Monday, September 30, 2013

Fall 2013 Fashion Trends

So what are trendsetters wearing this Fall?  A little mix of everything! Check out the list below to find out what items you should be on the lookout for this Fall.  And, as a challenge I accepted, I am listing all H&M items to show you can get great quality, trendy items for less.


Hats

Knitted Beret by H&M

Felt Hat by H&M

Leather [or imitation leather]

Imitation Leather Skirt by H&M

Imitation Leather Skirt by H&M
Imitation Leather Biker Jacket by H&M

Prints

Jersey Dress by H&M
Short Skirt by H&M

Emerald Green

Viscose Top by H&M
Slim Fit Pants by H&M

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Essie Fall 2013

Nails!  In the past, I very rarely painted my nails.   And to explain this, I must confess my yucky habit.  I bite my nails. I have since I was a little girl and have tried to stop countless times over the years.  But it always ends the same.  I stop biting my nails, they are starting to grow long and then the next thing I know, I look down and they're all gone.  It's such an ingrained habit, I do it without even knowing I'm doing it.

So the time it took for my nails to dry just never seemed worth it.  And when I did try to pretty up my nails,  I was always one to try to get stuff done too soon after... leaving them, well, not so pretty.   BUT I recently found Essie's "good to go!" top coat.  And it has literally changed my beauty routine.  My nails are dry to the touch after a minute or two and completely dry after about 6 minutes. Love it! 

(I also decided to not use the swatches I made with my bitten nails in order to try to do these colors some justice. Thank you to beautezine and Of Life And Lacquer for their gorgeous nails and swatches.)

Of course after trying "good to go!", I was anxious to try more Essie products.  So I was very excited (and grateful) when I was sent Essie's Fall 2013 line to try and review.  This line has all of the trendy nail colors for fall. 

I've noticed, in the past year or so, Essie has really been stepping up their game when it comes to color selection.  Not only do they have every color you could possibly imagine, they also have some of the most unique colors.  And those unique colors are always the ones that make me stop and take another look.



Cashmere Bathrobe Swatch by
OfLifeandLacquer.com
Just For the Twill Of It Swatch
by beautezine.com
"Just For the Twill of It" is the definition of a unique color.  A gorgeous medium brown with a reflective green shimmer. It's one of those hard to photograph chrome polishes.  The color shifts with the light and there isn't a photograph that could show it's true beauty.  It's definitely a color I've never seen and I am instantly drawn to it.

My favorite out of the collection has to be "Cashmere Bathrobe."   It is a true flannel gray with a little bit of shimmer to it.  A great neutral that goes with any occasion and outfit, I see myself wearing this nail color throughout the rest of the year. A great color for someone who doesn't change up their nail color often.



After School Boy Blazer Swatch by
OfLifeAndLacquer.com
Vested Interest Swatch by
OfLifeAndLacquer.com

"After School Boy Blazer" is a nice crisp navy blue.  This is another big color that is trending this Fall and this is the prettiest navy blue polish I've ever seen.  I only needed to apply one coat of this one to get full, sleek coverage. A definite plus for any busy lady!

Another pretty gray included in the Fall 2013 line is "Vested Interest."  This is what I am currently wearing on my toes and it is another color that is truly unique to Essie.  It's a very pretty teal-gray that reminds me of a breezy day by the ocean with mists of rain. 



The Lace Is On Swatch by
OfLifeAndLacquer.com
Twin Sweater Swatch by
OfLifeAndLacquer.com
"The Lace Is On" is one of the most radiant purple-y/ pink-y colors I've seen in awhile.  If you're not into dark colors and are craving something a bit brighter for fall, this color is for you. It's a gorgeous jewel tone and believe me, the way it looks in the bottle does not do it justice.

"Twin Sweater Set" is a very shiny, bright, fun red.  Forever classy, this color truly captures the sophistication of red nails.  This is a great color for Christmas time as well.

Overall, my experiences with these lacquers was great.  They didn't streak and I only needed one or two coats to get full coverage on my nails.  They also dried very quickly (even without the top coat) and seemed to be pretty chip resistant.  Very excited to try more Essie products in the future and will definitely recommend their products to those who want to pretty up their nails with minimal time and effort.




