Maybelline Lash Stiletto Ultimate Length Mascara Product Review

Maybelline Lash Stiletto Ultimate Length MascaraI recently needed a new, waterproof brownish black mascara and happened upon a Maybelline sale at my local CVS. I saw the opportunity to try a new product when my usual brownish black mascara wasn’t available on the shelf, so I picked up a tube of Maybelline Lash Stiletto Ultimate Length Mascara in Brownish Black. The product claims to offer up to 70% longer lashes with a shiny, patent finish. Here’s my personal review of this waterproof brownish black mascara.

First things first, my eyelashes are not as long and luxurious as I would like, so I really count on my mascara to do the job for me. I have to say, the first coat of this mascara left a lot to be desired in my humble opinion. Of course, I rarely if ever apply only one coat of mascara, so I can’t completely judge this product on its initial coverage. I applied three coats to reach my desired volume and length, and the finished result was acceptable to me.

The Grip & Extend brush is designed to grasp each lash and coat it from every angle for the best possible coverage, length, and shine. The instructions say to continue building lashes until you reach your desired look, and not to let the coats dry between application. I am not sure if I applied the mascara quickly enough, but I did eventually get the coverage I was looking for with this product.

Where I think Maybelline Lash Stiletto Ultimate Length Mascara excels is the fact that it is very waterproof, great for long-term wear, and seems to be fully smudge-proof. I have found faults with other waterproof mascara before, so this is a huge plus for me, especially since I need to take a tube or two of waterproof mascara on vacation with me in a few days.

Maybelline Lash Stiletto Ultimate Length Mascara removed fairly easily with my normal makeup remover wipes. This product is safe for contact lens wearers and has been ophthalmologist tested. I believe it retails for around $9 or so, but you may be able to find a coupon in your Sunday paper or at least watch for the deals at your favorite drugstore, mass market retailer, or online at Amazon.com.

 

Tax Time Tips for Stress-free Filing

Tax time always seems to sneak up on us when we are busy worrying about other things. The good news is you get an extra two days to file this year. The bad news is, there is still never enough time to file, as far as busy professionals and business owners are concerned. Don’t let too much time pass before you get yourself organized for filing your taxes. Whether you owe money or you’ll be getting a rebate back, it is important to take the time to make sure all your financial ducks are in a row. Consider these helpful tax time tips to get you off on the right foot when it comes to filing your taxes this year.

Andrea Woroch, consumer and money-saving expert for Kinoli Inc., shares the following tax season tips to help you get the most out of your tax filing experience, from deductions to how to spend your refund (here’s to hoping we all get one!).

1. Identify Your Deductions.
“Before you start number crunching, be sure you know what expenses to write off; you don’t want to miss out on a single tax-deductable expense,” Woroch says. “The list is quite long, so take the time to read it thoroughly and highlight anything that applies to you. You can find the Top 500 Itemized Deductions on the IRS website.”

2. Organize, Organize, Organize.
Andrea Woroch recommends organizing your receipts and other documentation by category to make it easier when filing. This can make the entire process easier when you go to document everything from business lunches to corporate travel and office supplies, among countless other tax deductible expenses.

3. Keep Track of Your W2s.
According to federal law, employers must send W2s to their employees no later than the last day of January each year. In cases where you can’t find or didn’t receive your W2, Woroch recommends contacting your company’s HR department or your supervisor immediately to ensure you get a new copy. She then recommends filing immediately once you receive the W2.

4. Find Discounts for Software.
If you plan to prepare your own taxes rather than enlisting the help of a tax pro, be sure you have the right tax software geared up and ready to go. You can find great deals on tax software and even tax preparation services at deal and discount websites like CouponSherpa.com, CouponSnapshot.com, and Retailmenot.com.

5. Save on Professional Help.
Sometimes you can find discounts for professional tax help as well. If you own your own business, it may behoove you to engage a tax pro to file your taxes. This can often reduce the chances of an audit. Keep watch for discounts on tax services during the beginning of the year to help you save money on taxes, and don’t forget to deduct the cost of filing with your tax pro if you are a business entity.

