Thursday, July 13, 2017

*Press Sample

For the past few years I've been telling you about my FAVORITE indie bath and body brand, Love & Lotus Naturals.  I discovered this amazing brand a number of years ago when I happened to meet its creator, Melissa, through my blog.  Since then I've never stopped using her products! If you have taken any of my advice and tried her amazing body butter, facial care line or decadent sugar scrubs then you know what I'm talking about.

Each year Melissa does a specially inspired, limited edition box.  First was the free-sprited Boho Box (read my review here) and then came the enchanting Mermaid inspired box (read my review here).

This year we're off on a trip around the world with the Bucket List Travel Box! So pack your bags and come along with me!

One of the things I get most excited about with regards to these special Love & Lotus boxes is the amount of attention to detail that goes into them. As you can see above when you open the shipping package it resembles an old travel suitcase, adorned with stickers of far away places. Open it your greeted with inspiration and a passport to far away lands....

 This box includes:
  • 4 oz Whipped Body Butter in "Hanauma Bay Hawaii" a meaty coconut, papaya, dragon fruit & tropical pineapple. 
The scent is fresh and light. Perfect for summer or a trip to the islands. This whipped body butter is MY FAVORITE LOTION EVER (and I've tried a LOT of lotions). Its packed full of skin loving oils and butters to leave you fully hydrated and moisturized yet light and fluffy enough to let your skin breathe all year round. It absorbs quickly and isn't greasy. Melissa offers her signature body butter in lots of scents too!
  • 4 oz Whipped Sugar Scrub "Amsterdam Red Light District" a fun, flirty scent of mandarins, raspberries, cranberries and ripe plums. 
I've never been to Amsterdam but I love this sugar scrub.  You get tons of fluffy bubbles, shea butter, coconut oil, moisturizing oils and sugar to gently exfoliate and leaves skin feeling soft and clean. Try using this scrub all over as the last thing before getting out of the shower and/or use on your legs prior to shaving for smoother legs. Melissa makes the best shave butter too, just sayin...
    • 2 oz Whipped Body Butter "Bangkokj Thailand" clean, fresh outdoorsy and very upscale spa scent.  This was a suprise scent to my liking! I used this last night and I loved how the scent developed once putting it on.  Also, I love these 2oz. containers, especially for travel. 

    • 2 oz Whipped Sugar Scrub "Glamping in Yellowstone Park Wyoming" tall grass, fresh prairie and wildflower. This is definitely the most earthy scent scent in the box, but its fresh and crisp.
    Remember when I said I love the attention to detail in this box, I mean look at the labels of these products.  I'm a bit obsessed with the Yellowstone Glamping RV. 

    • Lip Balm "Borobudur Indonesia" Grounding lavender and herb tea. I've always loved Melissa's lipbalms. This is a lovely one for sleepy time or a little R&R. 
    • 2 oz Mineral Sea Salt Soak "Havana Cuba" smoked tobacco leaves, oak and lavender buds. I love sea salt soaks! They are so good for your mind and your body.  Melissa chooses all the best sea salts in her blends as well. PS, doesn't this remind you of a cigar?!
    • 2 oz Body Spray "Paris France" vanillas and soft delicate floral notes. I love this scent and am glad that Melissa didn't go too floral with it.  It reminds me a bit of VS 'love spell' but so much better.
    • 4.5 oz Bath Bomb "Daintree Rainforest Australia" fresh bamboo, rain, damp leaves and tropical fruits. I'm so glad that Melissa is making bath bombs again! I've got to treat myself to this one this weekend!
    • Wax Melt "Montego Bay Jamaica" Jamaican Rum and almond poppyseed muffins. Now I have been to Jamaica, though it was Negril and not Montego Bay, but I would say that this scent captures Jamaica in a wonderful way.  I would love more or these scented Wax Melts PLEASE!!!
    I buy a lot of Love & Lotus Wax Melts, they fill your home with amazing scents without the danger of a burning candle. If you don't have a wax warmer I suggest your local Kohls. I've bought several there that are very nice and under $20!
    • Custom Nail Polish "Morocco" by Joy Lacquer. For this box Melissa wanted a blood red/bright orange with gold sparkles and flecks for a brilliant Moroccan Sunset.
    I love Joy Lacquer polish and I'm so glad to see another custom polish in this box.  Perfect for summer, I'm planning a mani with it this weekend. Be sure to follow me on Instagram to see it! 
    Aside from the superb bath and body products in this box and the thoughtful packaging is the inspiration inside. The box includes this beautiful charm which reminds us all to Enjoy the Journey. I personally need this reminder daily.