Saturday, September 28, 2013

Miracle Miles 2013

Here is another rare post about events in my life!  Last weekend we participated in The 15th Annual Miracle Miles 5K to support our friends - the Flynn family aka Team Tin Man. It was both my son's and my first 5k.  Like my son, I'm not much of a morning person.  So getting up at 4:30am to get both me and the baby ready was a little rough.  Especially since we went to bed around 1am.  But once I had some coffee, I was ready and excited to go!

Team Tin Man
We decided to walk the 5k.  I'm not one to race or worry about "my time" so it ended up being a nice relaxing long walk.  My son was definitely relaxed - he fell asleep in his stroller.

My son's 5k outfit

At the end of the race we were all ready to take a nap and my son was definitely ready to go home.  Overall it was a great family experience and I'm already planning to do it again next year.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Hair

I don't usually post videos two days in a row, but I've been meaning to share my newly discovered hair care products with you all for awhile.  Enjoy!


Thursday, September 26, 2013

Free Stuff? ...Take a look at these programs.

Happy Friday eve everyone!

When I first started this blog, I was made aware of these great marketing campaign programs and have received questions about them so I decided to make the video below.  This is a great way to make sure your voice is heard while receiving products for free.





Influenster - You must be invited. I have 4 invites left. If you would like an invitation please let me know.

Bzz Agent

Smiley360

Swaggable

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Favorite Fall Season Yums!

I really love Fall.  And you all know that by now.  I also really love food. So here are a few of my FAVORITE seasonal goodies for fall.


Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte

I look forward to this every year and often celebrate the beginning of fall with a cup of this caffeinated treat.

7-11 Pumpkin Spice Latte


My husband recently turned me on to this.  Less than half of the price of the Starbucks version, this cup of coffee tastes just like pumpkin pie.

2 Ingrediant Pumpkin Spice Cookies
PBfingers.com

I got this recipe from Pbfingers years ago and I make them every Fall.  They are yummy with or without frosting

Pumpkin Pie with Whipped Cream

I have to be honest.  I have yet to make a pumpkin pie from scratch.  I normally just buy the frozen pies at the grocery store.


Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

 Fresh, homemade are always the best.  When I was a little girl, my mom used to gut the pumpkin, clean the seeds, and toast them in the toaster oven with butter and salt.  Yummy!







Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Emmy Fashion Favorites

I'm a little late but here are my Emmy Fashion Favorites.


Kerry Washington


Tina Fey





Kaley Cuoco


Julianne Hough
(I know I'm in the minority with this one but I love a fashion risk!)


Maria Menounos



Favorite Make-up

Allison Williams


Julianne Hough


Zooey Deschanel


Kate Mara


Christina Hendricks


Monday, September 23, 2013

Jason Aloe Lotion - My Beauty Obsession of The Week

As you all know, I have been experimenting with products that contain more natural ingredients.  I was recently sent JASON Soothing 84% Aloe Vera Hand & Body Lotion to try. 
Honestly, I saw the aloe and was immediately interested to try this product (Florida sun, anyone?) but I was also pretty skeptical.  In the past, a lot of Aloe products I've tried leave behind an uncomfortable, almost sticky, film.  Making me not want to use this skin healing ingredient as often as I probably should. 

Hopeful, I applied this lotion to my freshly shaved legs after my evening shower.  I was very happy that the lotion was creamy, not sticky and seemed to soften my skin without a residue.  But this product hadn't passed my test yet.  I was sure when I woke up I would either 1. feel at least a slight film or 2. have the feel of just an ordinary lotion.

I woke up the next morning, got my son ready for the day, got dressed and had my morning coffee, completely forgetting about the product I had put to the test the night before.  It wasn't until later in the afternoon, when I was wiping some unidentifiable liquid off of my leg, that I realize... I had been completely comfortable all day.  No film-y, sticky feeling.  No dryness or itchy skin.  I then felt my legs. They were incredibly soft and smooth. They felt moisturized but didn't feel greasy or like I had lotion on.  You know, that slimy feeling you sometimes get after getting a previously lotion-ed body part wet?  I didn't experience that either.  I'm pretty sure I was in shock as I felt my leg, causing my husband to ask if I was ok.