6. Analyze Your Refund.
“It’s tough to compete with the glee of receiving a hefty tax return, but not owing anything to the IRS is the sweetest gift of all,” says Woroch. “If your withholdings are too high, you’re missing out on monthly income. If they’re too low, you’re living the high life until an abrupt wake-up call on April 15. Ultimately, you want to break even with Uncle Sam, so use the IRS Withholding Calculator to determine the optimal deduction from your paycheck.”

7. Spend Your Refunds Wisely.
Some of the top ways to spend your tax time refund may include paying down debt, saving for a rainy day, donating to charity, and adding to your emergency nest egg. You may want to spend the money on vacation or a special purchase for yourself – just be sure the rest of your finances are in order before doing so.

What other tax time tips and suggestions do you have to share? Please leave a comment with your favorite tax tip or advice to help all of our readers get ready to file their taxes.

About the Expert:
Andrea Woroch is a consumer and money-saving expert for Kinoli Inc. As a nationally recognized media source, Andrea has been featured among top news outlets such as Good Morning America, NBC’s Today, MSNBC, New York Times, Kiplinger Personal Finance, CNNMoney and many more. For more information, please see http://www.andreaworoch.com.

 

Review of Thinking of You® Eau de Parfum by Mary Kay

Mary Kay Thinking of You Eau de Parfum ReviewFor a light and refreshing perfume option that carries a fine blend of fragrances, consider Thinking of You by Mary Kay. This fragrance for women seems perfect for springtime and summertime, offering a soft and sexy twist in a light scent that lingers beautifully. I received a bottle of Mary Kay’s Thinking of You Eau de Parfum for the purpose of this review and I am pleased to say I believe I will be adding this scent into my regular rotation.

To give you some background, other perfumes and fragrances that I tend to wear (or have worn in the past) and like include “Very Sexy” by Victoria’s Secret (my current fragrance of choice), Curve, Dreams by Taboo, Butterfly by Mary Kay (from YEARS ago), and assorted fragrances by Bath and Body Works. I feel as though this fragrance fits nicely in the same vein as these other fragrances that I enjoy wearing or have worn in the past.

Product documentation for Thinking of You Eau de Parfum says, “The message in this bottle is all about relationships and celebrating them with a gift that turns a moment into a memory.” I have to agree that memories and special relationships do ring a bell for me with this fragrance. Something about it reminds me of earlier days, back when I was in college and around the time I met my husband. All great memories!

The notes in this fragrance are described as both fruity and “floriental,” a new word for me, but one that makes great sense when you take in the scent of Thinking of You. The perfume comes in a fancy box that leaves room for a handwritten note while the perfume’s bottle has a small heart charm adornment that can be affixed to a piece of jewelry if you like.

Mary Kay’s Thinking of You Eau de Parfum retails for $30 for a 1 oz. bottle. Contact your Mary Kay representative or order yours online at MaryKay.com or Amazon.com.

 

 

Fun Baby Shower Games and Activities

If you are planning a baby shower want to keep the guests busy and the party interactive, consider planning some fun baby shower games and activities for everyone to enjoy. No matter if you are having a grand scale shower at a special venue or a more intimate shower at someone’s home, you can still find a great balance of baby shower activities and games to play with all the guests. Here are a few of our favorite baby shower games and activities.

Before you get started with this aspect of shower planning, remember that some baby shower activities require more advanced planning than others. That said, let’s take a look at some of the fun options out there to spice up your baby shower!

Onesie Decorating
Buy an assortment of plain onesies and a selection of puffy paint or fabric pens. Be sure to get different colored fabric markers or puffy paint and different sizes in the onesies. Set everything up on a table and allow guests to decorate the onesie of their choice with a fun saying or a pretty picture. Take digital pictures of guests with the onesies they created or have them put their name somewhere so the mom-to-be will know which artist created each design. Tip: You can also find plain maternity tank tops and t-shirts that guests can decorate as well!

