January 2014 Favorites

Love & Toast Hand Creme in Honey Coconut

Was shopping at Ulta after work one day and got sucked in by this brand’s completely adorable packaging.  Who doesn’t want cute little birdies on their tube of hand cream?  Luckily, and more importantly, the product is awesome.  The honey coconut scent is not overly sweet or heavy.  I really want to try more from this brand, particularly their sugar grapefruit scent.

Dior Crème Abricot Fortifying Cream For Nails

Confession: This cuticle cream is my first ever Dior product.  But it has been around since 1963 and women everywhere have sworn by it for decades, so I think I picked a good product to start with.  I have been using it every night as I go to bed.  I use the tiniest bit and massage into the cuticle/nail area.  It’s very goopy and takes awhile to sink in, but it works wonders on my nails.  I actually forgot to use it a few nights in a row last week, and I could definitely tell the difference when I stopped.  Peely, dry hangnail city!  Ugh.  A couple nights later, after remembering to use the product faithfully, everything was back on track again.  Oh, and it smells great!  So as long as you can get past the goopy, sticky texture (which is why it is recommended to use it right before bed), then you will love it as much as I do.

Downton Abbey

I love everything about this show.  Acting, writing, story, sets, costumes, characters, everything.  Similar to Mad Men, this show does an amazing job with weaving tidbits of real, factual history throughout the story; from the sinking of the Titanic, to WW1, to the fads and fashions of the Roaring Twenties, to the introduction of various inventions and conveniences to the house (electric lights, sewing machines, refrigeration, the telephone, etc).  My favorite character in the whole show, hands down, is Carson, the overly stuffy but loveable head butler.  His utter disgust at anything being out of order, or any kind of change at Downton, just cracks me up.  Second would be Violet, the Dowager Countess, who is the perfect mix of “prim and proper elderly noblewoman stuck in her Victorian ways” and “feisty, witty, and wise grandmother who tells it like it is”.  It helps that Violet is played by the incredible Maggie Smith.

New episodes of Downton Abbey air on PBS on Sunday nights, but you can stream prior episodes via Amazon Prime Instant Video.  And if you haven’t, I suggest that you do.  Even Tadd loves this show!

Manicure of the Month

My favorite manicure combo of January was this navy & gold striped look achieved with Butter London’s Big Smoke (navy) and Orly’s Luxe (gold).  Love both of these polishes, and together they are gorgeous!  Lately I have been loving all things nautical, and I felt like this was a good representation of that look without being too in your face about it.  I had intended to have small gold anchors stamped on my thumbs, but the image plate I have just wasn’t working well.  I have more nautical-themed image plates on the way from MoYou London!  If you want to keep up with my nail stamping adventures, follow me over at Sunshine And Some Polish!

Candles of the Month

This month we have been burning Yankee Candle’s limited edition Boston Strong candle (which is no longer available, but I believe is the same or similar scent as their Home Sweet Home candles) and a Bath & Body Works’ 3-wick in the scent Gelato.  We usually have 2 candles to choose from at any given time, and after finishing our post-holiday candles (Vanilla Snowflake and Champagne Toast), I wanted to switch to some fragrances that kind of bridged the gap between winter and spring.  Winter doesn’t last very long here in Florida, and I tend to like my scents to follow the weather and/or season.  Boston Strong is spicy with a bit of a tea backnote, which I think is a perfect cozy scent for cooler weather.  Gelato smells like berries & cream, which is perfect when we are in the mood for something a little lighter and more spring-like.

What have you been into this month?

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December 2013 Favorites

Trying something new here… I have been thinking that at the end of each month I am going to share some things that I have been loving.  Here’s my list for December:

Lush Snowcake Soap

This is one of Lush‘s seasonal items (and it is currently BOGO!).  It’s definitely a favorite of mine this time of year.  It’s a super creamy soap, so it tends to melt really fast, but the smell is ahhhhhmazing!  It smells like sweet almond fabulousness.  It’s super moisturizing and the scent lingers on your skin.  My bar is sadly already gone, which is why I was so glad I got this for Christmas:

Lush Snowcake Perfume

Every once in awhile Lush will release limited edition perfumes based on some of their most popular products, and this time one of the perfumes they released is Snowcake Perfume!  I was so excited to have been able to get one of these before they sold out.  Now I can smell like my favorite soap anytime I want.

