Friday, May 16, 2014

bareSkin by bareEscentuals ... the ultimate FAB experience!

Lately it's been pretty quiet here at Concepts and Commodities, but recently I had an opportunity more than worthy of a blog post! It all started several months back with a friendly and intriguing email from bareEscentuals asking if I'd like to be one of the first to try their new, innovative product. Of course I was interested, and a few weeks after filling out a questionnaire, I was notified that I had be selected to become a Friends and Benefits (FAB) Ambassador! I could write a novel about what happened next, but I'll try to keep it brief.
-There is a private Facebook group that only FAB Ambassadors are a part of
- FAB Ambassadors chat and speculate about what this innovative new product could be
- It turns out to be a liquid/serum foundation, called bareSkin
- We tune in to a live stream that explains and demonstrates bareSkin
- BE sends the FAB ambassadors a full-sized sample of the product accompanied by the Perfecting Face Brush, which was designed especially for the application of bareSkin
-Certain FAB Ambassadors are "spotlighted" in the Facebook group because of how much they spread the word about bareSkin (I was one of them!)
- BE offers the FAB Ambassadors a "FAB Fete" at their local boutique where Ambassadors and their guests get makeovers, a goodie bag, samples, and a 25% discount
- BE also mails FAB Ambassadors a tote with the Purifying Facial Cleanser and Purely Nourishing Moisturizer.

So, yeah. bareMinerals spoiled the heck out of us lucky FAB Ambassadors! We received all those free products, and my friends and I loved our FAB Fete! I bought some great products at a great price with that 25% off! Danielle, the store manager who did my make-under, did a great job and taught me a few things. I ended up purchasing my beloved tried and true Prime Time oil-control primer, Lasting-Line long wearing eyeliner in Endless Orchid (the purple tone really made the green pop out of my hazel-but-mostly-brown-looking eyes), READY eyeshadow 2.0 in The 15 Minutes, and their Lash Domination 10-in-1 volumizing mascara. Everything I purchased was something that Danielle used for my make-under, and I loved all of it.

The reason all of this happened (besides bareEscentuals being an amazing and generous company) is because of the release of the bareSkin foundation, so let me take some time to review it now. As you know, the company did provide me with the product. I've used it twice at the time of this review. If my opinion changes, I will be sure to update!

Originally BE sent me the wrong shade, so I waited until I could get shade-matched and exchange the product at my FAB Fete before using it. I ended up being matched to Bare Porcelain (the lightest shade they make) and three drops gave me excellent coverage. All of my redness was gone, and my blemishes were covered up well. The application was easy: shake it up, put one drop at a time in the reservoir of the brush, and buff it in! The best thing about the product was the way my skin felt during and after wearing it. This is THE liquid/serum foundation for those of us with sensitive or problematic skin. It did not make my skin oily. It looked and felt the same way as it did when using the original and Ready BE foundations. In fact, I think my face was actually less oily at the end of the day when using bareSkin. In my opinion, the serum provides better coverage that seems to last longer. I'll have to use it for a while longer to see if I am going to permanently switch from Ready to bareSkin, but it's a definite possibility!

I am grateful for bareEscentuals giving me the opportunity to be a FAB Ambassador and share my experience. I appreciate the generosity of the company!

Visit the BE site here for more information on bareSkin, as well as tricks and tips on application!

side view of the brush

If you look closely you can see the reservoir on the brush that holds the bareSkin.

before bareSkin - redness and blemish galore!
after just two drops of bareSkin - redness visibly reduced and blemishes less noticeable

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Top 12 Posts of 2012

I know I don't have much of a focus on my blog...I just like to post about whatever happens to tickle my fancy at the time. I have a modest following because of this, but I'm okay with that. I like to write, and I like what I write about! That being said, I want to thank the people who do take the time to read and comment on my posts. I really do appreciate it.
Now that the year is coming to an end, I wanted to recap my first year of blogging (I started Concepts and Commodities in January of 2012). I took a look back at all of my posts and picked my favorite 12 posts out of the 55 I did in 2012. Here they are in no particular order. :)

MIO Bags - I love Beth and her products! Her business keeps growing and her designs keep getting more impressive!

Nylabone Dura Chew - This is my chocolate lab's favorite toy. It's a "tough toy" that keeps her busy!

