Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Ziaja Cosmetics Natural Olive Regenerating Shampoo, Mask, and Goat's Milk Body Butter Review

Disclaimer:  This post is based on free products provided by a company as a press sample so that I may offer my own  opinion, which may be the same or differ from yours.
Ziaja Cosmetics Natural Olive Regenerating Shampoo, Mask, and Goat's Milk Body Butter.jpeg
Ziaja Cosmetics Natural Olive Regenerating Shampoo, Mask, and Goat's Milk Body Butter

Ziaja Cosmetics is a Polish-based company that I was unaware of until the company reached out and asked if I would be willing to review of few of their products.  After exploring their website, I was more curious than ever on how their very reasonably priced skin and hair care products would perform.  I selected the Natural Olive Regenerating Shampoo, Natural Olive Hair Mask, and the Goat's Milk Body Butter so I could get a better feel for each line.

The Goat's Milk Body Butter was so luxurious and rich.  This cream was delightfully fragrant and pampering to my skin with its goat's milk proteins, vitamins E, A, D, omega 3, omega 6, and olive oil for keeping every inch of me baby soft.  I have been having a rough patch of skin on the back of the arm from being attached to the computer and constantly reaching for the mouse on my desk.  Anyway, I've been using this cream and it has been smoothing the skin without excess greasiness so I can still work.  I really think this body butter has been lubricating that arm quite well because it is coming along very nicely now.  It's hard to believe this big 7-oz. jar retails for $9.99.

I wanted to see how Ziaja hair products would work on my hair.  The next time I shampooed, I tried the Natural Olive Regenerating Shampoo.  This is bit thinner than some formulas with vitamins and olive oil, but it lathers well with a lovely fragrant foam.  I didn't find if this product was color-safe on the label, but did read it was a gentle shampoo.  Therefore, I assumed my hair color should be fine.  Good news, this is, indeed, a color-safe shampoo because it did not strip away any color.  

The Natural Olive Regenerating Hair Mask was what I used following the shampoo to my clean, towel-dried hair.  The directions suggest leaving this vitamin and olive oil-infused mask on for three to five minutes before rinsing out.  When I through drying and styling, my hair had more bounce and body.  It also felt softer, however, it wasn't as shiny as after some products I have used.  Regardless, I was still pleased with the look of my hair.

As you can guess, my favorite of the three is their Goat's Milk Body Butter.  In fact, I would like to try more of their body butters after this experience to see how they would compare.  Do pop over to the Ziaja USA website and pick some up or browse their fine selection.  Nothing is over $10!

Monday, July 29, 2013

My New Skin Miracle--IT Cosmetics No. 50 Serum Anti-Aging Collagen Veil Primer for a Flawless Face (Review)

Disclaimer:  This post is based on a free product provided by a company as a press sample so that I may offer my own  opinion, which may be the same or differ from yours.
IT Cosmetics No. 50 Serum Anti-Aging Collagen Veil Primer.jpeg
IT Cosmetics No. 50 Serum Anti-Aging Collagen Veil Primer

Before I had my blog, I never thought a primer was all that important when doing your makeup.  However, I was sorely mistaken once I started reviewing them because they are essential for providing a perfect skin surface so foundation smoothly glides on without settling into any visible pores.  A fabulous primer can give you the look of flawless skin in a way that truly makes a difference for enhancing foundation and your beauty.  Recently, I have been trying IT Cosmetics No. 50 Collagen Veil Anti-Aging Primer, and am blown away at what so much more this one can do for your skin!

Those beauty innovators at IT Cosmetics came up with a multitasking product that not only primes and helps keep makeup fresher longer, but also is a treatment with more than 50 skin loving ingredients to help with  brightness, texture, and anti-aging.  The formula includes essential lipid rich oils and butters, vitamins, anti-aging peptides, botanicals and extracts, hyaluronic acid, collagen, silk, niacin, aloe, jojoba, licorice root, chamomile, and colloidal oatmeal.

Forget about that sticky or greasy feel some primers have using ingredients such as dimethicone, No. 50 Collagen Veil Anti-Aging Primer won't ever do that your face.  Instead, your skin will appreciate the silkiness of the hydration as much as how lovely this serum will make it. 

The best part  I noticed with regular use over the last two weeks or so is how my skin keeps gradually improving overall with a gorgeous tone and texture.  My face has velvet softness now.  Though I have some fine creases and two deeper wrinkles, I must admit they seem to be filling in. 

What more could you want in a primer?   The 1.7 oz. bottle retails for $48.  I say excellent work, IT Cosmetics, you have another winner under your belt with No. 50 Collagen Veil Anti-Aging Primer.  By all means, you need to check this one out at IT Cosmetics, QVC, and the Shopping Channel for those in Canada.

*Disclaimer:  A free product was provided to facilitate this review--not my opinion.*

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Some Helpful Dieting Tricks You May Have Overlooked!

Packing on the pounds is always the easy part.  However, losing weight can be a challenge. Therefore, I found a few strategic tricks that can work for you just as it has been doing for me. 

Plan your meals ahead and make a list before grocery shopping for only those ingredients you need to complete them.  Before you head to the store make sure you eat first and never go with an empty stomach.  Your willpower to resist picking up junk foods as you shop and the candy bars when you prepare to check out will be stronger if you're full.

Shopping in bulk is not always friendly to your figure or wallet.  The largest sizes or a double package only will cause you to eat more.  Of course, you will justify this overindulging because the product might spoil and with the high cost of food you couldn't possibly allow that to happen.  Save yourself the trouble of falling into this harmful trap.

