Wednesday, April 16, 2014

April Birchbox and Ipsy Bag

It's the most wonderful time of the month! Birchbox and Ipsy Bag time!! I'm not gonna lie…this was a make it or break it month for Birchbox. One more crappy box and I was canceling! Ipsy, obviously, I did not expect to disappoint! Let's start with Bircbox…dun dun duuuuun.

Is the suspense killing you yet? OPEN IT, OPEN IT!! Okay, okay. Here goes…cross your fingers for no food!

FOOD! ARE. YOU. KIDDING?!?!?! Alright, calm down before you let the rage take full force. Let's stop and go through each item. The first thing my eye went to was the stupid Kind Bar. Seriously?? I mean, obviously I'll eat it, but come on!! This is not what I signed up for!! Ugh. On to the next one. 

Gala Gem Collection nail polish. This is a pretty, pearly sea foam green. It's nice…however I mainly get my nails done, so I'll rarely use this. 

Next up is Supergoop Daily Correct SPF CC Cream. I used this product this morning after I put my moisturizer on. It's nice, but look at the size of this sample! It's smaller than the nail polish!! Come onnnnn Birchbox. If you want me to spend THIRTY TWO DOLLARS on the full sized version of this product, give me enough to really test it! Jeeeeez.

Also in the box was Paula's Choice 8% AHA Gel Exfoliant. Okay…this stuff is nice. It's got the consistency of gel, but a little more watered down. It's supposed to smooth and color correct. It's a leave on exfoliator, so it's not as harsh as other more typical exfoliating products. I like it a lot, and there is a generous amount in the tube. One point for Birchbox.

Last, (but DEFINITELY not least), Anastasia Beverly Hills Clear Brow Gel. When I saw this product sitting in my box, I'm not gonna lie….I yelped with excitement. YESSSS. Finally Birchbox, you give me what I want!!!! Anastasia products are my holy grail eyebrow essentials. This brow gel is used to set your brows after you're finished with them, and let me tell you, it is THE BOMB DOT COM.

Here's a breakdown of all the products.

Alright Birchbox…you win.  I'll keep you for one more month.

HERE WE GO IPSY BAG!! I can't even contain my excitement. Everything in my bag is SOOOO GOOOOOD!!! The April bag theme is "Beauty Rocks". So cute!

 OOOMMMMMGGGGG. I cannot deal with the glorious contents of this bag. EYELASHES. THERE ARE EYELASHES IN THERE. I died. Ok. Breathe. Here we go.

The first thing in the bag that made me have a minor heart attack was the falsies. A pair of super natural looking Kiss lashes. Gorge. I will be sporting those babies this weekend. Ahh. Next.

URBAN DECAY 24/7 LINER?!? YESSSS. I know. You're jealous. These liners are awesome, and I already have them in a bunch of colors, but I didn't have black. So yay!

Next up is a Cailyn tinted lip gloss. This is so cute. The gloss is in the bottom and then the tall white part of the tube is a little application brush. Love it!!

Then there is a City Color White Gold Shadow and Highlighter. This stuff is like DIAMONDS ON YOUR SKIN. It is soooo beautifuuuul. It has the consistency of a cream shadow, but it goes on so smoothly and is nicely pigmented. A+.

The last thing in the bag is Benefit Lollitint. I haven't tried it yet, but it says it can be used as a lip or cheek stain. The color is really pretty. I'll let you know how it is once I try it!

So obviously this months winner is Ipsy! I am excited about every single product in there. And Birchbox? I'll give it a B-. I'm cranky about food for the third month in a row, but there were a few other goodies that allowed me to look past the Kind Bar! All in all, it was a good month for both products.  Can't wait til May!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Ombre Lips & Green Smokey Eye

Hi All! Sorry I've not posted in forever…I have been a busy bee! I thought I would do a makeup post in honor of this weekends IMATS! My bff Trisha and I are attending for the first time ever, and we are soooo excited! Like….jumping out of our skin excited!!

So back around St. Patrick's Day, Trisha posted a green smokey eye look that was gawww-geous, and it inspired me to do one of my own! Be sure to check out her instagram, @trishabickhart, she is a makeup beast!

I also experimented with an ombre lip! Purple and magenta….love. I used a Milani lip liner in the color Sugar Plum and a Maybelline Color Vivid lipstick in the color Shocking Coral. In order to create the ombre look, I lined my lips first with a thick outline. Then I filled in the inner part of my lips with the lipstick. In order to fade the darker color into the lighter one, I just blended with my fingers!

Now onto the eyeshadows! On the lid I used a Mac shadow in the color Club. Then I layered an Urban Decay shadow in the color Mildew on top of that. On the inner corner of my lid and on my brow bone I used Mac shadow in the color Nylon (this is a great highlight color!). For the crease I used Mac shadow in the color Texture, and the outer V is Mac shadow in the color Smut. 

