Wednesday, October 29, 2014

How to Afford Beauty Blogging

Happy Halloween Post Shine and Sparkle Readers!

I know lots of bloggers are doing scary make-up looks and costumes.  However, I could think of nothing scarier than tackling the financial aspect of having a beauty blog.  Sometimes I look at other beauty bloggers and youtubers and think "how do they afford to buy/review all that stuff?!"  This inspired this post about some tips about how I balance things support my blogging hobby and perhaps offer some advice to bloggers who are just starting out.  I also wanted to provide you with some perspective on the big name bloggers/youtubers out there.   And most of all, I want to stress that if you are passionate and dedicate time and love into what you are doing, it will be far more successful than if you simply pour tons of money into it.

Like all my images, (such as Squiggle's hat) I'll gladly give someone credit for their image or take it down if someone throws a hissy fit.

As a quick disclaimer:  I am NOT a financial professional.  I am also NOT the world's most successful blogger (though I hope to be some day!)  I am just telling you what works for me and my opinion.  Take my advice with a grain of salt.

1. Post Smart:
Views are money.  The more views, the more likely someone will click on one of your ads (which generate revenue).  I like to think that if it is something I'm interested in, someone else might be too.  This means that other people might be searching the internet for it.  If your post closely matches what someone is looking for, search engines are more likely to display it.  Search optimization is important! Also, most of my posts about something I was going to do/buy whether or not I planned on posting about it.  There are some bloggers/youtubers that will buy lots of things, do posts on them, then return the items.  Others also stretch their budgets way too thin to buy products.  I think it is much more economic to do posts about things you actually want, rather than what you guess other people might want to see a post about.  I think that if your posts reflect who you are as a person, you will be more successful than if you are trying to be a certain mold.  Most importantly, you can blog about things that don't cost you money but that you think someone will find interesting! Be creative and think of things like DIY's, informational posts, tips, and tricks. or a post about how to afford beauty blogging...

2. Budgeting:
This is really important in all facets of your life.  Look at the total amount of income you have.  This can be anything from a paycheck from your day-job to allowance from your parents.   Then come up with a list of priorities for your spending.  When I know I'm going to want to get some beauty products that are a bit more of a treat (like my recent Make-Up Geek Shadow Haul)  I make sure to save some money for that item.  All kinds of small things like bringing lunch to work/school, or skipping that extra latte in the afternoon can free up cash that you can put towards your blogging hobby.  Side note, please don't go into debt for your hobby.  It will stop being fun, and just be stressful.  It's not worth it for something that should bring you joy.

3. Promoting Your Blog Smart:
Before you spend hundreds on a custom page, custom domain name, fancy equipment or advertising,  I'd say take a look at your content.  If you were someone else, do you have enough content that would inspire you to subscribe, like, or tweet about the blog?  If not, it's not the time to advertise yet!  As far as blog design goes, before you spend buko-bucks getting a page designed, try DIY-ing it.  There are so many great resources out there for how to style your blog yourself.  Also, services like blogger make it quite easy to learn by trial and error.  I also think it is vital to connect your blog with as much online social media as possible.  It is a lot to maintain, but by using social media and hashtags, your can get a lot of viewers for free!

You can also try applying for blogger networks.  I'm super proud to be a member of Her Campus Blogger Network.  May great opportunities have come from my membership in this group.

As far as paying for advertising, I think a great first step to advertising is to get business cards.  They are relatively cheap (see how I got my business cards in this post).  You can get a bunch and leave them with your hair stylist, your manicurist, random people you meet who might be interested.  Especially make sure to give a bunch to friends and family.  You know grandma likes to brag about your accomplishments right?  Perfect!  There is nothing like personal interactions to start getting viewers.

The last promotion thing I will suggest that might be worth the money is facebook advertising.  Once you have exhausted all free/cheap promoting options, I suggest adding viewers through facebook.  It has worked well for me!  

