Friday, March 28, 2014

Affordable Fashion with Sammy Dress

Fashion post ahead!  As you all may know, I'm constantly searching for affordable fashion.  Stores like H&M, Forever 21, and Target (ESPECIALLY Target!) seem to be raising their prices without raising the quality of their clothing.  I've bought a few wholesale items in the past and had a good experience doing so.  So when I was contacted by Sammy Dress to review their products, I was all for it.  

Sammy Dress sells everything fashion related including dresses, tops, accessories, and shoes.  I did my research and found that Sammy Dress is a tad controversial.  After having my own experience with Sammy Dress, I think I know why.  Sammy Dress is based in China, meaning every order is shipping from China.  Most products (especially clothing products) we buy in stores in the United States are made overseas, mostly China.  With Sammy Dress  (and other overseas wholesalers) you're simply buying directly from the source instead of paying mark ups to buy the same products through a third party located in the U.S.  This is why the products are so inexpensive.  I've ordered from China before, so I understood going in that shipping would take AT LEAST a few weeks.  I'm guessing those that are leaving complaints about Sammy Dress don't realize the shipping time from China going in.  It can be a bit of a time before you receive your products.  But, in my opinion, it is worth the wait.  

Another issue some have is sizing.  It is important to make sure to follow the sizing charts instead of just ordering your normal size, since different countries size their clothing differently. 

I should also note, in the name of full disclosure, that being a blogger, I did not order through the website, but directly through a Sammy Dress representative.  I did peruse the website, however, and it seems fairly easy to navigate with all of the need to know information regarding their products.

Now to the dress I ordered! Knowing that I'm most likely taller than the average customer, I decided to be safe and order a longer dress.  This is often my solution when ordering from any new retailer.  I was looking for a cute Spring / Summer dress that was somewhat casual but could be dressed up and decided on the Floral Print Retro Style Scoop Neck Sleeveless Chiffon Dress With Belt For Women.  For under $17, this dress is of higher quality than I expected.  First off, most lightly colored dresses I buy - even here in the U.S.- tend to be at least a little bit sheer.  Not this dress.  No underwear showing here!  The dress itself is comfortable and fits PERFECTLY.  With a cute, thin brown belt that buckles around the waist and also a side zipper for a fitted look, this dress has a very refined quality about it that I love.  It is also long enough for me to wear while out with my son; hitting just above my knee. 

The dress also washes well.  I washed it in the washing machine with a light load and then put it in the dryer on low and did not notice any ware. 

My experience with Sammy Dress has been fantastic and I definitely plan on ordering from them again.  For those iffy about  ordering from Sammy Dress for the first time,  I would recommend placing a small order first to gauge your experience and going from there.   I am going to go enjoy my day in my new pretty dress! Have a great weekend, everyone!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Baby Gear on a Budget

Having a baby is expensive.  We all know this. Between hospital bills, doctor appointments, diapers, formula, and all of the baby gear you never thought you'd need, the amount of money spent can make anyone feel overwhelmed.

Sometimes buying the less expensive products just isn't worth it.  But I've compiled a list of products that are less expensive without being "cheap."



Diaper Bag

While I do LOVE my Petunia Pickle Bottom bags and my Skip Hop Versa, there is one diaper bag that has been a great value.   I bought the Precious Cargo - Diaper Bag off of Amazon before my son was born.  I liked that it looked like a regular messenger bag and that it wasn't girly, so my husband would feel comfortable carrying it if he was out alone with the baby. It was my main diaper bag before I got my Skip Hop Versa, and I reverted back to it once my Skip Hop broke.  It's spacious, easy to organize, and I love that there is a separate horizontal zippered section at the top for your wallet, phone, baby's pacifiers, etc.  It retails for around $20 and comes in different colors.



