Month: November 2012

Me, Myself, and I link party #5: November 2012

Yes, yes, this was supposed to go live yesterday. Between having a cold (grrr) and all of the glitches I’ve been experiencing lately with Blogger, I didn’t get it up until today. My apologies.

Anyway, on to this month’s questions!

1. What are your top five movies to watch during the holidays?

I love The Santa Clause, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, A Charlie Brown Christmas, and White Christmas, but that’s only four. Truthfully, I don’t watch lots of holiday movies: I’m always too busy to sit down in front of the TV! I do want to finally pick up The Polar Express this year, because lots of people rave about it. And I’d like to see Arthur Christmas, which looks hilarious.

2. It’s the month of giving thanks, what are you most thankful for?

Everything in my life. I get really down sometimes about circumstances and think, “My life sucks.” But I have so much more than some other people, I’m healthy, I have a lovely family and friends…and I’m trying to be more thankful for all of the blessings God has given me, rather than gripe about the perceived “crummy” parts of my life.

3. If there was a quote or verse to describe your life, what would it be?

“I’d rather be hated for who I am, than loved for who I am not.” – Kurt Cobain



4. Who in your family are you most like?

Probably my Mom! We both love Starbucks, we used to have a blast shopping for clothes together (we don’t live close by anymore), and we both like to read and watch funny movies.

5. What is your favorite drink order at Starbucks?

 A chai latte! In the fall it’s the Pumpkin Spice and in the winter I go for Peppermint Mocha. Yum!

Product review: Goody Simple Styles Spin Pin

If you guys watched my Influenster unboxing video last month, or read my blog post about this lovely blogger Voxbox I receieved, then you know I was pretty excited to get a package of these “Spin Pins”. They’re supposed to be an easy-peasy alternative to bobby pins, and I’ve always wanted to try them out but have never gotten around to actually purchasing any–so, natch, I was thrilled to give these babies a test run.

(Disclaimer: I received the Spin Pins from Influenster for complimentary testing purposes; however, this does not alter my honest review of the product.)

The product: Goody Simple Styles Spin Pin, $7.29 at drugstores

The claim: “…allows you to easily achieve three chic updo styles. Simply twirl your hair up and spin the two Spin Pins in for a perfect undone bun, side bun or double bun!…Does the work of 20 bobbies.” (From their website, which you can visit here)

I tried it: 20 bobbies? Really? A bun is pretty much my go-to every day hairstyle; I like to keep my hair off my neck and face at work, and I like wearing my hair up in an easy bun on days when I really don’t have time for styling. This sounded like a challenge I was happy to accept!

Because my hair is thin and fine, I have trouble holding it in place. I have used lots of products that promised not to slip or slide, and I must say this is the first that really locked into place. I also want to point out how gentle these pins are. I am forever tearing out strands with ponytails and pins, and the fact that these slide in and out of your hair with such ease is really a plus for me. Again–I’ve used lots of products that claim to be “gentle” and aren’t, so it’s nice to find a product that I can use every day without fear of losing even more strands!

I was hoping to have some photo or video tutorials to accompany this review, but with the generally rainy weather and subsequent poor lighting lately, I don’t have anything that shows my hair clearly enough. Hopefully, soon! So, I will just have to explain the process of using these pins as best as I can without a visual aid.

You start by gathering your hair as though to make a ponytail; however, instead of using an elastic to secure your hair, you simply begin twisting the ponytail to create a bun. How tightly you twist is up to you, but I do recommend twisting fairly tightly. Wrap the twist around as though you were going to pin it in place for a bun.

Now, instead of using bobbies, you’re going to use these magical little corkscrews. Hold a pin lengthwise up and down against the back of your head, with the open tips touching your bun. You’re going to use one pin on each side of the bun, so don’t try to center it! The pin should be fairly pressed against the back of your head to hold the bun in place.

Now, just start twisting! It’s so simple it’s ridiculous. The pin glides into your hair in a few smooth twists; you’ll know it’s in when the top is barely sticking out of the bun. Take the other pin and repeat on the other side of your bun. Don’t cross the pins!

My vote: Buy them, buy them, buy them! I am in LOVE with these pins. They’re easy to use, super-gentle, and they really do hold all day. In fact, I would say they hold better than my old clips and pins! I like them sooooo much…I MIGHT just have to give away a set sometime next month…so stay tuned!

Cute Shoe Monday: red moto boots!

How cute are these boots? I don’t know why, but my eyes are glued to them and I can’t look away. I would wear these with pants and dresses alike!

