Friday, April 25, 2014

Friday Five VII

1. Johnny Manziel
Photo courtesy

2. Wrigley Field
Continuing with the sports theme: Happy 100th birthday, Wrigley! There's just something special about this place.

3. Two Products to Try
Disclaimer: I haven't tried these products yet, but I've done enough review reading and researching to know I really want to. The glow by dr. brandt skin resurfacing serum is formulated with 2% retinol, the highest concentration approved by the FDA for over-the-counter use. Despite the thousands of anti-aging products out there, retinoid (the Rx version) and retinol are truly backed by science as the best way to help reduce fine lines, smooth skin and boost collagen.
The Clarins Radiance-Plus Golden Glow Booster can be added to any moisturizer to give it a self-tanning element. I love that idea! I always want to use a self-tanner on my face, but don't want to replace the moisturizers I already have and love. This way you don't have to.

4. Now, How to Use those Products

Me of many products often wonders if I'm putting them on in the right order. This Refinery 29 article helps explain how to do it correctly.

5. Walgreens App
The Webby Award  nominations are out, and the Walgreens app got two nods. I'm not a big app person, but I always use the Walgreens app. It's one of the very few I have on my phone. You can fill prescriptions to any location in a matter of seconds, print photos right from your phone, get coupons and even log your workouts to earn Balance Rewards points. 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Birchbox Review: March

Here's a look back at my March box:

1. Keims Cleanshine Energizing Shampoo -- This says "peppermint and macadamia" on the bottle, but I didn't smell either of those things in the scent unfortunately, since I love the smell of peppermint (even though I hate the taste!). To me it's just more of a fresh and clean scent, so I can't really complain about that. And it worked really well! My hair feels clean and looks shiny every time I use it. 

2. Michael Todd True Organics Tropical Fruit Enzyme Exfoliator -- This stuff is fantastic! My skin has never felt softer than after using it. It has a wonderful, fruity-citrusy scent; I best compare it to tangerine. The texture is different than other exfoliators I've used. It's more like clumps of sand instead of beads, if that makes sense. At $18, I would really consider buying this, but I think the sample will last awhile since you only need a to use it a couple times a week.

3. Coola Tinted Matte SPF 30 for Face -- At first I was confused because this says BB Cream on the bottle, and I only noticed a barely-there tint. But then I re-examined the bottle and realized it said mineral sunscreen; that totally changed my opinion! I don't have very sensitive skin, but it does often react to sunscreen- not this! It leaves a smooth, matte, almost powdery feel on the skin, not greasy! It's made with 70 percent organic ingredients and has antioxidants. At $36 for the full-size, the price is a little steep, but if it keeps my face from stinging when I put on sunscreen at the beach, I might just have to buy it. 

4. the Balm How 'Bout Them Apples? Cheek & Lip Cream -- I'm not really a fan of cream blush, especially since I wear a powder foundation, but when I did use this on my cheeks the color really stayed for a long time. I received the Pie shade; it's not what I would choose but it was okay. It's a little too fluorescent. I did like this better as a lip color, but again, not exactly the right shade for me. And definitely do not wear both together or you'll look like a doll. I know this from experience...

5. Jergens BB Body Skin Perfecting Cream -- I haven't tried this yet because I'm loyal to Jergens Natural Glow lotion, and if I go a day without using it I start to lose my subtle self tan. I could see using this BB lotion in conjunction with a foam or gel self tanner for some extra moisturization.

Here is my April Birchbox. I might actually use the nail polish this time; I LOVE mint green. 

Friday, April 18, 2014

What I'm doing this weekend:

1. Reading this book  
After waiting almost two months, I finally made it off the 42-person-long library wait list for this book! I've gotten so many rave reviews about it. While I was checking it out at the library, a woman stopped to tell me how much she enjoyed it.

2. Testing out my new skin care products 
It took awhile to get this shipment since it was coming from the UK, but it felt like Christmas morning when it came via Royal Mail. I fell in love with the Birchbox sample of the Liz Earle cleanser, so I decided to take advantage of a spring special so I could try out more of the products. I got all of these products for less than $80 and free shipping! I have to compliment this company for a moment. When it seemed like my shipment was delayed, I called the customer service line and a woman, with a lovely British accent, answered in two rings and was super helpful and friendly. She mentioned that the U.S. shipments have been taking longer than usual but offered to send out a whole new shipment without hesitation. I told her I would wait a couple more days, and sure enough it arrived beautifully packaged with a note signed by the employee who put the shipment together.
You can tell this company puts a high priority on quality and customer satisfaction, which is quite rare these days.

3. Catching up on the "Scandal" finale and Jimmy Kimmel's "Behind the Scandalabra" special.

4. Cooking
Okay, more like watching someone else cook, but I had you for a second! I really had intended on cooking, or at least attempting to cook. I got Max a cooking class for Valentine's Day. He has this weekend off work, so we're finally getting to take the class. But...after signing up, we found this one is a demonstration-based class. Hey, at least I can say I tried.

