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 cut...my 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.

Ingredients:
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

Directions:
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!

JENsations:http://www.etsy.com/shop/JENsations



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.

glitter-fest!

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!
JENsations: http://www.etsy.com/shop/JENsations

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!

JENsations: http://www.etsy.com/shop/JENsations






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!

Nia
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!

Zoye
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!

Goulibeur
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!

Cascal
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!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

America(s) the Beautiful!

Happy Independence Day to my fellow Americans! I everyone around the world has a pleasant Fourth of July. I have a quick post today to show you my patriotic mani: Julep's America over Zoya's America!
When my July Julep Maven box arrived in the mail, I knew I wanted to use America but I wasn't sure which route to take. First, I tried it by itself. That didn't give me the look I was going for. Then, I put it over white, which looked messy. Finally I decided to layer it over red, but which red? After going through my polishes I decided to try Zoya's America. Not only did it make sense name-wise, but the color worked perfectly too. Zoya's application was flawless as usual. America was a  bit more challenging as it was quite thick and goopy. I've used some glitter-heavy polishes before (Lynnderella, Rainbow Honey) that were much easier to apply than Julep's America. After a bit of digging around in the bottle I was able to apply a star to each one of my nails. My biggest gripe with America is that the stars are sparse in the bottle and difficult to see once on the nail. Overall, I like this combo, and I think Julep's America makes for a gorgeous patriotic mani!







Would you like a box full of Julep polishes for only ONE PENNY and FREE SHIPPING? All you have to do is follow this link to sign up for the Julep Maven program. http://www.julep.com/?r=19129224
Once you checkout, use code COLOR2012, and within days a box of Julep polishes and products of your choosing will arrive! Once enrolled, you can skip months or cancel anytime with ease. I love the Maven program! No obligations, just gorgeous polish when I want it, and the first month is FREE!

How about a FREE bottle of Zoya nail polish? All you have to do is follow this link and sign up for an account. https://www.artofbeauty.com/rd/011E967F A code for a free bottle of polish will automatically be placed in your account and can be used immediately. The coupon will appear in the “My Coupons/ Promos” section of the “My Account” Page.

Happy Fourth of July! Get your hands on some polish and some polish on your nails!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Lynnderella's Shape Shifter

Unfortunately, there's been tons of (warranted) drama surrounding Lynnderella and her polishes the past few weeks. While I don't agree with her business practices, one thing has not changed: I love her polishes, especially Shape Shifter. It was my #1 lemming until just a few days ago when it arrived in the mail thanks to Llarowe's flash sale. I painted my nails with OPI's I'm All Ears from the Vintage Minnie Collection, then did an accent tip of Shape Shifter. I'm not the greatest photographer but I managed to capture some decent pics, and I will let them speak for themselves!



The shapes! The colors! The holo! *drool*

Closeup of my left hand. I dug a moon and flower out of the bottle for this nail.
Closeup of my right hand. Stars are pretty abundant in Shape Shifter, and I managed to fish a butterfly out of there, too.
I hope you enjoyed the pics! My good friend and non-nail polish junkie Allison just texted me and said, "Obsessed. Makes me almost get nails tomorrow to have it!" Do you love Shape Shifter as much as we do?








Thursday, June 21, 2012

Lynnderella Connect the Dots, OPI Nothin' Mousie About It, Julep Daisy

One of the polishes I used for this mani is Lynderella's Connect the Dots. Just like all of Lynn's polishes (at least the four I have), pictures do it no justice. Don't get me wrong, CtD is gorgeous in pictures and I've seen some quality swatches from some lovely nail-bloggers, but when you get a Lynnderella polish on your nails, it is stunning. CtD is a neat combo of black and white micro, hex, and bar glitters, and it looks great over bright colors.
The base for this mani was Daisy by Julep. Daisy is a bright, sunshine yellow. It's the first yellow polish I've ever owned/worn, and I love it! I haven't used many Julep polishes yet, but so far I have been impressed by the formula. Daisy is no exception. Easy application, coverage in 2 coats, and looks great!
I recently acquired OPI's entire Vintage Minnie collection, thanks to Copious credits! To top off this mani, I used one coat of There's Nothin' Mousie About It, which is a sheer pink polish with flakies and pink heart glitter. I was inspired by Lynnderella's Connect the Heart, which is her CtD with pink, white, and red heart glitter and a soft pink shimmer in a pink-tinted base. It's rare and hard to find, so this was the next best thing for me! What I like about my mani is that I was able to manipulate the hearts so there is one piece of glitter per nail. It's a subtle, girlie touch. I hope you enjoy the photos!





If you like Daisy, then perhaps you'd be interested in getting a box full of polishes like her for a penny? If you haven't signed up for the Maven program yet, you can get your first month for ONE PENNY and FREE SHIPPING by following this link: http://www.julep.com/?r=19129224 and using code COLOR2012 at checkout! Also, Julep is putting an additional bottle of polish in their Maven boxes this month, no extra charge!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Rainbow Honey - A Little Kindess

Described by its creator as rose, white, gold, and soft green glitters floating in a delicate pale yellow base with an iridescent pink shimmer, Rainbow Honey's A Little Kindness is a stunning polish. Looking at this polish makes me smile...it's like Rainbow Honey took my happy thoughts and put them in a bottle, packed them in the cutest box, and shipped it to my house. A Little Kindess is one of the polishes from Rainbow Honey's new Equestria Collection. It looks gorgeous by itself, or layered over a white, black, or pink base. The photos I have for you show two generous coats with no base, and the accent nail is two coats over black which creates the illusion of a purple base. It's like having two polishes in one!

