Mascara Monday: NYX Voluptuous Lush Lashes mascara

NYX Voluptuous mascara

Look at that. NYX has done it again. They are giving us another collection of mascaras! I can’t decide if I like this or not. What do you think? Would you rather a brand release all of their mascara at one time or would you prefer them to sprinkle it throughout the year? I think I prefer the latter. I like little surprises. But, on a good side, NYX is like “Wait…what’s that you said, girlfriend? You need your mascara to do what? Boom. We got that.” And they do. They have mascaras for practically every need.

First up is Voluptuous…
NYX Lush Lashes Voluptuous
Thick in the waist, isn’t she?

Price: $7 from Ulta and  from NYXCosmetics.com.
Packaging (brush wand): 3 out of 5
Overall: 3 out of 5

What It Claims: “Have them guessing if they’re real or not with this well endowed formula. The thick tapered brush builds volume and is also ideal for reaching even the tiniest lashes.” (source)

The Truth: The truth is I am dead at the words “well endowed” being used to describe mascara. I have literally passed away. My ghost has typed this post up.

What I Loved About It: With a wand this thick, you would expect the mascara to be on the messy side, but nope…the formula is lightweight and so applying is super easy.

What I Didn’t Like: While the formula and the wand play nicely together, the formula itself isn’t thick enough to really hold on to lashes and produce dramatic results.

Overall: I love me some NYX and I always look forward to the awesomeness that they ALWAYS bring with each new season. They never let me down and even when I come across a product that’s just so so, the next one blows me away. That said, perhaps my favorite aspect about this mascara is the wand.

Mascara wand

Wands like this, I think, are ideal for those who already have nice and thick lashes. Oh, and those folx whose lashes all go in the same direction? Yeah. This wand rocks. People who suffer from WLS (wonky lash syndrome) have a difficult time this wands like these because they are so large and in charge that they don’t really allow you to come through the lashes.  Separating? Forgot about it. Your lashes better already be in check because trying to comb through the lashes with a wand this big is tough stuff, bro. Honestly, NYX needs to write a book on how to the stopper and big mascara wands work because they, unlike so many other brands, have figured it out.

Mascara tube

The formula is nice and thick and applies easily. It also removes easily too and I didn’t experience any smudging or flaking throughout the day. But with a name like Voluptuous, I would expect a mascara with a thicker formula. A thicker formula would adhere to my lashes a bit better and give me some more Drag Queen realness. But nope. I didn’t get much of that.

And that makes me sad because y’all know how much I love Drag Queen lashes.

Bare Lashes



Clump Comb

 

Lashes after 3 coats

 

mascara on lashes

Do I recommend it?: It depends. If you have thick and plump lashes and you’re looking for a mascara that will coat your lashes nicely without providing clump, you’ll love this. If you are like me and have relatively puny lashes that you expect to like INSANELY awesome with a mascara who has the word voluptuous in its name, then nope…save you pennies for one of NYX’s better mascaras.

So. What time are you rollin’ with? Puny Lash Crew or Long Lash Entourage?

The Time I Made A Mold Of My Teeth…

Smile Brilliant Whitening System

I’ve been crazy excited about sharing this with y’all. I’ve always been pretty serious about dental health but lately, I’ve gotten a bit well, uh…lazy. I glanced at myself in the mirror some months back, noticed that my usually pretty white smile was just a wee bit dull. Smile Brilliant reached out to me at the perfect time. I got the opportunity to get a custom made tooth mold!

Wait. Did that sound crazy? Because, I felt a bit crazy typing it. By tooth mold I meant “custom fitted whitening trays”. Smile Brilliant offers several products but I think their real claim to fame has got to be these things…

Teeth whitening trays

Because where else can you find a brand that goes as far as to create a whitening tray for you? It really is the coolest thing. And relatively easy too. You spend spend a few minutes playing scientist, mix some clay, pop ‘em in the tray, pop the tray in your mouth, get the mold and mail the mold to Smile Brilliant. In less than 2 weeks, you’ll get your trays back and boom, you’re ready to get to whitening.

