30 January, 2014

Wantable #Makeup Subscription Review

     During a recent visit to my sister's house I got quite the surprise.  We were putting on make-up before heading out and I was using her stash because I had no make-up on me.  I saw a lip gloss that caught my eye.  It was one that looked like a sheer beautiful shimmery color on my sister, but when I tried it on it looked like my lips had turned to tin foil!!!  It looked terrible and I didn't understand why.  We are both Caucasion women with brown hair and fair-ish skin.  Even looking in the mirror showed no significant difference in her coloring and mine.  So why did it look great on her and not on me?
My sister and I, isn't she beautiful? 
     When I saw how ridiculous I looked, I laughed until I cried, true story.  I decided then that I must stay away from anything metallic looking at all costs because it really is not for me.  I also realized that although we are both blue eyed, brown haired, light skinned women, we pull off totally different color sets.  While darks and purples look great on her, I look pretty tragic in purples and favor brighter greens, browns, and whites.  It must be that the undertone to my skin is a bit more rosy, though it is hardly noticeable in person.
     When my sister received a Wantable box in the mail, I was intrigued.  It's a subscription service for makeup, accessories, or intimates that gets delivered right to your mailbox.  It is customized to you based on your preferences and what you know to look best on you.  Well, I now knew a bit better about what to avoid, so I asked the terrific people at Wantable if I could try it out for one month to share my thoughts and they were so generous to allow me to do just that.
     When I went to go pick out my box, I was surprised by the thoroughness of their questionnaire.  They really wanted to make sure that I received make-up that I would use.  From whether I like sheer nail polish to if I care for matte eye shadows.  Each question had an option to select dislike, love, or neither.  I told Wantable that I disliked blush and dark colors, along with bright red lipsticks.  I told them that I loved foundation and eyeliner, as well as mascara.  When all was said and done, I was pretty confident that they would know just what I like.
     The box didn't take too long to arrive and when I opened it, the very first thing I noticed was this cool quote.  It made me smile :)
     I checked out the contents and to be honest, I was a little skeptical.  The lipstick was a pink, almost a hot pink, which made me nervous.  And the eye shadow looked like a dark purplish brown.  Remember, I look terrible in purples?  But I KNEW I would love the nail polish.
     The nail polish is "Not So Sweet" by NCLA and it is a very pretty light pink.  You need a few coats to get a good smooth coat, but it dries with a very shiny finish, no top coat needed.  It also dries fairly quickly so that you don't have to wait long.  It sells for $16.00 on ShopNCLA.com.
     The next thing that I tried was the lipstick.  The lipstick is "Exotic Pink" from Besame Cosmetics and it sells on their site for $22.00.
     Normally I would not choose such a bold color for myself.  But I did tell Wantable that I liked light and happy colors, so they did deliver.  What's awesome about the pink lipstick is that it matches my new hair color quite splendidly and actually looks great on me.
     Now, the eye shadow was the one I was most concerned about.  It is "Nude Glam" Eye Powder by Girlactik Beauty and it sells for $17.00.  I was worried because it looked dark for my liking.  Also, you can't tell from the website, but it does have a ruddy purplish tinge to it.  However, I could not have been more pleasantly surprised.  When applied, it is super sheer, really shimmery, and NOT purple.  It's my favorite eye color to date!
     The other items in the box were a Prime Brush from MichaelMarcus which sells for $38.  Mind you, a subscription is $36 per month.  It is really soft and I will be using it often.  You can hear more about the brush in the video here.

     The last thing in the box was a tester of Fresh Start oil-free by Sorme Treatment Cosmetics.  Here is a little bit about it from the Sorme website:

• Oil-Free
• Silicone Free
• Specialized for oily, sensitive,
and acne-prone skin

A powerful blotting ingredient holds up to 10 times its weight in oils for a shine-free, poreless finish. Super antioxidants of Green Tea, Grape Seed Extract, and Pomegranate help repair free radical damage. Hyaluronic Acid keeps skin hydrated without oils.