4. Sponsored Posts:
There are many avenues by which bloggers/youtubers might come across the opportunity to try things for free.  They are given the products and asked to review them.  A disclaimer should be somewhere on that post, indicating that the review is sponsored.  This is one way that bloggers/youtubers get things to generate content.  I have only had this chance 2 times so far for Venus Embrace Sensitive Razors and Hujan Skin Care.  That being said, this normally occurs when you have a pretty substantial viewership already.

5. Ad Revenue
It is easy when using a blogging site like blogger to put ads on the side of your page.  When you are just starting out, I'd keep it to one ad or none at all.  Without viewers, you have nobody to click your ads.  I highly suggest building a fan base before trying to generate money from your blog.  While it is great if eventually you can pay for your blogging hobby with your blog itself, I think it is most important that you enjoy blogging, nurture it, and let it grow.  The less annoyingly covered in ads your blog is, the more likely you are to build your fan base.

I know, money is scary! Boooo!  Spooooky right?!  Anyway, here is my post for today, and as always,

Shine & Sparkle  

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Make-Up Geek Shadow Haul + Reviews

Hi Shine and Sparkle Report Readers!

There are quite a few more of you than in the past and I wanted to give a warm welcome to all of you!  I'm very excited that over 1,550 of you have liked S+SR on facebook!  In honor of all my new potential readers, I decided to do a full report post for you!

I'm also excited to share with you my latest eye shadow haul!  I actually purchased 17 eye shadows from Make Up Geek (MUG)*.  This line was started by a YouTuber and they are absolutely outstanding quality for the money.  Each full-sized pan of shadow is only $5.99USD.  I actually go the 9-shadow starter kit ($49.99USD), the 6-shadow Vegas Lights Palette ($37.99USD), and 2 additional shadows for the regular price.

I was super impressed with the shipping and packaging of the items.  A lot of love and thought clearly went into it.  I LOVE that the person packing my stuff bothered to hand write my name on the thank you card!  How adorable!  I love supporting small local-ish businesses.  That being said, they do ship internationally, so everyone can get some. Hurzah.

All of MUG shadows are cruelty-free and do not test our products on animals.  They are also Talc and Paraben-Free.  I also love how their website has tons of video tutorials done by the founder/creator of MUG, great swatches and lots of other resources.

I instagramed, facebooked, and tweeted this picture, so maybe this isn't a new picture to you.  If you follow me on these social media outlets, you will be first to see things like this!  You know you want to see this early right?  

While the Vegas Lights Palette comes with a case (and is easy to remove the pans of shadow since they are only lightly magnetized), the other shadows only come as pans of shadow.  They sit perfectly in my customizable Z-Palette*.  I have the extra-large one that holds up to 35 standard-sized, round pans.  I also labeled the other eye-shadows in my Z-Palette in the picture below because I know I would want to know that as well.   The shadows I didn't label, it's because I have no earthly clue what they are called/where I got them.  I know I pulled them out of bulky containers.  And don't worry, I'll be using the beautiful Vegas Lights container to customize my own travel palette for when I only want to bring 6 shadows.

As you can see,  I love Urban Decay shadows.  I use their Naked 1 Palette ($49.99-not shown) as well as the shadows from a Summer Palette and a few individual shadows (as seen in picture above) all the time.  I think they have bold and innovative colors with great pigmentation and blend-ability. That being said for a lot less shadow in the palettes, and full sized pans of shadow running you around $18-20USD a pan, Make Up Geek is obviously the more affordable option.

In addition, I truly think that the MUG shadows are just as high quality (if not higher in some cases) as Urban Decay.  All the MUG shadows are very unique, buttery soft, and gorgeous.  I really think it is going to take a lot to get me to buy other brands of eyeshadow now.  Not that I'm going to need it, I kind of went crazy with this haul (which totaled no more than the cost of 2 smaller quantity of shadow Urban Decay Palettes I might add).  I'm so great at justifying my purchases. 

