Rants and Raves – Size Lies

Bikini-sizeAlways petite, I’ve found myself struggling from time to time to find clothing that fits just right. Whether it’s the extreme lengths of jeans that doesn’t quite work for my shorter legs or the fact that bra and panty sets and above all, bikinis, many times come paired with the same size already as a set – Small, Medium, Large, or XL, completely ignoring the fact that just because some women are shorter, slim, or under average in overall size, DOES NOT MEAN that their boobs are microscopic or that they haven’t at least got a few curves of their own.

I may be speaking for myself here, but I’ve noticed this on many occasions over the past decade or so. Maybe not so much now, as my work ethic allows me to bring in enough of an income to buy separates, but for a long time it really annoyed me that one size does not fit all when it comes to pairing up bras and undies or bikini tops and bottoms.

Also, have you ever noticed that a lot of stores do the layout of their store racks from S, M, L, XL, and those with two-tier racks often start with small on the top, then medium next to small, then large and XL on the bottom rack. Think about it – if you are selling clothing to a person who is “small” — most times said person is not so well endowed in the height attribute!! So I find myself craning and stretching to reach up to the high racks to get a look at those size small clothing items, which if I owned the store, would very nicely accommodate those of shorter status by sitting on display across racks they could reach.

Well, there’s my soap box for the day. What do you think? Have you ever felt this way about clothing sizes? Sound off in our comments about your own thoughts on the sizing situation!

Must-Have Beauty

If you could only use one cosmetics product for the rest of your life, what would it be? From eyeliner and mascara to pressed powder, concealer, lip balm, and more, we’ve got a lot of choices when it comes to favorite makeup items to consider. Women can find so many modern conveniences in the wide selection of beauty products available to us, from making our lashes longer and more beautiful to adding a pop of color here and there.

Not to mention, we can also enjoy a variety of items that are pleasurable to use on a daily basis for the benefits they provide. Personally, I can’t go a day without some sort of lip balm, ChapStick, or other delightful product that keeps my lips soft, smooth, kissable, and hydrated. I also enjoy the protection from the sun when I choose lip balms with SPF 15 included.

Some of my favorite lip balm products include the Alba lineup with Coconut Creme and Pineapple flavors, and the Blistex Fruit Smoothies collection, featuring a wonderful purple berry lip balm. You can read about some more ChapSticks, Lip Balms, and Lip Glosses to Love if you, too, are a lip product fan above all else.

Although, my lashes aren’t quite as long, dark, or voluminous as I’d like, so I’m not sure I could live without mascara, either. It would really be a toss-up for me and I’m not sure which one I’d pick. I think it’s safe to say these are my two favorite beauty items, so perhaps that is the better question — what is your favorite cosmetics item? Or if you can narrow it down, which one could you never live without?

 

 

Mary Kay: “Thinking of You Eau de Parfum”

Giving perfume is a tricky business, unless you happen to know the preferred brand of your target. But for those brave enough to take a risk (or looking to fill a gift basket) Mary Kay’s ‘Thinking of You’ is a good compromise.

The perfume comes in an attractive and understated rounded bottle that fits smoothly in the hand. The fragrance comes out punching from the bottle — it’s very strong. But no fear for those of us who shy away from strong scents. The perfume lingers in the location it’s sprayed, but doesn’t cling as fiercely to the body. Instead, you get a pleasant scent that trails lightly after you.

Mary Kay suggests the presence of a lot of fruity notes (mandarin, white peach, and plum), however I mostly smelled the lower notes — vanilla and musk, and lily of the valley. These smells are pleasant winter scents and Mary Kay does them richly. So if you know a vanilla girl, this perfume will be right up her alley.

At $30 for a 1 oz bottle, it’s a bit expensive for a ‘just because’ gift, and a little pricey for me to want to take a risk. These drawbacks are countered by the attractive packaging, which includes a place for a personalized note, and a keepsake charm the recipient could add to a bracelet or necklace. So if you’re looking for the perfect gift for a perfume-wearing friend — or yourself — call up your local Mary Kay representative and give it a whiff for yourself. 

The perfume is exclusively available through Mary Kay. To learn more about Mary Kay or find a Mary Kay representative near you, log onto www.marykay.com or call 1-800-MARYKAY.

