Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Ten Super Foods for Healthy Hair and Radiant Skin

Healthy hair and skin is something we have when we are young and then after years of swimming in chlorine pools and maybe even smoking, the damage takes its toll on us.  Here are some super foods that you can eat that help start the healing and prevention process from the inside.  You are what you eat!  I have been under a bit of stress lately and have had some breakouts, causing me to do a self check and evaluate what I need more of in my life (less stress is the obvious), starting with my diet.

I am no professional, by any means, but I thought I would compile all this good stuff for ya'll!   Plus, I want these things too and I try to strive for them daily.

Patience is a virtue I do not possess (ask the mister) and if you don't either, know that you cannot expect immediate results because you ate some nuts today.  Sorry, that ain't going to happen. :)  It will take longer to get healthier hair then skin but at least you will start seeing some results if you incorporate some of these items into your diet.  Most of these super foods you have heard of before and may have in the fridge and some may require a trip to Whole Foods.

1. Spinach-Yes, Popeye knew long ago that this was a super food.  And while you won't get his huge muscles from eating it out of a can, it is packed with Iron, Vitamin C, Vitamin E and beta carotene. If you get the bagged salads, get the 50/50 mix and you won't even know it's there. :)

2. Almonds-I am not a huge nut person (notice I did not say nutty person) but I find these are delicious roasted or with apple slices (think almond butter).  Almonds are made with the good stuff for your heart (flavonoids) and Vitamin E.

3. Bell Peppers-HERE is a super easy recipe I did that will get you your peppers.  Peppers are packed with Vitamin C (promoting collagen production for healthy skin and hair).

4. Sweet Potatoes-Growing up, I did not like these babies.  But now I love a good sweet potato mash! You can substitute carrots if you're not a spud eater.  They have more beta carotene in them, which once ingested turns into Vitamin A which is needed for glowing skin.  Bye, bye dry skin and hair.

5. Salmon-Another skin smoother (among many other benefits), rich in Omega 3 fatty acids.  Not a fish person, get these into your diet with a handful of walnuts or add some canola or soybean oil to your salad dressing.

6. Avocados-Mmmmmmm, faaaaats :) Healthy, fatty acids for shiny hair. I eat these so many ways. A great way to start the day is with some eggs (B-12), avocados and tomatoes(Vitamin C,A,K).  Plus not only can you eat these, but why don't you make a mask with it if you have left overs? I mean, who really puts it in the fridge with the pit? :) Mash it up and add some honey and slather it on your face for at least 15 minutes.

7. Beans-Here comes the protein (also iron and zinc), which our hair and skin needs.  Think lentils,kidney, cannellini.Beans, beans the magical fruit......if you don't do beans, get your chicken and turkey in.

8. Low Fat Dairy-Whether it's from a cow or an almond (I made the switch a while back), get your calcium in! No thanks, osteoporosis.

9. Whole Grains-There are many ways to get this in your diet. Whole grain bread, cereals, oats, brown rice have Biotin and Vitamin B and Zinc to help brittle hair.

10. Fruits-An apple a day does more than keep the doctor away.  Pineapples (skin emollient), bananas (Potassium, Vitamin A,C,E), and Kiwi (antioxidants,Vitamins C,E) are also great to add to your diet!

And there ya go.  A great handy cheat sheet for you.  My 34th birthday is in a few days and I have been trying my hardest to eat right and get more toned.  This morning was a great day for me as the scale was two pounds less than my goal weight!  I checked it twice to be sure!  So not only will these items be great for your hair and skin, but they will also keep your tummy slimmer, which is an added benefit to not taking them in supplement form.

Anyone have any tips to share or recipes to help incorporate these into your daily routine?

Let us know in the comments below!

Have a great day!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Birchbox Man October 2014 Reveal

A few months ago, I got my husband a gift subscription to Birchbox Man.  He is the manliest man around but he still takes great care of himself.  I wanted to give him the opportunity to try new things, which also helps me in the long run on finding birthday and Xmas presents when I find out things that he loves!

Birchbox Man is $20 a month and can be personalized.  It costs more than the women's box but it makes up for that in the products it comes with.  Truth be told, if I was not able to personalize the box I would not have gotten it.  I know what he likes and doesn't like so if it was just going to be a generalized box, I know it would not have worked for him.  This is the third month he has received. The first month was out of the park, last month was so so and this month was another success!  He LOVED it! (Go me!)

The October 2014 theme for Birchbox Man is Fantasy Football (sponsored by The League on FX)! I mean, could that have been more perfect? He loves fantasy football.