EOS Lip Balm in Lemon Drop

I know I am late to the party and these things have been trendy for awhile now, but I picked one up at Ulta the other day and have kept it at my desk at work and with this drier air, my lips have quickly become addicted.  I also love the fun spherical shape and the lemon flavor.  I think I need a few more to leave around…One for the car and one for the house would be nice.

Nail stamping

For awhile now, I have been fascinated with nail stamping.  It started with YouTube videos like this one:

So, inspired by this, I asked for some nail stamping supplies for Christmas.  I ended up with a stamping tool, scraper, and 76 different image plates!  I also got a ton of new nail polishes.  After some trial and error, I discovered that it’s really important, especially when you are first learning, to have the correct type of nail polish for stamping.  The consistency needs to be slightly thicker than standard nail polish so that it is easily visible with one thin coat, and it can’t dry too quickly on the image plate so that the image transfers to the stamping tool properly.  I have ordered some stamping polishes in white and black and I am currently waiting for them to arrive.  In the meantime, some metallics can work well, so that is what I have been experimenting with.  Below was my first try.  Base color is Germanicure by OPI and I stamped the fish scale pattern with Luxe by Orly.

Definitely far from perfect, but I need to practice more.  Not too awful for a first try though.

Bath & Body Works 3-Wick Candles for December

I am always burning Bath & Body Works 3-wick candles.  I tend to rotate between two different scents at any given time.  In December I cycled through one set before Christmas and one set after Christmas.

Before Christmas, it was Fresh Balsam (Tadd’s favorite) and Twisted Peppermint:

“With the first big snowfall of the season comes the delightful scent of balsam and fir trees, layered with notes of fresh eucalyptus”

“Merry and bright peppermint celebrates the season with notes of vanilla and sugary musk in this cheer-filled scent”

After Christmas, it was Champagne Toast and Vanilla Snowflake:

“Pop, clink and sparkle with an effervescent blend of Champagne, juicy nectarine and blackcurrant”

“A delectable blend of creamy vanilla, winter mint, and a touch of coconut.”

Birchbox – September 2012

I really, really loved this month’s Birchbox!

I got a small tube of Dr. Jart Beauty Balm, a good size sample of Boscia purifying cleansing gel, a small bottle of pretty gold shimmery nailpolish by Color Club, a coral lace hair tie, two La Fresh Instant Body Soother wipes (I am thinking these will be great for when we are feeling grungy in the theme parks), and a set of makeup brush guards.

Click here for more info on Birchbox, and find out how to get your own subscription for $10/month!

In the interest of full disclosure: I haven’t been compensated by Birchbox for my opinions above.  However, if you sign up through the referral links listed above, I will get points to use on the Birchbox website after your first payment has been made. 

Fun with Sonia Kashuk Nail Polish!

If you have been following me on Instagram or Twitter, you likely have seen me gush about my quickly-growing collection of Sonia Kashuk nail polish.

This pic has an Instagram filter on it unfortunately, but you get the ideas of the colors. Left to right: Mauving On Up, Blank Slate, and Fairy Princess.

Taunting Teal

Two Cents & Emerald City from the new fall line!

I had heard of Sonia Kashuk’s line at Target before, but never really thought about buying this particular brand of nail polish until I read this post on 320 Sycamore.  I loved the colors and loved that she claimed that they were so durable and low-maintenance that she didn’t have one single chip after 2 weeks of wear!  I had to try it for myself.

Well, I purchased Blank Slate (pictured above) and took the “320 Sycamore challenge” on my own toes.  It’s true!  Two coats, no base coat, no top coat, and it lasted for two weeks.  I confess that first attempt I did have one tiny chip after accidentally banging my foot on something around day 10, but I’m talking TINY.  I have since tried other colors in the Sonia Kashuk and have been successful in getting through two weeks (and beyond) with zero chips multiple times. A noticeable difference from most other nail polish brands I have tried.

I wouldn’t consider myself a true nail polish connoisseur, since I know some people devote whole blogs to just that topic.  I am really just looking for something that is low maintenance, fun, and budget friendly.  At under $5 each, and with all of the lovely and interesting colors in their lineup, this product exceeds my expectations.  I am wearing Two Cents from their brand new fall line now and I just love it.  The finish really reminds me of shiny pennies!  Next on my wishlist are Golden Ticket and Dime A Dozen.

Sorry there are no photos of the product in action.  I will admit that photos of feet kind of weird me out, especially when it comes to my own.  Yet another one of my weird idiosyncrasies!

NOTE: I was not compensated in any way for expressing my opinions above.  I just love the product and wanted to share!