Shark Week Nails

shark-week-nailsTo get into the Shark Week spirit, I created a themed manicure. Adding to the already over 470 species of this cartilaginous fish, please welcome the Great Fingernail Shark to the bunch. I decided to play with the ever-so-trendy accent nail and really make the shark ~*POP!*~

First, choose your shark color. I mixed a few different polishes to get the color I wanted since I didn’t have it on hand. Choose a more muted color for the rest of your nails. Mine is a bit of a mauve-y gray.

After painting your accent nail some shade of blue, create a mouth with a red triangle on the tip of the nail. Use a dotter tool or a toothpick to outline the mouth and create teeth once the red polish has dried.

To make the eye noticeable, I dotted some black on top of a larger dot of white. To finish the design, add gills beneath the eye.

To create a tidal wave nail, I first dotted the design with white polish to get an idea of the shape of the wave. I added additional dots in blue along with stripes in blue and white.

Voila! Enjoy the rest of Shark Week!

National Margarita Day Recipes

La Pinta & Clase Azul Tequila

National Margarita Day is coming up on February 22nd; are you ready?! In case you aren’t an A-class mixologist, I’ve got you covered. Your friends will think you are top-notch with these recipes. (We can keep it a secret that you didn’t come up with them yourself.)

I received samples of La Pinta Pomegranate Tequila and Clase Azul Plata Tequila to create the two following easy to make, easy to impress margarita recipes. I’ve sampled La Pinta before and it was well received. For more recipes using La Pinta as well as other low-cal cocktail recipes, check out my article here.

This year National Margarita Day falls on a Friday-what a perfect way to celebrate the end up the week. While you’re TGIF’ing, make it an event to remember by enjoying festive snacks like mini quesadillas or chips and guacamole!

Clase Azul Plata Tequila

These margarita recipes are at perfect proportions. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced making a cocktail with so little things to add! There were no complicated items or steps and no one felt the need to add anything sugary to make it sweeter. Both drinks received many thumbs up from several different taste buds!

Clase Azul Plata Margarita

2 oz. Tequila Clase Azul Plata
1 oz. fresh squeezed lime juice
½ oz. agave nectar
Shake and serve on the rocks, garnish with a lime slice.

This is the drink for lovers of tequila. It pack a strong, yet delicious punch. Clase Azul Plata Tequila comes in the most beautiful bottle. I’ve gotten just as many compliments on the bottle as the recipe received!


La Pinta Tequila


La Pintarita

2 oz. La Pinta 
1 oz. fresh squeezed lime juice
½ oz. agave nectar

Shake and serve on the rocks, garnish with pomegranate seeds and lime wheel.

The sweeter of the two drinks, La Pintarita, offers a tart fruity drink. This was the clear party favorite. It even received the high acclaim of “This is my new favorite drink!”

These recipes call for the same ingredients, which makes the trip to the store super easy (as long as you search in the right places)! I found larger bottles of lime juice in the juice aisle (Imagine that!) and the agave nectar by the sugar in the baking aisle.

 

Tips and suggestions:

I suggest not skipping the “shake” step and to use a cocktail mixer in order to avoid the agave nectar sticking to the bottom of the glass.

  • If you want to switch things up a bit, use limeade if you don’t have lime juice on hand.
  • Although the pomegranate and the lime mainly serve as garnish, these fruits are great to keep on hand to snack on the seeds or to use slices for tequila shots.
  • Search online for where you can find these brands near you- they are well worth it!
Margarita Ingredients
Enjoy!

 

The Catwalk Collection by TIGI

TIGI Haute Iron spray

In case you’re not in the know, TIGI is a renowned hair care brand that offers the coolest variety of products. Of these, the most notable may be their Bed Head product line that helps perfect the I-rolled-out-of-bed-like-this look.

If you are desiring dramatic hairstyles like those of the designer fashion, I’d like to point you in the direction of the Catwalk line. This line has been seen on the runways for collections by Chris Benz, Laura Siegel, Ann Yee, and more. Catwalk by TIGI is not just limited to the coifs of supermodels; this collection is available for purchase and to find a home in your hair care collection.

I received two samples from the line to try out for myself- the Haute Iron Spray and the Finishing Hairspray. From start to finish, these products help create flawless looks with extra shine. With thin hair, I often run into problems of using too much product, but these two TIGI items were easy to use and to avoid over-using.

