Monday, January 16, 2017

The Jedi Wife is on Vacation!

Good morning, dear readers! I've decided to take my blog vacation a week earlier than initially planned. I'll be back next week with blog posts!

XO!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Eye Look of the Day with Ever After

Happy Saturday, dear readers! I hope your weekend is off to a fantastic start! It's business as usual around here as I tie up a few loose ends in preparation for a short blog vacation while the hubby is out of town on business. If you haven't seen my previous post, I'll be heading down to Long Beach, Cali to cover the International Salon and Spa Expo. If you're not already doing so, be sure to follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for live updates at the expo! Now on to today's blog post!

I've got a short post for you today, but I hope you enjoy it! I wanted to share the simple eye look I've been sporting all this week. And yes, I *have* been removing my makeup at the end of the day, haha! With the skies being overcast and rainy for a good portion of the week, I've been sporting a colourful look to keep me out of the "rainy day funk" occasionally get in when there are long stretches of rain.


To create this look, I used several eye shadow shades from Ever After (Polish). I started with  Cinnamon Sugar as my base, applying it on my eyelids and up into the crease. I then used Dinglehopper in my crease followed with Kissin' Frogs lightly patted on to my eyelid.  I also used Lace on my browbone. Dinglehopper and Kissin' Frogs made an appearance again as my lower eyeliner. I completed the look my adding Masterful Eyes Mascara by Bellimissa.

I'm currently obsessed with this colour combination, so you may be seeing this combination as I share future face of the day posts!

That's all I have for today, dear readers. Keeping things short, sweet, and to the point today! I hope you've enjoyed today's post and that you enjoy your weekend!

I'll catch you next week!
XO!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Upcoming: International Salon and Spa Expo for Beauty Professionals with NEW The Nail Spot!


A new year has begun and the temperatures have plummeted, and if you're wanting a new look or to learn new techniques, head to sunny Long Beach, California later this month for the 2017 season of the International Salon and Spa Expo (ISSE)! Scheduled to run January 28th through January 30th, ISSE is the West Coast's largest cash-and-carry, professionals only beauty event presented by the Professional Beauty Association (PBA).


The PBA is the largest and most inclusive organization that represents the beauty industry, and their West Coast event, ISSE brings the latest trends and hottest products and education to build any beauty professional's career.


Held at the Long Beach Convention Center, ISSE will feature more than 400 top salon and spa product manufacturers from around the world. Those that want to up their game in the beauty industry can also participate in a number of professional education classes in Hair, Nails, Skin or Business. Over 200 courses are all taught by top beauty professionals and companies; attendees can elect to attend complimentary sessions or participate in hands-on workshops to improve your skills.


The 2017 ISSE Show lineup includes a nail competition with the themes focusing on none other than the Golden State of California.


New for 2017 is The Beauty Platform, a stage on the showroom floor featuring the hottest professional beauty influencers, products and brands. Also new for 2017 is the Makeup Competition where attendees can enter and make a name for themselves in the industry. The theme for the inaugural makeup competition is "Fantasy", and participants will be showing off their skills in Special Effects (SPX) and Airbrush.


While not a new feature for the trade show, ISSE once again will have the PBA Beauty Bar in which licensed professionals can pick up samples of some of the hottest beauty products available. For a suggested donation of $5, attendees have their choice of five items from twenty premium samples available from the hottest brands in the industry. Money generated from the Beauty Bar supports CUT IT OUT, a PBA program that teaches domestic abuse awareness and trains salon professionals how to identify warning signs of abuse and how to safely refer their clients to local resources.

If you would like to learn more about ISSE or to purchase tickets, please visit the PBA website.





Tuesday, January 10, 2017

VIIcode Oxygen Eye Mask for Dark Circles

Press Sample

Greetings, dear readers! I hope this post finds you well and you've been having a wonderful week so far! I'm running a little behind today so I'm just going to jump on in to today's post. Let's do this!

I had the pleasure of testing out the oxygen eye masks from VIIcode. I'm sure you've seen many varieties of masks on the market, but what sets VIIcode apart from the rest is that it is an 8-hour overnight treatment. Rather than trying to incorporate a mask into your daily routine when you want to sleep in as late as possible, this mask works its magic while you are sleeping! Filled with essential vitamins, antioxidants, proteins, botanicals, peptides and essential fatty acids, VIIcode oxygen eye mask provides everything the delicate skin around your eyes needs to be healthy. This eye mask sets out to rid you of tired eyes, dark circles, and fine line, leaving you looking refreshed, bright-eyed and lively. As a 30-something mom with two young children at home, I know I certainly can use some help with dark under eye circles and the dreaded bags!