Baby Shower Gift BINGO
Make up a blank BINGO card where guests can write in a different gift idea in each box. The center square is “free.” Give each table a few sheets of tiny stickers, BINGO markers, or regular markers so they can keep track of their correct answers. When any guest gets BINGO, you can offer that guest the prize of her choice. You can accept as many guests as you like. This can be a lot of fun with very little maintenance, and it will encourage great interaction as the more competitive guests get a little more vocal. Have fun!

String around the Belly
Let each guest cut a piece of yarn or string as long as they think the mom-to-be’s belly might be. Then use a real tape measure to measure around her tummy for the actual length. The guest or guests with the closest measurements win.

Guess How Many?
Place baby shower themed candy in a glass jar or vase and ask guests to guess how many pieces. Be sure you already know the answer! Tally up the votes and award the jar of candy to the guest with the closest guess. I’ve also seen this done with unwrapped tootsie rolls and a newborn diaper around the bottom of the glass jar. It all depends on your personal preferences and what you think the mom-to-be would like best.

Guess What Age?
Add a nice selection of photos of the mom-to-be to a piece of cardboard and label each photo with a number or letter. Give guests a sheet of paper with a “word bank” of ages and then have a list numbered or lettered the same as the images on the poster board. Guests have to guess how old the guest of honor was in each photo, and the guest with the most correct answers wins. Some pictures will be easier than others, for example, First Holy Communion, graduation, and possibly even wedding day. The guests who know the mom’s birthday will probably have the best shot at getting the most correct answers. For the benefit of your most special guests, try to include a few personal photos of the mom-to-be with her grandmother, best friend, husband, siblings, and other special friends and family members.

Baby Animal Trivia
Put together a worksheet with different animals and blank lines next to each. Have the guests guess the name of the animal’s baby; for example, joey for kangaroo, puppy for dog, kitten for cat. You can also ask a few random trivia questions about baby animals, such as the longest gestation, shortest gestation, and so forth. You can award a prize for the guest or guests with the most correct answers.

What other baby shower games and activities can you think of or which ones have you played or done at a shower recently? Share your favorites in our comments below so that all readers can benefit from the clever and creative ideas you’ve already experienced.

 

Boots Amazon Forest Mango & Babassu Body Butter Review

For a fun and tropical scent that leaves your skin feeling moist and hydrated, consider Amazon Forest Mango & Babassu Body Butter by Boots. This peach colored body cream is rich and emollient, carrying a delightful fragrance that lingers with tropical delight. I enjoyed testing this thick body lotion on my knees, elbows, legs, and hands.

On first impression, the potent fragrance captures your attention and makes a pleasant memory of unforgettable, exotic vacations come to life all over again. Boasting ingredients straight from the Amazon region, Boots Amazon Forest Mango & Babassu Body Butter contains mango butter to soften your skin’s texture and babassu oil to moisturize your skin over time. The body butter is rich and creamy – the perfect texture for moisturizing dry skin and smoothing out rough spots.

Product documentation says this product comes from the seeds of the mango plus oils from the babassu palm. For best results, apply and gently massage this body butter to your skin following a bath or shower. You may need to apply again after some time has passed for continued skin moisturization, but overall, I found the Mango & Babassu Body Butter to be a pleasant product for daily use.

I received a 6.6 oz. tub of Boots Amazon Forest Mango & Babassu Body Butter for the purpose of this review. I greatly enjoy the fragrance as well as the results and recommend this product to anyone looking for a tropical burst of fragrance that will also leave skin feeling soft, smooth, and moisturized. Mango & Babassu Body Butter retails for about $10 per tub and is available for sale on Amazon and at Target, among other retailers.

 

Pink and Orange Baby Bedroom and Nursery Themes for Little Girls

Cocalo Tropical Punch Baby BeddingMy husband and I are expecting our first baby – a little girl due in the beginning of May. We’ve been struggling over choosing furniture, and a baby bedding set, and painting the baby’s room, and all the other things that go along with your first child. Thankfully we finally narrowed down all the baby bedding options and selected our top two picks.