It’s so nice to have a haircare item that can multi-function! I know it’s sometimes silly to choose a product for the scent or any other secondary feature, but I find myself reaching for my TIGI sprays over others because I KNOW- without any doubt- the spray will not only disperse evenly, but will smell absolutely fabulous. The Haute Iron Spray and Finishing Spray feature Mandarin Patchouli Noir and Tobacco Flower Noir fragrances, respectively.

Use the Haute Iron Spray from the Sleek Mystique collection before using any heat tool. Although the product is noted to be designed for straight hair, I’ve had no problem using it when blow-drying or curling my hair. Designed to protect locks from heat, the ultra-fine spray coats hair to maintain moisture and protect color-treated hair.

TIGI Finishing Hairspray Avoid hair-don’ts from damage with irons and dryers and create smooth soft hair-dos with TIGI’s Haute Iron Spray. If that’s not enough to sell you yet, AND you style your hair daily, this product will also provide much needed strength and prevent overworked and weak hair.

After you’ve achieved your desired look, top it off with the Finishing Hairspray from TIGI’s Catwalk Session Series. Designed to give you brushable, flexible, long-lasting hold, this product is ideal for updos, curls, and creating volume.

The fine mist of the spray coats several layers of hair for a firm hold. The series of hairsprays are specially designed to go through layers of hair to create a bond that will hold every part of your style- not just the top. The Finishing Spray has a medium to high hold, depending on the thickness and texture of your hair.

 

DIY Flavored Coffee Drinks

Coffee cupIf you love fancy coffee drinks more than your wallet can allow, consider trying your own hand at a beverage masterpiece. The following recipes are fairly simple and don’t require a limitless budget.

I received samples of Eight O’Clock Coffee for the purpose of this article. Let these recipes inspire you to create new recipes. Play around with the ingredients and swap out extracts and candies with other flavors.

If you’re picky about the sweetness of your coffee, making it yourself alleviates any issues with your drink being too sweet or too bitter. Alter the amounts to your taste buds to find the perfect balance. Maybe you’ll find your new favorite drink!

Eight O’Clock Coffee is available in bags, as well as in K cups designed fro Keurig coffee machines. These recipes are suited for a whole pot of coffee or just a cup. Perfect for however you make your coffee!

Caramel Almond Coffee Drink

CARAMEL ALMOND COFFEE
½ tsp. almond extract per 6 oz. cup
1 rounded Tbsp. ground Eight O’Clock Original or 100% Colombian Coffee per 6 oz. cup
1 Tbsp. caramel syrup per 6 oz. cup
Cream or milk optional

Add almond extract to the bottom of the pot, ½ tsp. for each 6 oz. cup you’ll be brewing. Brew as you normally would. Stir caramel syrup into each cup.

For an individual cup:
Use 1 drop of almond extract. Add the extract and the caramel syrup to the bottom of your cup and stir.

Coconut Coffee

COCONUT COFFEE
½ tsp. coconut extract per 6 oz. cup
1 rounded Tbsp. ground Eight O’Clock Original or 100% Colombian Coffee per 6 oz. cup
Cream, milk and/or sugar optional

Add coconut extract to the bottom of the pot. Brew as you normally would and pour into a cup.

For an individual cup:
Use 1 drop of coconut extract. Add the extract to the bottom of your cup and stir.

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Coffee

DARK CHOCOLATE RASPBERRY
2 squares of dark and raspberry chocolate squares
1 drop of orange flavored extract
1 rounded Tbsp. ground Eight O’Clock Original Coffee per 6 oz. cup
Cream or milk optional

Put the chocolate squares and extract in the bottom of each cup. Brew a pot as you normally would and pour into cups. Stir for about a minute, or until the candy has dissolved.

For more recipes click through…


Gift Ideas

Need some new ideas for presents this year? It’s not that you don’t know the person well, it just might be that you’ve already given them all the obvious presents already. Sometimes we need a little help in that department. Take a break and relax and read this post about a few different gift ideas to get the wheels turning.