White Sands Moisturizing Conditioner Product Review

In harsh winter months we subject our hair to cruel extremes: cold drying weather outside, intense heat from the hair dryer inside, not to mention hats, earmuffs, holiday parties. Forget trying to keep your color looking fresh: it’s amazing we still have hair come spring.

White Sands wants to give hair the TLC it deserves. They promise a lightweight formula that will provide long-lasting moisture that maintains shine and body and keeps color bright. I cannot speak to the color as I recently stopped color-treating my hair, but I can agree that my hair has body and shine. The best part of the White Sands Moisturizing Conditioner is that it saves hair from one more indignity: harsh sulfates. The formula is sulfate-free.

On the down side, I have not noticed a substantial difference in my hair since switching from cheaper conditioners from the drugstore. Additionally, I hated the smell of the conditioner: it’s a pretty heavy baby-powder smell. The lightweight formula does not go on easily; it’s a bit sticky – which would be fine if it were worth it. For $15 for a 7.6 oz bottle or $34 for a 33.8 oz bottle, it’s not good enough.

Product provided free to writer for reviewAll White Sands products can be purchased through their Web site: www.whitesandsproducts.com.

Deep Sea by KC Kang Product Review

Totally blown away. Being that it was crunch time between my son’s birthday and Christmas, when I began using these products, I’ve done things completely backwards. I usually like to research a product thoroughly before testing it. Instead, I jumped in with both feet. Hydration with water, what a concept!

Ok, humor aside, most moisturizers use petroleum, or other oil-based products, to help seal moisture into skin. Deep Sea uses water to moisturize at a cellular level. Granted, it’s deep sea water from depths of over 2400 meters by Kume Island near Okinawa, Japan. At that depth the water is full of minerals and nutrients, free from pollutants and bacteria. The deep sea water is closer to the chemical composition in our bodies, which makes it easier for the cells to absorb and use.

The products themselves are fabulous. The Coral Wash starts as a paste, very thick. You only need a little to do the job, but it lathers nicely and rinses clean. It cleans deep into pores yet leaves them minimized, feeling fresh and smooth. My skin does not feel dry, or tight, at all and it looks brighter overall. The product uses coral powder, sea kelp, and natural sources of AHA to gentle exfoliate and stimulate new cell growth.

The Hydrating Rejuvenation Lotion combines the deep sea water with marine collagen to hydrate the skin at a more basic level and protect it from free-radical damage. It is very light. It feels watery with a lotion after-feel. It’s not greasy, but you can feel the lotion aspect. It absorbs quickly and even controls flaky winter skin. It is light enough to not clog pores, but binding enough to wear under makeup and achieve a smooth finish. You can apply it generously multiple times throughout the day to refresh your skin, or simply as a morning application. 

I am very impressed, and pleased, to say that I have actually gotten compliments on my complexion since starting these two products alone. I am a mom of four, toddler to young adult, with dry skin prone to blemishes and irritation. It’s nice to be complimented. It’s very nice to have dry skin relief!

The Highly Absorbable Marine Collagen Gel is definitely a gel. It may be highly absorbable, but it takes a few moments to absorb. Once again though, I am impressed. It is great as a night treatment to help rebuild collagen for firmer skin. It is also great under makeup for a smooth finish, once again without clogging pores.

Delving into the research portion of testing these products, I like them even more. I love history and Japan has long been revered for its skincare secrets. These products were developed by KC Kang, a clinical hypnotherapist and holistic health practitioner searching for relief for her own allergies and eczema. Realizing the mind-body connection and believing that natural beauty starts from within, she delved into the positive attributes of the mineral rich deep sea waters of Okinawa’s Kume Island. With the help of a local manufacturer, Deep Sea was born. It is the first of its kind to be released in the U.S., also paraben free and untested on animals. It may be a tad pricier than expected, but you get generous amounts and great results. All in all, it’s a very nice product line.

“Rugged Men” – Your Man Could Smell Like: McGraw Silver Cologne and Pure Nautica Cologne

Some men are cologne men. And often cologne men have their cologne: the one that they put on when they were young men and wore until they became old men. A mere sniff of a certain man’s cologne can bring with it a whole lifetime of memories.