I am a big fan of the raspberry pink and orange color combination. I had hot pink and orange flowers in my wedding and I still enjoy the color combo very much. While looking for this combination, I found several pink and orange baby bedding sets and patterns that we liked a lot. In case you are also looking for pink and orange baby bedding for your little girl, I’m going to share my favorites out of the styles and patterns that I found.

Cocalo Tropical Punch Baby BeddingCocalo Tropical Punch Baby Bedding
This set is definitely my favorite and I’ve added it to our baby registry. I was originally looking for a cute koala theme for the baby’s room, just because my husband and I like koalas, and I stumbled upon this cute bedding set called Tropical Punch almost accidentally. I love that it has a cute mama and baby koala predominantly on a lot of the accessories, but also has an elephant, zebra, and others. All the animals are very cute, and the color combination of pink, orange, and cream looks awesome together.

You can get this pink and orange nursery bedding set at a number of retailers, including Amazon.com where you can find many different accessories as well. Look for the koala pillow, Sherpa blanket, and child’s lamp for a few examples.

JoJo Designs Pink and Orange Butterflies Baby BeddingJoJo Designs Pink and Orange Butterfly Bedding
We also included this pink and orange baby bedding set on our baby registry as a backup in case we weren’t 100% sold on the first set. The more we looked at it, the more my husband and I both liked it. This set has a cute butterfly pattern in a bright pink and orange and white color scheme. There are many accessories that go along with the JoJo Designs Butterfly set as well, including a baby hamper, changing pad cover, and diaper stacker, to name just a few. This set is very cute for a girlie girl and gives you the option to paint your walls a different color other than pink.

JoJo Designs Pink and Orange Surf Baby BeddingJoJo Designs Pink and Orange Tropical Hawaiian Surf Bedding
This originally was one of my top two picks for pink and orange nursery bedding sets, but my husband didn’t like it as much as the other two. I think the colors were just a bit too bold and in-your-face for him, plus I wasn’t exactly sold on the surfboard. I really love the hibiscus designs and palm trees but could do without the surf stuff. However, this Pink and Orange Hawaiian Surf set is still adorable and may be a nice fit for lots of babies since they may not grow out of it quite as quickly as with some of the other baby girl nursery patterns.

Hula Baby by Trend Lab Baby BeddingTrend Lab Hula Baby Pink, Green, and Orange Baby Bedding
This set called “Hula Baby” by Trend Lab fell to the bottom of my pink and orange baby bedroom themes list, but only because I liked the other patterns so much more, not by any fault of its own. This set is very cute and simple – I just liked the versatility of the pink and orange baby animals set and the butterflies and the Hawaiian surf set. This baby bedroom set offers a lovely pink and green color combo with white and orange accents – a fresh and fun color combo for any baby girl’s room. Tropical flowers bedeck the bedding and pink and green stripes set off the pattern nicely.

These just happened to be my favorite pink and orange baby bedding sets out of all the research I did – they are by no means the only sets for you to consider. I was looking for cute baby animals and tropical or Hawaiian themes for the baby as well, so these sets seemed to nicely complement the color combination I wanted as well as the nursery theme I was hoping to find.

I am pleased to mention that we also selected “Luminary” by Behr (Home Depot paint) and painted the baby’s room this weekend. We still have a little painting for the trim and closet and also need to get our furniture, but we are off to a lovely start as far as I’m concerned. The Luminary paint color is a gorgeous peach that has a very soft orange hue – I am so excited to see the baby’s room when it’s all done, especially once we get the perfect pink and orange baby bedding set!

 

Red Carpet Looks from the 84th Academy Awards – Cameron Diaz, Penelope Cruz, Sandra Bullock, and Rose Byrne

The 84th Academy Awards brought together a wide array of celebrities with gorgeous looks from head to toe. We were lucky enough to get the scoop on some of the top female celebrities and their hairstyles and the makeup products used to achieve their red carpet looks. Check out these hot tips on the styles of the Oscars as shown off by Diaz, Penelope Cruz, Sandra Bullock, and Rose Byrne.