Custom fitted teeth whitening trays

Quick disclaimer, I have had serious issues with whitening products in the past. How do I put this gently? Um…THEY HURT! I’m talkin’ I’d rather have a migraine-kinda hurt. I’ve sworn off of all whitening products but what made me open up to Smile Brilliant is the fact that they have Desensitizing Gel. That’s right. A good 15 minutes before application, I can simply use the Desensitizing Gel ahead of time and not have to worry about the pain that comes from teeth whitening.

Also, like a bad blogger, I didn’t take before photos. Grrrrr.

Smile Brilliant teeth whitening

How do the molds feel?
Pretty cool, actually. I found them to be  comfortable. I was able to talk with them. Ideally, I think they’d be best to use while sleeping, but if you HAD to use them while awake, chances are people will understand what you’re saying.

Who are these for?
Anyone with teeth! Seriously. Thanks to genetics and my distaste for coffee, for the most part, my teeth stay pretty white. Overtime, I know that they will dull up a bit and so Smile Brilliant is coming in handy for occasion touch-ups. It is also fantastic for those with yellowing and stained teeth. Don’t believe me? Check this out.

Does this kit actually work?
YES! While difficult to notice in my pictures, despite my aggressive flossing (haha, sounds like a band name), I can’t seem to whiten up the area between my 2 bottom teeth. Until now. After 2 treatments the Smile Brilliant trays completely whitened up the teeth. Woot!

Okay, B. Sounds good. Is this affordable?
Compared to what your dentist will charge you, this kit is definitely affordable. Keep in mind that it is an investment and getting a mold made ensures that you will be able to use it time after time. The mold plus 1 syringe of whitening gel with run you $89. One syringe will only get you 3 treatments, so I highly recommend getting 6 syringes for $129. Still not bad considering getting this professionally done can cost almost 3x as much.

What is the whitening gel made from?
It is dentist-strength 22% Carbamide Peroxide and comes in 3ml syringes.

Whitening gel

I’m a fan and I’m thinking about gifting Esposo with some Smile Brilliant goodies? That isn’t bad, is it? Gifting your husband with teeth whitening goodies? Ah well. I am very excited to see what other cool things Smile Brilliant launches in the future. I love brands that stay above the trends.

Smile Brilliant trays

What do you think? Would you ever try something like this?

1 Week of Weight Watcher’s Simple Start

photo 2

Soooo it has been a week since I’ve started Weight Watcher’s Simple Start program and…I’ve survived. No, I’m kidding. It really isn’t as hard as I thought it would be. The first week of any weight loss challenge can be a bit difficult because you’re telling your body, “Look. Those old habits are gone, dude. We’re on a new and healthier track.” And while you may think and feel this, your stomach may think otherwise. Your mind plays tricks on you and makes you crave the things that you really don’t need. I’ve been combating this by making sure that I have delicious eats on hand.

Simple Start rocks because well, it’s simple. You won’t starve yourself. You can’t because unlike the Weight Watchers PointPlus, points don’t matter. I find this to be extremely reassuring to those new to WW because counting can be stressful. Portion sizes don’t matter and that’s big too because worrying about portion sizes as always been an issue for me. Luckily, the Simple Start meal recipes are not only practical and delicious but they are filling! Over-indulging is difficult because I’m already eating things make me feel more satisfied quicker.

This has been working out so much better than my first attempt. I feel more motivated this time around. I did a run/walk of 5.5 miles with a friend. I walk at least a mile a day and I do workout videos at home. I’m drinking my water and making sure that I don’t deprive myself. It was particularly cold the other night so I had Esposo whip up a Weight Watchers Simple Start-friendly recipe of Slow Cooker Quinoa Chicken and Kale soup.

DSC_0162

Chockfull of healthy proteins and fiber, 1 serving of this soup filled me up completely and the variations of flavors was just so satisfying.

My post-baby belly is gettin’ its shrink on. Of course I don’t expect any extreme changes for quite some time but the pudge isn’t as pudgy and that makes me a very happy mama. Oh! And did I mention that the recipes are all toddler-approved? When I eat at home, I usually feed her from my plate or bowl. I love that the recipes easy enough to feed a babe, but also flavorful enough to peak her interest. Granted she would rather eat scrambled eggs all day. Then again, so would I!