The first thing I noticed about the VIIcode Oxygen eye mask was the nice packaging. The box contains six foil packets containing a pair of under eye masks. 
Each foil packet contains a thin plastic tray that hold the masks in place until use.
This is what the mask looks like. There is a thin membrane covering the gel-like portion of the mask that adheres to your skin. This gel-like material is slightly sticky, helping it stick to the skin, and it is packed with ingredients to improve the health of your skin. Some of these key ingredients include allantoin to soften and protect the skin in addition to promoting cell regeneration and white tea extract, a potent antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties. The eye mask is meant to by applied two to three times a week with three boxes completing a full course of treatment.

The VIIcode oxygen eye mask applies easily under the eyes. Upon application, I first noticed the cooling sensation under my eyes. These masks are slightly damp but certainly not wet, and I had no issues with excess treatment flowing away from the eye area. These masks are rather large, and while it covers your under eye area completely, they did stick out slightly at my cheekbones. I've not completed a full course of treatment due to the timing constraints of this post, but I have tested a few of these masks. Even though they are designed to be an overnight treatment, I did find these are a little difficult for me to sleep in. You may not notice them if you normally wear a mask over your eyes, but since I do not, they are a little awkward. Also to note, while they seem to stay firmly in place upon application, if you are an active sleeper like I am, they shift around a lot. I sleep on my back, sides, and my stomach, and I woke in the middle of the night on my stomach with one of these masks fully coving my eyelid and the other missing. I love the idea of these masks, but unfortunately, they are not something I think I can use successfully as an overnight treatment. Thankfully I work from home so I can wear them during the day and let my mailman enjoy my latest accessory when I open the door. I think I'm better off sticking with their eye cream for at night.

VIIcode Oxygen Eye Masks and other VIIcode products can be purchased from the VIIcode website or their storefront on Amazon.com. As I mentioned previously, there are six sets of masks in each box, and you will need three boxes to complete the full course of treatment. VIIcode sets out to let everyone be their most beautiful in their own way, and that's a philosophy I can stand behind!

Have you tried the VIIcode oxygen eye masks? If so, I'd love to know if you've completed a full course of treatment and how it worked for you!

Until next time, dear readers, have a wonderful evening!
XO!

Saturday, January 7, 2017

February 2017 Pandora's Box

Press Sample

Greetings, dear readers! I hope this post finds you well and you've been enjoying the weekend thus far! For today's blog post, I have the new Pandora's Box for your perusal. For those of you unfamiliar with the box, let me fill you in! Run by Athena & Aphrodite, the Pandora Box is a new collaboration box featuring two nail polishes, a cosmetics item, two bath products, and a nail wrap. The first box available was released for January, and you can check out the first contents of the box at Cosmetic Sanctuary here. The pre-order has just begun for the February box, and I have the latest box to share today.
The February Box contains two nail polishes, a nail wrap, a lipstick, a sugar scrub, a soap sample, and a hand crelly. There is a bit to see so let's jump on in!

Aphrodite's Copper

Two coats plus top coat

Made to pair well with the Aphrodite's Wine lipstick this nail polish has a copper - wine color that has a beautiful shimmer like glitter! Great for Valentine's night or any other night you want to sport a little bold and beautiful look on your nails.

I really don't know why I don't wear these types of colours more often! This warm coppery red shade is gorgeous, and I found myself staring at my nails a lot while I was wearing this beauty! This is the first of two items by Athena & Aphrodite included in the box and my first time using any products from the brand. I was really impressed with the quality as it applied so easily for me! While I used two coats here, it is densely pigmented so you may find you only need a single coat for full opacity if you tend to paint with a slightly heavy hand. Because it has a metallic finish, it can look a little brush-strokey, so be mindful of that when painting. Alternately, you can sponge on the final coat to diminish the stroke-effect. This is my preferred method for metallic polishes, and I just need to locate where my toddler hid my sponges when he snuck into my polish area the other day.

Love Is In The Air

Two coats plus top coat

This is a glowing cranberry grape color depending on lighting. It is filled with a variety of glitters and shimmers.