Depending on your makeup and hairstyle prowess, you may be able to recreate some of these hot makeup looks and hairstyles from the 84th Academy Awards. Here are the details on four fabulous red carpet looks:

Red Carpet Look #1 – Makeup of Cameron Diaz
The gorgeous Cameron Diaz donned a clean and polished look that recalled old school Hollywood glamour for a simple and elegant appearance. Celebrity makeup artist Robin Fredriksz helped Cameron get all dolled up using a variety of Lancôme products like Teint Idole Ultra 24H Foundation and Blush Subtil in Cosmopolitan Pink for her face and Rouge in Love Lipcolor in Roses In Love for her lips.

Cameron Diaz’s eye lit up with a pretty palette created using Color Design Eye Shadow in Ciel du Soir, Color Design Eye Shadow in Kitten Heel, Liner Design Gel EyeLiner in Black Fishnets, Hypnôse Doll Lashes Mascara in So Black!, and YSL Touche Éclat Radiant Touch in #3.

Red Carpet Look #2 – Makeup of Penelope Cruz
Lancôme ambassadress Penelope Cruz rocked a stunning off-the-shoulder gown paired with a soft and lovely hairstyle. Her celebrity makeup artist, Matthew VanLeeuwen, dressed up her look with rich and intense makeup that created just the right level of intensity. For her face, VanLeeuwen used La Base Pro Primer, Teint Idole Ultra 24H Foundation, Star Bronzer (for cheeks and temples), and Blush Subtil in Rose Romantique (for the apples of her cheeks).

Cruz enhanced the mystery around her eyes with Color Design 5 Pan Palette in Gris Fatale, Le Crayon Khôl EyeLiner in Black Lapis, and Ôscillation Power mascara in Black. Her makeup artist completed the look with Le Lipstique Lip Colouring Stick in Bronzelle and Rouge in Love Lipcolor in Delicate Lace.

Red Carpet Look #3 – Sandra Bullock’s Hairstyle
Celebrity hairstylist David Babaii worked his magic for Sandra Bullock’s Pony Style for this year’s Academy Awards. The idea behind the look was to spotlight her shiny, natural mocha brown hair. Babaii used these steps to create her look – you can follow them to try the look for yourself:

1.    Apply Miracle Oil by David Babaii to towel-dried hair to enhance shine and heat protection.
2.    Divide your hair into four sections (top, sides, and nape) for best drying so that you can smooth all the sections completely straight. Tip: Consider using a nozzle attachment to control airflow and a medium paddle brush for a straight, sleek hairstyle.
3.    Lightly spray hair with IT&LY HAIRFASHION’S Pure Definition Hairspray.
4.    Smooth and lift your hair into a high ponytail.
5.    Secure the ponytail with a coated hair band.
6.    Wrap a small section of hair around the band and secure it with a bobby pin or two.
7.    Apply a small combination of Miracle Oil and Pure Definition Hairspray to your palms and smooth it over the ponytail for a shiny and sleek look.
8.    To complete the look, place a small, fancy pin off to the side.

Anyone looking to achieve the same kind of chocolate brown hair color can try professional hair color by IT&LY HAIRFASHION’S Colorly 20/20 Mocha Series.

Red Carpet Look #4 – Rose Byrne’s Hairstyle
Rose Byrne stepped onto the red carpet with a sexy black backless gown. Her sleek bob hairstyle looked stunning with the rest of her look. John Frieda International Creative Consultant Harry Josh styled her hair with the following steps:

1.    Apply John Frieda Full Repair Style Revival heat-activated spray on wet hair. This helps to achieve a sleek, straight style.
2.    Blow-dry your hair with a round brush.
3.    Starting below the roots, flat iron your hair section by section to ensure shine, volume, and straightness.
4.    Add a side part.
5.    Touch up and complete the look with the John Frieda Full Repair Touch-Up Flyaway Tamer.