Wedding Favors with a Special Meaning - This post was inspired by my best friend and fellow blogger's wedding favors, which I ended up using in my wedding this past October.

Zoya's Birchbox Blogger Collection - Zoya is my favorite brand of polish and this collection was a lot of fun to review!

Tulleries by LEX - I love how LEX works and this is one of the most gorgeous and unique polishes!

Lynnderella's Shape Shifter - This is probably one of my most favorite manicures. Also, Shape Shifter is one of my favorite indie polishes that I waited so long and so patiently to own!

Saying Yes to the Dress - A great all-around experience...buying my wedding dress and blogging about it!

KLUTCHclub - They sent me this big ol' box full of stuff and it was a lot of fun to try and review the products!

Too Faced LashGASM Mascara - Too Faced sent me their LashGASM mascara to try for my Mascara March Madness and it's still my favorite!

JENsations - All of my JENsations posts make the friend and fellow polish lover Jen has a great line of polishes for sale in her Etsy shop. I had a great time trying out a bunch of her products and hosting a giveaway of them on my blog. Some pretty well-known nail bloggers have reviewed her products and loved them!

JW Slow-feed pet bowl - I'm all about what's best for my chocolate lab, and the slow-feed bowl is a lifesaver...literally.

Cheesecake-stuffed strawberries - I would be remiss if I didn't include a food post...and this one was quite popular on my Facebook page! One of my New Year's resolutions is to spend more time cooking...and I want to find more easy/delicious/healthy recipes to try!

Happy New Year, everyone! May you all have a healthy and prosperous 2013!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Make this Halloween UNREAL!

Happy Halloween! I've been away for a while, as I've been busy getting married. :) For my return to blogging, I'm going to do a Halloween related review on, what else? CANDY! I came across UNREAL candy a couple months back when I saw a commercial on YouTube starring the New England Patriots star quarterback, Tom Brady. The idea of UNREAL candy is that it is "unjunked," a term the company has coined. Basically, it means that they have removed all the artificial ingredients from their product. You can check out the whole story here at their website.

I received a coupon for a free candy from the company, so I headed to my local CVS and used that, plus spent a couple of my own dollars, to get UN41, which is UNREAL's version of M&Ms, UN5, which is comparable to a Milky Way, and UN8, which is like a Snickers bar.

My overall impression of the candy was a favorable one. It didn't taste like the facsimiles, but they were yummy. I didn't care much for the caramel, but when it was combined with the peanuts and nougat in the UN8, the result was good. I'd like to be able to try the UN77, which is their chocolate peanut butter cups. I'm willing to bet that they taste like real peanut butter as opposed to the chemically taste you find in other candies. Maybe next time! Have you tried UNREAL? What did you think?

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Cheesecake-Stuffed Strawberries!

I haven't done a food post in a while but I felt these little noms were certainly blog-worthy! They were so simple and delicious that I just had to share. There are lots of recipes out there for these cheesecake-stuffed strawberries, but here is one I came up with that has a healthier twist.

1 lb large strawberries
8 oz. of low-fat cream cheese (softened)
2 tablespoons of Splenda/sugar blend (use 4 tablespoons if using only Splenda OR sugar)
1 tsp vanilla extract
low-fat graham cracker crumbs

Rinse strawberries and cut off the top.
Remove the insides with a paring knife and/or extra-small spoon.
In a bowl, mix cream cheese, Spenda, and vanilla until creamy.
Put mix in a piping bag or plastic baggie with the corner snipped off.
Fill strawberries with cheesecake mixture.
Once strawberries are filled, sprinkle the graham cracker crumbs on top.
Refrigerate until serving.
(Tip: Don't sprinkle the graham cracker crumbs on until you are ready to serve as they might get soft.)

Enjoy your delicious guilt-free snack!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Giveaway: Win a JenSATIONS Shopping Spree!

I was supposed to be sharing JENsations Goddess of Love with you before starting the giveaway, but I accidentally took off the polish without taking pictures! >_<
I'll be reapplying that and sharing another one of Jen's creations as well, but, without further ado, let the giveaway begin!

1st prize: Three polishes of your choice from JENsations
2nd prize: Two polishes of your choice from JENsations

The giveaway begins at 12:01AM on July 29, 2012 and ends at 12:01AM on August 12, 2012.
It is open internationally so spread the word!
Please see the Rafflecopter widget for Terms and Conditions.