Colors Included In The Starter Kit -The mattes and shimmers in this are all fantastic.  This really is a great starter kit.  I'm not sure if there is a look you can't do with this.  From bold smokey eyes to soft romantic purple/pink looks, I'm sure this set can get it done.  And the black "Currupt" color puts all black shadows I have to shame (This includes blacks from Urban Decay, Lorac, Too Faced, and numerous drug store shadows).
- Cocoa Bear –  Matte golden brown
- Mocha – Matte Warm medium brown
- Glamorous – Bronzy, shimmery gold
- Creme Brulee – Medium sand color with a soft matte finish
- Shimma Shimma – Shimmery highlight
- Drama Queen – Densely dark purple with a shimmery finish
- Prom Night – Pale purple with hints of grey and a shimmery finish.
- Unexpected – Light and subtle pink matte purple blend
- Corrupt – Intense matte black with small bit of sparkle

Colors Included in the Vegas Lights Palette -These super unique warm-tones are possibly my favorite out of all the shadows I got.  They add a bit of pizzazz to my starter kit.  I'm so in love with how rich and luxurious all 6 of these shadows are! Even the matte color is super creamy and soft. I suggest grabbing this ASAP since it is special edition other than "Bada Bing" and the colors might never be seen again.  
- Casino - Shimmery saturated metallic gold with orange undertones. 
- Sin City - Shimmery Golden Apricot/ Golden Medium Orange. 
- Roulette - A rosy, burnt shimmery sienna. 
- Mirage - Pale matte beige with yellow undertones and a silky finish. 
- Desert Sands - Matte, medium terra-cotta.
- Bada Bing - Deep brown with flecks of gold

Other Colors I Purchased -I chose these colors because I didn't have a good matte white and the blue was just so pretty and unique.  Both are very buttery and blend-able,
- Peacock - Matte deep teal blue
- White Lies- Matte pure white  

I hope you have enjoyed this review/haul 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, October 15, 2014

How To Properly Remove, Clean, And Care For Your Fake Lashes

Hi Shine and Sparkle Report Readers!

Today I have a quick tip on cleaning your fake lashes so you can re-use them.  Lashes can be quite pricey, up to $15-$30 a pair.  It's no fun to throw away something you spent money on before you have to right?!  I'll quickly start by telling you that my favorite lash brand is Ardell Lashes*.  They are super comfortable and I love that most of them are made of 100% sterilized human hair.  I also like how affordable they are (around $3-$4USD).  I learned my lesson and do not suggest the 10 pairs for less than $5 sold online from unknown sources in China.  These are epic in their lack of comfortableness.

Second, I want to tell you that my favorite lash glue is Kiss Ever EZ Lashes Strip Lash Adhesive* because I love the application wand and the easy removal of the glue from your face and the lash band. I find the oh-so-popular Duo lash glue too strong.  It cements lashes to my face and inevitably pulls out real lashes during removal.  Eek.

Like all my images, I'll gladly give someone credit for their image or take it down if someone throws a hissy fit

Removing Lashes:

DO NOT PULL OFF THE LASH!  It will be like ripping off a band-aid...on your eye.  Eek again.

To properly remove lashes, saturate a cotton pad with good quality eye-makeup remover.  Place it over a closed eye (you don't want to get make-up remover in your eye, trust me...oh the stinging...) with false lash on it.  Let the pad sit on your eye for at least 30 seconds, then wipe the pad down towards your mouth.  If the eye-make up remover has broken down the glue sufficiently, the lash should simply slide off and be attached to the cotton pad.  If the lash is still on your eye, let the cotton pad sit on the eye longer, maybe add more eye-makeup remover.  Repeat this process for your other eye.

Cleaning Lashes:

Step 1:  Remove and Make-up/Extra Lash Glue
I place the lashes on a tissue and then pour over some eye-makeup remover onto them.  I gently use the wet tissue (a good make-up wipe could work for this as well) to remove as much excess glue and make-up on the lash as possible.  Wiping from the base of the lash to the tips.  This prevents ruining the shape of the last as much as possible.

