Laser Hair Removal: Weighing the Risks & Benefits

beachcoupleIn life, there are two sides to everything. Just as with any cosmetic procedure, laser hair removal involves both benefits and risks. For those considering treatment, it’s important to weigh both the good and the bad to determine if laser hair removal is right for you.

The Benefits
 Permanently reduces unwanted hair
 Safe, quick treatment
 Appropriate for most areas of the body, including the face, legs, back, chest, bikini area, underarms, and other areas
 Few side effects
 Minimal recovery
 No downtime

The Risks
 Some patients may not be good candidates for laser hair removal, for instance individuals with dark or tanned skin and/or light hair.
 Darker skinned individuals may be at an increased risk for pigmentation changes.
 Though rare and more often associated with an incorrectly performed procedure, blisters and burns are a potential complication.
 Must avoid sun exposure and wear sunscreen after treatment.
 Treatment may involve some discomfort, requiring a numbing cream or other anesthetic.

laser-hair-removal-beachIt should also be noted that the cost of laser hair removal is pretty affordable at a national average physician fee of $358 per session according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons’ (ASPS) 2011 statistics. However, as most patients require a series of treatments for more complete hair removal – anywhere from 5 to 15 sessions – the overall treatment costs can get up there. For most patients, the overwhelming benefits of permanent reduction in unwanted hair well outweigh any potential risks or disadvantages.

Contributed by Dr. David Goldberg of New Jersey.

Stars and Glitter Patriotic Pedicure Toenail Designs for 4th of July, Labor Day, and Memorial Day

pure-ice-nail-reviewSummer holidays are some of the most fun holidays all year, especially when it comes to cute manicures and pedicures. I’ve never been one for plain red toenails—I always felt they made me look older than I am or that they looked like someone else’s feet. But I think I finally found some red nail polish I can wear on my toes without any worries at all… I recently received the opportunity to review the Pure Ice Stars & Stripes collection of nail polish and I couldn’t be happier with the results. If you’re looking for fun patriotic nail polish ideas or for nail designs with stars, glitter nails, or simple red, white, and blue nails, you’re sure to be thrilled as well.

The Stars & Stripes nail polish collection by Pure Ice includes: Dazzle Me (silver glitter), Superstar! (white), Freedom (red & blue sparkle with silver stars), Siren (red), and Wide Awake (blue sparkle). I so far have only had the chance to try Siren and Freedom, but I can tell you this is the perfect combination for a girl who loves red and things that sparkle. I showed my husband and he asked about how I got the stars on there. He honestly couldn’t believe they were inside the bottle of nail polish and just painted on like that!

patriotic-pedicure(Granted, I did have to fish around for enough stars for what I wanted to do to my nails, but it’s to be expected and I think it is a genius option as opposed to having a totally separate base coat, sparkle top coat, and loose stars!)

I painted my patriotic pedicure on my deck while my daughter played next to me. I only did one or two toes at a time so I could watch her closely, but it only took me five minutes or so to get the first coat of red applied. I slapped on a quick second coat, though I’m not convinced I even needed one. My toes didn’t look so alien in this red as I used to think they did with other nail polishes. (Is it because I’m a mom now? Because I’m in my 30’s?)

I ended up falling asleep before I could complete my patriotic pedicure designs, so, the next day I did the fun part—I put the sparkle and stars coat on each toenail, putting two stars on my big toes and one star on each other toe. I made sure enough sparkles were spaced throughout the nails and I let them dry. I have to tell you, I am thrilled with the results. I like a professional pedicure as much as the next girl, but I love how fast and easy it was to get gorgeous, sparkly, and festive nails at home in a matter of minutes.

To be fair and honest, I will, of course, disclose my only point of contention–I know this would happen with any 3-D nail art, so take this point with a grain of salt… When I did curl up into my bed between the satin sheets after completing the sparkle and stars top coat, it felt like my pedicure was getting stuck to the sheets or dragging across them a bit oddly. I’ve since learned to tuck my toes or keep them closer to the fleece blanket rather than the satin sheets.

stars-nail-polishAnother thing that impressed me about this collection is that the polishes hold up amazingly well on my toes. I have not had to reapply yet, aside from when I accidentally smudged my toe on my flip-flop before it was dry. (Mama multitasking mistake, not a rookie mistake!) In reading more about this product line, I’ve come to learn that all of Pure Ice’s nail polishes feature a long-wear formula, making your mani’s and pedi’s last longer. These products are also free of formaldehyde, toluene, and DBP, making them a smart choice for health reasons as well.