Be sure to visit JENsations to see the lovely polishes you could win! Thank you for your support!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, July 19, 2012

JENsations: Sun Burst

Sun Burst just might be my favorite JENsations polish! It is perfect for the warm weather and shades of orange are HOT this summer, so I am loving every ounce of it! Jen describes Sun Burst as having a shimmery golden pigment, large gold hexagon glitter, and multi-sized orange hexagon and bar glitter. When I took this beauty out of the package, I had to try it right away! I was pressed for time and couldn't do a proper mani so I just quickly put a coat on one nail. It was love at first sight! For the pics I have below, I used two coats of Zoya's jelly Kate as underwear, and put one coat of Sun Burst on top. Now mind you, I NEVER use just one coat of a glitter polish, but that's all you need with Sun Burst. It is just super unique and completely gorgeous! If you love Sun Burst as much as I do, click here to visit Jen's Etsy shop to see this and more of her lovely polishes!


outdoors, indirect sun

indoors, no flash

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

JENsations: Rainbow Sprinkles

The next of the JENsations polishes is Rainbow Sprinkles, a multi-sized red, purple, green, yellow, orange, white, pink and blue matte hexagon and square glitter, made with a 3-free base. Her polishes come in a unique 10ml star shaped bottle, which makes for easy storing by simply turning it sideways! Rainbow Sprinkles is a super versatile polish that can be worn over a plethora of colors to make a variety of statements! It made me think of Funfetti, and that tasty cake mix inspired this mani.

(Maybe if we ask nicely, Jen will send Funfetti cupcakes with each polish order!)
I didn't want to put Rainbow Sprinkles over white, but at first I wasn't sure which polish in my collection would give me the look I was going for. Then I remembered the nail mail I got a few weeks ago that I hadn't been able to try yet: The Nail Junkie's Spring Matte collection. I don't have a proper matte topcoat, but using Matte Daffodil as a base for this mani worked out great! It gave me the cupcakey look I was going for without using a boring white base. One coat of Gelous and then one of Seche Vite topped it off per usual.


Funfetti? I think so!

The Nail Junkie's Matte Daffodil bottle

Check out Jen's Etsy shop here to see more pictures of Rainbow Sprinkles and the rest of her amazing polishes!

Monday, July 16, 2012

JENsations: Party Animal!

I am so excited to bring you this next round of posts! My friend and fellow nail polish lover Jen has some lovely polish creations in her Etsy shop and she sent me some to share with you! Not only did she send me some to try, but she sent me some to use for a giveaway, YAY! I'll be making a couple of posts to show you some of her fabulous polishes, and once the JENsations reviews are complete the giveaway will begin!
First I have Party Animal, a special blend of blue toned fuchsia pigment & multi-sized silver square, blue bar and fuchsia glitter. All of Jen's polishes are made with a 3-free base and each individual bottle is 10 ml in size and comes in it's own unique star shaped bottle (which I LOVE) containing two stainless steel ball bearings for easy shaking! I am wearing two coats of Party Animal over one coat of Zoya's Audrina, then I have one coat of Gelous and one coat of Seche Vite on top. The base Jen used made for an easy application, and I think Party Animal is the perfect name for this funky and fun polish. Check out Jen's Etsy shop here to see more pictures of Party Animal and the rest of her amazing polishes!


Note: Please excuse the appearance of my nails. They are rather short and uneven as I recently removed my acrylic nails to give my natural nails a chance to "breathe." :)

Saturday, July 14, 2012

KLUTCHclub July Box

KLUTCHclub is a subscription box geared towards those interested in health and fitness. For $16-$18 a month (depending on which subscription you choose) you receive a box full of products valued at over $50! It's a great opportunity for those who are trying to live a healthier lifestyle because it allows you to sample products that can help get you on your way. For those who are already well immersed into healthy eating and fitness, KLUTCHclub will send you products that will most definitely pique your interest! There is even a subscription specific to men. Here's what was in the July KLUTCHclub box that was sent to me for review.

the box! wonder what's inside...

the contents of the box

description of contents

Mighty Leaf
Three packs of Mighty Leaf, delicious handcrafted tea blends from around the world.
I'm not a tea drinker, but my fiance is, and according to him, Mighty Leaf is the best. Good choice, KLUTCHclub!