Step 2 (optional):  Re-shape the lashes with a flat iron or curling iron.
If your lashes seem to still be a bit out of shape, you can try to quickly reshape HUMAN HAIR ONLY lashes (unless you love the smell and mess of burnt plastic) by quickly running the lash part (NOT THE BAND) through a flat iron or place the lashes on a thick dish towel and press a curling iron over the lash part in very quick movements to try and reshape them.  It might help to hold the lash with a tweezer.  If your hot tool has heat settings, the lowest setting should be sufficient.  BE CAREFUL not to burn yourself! I am not responsible if you are not careful and burn yourself or your house down.  Do this step at your own risk.

Step 3: Sterilize the Lashes
Nobody wants an eye infection, so place the cleaned lashes on a new tissue, and pour over some regular drug-store rubbing alcohol until the lash is saturated.  Let the lashes sit in the alcohol for about 30 seconds to 1 minute.  You can squeeze the excess alcohol through the lashes by folding the wet tissue over the lashes and pressing gently to ensure it is sterilized as possible.

Step 4: Sterilize the lash case.  
If you put the sterilized lases back in the case without wiping the case down with alcohol as well, you might as well have not bothered sterilizing the lashes in the first place.  Make sure to rub down all surfaces of your lash case before returning your sterilized lashes.

How Many Times Can You Re-Use Lashes?

Ardell suggests that your use your lashes no longer than 3 weeks.  That being said, I'm not sure if they mean 3 weeks of everyday use or not.  Since I do not wear fake lashes every day and I'm good about cleaning them, I tend to just use judgement.  I tend to throw away my lashes as soon as any of the following things happen:

  • If the lash is falling apart or looking ratty no matter what I do to it. 
  • Make-up and glue are caked on there and won't come off easily.
  • If the lash has any sort of smell.

I hope you have enjoyed this quick tip 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, October 8, 2014

Healthy Berry Crumble Breakfast Smoothie Recipe

Hi Shine and Sparklers!

I had some good feed back on my Healthy Green Breakfast Smoothie recipe and thought I would share with you another of my go-to smoothie breakfasts!  Like the last smoothie, this one is still is packed with vitamins, protein, and whole grains to make it a really great and well rounded breakfast.  I love how you can play with smoothie recipes so easily.  It also keeps your belly full all the way until lunch!

Can you tell I'm excited about football season?  Thus the beer glass of smoothie! This smoothie is way healthier than a much fun as a beer?  Maybe not.

The Shine and Sparkle Green Breakfast Smoothie Recipe:

1 cup Fresh Spinach (you can also use kale or other mild leafy greens)
½ cup Non-fat Plain Greek or European Style Yogurt
¼ cup frozen banana or about 1/2 a fresh banana (using frozen fruit gives it a nice texture in my opinion, but both work)
¼ cup fresh or frozen berries (fresh apples work too)
¼ - 1/2 tsp of cinnamon
1 tbs peanut or almond butter  
¼ cup unsweetened vanilla or plain almond milk
¼ cup of classic rolled oats
Water (about ½ a cup is what I like, but more or less determines how thick the smoothie is).

1) Add ingredients to blender.  If storing overnight in a magic bullet* cup, make sure the wet ingredients and oats are at the bottom of the cup. Then add the fruit and spinach on top.  This prevents the spinach from wilting and lets the oats absorb some of the liquid over night and get soft and easier to blend.  If making right away, just throw everything in a blender.

2) Blend.

3) Drink.

Easy Peasy Pumpkin Squeezie.  The oats, nut butter and cinnamon give you the feeling of the top of a fruit crumble as well as fiber and protein.  There are also good health benefits of cinnamon (however it is never a replacement for professional medical advice! Common sense folks).  The spinach and fruits provide great vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and a great sweet taste.  The yogurt provides dairy calcium, probiotics, and protein.  The almond milk adds a lovely creamy element to the smoothie. This smoothie is not as low in calories as my Healthy Green Breakfast Smoothie, but it is still a great option for those concerned about their weight because it packs in so much nutrition, fiber, and protein that it is easier to stick to healthy eating later in the day.  