Often, those bulk purchases aren't as cheap as you may believe once you figure out the unit cost per ounce compared to smaller sizes.  Sometimes, the smaller size products can actually cost less or differ only by a few cents, especially if you use coupons. 

Another thing that helps is figuring out the times you usually fall into your snacking rut and then try these suggestions.  First, try drinking a full glass of water and then retreat from the kitchen.  Give this about five minutes and if doesn't work to fill you up, then I like to do something physical like grabbing the vacuum cleaner, washing the floors, taking a walk or doing some stretches, etc. to take your mind off of eating. 

When that urge for sugar strikes, you should reach for a sour pickle.  I know this sounds crazy, but somehow this opposite taste does seem to help curb that intense need for a piece of cake, pie, ice cream, etc. in a strange way that I don't understand.  

Herbal teas can be wonderful for your system and mind.  They will flush those impurities out just as effectively as water only with taste and a delightful fragrance without caffeine while filling you up.  I like to keep a pitcher chilled in the refrigerator as a refreshing alternative to coffee.  

Also, I like to make a tray of ice cubes out of herbal tea or fruit juice to suck on when you feel the snacking urge setting in.  That extreme coldness of rolling that ice cube leisurely in your mouth dulls your taste buds.

Cabbage and potatoes are excellent when preparing your meals.  Cabbage for one hardly has calories (24 per cup) and stretches casseroles or makes a delicious side dish or ingredient in soups without increasing your waistline.   Making a main dish out of a potato with some Greek yogurt, flaked salmon or tuna, low-fat cheese, or some of your leftover casserole can amount to fewer calories than you think with all the necessary nutrition of B-complex vitamins, minerals, and protein from the source you add.

Avoid walking near your office's vending machines.  If you need to pass those candies and snacks, then try not to have that needed bill or change needed to buy that goodie handy.  A credit card can be good in this instance since it can't be stuck into a vending machine.

Start packing your lunch from home instead of dining out.  A container of leftovers reheated in the company microwave is a wiser option than being carried away from greasy or heavy sauce laden alternatives.

Legumes are marvelous to pare down weight, improve your overall health, and give you lots of fibers.   Learn to replace red meats especially with meals using beans.  When you add rice to beans, you create a complete protein.

Dry beans are cheaper and what I always prefer.  Canned beans, however, are just as good when you're in hurry.  Besides main dishes, you can make a delicious sandwich spread in your food processor or blender with garbanzos, white beans, navy beans, or your favorite bean with some low-fat cream cheese, fresh garlic, onion, milk, lemon juice, salt, cayenne pepper for lunch instead of highly processed luncheon meat.

I hope you do try some of my suggestions because they can help you!

Friday, July 26, 2013

New Soap & Paper Factory's Bouquet Hand-Made Eau de Parfum Smells Like the Most Beautiful Bouquet of Roses! (Review)

Disclaimer:  This post is based on a free product provided by a company as a press sample so that I may offer my own  opinion, which may be the same or differ from yours.
Soap & Paper Factory's Bouquet Perfume.jpeg
Soap & Paper Factory's Bouquet Eau de Parfum

Who can resist a bouquet of fresh fragrant roses?  That enticing sweet aroma of what smells like hundreds of petals escapes once you spray Soap & Paper Factory's newest sensation, Bouquet, the second hand-made eau de parfum spray in this new line of three sold exclusively at Anthropologie!

Undeniably romantic, Bouquet is a rose lover's dream in this richly floral fragrance. The way the essence of Turkish roses and rose geraniums permeate through this very feminine mix enveloping your senses is lush and incredibly beautiful.  You can't help but lose yourself in this fragrance with its exhilarating happy rush that feels like falling in love, where you want to continue feeling forever.  When the violet like notes of orris emerge, this fragrance layers the scent with a bit of undiscovered mystery as it continues to tempt those within its vicinity.

If you are a fan of rose floral scents, I think you would love this new creation from Soap & Paper Factory  just as much as I do.  The 1.7 oz. bottle of Bouquet Hand-Made Eau de Parfum Spray retails for $32.  Do look into this fragrance because it is charming!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Freshness Never Smelled So Good! L'Occitane en Provence's La Collection de Grasse: The Vert & Bigarade Eau de Toilette Review

Disclaimer:  This post is based on a free product provided by a company as a press sample so that I may offer my own  opinion, which may be the same or differ from yours.
L'Occitane The Vert & Bigarade Eau de Toilette.jpeg
 L'Occitane en Provence's The Vert & Bigarade Eau de Toilette 

When L'Occitane en Provence's founder, Olivier Baussan and perfumer, Karine Dubreuil visualized the La Collection de Grasse, they were intent on capturing the historic essences of Provence through each of four fragrances. The Vert & Bigarade, the third scent that I am bringing to you, is another stunning achievement since they managed to bottle the fresh green landscape of Southern France as it softly blows in against the warm ocean breeze in this beautiful unisex eau de toilette.

You immediately pick up the orange and bitter orange top notes against the lush green to greet you.  Due to careful weighing of citrus to green, this is a warm welcome with gentler freshness.  If you close your eyes and inhale, you can smell the orange floating in the air lazily drifting among the greens to give The Vert & Bigarade its  transparency as well.

Once the citrus unites with the green tea and the herbal influence of yerba mate in the heart, the fragrance cools slightly and evolves.  The eucalyptus like smell of that herb gives that aromatic green scent a distinct smoothness to those notes of green tea for a comforting presence that you gravitate toward. 

The base is rooted to the earth with woods and herbs that help keep this light fragrance grounded.  The notes of cedar, thyme, and musk lend a calming strength and seductive quality to this fragrance that is undeniably irresistible.