Are you ready for the best news of all? How much do you think a high quality, totally functional, durable, and brilliantly beautiful, versatile bottle of nail polish should cost? Or how much it really does cost? Wait for it… you can get Pure Ice’s Stars & Stripes collection for just $1.99 per bottle, meaning you can have the entire set for less than 10 bucks! What are you waiting for? Get to your nearest Walmart or hop on over to www.pureicecosmetics.com so you can get your patriotic pedicure in place before the 4th of July!

Disclosure: LifeLoveBeauty received complimentary PURE ICE nail polish samples for the purpose of review. The opinions in this post are my own honest experiences and not influenced in any way. Individual experiences may vary.

Five Romantic Ways to Surprise Your Loved One

romantic-things-to-doMaintaining an air of romance is an essential part of any long-term relationship. If you and your partner have been together for a long time, it’s easy to feel helpless when it comes to thinking of ideas of how to put a little romance back in your life.

With this in mind, here are five romantic ways to surprise your loved one, which are guaranteed to add a little more spice to your relationship.

1. Cook them a romantic dinner.

It may seem like a small detail, but, if executed correctly, cooking your partner a romantic dinner is an excellent means of surprising them and showing that you still love them dearly.

With the stresses of daily life taking their toll, dinner is often a rushed affair, characterised by microwave meals and quick fixes. Change up the routine, take a day off and cook a lavish and romantic meal for your other half. Don’t tell them what you’re planning, make it a surprise and really put some effort in, cooking them their favourite meal, while also lighting candles and finding the right music; getting the ambience right shows you’re willing to go that extra mile.

2. Book tickets to see their favourite band or show.

Fun nights out should not solely be reserved for special occasions. If your spouse’s favourite band is in town, book tickets for the both of you or, alternatively, take them to see that West End show that they’ve always dreamed of seeing.

Surprising your loved one doesn’t have to be for any specific reason. In fact, the more spontaneous the surprise is, the more it demonstrates a deeper knowledge of them and a deeper love for them.

3. Take an impromptu holiday.

IMG_1431There’s nothing more romantic than surprising your loved one with an impromptu holiday. If they’ve got some time off coming up, see if you can negotiate the same week off work, without telling them.

From there, it’s all about selecting the right destination. If you can’t afford to break the bank, consider taking your partner to somewhere like Majorca, which offers the perfect balance between relaxation and frivolity, at a very affordable price. Waiting to tell your partner that you’ve booked a holiday until the last minute will certainly not be something that they’re expecting.

4. Book them a spa treatment.

If your other half has been spending more time at work than at home in recent weeks, the chances are that they are feeling drained and devoid of energy. Instead of allowing their work commitments to cause an argument, show that you understand the stress that they are under and book them a relaxing massage.

Try and book for a Saturday morning, if possible. Waking up after a stressful week at work and being told that you’re going for a massage is a great way to re-invigorate your other half and show that you care.

5. Get flowers delivered to their place of work.

This is a tricky one, as you need to make sure that it’s something that’s appropriate at your partner’s place of work. Assuming that it is, there is nothing more romantic than ordering a huge bunch of flowers and having them delivered to your partner. It certainly won’t be something that they’re expecting and it’s a truly romantic way to demonstrate your love.

A little thought

When it comes to romantic gestures, a little thought goes a long way. Extravagant gifts are a nice idea, but smaller, more thoughtful surprises often have the greatest impact.

Dreft Laundry Detergent Review – For Snuggly, Cuddly Baby Clothes, Stuffies, and More

It’s hard to believe a year has passed, but my little baby girl has gone from newborn to rolling, sitting, crawling, standing, and walking in what seems like the blink of an eye. Over the past 14 months, we’ve gone through messy blowouts, sweet potato stains, dirt marks, fruit stains, chocolate smudges, and more. Laundry in our home is serious business—I am constantly on the lookout for products that work and always trying new stain removing tips to ensure our clothes and linens stay fresh and pretty for as long as possible.

I recently received a special opportunity to try and review Dreft laundry detergent. From what I can recall, Dreft is the only product my family members and friends recommend for washing babies’ clothing, and I can see why. I received some sample packets of Dreft for the purpose of my honest review, and I can honestly say all of my daughter’s things come out smelling baby fresh and feeling snuggly soft. Dreft is gentle and pure and does not irritate her delicate skin. It’s proven and trusted and even pediatrician recommended.