I strongly feel that people need to take care of their bodies.  When you have all the necessary nutrition you have more energy and can live a longer and happier life.  Part of why there is a recipe section on my blog is to help promote good (and YUMMY) nutrition to aid people in their own journeys to shine and sparkle! 

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.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Influenster Venus Vox Box Review of Gillette Venus Embrace Sensitive!

Hi Shine and Sparkle Readers!

Thank you for tuning in once again to your weekly S+SR post!  This time we have a very special (and sponsored) post.  See, I told you all in my Introduction Post that I would always be completely honest with you all.  I'm excited because I was skeptical at the beginning of my blogging adventure that I would ever be in a position to have to tell you that a post was sponsored. Admittedly, I had one other sponsored post from Hujan Luxury Skin Care, but that post was from a small local business which I interacted with personally.   In this case, a large company has looked at the lil' old awe-inspiring Shine and Shine and Sparkle Report and determined that we would be a good fit to review their products! I was seriously stoked to see this message in my email inbox:

In case you didn't know, My Profile on Influenster is where I do quick and dirty product reviews of lots of products from all assets of life.  These reviews are nowhere near as in depth as a Shine and Sparkle Report post, but it does help with the visibility and reviewing power associated with this blog.  If you are "influential" enough (get it?), then you can qualify for different sponsored boxes of things to try out! I'm so excited that S+SR has influenced them to consider us worthy of a box!

Without any more gushing, I'm so excited to be able to give you my opinion on Gillette's Venus Embrace "Sensitive" Razor* coming to a store near you soon!

As you might have seen in my excited barrage of facebooking, tweeting, and instagraming, the product looks like this:

Overall, I give it an B+!   In a nutshell, I loved it for large of flat areas (legs, arms, under arms, backs, chests, heads, etc) but I do not particularly like it for harder to reach areas or detailed work.

Packaging/Design: It opens easily by popping open the back of the package (no cutting yourself trying to pry anything open--which is good because shaving has it's own cutting risk without crazy packaging).  It comes with two razor blades which are very simple to attach.  Just peel black the cover and shove in your handle.  Idiot proof!  I also love how low profile the holder for the razor is.  Compared to my other razor (by The-Brand-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named").  The razor itself is much lighter than my old one (though my other one had a battery and a trimmer--which I used a grand total of 5 times).  The razor also has good "swivel" so I don't think it is high risk when shaving legs.  The biggest difference from my old razor is that the 5 blades make up a relatively small percentage of the overall razor head, meaning that the profile of the blade is quite large...  I couldn't find a better way to say that.  I swear!  I was initially concerned that this would make it hard to get into hard to reach places.

Function: I started shaving my legs and I was amazed at how friction-less the shave was.  It also seemed to cover quite a large area in one swoop.  Shaving my legs sped by in a nano second.  The result was phenomenal on my legs, with hardly a follicle showing.  I moved on to my underarms, which needed only two strokes each to sweep off hair with a feather's touch.  I was quite impressed.  Then it was on to the true test, the bikini area.  Let's face it, the bikini area is the hardest with coarser hair, funny angles to reach, an by far the most sensitivity.  The main lawn was attended to with the grace it exhibited on my legs and under-arms.  But, lets just say my fears that the largeness of the head razor blade was not conducive to precision work.  My Brand-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named razor is much better at being precise, it did have an advertisement with women prancing by perfectly manicured topiary for heavens sake.  So overall, I'm very impressed.  My legs had an amazing shave, were not irritated, and were somewhat moisturized (I still needed to use lotion afterwards).  Underarms were a breeze.  But I think I'll leave my bikini area to my old razor.

It wouldn't be a Shine and Sparkle Report post without me actually giving you some tips about what I'm reviewing.  So here are some awesome (and related) quick tips!

  • Exfoliate your skin before shaving!  This will help draw out in-grown hairs and get rid of dead skin that might prevent you from getting the closest shave possible.
  • If you have super sensitive skin when shaving, try shaving in the direction of the hair.  The shave might not be as close, but it will not be as irritating.
  • Try using hair conditioner or hair mask as a shaving lotion instead of shaving cream in a pinch (it leaves your legs so soft!)