Here are all the goodies!

First up is the coolest thing in the box (he can't stop talking about them!)  My husband is a masonry so this was really awesome to see.

W&P Whiskey Stones, valued at $17.

 These take the place of regular ice cubes and don't dilute the drink at all.  I mean, who wants a watered down drink? He can't wait to use these.

Next is Das Boom Industries Everything Body Wash.

It smells like a MAN.....it really is heavenly.  My husband loved the way this smelled and wished it wasn't such a small sample.  With bay rum, smoke and dirt it smells earthy...bourbon and leathery.......Smells like he has been outdoors all day but without the mix of sweat and grime.  We will definitely be buying this!

Next is English Laundry Riviera.

My husband has his go to colognes, that he has been wearing since college, mind you.  I am always looking for the next best thing for him to wear on fancy outings.  He liked this smell a lot.  That is saying A LOT.  It is warm and spicy and I like that on a man, especially mine :)

Next is Billy Jealousy White Knight Facial Cleanser.

Nick is really lucky because he has perfect, normal skin.  Which means he can use anything.  So this was good for him to try.  This is plant based and we do try to use all natural ingredients on our face, so were pleased with this.  He only wished it was exfoliating.

Next is Baxter of California Super Close Shave Formula.

He hasn't tried this yet as I love him with some scruff but he has received this brand before and has been pleased.  I like that it has tea tree oil in it for him.

And lastly, we got a deck of playing cards from Bicycle.

At our last Superbowl party, we couldn't find a deck of cards in the house for the longest time so this will really come in handy for when we play poker!  Plus all the cards are "robo" themed.

All in all, again my husband was extremely pleased with this box and it made up for the tiny bit o disappointment he had with last months box.

If you want to get Birchbox Man for your hubby or brother or friend, click HERE and sign up today!!

Do you already get Birchbox Man? What did your man think of this months box? Let me know in the comments below!

Have a great day!!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer (Nude) Review

Thanks to being a member of Pop Sugar's Sample Squad, I was recently provided with a $43 full size Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer.  Holy Crap, Batman!  I was so excited to receive this!  One it was full size and two it is a Laura Mercier product!  I recently came to love her products......I am sad to say it took me this long.

Actually, the first product I ever tried was from Sephora and it was a bronzing primer.  It gave me the perfect shimmery tan and was also a primer and I loved it.  Then I tried this product at a department store with my mama (different shade) and am using her highlighter on and off daily.  Ah.....so nice.

Okay, back to this product.  The color I received was nude.

Here is what it looks like, with and without flash.

(you can also tell that I have stopped going to the tanning bed....a decision that was very hard for me to make but I will be turning 34 in a few days and I am trying to slow down the aging process)

Let me start by saying that I was afraid this was going to be like a lotion with a tint.....albeit pricey, I have tried some products a bit pricey and they have given me no coverage at all.  But no, this is light coverage with SPF 20 in it.  It is thick, like foundation, not thin like a lotion.  "Nude" is actually described as a light beige for fair to light skin tones.  It gives off a bit of a dewy finish (sidebar, dewy always makes me think of the character in Scary Movie haha), so if you don't like that, use a powder finish like I did.  I used MakeUp Forever's HD Finish Powder.

I used a beauty blender to apply the product and here is what it looks like on me.  I also used Benefit's Porefessional as my primer.

Yeah, so pretty close to natural looking skin, right?? I am VERY pleased with the results. Plus, there is a blend of Vitamin C and E in this bad boy. The main goal of this makeup is to provide the "no makeup" makeup look and I think that it does that perfectly.

Have you tried this product before?  How do you apply it?

Let me know in the comments below!

Have a great day!!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Chapstick Hydration Lock Reviews

Another perk of being a Birchblogger, is opportunities to review new and amazing products.  And I have one here!

I have always been a fan of Chapstick.  Cherry flavored Chapstick in particular.  And yes, I thought it was awesome when Katy Perry made reference to my chapstick in her first song that the world got to hear.  I don't like my lips to be chapped, not that anyone does, and I love the nostalgic smell of cherry Chapstick that brings me back to kissing in high school.

There are two types of Hydration Lock Chapsticks.

The first one advertises an end for day and an end for night.

The day end has SPF 12 in it, is ultra conditioning and has no smell to it.  It is 40% petroleum.  The night end smells INCREDIBLE and of chamomile (my favorite night time scent, next to lavender) and is made with oils and butters to really  do some damage control while you are sleeping.  I love products that work while you sleep.  Makes me feel so accomplished.  I have already found myself mixing both ends as I love the chamomile smell so much.  It's a mini aromatherapy session while I am at work :)

Here is the next option.

