Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Chole + Isabel: Shine & Sparkle Glam Collection

Hi Sparklers!

Today I want to give you my first review to introduce you to one of the collections of jewelry I have curated for you Sparklers in the Shine & Sparkle Report Jewelry Store*!

I will be doing a series of posts about the collections of jewelry I've created, as well as from time-to-time introducing you to new collections or my favorite pieces.

As you can probably see from the title of this post, today, I'm going to be focusing on my favorite collection for obvious reasons-- Shine & Sparkle Glam!

This collection was inspired by my love of shiny and sparkly things (if this blog is any indication).  I was inspired by this blog to create this collection of jewelry that has lots of bling and a bit of a vintage-Hollywood feel.  I wanted these pieces to scream "Susan Sparkles".  I tried to put the things featured here at the top of the boutique, but you can easily use the "Search" boxes to see other color selections if you type in the name of a piece! Though I love all the pieces I picked for this collection, I'll highlight some of my personal favorites below:

If you are looking for a timeless and elegant piece of bling, this is one of my favorites.  I love it in this peach, champagne, and coral color combination with the antique plating--but it also comes in other great color combinations like Plum, Topaz, and Lavender as well as Teal .   These pieces have a wonderful high quality weight to them an exceptional detailing.  I love that this necklace has a little c+i bird at the end of the chain.  The bird even has a crystal for an eye.  Talk about detail!
  • antique rhodium-plated
  • nickel-free plating
  • 18" approx. length + 2" extender
  • lobster clasp
  • peach + champagne glass, coral resin

If you are looking for something more mid-range in price but still awesomely glam, this is on of my go-to pieces. It also feels luxurious to wear and can fit any personality.  I like that this can easily add a bit of sparkle to a day-time look and fit seamlessly into a full evening outfit--it's also fun to stack with other bracelets!  While I'm into the classic all silver look, this bracelet is also available plated in antique brass  or with blush glass crystals. Of course you can get matching earrings ($28) and matching necklace ($58) if you are into having a complete set of things.  These are easily found in the Shine & Sparkle Glam Collection in my store.
  • shiny rhodium-plated
  • nickel-free plating
  • 6.75" - 7.75" approx. length
  • toggle closure
  • clear glass

If you have less than $25 USD to spend on high-quality and Shine & Sparkle Report approved jewelry pieces, never fear! There are tons of earrings and rings that meet your needs.  However, I think one of the coolest items below $25 in the Shine & Sparkle Glam collection are these Celestial Frost Hair Pins.  These are perfect for going out this winter to see the Nutcracker.  You can also use them to spice up your usual hair styles with virtually no effort.  Pin back your bangs with these and your pony-tail is immediately super sparkle-tastic.  I love the art deco feel to these, it just screams glam!
  • antique rhodium-plated
  • nickel-free plating
  • 2" hair pins
  • light peach, crytsal AB + clear crystal

 I hope you enjoyed a bit more reporting on my Shine & Sparkle Glam Jewelry Collection!  Hopefully, you will like this series and think about adding some of these great pieces of sparkle to your own collections.  And don't worry, there will be plenty of your regularly scheduled blogging will be happening.  

As Always,
Shine & Sparkle

*The pictures from this blog post are from the Chloe + Isabel website.  I am compensated a percentage for each piece of jewelry sold.  However, I truly believe in these products and would never suggest you get something that I'm not 100% satisfied with myself--read more about my involvement with c+i here.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Chloe + Isabel: The Shine and Sparkle Report Jewelry Store Grand Opening

Hi Sparklers!

I'm SO SO SO excited to be announcing that The Shine & Sparkle Report is growing up and getting it's own Jewelry Store!  So excited that I'm posting for this week early.

If you don't want to hear me ramble about how much I love the quality and price points of the collections I hand picked for you Sparklers, Click the image below:

So how does The Shine & Sparkle Report Jewelry Store work?

Basically, I'm a merchandiser for Chloe + Isabel (c+i).  I have hand selected collections of amazing jewelry for you in my boutique.  When you purchase fashion jewelry pieces, I get a small portion of the profits to help further this blog!  For example, right now I'm featuring the following collections:

Shine & Sparkle Glam (my personal favorite!)

Sculpted Essentials

Vintage Inspired

c+i Best Sellers

Why am I so passionate about representing jewelry by Chloe + Isabel?

