Month: November 2012

Cute Shoe Monday: sparkle-accented pumps

I’m on a bit of a sparkly roll for the holidays! Here are some pumps I’d love to own for the holiday season; they’re just so sparkly and gorgeous, and I think they’d make any plain dress look party-ready in a snap.

Rhinestoned Platform Pumps, $34.80, Forever 21

Product review: Not Your Mother’s Smooth Moves Hair Cream

Today I have another product review for you from my Influenster Beauty Blogger VoxBox. I’ve seen Not Your Mother’s hair care products at Wal-Mart before and was very curious to try this smoothing cream. I did of course e-mail and Facebook the company first to inquire about their animal testing policies, and was told that they “do not test their products on animals and do not support animal testing” and also do not use animal ingredients in their products, with the exception of this cream (which contains silk).

So, how did this de-frizzing cream work for a girl with indecisively straight yet wavy, limpish and thin hair? Read on to find out!

The product: Not Your Mother’s Smooth Moves Frizz Control Hair Cream; $6 for a 4 fl oz bottle; drugstores

The claim: According to the card in my VoxBox, this cream is supposed to fight out-of-control hair and cut down on styling time.

I tried it: To understand just why I was so excited about trying this product, I think it’s helpful to understand my hair type. It’s maddeningly indecisive, refusing to hold a curl but developing waves when I want to wear it straight. It gets frizzy and, perhaps worse, staticky; yet piling on product leaves it limp and unlovely, since it’s also rather thin and flat to begin with. Therefore, I’m rather reluctant to purchase full-size hair products sight unseen, since it’s kind of a toss-up on whether they’ll really help my hair or not.

I applied this cream to damp hair after thoroughly towel-drying; after combing a quarter-sized blob through from root to tip (my hair is fairly long), I let my hair air-dry for the night. I like that it has a lightweight cream texture, rather than a sticky gel base.

I’ll first note that this seemed to speed my drying time, which is a huge bonus. The coconut smell wasn’t overpowering or lingering, which is a good thing, since I generally don’t like heavily scented hair products.

The next day, I was honestly shocked at how my hair looked when I woke up. For reference, let’s flash back to how my hair looked the day after I had it cut, last month:

This is with some sort of silkening/smoothing cream, used by the hairstylist at ULTA. (I honestly have no idea what she used, I forgot to ask!) It was great the first day, but as you can see, by the second day my hair was looking a wee bit limp and there’s no volume at the roots. It didn’t look bad in person, but this is my typical day-two experience when putting product in my hair.

Now, let’s look at my day-two hair with NYM (apologies for the poor lighting):

Notice how it looks so much thicker and there’s lift at the roots? I almost never achieve that result with a smoothing product–and here’s the real kicker; this photo was taken toward the end of the day, when my hair should really be looking limp. Instead it looks like I used the hot rollers and brushed it out for bouncy volume. I’m also very impressed to see that it’s quite smooth (which I don’t think shows very well in the picture), and there’s no static (quite impressive, considering that it is November and we’re officially heading into staticky hair season).

I’ve always secretly envied Kristen Stewart her effortlessly thick, slightly tousled, “I just ran my fingers through my hair and tossed it over one shoulder” hairdo. I know lots of people bag on her and I’m not really a fan of her (for multiple reasons), but there’s something about her hair that appeals to me.

You can’t tell me she doesn‘t look classy here! Source: via Martha on Pinterest

I suppose now I could ruffle my hair up and come pretty close to mimicking her hairdo. Seriously, her hair looks like this in almost every picture I’ve ever seen of her:
My K-Stew face!
The verdict: Overall, then, a smashing success! I really like this product and feel like it’s one of the rare de-frizzers that actually works without weighing down my hair. The bounce, softness, and shine all have me hooked, and I love the low price tag. One gripe: I wish it were vegan, since I prioritize buying vegan beauty products. For that reason, I might not repurchase this again right away; however, if you don’t object to buying non-vegan beauty products, then this is definitely one to track down ASAP!

Disclaimer: I received this product from Influenster for testing purposes; however that does not affect my honest and complete review of the product.

Kanga the special needs kitten needs help

I know that many of you have been following along with the story of Little Bear and his quest to get treatment for his radial aplasia. Well, this is another special needs kitten who desperately needs help!

Her name is Kanga and she suffers from both radial aplasia and Megaesophagus. Mega-E basically means that the esophagus does not properly function, so the animal cannot swallow their food. They regurgitate food and risk choking to death or dying of malnutrition, among other things. You can learn more about Mega-E and “squittens” on Kanga’s Facebook page; her human Mom has a full “notes” section with helpful health info on Kanga’s conditions!

Because Mega-E can be caused or worsened by internal blockage and damage, she needs a diagnostic test to determine if full surgery is necessary to prevent her from eventually choking to death. The initial diagnostic test costs upwards of $1,000 and Kanga’s mom has been advised that the actual surgery (if Kanga is eligible) could cost around $5,000.

Obviously that’s a lot of money to raise in a short period of time! On top of that, Kanga requires round-the-clock care and supervision for her conditions, along with special food, cat litter, and other necessities. 