PrintAccording to product documentation, Dreft has been around for more than 75 years, developing a great reputation for softness and gentleness on little ones’ clothes and their linens. I trust the brand so much that I now wash my daughter’s favorite plush toys—yes, the ones she chews on—in this gentle yet effective laundry soap. Her favorite toy “Lucky” goes from grayish and a bit stiff and crunchy to soft, fluffy, and as close to white as a beloved Dalmatian blanket lovey is going to get.I put the Dreft laundry detergent samples to the test with our washer, dryer, and even line-drying some of my daughter’s clothes, towels, and even her favorite stuffed toy. Somehow Dreft manages to take out even the toughest stains (for us, strawberries). It leaves her clothing brighter, her whites whiter, and everything that comes out of the washer or dryer smells fresh, clean, and wonderful. Line drying items and drying in the dryer both produce similar results as far as the scent and level of softness of the clothing and other items.

dreft-lucky

I also notice that our towels from each week’s swim class feel softer and cuddlier as I wrap her up after a dip in the pool. The warm and cuddly feeling is so appreciated as we walk through the air-conditioned hallway and locker room. (Why they need AC in a pool locker room and entry way is beyond me!) Some towels washed with regular detergent seem to need a hundred washings to become cuddly soft, but I feel like Dreft gets it right on the first try!

Perhaps this is an aside, but I’ve recently tried Dreft’s stain removing spray (on my own dime) and it works phenomenally at removing stains from food, messy diapers, floor grime from crawling, and just about anything else your baby manages to get on her clothes. If you haven’t tried Dreft or Dreft’s stain removing spray, you might want to give it a shot. I personally recommend it based on my own experiences. For more information, check out www.dreft.com. Feel free to share your own thoughts and feedback in our comments below!

Dreft - Royal Baby Name BracketBy the way, if you’re feeling playful, check out The Royal Baby Name Bracket on Dreft’s Facebook page for a chance to pick a few baby names in honor of the royal baby!

Disclosure: LifeLoveBeauty received sample detergent packets and a gift card from Dreft for participation in this trial program. The opinions in this post are my own honest experiences and not influenced in any way. Individual experiences may vary.

PUR Advanced Faucet Water Filter Giveaway

PURwaterfilter-exDo you get your eight glasses of water each day? Water offers so many wonderful benefits to the body, so it’s important to ensure you drink enough water throughout the day.  To help you get the most out of your drinking water at home, Life Love Beauty has teamed up with PUR to bring you our latest giveaway in which one winner will receive a PUR Advanced Faucet Water Filter. As soon as the contest concludes, we’ll announce the U.S.-based winner.

To enter our contest, simply like our page on Facebook and check out our Rafflecopter Giveaway for full instructions on how to enter and ensure your entries are tracked for our contest. Current Facebook friends have already satisfied the only mandatory entry requirement, so be sure to go to our Giveaway tab to enter the contest!

Prize: One winner will receive one PUR Advanced Faucet Water Filter, valued at SRP $34.99 (Model Number: FM-3500B). Dimensions: 7.75″ x 7.31″ x 3.13″

“With the PUR MineralClear Vertical Faucet Water Filter, you’ll get up to 100 gallons of clean, filtered water. That’s 2-3 months of crystal clean water right from your faucet.”

The PUR Advanced Faucet Water Filter features:

  • 1-click installation
  • Superior contaminant removal
  • 100 gallons of clean, healthy, great-tasting water from each PUR MineralClear water filter
  • Removal of 99% of lead and other contaminants
  • 360-degree swivel
  • Built-in electronic filter life indicator

Eligibility: Open to residents of the United States (including Hawaii), age 18 and up or age 13 through 17 with written parental permission. All state and local laws apply. Void where prohibited.

Time Frame: Starting Thursday, June 20, 2013 and running until Wednesday, July 3, 2013 at 12 a.m. EST.

Rules: You MUST follow the rules in entirety to be eligible for a chance to win this contest. Your entry will not be counted if you do not do submit it through the Rafflecopter widget.