For the Wine and Cocktail Lover

For a classic (and most often appreciated) gift, give a bottle of wine. No need to wrap, simply put a bow or wrap a ribbon on top of the bottle. Some companies have bottle gift bags or find or create your own bottle cover to add some decoration to the gift. The Company Store offers very classy attire for your bottles in form of a hat and tie, a tux, and a fancy red dress complete with fur shawl and pearl necklace.

If you’re looking for something a bit more personalized, consider giving a festive glass by Designs by Lolita to your friends and loved ones this year. I received a Christmas wine glass decked all out in red and green, but many other designs are available for birthdays, girls’ night, weddings, and more! Designs by Lolita offers a variety of glasses to fit the season as well as the recipient’s personality. These handpainted glasses add flair to cocktails at home.

In addition to their creative styles, each piece by Designs by Lolita has a drink recipe on the bottom of the glass. These unique stemware items offer a way to creatively celebrate every life event and all the special people you have in your life! I found these in my local Hallmark store, along with some other cute cocktail accessories- grab a few and some booze and head on over to the holiday parties!

For the Music Lover

You might think that your music aficionado friend has all the headphones, earbuds, and music accessories that he or she could ever want. Personally I don’t think that’s the case- I don’t think I could ever have too many earbuds.

Earbuds are quite a necessity to have at my side at any given time. I probably spend about 75% of my waking hours either listening to my favorite jams or humming along to whatever earworm I’ve got stuck in my head. I’ve started keeping a spare pair in my go-to bag so that I always have one on hand.

House of Marley offers premium quality headphones made from recycled and reclaimed materials. These earth friendly products probably already make you feel good about your investment and the environment, but the company gives five percent of annual profits towards 1Love.org, which benefits youth, planet, and peace.

Misplaced or tangled earbuds are the worst! Give a cute earbud case to lengthen the life of earbuds by keeping them safe from the terrors of being lost in a purse or backpack! For your fashionista/musician girlfriends, Vera Bradley offers trendy patterned organizers and cases for your MP3 player and your earbuds.

For friends or family members who may not need a case, but just something to prevent tangles, Mochi Things offers a range of simple to very kawaii organizers.

For the Makeup Guru

Everyone knows a girl or two who always looks her best no matter the occasion. She perfects every new beauty trend, while you’re still trying to master eyeliner. Help her continue looking great with a few of these ideas.

Tiny make-up samplers are perfect stocking stuffers for gals. They’re tiny, chic, and perfect for girls who like to keep their makeup on them at all times. Items from Avon’s Merry Mini GLIMMERSTICKS Eyeliner SetParty Polish Mini Set, and Be Jeweled Mini Lipgloss Set can fit snuggly in a pocket of a purse or backpack; making sure that looks can be created or touched up at any time.

These kits let someone sample a variety of an item, without committing to a full size product. Get sparkling lips with the five lipglosses, bold eyes with the four self-sharpening eyeliners, or a quick polished metallic set of nails. All priced under $10.

Mally Beauty offers a variety of makeup kits for purchase if you just can’t decide on which one item to get (I know, it’s a hard decision!). If you need some help, a shadow kit like the Citychick smokey eye kit offers a base and three shadows plus an eyeliner providing every gal with what she needs to create this look.

Q-Tips Precision Tips may seem just like a cheap last minute gift, but these guys are very useful! They are ideal for cleaning up after a manicure. Use them for precise makeup application to apply concealer or clean up eyeliner. The 100% cotton tips are always clean and ready for any part of your beauty routine.

If you fear this girl has every beauty item known to mankind and more, find a cute cosmetic bag or two. Bags are great to store and help tote makeup products around. They prevent these precious items from getting lost in bags, purses, or carry ons.

For the Makeup Guru– On the Run

Girls on the run need products to keep up with their pace. Twenty-four hour formulas offer long-lasting wear with no need to take time out of a busy schedule to reapply or keep products in purses.

Urban Decay’s 24/7 Glide-On eye pencils are available in many color shades. They’ll withstand the elements with a waterproof formula that goes on creamy, but dries to be resilient to smudges. Users also can enjoy the moisturizing benefits these pencils have to offer. This liner provides a very bold look for eyes that no one can miss.

Mally Beauty is another great brand with long lasting wear that needs no touching up. Mally’s Evercolor Ultimate and Evercolor Starlight eyeliners are the perfect size to fit in stockings or small gift bags. These liners are both waterproof and are available in a variety of colors. Gift one, a trio, or a set of ten liners!

