
    • It came as an unframed wall canvas but I thought it looked better matted and framed.
Thank you so much for joining me on this adventure through my favorites!  I look forward to seeing what fun new things are in store for the remainder of 2014 :-)