     The total of all the full sized products I received was $93, which is a HUGE savings off regular costs. For anyone into quality cosmetics, you could definitely save a bunch by trying out Wantable.  And you can cancel, return, or skip at any time, so there is no chance of regret!  I'm really glad that I took the chance on some makeup that I might not have realized WAS my style.  It has definitely opened new doors to me and how I look at makeup.  I bet the same could go for the accessories or the intimates boxes that Wantable offers.  Thank you Wantable!!!

Have you ever tried a subscription service for any kind of products?

Except for the product(s) given to me for the purpose of reviewing, I received no compensation for this post. All opinions are 100% my own.

28 January, 2014

Printkeg Canvas Giveaway!

     As a mom, I adore taking photos.  I used to take photos of my kids doing anything and everything (within reason of course).  Nowadays I mostly stick to photo shoots and events.  One shoot for the start of the school year, one for Fall, one for Christmas, and a few in the Spring and Summer seasons.  I do some candid shots throughout the year too, but not as much as I used to.  That's probably due to needing to burn so many DVDs when I do take that many.
     One thing I always intended to do was to order a canvas print of each of my children as babies.  I have five babies now and have only gotten one canvas print so far, but I treasure it.  It is one of my favorite photos, one of Streaker inside a flower pot and it was from a shoot that I did close to her 1st birthday.  That reminds me, keep on the lookout for Mr. Man's 1st birthday shoot!
     Because I care so much about preserving these fleeting moments when my kids are young, I know that other parents also hold such things just as dear as I do.  That's why I am so psyched to be given the opportunity to give away a canvas print from Printkeg to one of my readers!  These canvases range from 16x20 all the way up to 24x36.  I recently ordered an engineering print from Staples that was 24x36 and it was HUGE.  We're talking main entry way centerpiece kind of huge.  Whether you need a smaller sized canvas for over the mantle or a huge statement piece for your family room, Printkeg wants to deliver!
     While browsing online to price check on other canvas suppliers, I found that comparable 24x36 canvases can be anywhere from $109 on sale to $154 before shipping.  Printkeg sells this sized canvas for $91.09, that's much more affordable!  And smaller prints can get as low as $44.88 for the .75" wrapped canvas.  For affordability alone, I highly suggest checking them out.

     Because this giveaway is such an insane offer, Printkeg does ask that the winner cover the shipping costs of about $10-$15.  Can you blame them?  So little for a photo canvas in any size is a steal and if you are the lucky winner, I envy you.  This will make the perfect gift for anyone in your life, from the young artist to the elderly grandparents.  Or keep it for yourself and enjoy it's beauty every day.
     So without further ado, the contest!  Winner receives any .75" wrapped photo canvas of their choosing (up to $95 in value) from Printkeg.  Rules are the same as usual, you must be 18 or older.  Since you cover shipping, readers outside the US may enter.  This contest will last for one week Good luck to everyone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

27 January, 2014

After Action Review: A Self-developement Tool

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.
     I am in introvert.  Not just an introvert, but an introvert at a pretty significant level.  I place much importance on my privacy and I do not need to be out of the home to be happy.  I mean, sometimes I would like a break from the house, who wouldn't?  But when it comes to my life, I do appreciate my solitude and I love that my family knows this about me.
     Because I am an introvert, the idea of asking for help from someone I don't really know or even allowing them to help me when I am approached about it is something I am very uncomfortable with.  Things such as feeling down, problem solving, or learning to be organized... anything that gives even a little hint of who I am behind closed doors feels invasive to me.  I can't help it, I just can't open up that way on a one-on-one level.
     That's why I think the After Action Review tool is a pretty helpful one.  It is an interactive self-analysis tool that lets you look at what you have really accomplished and what you have improved on.  Granted, it is made for the professional to help in their work place, but I think something like this is perfect for me.
     With all the drama of raising 4 girls and a baby, it's super easy for time to slip away and not even notice that supper is running late and that I never did start on that project I intended to start.  So to be able to hold myself accountable is a much needed thing.
     With this program, I can remember (which is really the big problem in MY life) what exactly I wished I had done better or should have done each day.  I can look back and see recurring themes on what my shortcomings are without having to rely on anyone else to remind me.
     Such as, today I had a hard time keeping my patience when there was very loud whining and arguing.  Tomorrow morning, I will see that on my After Action summary and remember that I MUST try to do better.  I will also see that I did a great job getting the kids to actually step up and do as they were supposed to and I can start my day off on a good note and pat myself on the back for a job well done.
     Another pretty neat feature is that it tallies my achievements, lessons learned, and other categories so that I see how many great things I have done or how many things I really should work on right when I log in.  It is such a simple idea and it really does help.
     It also has a section where you can list all your skills.  Talk about a pep talk!  If you are really honest with yourself and you type up your actual skills, it can be nice to go get reassurance when you need it.  It's nice to see your list and know that you are good at things and that you have the tools you need to fix whatever problem you are facing.
     After Action Review is a product of Quick Focus.  They also offer a much more business and workplace oriented program called Professional Mentor.  It's a tool to help get the most out of your workplace and to get goals accomplished and everyone working the best that they can together.  To be honest, most of this program sort of goes over my head as I have never worked in that type of professional field.  But it seems like a great tool for the professional who is looking for the next step up.  And After Action Review is also good for the professional or for someone like me who just needs to start holding themselves accountable and getting things done.  I'm glad that I have it to help me.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Cook'n 11 Recipe Organizer #Review and Giveaway!