5. Eating candy!

I gave up candy for Lent, so now I can finally indulge in Peeps, egg-shaped SweeTarts and dark chocolate bunnies. Happy Easter!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Review: Tocco Lusso

I'm a member of a young professional women's fundraising organization in Sarasota called Designing Daughters. Not all of us actually design things, but web-turned-fashion designer, Courtney Adams does. She announced at a meeting several months ago that she was starting a luxury loungewear line called Tocco Lusso, because says she knows, "a ton of ladies who need something that isn't quite office, isn't quite gym."

I am one of those ladies. I'm always looking for comfortable weekend clothes that are stylish but not sloppy, and comfy but not grungy. Enter the The Racer dress:

Courtney was kind enough to send me a sample of this piece, and I love it! The material feels like an upgraded version of your softest t-shirt, but the fit is a cut above. It shows off some curves but doesn't feel tight.

"I wanted something that was soft and moved with my body," Courtney says. "I think a woman's body is elegant and graceful. Fabric and clothing should work with that and highlight that fact."

The Racer dress is sporty but feminine thanks to some unexpected details. Courtney is a woman after my own heart with the grosgrain ribbon straps! That was the the first thing I noticed about the dress. It's such an interesting juxtaposition with the rest of the material, but it really works. The dress is available in several colors.

Here are some of Tocco Lusso's other styles. Courtney is in the middle.


One of the line's most popular items is The Convertible dress. Being short, I feel like it might be tough for me to wear, but ladies who are more blessed in the height department would love the versatility. The material on the neckline turns into a hoodie. 

 Photos courtesy:

The Tocco Lusso line might be a bit of a splurge for those of us who are frugal fashionistas, but it's in line with loungewear at most upscale department stores and boutiques.

Starting a clothing line is a bold and brave move! I'm cheering Courtney along on this exciting journey and wishing her luck and success. I know Courtney and her career in fashion are destined for great things, and I'll get to say I knew her when.

Check out more Tocco Lusso styles and SHOP online here!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Friday Five VI

1. Grandma Betty

Plenty of laughs and smiles for your Friday! Check out Grandma Betty's Instagram here. Grandma Betty's 18-year-old great grandson started an Instagram account to boost her spirits when she was diagnosed with lung cancer in December. Over the past few months, she's reached more than 350,000 followers! There's story time, there are videos, there are costumes, there's the Harlem Shake - enough said.

2. Homemade Kale Smoothies

If I was wealthy, I would get a Kalelicious smoothie from Whole Foods every day. Since I wince every time I pay $6.99 plus tax for that not-large-enough cup of green goodness, I've decided I'm going to try to make a similar version at home. Now, I haven't tried it yet because cleaning and chopping up kale takes a long time, but I made quite the discovery at Target last night: FROZEN KALE. Perfect for smoothies! After some Googling, I found a blogger who said the frozen version of the super-star green actually works better for smoothies and makes them taste less kale-y. Here is recipe that's inspired by the Whole Food's version.

3. Fruit and Veggie Study

Whipping up that kale smoothie will help you get to seven servings of fruits and veggies, because according to this study, it could help you live longer! The study, out of the UK, found that people who ate at least seven servings of fruits of vegetables daily had a 42 percent lower risk of death from all causes. Eating vegetables showed more of a health benefit than fruit. 

4. Girl's Best Friend

A Huffington Post writer shares here five reasons why every girl should own a dog. 

5. "Chrisley Knows Best"

Y'all, seriously, this show is hilarious! 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Birchbox Review: February

Here's a look back at my February box:

1. Beauty Protector Protect & Oil -- I was surprised by how much I liked this! First of all, it smells like cotton candy- so good. I have fine hair, so I used to shy away from hair creams and oils. But more recently I've discovered that when used in small amounts, they actually work great for me. They provide enough smoothness that I haven't had to use my Chi in at least a year. Like many popular hair oils, this one contains argan oil, but it doesn't seem as heavy. After putting it on and blow drying my hair, it had volume and softness! You don't need much, so the sample size will last a long time.

2. Dr. Brandt Pores No More Pore Refiner -- I've been using this as a makeup primer, and I think it works pretty well for that purpose. I tested it out on one side of my face and compared it to the other to see if it really minimizes pores, and it actually does. But I think someone would really have to be staring at your face up close (creepy!) to notice a huge difference. I like this product, but I would not pay $45 for the full size.

3. Juicy Couture Couture La La Malibu -- It's not a perfume I would pick out, but it's a nice summery scent! It's reminiscent of Clinique Happy- probably the mandarin/citrus notes. I enjoy wearing it.

4. Ruby Wing Color Changing Nail Polish in Kitten Heels -- I'm am such a slacker about nail polish, so I haven't tried this.

5. 32 Oral Care Effervescent Breath Crystals with IsoVoxy -- This is like the mint version of pop rocks. It does freshen your breath and makes your mouth feel cool and clean, however it's a little odd to try to swish it around your mouth. I do think it works better than a mint, but it's just a little difficult to use.

In my January Birchbox review blog post, I mentioned that I had not yet tried the 100 % Pure Fruit-Pigmented Mascara. I have since tried it, and it's okay. It doesn't have the thickness or oomph of a non-fruit pigmented mascara, but if you're really into natural products, it isn't terrible.

Here is my March Birchbox - review to come soon!