1. Required: Be a fan of our page on Facebook and like us. Existing Facebook friends have already met the only mandatory requirement, so proceed to step 2 to confirm. (value of 1)

2. Confirm your entry through our Rafflecopter widget.

For an extra entry:

3A. Follow us on Twitter @lifel0vebeauty. (value of 1)
3B. Follow us on Pinterest at http://pinterest.com/itsLLB. (value of 2)

4. Confirm your entry through our Rafflecopter widget.

How to Win:
• Complete the entry process listed above for Facebook, as well as for bonus entries through Twitter and Pinterest, if desired.
• Use the Rafflecopter Widget for official entry into the contest.
• No purchase necessary. You have not yet won.
• Winner will be contacted via e-mail, and the will be added to the list of winners posted on LifeLoveBeauty.com following verification.

 

Recipe: Homemade Brownie Pudding Pops, Full-Size or in Dixie Cups

zoku-pops-ss

Summertime rolls around and frozen treats become the perfect pastime. Make yummy frozen desserts to enjoy with your kids, family, friends, and loved ones, and this will also become a fond memory of the warmer seasons. Making homemade pudding pops doesn’t cost a lot and also doesn’t take much time. It also allows you to be creative with the ingredients, mixing in your favorite things for a yummy treat you can enjoy as a snack or as dessert any time.

I am a sucker for brownies, so I wanted to make a frozen treat that incorporated tiny pieces of brownie and of course, chocolate and fresh strawberries. Are you hungry yet? If so, keep reading – you will find this recipe fairly simple and fun!

Homemade Strawberry and Brownie Pudding Pops
In Dixie cups, these yummy treats are the perfect size for the kids or a modest dessert for adults of all ages. You can also use the Zoku™ Quick Pop™ Maker for a full-sized treat.

Mix up your favorite flavors and experiment with different combinations to see what you like best!

dixie-pudding-pops Ingredients:

Strawberry layer
3/4 cup fresh-cut strawberries
2 tsp Honey
1/8 tsp Vanilla extract
3/4 tsp water

Pudding base
1 8-oz package Chocolate or Vanilla Instant Pudding (plus required ingredients on pudding packet)
1/2 cup (4 oz.) whole or 2% milk
1 and 1/2 Tbsp sugar
3/4 tsp Vanilla extract

Other:
One or two brownies, broken into pieces
Sliced strawberries
Dixie cups
Mini popsicle sticks
Instructions:

  1. Create the strawberry sauce by combining strawberries and water in a food processor.
  2. Move to measuring cup and add in honey and vanilla.
  3. Set aside.
  4. Mix together all the ingredients for the pudding base.
  5. Starting with the pudding base, layer ingredients as desired into little Dixie cups. Add in slices of strawberries or bits/chunks of brownie as you go. When the cup is about 3/4 full, add in a popsicle stick if desired.
  6. Put brownie crumbles atop any remaining pudding or fruit layers around the stick.
  7. Freeze until solid, at least 4 hours but possibly longer.
  8. Enjoy!

pops_2281I adapted my recipe from a great book of popsicle recipes entitled Zoku Quick Pops, for use with the Zoku™ Quick Pop™ Maker. We have the pop maker and I actually did use it to make these very same pops. We noticed the ingredients ended up being a bit thick for the pop maker, but it was also our first attempt, so I’m looking forward to giving it a shot with a different recipe, perhaps a more juice-based pop recipe.

We had some leftover pudding, strawberries, brownies, and strawberry sauce, along with some bananas, so we made the rest of the batch into the Dixie cups version of pudding pops. It worked out great and I look forward to doing this together with my little girl when she is old enough to enjoy it.

Baby Preparation Checklist

bellypicFor many women, finding out that they have a little one on the way is the best news they could ever imagine receiving. However, once the news has sunk in, a period of panic often sets in, as the parents-to-be start to fret about the many items they will need to purchase ready for the arrival of the baby.

The first thing to remember when you find out you are having a baby is that you have quite a few months left, so there is plenty of time to buy baby items on a gradual basis. In fact, the first thing you will need to buy is not actually for the baby but for the mother, in the form of appropriate clothing. By finding cheap maternity clothes, you can make sure you are comfortable throughout your pregnancy without blowing the money you will need for baby.

Items you will need to save for before the baby arrives

Once you have sorted out your maternity clothing, you can start thinking about the items you need to start saving for in preparation for baby’s arrival. Some new parents get carried away and want to buy everything they can think of before the baby comes, but to start off with, just focus on the essentials. This includes:

A quality pram: You should never cut corners when it comes to buying a pram, as you need one that is safe and sturdy. Prams can be quite expensive, but shop around and try and get a good deal on a quality pram rather than buying a cheap pram that may not be as sturdy as it should be.

