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Showing posts from November, 2013

My Weekend Makeup Routine

I have a full-time job, consulting work, a four-year-old, a dog, two cats, run a small condo association, volunteer at school and with the local hospital, cook many of our meals from scratch, and somewhere in there, I sleep, eat, and relax. Sometimes, I look as tired as I feel. When I'm feeling really worn out, a touch of makeup can help me visualize myself more energized. If I look awake in the mirror, then I feel more awake.

My husband's a bit sick with a nasty cold, my daughter has been up at night with a cough, and I'm just tired. Last night, I got little sleep and at 9am, still had that "just woke up" look.

My remedy is what I call my "weekend makeup routine." For winter, I try to keep my weekend routine simple, while combatting the tired look.



1. About 30 minutes after moisturizing, I apply Revlon ColorStay Makeup (B) in Ivory around my eyes, the top part of my cheeks, and my nose. My sister introduced me to ColorStay foundation when she visited t…

John Frieda Home Color

I had every intention of touching up my color with what I used last time, Clairol Natural Instincts. My hair had faded a bit and there was some root growth so I went to the store and darn it if I wasn't sucked into John Frieda's fancy hair color box.

I figured it wouldn't hurt to try John Frieda. It's pricey, but the John Frieda brand is reputable and I've had good experiences with a few of their products.

There were two similar dark browns on the shelf. One was dark chocolate and the other dark espresso. I'd have assumed espresso would be darker than chocolate based on name and the front of the box, but looking at the before and after images, the espresso appeared lighter. So I picked the dark chocolate brown (4BG), which seemed to be the warmer of the two.

John Frieda Precision Foam Hair Colour comes in a choice of 20 shades. The store only had a few, so I wasn't aware of the dark natural brown and deep brown-black shades. I may have chosen the natural bro…

You Wanted to Know: Garnier Olia Shades

Perhaps you arrived when looking for information on Garnier Olia hair color shades. If so, I've made a handle list of all 24 shades below!

I've grouped them into blonde, brown, black, and red categories, but if you visit Garnier's website to see the swatches, you'll find the browns and blacks groups differently - light brown, and brown & black. I'm not sure why they separated the light browns and combined the remaining browns with the set of black shades. Perhaps their medium browns are very dark, or the light brown shades are only for naturally lighter hair? I just don't have an answer for that.

Blonde
9.5.1 - Lightest Cool Blonde9.3 - Light Golden Blonde9.0 - Light Blonde8.31 - Medium Golden Blonde8.13 - Champagne Blonde8.0 - Medium Blonde7.0 - Dark BlondeBrown
6.35 - Light Chestnut Brown6.3 - Light Golden Brown6.1 - Light Ash Brown6.0 - Light BrownBlack
5.3 - Medium Golden Brown5.0 - Medium Brown4.3 - Dark Golden Brown4.15 - Dark Soft Mahogany4.0 - Dark Brow…

Samantha's Favorite Home-Baked Bread

I bake bread a lot. This isn't a cooking blog, so you won't see many posts about baking. However, a friend asked for my recipe for a buttermilk white bread and it seemed like a good idea to just put it up here so she can see the pictures and not have to write down the recipe elsewhere.

So for Claire and for everyone who is interested, this is the recipe I'll be tweaking and tweaking until it's time to have my entry ready for the Olmsted County Fair. I'm not sure if it's our humidity, elevation, temperature, or the calibration of my oven, but this bread will come out different for everyone. Just adjust the flour amount and ratios, and total bake time, until you get a result you love.

Ingredients

2 tablespoons of yeast (not the bread machine kind of yeast. I prefer buying a jar of yeast that I keep in the fridge, but you can just use three packets if you don't bake often.1/2 cup warm water - temp it to be between 87-108 degrees if you can. Do this enough and yo…

You Wanted to Know: Sinful Colors Holiday 2013 Collection

Once a month, I review my analytics to see what people are looking for when they come to my blog. Lately, the data has been fairly consistent, but I noticed a surge in people looking for info on the Sinful Colors Holiday 2013 Collection.

I posted about the latest Sinful Colors collection recently, but there are other great writeups as well. Some reviewers have done an excellent job showing how the colors look with different basecoats. If you want to get the scoop on the Sinful Colors Holiday 2013 collection, be sure to check out these posts:

Samantha Reviews' Sinful Colors Holiday 2013 Collection

Horrendous Color's Dupe Alert! Sinful Colors and OPI

Nouveau Cheap's Spotted: Sinful Colors Holiday 2013

Be Happy and Buy Polish's Sinful Colors Holiday Glitters

Cool Polish's Sinful Colors Holiday 2013 Collection Tinsel N'ice

Lacq Lustre's Sinful Colors Glitz & Glittered Collection

Also check out Nouveau Cheap's HOT deal alert: New shipment of Sinful Color…

I Won a Bottle of Beautiful AM Moisturizer!