 High Chairs 

High chairs can run over $100. For those on a budget this can be an expensive purchase.  Luckily there are options that are less expensive and also PORTABLE.  Making it great for travel.  I have the Fisher - Price Healthy Booster Seat that I use for travel and while it is great for an older baby, I don't think it would be a great fit for a small baby since it is not cushioned.  Better options for a younger baby may be the Fisher-Price Space Saver High Chair.  Both retail anywhere from $25- $60.  There is also a Summer Infant option that retails for under $20, however it doesn't have the greatest reviews.


Crib / Pack N Play

Cribs are expensive.  Unless you can find a great deal on a used crib (do your research and make sure the model you buy hasn't been recalled) its pretty much a given that this is going to be a big expense.  For those not able to spend the money on a crib just yet, its ok,  You really don't need one right away.  One solution using a Pack N Play.   The Graco Pack 'n Play On The Go Travel Playard retails for under $70 and is a simple, safe area for baby to rest.  There is also a pack n play spring mattress you can purchase for around $50.  Depending on your budget, you may also purchase Pack N Play with more "bells and whistles" like a bassinet, vibration and music settings, and a changing table.



Changing table

Speaking of changing tables, getting a Pack N Play like the Graco Pack 'N Play Playard with Reversible Napper and Changer, which retails for around $100, is definitely an option.  However, it may not be the best long term option because of the size of the changer.  Those looking for something portable may like the  Summer Infant Contoured Changing Pad.  If you don't mind changing the baby on the floor, this may also be a great low cost solution as well.






Car Seat and Stroller

In my opinion, getting a travel system is your best bet when shopping for a car seat/ stroller.  Not only is it extremely convenient when traveling with a newborn, you also get the most bang for your buck.  You can often find travel systems for $100 - $200, which may seem expensive, but remember you are getting two must have items at that price. Currently on Amazon the Evenflo Journey Travel System in Kayla is retailing for under $100.





And of course, scouring garage sales, thrift stores, and consignment shops is your best bet at getting a great deal on some gently used items.  Just make sure the items you are buying are safe and haven't been recalled.  There are several websites that make it easy to find out if an item has been recalled quickly, like this one.   Most importantly, remember to have fun shopping for your new baby! Although it can be stressful, it is also a very exciting time! Enjoy it!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Fresh Faced with Mally Beauty

Guess what today is?  It is my birthday! And I received some Mally products just in time to create a gorgeous birthday look! It's no secret that I have an issue with dark circles under my eyes.  Especially since becoming a mommy.  Concealer can be my best friend.  So I was definitely excited to try these new eye brightening products by Mally Beauty.  See my before (no makeup) and after (makeup) photos below.

Before
After
And this look took just over 5 minutes to achieve.  Want to know how? Watch my Mally review below.



Mally Products Used

Perfect Prep Hydrating Under-Eye Brightener in Deeper

Perfect Prep Hydrating Under-Eye Brightener
This product is AMAZING!  Normally, I don't do any prep under my eyes before putting on my concealer for two reasons.  1. It either makes my makeup look heavy and cakey, or 2. It feels like I have plastered makeup under my eye.  THIS PRODUCT IS DIFFERENT.  It goes on smoothly, feels light, and blends perfectly with the rest of the makeup for a very naturally brightened look.  I definitely feel like this corrects enough for me to be able to skip the concealer - although I still have to test this theory.  Either way, this is a step I normally skip.  But with this product, its worth the extra minute for such a great look.

Age Rebel Nourishing Concealer in Light

I love this concealer for many reasons.  It blends perfectly, looks natural (no odd lightly colored streaks!), and it only takes a tiny little bit to get full coverage. I love the fresh look this concealer gives and the fact that it glides on perfectly.







Volumizing Mascara in Black

There is no other mascara like this one.  It really opens up my eyes, makes them appear bigger and stays all day.  I love how easy it is to apply.  It is not messy and the brush grips the lashes giving a  naturally beautiful effect while still being noticeable.  All of this makes it one of Mally's most popular products.  If you're looking to start with just one Mally Beauty product to try it out, definitely start with this mascara.
Age Rebel Nourishing Concealer

Friday, March 21, 2014

Supportive Mommy #2

Hey everyone!
Are you ready for the second installment of Supportive Mommy? This organization offers an incredible, absolutely free service.