This is a gorgeous green tea fragrance I am crazy about that is ideal for warm weather.  I almost forgot to mention this is another L'Occitane en Provence's La Collection de Grasse scent that has incredible longevity.  

Regardless of sex, I think this fragrance would work for anyone with happy results.  Think of it as a mini-vacation to the South of France because it smells like you have just  returned only bringing that trip's pleasant aroma back with you.  The Vert & Bigarade Eau de Toilette retails for $75.  Do pick a bottle up for a warm escape!

To get a better feel about the first two fragrances in La Collection de Grasse, read my reviews of Jasmine & Bergamote and Magnolia & Mure.  Look for my take on the final fragrance in this line with the Vanille & Narcisse in an upcoming review.

Disclaimer:  A free product was provided to facilitate this review only--not my opinion.*

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Get Closer: HYD for Men Skin Care Products for a Smooth, Clean Shave (Review)

Disclaimer:  This post is based on a free product provided by a company as a press sample so that I may offer my own  opinion, which may be the same or differ from yours.
HYD for Men Skin Care Products.jpeg
HYD for Men Skin Care Products

Although beards and moustaches can be quite sexy on men, I must confess a smooth male face is better for kissing since tickling and scratching can often follow.  My guy happens to like a clean shave also so when iFabbo offered up the HYD for Men shaving system of products to review, I knew he would be pleased to voice an opinion.

There were three products from HYD for Men for him to sample with a Shave Cream for anti-aging help while conditioning and slicking up the skin in prep for a razor; the Buffer Stick to exfoliate and ward off ingrown hairs; and a Razor Shield for prolonging the life of any razor blade.  

After several days, I thought it was time to probe him.  In regard to the HYD for Men Shave Cream, he liked the energetic, cool sensation in this low foaming later, but really noticed how much softer his skin felt compared to his normal cheaper shave cream.  He also mentioned he didn't need to use as much as what he pumped from his old can to get a close shave.

The HYD for Men Buffer Stick he thought wasn't bad. Although I have tons of scrubs, he never tried anything to exfoliate so this was a first for him.  His problem was remembering this extra step the first few times.  Now I see him making a habit of picking that product up when he shaves.

As to the HYD for Men Razor Shield, this is the only product he wasn't all that keen for.  He didn't think it helped his blade to justify the cost.  He thought pouring an oil out over his blade was harder to coat than if it had come in a spray form.  It dripped down and wasted more than went on the blade in this way.  If the design was changed, it probably would make it a more effective product.

The HYD for Men Shave Cream retails for ($12.99), Buffer Stick ($24.99), and the Razor Shield ($17.99).

Ladies, HYD for Men Shave Cream really left my guy with a baby smooth face so ready for kisses.   I think the essential oils and well as the added moisturizing ingredients really do wonders even on someone with a tendency toward heavy growth.  Men, listen up, because this is a product that might help your cause with the ladies.

If you want to try any of these products from HYD for Men  that I talked about, then this is the perfect time to save 20% off your entire purchase.  All you have to do is to click here to visit HYD for Men and enter promotion code SAVE20.   Thank you to #HYDForMen and iFabbo for allowing my guy a chance to be heard.

Disclaimer:  A free product was provided to facilitate this review only--not my opinion.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

An Absolute Must-Have! Jurlique's Skin Balancing Face Oil Review

Disclaimer:  This post is based on a free product provided by a company as a press sample so that I may offer my own  opinion, which may be the same or differ from yours.
Jurlique's Skin Balancing Face Oil.jpeg
 Jurlique's Skin Balancing Face Oil

Although my skin is dry, it does change somewhat in the summer, where I can occasionally get a pimple.  My nose gets oily as well, but my chin and forehead are fine.  Therefore, I would not label this combination skin.  Nonetheless, I feel more lightweight moisturizers are better choices for me during hot weather to prevent any skin problem.

When Jurlique kindly provided a box of skin care for me to review, I had a bottle of their Skin Balancing Face Oil among the products.  My first thought was an oil would probably be too heavy now until I read the description on the package.  Advertised as a lightweight treatment to help hydrate but also with anti-aging, I knew this was the perfect product to start using.

This product has nourishing evening primrose, rose hip, safflower, avocado, jojoba, and macadamia seed oils for moisturizing and softening the appearance of fine lines along with shea butter.

After I washed my face, I left my skin slightly damp before I was going to apply the oil.  I  took a cotton ball and measured out about two drops.  To my amazement, my skin seemed to drink this up without a greasy appearance.  In fact, my complexion hurt because I was in the sun, but this felt incredibly soothing and made my skin baby soft. 

I did try this oil initially without leaving my skin damp after washing.  Applying a few drops this way gives your skin more of an oily shine, but leaving your skin slightly damp avoids that from happening.  This is a trick I found that works the best with oily serums.

I didn't bother adding an additional moisturizer on top mornings and nights.  The only exception was after my face got too much sun.  To me, this oil provided all the moisture I needed.  

I haven't been using the Skin Balancing Face Oil all that long.  Yet, it has been wonderful to my complexion for the restorative benefits it has shown me because my skin is smoother, hydrated, and glowing.  

I am so impressed with Jurlique's Skin Balancing Face Oil for the radiance it has brought to my face and simply love this stuff.  Give this product about a week or ten days and you will also have a prettier reflection in your mirror as well!  

Jurlique's Skin Balancing Face Oil retails for $50 (50 ml).  Do get a bottle and begin your own beautiful transformation.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Do Try My Homemade Brightening Anti-Aging Facial Mask for Instant Radiance

This beauty knows the secret of how to achieve instant radiance.