Introducing your man to a new cologne for Christmas, birthday, anniversary, or Valentine’s Day could be a risky proposition. Fortunately, neither the McGraw Silver Cologne or the Pure Nautica Cologne try to re-invent the wheel. Unfortunately, both smell very similar.

The McGraw Silver is the third cologne issued by the House of McGraw, named for Tim McGraw, country artist and star of the recent film The Blind Side. McGraw presents himself as a rugged country star, although his cologne speaks to a more urban lifestyle. The overwhelming scents in this cologne are sandalwood and a hint of musk – this smell almost overwhelms the rests. Careful sniffing will also detect the promised notes of lavender and general “woodsiness.” This is a pretty heavy cologne, so should be used with caution.

My biggest issue with the cologne is the packaging. The bottle tries to force a black leather top onto a glass bottom in an attempt to “signify Tim McGraw’s country style in an urban environment,” but it just looks disjointed and cheap. Not to mention that it is tiny. 1 oz will set you back $24.50 and 1.7 oz $31.50. On the plus side, it can be found at most drugstores – perfect for holiday procrastinators, or at Amazon.com or the official Tim McGraw Store. A little goes a long way with this cologne so perhaps it’s worth it, but I think the Nautica is the better deal.

Pure Nautica contains many of the same scents as the McGraw Silver, with a touch more refinement. It’s a little lighter, which allows one to smell more of the notes including Mandarin, Ambergris, Driftwood, and Patchouli. There’s even a hint of Suede which can be very lightly detected. This scent wraps you up and makes you feel relaxed and at home. It’s also the kind of scent that, worn by the right man, could get your heart racing a little bit.

The bottle is classy and simple: five white lines cross a basic square glass bottle. And at 50ml for $49 or 100 for $65 you are definitely getting your money’s worth. It can be purchased at the Nautica Web site: www.nautica.com or at local retailers including Macy’s or even on Amazon.com. If you’re looking for a solid gift for a classy guy, this cologne is a good choice for standalone or stocking-stuffer.

CYGALLE Healing Spa’s Honey Oatmeal Cleansing Crème Product Feature

Before I begin sharing information on CYGALLE Healing Spa’s Honey Oatmeal Cleansing Crème, let me first say that it was so nice to use a facial cleanser that not only smells good, but did wonders to the feel of my skin for the day’s entirety.

Okay, here’s my idea of the perfect facial cleanser: I prefer suds, lots and lots of suds, but it’s not absolutely necessary. What I do expect though, is a cleanser that is going to smell clean, one that will leave my skin feeling soft (no residue), and one that will inhibit breakouts. Oh, and above all, one that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg to use.

When I tried CYGALLE, that’s what I got… my ideal facial cleanser (minus the suds). After the very first use, I could tell I was going to love it. The cleanser had these little specks of oatmeal particles that gently exfoliated my skin and all its impurities. The Almond and Jojoba Oils nourished and moisturized my skin making it feel so nice and soft… and the smells, oh those smells were simply intoxicating. It was the perfect combination of sweet smelling goodness, all wrapped up into one bottle! Yes, it was divine.

About the Product:
CYGALLE Healing Spa Honey Oatmeal Cleansing Crème
Buy Online at: www.cygallehealingspastore.com
Origin: Made in Canada
Cost: The Honey Oatmeal Cleansing Crème sells for $65.00 (8oz), but is available in mini 2-oz bottle for $25.

This product is specifically formulated for dry to normal skin types and contains organic Almond and Jojoba oils, which are blended with Seabuckthorn and Aloe to nourish, moisturize and promote elasticity, all without leaving oily residue in its place.

Also available: Licorice Spice Face Wash, Herbal Soy Balancing cleanser, and Grapefruit Organic Foaming Cleanser.

Final thoughts:
I’d recommend this to anyone who’s looking for something more from their facial cleansing crème. Though the price is a little steeper than I go for in a product, after using it the first time, I realized the price was worth it.

To find the perfect cleanser for you, please visit www.cygallehealingspastore.com .

Product provided free to writer for reviewDisclosure:
Product was provided for the purpose of my review. This was not a paid post nor did receiving product influence any ‘positive’ feedback. Thank you.