A cot: Again, this is something you should put some research into, as you need to go for something that offers quality and comfort for your baby. If you are able to, it is worth waiting until there are sales on to try and save money on this.

A car seat: You need to invest in a sturdy, high quality car seat before your baby is born and get this fitted into your vehicle. This is another item that will need to be of high quality, so make sure you opt for a reputable brand and look at reviews to ensure that it is as sturdy as it should be for your baby.

Clothes: Don’t be tempted to buy your baby a whole new wardrobe of clothes before he or she even comes along – there will be plenty of time for that later on. However, make sure you have some basics ready for when the baby is born.

Feeding formula and bottles: You will need to purchase your formula, bottles and steriliser ready for feeding your baby when you come home from hospital. If you are planning to breastfeed, invest in some comfortable nursing bras.

Toiletries: Make sure you have essential toiletries ready for your baby’s arrival. This includes nappies, skin cream, cotton wool, baby lotion, and baby wipes, amongst other things.

These are some of the essential items you will need to get before your baby comes along. Remember, you may not have to purchase everything from new, as you may have friends or family members who are able to give you hand-me-downs that are still in good condition.

Dove go sleeveless Deodorant / Anti-Perspirant Review

dove go sleevelessIn a few cases, I tend to be a very loyal consumer – what with my favorite lip balm products (though I will try others, I always have at least one of my favorites on hand) and deodorant / anti-perspirant products. I’m not gonna lie – I am a longtime user of Degree Women products, at least for the past four or five years since receiving my first stick to review. Before that, I relied on Suave women’s anti-perspirants for years and years. I feel like deodorant is a very personal product, and so it’s a relationship built on trust there.

I’ve recently enjoyed the new product lines from Dove, especially the Go Fresh lineup a few years ago. When I heard about the go sleeveless line, and received an opportunity to test it out for myself and give away a few sticks, I was excited. I knew I already liked their clever take on fragrances, and the product formulas themselves stood up to my standards for use with dark clothing, especially the little black dress. I received a stick of Dove® go sleeveless Beauty Finish for the purpose of this review.

On first use with the Dove go sleeveless Beauty Finish product, I fell in love. I noticed a familiar scent following me around throughout the day, but couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Hours later I suddenly remembered! It seemed as though the scent of Elizabeth Arden’s Sunflowers was everywhere I went. I realized it was a pleasant benefit of my new Dove go sleeveless product and couldn’t believe my good fortune to find something I liked so much and an effective, long-lasting deodorant at that!

I will also admit I noticed this product lasting a long time as I would get ready for bed or wake up the next morning. These Dove anti-perspirants really do last longer than you would expect, both in nice fragrance and effective wetness protection. Another nice perk is that use of these products did not leave white marks on my clothing, even a black top I wore one evening. If you aren’t sure of your attire for the evening and keep changing your outfit, you might get minimal marks just from the friction of putting on and taking off. In that case, for any deodorant product, you should have a product on hand like the Johnny on the Spot Deodorant Removing Sponge.

The Dove go sleeveless collection features added Vitamins E and F in addition to Dove moisturizers, intended to deliver smoother and softer underarms in a matter of five days, according to documentation. The product literature also claims Dove go sleeveless sticks can protect you from body odor and wetness protection for 48 hours—I don’t dispute it. I’ve noticed that same wonderful whiff even after waking up the next day. (Though, of course I still apply new deodorant every morning!)

Bottom line – I really like this product and plan to keep it in my rotation. In fact, Amazon currently has a deal where you can get it for 3.83 but they are offering a $1-off clip-free coupon, so you can try it for less than $3 and it ships free with your qualifying purchase. I’m not ready to walk away from Degree products just yet, but I do like this one enough to keep a stick on hand for some added variety in my life. I think Dove go sleeveless will be the perfect fit for my swim bag and my overnight bag.

The new Dove® go sleeveless product line is available in four varieties, including Dove® go sleeveless Beauty Finish, Soothing Chamomile, Nourished Beauty, and Fragrance Free. These products retail for between $3.97 and $6.25 online and at your favorite mass market retailers. For more information, check out http://www.dove.us/Products/Deodorant.

Father’s Day Cocktails and Drink Ideas

kentucky derbyDads deserve a special day to be pampered just like moms, and what better way than with a great day of food and drinks to celebrate? Consider treating Dad to his own barbecue or make him a feast fit for a king. While you’re at it, be sure to serve up a cocktail featuring his favorite spirit—vodka, rum, tequila, whisky, or even a beer themed cocktail. Consider these great Father’s Day cocktails and drink ideas so you can help Dad celebrate in style.