Read Conmigo is an organization that strives to increase bilingual literacy in households and families by providing free books, tools, and an interactive app called Learn with Me to help children learn Spanish/English.  

Living in Florida (where the Spanish language is very prevalent), I was already planning on teaching my son some Spanish- at least enough to get by.  Once I heard about Read Conmigo, I immediately signed up. The truth is knowing another language can only help and it continues to be a great asset in many different aspects of life.

We all know children seem to soak up information when they are very young and brain development is rapid. That is why learning a new language at a young age is beneficial, not to mention easier.  The interactive app also gives children and adults a chance to spend quality time together while learning and having fun.

If you're interested in receiving free 
 books and materials for your child check out ReadConmigo.com

Learn with me app 
 Learn With Me on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/read-conmigo-learn-with-me/id700227501?mt=8
Learn With Me on Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.spi.LearnWithMe


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Spring Trend! Ombre Lips... the Easy Every Day version

One spring trend that is coming quick is ombre lips.  Ombre has definitely been trendy in many different forms from clothing to hair... and it's not quite done yet.

Most of the time this is how you will see ombre lips on the red carpet,  the runway, and in magazines





These looks are VERY dramatic, not to mention time consuming.  So its no surprise most ladies don't have time to do this look very often.

There is an easier way to do ombre lips.  And it is also more of an every day look that you may be more comfortable with trying.

1. First apply a nude-ish gloss to your lips.   You can even go just slightly outside of your lip line if you're looking for a plumping effect.


2. Then take a brighter, darker color and apply in the center of your lips.  Lightly and quickly blend the outer parts of the darker color if needed.



And there you have a much more subtle look that takes a lot less time and is appropriate for daily wear.  I used Mally Beauty High Shine Liquid Lipstick in Pearly Girl as my nude base and Rimmel Show Off Lip Lacquer in Aurora as my pop of color.


Monday, March 17, 2014

Catching Fire With COVERGIRL!

I'm so excited to do this post! So COVERGIRL has done an amazing job again with their line made specially  for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.    First off, I read The Hunger Games series and its so fun to see it's all come to life in movie form.  Plus, who doesn't love Jennifer Lawrence, right?!

Since I have a small child, I wasn't able to see Catching Fire in theaters BUT now the  DVD is available and it is available on streaming devices as well. To celebrate this, I decided to glam up - "Girl on fire" style- and sit back and enjoy the movie!

I won't give away any part of the movie for those who haven't seen it or haven't read the series... but I WILL share my look and the products I used.

First off, I must say I am continuing to LOVE COVERGIRL products! Of course I started out using my Outlast Stay Fabulous 3 in 1 Foundation. Beautiful, smooth skin is always a great look.  Now.. we all know I like to make my eyes the stars of my look.  So here's what I did to achieve this dramatic look.

First, I applied the COVERGIRL Flamed Out Shadow Pot in Melted Gold.  Using a damp eyeshadow brush, I applied this beautifully warm, shimmery color to my entire lid.    I then used the COVERGIRL Flamed Out Shadow Pencil in Ashen Glow Flame 335 to carefully thinly line the bottom of my lower lash line and then applied a think line to my upper lash line.  I then very thinly lined my upper lash line with COVERGIRL Perfect Point Plus Eyeliner in Black Onyx 200.  The result is a flame to ash inspired look.

Of course I had to add some mascara to polish off the look.  Using COVERGIRL Flamed Out Mascara dramatic volumized lashed were achieved!  I love this mascara brush! It's so easy and mess free!

 I didn't want to leave out my lips completely.  So I used the COVERGIRL Lipslicks Smoochies Sizzle Lipgloss in Turn Up the Heat to complete the look.  This gloss is now one of my favorites. High shine without the sticky, goopy feel.  Its does more than just look great, it also moisturizes my lips.