Nails, Nails, and More Nails – KISS Product Review Feature

Nails for Halloween from KISSI cannot express to you the amazing amount of love and fondness I have for all KISS nail products. They are my life line when I’m going out on the town. They are the ones to thank when I get compliments all day long because my nails look fabulous. They are the ones I turn too when I’m having another nail biting episode and need to cover my own hideous nails. They are the one and only brand of fake nails I prefer to use, recommend, and trust.

KISS nails come in all sorts of colors, styles, designs, shapes, and sizes. We recently received chrome nails and French manicure nails to try. You can usually find them at any mass retail store for less than five dollars. You can also find the necessary tools to help remove, file, clean, and color your nails, too. If toes are what you’re looking to spruce up and make pretty, you can find all the latest trendy colors, styles, and designs for even the smallest of pinky toes. It really is endless the amount of nail art, accessories, and products KISS has to offer; always at convenient prices, always all the rave in style.

Do you have young girls in the family? Are you lost for the next birthday party idea? Why not have a nail party. With Pink by KISS, young girls can have a safe, fun, and easy way to design and glamorize their nails. Moms can rest easy knowing that there’s no sticky glue to apply. The nails are pre-glued for easy application. When the girls are ready to take them off, they simply soak their hands in warm water for a few minutes and the glue loosens, making it easy for them to remove each nail without harming their natural nail bed.

At just under $5 a guest, you can have an amazingly fun nail party and I know the girls will thank you for it. We do it all the time and my girls love it! We don’t even wait for a special occasion to do this. We invite a few friends every other month and have fun! Even we moms get involved. It’s a great way to spend quality time with the girls and do something everyone loves.

KISS never forgets the holidays either. This Halloween consider trying some of the latest and craziest artificial nails that are sure to enhance your Halloween costumes! The designs are wicked looking and are so much fun to wear! Just think of the comments and reactions you’d receive from all your friends and colleagues. It’s definitely a conversation starter. I wore the spider web nail design last year and cannot wait to wear them again. I’ll be the Bride of Frankenstein with the most glamorous nails around!

Disclosure: Nail products were provided for the purpose of my review. Any thoughts and/or opinions expressed in this feature are 100% my own and did not influence any ‘positive’ feedback. Thank you.

 

Scientific Organics EmerginC Kombucha Cleanser Product Review

emerginC Kombucha Cleanser ReviewI believe that most women, once they start showing their age, want some sort of miracle cure to help take back a few years; if not that, they want to at least restore the supple skin they once had, all while protecting their skin from the damaging effects of the sun and free radicals. I am over the age of 35 and feel that it is important for me to take care of the skin I have now.

For all the reasons I’ve stated above, I make choosing cleansers, scrubs, toners, and facial masks a never-ending duty of mine. I look high and low for that one product that will help renew, brighten, and protect my skin, whether from free radicals or environmental impurities, all while keeping me vibrantly young looking for as long as possible.

I was given an opportunity to try EmerginC’s Kombucha Cleanser by Scientific Organics. I received a few samples in the mail and was truly impressed after the first use. I tried it one night while showering (before bed) and let me just say that it felt amazing against my skin. I felt an instantaneous burst of moisture, something I had never felt from a cleanser before. It was such a nice feeling that I felt compelled to try it again the following night (to see if I’d get the same effect). Again, it was a burst of moisture to my skin. I instantly felt refreshingly clean. But I also felt as though I had a deep, deep facial cleansing. My face felt so soft after washing; unusually clean and supple, and I really liked the overall feel afterwards.

As for smells, textures and/or feel of the cleanser, it’s creamy, light, slightly sudsy, and almost fragrance free. I know that some of the ingredients in this cleanser are aloe Vera, white and green tea,  and maritime pine bark extracts (among others), but I didn’t notice any smell. It felt great after using, but smells were nonexistent for me.

Overall, I really enjoyed using this product. It feels great, works well, and has long lasting effects on my skin’s softness.

The price for EmerginC’s Kombucha cleanser is $34/120ml (+ shipping & handling). You can order it on Amazon.com.