You know Ms. Sparkles, I never would put my name on anything I don't fully love and support!  I have received 14 sample pieces and I can tell you that this is hands-down, some of the most beautiful and high quality fashion jewelry I have ever owned.  I love that these pieces are finely-detailed and affordable!  Also, this jewelry is unique to c+i, so you won't be wearing the same thing as anyone else.
  • Each piece is hand-designed in the NYC studio (and produced at the same location that does jewelry for Neiman Marcus and other top designers), 
  • Each piece has incredible detail--branded with signature c+i closures (a little bird with crystal eye), and packaged in keepsake pouches.
  • All of jewelry is hypoallergenic, nickel-free, and lead safe (this is a Ms. Sparkles MUST!  I'm very allergic to earrings that are not surgical steel.  Luckily, all earrings from c+i are surgical steel and safe for me!)
  • Each piece has a lifetime replacement (if stones/crystals fall out, clasps break, etc) and 30-day money back guarantee.
  • From timeless to fashion-driven, pieces start at just $18!  
Because c+i take out the middle man and sell directly through merchandisers like me, the prices for very high quality fashion jewelry can be kept really low.  Most jewelry from c+i is made with high quality metals (like gold or silver), real crystals or semi-precious stones, and has gone through a rigorous quality control process.  Seriously, they throw and drop the pieces and man-handle them to make sure each pieces is durable as well as beautiful.

 I also just love that all the pieces are modern and perfect to fit any style.  From super intricate glam necklaces to simple birthstone stud earrings, there is something for everyone.  There is even a charm bracelet collection for all you charm lovers!

So enough rambling on about how excited I am to be representing and bringing Chole+Isabel jewelry to you.  I think you need to click the banner below and do some online shopping!

As Always,

Shine & Sparkle!

Quick Disclaimer: Unfortunately c+i can only ship domestically in the United States right now.  But I'll let you know as soon as this changes...I want all my international Sparklers to have a chance to get their hands on this stuff!

Monday, September 14, 2015

The Best Moisturizer/Sunscreen Combination Products

Hi Sunshine Sparklers!

It is bright and sunny in Northern California during our September Summer.  I am also realizing lately that I'm going on 30 years old and I'm going to have to step up my sun protection game in order to fight signs of aging.  So today I want to talk about my top 2 daily moisturizers that also have SPF (Sun Protection Factor--how many of you knew that SPF mean't this?)

Depending on how much sun I'm going to see that day, I choose one of these 2 moisturizer/sunscreen products when I do my skin care routine in the morning.

I will say that Supergoop* is better for when my skin is feeling extra dry.  Otherwise, I like to add a quick layer of powder to reduce the dewy look a bit.  If you like glowing dewy skin, this is the sunscreen for you.

Sorry this post is so quick and late.  Longer report-style posts coming soon!

As always,

Shine & Sparkle!

*I am not paid or contacted by any of the companies mentioned in this post.  These are my honest feelings and opinions.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Make-Up 101: Smokey Eye Make-Up Tutorial

Hi Shine and Sparkle Report Readers!

I recently did this blue smokey eye make-up look below and posted it on my instagram (which forwards to my facebook and twitter feeds--shameless hint to follow me on social media).

I actually got a few comments on this and thought that for this weeks post, I'd let you know what products I used to get this look (with little mini reviews of the products).  It's also a general report on how to get a smokey eye look.  Lots of people are trying out the blue smokey eye since the overrated Kim Kardashian wore it in a recent post.  However, feel free to be creative with your colors!

Here is a great eyeshadow diagram from* (so you know what I'm talking about in the instructions I give.  I also like that she has monolids (like me!) so it is easy to compare to my make up look.  Check out her post for all the basics to apply eyeshadow like a pro! is the source for this picture. If this credit isn't good enough, I'll gladly take it down! But it's just so useful to not reinvent the wheel on my blog when great blogger have done it before me...#amitoolazy?

Step-By-Step Blue Smokey Eye:

  1. Base of eyeshadow primer all over my eye area (up to the brow and even below my eye.  I like  Urban Decay Anti-Aging Primer Potion.  I love this stuff.  It's a bit pricey at $24 but it works great and I can't deny that I'm sucked in by the idea of not needing an eye cream on heavy eyeshadow days because of this product.  Killing two birds with one stone.  Hurzah.
  2. Covered my whole upper eye area with a wash of white eyeshadow (up to the brow) to make sure everything applies smoothly for the following steps.  I used Make Up Geek shadow in "White Lies" but any matte white shadow you like is fine.  
  3. Water proof dark blue eyeliner on the lid.  I used this as an additional base to make sure my shadow stayed exactly where I wanted it and to maximize the pigmentation on the lid.  I used the Marcelle Mini Waterproof Liner in "Blue Lagoon" because I got it in my BirchBox.  But again, any navy blue, waterproof liner will work great.
  4. Set with navy blue matte eye shadow.  More insurance that this bold eye look doesn't turn into a blue raccoon eyes/looking like you got punched in the face.  I use a blue powder eye shadow to set this.  I didn't want to spend a whole ton of money on blue matte shadow so I used a cheap one I had that I don't think is made anymore because I can't find it on google.  But you get the idea.
  5. Blend black matte eye shadow into the outer-v and crease.  This is a bit tricky.  It takes some practice to learn your eye shape and how to best blend the outer-v and crease to look right.  Start with less product and build up.  I used Make Up Geek shadow in "Corrupt".
  6. Used Highlight to highlight inner corner, tear duct, brow bone, and further blend the black.  To do this I used Make Up Geek shadow in "Shimma Shimma".
  7. Slightly Winged Liner on Upper and Lower Lash Line.  I used my all time favorite long wearing liquid liner for monolids by Clio (post here!).
  8. Blue eyeliner in the waterline.  I used the same liner as in Step 3 to line my water line.
  9. Curl Lashes. I might do a post on this in the future.  For right now, this is already a long post!
  10. Mascara.  I have a post on this! Phew!
  11. Done. 
The great thing about this Make-Up 101 post is that you can be as creative as you'd like with colors!  Have fun and experiment with this way of getting a smokey eye.  Hope you found this post interesting and as always,

Shine & Sparkle!

*I am not paid or contacted by any of the companies mentioned in this post.  These are my honest feelings and opinions.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

How To Keep Natural Nails Healthy Under Acrylic Nails


I just wanted to shoot you a quick tip about keeping your natural nails healthy even when you have acrylic nails over them.

If you follow me on Instagram, you have probably seen this picture and all of my past pictures since I got addicted to getting my nails done at the salon again.  

I recently got asked this question:  "Acrylic nails look great and are great if it is hard for you to naturally grow out your nails, but is getting acrylic nails bad for your real nails?"

In a nutshell, the answer is: Yes, some of your natural nail gets filed away to keep the acrylic nail looking natural on your fingers and covering your natural nail so that it doesn't breathe or get moisture as well as is normal are not great for your natural nail. can minimize the damage by taking the following steps!

#1-Don't Use Them As Tools:
Acrylic nails are much stronger than your real nails.  It is very tempting to start using them to open soda cans, try to retighten bolts on furniture, and all kinds of other things that put way more stress on your natural nail than what they were built for.  This can result in severely damaging your real nails, or even ripping off your real nail all together! EEEEK!  Long story short, baby them, even if they feel super strong.

#2- Have Them Professionally Removed (by the same salon that did them):
It is tempting to not spend the money to remove acrylic nails at the salon when you are ready to be done with them.  I highly caution against this.  While there are many tutorials on YouTube, there is no replacement for a professional who will know the best method for the products that they used.  Also, I know I have damaged my nails horribly even when I do it the "right way" in tutorials.  It is worth it to go into the pros.

#3- Oil Your Cuticles & Under Your Nails:
While water still is the enemy with acrylic nails lifting (just like polish), you can safely and effectively keep your nails hydrated by applying oil to the cuticle/nail bed and under your nails as often as possible. The only place your real nails can access moisture is at the cuticle/nail bed and underside of your nails when the tops are covered in acrylic.  It is important to keep these as moisturized as possible.  I like to soak/cover them in oil after I get out of the shower.  My favorite is using the dropper than comes with my 100% pure argan oil to apply just the right amount.  But coconut oil, olive oil, jojoba and vitamin e oil work well too.  I massage the oil all over concentrating on the underside and cuticle areas.  I like to do this before bed so it can sit on my hands over night, or I let it sit for as long as possible before I have to wash my hands.  I like to follow up oiling with lotion for extra moisture.

I know, it seems a little high maintenance, but signed up with high maintenance with acrylic nails with the bi-weekly fills anyway *wink*  Hope this helped and...

As Always,

Shine & Sparkle!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

3 Healthy Chicken Marinades

Hi Sparklers!

Again, I'm so sorry about the infrequent updates but life throws you curve balls and sometimes you just have to roll with it.  That being said, we a full force into summer.  This means BBQ time!  I recently had a request for my chicken marinade recipes so I thought I would share these 3 marinade recipes to keep your healthy eating interesting (those boneless/skinless chicken breasts get awful boring without fun bold flavors!).  I also really wanted to do this post because I have noticed that a lot of marinade recipes online are not strong enough to impart a lot of flavor into the meat.  I really like my marinades to be strong and bold so that once the meat gets cooked, it really has a lot of flavor, rather than just a hint of taste.

Each of these marinades are for 4 chicken breasts, but other pieces of chicken or other proteins can be substituted.  Squiggles would prefer if you did not eat guinea pigs.  I typically put my meat in a ziplock bag with the marinade and let it sit in the fridge for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.  Then cook with your favorite meat-cooking method.  Mine is the BBQ! Mini-Tip:  Mix marinade before adding meat.  This way you can taste it to make sure it's delicious! 