Recently, Two Moms, a Little Time, and a Keyboard hosted a giveaway for Trusted Health Products' Beautiful AM moisturizer and I was lucky enough to win a bottle!

It didn't take long for my little bottle to arrive, very cute with my name printed on the label.


I was definitely surprised at the tiny bottle at first, but then thought maybe it's just a sample size for the giveaway. After reading the instructions and trying it the first time, I realized it's exactly the right size. It's so concentrated, that you use a very tiny amount (a few drops). This little bottle lasts a very long time.

I'm really picky about skincare ingredients, so I looked at the label and found it's made of all botanical oils, including orange, lemon, olive, avocado, and almond. I'm familiar with almond and olive oil for skincare, but I had to do some research on the rest of the oils.

Avocado and olive oils have antioxident properties and are great for dry skin. Olive oil has been sh…

Martha Stewart No-Iron Clothing Labels are a Dream Come True

More than a year ago, I came across Martha Stewart Home Office with Avery No-Iron Clothing Labels while shopping for office supplies at Staples. They were a bit pricey for one pack of labels, but I bought them anyway because I have a terrible time writing in my daughter's clothes and don't have any interest in hand sewing labels on everything.

The labels I primarily use are fairly small, which means I can fit them on a clothing tag or inside the hem of a shirt, under the tongue of shoes, or inside mittens quite easily. They're smooth, white plastic-feeling, but flexible rounded rectangles. My ink of choice is a black Sharpie, but you could get away with a ball-point pen.

To attach the label, you just smooth it on the fabric (or along the side of the sole of a shoe) and you're done. That's it. No ironing and no sewing!

Though I've never tried, the product instructions indicate they won't work on denim, so be sure to stick them to the tag inside jeans, not th…

Mary Kay Skincare and the New Skinvigorate Cleansing Brush

Independent Mary Kay consultant, Kate Thiel, is today’s guest contributor, sharing product recommendations and a special promotion!

Like many consultants, Kate not only sells Mary Kay products, but also is a devoted MK user as well. Her personal skincare regimen, and one she feels is one of the best available, is a series of TimeWise products.

Kate Thiel's Mary Kay Skincare Regimen

3-in-1 Cleanser: Cleanse, exfoliate, and freshen in one step.Age-Fighting Moisturizer: Hydrates up to 10 hours, and accelerates the skin's natural renewal process.Day Solution Sunscreen with Broad Spectrum SPF 35: Help the collagen in your skin, giving it more support, like “control-top panty hose” for your face and essential sunscreen to fight the aging process.Night Solution: Vitamins and peptides for skin renewal.Volu-Firm Eye Renewal Cream or Firming Eye Cream: Fight fine lines and wrinkles, while improving skin firmness and brightening the eye area.Luminous-Wear Foundation: An important final …

Pottery Barn Kids Lunch Bags: Cute, but Annoying

When my daughter transitioned to "big kid school" this fall, I bought her a personalized lunch bag from Pottery Barn Kids. This was our first time having to send lunch to school, so I wanted her to enjoy carrying the bag and also have it be practical. She's just turning 4, so it was important that she be able to open the bag herself and carry it from the car to the lunch cart without assistance.

Pottery Barn Kids offers a slew of fabric patterns and four bag styles. Penny picked the MacKenzie Chocolate Zebra classic lunch bag, which is a fairly standard size and shape lunch box. We paid $7 to have her name embroidered on the bag, which I figured was worth the price to ensure her box isn't mixed up with another kid's lunch. I let Penny pick the font and thread color and ordered online.

Our classic lunch bag has now been used every weekday for nearly three months, but it looks more like a year old. It's still functional in that Penny can carry it in to school, o…

BzzAgent Campaign: Claritin-D for the Cold Season

I'm kicking off a new BzzAgent campaign, trying Claritin-D for the cold season! Earlier in the year, my daughter tried Children's Claritin to help with seasonal allergies, but I've only intermittently tried Claritin as an adult. A quick search through our stash of household meds led to the discovery of an old box of Claritin RediTabs, but I couldn't tell you the last time I tried them.
The timing for this campaign is perfect since I came down with a terrible cold this morning. My nose hurts and is runny, I've got horrible post-nasal drip, which means my throat is something awful, I'm sneezing, and I feel like I'm underwater. I spent 3am-5am coughing and trying to sleep sitting up so I wouldn't choke on my nose goo. That's a pretty picture.
Part of my BzzAgent kit included a coupon for me to try Claritin-D, which I can get behind the pharmacy counter at my local Target or Walmart. Based on how I'm feeling, I'll be at the store first thing to…

Making a Homemade Facial Scrub

I love exfoliating my skin. Since my skin is so dry, at the end of the week, I can really see the dullness of this layer of dead skin that makes me feel very blah. A good scrub leaves my skin renewed and fresh, giving me energy and more confidence. My favorite scrubs have always been when I'm at the salon having a professional facial. Since I only splurge on a facial once or twice a year, I've had to make do at home.