Again, dual ends here so you are getting more for your money, IMO.

The first end is the moisturizing end, although let's be honest here, all the ends are going to moisturize, we are talking about CHAPSTICK here, ya'll!  But this tube specifically is designed for its advanced, anti-aging formulas.  This end also reduces the appearance of fine lines thanks to ingredients like CoQ10 and hyaluronic filling spheres.  I know, slow down Brooke, what am I saying.....basically, that means when the chapstick comes in contact with my lips it fills in the cracks and plumps them up! (Thank you , Google, I am not THAT smart).  This end smells like vanilla and is going to be the perfect winter chapstick.

The other end is the revitalizing, renewing end, made with mango butters to condition and soften lips. This end (botanical medley) has a very, very light floral smell to me and is so soothing on my lips. They feel velvety (think Ray Charles voice) and smooth.

Both of these are clear so you can wear them under or over your colored glosses and you are getting two variations on a classic in each tube!

These are really great, affordable options for keeping your lips hydrated and protected this season and I would love to share with you!

I was provided with an extra Moisture and Renew Chapstick so this will also be a prize for an upcoming giveaway soon!

Have you already tried one of these?  What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me (And Other Concerns) Mindy Kaling's Book Review

I was lucky enough to win a paperback copy of Mindy Kaling's latest New York Times Bestseller, "Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me (And Other Concerns) from Birchbox since I am part of their blogging community.

Let me preface by saying I love to read. I also love to write and that I hope is apparent.  Before my grandmother taught me anything, I swear she taught me to read and to love it.  One of my favorite memories is when I was 3 and sleeping over at Nany's house.....we would always get in her big bed, the kind with the wooden headboard that had the lights and shelves built into it, and lay on our tummies and read. Well, she would....my book would be upside down and foreign to me, yet I would watch her out of the corner of my eye and when she would turn a page, I would turn a page.  I aspired to be my grandmother even from a young age.

As I grew, I still read but more often just at her house and always crime stories and mystery novels. R.L.Stine was my favorite but I did manage to finish all of the Sweet Valley High and Babysitters Club books, too.  I then moved on to Mary Higgins Clark and James Patterson.

I haven't read in a while is my point so winning this book was exciting as I could finally sit down and actually get lost in the life of someone else for a bit.  I have only heard of Mindy in blurbs from the tv and internet (good stuff, not the risque stuff but I am sure that exists) and associated her with the tv show, The Office.

Boy did this book teach me a lot more about Mindy, maybe too much.  First, it made me laugh.  And out loud in some parts.  That is huge to me.  I hate faking anything.  Especially smiles in pictures. Catch me looking all goofy with one eye shut and my nostrils flared and you'll know it is a real smile and not one you are forcing me to make.  Anyway, I digress.....I also learned that Mindy and I have a bunch of stuff in common and that although she is famous, we could totally hang out and make fun of people together.

Some of my favorite parts of the book:

She talks about things that we all think, or at least that I think.  There is a chapter on karaoke etiquette.  It's unspoken, but it is there and she gets it.

There is a chapter on the best friend code of conduct.  Again, not spoken of but it is there.  You WILL hate who I hate!! (My quote, not Mindy's).  Nowadays with kids and technology, actual relationships get put on the back burner and I don't think girlfriends get to share all their clothes and sleep in the same bed anymore....Ah, I miss my early 20's.

She shops at Benefit and loves getting stuff for free.  Kind of an obsession of mine.

Mindy loves the Chapelle Show....enough said. (I'm Rick James BITCH)

One of her most relatable lines to me is "I'll get you, you clique-y sons of bitches". I hate cliques and have hated them since high school.  Such an awesome quote and sounds like something a high school super hero would say.

She has an exact level of fame list and all the things she wants to accomplish and get once she has reached that level of fame.  For example, she never wants to have to wait in line at a brunch.  Who doesn't agree with that?? I mean, not only do I not want to have to wait in line for brunch, I want to be able to decide who can't have any brunch.  "Um, yeah, you....over there with the crusty corduroys, I don't think you showered today so put down the apple pastry and step away from the brunch line"......yeah, that's the level of fame I WANT. No gross brunchy people at my brunch.

There is a dialogue of her and her friend, that she refers to as her "excited sexually liberated"friend that made me laugh out loud LOUD.  It was great.