I’m feeling good and my body is looking good. Even after only a week, when I complete Simple Start, I’m pretty sure I am going to go along the Weight Watchers program. I am that dedicated to changes my body for the better. Check out the video I made sharing how excited I am.

Stay tuned for next week!

I was given a free one month subscription to Weight Watchers to try their new Simple Start plan and write about my experience.Though I was compensated for my time and commitment, all views, positive and negative, are my own.

Darshana Natural Indian Hair Oil – the best hair oil EVER!

I know what you’re thinking. “Seriously B? Another oil-based product?” It’s no surprise that I love me some oils. I know oils are all trendy and whatnot, but honey, I grew up slathering myself in oil. They are far from a trend for me and I love incorporating them in my life. Several beauty blogger friends of mine have recently been raving about the Darshana Natural Indian Hair Oil and when I was offered the opportunity to give it a whirl, of course I jumped at it.

Darshana

Far from your cheap bottle of hair oil that you may spot at your drugstore, Darshana will set you back a good $38 but if you’re already griping over the price, please know that you get what you pay for. And when it comes to healthy skin and hair, I don’t mind making the investments. Especially when I get a good return on said investment.

Darshana Oil

At first glance, Darshana’s appears to be like your everyday blend of oils. The website lists some of its properties which include…

  • Moisturizes, conditions, and smoothes hair
  • Contains Antioxidants, Omega 3-6-9, and Vitamins A-B-C-E
  • Makes hair appear, softer, shinier, and healthier
  • Absorbs quickly and controls frizz
  • No mineral oil, parabens, sulfates, silicone, artificial color or animal testing
  • Fresh citrus scent
  • 6 fl. oz

What isn’t mentioned on their website, that I think should be mentioned, is how incredibly lightweight this oil feels. It reminds me a lot like maracuja oil in that a little goes a long way and but it doesn’t feel heavy and greasy like many oils do. I’ve been using this daily for the past few weeks on both my hair and body and wow, I’m impressed.

Darshana Natural Indian Hair Oil can be used many different ways but from what I’ve gathered on the site, it is best used as a pre-shower treatment. You slather it on your hair for 30 minutes (or overnight) and then you wash out. You’re left with softer and shinier hair. And…it’s true! My hair has been so much softer since using this. I’m not sure if it’s the oil alone or if it activates something in my conditioner that makes my conditioner work better, but whatever it is, I don’t want to stop using this oil. It keeps my curls so so soft and shiny.

Natural hair - Darshana

Of course, oils work differently for everyone and some people feel that their hair may be too greasy for oil altogether and I get that. This oil also works beautifully all over the skin. I’ve been using it after showers and it’s just divine. I really have no complaints about this oil and if you Google it, you’ll see all of the raving reviews from women of various hair types talking about how fantastic this oil is. And it really, really is.

For more information about Darshana Natural Indian Hair Oil and to purchase it, visit the website here.

Nicole by OPI’s awesome new nail treatments

You would think that as many times as I polish my nails in a given week I would be an avid user of top coats and have wonderful cuticle maintenance. But no. I am actually the worst at applying bases coats, top coats, and taking a couple minutes to give my cuticles the love they need. With the new year here, I am making a resolution to take better care of my nails because they deserve it. The awesome  at Nicole by OPI sent these over to me and  my resolution super easy with their affordable top coats and treatments.

Nicole by OPI treatments

 

The 3-in-1 polish is so convenient; it is a base, top coat, and strengthener which has really made a difference in my nails. The base coat has prevented staining which a lot of dark polishes do and m nails are stronger because of the strengthener. The top coat gives me that great shine that I know everyone wants their nails to have.

The Matte Top Coat gives your nails that awesome matte look and which I feel spices up any outfit for any occasion.

The Quick Dry Top Coat is a life saver. For some reason, I always paint my nails an hour or two before I go to bed. Putting this top coat on has prevented me from waking up and finding nail polish all over my bed sheets. The top coat dries you nails super fast so you don’t have to sit there blowing on your nails forever and it makes your nails super shiny. I have already had people ask me what top coat I am using.