If you would like to help Kanga, there are a number of ways to do so! You can visit her on Facebook to say hi and learn more about her condition.

If you want to contribute to Kanga’s ChipIn, the link for that is here. Note: Kanga’s Mom has said that she will only leave the ChipIn open if the surgery is deemed necessary, The money raised will not be used for food or other expenses.

Christmas is coming, so why not buy Kanga something from her Amazon wish list? (Link here.)

Thanks for reading about Kanga! Be sure to visit her Facebook page for tons more cute pictures of her and her brother, Roo!And make sure to scroll down to see her YouTube video!

Get the Look: Taylor Swift on the November cover of Glamour

I decided to start posting my “Get the look” magazine cover rundown according to the month on the magazine, not the month in which I receive it. It seems odd to be posting September covers in August, and October covers in September, and so on and so forth. Also, I often don’t get to sit down and read the magazines as soon as they land in my mailbox, and I feel a little weird offering you guys fashion suggestions when I haven’t even opened the darn magazine!

We’ll start with Taylor Swift on the November cover of Glamour magazine. I was kind of surprised, though not displeased, to see Taylor rocking her natural curls again after so months courting the straightening iron. (Though I did see she returned to straight hair for the cover of another ladies’ mag recently.)


It would seem that the color red is really big right now, because I’ve seen several magazines with cover stars sporting the shade. Obviously, it’s also a personal color for Taylor, who just dropped a new album titled Red. I really love that Taylor went with short nails and a lined red lip here; I think it’s more classy and chic than long nails and a super-glossy pout. She finished it off with just the right amount of volumizing black mascara.

The combo of a sparkly sequin top and a red skirt is very holiday. I could see her wearing red pumps with this, just to carry on with the color! The single gold bracelet is a nice way to pick up on the top without going overboard in the bling department.

1. Mossimo tank with gold sequins, $24.99, Target
2. Merona Red Skinny Belt, $12.99, Target
3. Brash Kosmic Platform Pumps, $34.99, Payless
4. Wet n Wild Silk Finish Lipstick in Cinnamon, $1, drugstores
5. Wet n Wild Mega Last Nail Color in I Red A Good Book, $3, drugstores
6. Full Tilt Hi Low Skirt, $17.97, Tilly’s
7. Rhinestoned Bracelet, $4.80, Forever 21

Accessory Friday: sparkly clutch

I’m on a little bit of an H&M kick these days, thanks to the store opening in my town last week. Here’s another item of theirs that I’m itching for this holiday season: a metallic envelope clutch to add sparkle to any party outfit.

Bag, $12.95, H&M stores

Product review: Kiss Ever Pro Lashes Starter Kit

When I got the Kiss Ever Pro strip lashes in my Influenster VoxBox, I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to use them–a glass candle in the box broke and it looked like glass might have gotten into the eyelash packaging! Luckily upon closer inspection I saw that there was some inner packaging protecting the lashes from any shards of glass, so I got to try them out when I dressed up for Halloween–and now I have a review for you!

The product: Kiss Ever Pro Lashes Starter Kit, $5.99 at drugstores

The claim: The lashes are supposed to give you the salon look in a snap, with easy application and 24-hour glue.

I tried it: I must first confess that I’ve never tried strip lashes before, so I can’t say whether these are any easier or harder to apply than other brands. I will give you my opinion of these versus individual lashes at the end, though!

These lashes are very thick and full. They’re quite soft and lush, which makes them look very natural (or as natural as false lashes can ever look). Unfortunately, they have a very thick black band at the base. You can’t really see it in the packaging, but it’s impossible to miss once it’s on your lid. To wear these lashes, you will absolutely need an ultra black liquid liner to line your top lids and hide that strip.

I tried using the little lash tweezer and finally gave up; I found it easier to use my fingers to press the strips into place. The glue seems very nice and as a bonus it is latex-free!

Let’s look at my lashes before application, with just a touch of mascara. I do recommend brushing on a bit of black mascara because unless your natural lashes are ultra-black, they will show up oddly against the falsies.

My natural lashes are pretty long, but not overly thick. Now, let’s look at what happens when I add the Kiss strip falsies. I used black liquid liner to finish lining my top lids to disguise the strip, which I think worked very well. Then I curled the strip lashes and my natural lashes together with a lash curler, and added a couple of swipes of ultra black mascara to blend them. Finally, I used a black pencil liner to lightly line my lower lash line and added some waterproof black mascara on my lower lashes to balance it all out.

Now those are some movie star worthy lashes! The glue worked pretty well to keep the lashes on during my evening out and it didn’t irritate my eyes at all. I noticed that after about six hours the corner of one lash strip was starting to come a bit loose, but since this was my first time applying strip falsies I’m blaming that more on my application technique than on the glue.

When it came time to take them off, I found that they peeled off fairly easily, though I did press a makeup remover pad to my eyes for several seconds first to loosen everything up. I cleaned off the lashes with makeup remover and put them back on their tray for storage. They look undamaged and ready to wear another night.