Promise Abigail Wine Red Studded Motorcycle Ankle Boots, $48,

Nail Polish of the Month: blackberry gloss

I’ve been dithering about with my nail polish pick this month, trying to decide which of my (many) new shades said “November” the loudest. Well, after swatching my Julep Maven polishes for the month, I knew I had found the one: Julep Trina, a deep blackberry creme.

(I wanted a manicure shot, but the lighting has been so poor for the past two days that I gave up and re-used the pedicure pic.)

This is a deep blackberry gloss that looks almost black in some lights. I think it looks a bit more purple on my fingers than on my toes. Two coats gives the richest, loveliest color, and I feel like it’s so perfect for this month: rich and deep, but still a bit warm, and not altogether “Christmas” holiday in nature. (Sorry, I’m not ready for Christmas until Thanksgiving ends!)

What are you wearing on your nails right now?

Accessory Friday: printed tights

Now here’s a trend I have been loathe to try…and an item that might make me change my mind. Readers, I present Fair Isle knit tights. Normally printed tights give me pause, but these are so cute–and the black-on-gray pattern is muted enough that it doesn’t seem too scary.

Fair Isle Knit Tights, $9.80, Forever 21

Get the Look: Halle Berry on the November cover of InStyle

Can you believe that Halle Berry is 46?! Neither can I! She’s looking better than ever on the November cover of InStyle magazine, in a red-hot Calvin Klein dress.

halle Berry InStyle

Want to copy Halle’s sexy style? It’s pretty easy: all you need is a bold red tank dress and an oversized gold cuff bracelet. I would finish with strappy gold sandals for a simple yet hot look.

1. Calvin Klein dress, $49.99,
2. Layered cuff, $6.80, Forever 21
3. Fioni Night Intyce strappy sandal, $24.99, Payless

Random Thursdays: Five Things I Use Everyday

Obviously, I use far more than just five things every day…so I decided to make two lists: one of fashion/beauty items, and one for items from the rest of my life!

Five beauty and fashion things I use every day:

1. Moisturizer. One for my face, one for my body, and one for my hands! Right now I’m hooked on Bath and Body Works Cashmere Glow body lotion, Avalon Organics Vitamin C face cream, and Bath and Body Works hand cream in Twisted Peppermint.

Even if you don’t feel that you’re prone to dry skin, using a good moisturizer does wonders for your appearance. It makes skin look plumper, firmer, and glowier. (Totally not a word, but I’m running with it!) It makes your skin softer, less itchy, and less tight. Using a good hand cream on a regular basis ensures I won’t get cracked, sore fingertips. And let’s not forget: a moisturizer with a high SPF is essential for protecting your skin from wrinkles and possible skin cancer! (I like the Hawaiian Tropic Silk Touch lotions.)

2. Tweezers. Odd pick? Well, I have lots of days when I just don’t have time to apply makeup. Keeping your arches neatly tweezed and tidy makes your whole face look cleaner and more well-kept, in my opinion–and your eyes look more open and awake, even without the aid of eye makeup!

3. Dr. Bronner’s Magic Lip Balm in Naked. Not a day goes by that I don’t reach for this lip balm, and I do promise I’ll post a review soon. It’s free of dyes, flavors, or scents, so it’s just pure moisturizing goodness. It keeps my lips soft and flake free, and it’s great for layering with lipstick.

4. My Muk-Luk slipper boots. Thanks to my Mom for these. They’re super-cute, warm, and comfy. My feet get very cold very easily, even in the summer months, so slipper boots are a must for me when lounging around the house!

5. My lucky necklaces. My husband has given me two special necklaces that I wear every day for good luck. Superstitious? I suppose. But there you go–I use them every day!

And now, five things I use every day in my non-beauty life:

1. Candles. I particularly love scents from Bath and Body Works and Pier 1 Imports. Burning candles makes the house smell good, but it also calms me. There’s something about kicking back with dinner and a good companion in the candlelight, without the TV, computer, or phone distracting you, that makes a day wind down in the most wonderful way.

2. My earbuds. Work can be tedious, but having good music at hand makes the time go faster and lifts my mood immensely. What’s on my playlist? Everything from Beethoven to Pink Floyd, folk rock to electronica, hard rock to world fusion.

3. Pinterest. Here I go again, proclaiming my love of that magical black hole of time and productivity. The truth is, when I’m feeling down or sort of grumpy, logging into Pinterest is a sure-fire way to cheer me up again. Whether I’m pinning new decor ideas for my home or laughing at memes, there’s always something there to make me feel better.