So there you have it! Another great line from COVERGIRL.  I can't wait to see what they come up with next!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

How Gorgeous is she?!

I just had to share these pictures of Stacey Keibler that were published in People today.  How GORGEOUS is she?! What a beautiful bride.



Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Wet N Wild looks

Hi Everyone!
I just wanted to do a quick post on the Wet N Wild products I recently discovered.  I realize doing a video would probably be much more effective, however, my son has been a cranky pants today and I doubt you all would like to hear him making lots and lots of noise in the backgroud ;o)

So I instead took this picture to show you the look I achieved using my Wet N Wild products.  The first product I used was the Color Icon Eyeshadow 5 Pan in "Naked Truth."  I first used the light color (labeled base) as the base, putting it all over my lid.  I then used a liner brush to line my upper lid.  First, I used the color labeled "Definer," closest to my lashes.  I then used the same liner brush to line with the color labeled "crease" above that.  This created a less harsh "smokey eye" look.  I have to say, the colors are very vibrant and pretty and way more pigmented than I expected. 


I then used the Perfect Pair Eye Wand in Java-Champagne.  I only used the "Java" eyeliner to line my waterline.  I prefer creamy, kohl like liners to liquid or pencil liners when doing my waterline.  I feel like I don't get the look I want with the liquid liners and pencil liners tend to just feel uncomfortable. I like this liner for the price. 

I then used the Mega Plump Mascara.  It does give a very natural look, however, I prefer a more dramatic effect - especially from a product labeled "Mega."  It is not a bad quality product and did stay on for the entire day.

Lastly, I applied the Color Icon Blusher in Berry Shimmer to my cheeks.  Now this product surprised me.  It is extremely pigmented so be careful when applying for the first time.  I love the color, it is very similar to a mineral MAC blush I have and is perfect for tanned skin or  medium to dark toned skin.  I honestly love this blush. It's a beautiful warm color, its highly pigmented, and it stays on all day.  I used the same sponge I used to apply my foundation to blend the blush for a more natural flushed look, since I had so much going on with the eyes.

Overall I love Wet N Wild's products and they are definitely not the products I remember trying 15 years ago.  They are much higher in quality and there are so many more options.  I think I like the eye shadow palette and blusher the most out of the products I tried for this look.





Sunday, March 9, 2014

Beauty and Non Beauty Obsessions

A lot of beauty bloggers do "favorites" videos.  I have yet to give in and do one, but I will do a little post of things I am currently loving- both beauty and non beauty related.  Hope you all enjoy!


COVERGIRL Outlast Stay Fabulous 3-in-1 Foundation


After years of not being on the same page, COVERGIRL and I are finally friends again.  Not only are we friends, we're besties.  COVERGIRL has definitely grown in quality over the last couple of years, and from what I've been seeing, they're only continuing to grow.  This foundation looks, feels, and lasts like the more expensive luxury brands but differs in one major aspect (besides price)...It doesn't make me break out! I love how its a simple one step solution to a flawless look and it has become my go-to foundation for all occasions.

Starbucks Vanilla Macchiato


FINALLY!  I prefer vanilla flavored concoctions when it comes to my coffee so I had to try this one.  Let me just say it is DELICIOUS!  I usually get a skinny vanilla latte, so I will have to be careful when choosing this beverage over my usual (because of the calorie intake.)  But it is definitely worth it.



Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil



 $20 is a little pricey for an eye pencil in my opinion... however, you can't deny the awesome quality of the product.  This liner has color that goes on easily and smoothly, stays all day, and doesn't run or smudge.  I want every color!!! But my wallet could not keep up.

The Mortal Instruments: City of Fallen Angels (Book 4)



I've loved this book series for years.  I am late to the news that the series didn't end at Book 3. So I just started Book 4.  If you're not into Sci-Fi/ Fantasy stuff, this may not be for you.  I'm a bit of a Sci-Fi nerd and this series has a lot to keep up with/take in even for me.  But I love how creative the story lines are and how SO much is incorporated.  There are "Shadow Hunters," werewolves, vampires, faeries, and more.  I only get to read it once a week or so with my schedule, but I'm still hooked!