Despite lacking a fancy label or a huge price, the best skin care treatments don't necessarily have to come from an exclusive salon or shop.  Some excellent treatments can come from your own kitchen.  In fact, you may be surprised at how well foods that you are probably eating can also help feed your skin or hair to nourish them back to health. 

The recipe that I want to share is loaded with beneficial natural beauty boosting antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins for reviving a dull complexion while whitening, moisturizing, softening, and tightening--in addition to helping with anti-aging.  
Fresh strawberries are wonderful for helping bleach skin without any harmful side effects.  This berry is also good for exfoliating due to the salicylic acid present and Omega-3 fatty acids for repairing  the cell structure to bring out a younger appearance.  Grapes also have amazing power at whitening the skin as well as softening and anti-aging effects since they have antioxidants.  Honey is jammed with moisturizing capabilities and attracts water to lock those benefits in while oatmeal tightens, tones, and helps exfoliate old skin cells to revive and usher in a fresh, glowing complexion.

Of course, there is a bit of work involved compared to opening a jar of a purchased product.  You need to shop for those items that may not be in your refrigerator and pantry to make your mask and pull out your blender to prepare it.  

Nonetheless, the results are well worth those few minutes of extra time once you see what happens after you treat your starving complexion to a proper meal.  Let your mirror be the judge and it has ruled in my favor every time.  My guess is your mirror will also pass the same judgment in your case!

My Homemade Brightening Anti-Aging Facial Mask

1/2 cup of fresh strawberries
4 green grapes
1-1/2  tablespoons of oatmeal
1/2 teaspoon of honey

Take out your blender and grind the oatmeal on high for about 30 seconds or so until its fairly fine.

Next, add the rest of the ingredients together on blend on high for about a minute.  This should have a smoothie consistency.

Apply to your freshly washed face and hide away to your bedroom or wherever you go when you want to be alone. I recommend picking the bedroom because you can relax on the bed since twenty minutes are needed for allowing this mask to work.   (You will want that privacy because you will look temporarily disgusting with these fruits plastered all over your face).  

Use that time to close your eyes, think pleasant thoughts, and then let your mind just drift during the time can help with stress as well. 

Wash the mask off your face when your time is up with lukewarm water.  Be sure to close your pores with cool water before applying your moisturizer.  

You will look better and feel more mentally refreshed!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

My Nutty Tube-Pan Cake Is a Real Crowd Pleaser!

This recipe that I have for you today has always been a big hit whether I serve it to the family or friends.  This scrumptious filled cake may appear fancy with finely chopped walnuts in the center covered over with more moist yellow cake, but it is quite simple to make. 

The toughest part probably is chopping your walnuts.  Although you can take out your food processor and also grind the nuts, I prefer finely chopping them to give a crunchier texture to my cake.  Either choice of a crunchier or smoother filling is just as wonderful so do experiment.

Your electric mixer will do the creaming.  The rest is just assembling ingredients and baking.  Waiting for that delicious smelling cake to come out of your oven is what I consider the hardest part about this recipe.

You will need butter or margarine for this cake.  If you intend to use a margarine, read you package and make sure it is not a spread, which has too much water for baking.  Spreads never work.

I hope you print my recipe out and try it sometime because it is that good!

My Nutty Tube-Pan Cake

Nut Filling:

1 cup of finely chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon
1/2 cup of brown sugar (light or dark)
1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg

Cake Batter:

1/2 pound (2 sticks) of margarine (not spread) or butter
4 cups of flour
2 cups of sugar
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1-1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon of baking soda
5 large eggs
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
1 pint of sour cream

Finely chop or grind your nuts and then mix the nut filling ingredients together.  Reserve two tablespoons to top your cake and set aside.

To prepare the cake, cream the margarine and sugar together thoroughly in another mixing bowl.

Add your eggs, beating in with your electric mixer, one at a time and creaming well.

Next, add the vanilla to the mixture.

Sift the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, soda, and salt) and add alternately with the sour cream to your creamed mixture. Beat this until well combined.

Pour half of the batter into a well greased and floured 10-tube pan and then spoon all the nut filling over it before pouring the rest of the batter on top. 

Sprinkle the reserved nut filling to top your cake before baking in a 350-degree oven for about 60-65 minutes or so, depending on how your oven is regulated.  

Test to see if baked with a cake tester or a long slender knife to see if anything sticks. 

Allow to cool in the pan for about ten minutes first before attempting to remove.


Friday, July 19, 2013

Experience This Liberating Scent--Thymes Fig Leaf & Cassis Bath & Shower Gel From Their Classics Line (Review)

Disclaimer:  This post is based on a free product provided by a company as a press sample so that I may offer my own  opinion, which may be the same or differ from yours.
Thymes Fig Leaf & Cassis Bath & Shower Gel.jpeg
Thymes Fig Leaf & Cassis Bath & Shower Gel 

Fig Leaf & Cassis is one of the four scented lines brought back by popular demand by Thymes and reissued as Thymes Classics.  Though I never tried it previously, I got a chance to see what made this complex gourmand so appealing when I was sent the Bath & Body Gel to experience.

Imagine bathing with a liberating scent that breaks down your inhibitions and brings out your most sensual self as you luxuriate in that tub--only the walls of your bathroom are no longer there along with your tub.  Instead, you're inhaling that fresh green aroma of verdant fig leaves, sweet cassis, juniper berries with tangy mandarin, feeling like your tub is suddenly plunged in the middle of some tropical paradise where lush green foliage, ripe fruits and exotic woods are in the warm, balmy air.  The longer you bask in that sun and those cypress notes emerge, the more your worries seem to travel, almost as far away as this secret place.