Which celebrity had the best hairstyle, the best makeup, or the hottest overall look at the 84th Annual Academy Awards this year? Share your thoughts in our comments below!

 

Easy Manicure Ideas with an Irish Spin for St. Patrick’s Day

4leaf-clover-nail-designsHolidays give us a fun excuse to paint our nails and get all dolled up for the occasion. St. Patrick’s Day is a fun and festive holiday that brings together the Irish culture along with the spirit of drinking and socializing. Hues of green, gold, black, and silver tend to bedeck the bars and other social venues where people will gather to celebrate. Consider these easy manicure ideas with an Irish spin to help you create lovely St. Patrick’s Day nail art designs.

Before you get started, be sure to gather all of your manicure and pedicure supplies as needed. Try to have a few different nail polish colors to give you some flexibility in painting your Irish nail designs. You can also try nail art decals if you find Irish or St. Patty’s Day themed nail tattoos and decals.

Easy St. Patty’s Day Manicure
Perhaps the simplest of all is the basic green and silver or green and gold manicure. Paint your nails in a shade of green that you like. Consider hunter green, jungle green, mint, and teal as just a few options. You can add a gold or silver glitter top coat to seal in the green base coat.

Shattered Irish Manicure
Try these steps for a fun and easy Irish manicure using the shatter nail polish products.
1.    Paint your nails green or teal.
2.    Apply a shatter top coat in gold or silver to get a stunning manicure.
3.    Apply a clear top coat to seal and protect your Irish nail art.

Clover or Shamrock Nail Art Designs
Painting a clover or shamrock on your nails can be the perfect way to prep your fingers and toes for St. Patty’s Day weekend. Try these steps for an easy shamrock or four-leaf clover nail design.
1.    Paint your desired background color, even a light green.
2.    Paint a single dot of darker green nail polish.
3.    Paint a second dot next to the first.
4.    Paint a third dot below one of the other dots.
5.    Paint a fourth dot in the open space between the others.
6.    Add a thin line for a stem.
7.    Apply a clear top coat to seal and protect your Irish clover nail art designs.

Mini Lucky Charms Nail Art Designs
Take inspiration from the cereal with the leprechaun mascot! Paint a different lucky charm on each fingernail… a purple horseshoe, blue moon, pink heart, red balloon, yellow and orange pot of gold, green clover, and a colorful rainbow. For a more consistent look, paint all your nails with the same background color.

These are just a few suggestions for easy manicures to try for St. Patty’s Day weekend. You can also try to do St. Patty’s Day pedicures for a fun and festive look that keeps your toes and feet fresh for springtime. If you have other ideas for Irish themed nail art designs or easy manicure ideas for this festive holiday, please share them in our comments below.

 

The Beauty Benefits of Contact Lenses

Beauty Benefits of Contact Lenses - Colored ContactsNot everyone is lucky enough to be born with perfect 20/20 vision. Many of us have slightly compromised eyesight that worsens as we get older. Sometimes our eyesight is impacted enough that we need to improve our vision with glasses or contacts. Glasses and contacts each have their own pros and cons, and it is up to the wearer to decide which means of enhancing vision is best. Many will argue that the beauty benefits of contacts outweigh the beauty benefits of glasses. Consider these great reasons to consider contact lenses as a means to improve your vision.

Contact lenses give you an easy way to enhance your eyesight without anyone even knowing you’ve done a thing. Contact lenses are virtually invisible and undetectable, giving you better vision without changing your appearance. Glasses come in many shapes, colors, and styles, and they can certainly supplement your look while accenting your fashions and wardrobe choices, but not everyone likes how they look in glasses. Contact lenses give you the best option for adjusting your vision without the hassle of glasses.