    Perhaps you were wondering what is in the passport inside the box? Here is a peek. Each page includes a product/sent description and  some information on the place it is inspired by.  

    The Bucket List Travel Box will be available on July 15th at 9:00 am (CST) for $42.00 plus $7.20  shipping. That is an incredible value for this special box! Set your alarms if you want one, because there are ONLY 30 available ! Visit Love & Lotus Naturals online to shop for the box or any of Melissa's wonderful products!

    Tell me what you think about the Bucket List Travel Box! If you could travel anywhere in the world where would you go? For me, its Italy! 

    Keep up with Love & Lotus by liking them on Facebook and joining the fan group! You can also follow them on Instagram too!
    Thanks so much for stopping by!

    *This box was provided for my honest review. All opinions are my own.
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    Wednesday, June 14, 2017

    photo courtesy of Kismet Cosmetics
      *Self Purchased*

    If you follow my blog you may know that I am very passionate about skin care, especially caring for the thin, sensitive skin around your eyes! Last week I was checking in on the Kismet Cosmetics Facebook page and found that they had launched a new product, Hydrogel Eye Masks - so I ordered a set!

    Take the time to Perfect your skin before applying your makeup! These lifting and firming Pre-Makeup Hydrogel Eye Masks are designed to leave your eye area looking less-puffy and revitalized in just 10-15 minutes.
    • Natural ingredients, like blueberry, raspberry and blackberry fruit extracts, impart an opulent, radiant glow, while they lock in moisture and supports skin’s firmness. 
    • Anti-aging peptides help give skin a lifted, tighter appearance.
    • Hyaluronic acid and glycerin plump the look of skin, and humectants help to deliver intense hydration by attracting an retaining moisture from water in the air.
    • Bye-bye dark circles!
    Each box is $20.00 and comes with a set of 4-single use Eye Masks. You can purchase them online here. I think that's a great price point for this product!
    photo courtesy of Kismet Cosmetics
    To Use: Apply masks onto clean, dry under eye area before your makeup application. Relax and enjoy for 15-20 minutes. Discard after use and gently pat remaining serum into the skin. No need to rinse.
    photo courtesy of Kismet Cosmetics
    My Experience: I used my first packet of these yesterday and was BLOWN AWAY by the results! 

    These stayed on my face pretty well as I walked around my house getting ready. The masks felt very soothing and I kept thinking to myself why didn't I put these in the refrigerator before I opened them?! Seriously, I'm doing this next time!

    After 20 minutes I removed and discarded the masks. The result? The skin around my eyes felt more firm and taunt, my eyes were way less puffy and the fine lines were almost completely gone! 

    Since there was more serum left in the packet I got it out and patted it all over my face and neck.  Bonus!

    I will definitely be buying more of these! I also saw that Kismet is making Hydrogel Lip Masks as well.

    These plumping and moisturizing pre-makeup gel masks reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles for a smoother, healthier lip in just 15-20 minutes. Natural ingredients, like Charcoal and Lava powder, infuse the lips with essential moisture and bio-actives to renew and protect your lips for a more youthful appearance.

    Seriously, considering picking those up too! You can shop these items and many others from Kismet Cosmetics in their online store. While your there check out one of my favorite products their Face Illuminators! .

    Tell me what you think! Have you tried Kismet Cosmetics? Would you try the Hydrogel Eye or Lip Masks? I'd love to hear from you!

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    Tuesday, May 2, 2017

    *Press Sample*

    The Mini Indied Box is on a nation wide Urban Safari, with stops in Washington, California, Colorado, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Philadelphia.  Read further to see what landmarks were chosen for the polish inspirations!  This box includes only mini polishes which vary from 6 ml - 10 ml depending on the brand.  It's a great option to try lots of different brands and colors at a great price. This Safari will only set you back $30.00! Let's see what we find! 

    Turtle Tootsie
    The actual Liberty Bell landmark is a beautiful piece of history that resides in Independence National Park in Philadelphia, the polish is a complex looking brown jelly with rustic gold shimmer. Easy to apply in two coats and a surprise favorite!

    Alter Ego
    Memories of Union Terrace is a sheer blue jelly that includes a dash of each color commonly seen when visiting the terrace.  Union Memorial Terrace is located on the Lake Monona shore in Madison Wisconsin. The chairs are a unique pattern and they have them in yellow, orange and bright green, so the color is a blue base for the lake and yellow, orange and green micro glitters.  Here I used about 4 coats but you could use another color as a base.