Where to buy: online at www.emerginC.com

Disclosure: I received a sample product for the purpose of my candid review. This is not a paid post nor did receiving product influence any ‘positive’ feedback. Any thoughts and/or opinions expressed in this post are 100% mine. Thank you.

Dashing Diva Nail Polish Product Review Feature

Dashing Diva Spring 2011 nailsPainting your nails, to me, is like therapy. Although I’m not an expert, I can really make my nails striking with just a little nail color; all the while making me feel better, more relaxed, and ready to start the day. Dashing Diva provides some really great up-and-coming nail colors that will bring out the best in you. From minty greens and bold blacks to daring reds and creamy browns, there is a color for every mood and every look you’re after.

Dashing Diva Spring 2011 nailsI received a few colors to try and indeed I did. Each color brought with it a mood to last. When I wore Tibi Couture (light creamy beige) I felt sophisticated, a little on the serious side. When I wore Pier 39 (light minty pastel green) I felt refreshed, clean, and a little sassy! It’s a fun color. Miranda’s Law (a coral hue) was definitely a fun, bright, and festive color that brought out my spunky side. It was very flattering.

 

Dashing Diva Spring 2011 nailsNow, No More Alimony (a silver metallic) was a very sharp color and brought out the feisty side of me. I was a real go getter with this shade. Remember My Name (black) is wickedly cool and always brings out the darker side. Add a matte top coat (new from Dashing Diva) and say good bye to that shine, leaving you nothing but matte on black. It’s very daring, yet dark and desirable. Whatever your taste—Dashing Diva has your color and will give you that bold statement you’re looking to express.

I loved every color I received. There’s no doubt about it, but I really enjoyed the matte finish because it was different. It took every bit of shine out of the color (any color I used) and left it looking flat. Not having that shine was a bit different at first, but I really admired the way it looked. My friend couldn’t help but want it. She loves coloring her nails but really hates the shine. When I shared this finish (after I colored her nails black) she was beside herself with joy. The Dashing Diva Spring 2011 nailswhen, where, how much, and whys began flowing out of her mouth. Of course, she ended up taking it home with her, to share this look with her sisters. I haven’t seen it back yet, but I’m sure she’s making the best of that look while she can.

Dashing Diva has always been a choice of mine when it comes to “out-of-the-box” shades of color. The prices are reasonable and the nail colors last, without chipping, for up to two weeks. I usually apply two coats, a base and a top, let dry and viola – it’s there, without worries for as long as I need it to stay before changing to a new manicure or pedicure.

If you’ve never used Dashing Diva nail products, I recommend visiting their official site. You might be surprised to find that true color you’ve been looking for.

For more information, please see www.dashingdiva.com.

Disclosure: I was provided with product for the purpose of my candid review. This was not a paid post nor did receiving product influence any ‘positive’ feedback. Any thoughts and/or opinions expressed in this post are 100% mine. Thank you.

C.O. Bigelow Product Reviews – Lemon Hand Lotion, Mentha Lip Shine/Breath, Lemon Lip Balm

C.O. Bigelow Product ReviewsC.O. Bigelow was established in 1838; making them the oldest apothecary in America. (Apothecary = same as pharmacist/pharmacy) They’re located in New York City’s West Village. C.O. Bigelow sells everything from personal care and baby care to home fragrances and gifts as well as…the apothecary. I was given an opportunity to try three random products from C.O. Bigelow and I have to tell you, I am truly amazed. I had a wonderful time testing each one of them and will proudly recommend C.O. Bigelow to others.

If you like lemons, then consider trying any one of Bigelow’s Lemon hand lotions No. 1700; ARP: $12.00 (which I received), or Bigelow Lemon Hand wash, body creams, etc. It will make you smell like a fresh cut lemon with a hint of subtle sweetness (like candy). The lemony aroma will stay long after you’ve applied the lotion or used the hand wash and what’s more, the body lotion will leave your skin feeling so soft and silky, not oily or pasty. Plus, you don’t need much. As far as Bigelow’s Lemon Body Lotion is concerned, a little goes a long way.

 

I don’t think I can recall ever smelling anything like it; similar…maybe, but nothing exact. I am a citrusy type of gal. I like smelling oranges, tangerines, lemons, and limes. So, when I use a fragranced body lotion that smells of fresh cut lemons or sweet smelling oranges, I can’t help but go crazy!