For the Beauty Queen

The Rapunzels of the world don’t get their precious locks by doing nothing about it all day; they need products just as much as (or maybe more than) any other girl!

No matter what type of hair this girl has, Wella Velvet Amplifier will help her with all her hair needs. This item will aid in styling any look while making it manageable for any which way it is being treated. Style primers like these are the first step in creating the perfect coif.

TIGI is a renowned hair care brand that offers a wide selection of nearly every hair product one could ever wish to own. If you know of someone looking for a specific item, I highly suggest checking this brand out and gifting her with some fun and high quality products.

Disclaimer: Many of these items I received for review, however any opinions mentioned above are genuine.

 

Healthy Flavored Waters: Reviews of ACTIVIATE AND HINT brands

Activate Vitamin WaterWater is an essential part of every health and beauty routine. I always try to keep a full water bottle with me at all times to stay hydrated. Not only is water great for general health, but it can have incredible results for your skin.

Drinking flavorless water day in and day out can become dull. Juices and even some flavored waters often contain a lot of calories, sugar, and other ingredients that can counter the benefits of water. ACTIVATE and Hint waters are two excellent ways to drink water and still experience a wealth of health benefits.

The great thing about these drinks is the opportunity to branch out from your tap or filtered water without going in a potentially unhealthy direction. If you are trying to meet the suggested 8 glasses of water a day, it’s easy to get bored or unmotivated to drink the same bland beverage each day when there are so many potential selections available to you. These brands offer a variety in your beverage choices while counting towards that daily water count.

I received several bottles of ACTIVATE energy water to sample and review. These water drinks are sugar and calorie free in addition to containing a number of vitamins and nutrients. Vitamins can degrade/deteriorate sitting in water, so ACTIVATE keeps them stored in the cap instead of the water.

ACTIVATE vitamin water

It may sound silly, but it’s fun to ‘activate’ the vitamins by twisting the cap and releasing them into the water. After you twist the vitamin cap open, shake the bottle and mix the vitamins into the water.  ACTIVATE also doubles as an easy cocktail mixer that aids in reducing calories in your drinks. If you’re interested in cutting calories when it comes to alcohol, check out my article about low-cal cocktails!

HINT water also features all natural essence water with no calories, sugars, artificial flavors or preservatives. This beverage is closer to tasting like water than ACTIVATE. I’ve tried to create my own fruit or vegetable infused beverages this past summer and learned it’s a bit harder than it looks. This brand has mastered the art of blending subtle tastes of fruit with water into delicious beverages.

HINT is available in ten unique flavors: Watermelon, Blackberry, Pomegranate-Tangerine, Strawberry-Kiwi, Raspberry-Lime, Mango-Grapefruit, Lime, Pear, Honeydew-Hibiscus and Cucumber. I’ve received several of these flavors and am quite fond of the Raspberry-Lime.

HINT waters

HINT even offers the first unsweetened sparkling essence water in stores! You can find HINT Fizz in Blackberry, Watermelon, Strawberry-Kiwi, and Peach. I’m a huge fan of seltzers and mineral waters so the next time I see these in a store I’m gonna snatch up a few to try out for myself! Sparkling water is a much better option than most other fizzy drinks like soda, so when I’m craving a carbonated drink, I’d much rather go for something healthy.

What are some creative ways you’ve found to add more water into your diet?

 

Low-Cal Cocktails

Lo-cal cocktail options!It might sound a bit ironic to call a cocktail healthy, but when certain drinks can pack a nearly 600-calorie punch, you might want to be mindful of low-calorie options. Alcoholic drinks can come with a lot of calories, especially when they are being mixed with other ingredients. What’s the point of a diet if you are going to blow it when you choose your booze?

Now you can have your cocktail and drink it too! Enjoy these low calorie alternatives while enjoying flavor without a ridiculous amount of sugars and unwanted calories!

La Pinta- pomegranate Tequila

I was super-incredibly-lucky to receive La Pinta, a premium pomegranate-flavored tequila, to review. Sorry for the overuse of adjectives, but it’s seriously that good. I shared it with a friend and she agreed too! La Pinta is sweet enough by itself, but also serves well in cocktails.