    77 Lacquer
    Grab Your Lederhosen is inspired by the town Leavenworth in Washington State.  It's a small town modeled after a Bavarian Village and is most popular during the October Fest and Christmas Lighting times of year.  The polish is a light golden beige with strong golden shimmer. Shown with 2 coats.

    Envy Lacquer
    Disney Phill is a dark silver holographic polish with gorgeous blue, green and yellow shimmers.  The color is taken from the Walt Disney Concert Hall, home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and many other artists from around the globe.   The stainless steel building is a stunning architectural genius known as one of the most acoustically sophisticated concert halls in the world. Shown with 2 coats

    Bluebird Lacquer
    Casa Bonita is a pink crelly with turquoise glitters and a turquoise shimmer. Casa Bonita is a large adobe style hacienda that is pink with white trim. My polish is inspired by the color of the building against the beautiful Colorado sky. People from all around the world come to see Casa Bonita and no one knows why because the food is absolutely atrocious. There is saying in Colorado about Casa Bonita and it goes "The sopapillas are alright." The real attraction comes from the theatrical performances that happen throughout the day that consist of an arcade in a cave, an indoor waterfall, mariachis and dudes in gorilla suits climbing the cliff walls and diving into the pool before. 

    I didn't receive this polish but living in Colorado I think I need some Casa Bonita!  And I do love Bluebird Lacquer!

    Joy Lacquer
    Miner's Landing is a brilliant cobalt blue with pink shimmer, giving the polish an overall periwinkle look.  It's scattered with microglitter in turquoise, pink and green.  It's made to represent the color of the waterfront on Pier 57, a popular tourist spot where people can ride the carousel, ferris wheel and visit the Seattle Aquarium. This is another favorite of mine - Joy makes some of the most spectacular blue polishes! Shown here in 2 coats.

    Leesha's Lacquer
    Inspired by the Cherry and Spoon sculpture in Minneapolis. A super glowy red with silver micro flakies and holo shimmer. Who doesn't love a gorgeous red?! Shown in 2 coats.

    Unlike past mini boxes, this listing is not a pre-order.  Your mini box will ship within a 2-5 day time frame and when they are sold out, this listing will be closed. Click here to order!

    Tell me what you think of this box?! Which color is your favorite? If you made a polish inspired by a monument or place in your city what would it be? Tell me below! I'd love to hear from you!

    *This box was provided for my review. All opinions are my own.

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    Tuesday, March 7, 2017

    This past Friday (March 3rd) was Dress in Blue Day to raise awareness about Colon Cancer. Actually the month of March is Colon Cancer Awareness month.

    Did you know? Facts about Colorectal Cancer:

    •2nd leading cause of cancer death among men & women combined
    •3rd most commonly diagnosed cancer
    •135,430 estimated new cases in 2017
    •50,260 estimated deaths in 2017
    •1 in 20 people will be diagnosed in their lifetimes
    •1 in 3 people are not up-to-date with screening
    •23 million people have not been screened
    •60% of deaths could be prevented with screening
    •Screening is demonstrated to reduce new CRC cases and deaths from CRC

    Colon Cancer has personally impacted my life. The disease stole my great-uncle and my uncle who was my godfather. My godfather was only in his 50's. Data suggests that the incidence of colorectal cancer for those under 50 is on the rise and more young people are being diagnosed with colorectal cancer. 10-11% of colon cancers and 18% of rectal cancers are diagnosed in individuals under the age of 50.

    In fact, my cousin Tabitha was recently diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer and she is only 31. Let that sink in for a minute...31! She and my cousin Chris were just married this past fall and their daughter, Colbie will be turning two next week. With 12 rounds of chemo ahead of her I felt somewhat helpless to make any sort of positive impact on her journey from thousands of miles away.

    So I decided that I was going to have a custom nail polish made for her.  I reached out to my friend Lou at Bluebird Lacquer by Lou it Yourself to enlist her help.  My thought was that my family and Tabitha's friends could all wear this special polish in support of her fight. Today Tabitha will open the polish from me, read this post and know that lots of our family already have their own bottles too.

    SaveTheBooty is pink based jelly/crelly with blue micro shimmer representing the blue ribbon for colon cancer awareness.  While this disease is a part of her journey it will not defeat her. I still wanted the base of the color to represent Tabitha and not just cancer because she is more then this illness.

    On Friday I dressed my nails in blue with SavetheBooty polish and stamped it with images from UberChic Beauty and Hit the Bottle 'A Bolt from the Blue' (Beautometry).