Molecule R
A natural emulsifier that allows liquids to transform into foam, making your sauces light, voluminous, and incredibly flavorful.
This little "fusion of food science and culinary arts" is a bit beyond me, but is definitely a neat product for someone who is experienced in the kitchen and looking to take it up a notch!

1st Step Pro-Wellness/ High Performance Fitness
A natural liquid Vitamin B-12 supplement helping to combat chronic fatigue, regulate metabolic pathways, and maintain the central nervous system.
As I was only given one sample, I can't testify as to how well this works, but, it's basically a substitute for a caffeine and sugar laden energy drinks.

Truvia® Natural Sweetener
Truvia® natural sweetener is the first natural, great-tasting, zero-calorie sweetener born from the leaves of the stevia plant. Try it in coffee and tea, sprinkle it on fruit, yogurt and cereal and add it to anything that needs a little sweetness.
I was actually really excited to receive this because I've been meaning to try Truvia. The idea of a natural sugar substitute is really appealing, and this worked and tasted great!

A movement practice that draws from martial arts, dance arts, and healing arts. Nia has created a customized class for KLUTCHclub members and their guests this month, worth over $50!
I did not take advantage of this coupon, but it's a nice deal if you're looking for a way to motivate yourself to exercise!

A healthy vegetable oil low in saturated fat, and rich in Vitamin E and Omega 3 and 6.
I sauteed some veggies in this, and they were yummy!

Mineral Hygenics
This makeup contains four ingredients and is 100% all natural, allowing your skin breathe in hot summer months. Included is a $15 gift certificate with no purchase restrictions!
I was excited to see this as well! I'm always looking for makeup that is as natural as possible for my sensitive skin. I'm definitely using this gift certificate and will follow up with a review of the products and comparison to Bare Minerals!

Gourmet shortbread cookies made with just four natural ingredients. This 100-year old recipe comes from France and can be the perfect, delicious finish to a summer party.
Two thumbs up. No unpronounceable ingredients and they tasted great!

At 60-80 calories per can, Cascal is a great substitute for sugary soda. This natural soft drink is crafted with natural juices and fermented for fuller flavor.
This was probably my favorite product in the box. It tasted like Sumol, and again, no unpronounceable ingredients and it was really delicious and refreshing! I would definitely purchase this!

If you're interested in trying KLUTCHclub for yourself, click here to sign up today! You can choose the subscription that best fits you and cancel at any time! 

Friday, July 6, 2012

Take a quality stroll with your dog: Easy Walk Harness Review

Walking a dog that is pulling you along every which way is not an enjoyable experience. Not only that, it is unsafe as well. The sound of self-inflicted strangulation as a dog's collar chokes him is downright scary! When my fiance and I got our chocolate lab, I wanted to ensure that she was a "good walker." There are many options out there to help facilitate a safe and pleasant walk with your dog. There are different types of leashes, collars, and if you prefer tiny pooches, you can carry them along with you in a stylish pooch-purse! What I have found works best is the Easy Walk No Pull Harness.

The key feature to this particular harness's success is the hoop is in the center of the chest strap. When your dog pulls, he is guided back to you, which in turn discourages pulling. When a dog pulls, he is usually trying to get ahead. With the harness, the dog is pulling himself towards you, which is not the goal! Fido quickly learns that pulling is not going to get him what he wants, and the pulling diminishes, then stops altogether. This is different from a harness that clips in the back. All that does is enable your dog to pull without choking himself. The Easy Walk helps eliminate pulling and choking. You can clip the leash to the harness and/or collar. What works best for me is harness only, whereas my fiance finds more success clipping to both. That is a matter of personal preference for you and your dog. This diagram from Pet Expertise shows placement of leash, collar, and harness.

My only concern with using a harness, especially for fast paced or longer walks is chafing. Ensuring that you buy the proper size helps eliminate chafing. Measure your dog's girth (around the widest part of the chest) to find the right size. There is also padding available that wraps around the nylon harness provide a soft spot where chafing may occur under the dogs "armpits."

Remember, there is no such thing as a miracle product. This harness is a great tool to help you establish a harmonious walking relationship with your dog. You still have to put in the time and effort to train him. There are plenty of resources available: classes, books, and free videos online. Don't walk your dog, and certainly don't let him walk you. Enjoy a walk together!

Here's our chocolate wearing her easy walk harness. Walking is easy but keeping her tongue in her mouth is a bit of a challenge!