It’s almost silly to consider other drinks when there’s delicious healthy alternatives. There are a surprising number of brands and recipes striving to offer low-calorie options of alcoholic drinks. La Pinta is a product I highly suggest to any fans of fruit-infused spirits.

La Pinta d’lite

2.5 oz. La Pinta

2 oz. club soda or sparkling water

Approximate Calories: 160

I’ve also received samples of ACTIVATE water, which doubles as a cocktail mixer. These vitamin waters come in colorful and innovative packaging that protects your vitamins in the cap until you are ready to release them into the water and enjoy your beverage. For more info about the product, check out my review of healthy flavored waters. For additional cocktail recipes using ACTIVATE and their reviews, visit my article on Halloween Cocktails.

Exotic Berry Martini

3 oz. Exotic Berry ACTIVATE

1 oz. Premium Vodka

Squeeze fresh lime juice over drink. Garnish with fresh berries.

ACTIVATE Vitamin Water

Bubbly Blueberry POMtini

3 oz. Blueberry Pomegranate ACTIVATE

1 oz. Premium Vodka Top with champagne.

Voli Vodka

Squeeze fresh lime juice over drink. Garnish with fresh berries.

 

Certain brands feature products that are ideal for low calorie drinks. One of these brands is co-owned by singer-songwriter Stacy Ann Ferguson, better known as Fergie. For more information about Voli Light Vodkas, visit their website.

Last year I received Voli Light Vodka to review and am a big fan of it. Voli’s a great tasting vodka made from natural ingredients, and this spirit has about 25-40 percent fewer calories than other leading brands!

Skinny Citrus Crush Cocktail Recipe

For seasonal recipes and LLB reviews that feature Voli cocktails, visit our articles on St. Valentine’s Cocktails and St. Patty’s Cocktails.

Skinny Citrus Crush

1 1/2 oz Voli Lyte (works with Voli Lemon too)

1/2 oz Agave Nectar 2 Lemon wedges

1 Lime wedge Top with soda water

Squeeze lemons and lime and drop in a glass. Add Voli Lyte, Agave and ice. Shake and top with soda water.

Approximate Calories: 105 (110 with Voli Lemon)

Volitio cocktail recipeVolito

1 1/2 oz LYTE or Lemon

1/2 fresh lime

8 mint leaves

1 packet sweetener

Club soda Muddle lime, mint and sweetener. Add Voli, light shake and pour all ingredients in a glass. Top with club soda. Serve in a highball glass. Garnish with mint sprig.

You can even add fruits to this like blueberries, strawberries, kiwi, red berries, and mango.

Approximate Calories: 85

Blushing Berry Cocktail RecipeBlushing Berry

1 1/2 oz Raspberry Cocoa

1/2 oz Raspberry liqueur

Splash of diet cranberry juice

Served over ice and garnish with a raspberry and lime twist.

Approximate Calories: 130

Another popular low-cal brand is Skinnygirl created by Bethenny Frankel. This brand provides diet-friendly options for lovers of not just margaritas, but also vodka, wine, and ready to serve cocktails! For more info, check out the Skinnygirl website.

 

The Makeup Staples of Rimmel London

Twelve great products from Rimmel LondonThere are certain items every gal should have in her beauty kit. Although I could totally be cheesy and say they’re a smile and confidence, I’m talking about tangible makeup this time around. From eye shadow to lip color to foundation, I was lucky to receive a bit of everything from Rimmel London. These twelve products create some really classic and stunning makeup looks.

Rimmel’s Lasting Finish by Kate Moss lipsticks are just as pretty in your purse as they are on your lips. They might just look like a generic tube of lipstick to some, but I think they have such a classic look with a black case and Kate’s autograph in red with a heart on the cap.

Kate Moss Lasting Finish Lipsticks

The collection has a color for everyone. I received three of the collection’s shades to try out. I have to say my favorite is a very neutral light, dusty shade of light pink. The other colors I received are also spectacular (a mauve and an orange-red), but I can’t get enough of playing with neutral colored makeup, so the dusty rose takes the cake.

Kate Moss Lasting Finish Lipstick

The Lasting Finish sticks claim to have up to 8 hours of wear. Although I never checked my watch to have an official count of how long it stayed, I was pleased with how well the color stayed with just one application. I brought my lipstick along when I went out for the day or night, but I never found myself needing to reapply.