    Lou was kind enough to not only make this special polish for me but she will be leaving the listing up for the entire month of March. Each bottle is only $8.00 and 10% of every sale will be donated to cancer research in my cousin's name. CLICK HERE to purchase a bottle.

    Keep Fighting Tabitha


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    Monday, February 20, 2017

    *Press Sample*

    Its been awhile since I've posted some nail art on the the blog.  Honestly the winter has not been good to my nails. They've all broken several times and I'm sure skiing doesn't help either. So today you will note that my "canvas" is considerably smaller. Oh well! We must go on!

    Now that Valentine's Day is over and March is just around the corner, it's time for one of my favorite holidays - St. Patrick's Day! Last year I remember Brittany from UberChic Beauty asking fans for suggestions on plate themes they would like to see. I remember suggesting Celtic knots because I love them. My grandfather's family came to the U.S. from Ireland and we've always been proud to be Irish.  So when I saw the preview of this mini plate I was really excited!

    Uber Mini: St Patrick's Day
    $7.99 Available Online Here

    This is your lucky day. UberChic Beauty has developed a plate that celebrates everything related to St. Patrick's Day festivities and then some! From negative space rainbows to Celtic knots, hat buckles to shamrocks – and the most adorable Leprechaun you've ever seen – this plate is sure to put all your green and gold to good use.

    I love the mix of images on this plate especially the Celtic knots. Really the only thing missing from this plate is a Claddagh ring (click here if you don't know what that is!)
    $10.99 Available Online Here

    The XL Stamper: Glitter Heads 
    You get not one but two glittery stamper heads: 1 Purple and 1 Pink - both semi-sticky and medium firm  with GLITTER in them! A  black matte cone holder that easily cups the head and makes application easy! These are very similar in shape to the Creative Shop stamper.

    The different colored heads provide the optimal way to stamp with both light and dark colors as our purple stamping head easily shows up lighter colored polish and the pink colored head shows up darker colored polishes.

    These two heads are more like the Non-Sticky XL Stampers in their firmness - you can find their Non-Sticky XL here.

    PLEASE NOTE! This stamper does not need to be prepped. I found them easy to use right out of the package! They are super sticky!

    If it's not working for you right out of the box - it is possible to use the following techniques to get it to work properly:
    • Try washing the heads in warm soapy water and let dry completely
    • Try soaking a cotton ball or pad in pure acetone and gently resting on the head for 10 seconds - it should raise a better surface to stamp on.

    While I have a very special mani in mind for closer to St. Patrick's Day I couldn't resist adding a little Irish spirit to my nails.

    This is mani is a base of Mystic Muse 'Lucky' (limited edition) with a coat of Ever After 'A Kiss Would be Nice, Yes?' and stamped with CbL Stamping Polish 'Enchanted Forest'. 

    I really love the Celtic designs and can't wait to do more with this plate! I'm definitely missing my long nails though. Hopefully as the spring flowers grow, so will they.. I have so much more to show you from UberChic but that is going to have it be it for today!

    Be sure to order your St. Patrick's Day mini plate and new glitter stampers so you have them on hand to create inspired looks! 

    Be sure to LIKE UberChic Beauty on Facebook as well as Instagram to see more amazing nail art and to stay up to date on the latest launches and promotions.

    Tell me what you think about these new items from UberChic Beauty! I'd love to hear from you! 

    *These items were provided for my honest review. All opinions are my own*

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    Monday, February 13, 2017

    *Starter Collection Press Sample*

    I have a confession.....My name is Amanda and I am a lipstick junkie. Don't Laugh! Seriously I love lipstick, lip stains, lip colors of all sorts. In fact I counted how many different lipsticks I had in my purse and it was 12!

    And while I love my lipsticks and the pop of color they add, I hate how they come off on EVERYTHING! Your teeth, coffee cup, husband, kid, cocktail glass, napkin at dinner....the smears, etc. I've tried "long lasting lipsticks" that 1) don't last and 2) dry out your lips. Sometimes you have a work event or are at a party and you want your lipstick to just stay put! The struggle is real my friends!

    So when my friend Natosha asked if I'd be interested in trying LipSense I said "sure!". While SeneGence (the parent brand of Lipsense) & LipSense have been around since the early 1990s I hadn't really heard of it. 

    So What is LipSense and Why is it so special?

    The Basics
    You need to use the Color and the Gloss in combination. You MUST use only the LipSense Gloss with the color to achieve the desired results. A Collection is considered 1 color, 1 glossy gloss and 1 Oops! Remover (I'll tell you more about removing under the Tips and Tricks below!). 