4. Tea. Yes, this coffee addict kicked the habit this summer! I now drink coffee occasionally, but mostly I just drink green tea every day. I’ve been reading for just about forever about the health benefits and how many wonderful things green tea can do for you, and now that I’m finally committed to drinking two or three cups each day, I can see the benefits. I feel less tired, my skin looks better, and I am slimming down as well. I think the lower levels of caffeine are also helping, since I sleep more soundly (most days).

5. My cats. Yes, they’re on this list–because there is nothing like a good cat snuggle to make a day better!

Unboxing: November Julep Maven Maven’s Choice box!

Happy Monday everyone! I received my first official Julep Maven box last week but haven’t had time to post it yet. I hope a few nail polish shots makes your Monday more bearable!

One of the perks of the Julep Maven program is that you’re not bound to your style profile each month–you can switch it up or skip a month at any time! This month, Julep opened up a voting window on their Facebook page so Mavens could vote for their favorite new nail polish to be included in a special Maven’s Choice box. Out of all the polishes rolling out for the month of November, my favorite actually won–so I elected to receive the Maven’s Choice box!

But, oh no! Due to glitches involved with switching to a new website, many Mavens couldn’t log in and make their selections this month! Not to worry–the ever-lovely and capable customer service team at Julep not only manually placed my order, PLUS an add-on–they shipped out my entire order free of charge to apologize for the inconvenience. Yep, you read that right.This is a company that really cares about their customers.

Anyway, enough with the glowing and rambling–I promised you pictures. (I’m going to apologize in advance for the odd mix of lighting, since some of the photos were taken indoors, some had flash, and some were taken outdoors the next day in natural light.)

Everything comes so beautifully packaged, don’t you think? I have to add that under that pretty paper and ribbon wrapping is some serious bubble wrap. Nothing makes me happier than seriously bubble wrapped nail polish!

There were little cards in the box introducing the November box and highlighting some items from the holiday 2012 collection, along with a discount code for holiday purchases. The actual polishes I received were “Trina”, which is a blackberry  gloss, and the Julep Matte Top Coat. My add-on for the month was a new Julep “suede” matte polish in a rust shade, called “Minka”.

I actually expected Trina to be a matte polish for some reason, but I’m kind of glad it isn’t–I wasn’t sure what I would think of the matte polishes. 

Along with Trina and the matte top coat, the Maven’s Choice box featured this lovely body scrub and towel set:

The pink grapefruit scrub has sugar and shea butter to buff and moisturize, and I believe it is vegan. I actually haven’t unsealed this yet; I’m not sure if I’d like to give it to someone as a Christmas present, and as the website is (to my knowledge) still glitchy, I’m not sure if I’ll be able to order a second one before the holidays. So, for now, this item is sitting to the side of my desk. It looks delightful, though!

Every month Julep includes a little “extra”, and this month it was a trio of nail polish remover pads. To be honest, I’ve never used nail polish remover pads before, so these will be fun to try.

Okay, now for the nail polish swatches. First up is Trina; I used one coat of base, two coats of color, and two coats of glossy top coat for maximum shine. This polish is very dark and looks almost black in most lights; I do wish it were a teensy bit less black, but it is a nice color and one I will probably wear a lot. The blackberry shade is very nice for this time of year, especially if (like me) you want to “winter-ify” your pedicure.

I should add that this polish seemed much more “runny” than my other Julep polishes, so it required care around the cuticles and a lot of clean-up afterward. Not a dealbreaker, but something to keep in mind if you’re thinking of buying it.

I used Minka on my fingers. I honestly expected this to look more dull, when in fact it has a lot of shimmer in it. It is a very pretty shade and looked as beautiful on my fingers as it did online; it also dries in mere seconds–seriously, by the time I finish my tenth finger, the first one is ready for another coat!

There’s just one problem: it chipped like crazy after one day! That’s with a coat of base, two coats of color, and two coats of the matte top coat. I have never had this problem with other Julep polishes or with glossy polishes in general, so I’m assuming it has something to do with the matte formula. The texture and finish were very interesting and a nice change for autumn, but I’m not sure I’d wear this finish on a regular basis–I’m pretty in love with the glossy finish. I might try Minka later with a glossy top coat to see how she wears.

So there is my November Julep Maven box! Are you a Julep Maven? If so, what box did you get this month? I’m very happy with this service so far and I can’t wait to see what they roll out for December!