What started as a fresh green scent does meld into a warm sweet, woody scent that is clean and simple, but unavoidably sexy with the power to lift your spirits.  Now that I sampled this scent, I am hooked.  I need to try the Fig Leaf & Cassis Cologne next to compare the composition of the scent in that form.

If what I describe sounds like your type of fragrance, then do look into Thymes Classics Fig Leaf & Cassis Bath & Body Gel ($25) and other products in this line and see how far it will carry you away!  

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Perfect Combo for a Summer Glow--IT Cosmetics Vitality Glow Anti-Aging Matte Bronzer and the Heavenly Luxe Mega Fan Brush Review

Disclaimer:  This post is based on a free product provided by a company as a press sample so that I may offer my own  opinion, which may be the same or differ from yours.
IT Cosmetics Vitality Glow Anti-Aging Matte Bronzer and the Heavenly Luxe Mega Fan Brush.jpeg
IT Cosmetics Vitality Glow Anti-Aging Matte Bronzer and the Heavenly Luxe Mega Fan Brush 

As a rule, I wear less makeup in the summer and strive to keep everything light, but still manage a pulled together look.  A cosmetic that I think is a must to do that, especially when the heat and humidity soar, is a great bronzer since you can often swap it for foundation for hiding and evening out your complexion.  Nevertheless, you need a great product and brush to help get that bare, but polished face and once again those beauty experts at IT Cosmetics have not let me down with their Vitality Glow Anti-Aging Matte Bronzer and Heavenly Luxe Mega Fan Brush.

This big bronzer has a silky consistency and is wonderfully balanced shade of orange, pink, and brown capable of delivering a believable sun-kissed glow.  Due to this innovative anti-aging formula with hydrolyzed collagen, peptides, vitamins, grapeseed, green tea, hyaluronic filling spheres, silk, aloe, and their patented drops of light technology, this matte powder felt light and provided reliable coverage without settling into lines throughout the day.  The color also gave my light skin that healthy boost without much effort.  However, I do think this shade would suit practically all skin tones.

IT Cosmetics Vitality Glow Anti-Aging Matte Bronzer and the Heavenly Luxe Mega Fan Brush at different angle.jpeg
IT Cosmetics Vitality Glow Anti-Aging Matte Bronzer and the Heavenly Luxe Mega Fan Brush with all those plush hairs

To tell you the truth, I don't know if I was excited more by the bronzer or that incredible plush brush for sweeping this silky powder on with because I loved my new brush just as much.  Their Heavenly Luxe Mega Fan Brush is fantastic for several reasons.  First, you cover more face territory with it than other big brushes.  Second, contouring with this tip makes the job easier.  Third, if you had trouble with applying bronzers and didn't care for your work in the past, this brush can help you master bronzer application with a more precise outcome.

I never seem to get disappointed when expecting great results from IT Cosmetics.  Once again, this company has won my heart because I recommend picking both the Vitality Glow Anti-Aging Matte Bronzer and Heavenly Luxe Mega Fan Brush up.  Find both as a set at QVC for $39.50 or the bronzer at IT Cosmetics for $34. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Dry, Anti-Aging Skin Solutions From Barbara & Company Natural Skin Care Products (Review)

Disclaimer:  This post is based on free products provided by a company as a press sample so that I may offer my own  opinion, which may be the same or differ from yours.
Barbara & Company Hyaluronic Acid Age-Reversal Serum and Bio-Peptide Complex Eye Creme.jpeg
Barbara & Company Hyaluronic Acid Age-Reversal Serum and Bio-Peptide Complex Eye Creme

If you want to see your skin flourish as mine has been doing lately, then let me introduce you to Barbara & Company, an exciting natural skin and body care line from award- winning formulator and medical esthetician, Barbara Miller.  Created with certified organic ingredients targeted to specific needs, there is a range of results-oriented products to fit your skin.  I had the chance to see try four of those products to address my own skin issues. 

Since my complexion in on the dry side, I received the Hyaluronic Acid Age-Reversal Serum as the recommended solution to return moisture and help battle aging.  This is a creamy, fruity lotion than any thin liquid that comes in a bottle you pump to dispense.  I liked how beautifully this product absorbed and softened with intense hydration and anti-aging power from not only Hyaluronic Acid, shea butter, aloe, and vitamins, but also hydrolyzed peptides to restore skin to help gain a younger appearance. 

I was using this serum twice daily and must admit the tone of my complexion brightened.  Gradually, I noticed my pores look almost like they were fading away while leaving my skin with a velvety feel and terrific healthy glow.  I can't say this product did away with the two deeper wrinkles by my cheeks, but it did help start to slightly pump them up over the short time I had been using it. 

The only criticism I have concerns the bottle.  After a while of use, the product can be difficult to pump out.  You need to give it some brisk shaking and then be careful when pumping because it can squirt far.  Other than that, I really loved the product.

My eyes were treated to Bio-Peptide Complex Eye Creme.  This is a rich blend of organic oils, antioxidants, eye bright extract, and a 100% bio-peptide complex that helps smooth out fine lines and under eye darkness, deflate puffiness, and moisturize that delicate skin.  I liked the gentleness of this cream since eye products in particular can be tricky for someone with allergies like me.  Using this cream twice daily, I found it did seem to lighten my allergic shiners while helping the look of my fine creases.

Barbara also included a bottle of Glycolic Acid Gel 15% strength as a part of my regime. This is a product all skin types can benefit from being a potent alpha hydroxyl acid capable of deep exfoliation to increase the rate of younger cells coming to the surface. 