I loooooved the way this look turned out! Also, these adorable spring time earrings I found at Forever 21, so you know they were a bargain! Go grab them before they're gone! What kind of spring time makeup looks are you loving right now? Comment and let me know!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Bridal Shower Gift With DIY Packaging

This past weekend I attended a bridal shower for a friend of mine. As soon as I got the invitation in the mail, I immediately started brainstorming what kind of gift I wanted to put together! In general, I am a big fan of getting a bunch of smaller gifts rather than one big one, because you can have more fun with the wrapping and presentation of it! And that's not just for bridal shower gifts, that goes for all occasions!

She was registered at Bed, Bath & Beyond, as well as Amazon. I checked out her registries and noted that there were still a bunch of smaller items that had not yet been purchased! I put a few of them in my cart through the Bed, Bath & Beyond website and opted to do an in-store pick up. That feature was WONDERFUL! I clicked everything I wanted into my cart, chose the store that was closest to me, and it was all ready for me at the register at the store the next morning! Sooo convenient, such a perk! Once I got to the store, I threw a couple more goodies in with what I had already picked out. Here is what I ended up with!

I knew right off the bat I didn't want to just wrap everything, so I started to think of different things that could hold all these items. I wanted whatever it was to be something she could use as well! I decided to go with a trifle bowl, because….who doesn't need a trifle bowl! The one I have is from Pier 1, so that's where I headed next. Fortunately, they had some in stock. They also had some adorable flower napkin rings that I knew would be perfect for decoration, so I grabbed four of them! I also got a square center piece setting that I used to line the trifle bowl.

The things in the center are a bar of chocolate and a mini bag of ground coffee - the extras I grabbed at Bed, Bath & Beyond! I also ended up getting a cute dish towel to use to prop everything up nicely inside the bowl. The woman who helped me at Pier 1 was nice enough to let me have one of the mini envelopes their gift cards come in - they all had really cute patterns on them! I used it to hold the gift receipts.

I know you're all dying to see how it turned out!

I was so happy with it! I though it looked so cute, was easy to put together, and definitely stood out! Here is a picture from the shower of myself, my friend Anna, and Jamie - the bride to be!

The shower was fun, despite the horrible rainy weather! Let me know if you try this idea, or come up with any other fun DIY bridal shower ideas!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Power of Lemon Juice!

Hey guys! So my bff Amanda was telling me about this awesome new thing she is trying out for cleaner, clearer skin. It's so simple! She was kind enough to write up all the details for us, so we can all try it too! I can't wait!

I am so excited to share my latest and favorite all-natural beauty and health secret that ayurvedic practitioners have known about for centuries. The ayurvedic philosophy believes that the first thing you ingest in the morning sets your mood for the whole day. But if that's a little too new age for you, keep reading - there's science behind this tip!

Here it is: drinking hot water with lemon first thing in the morning. Yup! It's that simple. The benefits are many, and I'll go into them in a moment, but first let me tell you what you need to know to get started. You must do this FIRST thing in the morning - before you eat, drink, or exercise - the lemon water has to be the first thing in your system (you can brush your teeth beforehand, but let's face it - you don't want to drink lemon water after brushing your teeth). The water should be quite warm, because you stomach will have an easier time digesting it and absorbing all its citric goodness.

Simply squeeze the juice from half a lemon and add it to about 8 ounces of warm/hot water. Drink it with a straw to avoid erosion to your tooth enamel.

But Why?

1. Lemon water is super cleansing! This is a great way to flush your system in the morning. Lemons are a natural diuretic and the citric acid maximizes enzyme function, aiding in natural detoxification. Without getting too personal, let me just say…you'll be regular.

2. You'll notice clearer, brighter skin in just a few days! Vitamin C is known to clear and brighten skin, but starting you day off with the antioxidants in lemons also helps decrease wrinkles, combat blemishes, and fight free radicals. Side note: I sometimes also apply lemon juice directly to blemishes or scars (using a cotton swab), and the acidity will treat them - just don't leave it on overnight or all day as it's too harsh. I usually wash off the lemon juice after about 5 minutes.

3. Expect an increase in energy and mood! I noticed this one right away. I feel like a million bucks after I've had my lemon water in the morning. I'm talking singing and dancing around my apartment at 6am.  Apparently, this has to do with the positively charged ions in the lemon reacting with the negatively charged ions in your guts. Basically, you'll feel like a rock star.

4. Aids in weight loss and management. Thanks to high levels of pectin fiber, lemons fighter hunger cravings. I cannot stress this one enough. I definitely noticed a decrease in appetite. I'm so much better at stopping when I'm full and avoiding mindless snacking since I started this. I can tell you that this is a legitimate result because I didn't even know this would happen, but I noticed it almost immediately - I was just trying to get clear skin! However, this was my favorite result of the hot lemon water routine.