The bottles are very professional looking with her labels.
bottle with logo label and box with logo stamped out
indoors, natural light, no flash
outdoors, direct sunlight
Rainbow Honey packs her polishes full of gorgeous glitter combinations. Check out her Facebook page here to see photos of the rest of the Equestria Collection as well as her other fabulous creations. Rainbow Honey is the new Lynnderella for me: I'm crazy about her glitter-packed polishes!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

LEX Cosmetics: Tuilleries

As soon as I saw Tuilleries by LEX Cosmetics on the nails of Jessica at Nail Polish Anonymous, I had to have it. Oodles of lovely pink, fuchsia, red, orange, white and silver micro and hex glitters float around in the soft pink base of this polish. The inspiration for this polish was tulips, which are my favorite flower. For me, there was nothing not to love about Tuilleries, which is why I headed over to LEX Cosmetics and scooped it up right after seeing it. With LEX, people submit descriptions and color inspirations for polishes they'd like to have created. The submissions are voted upon, and the winner gets created! A portion of the sales is donated to a charity, which is admirable. When you purchase Tuilleries, one dollar is donated to lung-cancer research.

Here's the inspiration for Tuilleries from the LEX Cosmetics website: First, tulips are one of the first signs that spring is really, truly, finally here! Second, they always remind me of my mother...I would love to have a color that can represent her in every way: in beauty, in color, in her favorite things, and in her uniqueness. My color would be light pinkish-red with glass-like flecks of silver, red, pink, and orange within it to showcase the depth of both tulips and my mother.

The polish looks beautiful even after just one coat, but it is sheer. To achieve the opaqueness I was looking for, I used three coats.



sunlight

indoors, no flash 
What do you think? Does Tuilleries remind you of tulips? It was love at first sight for me!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Getting Into Indies!

I've recently started getting into indie nail polishes and frankens, and I thought I would go ahead and post about my experiences! My fellow-nail polish lover Jen over at Jen's Polishes sent me a lovely franken that she made called I Dream in Color. She put it in an adorable star bottle (my favorite shape!) and as you can see, it's quite pretty!
I Dream in Color over Zoya Star
I also made my first few indie purchases, with more to follow, I'm sure, as regular polish just seems so boring now! ;) I purchased two Lynnderellas (The Telltale Heart and Cauldron Drippings) and Floam by Nail-Venturous.

Lynderella's polishes are stunning. When I first learned of them, I would ogle pictures, and then when I actually saw them in person, I stared at them as much as I did my engagement ring when my fiance first proposed. That's how much these polishes shimmer and shine! First is The Telltale Heart, which has fuchsia square, hexagon and micro glitter in pink tinted base. There's the tiniest but of a blue shimmer in there, too. Here it is over Zoya's Kiki.
Lynderella's The Telltale Heart over Zoya's Kiki
chock full o' glittery goodness!
If you were around in the 90s, you might remember Floam, a modeling compound with little bubble beads. It was put out by Nickelodeon. Here's a pic for reference. (I do not own this image.) Nail-Venturous came up with a brilliant polish that looks exactly like Floam. You can layer it over a greenish-blue or put a few coats on and wear it alone. It's very novel and becoming increasingly popular!

Nail-Venturous's Floam over Zoya Zuza
it really does look like Floam!
This last polish is my other Lynderella. I can't wait to own more! I was lucky enough to scoop this up in a flash sale at Llarowe. Lynn's are hard to find, as Llarowe is the only distributor at this time. They are sold via a wishlist, because the popularity of these polishes makes it impossible to keep them in stock! The best way I can describe Cauldron Dripping's is by calling it a glitter-gasm! The dominant color is orange, and there are orange micro, square, hex and bar glitters. You can also spot green squares, yellow hexes, purple hex and bar, and more! I had seen this polish over mostly oranges and blacks, so I wanted to see how it looked over something different. I put it over Zoya's Kimber, which is a shimmery pink, and it was a neat look...of course, I forgot to take a picture before I removed it and put it over Zoya's Carly. Carly is a metallic purple and I since I like orange and purple together, I thought I'd dig the combo. I actually preferred it over Kimber. Figuring out the best polish to put under Lynns is something I'm still working on, but  here is Cauldron Drippings over Carly. 

Lynnderella's Cauldron Drippings over Zoya Carly.

a complete glitter-gasm!
I hope you enjoyed my first indie polish post! I plan on continuing to get more of these amazing and unique polishes on my nails: I've a preorder in with Rainbow Honey, a custom order in with Lacquistry, a new Dollish Polish on the way, and I'm going to getting more Lynnderellas when the next round of wishlists take place over at Llarowe! Stay tuned!