Gather all the ingredients and follow these easy steps to create delicious and festive Father’s Day drinks for Dad:

Father’s Day Vodka Drinks

Backyard Barbeque Cider

backyard-bbq-ciderIngredients:
1.5 oz. Vikingfjord Vodka
0.5 oz. Allspice Dram
0.5 oz. Lemon Juice
1.5 oz. Apple Cider
Dash of Baked Apple Bitters

Instructions:

1. Combine ingredients into a cocktail shaker.

2. Shake with ice.

3. Strain into a rocks glass with fresh ice.

4. Add a red apple slice for garnish.

 

The Happy Dad

happy-dadIngredients:
2 oz. Vikingfjord Vodka
2 oz. Blood Orange Juice
1 oz. Champagne / Dry Prosecco
0.5 oz. Aperol

Instructions:

1. Press two blood orange slices into bottom of wine glass.

2. Add 1/3 full of crushed ice.

3. Add blood orange juice, Aperol, and Vikingfjord vodka.

4. Fill another 1/3 with crushed ice.

5. Add champagne.

6. Top with crushed ice and add a straw.

 

Ginger Man

ginger-manIngredients:
1.5 oz. Vikingfjord Apple Vodka
0.5 oz. Apple Brandy
Fever Tree Ginger Beer
2 Pressed Lime Wheels

Instructions:

1. Press two lime wheels into bottom of Collins glass.

2. Add ice, then Vikingfjord Apple vodka, and apple brandy.

3. Top with ginger beer.

4. Garnish with green apple slice and candied ginger.

 

Papacito

papacitoIngredients:

2 oz. Vikingfjord Apple Vodka
0.75 oz. EO Pomegranate Grenadine
0.75 oz. Lime Juice
1 Bar Spoon of Cinnamon Sugar

Instructions:

1. Combine all ingredients into a cocktail shaker.

2. Shake with ice and strain into a cinnamon sugar rimmed cocktail glass.

Above recipes courtesy of Vikingfjord Vodka and mixologist Meaghan Dorman of Raines Law Room

 

The “Bloody Maryland”

bloody marylandIngredients:
1.5 oz. THE BAY Vodka
4 oz. tomato juice
1 dash Worcestershire sauce
0.5 oz. lemon juice
1 celery stalk

Instructions:

1. Add The Bay Seasoned Vodka, tomato juice, Worcestershire Sauce, lemon juice.

2. Pour back and forth between two mixing glasses.

3. Strain into an ice-filled highball glass.

Courtesy of “The Bay” seasoned vodka

 

Pearanha

Pearanha 3Ingredients:
1.0 oz of Smirnoff Pear
1.0 oz of St. Germaine
0.5 oz of Lillet
0.5 Spiced Rum infused with orange spiced tea and vanilla

Instructions:

1. Brew tea and mix 50/50 with your favorite spiced rum.

2. Include a few fresh vanilla beans and let sit in your fridge for at least 2 days. The longer the better, up to 30 days!

3. In a shaker with ice mix rum mixture, Smirnoff Pear, St. Germain and Lillet.

4. Strain and pour into a martini glass.

5. Garnish with an orange rind.

Courtesy of 62 Restaurant & Wine Bar

Keep Reading for More Father’s Day Cocktails…

Q-tips® Precision Tips™ Product Review

qtips-precision-tipsI guess you could call me a bit of a girlie girl. I really enjoy makeup and beauty products and especially eye makeup. That being said, I was super excited to learn about a new product offering from Q-tips®—their Precision Tips™ products combine all the things you love about normal Q-tips with bonus functionality through a tapered point on each end, designed especially for makeup touchups and for cleaning tight spaces. Finally, a product that understands how makeup works and how tricky it can be to touch up or remove altogether!

Completely by surprise, I received a generous shipment of these new and exciting Q-tips Precision Tips for the purpose of my review. I received boxes of 170 as well as several adorable travel sized packs of 30 in blue plastic cases. I plan to stick one in my overnight toiletries bag, one in my swim bag, and keep a couple as spares. I also received a lovely acrylic display jar for the Q-tips with my initials imprinted on the front – a very thoughtful item that will have its home on the counter near my makeup case.