As Always,
Shine & Sparkle

* Hopefully it is obvious by the whole introduction to this post, but this is actually a sponsored post (so excited)! I received these products to review complementary from the company that produced them.  However, I have not received any additional monetary compensation other than the opportunity to try them and give you my honest thoughts.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Product Empties #2: Mini Reviews of my Beauty Trash

What's up Shine and Sparkle Report Readers!

As you probably know from my Product Empties #1 Post, these posts give people a quick look into how many things I end up trying and not liking enough to really recommend them to you with a full post.  You also get to see what I keep going back to over and over because I love them so much.

Empties Reviews Include: 
1) What I thought about the product;
2) If I would purchase that product again.

The reviews are pretty quick but for sake of this new series of posts on my blog, I'm going to limit each post to under 10-ish products.  Did I have a few too many products this time? Yes...but some are really small!Without further explanation, lets get started!

Empties reviewed from left to right.

Wen Cleansing Conditioner in "Cucumber Aloe"*
1) Thoughts: I had mixed feelings on this and wrote a post about conditioner washing.
2) Repurchase: Not at this time.  I think you can get similar results with other products.

Macadamia Natural Oil Deep Repair Masque
1) Thoughts: Bloggers and YouTube Beauty Gurus RAVE about this.  So much so that I have avoided having it even on my blog in rebellion.  However, after trying out a sample pack of it, I agree that it is pretty great.  I like it for the days when I don't know what my hair needs but I feel like everything is out of balance.  This takes it right back to looking great no matter how crazy my hair is being.
2) Repurchase: Yes! I will continue to have a packet as a hair emergency rescue.  However, the whole tubs of it are pricey and sometimes actually more expensive than the little packs per oz!

Batiste Dry Shampoo in "Fresh" Scent
1) Thoughts: I love it so much I wrote a whole post about dry shampoo!
2) Repurchase: Absolutely!  I've gone through 2 since the last post.

Olay Complete All-Day Moisturizer with Sunscreen (SPF15) in Sensitive Formula
1) Thoughts: Long name, all-time favorite moisturizer.  I love that it never reacts funny to foundations or primers.  I love that it has a physical sunscreen (3% zinc oxide) so it protects all day without re-application.  I also love that despite being a physical sunscreen, it doesn't leave a white cast to my skin at all.  It also never causes me to break out! Hooray!
2) Repurchase: Forever and ever and ever.

Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Shampoo/Conditioner in "Lemon Sage"
1) Thoughts: These bottles lasted forever since I used the shampoo as my clarifying shampoo once a week at most.  I mainly used the conditioner to conditioner wash my hair.  I liked them a lot.  The smelled great and kept my scalp in good health. Did it actually "thicken" my hair?  Not really.
2) Repurchase: I actually repurchased the "Special" version of this line to get a stronger tea tree effect.  I have to say my scalp is liking the Special formula even better than the Lemon Sage.

Catvia Fiber Mascara
1) Thoughts: This sucked.  Technically it's not "empty" but I'm tossing it.  The whole thing was clumpy and didn't work.  It was super dry and just didn't really do anything.  The brush also didn't get into my lashes at all.  It was pricey too =( Internet shopping fail.  The rhinestone packaging was so cute though!
2) Repurchase: Heck no.

Maybelline "The Rocket Volume" Mascara (not water proof)
1) Thoughts: This was my holy grail mascara until I tried the water proof version.  The waterproof not only gives the wonderful effects of this one, but it also holds my lash curl.  That being said, this is a great non-waterproof mascara!  Also took a long time to dry up/change scent (meaning it's time to toss it!)
2) Repurchase: Yes, if I'm looking for a non-waterproof formula.  I'm going to purchase the waterproof more consistently.                          

Victoria's Secret Lip Gloss in "Almost Nude"
1) Thoughts: Good and cheap lip gloss.  Nothing fancy.  That being said it has changed scents and probably is full of bacteria. Time to toss it.
2) Repurchase: No, though I think it's a nice thing to have and might pick on up if I find it on sale.