 

Contact lenses do require a bit more maintenance than glasses, since they are worn directly on your eyes instead of just on your face. Good personal hygiene habits are crucial for contact lens wearers to ensure you don’t give yourself any irritation or infections in your eyes. Contact lenses are available in a wide variety of styles, including disposable lenses and those that you would wear over and over. Some are daily contact lenses while others tend to be monthly lenses. You can find hard lenses or soft lenses to suit your personal eye comfort.

If you’ve ever wondered what you might look like with a different eye color, contact lenses may be just the way for you to see that for yourself. You can find contact lenses in a nice array of eye colors, including brilliant blue, sparkling green, steely gray, brown, hazel, honey, and even amethyst and turquoise. Fun colored contact lenses allow you to change your look and correct your vision at the same time, if needed. Colored lenses can also be fun for Halloween or any time you might need to dress up in costume.

Of course, it can make a lot of sense to own both contact lenses and glasses, especially for those times when your eyes may be bothering you from seasonal allergies or other irritants. Glasses can also be useful for when you wake up in the middle of the night and need to do something before going back to sleep. Having both contacts and glasses on hand gives you the option to alter your look however you desire to fit the occasion.

Have you ever worn colored contact lenses? Do you prefer daily lenses or longer wear contacts, or simply stand by your glasses? Share your favorite tips and personal experiences in our comments below.

 

St. Patrick’s Day Date Ideas and Activities

St. Patrick's Day Date IdeasMarch 17 can be a fun day to spend with your boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, or wife. Planning a St. Patrick’s Day date can be easy as long as you and your sweetheart enjoy the same things. St. Patrick’s Day date ideas can be relatively simple to plan and they often don’t cost a lot of money either. This year St. Patty’s Day is on a Saturday, so it really is appropriate to make plans for date night. Consider these ideas for St. Patrick’s Day dates with the one you love.

Before you get started planning your St. Patty’s Day date, consider your budget as well as the weather and any other plans you and your sweetheart might like to make. This can help you to dress appropriately while keeping the date plans within your means. Here are some St. Patrick’s Day date ideas to consider.

Date Ideas for St. Patty’s Day
Check out these date ideas for celebrating the luck of the Irish:

1.    Find a St. Patrick’s Day parade to attend. This becomes a great tradition you can enjoy with your family or friends every year going forward.

2.    Seek out an Irish or Celtic festival or carnival near you. A lot of times churches will host a cultural festival at different times in the year. If you can find such a festival around St. Patrick’s Day, with an Irish twist, it could be the perfect St. Patty’s Day date idea.

3.    Hit up your local Irish pub. You can enjoy some corned beef and cabbage or shepherd’s pie and a nice glass of Guinness or another Irish drink of choice. Better yet if you can find an Irish pub that has live music for St. Patrick’s Day.

4.    Chill at home with green beer and takeout food. Not every date night has to be extravagant and expensive. Play it simple with a date night in, instead. If you like, try to find a movie with an Irish setting or Irish actors.

5.    Schedule a brewery tour and tasting. You may have to have an afternoon date instead of an evening date, but a beer tour and tasting can be the perfect date activity for St. Patrick’s Day weekend. You can make this even more fun by including a few other couples as a group date idea for the Irish weekend.

You can also go away to a quaint bed and breakfast for St. Patrick’s Day weekend. Soak up some culture, relax, and get away from the normal things you see and do on a daily basis. If you have other fun ideas for what to do on St. Patrick’s Day and the St. Patty’s Day weekend, please share them in our comments below.

 

Healthy Snacks – Making Your Own Trail Mix

Homemade trail mixMany people tend to place a big focus on eating healthier and losing weight after New Year’s, in the springtime, and throughout the summer when the weather is nicer. Remember, losing weight and being healthier isn’t just about exercise – it’s about eating healthier, too. Sometimes the snacks we choose can be like a sinking ship in terms of our weight loss goals. Making your own trail mix is a great way to put together a satisfying snack at home that won’t break the scale. You can still get your salty fix and your chocolate fix without messing up your diet.