I have been using this lotion every night since and I'm sure my sun-drenched skin is happy.  Which makes this mommy very happy. Two thumbs up!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Fall-ing In Love With Fall

Fall is finally here! Today is the official first day of Fall.  And although it still feels like Summer here, I am already trying to figure out what fun fall weather things I can incorporate into my routine.  Here's what I have so far.

For the Home

 Autumn Scents



Scent is a BIG part of my "Holiday" routine.  In the past I have used wall plugins and candles.  This year, I decided to pull out my electric tart warmer and use that instead.  I figured an open flame would be a bad idea with a little one on the move.  Same for wall plugins.  

I use the following scents from Yankee Candle during October and November.

Autumn Leaves - This one is my favorite.  It is a fresh, crisp Fall scent.  Very different than most warm, sweet Fall scents out there.

Pumpkin Wreath - This is a very warm pumpkin-vanilla scent with a touch of apples and cinnamon.

Be Thankful - This scent is more cinnamon-apple-vanilla than any of the above.  It's nice on a chillier day but not one I like to have all of the time

Autumn Wreath



I STILL have not found a great Autumn Wreath.  That may be because the one I have envisioned that I want is very similar to the one my mom had while I was growing up - which was one-of-a-kind and made by my great-grandmother.  I would like one with "fall leaves" (since we don't get to see those naturally here in Florida), a scarecrow, and maybe pumpkins.  Most that I find are either too fancy or too "rustic."  I may have to give in and make my own.

Jack-o-Lanterns - with a twist



Getting pumpkins to carve is a tradition many have.  This year I want to try something new.  Instead of carving a face into the pumpkins, I would like to use a power drill to create designs.  I know we'll be doing the standard Jack-o-Lanterns in the years to come, so I figure this is my chance to try this sophisticated look since my son is not old enough to be aware of traditions.



Beauty/ Fashion 

Nails




I may not be able to wear my fall clothing in this 85-90 degree weather, but I can change my nail polish colors now.  This year my fall colors will be bronze, navy blue, "Wine red", and gray.  Currently wearing "Vested Interest" by Essie.


Hair


Some ladies like to change the color of their hair during the Fall/ Winter months.  I am trying to get back to my long layered look.  Last Fall/Winter I chopped all of my hair off (below). It's the shortest my hair has been in years.  Why? Simple. Pregnancy and hot flashes.  I was so fed up with being uncomfortable and my hair seemed to be part of the problem.  Now, I'm trying to let my hair grow out.  Hopefully it will be back to it's long length this fall.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Cooking Mommy - How To Know Which Oil To Use

Happy Saturday!   I found this article on Yahoo and thought I would share it with you all!

How to Choose the Right Oil for Cooking and Baking


Inspired by conversations on the Food52 Hotline, we're sharing tips and tricks that make navigating all of our kitchens easier and more fun.
Today: When it comes to cooking and baking with oil, it's all about finding Mr. Right.

 Walking into the oil aisle is a sensory overload: all of those glistening bottles lined neatly in a row, their labels brimming with information. Once upon a time, the decision would have been made for you -- vegetable oil or nothing -- but these days, you have to process loads of information when picking out your purchase. Do you want refined or unrefined? Olive oil or canola? And boy, does the packaging on the pistachio oil look appealing or what? 
>>RELATED: How to get over your fear of frying
There are two elements you should take into account when choosing oil:
  1. The flavor of the oil
  2. The temperature at which it will be cooked 
 For frying, the cardinal rule of oil selection is to pick an oil with a smoke point -- the temperature at which the oil starts to smoke -- that is higher than the frying temperature the recipe calls for. 