To be honest, I’ve been using generic store brand pointed cotton tips to handle my makeup touchups to date. They are pretty pointy and the cotton is anything but cottony. I’ve had a time or two where they seemed to almost scratch the delicate skin under my eyes, making me think twice about trying to touch up anything else.

These new Precision Tips Q-tips seem much softer to me, with a looser weave of cotton that isn’t so rough on the skin. I especially like them for under-eye makeup smudges, especially eyeliner that’s shifted or bits of mascara that have smeared off. Another ideal application for these precision cotton tips is to dip them into a tiny bit of nail polish remover for manicure and pedicure touchups. And, if you have the tiniest amount of concealer to apply, consider using one of these bad boys to get just the right dot of coverage in exactly the right spot.

qtips2In the event that you fall asleep with your makeup still on, these handy pointed cotton-tips can easily remove dark streaks from under your eyes. Simply moisten the Q-tip with a little water and soap or some eye makeup remover gel. I know, I know. It sounds like I’m speaking from experience… well, because I am. I’m not ashamed to admit I’ve fallen asleep with my makeup on—I think it happens to the best of us—and you can imagine how tough it is to wash away caked-on mascara and eyeliner after six or seven hours of sleep. Ugh! Not fun at all. Thankfully, Q-tips Precision Tips are especially helpful for removing and touching up smudged eyeliner or smeared mascara, as well as managing other makeup touchups with ease.

Product documentation also suggests using Precision Tips for application and blending of makeup, such as on lips, eyes, nails, and brows. Of course, as you might already suspect, they also make exceptional cleaning tools around the house. I’ve recently used them to clean where my electric toothbrush comes apart, and it was the perfect fit for those tiny spaces. You can also use Q-tips Precision Tips to clean jewelry, electronics, appliances, window sills, molding, and more. Another fun and convenient use of these new tapered Q-tips is to use them for different arts and crafts projects, especially related to painting and gluing.

With so many possible uses, I highly recommend keeping at least one box of these Q-tips in your home. You may find even more uses for them beyond those that I’ve mentioned. If interested, you can find these handy helpers at your favorite mass market retail store or online at Amazon and other stores. For more information, be sure to check out Q-tips® Precision Tips™ on the Web.

Top 12 Romantic Weekend Getaways for Couples

lovebeach2Summer vacation is almost here for the kids, but sadly, most adults don’t get to enjoy that same luxury. Aside from a weeklong vacation here or there, most of us end up working through the rest of the summer. Still, a long weekend here or there, and even regular weekends as available, can make all the difference in stretching your schedule of fun and relaxation across the entire year. Space out a few weekend getaways that you can enjoy as a couple and let the romance begin.

If your family has access to a beach house or a mountain property or other vacation abode, definitely take advantage as often as you are able. This is likely the most economical way to stretch your vacation dollars. Keep your budget in mind as you consider these top 12 romantic weekend getaways for couples:

The beach

Just about everyone loves the beach! You’ll find so much to see and do, so many great treats to enjoy, fresh seafood, beachy beverages, and more. Set aside some time for miniature golf, ice cream, and a stroll along the boardwalk if you like. Make it a fun and exciting weekend you and your sweetheart will want to do over and over again.

The mountains

Take a more relaxing pace at a mountain retreat, especially if you can set yourself up alongside a sparkling lake. The Adirondacks in upstate New York can be the perfect venue to get away from it all and recharge your batteries. Lay out in a hammock and catch up on your Zzz’s. Or, you can take a more adventurous route and go waterskiing or snow skiing, depending on the season. You can go out on a hike and enjoy a picnic lunch, too. Make the most of your time away!

The desert or a ranch

There’s just something romantic about horseback riding. Get yourselves a cabin at the nearest ranch or find a desert ranch location with horseback riding in the off-season. Arizona has no shortage of romantic horseback riding operations, including the picturesque Sunglow Ranch in Arizona, which may be the perfect romantic getaway idea for sweethearts when the mood strikes. You can also find exciting guest ranch accommodations in Idaho, which is a choice location during the hot season, and plenty of other locations peppered throughout the U.S.

The big city

Many regions are close enough to a big city for a romantic weekend or long weekend getaway. Plan a sweethearts’ escape to New York City, Philadelphia, Chicago, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Dallas, or Washington, D.C. Consider planning to see a show, grabbing a bite, and relaxing any way you so choose. Visit a spa for massages, do a little shopping, or simply get out and see the sights. You can also make breakfast plans – another nice element in a romantic weekend away.