Overall, the book was super funny, easy to read and inspiring.  She is a woman in a world of men and comedy is no easy feat. So hats off to you, Mindy Kaling.

I would love to give ya'll the opportunity to laugh out loud, too, so this book will be in one of my next giveaways.  My way of paying Mindy forward, so to speak.

Have a great day!! xo

Have you already read this book? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Birchbox VS Ipsy September 2014 Throwdown and Unboxing

Time for another great match!!  Birchbox VS Ipsy, September 2014.  I also got a brand new phone so you may notice a difference in my pictures.  I am still working out the HD quality but I think they turned out really good.  

For those that are new to monthly beauty subscriptions boxes, here are the details.

Birchbox is $10 a month and works on a wonderful points system.  You review each item each month and get 10 points for each review.  100 points is equal to $10 in their online store, which in my opinion is similar to Ulta and has all the great brands we love.  Their point system is amazing and I don't remember the last time I paid full price for anything.  Join me HERE.

Ipsy is also $10 a month and they have a point system as well but it goes towards adding additional items to your box a month.  It takes forever to accumulate the 1000 points needed to do so, though. Join me HERE.

Okay let's get to the reviewing of the goodies!!

First let's look at both boxes.  For Birchbox, this month is their anniversary so the boxes are extra special.

And now here is what Ipy looks like this month.

First in the ring is from Birchbox and what I am most excited about.  For the past few months, they have been letting us choose one of the five samples that come in our box and this was the first month I actually didn't miss the deadline.  I chose Macademia Healing Oil Spray.

I have been a fan of this brand for a while now so was excited to try this.  This makes my hair shiny and protects it from the heat and styling products.  My hair is so smooth and this is a wonderful product.

For Ipsy, I did not get a hair care product this month so its a little hard to do an exact comparison.

I received luxury hand cream by Mitchell and Peach.

I have received this product before in another box and I really like it.  It's made in England, which I LOVE, and smells of honey and shea butter. It goes on light but really absorbs nicely.

The point goes to Birchbox!


Next up from Birchbox, I received Harvey Prince exfoliating body gel or liquid loofah as they advertise it.

I haven't tried this yet but I am not a fan of bath products in my boxes.  I do however like exfoliating products.  It smells great, too.  Mango, grapefruit and sandalwood.

Let me tell you, this brush is AMAZING!!! I LOVE it!!  It is dual ended and has great bristles.  There was no fall out from the eye shadow I used and I was finally able to define the crease with shadow, unlike the brush I currently use.  I used the Coastal Scents palette and created this eye look with it.

This one was no contest.  Ipsy!!


Next up, Birchbox gave me Real Chemistry Facial Peel.

I've never done a facial peel before but was excited to be able to try it at home.  I really liked it and my skin was left feeling super soft like a baby's bum :) 

Free of anything toxic and made with cucumber and watercress.  I haven't tried it yet but actually most of the reviews I read weren't great.  They say this cleanser leaves the skin feeling very dry and tight as a bar of soap would.  I, of course, will make my own opinion but hope it isn't as bad as it sounds.

This one goes to Birchbox because I love exfoliating products.


Next up, Birchbox gave me Temptu Champagne Highlighter.

This is a wonderful highlighter and I really really like it.  Its a bit runny which made me nervous but goes on so nice and gives a dewy glow without the shimmer.  It lasts all day too!!

I get mixed results with this and it comes out like a stain so can get messy.  The color goes on light at first and can be built up to a darker intensity.  When its darker it is the perfect fall color, kind of like a maroon.  Mmmmm, Adam Levine lol 

But this one goes to Birchbox again!!  


Next, Birchbox gave me Acure Organics Day Cream.

Last month Birchbox gave me an Acure product and I loved it! I haven't tried this one yet and the reviews are mixed.  It has a citrus scent and is thick but goes into the skin to provide a light feel.  I have oily skin and those with oily skin have said this does not add to the oil factor so that's a plus.

Ha, it's pretty much the same color as the bag they sent me!  I love it, I mean, I couldn't deal with another black eyeliner if you paid me so was excited to get it in this pewter metallic like color, perfect for this fall.  It went on smooth, no tugging and the color lasted all day.  It's waterproof too but not like that means anything in the fall and winter :)

This one goes to Ipsy.


The last items to show are just the little extra's that came this month.  Sometimes Birchbox includes a special "find", which is an item that is new on the market and that they want to share with us.