With sparkled nails, love must be in the air! It's easy to describe this beautiful polish as being filled with shimmers and glitters, but just like love, there is no "one size fits all" when it comes to this baby. While there are some glitters that are more prominent, there are touches of colours such as red and blue, an occasional flake, and some iridescent beauties that I spy in my bottle. No matter what glitters or flakes choose to grace your nails, you'll definitely be feeling the love with this polish. Please note the large round glitter shown on my middle finger was not intended to be in the mix, and it decided to jump ship (bottle?) to join me as my glitter Valentine this year. This polish is a touch on the thicker side with all the shimmers and glitters, and while I still found it easy to work with, some readers may need to add a drop of thinner if you prefer to paint with a thinner polish.

Pandora's Heart Shower
Freya Wraps

I don't wear wraps on my nails often, and when I do, it's usually the occasional accent nail. Seeing these covering my swatch hand is kind of  shocking for me, but they are really cute! Since I am slowing down on swatching for a much needed blog vacation soon, I opted to actually wear these for this post. I just received my package in the mail and have only worn these for 24 hours, so I cannot attest for the longevity, I can say that these applied really easily for me. I am by no means an expert when it comes to wraps, and I did have a little bit of crinkling towards the end of one of my nails, but I'm sure that's user error. The C-curves of my nails makes application a little trickier towards the tips, but they went on easily overall. I'm not going to do anything crazy and switch over to wraps full time, but they are fun to wear as an accent of if you're traveling and don't want to have to worry about nail polish chipping.

Aphrodite's Wine

It's described as a STUNNING metallic wine red full sized lipstick that is made of only NATURAL products!

Aphrodite's Wine is the second A&A item in this box, and it pairs so perfectly with the matching nail polish, Aphrodite's Copper! This lipstick is so beautiful, and I'm currently obsessed with the colour! I've not seen a wine red this shade, and I find it to be more of a cross between a medium to light red and a metallic copper. However you want to describe it, there's no doubt this colour is lovely! I found the application to be smooth and creamy, and with my usual blot-reapply-powder technique, it lasted for about 4 hours through a light meal and my multiple glasses of water. It isn't meant to be a long-wearing shade and there is some colour transfer onto glasses or via kisses, but just a quick touch-up and you're ready to go about your day.

Eden's Garden
Exfoliating Sugar Scrub

Enjoy fresh notes of white florals, Lily, Gardenia, Narcissus with notes of orange and lemon and a soft hint of green in this exfoliating sugar scrub, which is made with luxurious and moisturizing coconut oil and avocado butter. Your skin will feel so soft and rejuvenated after use! 

Penobscot is another new to me brand, and testing this sugar scrub certainly now has the brand on my radar! I've not yet had the chance to use this in the shower, but I have used it on my hands. It is a nice combination of coarse due to the sugar and moisturizing as it contains coconut oil and avocado butter. I didn't find it to be too harsh for the occasional use, and I'm looking forward to testing this out more. It is scented a little strongly for my taste, especially since I'm not fond of most floral scents, but the scent it leaves on the skin is soft and quite enjoyable.

Lavender Handcrafted Soap Sample

A sample sized (.75oz-1oz) bar of soap, mild enough for even the most sensitive skin. Handcrafted with quality ingredients, it is both vegan-friendly and gluten-free. There are 22 bars available in the Lavender scent, which is the truest lavender we have found to date. After these 22 bars are claimed, the remaining boxes will contain a randomly selected fragrance. 

Penobscot also included a soap sample, and I actually like this one quite a bit! The lavender scent is lighter than many other lavender bath products I've been around (and believe me, I know! Lavendar is grown here for use in bath products), but it is still imparts the lightest touch of fragrance on your skin. This soap works up to a nice little lather but isn't too drying for the skin. My skin isn't particularly sensitive, but that still doesn't mean I want to be using harsh products on it either. My pre-schooler, on the other hand, has very sensitive skin so the real test is going to be at his bath time tonight. I'm crossing my fingers for us!

English Bath House
Hand Crelly

It is described as super moisturizing hand and body cream enriched with vitamin E and lightly scented with wild violets, rose and jasmine that is softened by vanilla and white musk.

Ever After has made many appearances on my blog, both for the nail polishes and the bath and beauty products created by the friends that run the brand. I love their hand crelly, so I am delighted to see this is their contribution to this box. Thick and creamy, this hand crelly is composed of the most perfect combination of betters and oils to moisturize your skin quickly without leaving an undesirable greasy residue. I also love the addition of vanilla and white musk to this particular scent as it adds the perfect accompaniment to the florals to keep them from being overpowering.