Glycolic Acid is a fantastic aid for aging skin, acne, scarring, and skin discoloration, but it should be used with care and eased into.  You may want to start with a weaker 5% or 10% solution first to accustom your skin to the burning and tingling, which is normal for this type of product.  Otherwise, you might want to start out leaving this product on only for about two to five minutes before rinsing off or wearing overnight.  

Glycolic Acid Gel 15%, and the Green Tea Cucumber Cleanser.jpeg
Glycolic Acid Gel 15%, and the Green Tea Cucumber Cleanser 

Use a cream cleanser first instead of soap to wash your face and then dry before a treatment to cut down on the burning.  This is what I did and found it does lessen the burning somewhat, but I also think it is important not to get overzealous.  I left this initial 15% strength acid on for about three or four minutes and followed up with the moisturizing serum.  Though you can do this nightly with your moisturizer on top, I personally preferred once or twice a week to avoid less irritation and give my skin a chance to heal.  This was excellent for help with fading a small scar I had and perfecting a complexion.

The last product I was provided with was their Green Tea Cucumber Cleanser for dry skinThis is a luxurious creamy emulsion of shea butter, organic extracts, and organic aloe that melts makeup and grime and rinses off with water.  This is not recommended for the eye area, but it cleaned the rest of my face well.  Nothing was left behind once I swiped a cotton with a toner to test it.

The Hyaluronic Acid Age-Reversing Serum retails for $65, Bio-Peptide Complex Eye Creme ($52), Glycolic Acid Gel 15% ($34), and the Green Tea Cucumber Cleanser ($38). Barbara & Company organic skin care products are available on Amazon.  Do check these products out because I know you would be happy with what you will see next.

To learn more about Barbara & Company and Barbara Miller, who is also a motivational speaker and author of Dancing in Rhythm With the Universe, visit the company's website.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Check Out Mineral Fusion Natural Brands Sheer Tint Foundations and Let Your Skin Breathe! (Review)

Disclaimer:  This post is based on a free product provided by a company as a press sample so that I may offer my own  opinion, which may be the same or differ from yours.
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Mineral Fusion Natural Brands Sheer Tint Foundations 

Summer is when I like to switch from heavier formulas of foundation for ones with more lightweight textures to allow my skin to breathe.  Depending on the amount of coverage I need, I rotate between pressed and loose powder mineral foundations along with BB creams for the most part.  However, I found another wonderful natural coverage alternative from Mineral Fusion Natural Brands with their Sheer Tint Foundation.

What I liked about this Sheer Tint Foundation is how fresh my dry skin managed to stay while it evened out my complexion with minimal coverage and natural UV protection from minerals, pomegranate, red tea, white tea, sea kelp, and anti-aging antioxidants to keep skin healthy and radiant.  The formula was gentle and didn't irritate my skin being without fragrance, parabens, artificial colors or talc.

I didn't need to use much of this light mineral foundation either and thought this is ideal for when the horrible heat and humidity kick in when you prefer less on your face since it holds up nicely without melting over time. 

The line comes in three shades of Warm, Neutral, and Olive.  The Neutral was the lightest and best match for me.  When I get a little more sun, I think the Warm probably would look better.  The Olive color is a bit darker.

This product does have a dewy finish because this is a moisturizing light foundation.   I do not have any idea of how it will compare for someone with oily skin.  Nonetheless, I liked it a lot and will continue wearing it.

Sheer Tint Foundations retail for $29.99.  Find these products at Mineral Fusion Natural Brands or Whole Foods.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

A Fool-Proof Way to Determine Your Best Shade of Home Hair Coloring!

Whether you saw those first glittering strands of silver and panicked or just want to jazz up your look, shopping for a box of hair color can be daunting.  Models on the boxes sport colors that may or may not be you--and there are rows and rows of them to muddle through.  So how do you steer clear of a risky choice when you need a safe bet?

There is a secret for picking out the ideal shade for your individual coloring.  All you need to do is to look at yourself carefully in the mirror.  That box of hair color that you want to look for should be no more than two shades lighter or darker than your eyebrows.  If you stick in that color range, the color coming out of that box should compliment your natural skin tone instead of work against you. 

Hopefully, this tip will give those beautiful results you deserve instead of disappointment or a real hair disaster!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Pretty Those Feet With This Great Homemade Soak Also With Aromatherapy and Health Benefits!

Of course, it is always easier to buy commercial foot care products.  However, I have a fabulous recipe that you might want to try because it amazing for soaking your feet. This Epsom salt soak is excellent for several reasons besides softening rough skin on your feet to pretty them up.  Magnesium sulfate can help draw toxins out while also having a calming effect on the nervous system, aids in relieving swelling, and is fantastic way to relax sore muscles.  

You will need a basin and about a gallon of warm water or so that will be able to cover your feet.  Measure about 3/4 cup Epsom salt or more depending on how much water you pour into the basin or tub where you plan to do your soaking.

Next, I suggest pour a few drops of essential oil for a dose of aromatherapy as you treat your feet.

Lavender Essential Oil is wonderful for bringing on relaxation when you soak.  Start with about three or four drops and feel that tension leaving. 

When your muscles feel achy from overdoing, you might want to add the same amount of Rosemary Essential Oil to your soak.  Another excellent soothing oil is Peppermint. 

Tea Tree Essential Oil is a disinfectant and can help with healing a variety of foot problems like blisters to athletes foot.  This oil also can also help with itching from insect bites.

Instead of using essential oils, you can use dried herbs or flower petals from your garden to add to that simple soak.  Dried lavender or rose petals provide beautiful fragrance.  Then again, dried rosemary or mint is also fantastic and quite invigorating to the senses. 