The smooth formula feels comfortable for a night out or an everyday look. When I wore it, I didn’t feel like I was too made up and it looked very natural with the rest of my look.

Glam’Eyes HD Eyeshadows

Glam’Eyes HD Eyeshadows are another pretty product of Rimmel London. The shadows are arranged in the Union Jack flag. The colors are vibrant and glitzy, but not chock full of glitter- it’s just the right amount for you to feel dazzling and not at all silly.

I received the shades Green Park and Heart of Gold. Mix all three shades shades in the shadow pack to create highlights and contours. The shadows are packaged in tiny shapes, which might be hard to get to with larger brushes. The brush that comes with the pigments is tiny enough to get one color without picking up the others.

Scandaleyes MascarasMascara might be a girl’s best friend. It’s probably my favorite makeup item to play around with; I’ve got blues, teals, purples, you name it, it’s in my makeup bins. I received Rimmel’s ScandalEyes Mascara in Volume Flash and Waterproof, both in the classic shade of Black.

The application brush is larger than most mascaras, which helps to catch every lash. This formula coats the entirety of your lashes with 3x collagen and keratin formula to give extra boost to your eyes. As a contact wearer with semi-sensitive eyes, it’s great to find a product that fits both those niches and is also ophthalmologist tested. I had no issues with wearing the mascara.

ScandalEyes Mascara not only accentuates lashes with a bold, black shade, but makes eyes pop with fuller, longer lashes. The big orange tube is another plus for when you are routing through your purse — it certainly stands out!

Rimmel London's Exaggerate Waterproof Eye Definer

Rimmel’s Exaggerate Waterproof Eye Definer will also aid in beautiful eyes. They are available in a range of bright colors; I received shades in Purple Shock and Precious Gold. Theses eyeliner colors are strong and beautiful. The gold has just the right amount of glitz and the purple is more of a matte color.

The liner glides on smoothly and resists smudging more than I would think it’s capable. I put some on my hand and really had to rub to get the makeup off. It still didn’t “smudge,” but it did remove the color. At the other end of a liner, you’ll find an extra bonus of a smudge brush and a sharpener! Although the liner is already thin, use the sharpener to get a more precise and thinner line.

Rimmel London's Clean Finish FoundationI received Rimmel’s Clean Finish Matte Foundation in Soft Beige. Although this shade is a little darker than my pale nearly-winter face, if I had more sun on my face I’d be wearing this all the time. The formula feels light on the skin and makes for a perfectly flawless face.

Clean Finish Foundation controls shine and the appearance of pores while providing up to 12 hours of wear. The mineral formula won’t clog pores and will soak up oil leaving the face clean-feeling with a matte finish.

Find your perfect shade of blush with Rimmel’s Match Perfection 3 Tone Blush. This product features three shades in one palette. Smart-Tone technology and a blendable formula will leave you will unbeatable color that blends not only with each other but also your skin tone without any distinct lines.

Rimmel London Blush and Powder

I received Light/Medium in the blush and Creamy Natural in the powder.

Top off your look with Rimmel’s Stay Matte Powder, which is available in three shades. This pressed power controls shine up to 12 hours and reduces the appearance of pores with natural minerals. One downside is that the lid isn’t perfect and mine tends to have difficulty staying closed. I would advise you treat yours with care; it might not be a product to keep loose in your bag.

 

Halloween Cocktails

Samples received for cocktailsHalloween is always a fun, spooky time of year. Get into spirits this season not only with costumes, but also cocktails! I was lucky to receive a number of products to review and sample some recipes. The following cocktails are sure to put you in a hauntingly good mood on Halloween or any other day!

Themed stemware by Designs by Lolita

Themed cocktails are not the only way to get the party going, spice up your party decorations by getting themed stemware. Designs by Lolita offers a variety of decorated glasses for any and every occasion.

These glasses are more than just something to put a drink in, each piece comes with its own signature drink recipe on the bottom. To see more images of the range of glasses that are available visit their website.

RecipeCocktail recipeThemed Cocktail Recipe

To keep your chocolate cravings at bay, treat yourself to Marie Brizard’s Chocolat Royal, the first and only super-premium dark chocolate liqueur. Not only can you add some indulgence to your cocktails or simply enjoy on the rocks, Chocolat Royal is versatile in its use and is able to go with coffee or over dessert as well. Yum!