The February Pandora's Box is available for pre-order at the Athena & Aphrodite Etsy shop located here. This box only costs $39.99 plus shipping, and for all the products in the box, that's a steal! Please note that this is a pre-order, and the boxes will be shipping out to customers the beginning of February. The deadline to order this specific box is January 20th. If you're like me, you may have to use not-so-subtle hints to tell your significant other you deserve a little pampering, or you can even order it for yourself! 

If you want to try your luck, you can enter to win this box on Instagram here!

I'm really excited to have tried out this box and several new-to-me brands, and it's a fantastic gift for yourself or your favorite beauty product-loving Valentine!

Until next time, dear readers, have a wonderful day!
XO!



Friday, January 6, 2017

Pink Nails for Chrissy

Happy Friday, dear readers! I have a very special post to share with you today, and I'm eager to jump right on in and skip the chit chat. I hope you don't mind!


A bunch of us got together and decided to wear pink nails today for Chrissy of Turtle Tootsie Polishes. Chrissy is celebrating five years free of breast cancer, and it is such an honor to be able to take part in this celebration with her!


Given Chrissy's love of turtles (and my love of sea turtles), I decided to incorporate them in my nail art design. It's not something I normally would have done, at least not with this colour combination, but I actually quite like it!


Products Used:

Colors by Llarowe: Brighter Days
China Glaze: Eat, Pink, Be Merry
Color4Nails and Celestial Cosmetics Stamping Line: Cordelia
Girly Bits Cosmetics: Golden Ticket Stamping Polish
MoYou London: Explorer Collection 16 Stamping Plate


Here is a collage of all the contributors!
@grneyegoddess7 @LustrousLacquer @crutenberg @redheadspaintitbetter @TheJediWife @queenofnails83 @roselynn787 @nailexperiments @MgshelNails @ManiOnTheMove @MomMrsAndMe @ManisAndMakeovers @PolishGalore @nails_by_jacqueline_ @vanillavixen907 @omyjewels @polished_by_stephanie.g @wacer Nicola Wisniewski

I hope you've enjoyed today's post!

Until next time, dear readers, have a wonderful day!
XO!


Thursday, January 5, 2017

That's a Wrap: December Monthly Empties

Check it out, dear readers, I'm getting my monthly empties post up earlier and earlier! Of course I'm sure I just jinxed myself for January's post next month. My goal is to get these up by the end of the first week of the month, and I think I'll be able to keep up with that plan as long as life doesn't throw any fun kinks in the mix.
December 2016 saw the end of several different products, so let's jump in, check them out, and I'll give you my thoughts on them.

Nail and Cuticle Care
Glisten & Glow Cuticle Oil: Rollerball in Holiday Cheer Scent - and- bottle with brush applicator in Honeysuckle Scent

Since I reorganized my blog space a few month ago, I found a stash of some long-missing cuticle oils that I started using but never finished. I'm slowly going through that stash, and I saved Holiday Cheer in particular for use during the holidays. Even though the weather isn't particularly dry around here this time of year, something about it being chilly and the on and off rains is rough on my hands and nails, and this cuticle oil has helped keep my nails looking their best. I like both application options although I have found myself drawn more towards rollerballs lately. I still have a stash I NEED to finish before I even think of buying more cuticle oil, but I do like this one a lot. I think a refill bottle for the rollerballs would be perfect, especially is there is a G&G scent that you love! 

KBShimmer Mani Shot: Very Merry Cranberry Scent

I continued with the holiday scent-sation (ha!) by using a cranberry scented hand soak. I used to soak my nails once a week or so with these fabulous mani bombs, but it is woefully something that has fallen off my self-pampering routine. I'm sure that my preschooler insisting on soaking his hands with me played a role in that as I'm too useless of a lump to do much of anything by the time both the kids are in bed for the night. Still, I managed to give my hands and nails a little pampering with this gem last month. I'm sure my nails appreciated the little extra tlc, and it's something I'm going to try to reincorporate into my routine again this year.

Baroness X Matte Cuticle Balm: Peppermint Scent

If you've been reading other nail blogs, I'm sure you've seen this baby before! I use the Baroness X cuticle balms often mid-swatchathon, and I've been holding onto this particular scent for my festive scentpalooza last month. I use acetone-based remover, and even with the treatments added to make it gentler on my skin, it's still a rough treatment. I like that I can use this balm in the middle of swatching and have the goodness absorbed by the time I am ready to take photos. I'm working on another scent in a larger size, but I'm going to need more of one of the tropical
scents soon!