They have two different types out right now and this one has dual ends for both moisture and replenishing.  So one is light for day time and one is full of shea butters for night time, IMO.  Side note: I was provided with two more of these and one is the other option, both for review on the blog. So stayed tuned for that review and your chance to get one for free from me!!

And of course, Ipsy's extra item was my glam bag.  This months was designed by Michelle Phan.

Totally suits this months theme which is Street Style and I already gave my bag to my mama.  She's going to Vegas this month and this is perfect for her bring along's.  The picture shows it did come a little bit wrinkled, but this should smooth out after a bit.

And there ya have it.

For September 2014, Birchbox won for the 3rd month in a row!! Ipsy was a little closer this month, though.  Check out my previous throwdowns by scrolling on the left of the blog.

Want to join in the fun and see what you can get each month based on your personalized beauty profile?  Join me with Birchbox HERE and Ipsy HERE.

What was your favorite item this month? Did we get the same items?

Let me know in the comments below!!  And don't forget to enter the giveaway I am currently having, along with Chloe+Isabel!! HERE are the details!

Have a great day!!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Mudpipes and Glitter and Chloe+Isabel Giveaway

Happy Friday Ya'll!!!  I am so excited to have reached another milestone on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and to be able to reach out to so many of you all!!

In honor of that, I am going to have another giveaway.  This one is extra special though.  Recently, I started a partnership with Chloe+Isabel (Read all about them HERE) and this giveaway is including an amazing set of birthstone earrings.

Aren't they gorgeous???

You don't even have to select your own birthstone....I want one of each pair!

The giveaway starts tomorrow, 9/20/2014, but of course I had to tease ya a bit with these amazing photos!  This giveaway will last a week and several entry options can be done daily to increase your chances of winning.  This is for US residents only, too.  Until I make it to the big times and can send things internationally, of course.

The giveaway will also include beauty and skincare items too (don't they all!!)!!

In the meantime, make sure to check out the above link and learn more about Chloe+Isabel because I know you will love them as much as I do :)

Have a great day!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Limited Edition Makeup Collection by ONE DIRECTION

Recently, I partnered with another awesome company, BrandBacker.  They are similar but yet different from some of the other companies I work with.  Usually I let my "partners" know what I am interested in and they send me products to review but BrandBacker has all of my information and the companies and their available opportunities come to ME!

First up to review and talk about is the Midnight Memories Makeup Collection by ONE DIRECTION.  Now, yes, I am a country western rocker chick, but I LOVE makeup.  This specific collection was sent to me for my review and to offer my insight on the products provided and I think it is the collection that suits my taste the most!  At first glance, their makeup is fun, bold and affordable.

There are three different collections, which are geared towards different types of girls, and they all come in collectible tins.  Are you a rock n roll girl (Midnight Memories), fun party girl (Up All Night) or the girl next door (Take Me Home)?

Here is what is included in the Midnight Memories collection!  It also comes in a great tin that is autographed by the group and a packet of stencils for body art!

The liquilights glow gloss in "Through The Dark" sparkles brilliantly in the day and illuminates under a UV black light...where was this in my 20's?? And a nice creamy bright crimson red lipstick in a shade ("Best Song Ever") perfect for this fall.

The eye makeup comes with four velvety, pigment-rich shadows and a bold glitter creme shadow. These are actually great colors that can be worn day or night, for work or for play.  And the metallic nail polish in silver ("Right Now") matches perfectly!

The chubby black liner pencil ("Better Than Words") can be worn as eyeliner or shadow and the carbon black, volumizing mascara ("Little Black Dress") has a nice wand that separates the lashes nicely.

The eye shadow has a bit of fall out but the colors make up for that. They are really pretty.

Palest Warm Grey-"Little White Lies"
Soft Pink Shimmer-"Don't Forget Where You Belong"
Metal Grey-"Half A Heart"
Charcoal Black Matte Shimmer-"Strong"
Silver Creme Glitter-"Midnight Memories"

Here is the eye look I created!  And the shadow stayed on all day!!

The entire line will be available worldwide starting in the US.

US Release Dates:
Macy's-August 11th
Stage Stores-August 26th
Dillards-August 25th
Beauty Brands-August 25th
Lord and Taylor-August 25th

Learn more about the brand and upcoming products by going to https://www.facebook.com/MakeupbyOneDirection.  My post is powered by BrandBacker!

Now that you've gotten all excited about these products, I'd like to share some with you! First one to comment on this post on the Facebook page (HERE) will get the nail polish and the creme lipstick!!!

Good Luck!!

Have a great day!! xo
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