Nicole by OPI cuticle treatment

The Oil to Go is amazing I use it every single day to keep the cuticles on my nails and toes moisturized and looking pretty. It is packaged in a leak proof oil tube so you don’t have to work about it spilling every where. I like to apply it right before I get in the bed that way I don’t have to worry about getting it on my clothes in the morning.

My favorite thing about Nicole by OPI is that it is super affordable these polishes and treatments are only $7.99 and available at places you go everyday like CVS, Target,  Duane Reade and Wal-Mart. You should be able to find these in stores. Start your year off right by making sure your nails look and feel healthy!

 

 

About the Author:

Courtney is the younger sister of Brittany and a 2012 graduate from Florida State University. Courtney loves listening to Katy Perry, nail polish, reading, and a good work-out. She hates peas, lima beans and negativity. She also ate deodorant once because her lovely older sister made her do it. [B’s Edit] Follow her on Twitter at @CourtNichelle.

Weight Watcher’s Simple Start…I’m ready!

Well, here we are again. This is my second attempt at trying Weight Watchers. Attempting to start a weight loss plan 6 months after a baby just wasn’t ideal for me. I was trying to get into the groove of going back to work and breastfeeding had my hormones doing crazy thangs. But now, I’m weaning from the pump, and I’m ready!

Through Socialstars, I was given the opportunity to try  Weight Watcher’s Simple Start plan and I couldn’t be more excited. Nervous? Well, yeah. I don’t want to fail again. I want to be successful. I want to be one of those women who when I tell you I lost 50 lbs, you look at me in amazement. I want be an inspiration to others.

And uh…excuse my vanity a bit, but seriously…I NEED to drop this post-baby weight. Not because I’m in 2 weddings this year. Not because I feel so uncomfortable in my skin but because I’ve got a little one who is becoming more observant.

#Simple Start weight loss

A great deal of parenting is leading by example and now that Elle is eating food, I want to make healthy choices for the both of us. It just makes sense.

And I want to feel confident again.

I always joke that red lipstick is confidence in a tube, but I truly feel confident when I am happy in my skin. Lately, I haven’t been happy. I can acknowledge this with ease because I know that the real work comes with FIXING this problem. And I can do it because I’m ready to love my body again. Ultimately!

Weight Watchers #SimpleStart challenge

So about this Simple Start deal… My Mom was the first to tell me about Simple Start and I think it’s a fantastic idea for those new to Weight Watchers. Starting any lifestyle change is challenging but Simple Start allows you to sloooooowly make your way into to selecting healthier food options. It takes the guesswork out of what many people find challenging…finding eating healthy meals to eat. And the best part? I don’t have to worry about portion sizes just yet. I just use the app, select menu options, make it and boom…eat it. The menu choices can be as easy as grilled chicken on top of a salad to as gourmet as pasta primavera. And if you’re like me and your chef of a husband is working late and you’re too lazy to do something fancy, you can build your own meal from their options. Like a spinach and tomato omelette.

Weight Watchers #SimpleStart

Cool, huh? Simple Start will last for  2 weeks and then I’ll continue on with the regular Weight Watchers program. I like the ideal of taking baby steps. Jumping right into Weight Watchers with the point counting can be a bit daunting so I really appreciate the flexibility that Simple Start provides.

Wish me luck! I can be pretty hard on myself so I REALLY want to succeed this time. If you’ve got any tips, thoughts or advice for me, let me know. I’ll be sure to keep you updated!

 

 

I was given a free one month subscription to Weight Watchers to try their new Simple Start plan and write about my experience. Though I was compensated for my time and commitment, all views, positive and negative, are my own.

Mascara Monday: COVERGIRL Flamed Out mascara

COVERGIRL Flamed Out mascara

I can’t believe I am just now reviewing this mascara. I know. Bad mascara blogger. I’ve received a sample of this many moons ago and somehow it got lost in the shuffle. Ah well. These things happen. But, here we go!

CG Flamed Out

Cute wand, right?

Price: $8-ish from Drugstore.com
Packaging (brush wand): 3 out of 5
Overall: 3 out of 5

What It Claims: “Flamed Out mascara gives you maximum volume for a flamed out lash look. Volume Igniter brush is specially designed to add volume to every lash for bigger, thicker and fuller lashes to help maximize volume.” (source)

The Truth: I’ve definitely had better from COVERGIRL.