Chinese Five-Spice Marinade:
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup shao hsing wine (or dry sherry)
1 tbs Chinese 5 spice powder
2 tbs raw sugar or honey or the sweetener equivalent
2 tsp fresh grated ginger
1 pinch of cayenne pepper
4-5 cloves of garlic (finely minced)
1 tsp white pepper

Chili-Lime Marinade:
1/2 cup lime juice
1/2 jalapeno finely diced (taste a small piece of the pepper before adding to the marinade to make sure it is not too spicy!  Add less if it is very hot, add more if you love the heat!)
2 tsp onion powder
1 tbs chili powder
1 pinch of cayenne pepper
4-5 cloves of garlic finely minced
2 tsp salt
2 tsp black pepper

Lemon-Turmeric Marinade:
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 tbs turmeric
2 tsp onion powder
1 pinch of cayenne pepper
4-5 cloves of garlic finely minced
2 tsp salt
2 tsp black pepper

I hope you try out these recipes and I also hope that you do not take Squiggle's advice on healthy eating...unless you are a guinea pig.

As Always,

Shine & Sparkle!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Make-Up 101: How to Apply Mascara to Get Different Effects

Greetings Shine and Sparkle Report Readers!

It's been too long since I did a "Make Up 101" report.  I really wanted to get into talking about how to apply mascara to achieve the effect you want. I did do a Basic Report of Mascara waaay back in the day.  Like the little paint drawing? Yeah it's cute.  Even though this is more of a technique post than one about what brands work best, I will be telling what brands I used in the pictures in case you are curious.  Anyway, there are lots of tricks to share about using mascara, so lets get straight into it.

Natural Look:
For a natural look you want to have you lashes look like natural lashes but a bit longer and a bit more full.  Depending on your natural lashes, you might not even need mascara for this!  You might just need a good eyelash curler.  My favorite is the Shiseido Eyelash Curler*.  If your lashes are already long and the hairs not to coarse, just curling them might give you just the extra natural boost you are looking for.  For a little more impact or to hold the curl in coarse lashes, top it off with a water proof mascara.  Brushing from the base of underside of the top lashes up.  Wiggle the brush into the base a little before brushing up to really help distribute product evenly.  Same with brushing the top side of your lower lashes.  If you have very very sparse lower lashes or want less drama, you might consider not applying mascara to the bottom lashes.

Medium Drama Look:
For this look I would highly recommend curling the lashes.  I then would set the curl in place by applying a water proof mascara to the top lashes.  Then I would apply a second coat of mascara that does not smudge (waterproof or non-waterproof, depending on the weather and your preference).  For this look I also tend to take my "Maybelline Lash Discovery Mini-Brush Mascara" (because my lashes are too small to do this with a regular mascara wand) and also apply mascara to the top side of my upper lashes and bottom side of my lower lashes.  This is to ensure that all possible lash surfaces are coated in mascara. Also, applying mascara with the wand position vertical (rather than the typical horizontal) can result in more product delivery to your lashes if you feel like it needs more oomph.

Seen here: Curled lashes with with one layer of Maybelline Rocket Volume Waterproof mascara on top lashes.  Layer of Maybelline Lash Discovery Mini-Brush Mascara on both sides of upper and lower lashes afterwards.  I also like using Benefit's "Yes They're Real" mascara when I'm doing the vertical trick because the mascara brush has points all over the tip of the brush. It's pretty cool.

Max Drama Look:
Follow Medium Drama Steps above.  Then apply fake lashes.  Fake lasshes are a whole world of fun!  There are tons of styles and brands.  You can be as subtle or dramatic as you desire.  I tend to prefer thin/invisible bands on the base of my lashes for maximum comfort.  Make sure to blend real and fake lashes with a quick swipe of any non-waterproof mascara.

Mini Tip: My current favorite lashes Ardell Glamour in "Wispies-Black".  I find Ardell to have great and comfortable lashes quite affordability for under $4 a pair.  M.A.C and Benefit also have excellent lashes but they are $15 a pair.  If you are tempted to order 10+ Pairs for less than $2 off of ebay from China, I would caution against it.  They aren't dangerous but they are really uncomfortable.  They also do not stand up to re-use (see my post on "Fake Lash Quick Tips".)

Ah another successful full length, report style Make-Up 101 post.  I'm so happy that I have had time to put another one of these together for you all!  Hopefully you found it helpful! Please feel free to comment or ask any questions!  I love hearing from you.

As Always,
Shine & Sparkle

*I am not paid or contacted by any of the companies mentioned in this post.  These are my honest feelings and opinions.