I make my own trail mix at home as a snack for me and my husband so we can be healthier while still eating things we enjoy. My husband has a peanut allergy, so our trail mix may be a bit different than the trail mix you would choose to make or buy, that is unless of course you or someone in your family has a peanut allergy, too.

To make a delicious snack for at home, at work, or on the go, I simply combine my favorite nuts and dried fruits to make a great trail mix blend. I include the following ingredients in our homemade trail mix – roasted unsalted almonds, Craisins or dried cranberries, black and yellow raisins, roasted salted sunflower seeds, Pepitas (dried pumpkin seeds), and of course, my personal favorite – dark chocolate chips or Special Dark chocolate chips. (Dark chocolate is considered healthier for you than other chocolates, in case you didn’t know.)

Some other fun things to include in your trail mix may range from peanuts (if you aren’t allergic) to other kinds of nuts like pecans, cashews, and hazelnuts, to dried cherries, dried pineapple, and so forth. You can also include M&Ms candies or other little treats like mini marshmallows to entice your kids to enjoy a (mostly) healthy snack.

Making your own trail mix can be a lot cheaper than buying premade trail mix pouches. You can make enough trail mix to last you a week and enjoy it until it’s gone, then make more on the weekend. If you are going on vacation, trail mix can be a great airplane snack, beach treat, or picnic snack. You can certainly enjoy the heck out of homemade trail mix on a road trip with your family as well!

What other ideas do you have for making your own trail mix? Please share them below in our comments so other readers can enjoy and benefit from your suggestions.

 

Blast from the Past – Revival of the 1920s Hairstyles

Katy Perry 1920s hairstyleGorgeous, glamorous hairstyles from the 1920’s are back and better than ever. No matter if you have long hair, short hair, or hair of a medium length, you can rock a 1920’s hairstyle that appeals to you. Retro hairstyles from long ago maintain popularity over time based on their beauty, style, and functionality. The 1920’s brought on a revolution of change that altered our world forever, with many of the beauty trends sticking around to remind us of the times and how our society has changed in some ways while remaining the same in others.

First, consider the amazingly popular bob hairstyle. Everyone from celebrities to teens and even mature women are finding creative ways to look fantastic wearing this retro hairdo that looks great on so many faces. Bob hairstyles started out in the 1920’s as more of a classy convenience, but they have evolved to be a major fashion icon in the world of hairstyles. The bob hairstyle looks great in both short lengths falling to the ears or just below, as well as medium lengths brushing the tops of the shoulders. Another way to change the look of your bob hairstyle is to consider whether you’d like to show off bangs or just brush your hair (or some sideswiped or fringe bangs) off to the side.

1920's hairstyle - Katy PerryMarcel waves are another popular style of the 1920’s, giving women that Hollywood look as if they just stepped off the stage of a major motion picture of that era. Marcelled hair is back and better than ever, with many women turning to marcelling irons and even requesting a marcel hairstyle at the salon. This glamorous look can be a great choice for a fancy evening or social event. If you like the sound of this look, check out these Marcelled Hair Style Instructions.

Finger waving, pin curls, and short hairstyles with curls, much like Betty Boop, are also considered some of the top 1920’s hairstyles. For additional insight into these hot 1920’s hair trends, just watch what the celebrities are doing. Katy Perry recently rocked a hot 1920’s hairdo styled by ghd, and that is only the beginning. Keep an eye on the red carpet for other hot looks sported by celebrities far and wide.

To ensure you are best able to create your retro hairstyle at home, make sure you have the right tools in your beauty arsenal. Styling products, a hairdryer, brush, comb, bobby pins, curlers, curling iron, straightening iron, and marcelling iron ought to do the trick. Remember, the better the quality of your hair products, especially your dryer and heat tools, the better your hair will look on a daily basis. Looking for ghd straighteners? These stylers can really help to give your hair that gorgeous, just-stepped-out-of-the-salon look with very little time and effort. Consider the ghd Scarlet styler, which is a hot item to pick up for yourself or as a special gift for your favorite beauty goddess.