5. Lots of other health stuff, too. I'm not a doctor and I can't really speak to the medical results for myself because I haven't done any testing here, but according to everything I've read, lemon water in the morning is good for your pH levels, lymphatic health, and immune system. Like I said, I can't say if these changes have occurred for me (unlike the other 4 results, all of which I almost immediately noticed), but I have researched the topic fairly extensively, and it seems to be pretty clear that the health benefits are many.

So I really encourage everyone give this a try. Let us know how it goes and I look forward to sharing many more all-natural beauty and health tips!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

March Ipsy Bag

Ok everyone….this month I got my very first IPSY BAG! I was beyond excited to get this treat in my mailbox, and let me tell you, I was not disappointed!! I'm sorry to say that Birch Box has officially been put to shame, in my book at least. Ipsy works the same way Birch Box does. A $10 dollar a month subscription scores you 12 bags a year. And when I say bags, I'm talking adorable cosmetic bags! Here's where you can sign up to get your own Ipsy glam bag.

Ipsy Glam Bag

When I got the notification in my email that my bag was delivered, I could not WAIT to get home! Surprise number one was the package it arrived in. Metallic hot pink?! Yes please!

So, so cute. But don't worry - it gets better! Look at the cosmetic bag!

Adorable! I will totally use this for storage, or travel! But we haven't even gotten to the best part - what was inside! So in this months glam bag, I received a bareMinerals lipstick in the color Get Ready, a Nicole by OPI nail polish in the color Roughles, a Bora Bora eyeshadow quad in Be a Bombshell and a facial primer by Pixi. So many goodies! 

My favorite product in the bag is the eyeshadow quad. It is BEAUTIFUL!! The colors are really pigmented and look so nice once they're applied (I tested it out right away!)

So gorgeous! Ipsy glam bags are something I am totally recommending to everyone! And hopefully the rest of the bags I receive this year will be filled with just as many fabulous goodies as this one!

Monday, March 17, 2014

St. Paddy's Day Nails

Hey guys! This is going to be a short post, but I just wanted to share how festive my nails are looking today!!

I found this look on Pinterest and immediately fell in love. The shamrocks on the ring finger…so cute! Here's the link for the pin.

And here's the website the pin came from - it has some other cute St. Paddy's nail ideas too!

The salon I've been going to, a recommendation from Trisha, is called J'Adore Nails & Spa. It is so fabulous! The girl that does my nails, Linda, is INCREDIBLE. She can literally do anything you ask for, so talented!! Follow her on Instagram at @nailsbylinda to see all of her fabulous designs. I'll post the link for the salon below. If you are local to the South Jersey area, I highly recommend making an appointment!

J'Adore Nail & Spa

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

DIY Spring Wreath

Hurry up, Spring!! The last two gorgeous days have prompted me to do a little spring decorating. I can't wait for the nice weather!! Over the past few weeks, I've seen a lot of really beautiful spring door wreaths from A.C. Moore and Michaels. But the prices….so much money! Most range from $35-$50. Way more than I'd like to spend on something that is going to live outside and have to face the elements. So I decided to create my own wreath instead! Save some money and do arts and crafts? Sign me up!

I headed to Jo-Ann Fabrics, which I've been using as my go-to craft store more and more lately. I picked up a plain wreath to use as my base. This little beauty cost me about 5 bucks.

Next, I headed to the "Floral Inspirations" isle to pick out my flowers, which proved to be the most difficult part of the process. There was so much to choose from! At first, I was all over the map. I couldn't figure out a color scheme, because everything was so pretty! Finally I was able to narrow it down to lavender, yellow, and magenta. But even when I picked out my key colors, there were still a lot of options. But this is what I ended up with!

I got one single pink rose because I knew I wanted that to sit right at the top. Then I grabbed a bushel of different color Gerbera Daisy, and some Baby Cosmos Spray. Bonus: all the flowers at Jo-Ann's were 40% off! The flowers ended up costing around $12.

I knew I wanted to add a little extra something to the wreath besides just the flowers, and these cute little butterflies ended up being the perfect touch. And they were only $2.99!

I also grabbed some cloth wire in the same color as the wreath so I could make sure everything was secure. $1.99.

Finally, time to create! Making the wreath was probably the easiest part. I made sure when I snipped the flowers off of their bush, I left a few inches of stem to tuck into the twigs of the wreath to make it more secure. I arranged everything so the big rose was at the top, the daisies were spread evenly around the circumference, and the spray was tucked into the empty spaces. Next I added in the butterflies, which conveniently had little clips on the backs of them, so they were easy to attach. Then I took the wire and wrapped it around about 7 different spots. Didn't want anything to budge! I am in love with how it turned out!

New life to my front door! Now if only this nice weather would stick around. No more snow, please!! So all in all, this ended up costing me a little over $20. Not too bad for how nicely it turned out. Way better than a pre-made one for $50!!