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.
      I couldn't count the number of times that I have gone online and thought 'Today, I am going to create a printable cookbook for my kids to have one day'.  In earnest, I gathered recipes with every intention of making that cookbook.  But there was one HUGE flaw with all of the cookbook programs that I tried (and I tried a LOT), and that is that you have to manually type in every recipe and Man was that tedious work.
     So I stuck with collecting recipes on Pinterest and in the form of hard copy cookbooks.  I would see an awesome recipe in a magazine and I would just keep the whole magazine on my cookbook shelf never to be seen again really because I am just not ambitious enough to look for it again among the many magazines I have. 
     Enter my latest addiction.  I can not say enough good about this new program that I have been blessed with.  It is called Cook'n 11 and it is the very best program I have ever used hands down.  Before I tell you about it, just check this video out, you will never go back to any other software after this:

      After watching this video, the very first thing I did was try out the photo feature.  You know, the one where you can take a photo of a recipe from a book and it magically grabs the recipe out of the photo... it wasn't perfect, but it allowed me to fix anything it didn't automatically grab.  I was impressed regardless.
It was super easy to make multiple chapters.
     The second thing I did was import my Pinterest board for 2 and 3 ingredient recipes.  It worked so quickly and almost flawlessly.  With a few clicks, all my Pinterest finds were sitting in cookbooks by recipe title ready to print into a little book.
     And if I am feeling like I want bananas one particular day, Cook'n 11 has a search bar at the top of the screen and all I have to do is type "banana" and a whole slew of banana recipes from all over the web pops up and I can even see star ratings for most of them!
     One of my favorite features is that Cook'n 11 is constantly streaming new recipes from all over the web.  It's got an amazing interface much like Pinterest or Foodgawker has.  It's a full page of awesome yumminess right when you start the program up.  You are almost NEVER out of new recipes to add.  The Cook'n 11 Homepage also has a refresh button in case you want to see if new recipes have been posted online since you have been inside the program.  Each time you click on one of those recipes, it opens a new tab so you don't have to back peddle.
     Other features included in Cook'n 11 are the grocery list generator, nutritional value calculator, and a tool to help you create meal plans and menus.  You can also import all your Allrecipes.com recipes and sync everything with your Cook'n Cloud, an off-site back-up that helps you use Cook'n 11 on multiple systems easily.
     I just absolutely adore this program.  It is exactly what I have been looking for for years and I am going to enjoy using it for many years to come, guaranteed!  I fully stand behind Cook'n 11 and I recommend it whole-heartedly for anyone tired of typing all those recipes manually.  Now on to make a cook book full of easy kid recipes for the girls :D


Not before I give it away for FREE!!!