If you don't want to do any aromatherapy, you can also fancy up your soak with some vanilla extract or some ground cinnamon, which are both delightful.

I like to soak over a leisurely cup of coffee early in the morning or when I am really tired.  The soothing water seems to help refresh as well as benefit skin and your senses so you might want to find a time when you need a well-deserved break to schedule in your soak.  I sit and relax until the water loses its warmth.

When you finish your soak, I like to wash my feet with soap and dry before applying any foot scrub or lotion.  By the time you are done with this foot ritual, you will feel so much better and gain softer feet!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Discover the Many Dimensions of Heidi Klum's Surprise Eau de Toilette Spray! (Review)

Disclaimer:  This post is based on a free product provided by a company as a press sample so that I may offer my own  opinion, which may be the same or differ from yours.
Heidi Klum's Surprise Eau de Toilette Spray.jpeg
Heidi Klum's Surprise Eau de Toilette Spray

Just as vibrant and full of life as the stunning beauty, supermodel celebrity behind its inspiration, Heidi Klum's Surprise, the fourth fragrance in her line in conjunction with Coty, is a fruity-floral bursting with energy, fun, and underlying temptation that recently launched February 2013.

The opening notes are brisk to grab your attention from citrus mandarin against the pink peppercorn.  Soon, however, that wash of bright, sparkling perkiness meets the magnolia and rose in the heart, providing an alluring sheer sweetness.  The more the fragrance evolves and warms, the creamier this romantic scent becomes.  In the base, this luscious floral creaminess is perfected when those notes of sandalwood and benzoin kick in to pull the mix in so seductively together for almost a powdery aroma.

I really liked the unpredictable sides in this gorgeous fruity-floral and the beautiful way all those notes came together.  Furthermore, Surprise had a wonderful longevity, which also endeared it to me. 

The only small criticism I have revolves around the open strip of plastic that makes up the cap for the pink, black, and gold adorned glass flacon bottle.  A closed cover would have been preferable.  Other than that, I think this fragrance is a wonderful addition to any perfumistas' collection. 

Those especially fond of a clean, but modern fruity-floral, I think you need to look into Surprise Eau de Toilette because it is a delight!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Beautify Those Tootsies With Sally Hansen Exfoliating Foot Products to Smooth and Help Avoid Pain! (Review)

Disclaimer:  This post is based on a free product provided by a company as a press sample so that I may offer my own  opinion, which may be the same or differ from yours.
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Sally Hansen Sole Control 2-Step Foot File (left), Soften Your Step, and Pumice Foot Polish (right).

Summer is when you need your feet to look their best.  After all, you have new sandals to wear and don't want to scare potential admirers off with ugly rough skin, let alone corns and calluses when you expose them swimming or sunning.   Exfoliating will smooth and soften them, but also help you avoid cracked heels.  However, I got you covered with several Sally Hansen exfoliating foot products with their Pumice Foot Polish, the Soften Your Step, and Sole Control 2-Step Foot File.

The first product I wanted to test was that Pumice Foot Polish.  This is lavender scented, grainy scrub that can be used to get rid of any rough, dry skin.  Besides lavender, there is also tea tree oil so this foot polish can smooth, nourish, and deodorize.  

Although you can work with this product on wet feet as well as dry, I found it did a better job when I rubbed those granules against my fresh washed, dry feet to help in getting rid of rough skin.  This was really nice for softening the soles of your feet.  However, I found it a wonderful aid in dealing with a corn even more.  

Even after one use, the Pumice Foot Polish was helping break down my corn more gently than other things that can also hurt.  I definitely will keep using this to fix that corn and recommend it to anyone else suffering the price of what  our stylish high heels can often do to us.  Follow with foot cream, lotion, or even body butter and your feet are softer and you're good to go.
The Soften Your Step pedicure tool that  I received is handy to own with two sides to exfoliate heels and soles.   One side has a ceramic stone and the other has a brush.  

Here's what I did.  I soaked my feet first before washing and drying them to soften the skin the best I could.  I worked with brush first to help gently work over the area.  Next, I followed with the ceramic stone side and rubbed over my heels and soles gently.  I prefer using  this gradually than overworking and causing raw skin, but it does help in smoothing that area with a bit more vigor.  I always followed with my foot cream to further help the softening cause along.

Sally Hansen's Sole Control was the last product I was sent with the most exfoliation power for tougher problems like calluses or super thick, rough skin.  This is another two-step foot file with coarse and finer grit sides. 

I followed the same steps as I did with the Soften Your Step and it does help with roughness.  However, I don't recommend trying this on your corns because this is the most extreme method of the three and they are tender enough without attempting to hurry the process along.  All other tough skin is wonderful to tackle with this.

I do like what these Sally Hansen pedicure products have done for my feet and think they are well worth looking into!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

One Whiff and You Will Fall Under Its Hynotic Spell---L'Occitane en Provence's Magnolia & Mure Eau de Toilette Review

**Disclaimer:  This post has been compensated through a free product (s) or monetary payment.  Opinions are solely mine. All links are "no-follow" links.**
L'Occitane en Provence's Magnolia & Mure Eau de Toilette.jpeg
L'Occitane en Provence's Magnolia & Mure Eau de Toilette Add caption

Let me introduce you to the second in the quartet of L'Occitane en Provence's  La Grasse Collection celebrating those historic essences  that made Grasse famous for perfumery with their Magnolia & Mure Eau de Toilette.  

Whereas Jasmine & Bergmot that began this series was more fresh floral with the power to whisk you to paradise, this is another stunning fruity-floral fragrance from founder, Olivier Baussan and the perfumer, Karine Dubreuil, that is just as compelling but takes a different direction that I kept wanting to revisit.