The Balm's Nude 'Tude Palette
Yes... I am still obsessed with this.  I use this palette any time I wear makeup. Its so versatile for so many looks and is a lot more affordable than Urban Decay's Naked 3 (especially if you buy it off of Hautlook at a discounted price like I did.) I also love the brush it comes with.  The liner brush makes it so easy to do a winged liner look, that I sometimes end up doing one by accident.  By the way... it's on Hautlook now for $18.

Garden Lites Veggie Muffins - Zucchini Chocolate
 Vegetables that taste like chocolate cake?! SIGN ME UP! There is no hint of a vegetable taste in these yet the main ingredients are zucchini and carrots. How do they do it?!

That's what I'm currently obsessing over.  What about you beauties?

Friday, March 7, 2014

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

First Year Mommy Lessons

I meant to do this when my son turned a year old... but things got busy, I had other deadlines... and ok, I forgot.  BUT I am going to do it now.


In the first year of a mom, I learned a lot.  And I do mean A LOT: Beyond how to change a diaper, use a breast pump or mix formula.  I learned about myself, my family, and life in general.  Here are a few big ones that come to mind.

1.  As a mom, I forget A LOT. I used to have this awesome memory. Not anymore.  I don't know whether it is the result of sleep deprivation, our busy schedules, or just having one human being consume so much of my attention... but I just have such a hard time remembering the simplest things.

2. My weirdness/ goofiness/ quirkiness is an asset. Especially when trying to entertain a fussy young child.

3.  I thought I liked chocolate a lot more than I actually do.  Coffee and cheese rank above chocolate.  I figured this out when I went on a strict diet in order to be able to accommodate my son's allergies and continue breast feeding.

4. My family is pretty awesome.  My mom has been there for my husband, son, and I during some of the hardest times we've had as a family. My dad is able to entertain my son with a 1...2...3...  My in laws couldn't be any better.  Even though they have very busy lives of their own, they make sure we know they are just a phone call away and there if we need anything.  Its such a comfort knowing we have an amazing family as our backbone.

5. I can make a song out of anything if I need to.  And now I even do it while in public without thinking.

6.  Messes will be made daily... and I will clean the same areas multiple times daily... its nothing to stress over.  Also I've been pooped on, peed on, and thrown up on... its not a big deal.

7.  I know who my true friends are. And I do my best to do whatever I can for them.

8.  Amazon is awesome. And Amazon Prime is the only way to go.  Awesome for inexpensive everything.  Clothing, shoes, diapers (I save $10 per box of diapers through their subscribe and save program)

9.  My son is not big on sleeping. I do the best I can by keeping a routine during the day and at bedtime, keeping the house dim in the evening, and making sure he is fed, dry and comfy.  Once I have done my best... the only other thing I can do is go with the flow and make the best out of the situation.  So that's what I do.

10.  Organic coffee really is SOOOOOO much better!!! (Kicking Horse Coffee is THE BEST coffee I have ever had)

11.  I have discovered  LUSH Fresh Handmade Cosmetics for their skincare and I am now OBSESSED

12.  Being a mom is the HARDEST job ever.  I have never been so tired, so tested, or pushed to the extent I have been this past year.  But I have also never experienced so much joy or love in my entire life. My son's laugh can turn my entire day around and a hug and smile from him is the best part of my day.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Oscars 2014 Fashion

Happy Monday, everyone!

If you're like me, your favorite part of award shows is the FASHION.  I will keep the commentary to the minimum and just show the pictures of some of my faves!

Sandra Bullock - Beautifully classic - I don't love her makeup... but I do love the way her dress flows.

Charlize Theron - Incredibly elegant
  


Kate Hudson - Daringly gorgeous 



Chrissy Teigen -  A lot of people don't like this look.  But I love the pattern and Spring vibe