     I am so excited to be able to offer a copy of this awesome time saving software to one of my readers.  So why not you?  Just follow the super easy steps and see if you are a winner!  Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

     And just for fun, a recipe that I snagged from Facebook (originally from Krista's Kitchen):
 Click to enlarge or to save :)

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

22 January, 2014

#Splat Hair Color Review

     I was blonde for most of high school.  I adored my blonde hair.  It lightened my face and out of the corner of my eyes I always saw a bright glow from my hair catching the light.  I was always so happy and as silly as it sounds I do think that the constant bright frame on everything I saw helped me to feel that way.
Twelve years ago.
     The last 5 years or so I haven't dyed my hair much.  A little red here or brown there, but nothing drastic.  I guess part of me figured that I didn't have much right spending money on myself for something frivolous like that and part of me thought that I was a mom now and I should be sensible.
This has been my color for quite some time now.
     Well I went shopping with my sister last week and I was feeling pretty down.  I had a gift card with me that I had gotten for Christmas, and I'd be lying if I didn't STRONGLY consider buying myself some wine.  But we both agreed that wine would only temporarily help me feel better and I'd probably suffer a guilty conscience as a result.  So would I REALLY be feeling better?  Probably not.  I'm not a wino after all, I was just having a REALLY bad week.  So we looked for something to help me feel better because although I usually spend my gift cards on cleaning supplies and the like, I wanted something for me.
     I perused the make-up thinking maybe a new pretty face would cheer me up.  Holy expensive, Batman!  I'm okay with my stash right now, so that was out.  Then we saw it, hair dye!  Of course!  I decided right away that I would go with a sensible ruddy blonde, a sort of dark strawberry blonde type color.  Then my sister pointed out the Splat Hair Colors in vivid blue, red, and purple.  She suggested a black and red combo and it just so happened that I was in the frame of mind to go for it.
     So I brought the dye home and had planned to wait for my sister to help me the next day, but I just couldn't wait.  I Googled some quick ideas and went straight to work.  I decided to go the opposite from our original plans and do a black underneath with the blonde and reddish pink on top.  THIS as well as THIS was my inspiration.
Yes, that IS a shopping bag :)
     The first thing that I needed to do was to bleach the hair that I wanted to stay blonde or to dye with the Luscious Raspberries Splat hair dye.  This was pretty easy, I just separated my hair into an upper and lower and bleached the upper while dying the lower half black.  I did it all in one step to avoid having to re-part my hair later.
Me and 'Lil Riot having some photo fun before the Splat was applied.
     The bleach was a blue color and seemed kind of gritty to me.  I put it on my hair trying my best to avoid the actual scalp and waited until the color looked right.  It bleached my hair quite well, even the previously dyed areas.  It did have brassy tones though, as it usually does when I bleach my hair.  I might need a toner to get just the right blonde.  The bleach did burn a little bit when it got on my scalp, but it did not burn nearly as bad as other brands I have tried.

     After all that, I died the bangs and the bottom half of the bleached section with the Splat hair dye.  For this part I recruited my sister's help.  We didn't worry too much about perfect parting as long as all the blonde below the part was gotten.  If any of the color got onto the black, it wouldn't show anyway.  I had just enough to dye the area that I wanted dyed.  If I were to do a bigger area in the future I would need a second or third box of color. 
 Use Vaseline on your hairline to avoid dyed skin!!!
     I lost track of how long I let this color stay in.  I have read that you can keep it in overnight, but I was at my sister's and it was getting really late, so I didn't have that luxury.  I would say that I probably left it in for close to an hour.  And when I rinsed it out, the color was beautiful.  It came out much better that I expected.
     The ONLY thing I wish were different is the length of the color.  I do wish it were permanent.  At least I think I do.  I often find that the hair color clashes with much of my clothes, so perhaps it is good that it is a color that lasts about 6 weeks.  A few weeks later, my hair is pretty faded, it is now a medium pink and the blonde is in much more need of a toner than it was at first.  I haven't decided how I am going to do my hair next.  At first I thought I might do a light auburn, but then I thought that it is too soon to go back to being so practical again.  But then I do have a few Dollar Tree red hair dyes kicking around that I never dared to try.  I guess maybe I will wait til my birthday to go blue ;)

What do you think?  Have you ever tried Splat?  Ever try dollar store hair dye?

This product is one that I acquired on my own or from friends or family members. All opinions are 100% my own.
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