Magnolia & Mure starts with a lively jolt of juicy blackberries dripping their tart sweetness over the mix that wakens your senses immediately.  Once that fruitiness flows along to wash over the floral notes of magnolia, patchouli, and rose, there is a beautiful swaying of those equal parts fruit and floral on those romantic waves that are drifting upward as the scent warms.  The heart is romantic, inviting, and yet mysterious as it wraps you in its alluring spell.  Ever so slowly, the woody notes become seductive with an elegant finesse that haunts and becomes impossible to forget.

This is the sort of irresistible fragrance where you feel admiring eyes on you when you walk by wearing it.   Magnolia & Mure radiates glamour, confidence, sophistication, sensuality, and it is a beautiful way to feel and express yourself.

Perfumistas, who are attracted to magnolia scents owe it to themselves to experience this one because it is a glorious celebration of notes!  Hardly an overly sweet magnolia fragrance, this is a fresher, sheer take further enhanced with woods for depth to set it beautifully apart. 

The 2.5 oz. Magnolia & Mure Eau de Toilette retails for $75.  Also, available is a matching  6-oz. body milk and shower gel for $20 each, and a perfumed soap for $8.

The last two in the La Grasse Collection include Vanille & Narcisse and (a unisex) The Vert & Bigarade, which I will be bringing to you in two follow up reviews at a later date.  If you haven't looked into the line yet, I advise you to visit L'Occitane and experience the magic!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Review +Swatches: IT Cosmetics Vitality Lip Flush Butter Gloss (Perfect Nude, I Believe) & YLBB Waterproof Lip Liner Stain (Nude Light/Medium, Nude Tan/Rich)

**Disclaimer:  This post has been compensated through a free product (s) or monetary payment.  Opinions are solely mine. All links are "no-follow" links.**
Here is Vitality Perfect Nude Gloss and YLBB Lip Liner Stain in  Nude Light/Medium.

Prepare to be amazed because those beauty experts at IT Cosmetics have outdone themselves again when it comes to making most of  your lips.  Their Vitality Lip Flush Butter Glosses and YLBB (Your Lips But Better) Waterproof Lip Liner Stains exceeded my expectations for showering my lips with moisture, incredible color, and miraculously filling them out unlike anything else I have ever tried.   Readers, together these products can do more for you than you realize and here's why.

Before I put those glosses on, I lined my lips with the YLBB (Your Lips But Better) Waterproof Lip Liner Stains the company kindly sent me in Nude Light/Medium and Nude Tan/Rich. This creamy liner spreads easily loaded with  moisturizing benefits from peptides, collagen, hyaluronic acid, avocado oil, shea butter, aloe, and jojoba with boosting anti-aging help from vitamins, acai, and green and white teas.  In addition, this liner stain can also serve as a primer and stain, if you want to color your lips for all day wear.

In the above photo, the top is YLBB Lip Liner Stain in Nude Tan/Rich  with the lighter Nude Light/Medium  below.

Being light, I reached for the Nude Light/Medium first since it is the closest to my coloring.  Since it was one of the lightest nude pencils I ever came across, I was able to outline beyond my normal lip line without looking sloppy.  Now makeup artists pencil in beyond lip lines constantly.  However, in real life this looked like I just messed up when trying the same thing with other pencils.  On the other hand, my lips with the Nude Light/Medium Liner Stain together with the Vitality Perfect Nude Gloss made my lips fuller with more tempting volume. My mouth is small, but now I can build it up thanks to IT Cosmetics.

Here I am wearing Vitality Perfect Nude and Nude Light/Medium YLBB Liner Stain.

I was in my happy place now when I was ready to apply the Vitality Lip Flush Butter Glosses in Perfect Nude and I Believe. Color wise, Perfect Nude is the Holy Grail of nudes with exact parts of pink to brown.  The color was the most flattering nude imaginable without being too pale or dark.  I Believe is a smashing berry pink shade that looks darker in the tube than on the lips as you will see because I modeled it for you along with the Nude Tan/Rich Lip Liner Stain in another photo.
Here is Vitality I Believe Gloss and YLBB Lip Liner Stain in Nude Tan/Rich.

As to the feel of these glosses, I found them non-sticky but possessing a wonderful lightweight consistency that felt soothing while I wore it.  Their formula is crammed with ingredients for hydration along with anti-aging oxidants like vitamins A, C, E, acai, green tea and white tea to treat lips to that comfort while beautifying them in the process.

How do you like me in Vitality I Believe Gloss with the YLBB Lip Liner Stain in Nude Tan/Rich?

The Vitality Lip Flush Butter Gloss also has wonderful lasting power for a gloss as well.  I put it on in the morning and still had most of it on after lunch.  My coffee cup had just a minor trace of the gloss unlike a lot of other lip products that often are eaten away.  I really didn't bother reapplying after lunch because I was still looking good with enough on.
With both products on, my lips looked so plump and inviting  than I ever thought possible.

If you have thin lips or a small mouth like yours truly, you won't be disappointed with IT Cosmetics Vitality Lip Flush Butter Gloss ($24) and YLLBB Waterproof Lip Liner Stains ($24).  Seven colors are available in either product to make it even better.  Find them at IT Cosmetics, QVC.com, Beauty.com, and the Shopping Channel.

You may think I get carried when I love something, but I am naturally enthusiastic whether sharing products, helpful information, or even one of my own recipes that turned out spectacular, it is just the way I am.  Now that I revealed that side of myself, I know you will get just as excited about these IT Cosmetics glosses and liner stains once they touch your own lips!