What I Loved About It: The formula is nice. It isn’t too thick or too thin.

What I Didn’t Like: The tube is far too large and you end up with a very messy wand.

Overall: I usually have good expectations for COVERGIRL mascaras. After all, Clump Crusher was a game-changer for me. And if a brand gives me one good mascara, I want nothing but good mascaras from that point on. Consistency is a good thing, yo. I needs it to be at peace in my life. But alas, Flamed Out is not what I thought it would be. And that doesn’t mean that I’ll never try a CG mascara again, but I certainly hope they notice the errors in this mascara and give us something better. Much better.

Formula-wise, it isn’t terrible. It was a nice and workable formula that isn’t too thick or thin and coats the lashes nicely. And my issue with this mascara isn’t with the wand.

CG Flamed Out mascara wand

COVERGIRL calls this their Volume Ingiter Brush and it’s supposed to coat each lash. Which, I guess, would be effective if there was more mascara on the brush. And the reason why mascara has a hard time attaching itself to the brush is because of this huge hole that the wand has to come out of.

Ahhhh yes. This is quite reminiscent of another brand’s issue. Said brand rhymes with Tevlon. I’m not sure when the geniuses behind cosmetic packaging will figure it out but I hope that it’s in 2014. While there is a stopper to prevent you from pulling out a ton of mascara, the stopper actually removes too much mascara. What you’re left with is a lightly coated wand. The lightly coated wand then transfers very little to the lashes. So boo. And double boo. This makes it very difficult to see any results when applying mascara. I applied 3 coats and still didn’t get much. Womp womp. I’ve had fellow mascara lovers tell me the same thing so it appears that it’s a common issue. Oh no. But I have faith in COVERGIRL. I know that they’ll make up for this. They just gotta!

Bare Lashes



Clump Comb

 

Lashes after 3 coats

 

 

Mascara on lashes

Do I recommend it?: Nope. You’re better off playing with one of the many siblings in the Lash Blast family.

Makeup Wars: 5 Beauty Resolutions That I BETTER Stick To In 2014

Beauty Resolutions

I’m not the type to make annual resolutions (I’m a fan of smaller weekly and monthly goals) but when my girls thought of the idea to do beauty resolutions, I just couldn’t pass this one up. Part of me wants to blame my laziness and frugality on being a new mom but dude, my babe is almost a year old. I can’t use this “I’m a new mom and don’t have time for anything” spiel forever, can I? Soooo, here are some things that I blame to change and institute in 2014.

Wash my face every night.

It’s a bit embarrassing to admit that I’ve gone to bed without washing my face. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who does this but I’ve made too much of a habit out of it. 9pm hits and the old lady in me doesn’t want to do anything that requires lifting a hand. At the very least I can invest in face wipes to wipe off the makeup IF I’m not going to bust suds nightly. But still…busting suds is better.

Wear a full face of makeup at least once a week.

In the 6+ years I’ve been into makeup, I’ve gone through 2 extremes. I went through wearing makeup every day like my life depended on it to not wearing anything at all. I’d like to meet myself in the middle and at least commit to wearing eye shadow once a week. I don’t want my skills to disappear on account of my laziness.

If nail polish starts chipping, remove it.

I know. I know. This is bad. I really should know better. Chipping nail polish is the worst but I’ve spotted myself rockin’ this like it’s a trend. And that needs to stop. ASAP.

Do weekly hair treatment

I’ve always been lazy in the hair department and for the most part my hair continues to look relatively healthy. But a lil’ weekly treatment wouldn’t hurt. I’m going to check out the natural hair blogs to see what nourishing treatment I can do to help with shine, manageable and all around hair health.

Spend $50 a month on new products

Back in the day, I spent well over $50 a month on makeup. And now I don’t spend anything. My priorities have changed and I was pinching pennies for quite some time but I think I can afford to invest in some new and pretty beauty baubles. Besides, I deserve it, don’t I? I work hard yo!

 

Check out the beauty resolutions that my girls have!