A quaint bed and breakfast

Just plain get away from it all by staying at a quaint and cozy bed and breakfast. Choose a location near you and search for BNB’s in the vicinity. You might find a place with nearby hikes or waterfalls, wineries, or other sweet attractions you and your lover can enjoy. Or, you could just hide away for the entire weekend, enjoying each other’s company and a break from the day-to-day rush. Even if you choose the middle of nowhere as your getaway spot, the important thing is the person you bring with you.

The nearest historical landmark

History and culture might not be every couple’s idea of a dream weekend getaway, but a visit to a big museum or other historical site can better ground us in our own lives. It also expands your horizons and gives you conversation matter well beyond the kids’ activities or the monotony of your work life. (And to some, but not all, historical information may be a step up.)

The nearest natural wonder

If you live close enough to Niagara Falls, go. It’s a beautiful and romantic sight to behold and well worth an extended weekend stay. Countless other attractions and activities exist in that general area, but the falls are a must-see. If you’re not close enough for a weekend getaway to the falls, take a look for your nearest natural landmark or wonder. If you can get to the California Redwoods or The Wave at Coyote Buttes in Arizona and Utah, or Carlsbad Cavern in New Mexico, these natural attractions will give you photographs and memories of a lifetime.

Romantic Summer Hairstyles

Out with the cold, in with the humid! Warm weather brings us wonderful opportunities for things to do outside in the sunshine, but also sends us a few curve balls when it comes to keeping our appearance—and especially our hair—intact. Summertime often mixes up humidity in the air, intense thunderstorms, hot and sticky weather, and of course, salt and sea. Even the chlorine from swimming pools can take its toll on our locks, leaving hair dry and dull. Thankfully, a few simple tips can help you to still achieve sexy and romantic summer hairstyles no matter what the weather.

No matter what your hair color, you can find a perfect summer hairstyle to suit your mood and personality. Try these quick and easy tips to get gorgeous hair that looks great for any occasion this summer and beyond.

Volume All the Way
Girls with fine hair can especially appreciate this summer hairstyle tip for getting more volume and body in your hair. After your shower, gently towel off your hair a bit and then apply a golf ball sized amount of mousse to your hair, starting from the roots down. (I’ve been using Suave Professionals Volumizing Mousse.) If you have it, apply some root boosting spray (My pick is John Frieda Luxurious Volume Lavish Lift Root Booster.) Next, blow-dry your hair upside-down using the normal heat setting. Finish with a moment or two on the cool setting, and style as desired. Spritz with a light finishing spray to hold everything in place and enjoy your new-found body and volume!

Waves and Curls
We think it’s safe to say that waves and curls will be here to stay as far as romantic summer hairstyles go. No matter if you sport sexy red hair, black hair, blonde hair, or brown hair, a wavy or curly hairstyle can be just what you need to spice up your summer. Try a set of hot rollers to give your hair some shape and dimension. Add a sweet hair accessory like a bow or a romantic hairclip to enhance your look. You can also place a flower behind your ear for a true hint of exotic romance.

Sweet and Flowing
Face it, lots of guys love long and flowing hair that teases as it drifts in the breeze. Fight the urge to go with a ponytail for the sixth day in a row and go for a long, straight hairstyle. Bust out your flatiron if you need it, have your best hair products on hand, and take the needed steps to nail down a look that leaves you looking like you just stepped out of a fairy tale.

You may also benefit from a blow-drying technique that smoothes your air nicely as it dries. Towel-dry your hair for a few minutes first. Then, pin most of your hair atop your head. Starting at the back of your head, blow-dry sections of hair about two inches wide and not very thick. Use a round brush with a metal insert to curl the ends under or flip them out, if you like. Keep setting free small sections of hair to blow-dry until your entire head of hair is dried and smooth. This beautiful look should last fairly well, but consider spraying a touch of finishing spray if you think you’ll need it.

When all else fails, you can also twist your hair into a messy bun or toss it up into a ponytail. These looks make it easy to look great, whether you’re a mom on the go or a busy career woman hopping between conferences, trainings, and life in the fast lane. A fancy alligator hairclip can be a wonderful accessory for any woman and you’ll more than likely get your money’s worth if you choose one that you can wear for work or for play.

These are just a few ideas for fun and romantic summer hairstyles. What is your favorite hairdo to wear in the summertime? What do you think of these tips? Feel free to share your thoughts in our comments below.