I was also given the opportunity to try Bigelow’s Mentha Lip Shine/Breath #502; ARP: $7.50.
I actually use this quite often because of the breath freshening feature. The chilling mint sensation on my lips isn’t half bad either. It feels great!

C.O. Bigelow Product ReviewsEating salty foods and popcorn is a vice I have. I love eating things that cause my temperature to rise a few degrees and sadly, the saltier is always better. Unfortunately, this means chapped lips for me. I am forever using some sort of lip balm or lip shine just to keep the dryness and cracking to a minimum.

When I used the Mentha lip shine, I instantly felt that chilling relief on my lips. I loved it. The effects are instant and every time I use it, it feels like I just slipped a piece of chewing gum into my mouth. It’s very refreshing!

The only thing I didn’t quite like, but will deal with, is the fact that it’s a little thicker (in texture) compared to a lip balm, which is what I use most often. It’s creamier. But again, it’s not enough for me to say I’d never use it again. I love the smell, tingly feel, and taste of the Bigelow Mentha Lip Shine.

The final product I received was…a yummy, silky smooth, softening lemony lip balm (AKA: Bigelow Lemon Lip Balm No. 1421; ARP~$7.50). Now this is what made my heart skip a beat; it was scrumptiously tasty, totally soothing, and simply nourishing!

I cannot describe how nice this lip balm feels once it touches the lips. I love it so much. It was comparable to eating a piece of lemon candy. Sweet, lemony, and oh so tasty! The absolute favorite (in my book)! It’s definitely a recommended item, too. Especially if what you crave is sweet goodness on your lips.

Overall thoughts:
I think each one of these products deserves an A+ for satisfaction of use. The scents, textures, feels, and effects were top notch. I can’t think of a single reason why I shouldn’t recommend C.O. Bigelow products to anyone. I was 100% satisfied.

Each product deserves a five-star rating from me!

If you’d like to learn more about the products reviewed here today, or would like to see what else C.O. Bigelow has to offer, please visit www.bigelowchemists.com.

Disclosure: Product was provided for the purpose of my candid review. No monetary compensation was exchanged nor did receiving product influence any ‘positive’ feedback. All thoughts and/or opinions expressed in this post are 100% mine. Thank you.

Luscious Lips for Fall – Mary Kay 2010

I am trying to embrace being a grown up, and for me, that means embracing lip color. I’ve always played up my eyes and let my lips go with just a little Chapstick. But I’ve experimenting over the past few years and Mary Kay graciously provided two lip products for me to play with.

First up: Mary Kay Liquid Lip Color. Mary Kay describes this as a combination of a lipstick and a lip gloss: the pigmentation of a lipstick, the feel of a lip gloss. There were tons of things to like about this product: it’s easy to apply (almost mistake-proof), can be applied with a light or heavy touch, and feels good on the lips. The color choices were great, although some of them were similar to each other.

The only fault I had with this lip product, unfortunately, is something it does not claim to do: last a long time. Every time my lips touched anything, traces of color were left behind. By the end of an hour, my lips were back to natural. Fortunately, Liquid Lip Color is easily transportable for the many reapplications you will need. At $13 a pop, I’d hold out for something better.

Something like Mary Kay Creme Lipstick (also $13 per). Mary Kay introduces 11 new shades of their classic lip color, which gives tons of color variety from the dramatic to the natural for any kind of girl. This lipstick is creamy and dreamy and almost all of the colors I tried were flattering. I especially loved Copper Star and Sunlit Sand for a golden fall look, and Pink Passion and Sunny Citrus for a great date look. One day I’ll find a reason for Midnight Red. This lipstick even tasted good, but not so good that I was tempted to lick it off.

The colors look great and are easy to apply. Like the Liquid Lip Color, they aren’t particularly long-lasting, although they last longer than the Liquid Lip Color and with a lip gloss on top were fine. Bottom line: they looked fantastic and made my lips feel good which is almost good enough to break me of my chapstick-only lip policy.

Like with all Mary Kay products, you can get them online at www.marykay.com or by seeing your Mary Kay representative. I’d certainly recommend doing so!