Usually I go with commercial scrubs and exfoliants, particularly from Olay and St. Ives, but every once and a while, I remember how easy it is to make a scrub at home from ingredients in my kitchen. Why I don't do this all the time, I do not know!
It's important to remember that everyone's skin is unique. What works for me or someone else may not work for your skin. I have very dry skin that really doesn't slough off without a good weekly scrub, and occasional hormonal acne, so my homemade scrub is designed to help with bacteria, scrub well, and re…

COVERGIRL LashBlast Volume Mascara Review

I was digging around my makeup basket this week and found a mascara I bought and probably never used. I swear there are elves borrowing things in my house because I haven't seen this mascara since shortly after I brought it home from the store. COVERGIRL LashBlast Volume mascara was not on my "top mascaras to try" list, but since I clearly already bought it, it would have been a waste not to use it.

LashBlast Volume mascara claims to offer a patented volume-boosting formula and patent-pending brush that's supposed to make my lashes look super big. When the marketing hype is related to patent status, I'm really unconvinced. I'm assuming no major cosmetic company would put a product on the shelves without having applied for a patent. Without the patent, their intellectual property could be at risk. In other words, holding a patent or applying for a patent doesn't make a mascara special.


This review is going to be quick. LashBlast Volume does an okay job with…

Switching from Olay Regenerist to L'Oreal RevitaLift

I've been using Olay Regenerist DNA Superstructure UV Cream for years now. I love the SPF 25 (it's now 30) the thick moisturizing quality, and how fresh my skin feels once it's absorbed. It's really thick, so it tends to need more time before I put on foundation, and it does leave my skin a touch lighter than it is in real life. The sunscreen ingredients mean this moisturizer smells just like traditional sun protection, and even a bit like my daughter's diaper cream (ick), but I know it's doing it's job and I've been really happy with it.


I intended to buy some more during a trip to Walmart today, but L'Oreal RevitaLift Triple Power Day Lotion had a $2 off coupon attached, and the base price was less than the Olay product, so I took a chance and bought  the RevitaLift instead.


L'Oreal's bottle is prettier with a similar pump mechanism. Like Olay, the product is in an opaque container, which helps keep the contents from being affected by ligh…

Retinol in Anti-Aging Products

Ever wanted to know about retinol and what it does for your skin?
There are so many anti-aging products on the market and all have similar claims. I wanted to know which products really benefit aging skin and which ingredients in those products are important.

Since I’ve heard a lot about retinol, that’s the ingredient I explored first. In high school, I remember a friend who was prescribed Retin-A to treat acne and all the terrible side effects. Over-the-counter products with retinol are way more tame than Retin-A.

Retin-A was approved by the FDA in the early 70s for acne treatment and vitamin A is used in many forms for skincare with retinol being one of those.

Essentially, researchers saw skin improving, anti-aging qualities among women using Retin-A, and now we have a zillion products to pick from that promise to fix wrinkles and lines and dark spots and dry patches. Products that contain retinol can help diminish fine lines by helping the body increase the production of col…

Sinful Colors Holiday 2013 Collection

I can't believe it's been almost a week since I last posted. It was a busy Halloween for us, with a practice run (Penny's only 3) at a local church "truck and treat," followed by Halloween dinner out and a long night of trick or treating and candy eating.

Penny had Friday off from school, so I took her out shopping during my lunch break and let her pick a few things from Walgreens. She absolutely loves nail polish, especially rich, dark purples, so when she saw the Sinful Colors Decorate Decadently Holiday 2013 display, she went right for Daddy's Girl (841).


This beautiful plum color isn't new to the Sinful Colors collection, but goes really well with the other polish Penny selected, Girl's Best Friend (1372). I couldn't find it on the Sinful Colors website, but you can find it on eBay.

Daddy's Girl goes on very light and translucent, but after 2-3 coats, it's a lovely dark purple with a bit of shimmer. I prefer it by itself, but Penny lik…