Nail Polish
KBShimmer Clearly on Top

It's rare to see me finish a bottle of polish (although you've seen me empty a white one before!), but base and top coats are the exception to the rule. I have a range of different top coats, and this is one I grab often. Well, grabbed in this case. It played well with most of the polish brand varieties I use and it dries quickly with a good lasting finish. I'm a little sad to see this empty!

E.L.F. Concealer Brush

It may be intended for makeup use, but we all know that these brushes make for fantastic cleanup brushes. While not exactly something that can go "empty", this brush has been a trusty friend of mine for quite some time and it's sadly time to let it go. I oil my clean up brushes often to help extend the life, but the bristles on this one have become coarse and brittle resulting in random brush breaks when dipped in acetone and then on my nail beds. I have a stash of a dozen or so that I have since moved on to, but I still needed to include my painting companion in this post for its final farewell.

Skin care
Ever After Malibu Mud: Face Scrub & Mask

This was in one of my collaboration boxes that I picked up, and it has taken me awhile to go through it. I don't use mud masks often on my face as I find them to be too drying, so it has taken me some time to use this. This one is a little too harsh for even one weekly use for me, and I couldn't use it as a scrub. Instead, I'd spread it as lightly as possible on my face, let it sit about 5 minutes, and then rinse it off in the shower to minimize the scrubbing. This might be better for someone with very oily skin, but it was a little too much for my combination skin. As much as I do like Ever After products, this is one I'm not likely to buy again.

Fortune Cookie Soap Bath Bomb: Bubble Bubble, I'm in Trouble!

This was part of the "I Put A Spell On You" Hocus Pocus-themed Halloween box, and in my opinion, the only item worthy of a positive mention from the box. I'm not sure if FCS has just fallen so much since I started using the products or if my standards have improved, but when the only thing you find you've enjoyed about a $40 box is a bath bomb, we've got problems. Scented like limoncello and sour candy, the bath bomb was actually located inside this little plastic cauldron so that it bubbled out when placed in the bath. You can see it in action below!
I liked the fruity scent and the bubbling effect was cool, but I was left with little more than warm water that resembled lime jello. The amount of moisturizing elements in this bath bomb was minimal at best and left my skin feeling incredibly dry. I should add one more positive: it didn't stain the tub! While this review seems harsh, and believe me, it certainly is, I paid $40 for this freaking box that could only redeem itself with a decent smelling bath bomb with cool effects and a cheap little Halloween decoration for next year. I'm still working on the other products from this box, but they're also mediocre at best and I should probably throw them away since I get angry time every time I use them. I doubt this needs to be said, but there will be no new products from Fortune Cookie Soap in my life.

Cosmetics
Mary Kay Lash Love Mascara

I must say, for all the negative feelings I have towards Mary Kay reps being super pushy about purchasing their awful-but-top-selling skin care line, Mary Kay has some pretty nice cosmetics! Please don't mistake me, dear readers, this mascara won't make your lashes look super voluminous or extra long, but if you like a natural, soft coating on your eyelashes, Lash Love is a really good mascara! While this one still had a little bit of product left, I had been using it for about 3 months, and I am tryng to stay on top of dates and tossing my mascara before I end up with an eye infection. I haven't decided if I'm going to buy this again yet, but I probably will if I find a rep that let's me buy what I want and then LEAVES ME ALONE.

Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer

I had to resort to using my mini tube of this fabulous primer since my larger one has disappeared, and given how expensive it is, I really need to find my larger tube before I buy another one. I am seriously in love with this primer, and now that I'm trying a cheaper alternative, I'm missing it so much! The velvety-smooth finish makes the perfect foundation (HAHA!) for your makeup, and it certainly makes mine last all day long! As I write this post, I'm kicking myself for not just buying a replacement since it isn't *that* expensive in the grand scheme of things and truly is a staple in my makeup routine.

And that, dear readers, concludeds my monthly empties post. Some products I've enjoyed and others I can live without, but as always, it's a pleasure trying out products. I hope you've found this post helpful and informative when if comes to your own purchasing decisions!

Have you tried any of the products from this post? Is there anything you are thinking of picking up? What did you empty last month that is now on your must-have list? I'd love to hear from you!

Until next time, dear readers, have a wonderful evening!
XO!