    I don't know about you but I've become increasingly interested in the ingredients in my beauty products. Many lipsticks have terrible ingredients and I love that LipSense is lead free. 

    LipSense Offers a Variety of Colors 
    I love to play with color combinations with polish and LipSense lets me bring that same creativity to my lip color.  Offering lots of colors (see the full album here) that can even be mixed or layered to create your own custom shades!

    Here are a few color combinations that I've tried already!

    And let's not forget to mention that Glossy Gloss isn't your only option! I'm hoping that more of the glosses come back in stock soon so I can add them to my collection! 

    What is actually in LipSense?
    The one thing that I had heard was that the LipSense colors do have a alcohol scent (see below note). I didn't find this off-putting and once I had the gloss on I didn't notice it anymore. Knowing that the product gets rid of bacteria was a bonus!

    My experience using do you actually use lipSense and what should you expect?

    First start by discontinuing any sort of balm or ointment you have been using on your lips. Use the glossy gloss as your lipbalm! Double Duty!  I know what you're thinking - I was seriously doubting this gloss too. I didn't think it would do the job of moisturizing and conditioning my lips.... well I was wrong! The stuff is AMAZING. Its full of Shea Butter and stays ON your lips. Its very rich, glossy but doesn't feel sticky. 

    Confession: I sleep with this on, I wear it skiing, I put it on all the time! It's that good. 

    Second: Your lips are going to exfoliate.  Your lips are going to shed wax build up and dead skin. This is normal, don't give up! After two weeks my lips are the healthiest they have been in months! Glossy Gloss stands up to the cold, harsh Colorado winter winds. 

    I find that a moisturizing lip scrub is good used daily during this process as well. I like Parkside Soap Shop and Love & Lotus Naturals lip scrubs. They do not contain wax and come in multiple flavors. 

    Tips, Tricks and Observations!
    • I apply my Lipsense colors AFTER I am done doing the rest of my make up.   
    • I use a Q-Tip soaked with Garnier Micellar Water (learn more about that product here!) to prep my lips. This removes make-up and any other residue from my morning routine. It also doesn't dry out your lips. Allow your lips to dry!
    • LipSense is applied in three layers. Begin by removing some of the product from the tip of the applicator. I just scrape mine on the top and then use the reserve for application. 
      • Allow each to dry for 10 or so seconds in-between. 
      • Feel free to layer away with other colors too! 
    • Its important that you apply lip sense in one direction - do not go back and forth. 
    •  Set with your gloss and you are good to go!
    • I carry my gloss with me and apply anytime I want but especially after eating/drinking.

    Here is a great video by Natosha on applying LipSense! Be sure to subscribe to her account on YouTube for more!

     Removing LipSense
    • Apply a layer of the Ooops! Remover and rub lips together to allow to penetrate color. 
    • Use a cotton round or paper towel to remove. I personally have about a dozen or so washclothes that I use to remove my make up and lipstick.  I wash them with bleach weekly to help remove the make up. 
    • I've also found that using a cotton round with that same Micellar water is a great was to remove any remaining color. 
    • I use a gentle moisturizing lip scrub (noted above) to exfoliate my lips. Removing with that same warm washcloth that I used to remove my makeup/lip color. 
    • Apply Gloss to clean lips.
     Again - here is a great video by Natosha on removing LipSense!

    Where to buy LipSense!
    You can purchase LipSense and other awesome SeneGence products from any of their distributors.  Including Natosha and .... me! Yes, after a week of using LipSense and loving it so much I started buying additional colors. Then I honestly thought I had to sign up to share this magical product. That's simply how much I adore it!

    To learn more and view available stock join/like Altogether Beauty with Natosha and Live Life in Color on Facebook. 

    I'm anticipating the arrival of my stock soon! View my upcoming stock in my Stock Album on Facebook (Click Here)*.   

    *Please note you will have to join my group to view my stock and promotions. I'd love to have you join, just click the request group option*

    A Starter Collection includes LipSense Color, Glossy Gloss and Ooops! Remover! Individual Colors & Glosses can be purchased for: Colors $25.00 / Glosses $20 / Ooops! Remover $10.

    With the long lasting wear, long lasting use and variety of colors/looks you can create I think LipSense is a great value and I really believe you will LOVE it!

    Be sure to follow Altogether Beauty on Instagram as well! You can follow me over on Instagram as well for more looks and inspiration. 

    Tell me what you think. Have you tried LipSense? What colors do you like? I'd love to hear from you! 

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