Chocolat Royal is made with genuine cocoa beans with notes of vanilla and caramel to create a delicate blend of flavors. I received a bottle of Chocolat Royal for the purpose of this review.

Wicked Chocolate Cocktail Recipe

Wicked Chocolat

1.5 oz. Marie Brizard Chocolat Royal

1.5 oz. Sobieski Orange Vodka

Stir all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Strain into a chilled martini glass. Sprinkle mint leaves on top for added flavor.

Even without mint leaves, this drink is sweet and simple. Enjoy Wicked Chocolat in small sips, rather than large gulps. If this drink is too strong for your or your guests’ tastes, add some club soda to the cocktail.

The Black Widow Cocktail

Chocolat Royal is not the only flavorful liqueur from Marie Brizard. The high-end line also features a range of other flavors including cacao, fruits, and mints.

The Black Widow

.5 oz. Marie Brizard Blackberry

2 oz. Sobieski Vodka

Pour and shake all ingredients together.

Serve on the rocks or straight up in a martini glass or make it extra sweet with a sugar-rimmed martini glass.

Another simple drink is the Southern Scream. This sweet drink doesn’t require many ingredients or a complicated recipe. This Halloween themed alcoholic beverage already adds a kick to classic OJ, so grenadine is not a dealbreaker to enjoy it. If you don’t have grenadine on hand and would prefer a more festive shade of orange, consider dripping red food dye into the cocktails. If you choose to use grenadine, remember only a drizzle is needed!

Southern Scream Recipe

Southern Scream

In a tall glass with ice, add:

1½ ounces Southern Comfort

4 ounces orange juice

Drizzle of Grenadine

Add a black licorice for sipping.

Southern Comfort

I received a bottle of Southern Comfort to sample the above Halloween cocktail. Southern Comfort or SoCo is a mix of fruit, spice, and whiskey flavors. It’s been around since 1874 and was created in New Orleans by a man who’s face is unknown. (There are no known pictures of M. W. Heron.)

Go to the next page to learn about Lucid Absinthe!


Halloween Treats

Halloween GoodiesHolidays are a great opportunity to explore fun and festive snacks, and also a great time to create your own innovative recipes. Use the food you serve at your party as additional decorations. I’ve seen scary “blood” dripped cupcakes that were a fabulous hit at a zombie themed party. Halloween can be so much more than just fun size candy bars and classic candy corn. I took some time to find and create exciting alternatives to the staples of October 31st.

Growing up in Pennsylvania, Tastykakes were a hot commodity in the lunchroom as well as my home. Everybody in my family is able to have a his or her own favorite ‘kake’ with the variety this brand offers. My sister especially loves the Ghostly Goodies coconut candykakes, but there are so many flavors to try and love. After moving to the west coast, I was delighted to receive the new flavors of Tastykakes to sample.

Halloween Tastykakes

Kandy Bar Kakes are the perfect combination of Hershey’s candy bars and the Tastykakes we know and love. The three flavors of this new type of kake include Smore’s Kandy Bar Kakes made with Hershey Chocolate, Peppermint Kandy Bar Kakes made with York peppermint flavor, and Peanut Butter Kandy Bar Kake made with Reese’s peanut butter.

Halloween Tastykakes

For fun Halloween treats, check out the following Tastykake recipes.

Coffin Cakes: Take a Peppermint Kandy Bar Kake and transform it into a coffin shape. Frost it with chocolate frosting and use white icing to trace the outline and add ‘R.I.P.’ to your coffin. Add candy skeleton pieces to finish the treat!

Spooky S’more Pops: Insert lollipop sticks into S’more Kandy Bar Kakes. Coat them in marshmallow fluff and roll them around in crumbled graham crackers. Place them in the freezer for around 15 minutes to have the marshmallow and graham cracker coating harden.

Creepy Crawly Cake Bites: Create a spider out of the Peanut Butter Kandy Bar Kake! Cut the kake in half and insert licorice pieces as legs and candy corn as eyes.

Devilish Dirt Cups: Crumble a Kandy Bar Kake and mix with chocolate pudding. Top the mixture with gummy worms!