Okay, I promised I would compare these to individual lashes; so, which do I think is better? Honestly, I have mixed feelings about the strips. I didn’t like having to disguise that thick black strip, but I suppose in all honesty, if you’re wearing these than you’re not going for subtlety. The biggest reason I would choose small clusters of individual lashes over heavy strip falsies is simply the feel of them: I felt like I had two caterpillars perched on my lids all night long!

That is certainly not the fault of Kiss–the lashes are actually very lightweight and lovely. It’s just an exceedingly odd sensation to be able to see your lashes in your peripherals, and feel that you have giant fuzzy things on your lids. After wearing them all night, I wasn’t as weirded out by the black veil in my upper peripheral vision, but if you’ve never worn strip falsies of this thickness before, it will take some getting used to!

On the other hand, after I took off the strips, my natural lashes looked so sad and thin! I wouldn’t wear these every day, but for a big night out when you want a super-dramatic eye look, they definitely deliver. I don’t think it’s easier or harder to apply either type of lashes; they just require a slightly different approach, though if you’re new to strips, you might want to practice aligning them first to be sure they don’t wind up crooked.

The verdict: Buy them! I think you’d be hard-pressed to find another pair of such soft, thick, nice strip lashes for such a low price–and I love that the glue is suitable for those with a latex allergy. Like I said, for everyday wear individual lashes might be better for a lush but more low-key look; however, I’ll definitely be re-using these for my extra-glam date nights, and I’ll be sure to repurchase them in the future. It just goes to show you that it’s good to try something different–you might end up really, really liking it!

If you want to see my full Halloween look, click here!

Disclaimer: I received these lashes courtesy of Influenster for testing purposes; however, that does not affect my commitment to providing you with an honest and thorough review.

October 2012 empties

I’ve seen lots of other bloggers doing monthly “empties” posts, so I thought I’d jump on board with my own! I meant to post this a little sooner, but between the election, all of the news about Hurricane Sandy, and other things, I just haven’t gotten the chance.

I only have four empties this month: Jason Aloe Vera Body Wash, Giovanni Tea Tree Shampoo, Alba Botanica Plumeria Hawaiian Conditioner, and Queen Helene Olive Oil Hot Oil Treatment.

Thoughts on these products: The Jason body wash is vegan-friendly and chemical-free and comes in a jumbo liter size for about $14 at Target, which is a fantastic deal. I’m going to try to put up a review of this product soon. This body wash has a fairly gender-neutral, light aloe smell and gets you clean without being harsh on your skin. I’m not necessarily a huge fan of the smell simply because I prefer more girly body washes, but my husband likes this stuff so I will keep buying it for him. I know that it does come in other fragrances.

The Giovanni shampoo is one of my favorite hair products ever; I actually just wrote a full-length review on this, so I won’t repeat myself unnecessarily. Suffice it to say: I will definitely buy this again. It leaves my hair super-soft, shiny, and smelling like mint, but doesn’t strip away moisture or color. Love! You can pick it up for $8-$9 at Target or ULTA.

The Alba Botanica was another Target buy and was actually on clearance–but don’t worry, you can still find it for $10.50 at the company’s website. This is another product that I really need to review soon, because as cheesy as it sounds, it was a life-changer for me. The extra $$$ for a conditioner that is chemical-free is really a worthwhile investment; I think it’s safe to say that my color lasts twice as long with this formula as opposed to a regular drugstore conditioner! It also leaves my hair very soft and shiny. I’ll definitely repurchase this in the future.

The final product is the Queen Helene hot oil, and out of the whole batch of empties, this is probably the one that I am least impressed with. To be fair, I look for products that will make my hair silky and moisturized, and this is geared more toward people worrying about strength and breakage. However, the product was a bit difficult to use (compared to conditioning masques) and after using the three tubes, I just didn’t feel like it made enough of a difference for my hair to buy another package. If you’re interested, it costs about $5, and I will be doing a full review of it soon. It’s not a bad product, just not one I’ll rush out to buy again.

So those are my empties for October 2012! If you are doing monthly empties posts leave me a link in your comment so I can check them out!

Random Thursdays: If I Didn’t Have To Work…

Oh, that’s something we’ve all thought, right? I would be less stressed and have time for all of the things that I want to do. All of those projects would suddenly get done: the knitting, the scrapbooking, the mountains of little DIYs that I add to my Pinterest boards but don’t find the time to complete. I would be cooking and baking up a storm. I would have time for all sorts of art events and visits with friends. My house would always be clean and spotless.
Mainly, though…if I didn’t have to work, I would be writing up a storm. I’ve been making microscopically slow process trying to write my first novel, and I do blame my hectic work schedule. It’s very hard to come home from work in the morning, complete chores and errands and a half a dozen other to-dos, work on the blog, play with the cats, visit with the husband (if he’s not at work that day), and then sit down to work on a chapter. With everything in life, there is very little time to write–and when I do sit down to write, half the time, I’m too tired to even type.
As it is, I scrape out a few sentences or a few hundred words as often as I can, but the going is slow. Sometimes I think it will take me years to finish this book! But I’ll keep trying. Who knows, maybe someday I will be able to make a living from writing–and then I won’t have to work, because work and my hobby will become one. Wish me luck!
If you didn’t have to work, what would you be doing? Tell me in the comments!