Before you venture down the oil aisle, you should also know that:
  • Smoke points range from 200 to 400° F and also depend on how the oil was pressed, filtered, and refined. Because less processed oils have lower smoke points, refined oils are generally more suitable for high temperature cooking. 
  • Most foods are fried between 350 and 400° F. If you choose oils with a smoke point above 400° F, you're in the clear.
  • Oil that starts to smoke will eventually catch on fire, but even oil that smokes and does not go up in flames will lose its flavor and its potential health benefits.
  • You don't necessarily need a thermometer to monitor oil temperature. As oil heats, it will become fragrant and shimmery and will seem thinner than when you poured it from the bottle. When you notice all of these signs, the oil is approaching its smoke point and is hot enough to cook with. When you add the food, you'll automatically lower the oil's temperature and prevent it from reaching the smoke point.
>>RELATED: How to poach in olive oil
Don't panic just yet. We've made a handy list that splits up the oils by application, with a brief blurb on each type:

For dressing and drizzling:
  • Nut oils -- like walnut, dark sesame, and roasted peanut oil or, if you're splurging, pistachio, hazelnut, pumpkin seed, and pecan oil -- are all best in cold dishes. Heat destroys their delicate, distinct flavors.

  • Flavored or scented oils -- like wasabi, porcini, lemon, and truffle oil -- are generally expensive products where a little goes a long way. 

For low-heat or warming (as well as dressings and drizzlings):
  • Olive oil has a low smoke point, making it unsuitable for deep-frying. Use it in dressings, garnishes, and for low-heat cooking. And don't write it off for baking either: granola and plum cake wouldn't be the same without it.
  • Sesame oil comes in 2 varieties, light and dark. The light version has a mild nutty flavor and can be used for frying. Dark sesame oil, great for dressings, dipping sauces, and seasonings, has a stronger flavor and a low smoke point. Monitor it carefully if using it to cook.

For baking and low-heat cooking:
  • Coconut oil, which is solid at room temperature, can be substituted for butter to create vegan-friendly dishes.

  • Butter may not be an oil, but we simply can't leave it out. Get the wonderful flavor of butter while side-stepping its low smoke point by mixing it with other oils, like olive oil, when cooking.

  • Vegetable, canola, safflower, and sunflower oil are also often used in baked goods.

For high-heat applications, frying, sautéing, and searing:
Neutral oils:
  • Vegetable oil is an umbrella term for plant-based oils. It will likely contain soybean oil, but may also be made from cottonseed, sunflower, or safflower oil (or a combination). It is neutral-tasting, all-purpose, and great for baking and high-heat frying.

  • Safflower oil is almost flavorless and has a high smoke point (520° F). It can be used as a substitute for vegetable oil and, because it does not solidify when chilled, is also great for salad dressings.

  • Canola oil, made from rapeseeds, is cheap and popular, but can turn rancid quickly. Use it as a substitute for vegetable oil, but note that some cooks consider it to have a slightly off flavor.

  • Rice bran oil is more expensive than other neutral oils, but has gained popularity for its health benefits and among cooks concerned about GMOs in other types of oil. Plus, in a Cook's Illustrated taste test, rice bran oil put canola oil to shame, especially at high temperatures.

  • Corn oil, almost tasteless and able to withstand high temperatures without smoking, is useful for all-purpose cooking. Unrefined corn oil will have a more distinct corn flavor.

  • Grapeseed oil is a a winemaking by-product that's neutral and versatile. Use it for sautéing, pan-frying, grilling, roasting.

  • Peanut oil is different from its fellow nut oils in that it has a much milder flavor and much hihger smoking point. It's good for deep-frying, pan-frying, grilling, and roasting. Refined peanut oil is Cook's Illustrated number one choice for deep-frying. (Unrefined peanut oil, which comes in small, expensive bottles, is not suitable for frying and is much more flavorful).

The others:
  • Avocado oil has many of the same health benefits of olive oil but has the advantage of a high smoke point (520° F), making it more suitable for high-temperature applications.

  • Apricot kernel oil may be better known for its use in skin care and massage, but in How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, Mark Bittman calls it out as ideal for high-heat roasting and cooking.
What are your favorite oils to use in the kitchen? Tell us in the comments below.
Photos by James Ransom

Friday, September 20, 2013

Battle of the Beauty Bags

This month I received two different Beauty Bags.  One from my usual subscription, Ipsy, and one from Hautelook.  Check out how they stack up in my review below!
(Sorry for 1. the noise - I am a mommy first :o) and 2. My mommy hair-do)


Thursday, September 19, 2013

Avalon Organics Review

Alright! I'm continuing with my skincare adventure.  Since my skin has become even more sensitive after pregnancy, I've been trying more and more organic skincare products.  I find that organic, natural products seem to be a safer, more soothing bet for my skin now.  That being said, I was extremely excited to receive Avalon Organics products to review.