Use marshmallow fluff as glue to attach lollipop sticks and candy corn. If you notice the fluff is melting too quickly, place your treat in the freezer for a bit and then resume working on your creation. Toothpicks might also help to insert candy pieces into the kakes.

Click through for the next tasty treat!


Pumpkin Inspired Cocktails

Enjoy these Pumpkin Inspired Cocktail Recipes!Pumpkins are a fall staple. They are used for decorations, desserts, and drinks. Why not add a new twist to your fall celebrations by adding pumpkin flavored cocktails?!

Halloween and Thanksgiving are perfect times to add pumpkin to your plate. Some people just can’t get enough of the stuff. Add some festive flavor to your liquor cabinet this season and impress your guests with these pumpkin cocktails.

I was lucky to receive Pinnacle® Pumpkin Pie Vodka to try out an assortment of these recipes. Pinnacle® offers more than 30 fun flavored vodkas featuring many dessert and fruit flavors. This particular flavor is offered for a limited time only from now through December.

You don’t have to be a fan of pumpkin pie in order to enjoy this spirit. Enjoy on the rocks, a shot, or as a part of one of these lovely cocktails.

Pumpkin Pie Ale

1 part Pinnacle® Pumpkin Pie Vodka

3 parts Ginger Ale

Build over ice in a highball glass. Garnish with a lemon wedge.

Thanksgiving Cider

1 part Pinnacle® Pumpkin Pie Vodka

3 parts Apple Cider

Splash Club Soda

Build in order over ice in a tall highball glass. Garnish with a lemon wedge.

Pinnacle Pumpkin Pie Vodka

Halloween Brew

1 part Pinnacle® Pumpkin Pie Vodka

2 parts Fresh Orange Juice

1 part Cranberry Juice

Serve chilled in a martini glass. Garnish with a cherry.

Fall Berry Pie Infusion

1 part Pinnacle® Pumpkin Pie Vodka

3 parts Cranberry Juice

Splash Club Soda

Build in order over ice in a tall highball glass. Garnish with a lemon wedge.

Visit www.pinnaclevodka.com to check out the other great flavors Pinnacle has to offer as well as additional recipes. If you aren’t sure where you can purchase any, use the product locator to find a store near you or order online.

Follow to the next page to find pumpkin inspired martinis!


My Favorite Topcoat

My Favorite Topcoat

I received the ever-name-fitting clear nail polish, My Favorite Topcoat, to review and put to the test. I rarely used topcoats in the past; I either forgot or just didn’t consider it. After using this nail product I  changed my mind and vow to never forget again!

Every great manicure needs something equally great to protect it. There’s nothing worse than doing your own manicure at home and having your design chip away because you forgot to top it off with a clear polish. Some polishes just doesn’t cut it for the wear and tear nails get without something to defend it.

With all the things my nails have to go through.. typing, washing dishes, rifling through purses and bags for that Chapstick I swear I threw in there. I accepted the fact that my nail designs would only last a few days, before I started using My Favorite Topcoat.

Perfect Formula’s My Favorite Topcoat is designed to extend the wear of your manicure or pedicure. The formula will seal and toughen your nail polish to withstand the everyday abuse nails experience. I used to be ashamed at the state of my nails when friends and co-workers noticed my manicure days after I’ve painted them and designs had already started to chip. Now that I’ve got My Favorite Topcoat on my side I’m hoping to avoid all future embarrassment.

My Favorite TopcoatThis nail product isn’t a miracle worker though. I tried this with Sally Hansen polish and it worked wonders – really kept my manicure in shape. However, when I tried it with Confetti brand nail polish, the tips of my nails were chipped within hours. It also helps to reapply a coat every day or so to further extend wear.

When there is a pattern on nails, paint in the direction of the pattern to avoid smearing and smudging. When I went in the opposite direction, the polish made my design bleed a small amount.The topcoat also made my nails a little tacky, although this is perhaps due to too many coats of polish being used and being a tad bit impatient.

Although there may be some small measures to take in preserving a manicure or pedicure, it is well worth the effort. My Favorite Topcoat has rightfully earned its name as my favorite topcoat.

My Favorite Topcoat is just one of the many products featured on QVC. It’s not just a channel on TV anymore. QVC is on many social networks and you can even order products online. You can order this product here, or visit the mainpage for other great products!