Year: 2012

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!

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!