 Avalon Organics not only provides organic products made with botanicals, extracts and essential oils; they also use environmentally friendly packaging and look for new ways to reduce their environmental impact.  Another company to support for looking at more than just the fiscal bottom line.

My first experience with Avalon Organics was with a product called "Lavender Luminosity Exfoliating Extreme Scrub." Right away I noticed the scent of this product! It's calming, fresh, and light!  I also like that this is a gentle exfoliate. The finely ground walnut shells in this scrub are just that, finely ground so you don't have to worry about this scrub being too harsh or irritating/scratching skin.  After using just once, my skin felt smoother and softer.  This product is meant as a facial product, but I also used it on my shoulders and arms - the places I get the most sun exposure.  I definitely noticed a difference in the feel and look of my skin after using this product.  It seemed so much more radiant!

Next on my Avalon Organics journey- Aloe Unscented Moisturizing Cream Shave.  This is definitely my new favorite shaving cream.  I usually don't use shaving cream because, in the past, I've found most products are either too thick, irritate my skin, dry out my skin or actually make the shave inconsistent throughout my legs. This cream is different.  It's not very thick but yet provides a great layer of protection and actually soothes my skin and prevents razor burn.  It doesn't clog up my razor and best of all I ended up with close shave all over! I was also able to skip my after shower lotion because of this product. This mommy loves to save time with her beauty routine and skipping a step definitely does that! Every minute counts when you're a busy mom!

After this fantastic experience, I will definitely try more Avalon Organics products in the future. Knowing I will be getting a safe, effective, quality product without the worry of harsh chemicals and irritants is a definite thumbs up on my end. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Simone France Review

Get ready mommies, I am branching out into skincare.  In the past, I have been hesitant about testing out new skincare products since my skin is ultra sensitive.  But I figured, that makes me the perfect guinea pig!  Because if it doesn't irritate my skin, it probably won't irritate yours (though everyone is different.)

The first company I decided to branch out with? Simone France.  I felt pretty confident that my skin would look great with this well trusted brand and would be a great way to ease my way into skincare reviews.

Lately I have been a little obsessed with the idea of not needing makeup.  Meaning, instead of covering up my skin imperfections with makeup, actually FIXING the problem so my skin looks great makeup free.  Luckily, the people at Simone France have the same idea and sent me the Instant Radiance Exfoliating Mask.  I used this mask once and fell in love.  At first, I got a little worried since my eyes started to water but that soon faded.  This mask works right away at making my skin soft, smooth, and best of all - my skin glows! I love this mask and have already used it several times.

Next issue to tackle... an issue most moms have, stretch marks.  Now I don't have any stretch marks on my tummy since I used that old cocoa butter trick early on in my pregnancy. However, I only put the cocoa butter on my tummy. No one told me I should put it anywhere else - like my chest.  I guess I never really thought about it, although it is common for a woman's bust size to grow during and after pregnancy, I never thought I would get stretch marks there.  The solution for this problem?  Simone France's Line Minimizer: Anti-Aging, Moisturizing, Skin Repair Treatment Oil.  I used this 100% Emu Oil for one week on my stretch marks and I believe they've already begun to fade.  This oil can also be used on the face to minimize lines and wrinkles, on baby's diaper rash, and as an under eye treatment.  So many uses for this product, which shouldn't be surprising since Emu oil has historically been used medicinally as a solution to many ailments including sore muscles, aching joints, and pain or inflammation. More recently it has been used for to improve healing of wounds, cuts, and burns from radiation therapy;  to heal surgical wounds caused by removing skin for skin grafts; to reduce redness due to acne; and to soften dry cuticles and promote healthy nails.

Overall Simone France's products are extremely effective and do not irritate my skin.  So happy I decided to dive in to skincare with Simone France!