Simple Sensitive Skin Experts Cleansing Facial Wipes 
1) Thoughts: These have been my go-to drug store wipes.  They are gentle on my skin and pretty effective.  I like to use them after using coconut oil to take off most of my make up at night.  They are not that wet, but they work well enough.  You will need more than one if it is your only method of make-up removal.
2) Repurchase:  Yes.

Olay Fresh Effects Everything Off Deluxe Make Up Removal Wet Cloths
1) Thoughts: Tried these out because I found them on major sale.  They did their job but irritated my skin a little.
2) Repurchase: No, though I might still buy them if they are on crazy crazy sale again.

BareMinerals ORIGINAL Foundation Broad Spectrum SPF 15 in "Golden Medium"
1) Thoughts: I finally finished this!  I had been primarily using it as a setting powder since I have really been loving using a light BB cream and finishing up with a heavier powder like this one.  However, somewhere down the line I purchased the MATTE version of this product and like it better for my oily skin.
2) Repurchase: No, I'll probably stick to the MATTE version.

Vaseline Spray & Go Moisturizer in Cocoa Radiant
1) Thoughts: I love spray sunscreen, so why wouldn't I like spray regular lotion? Because it is most effective when it sprays in a line and is rubbed in.  This really makes it no faster than regular lotion in my opinion.  It is also jarringly cold to apply after just taking a hot shower.  It is also (overall) not nearly as moisturizing as a regular lotion.  It's also not economical at all.  Finishing regular lotion takes forever, finishing this took less than a month.  Biggest pro:  It makes a fun sound.  The sound is between a wheeze/whine and a whoosh, but somehow satisfying.
2) Repurchase: No.

Up&Up Smoothing Shave Gel, Soy
1) Thoughts: Target version of Aveeno.  I love it.  It is cheap and works great.  Leaves my skin quite soft and never irritated.  I think the Soy slows my leg hair growth a bit, but who really knows.  I just know my skin loves this stuff and the price is right!
2) Repurchase: Yes!

Bath and Body Works Anti-bacterial Mini in "Farm Stand Apple"
1) Thoughts: The "Fresh Picked" collection from last fall smelled amazing.  Apple was no exception.  I got it in a set with Heirloom Pear, Sweet Clementine, Heirloom Cranberries, and Crimson Plum.  Whenever I use any of them someone asks "what smells so good?"
2) Repurchase: Yes, however they were limited edition.  I'm not sure if I'll find them again.

Joico K-PAK Intense Hydrator
1) Thoughts: I recommended this in my Conditioners For Your Hair Post.  See that post for a better review.
2) Repurchase: Yes

Organix Moroccan Argan Oil Penetrating Oil
1) Thoughts: I mentioned this in my Updated Healthy Asian Hair Care Routine Post.  While I still think this is a good and affordable oil-containing silicone hair serum,  I think I like Suave Professionals: Moroccan Infusion Moroccan Argan Styling Oil better, and it's even cheaper than the Organix! .
2) Repurchase: Maybe, but most likely I will be trying other things instead.

Phew!  Sorry for such a long review post.  It's definitely a full report on my beauty empties.  I hope you enjoyed.  If you like this series please comment or feel free to let me know that you want to see more of these!

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, September 17, 2014

Top 10 Beautifying Essentials For Your Trip To Maui, Hawaii!

Aloha My Lovely Shine and Sparklers,

Those who follow my Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook know (look in the side bar if you are interested in looking or even *gasp* following me), I have recently taken a vacation to Maui, Hawaii!  I wanted to give you a quick glace at my vacation if you didn't get to see it on social media.  I also wanted to give you my top 10 Beautifying Essentials I realized I wish someone had stressed to me before I went!  Unfortunately I didn't get to fly first class (like I did in this United Airlines First Class Review post).  But I still loveeeeeed my trip.

First, here are a few awesome pictures from my Maui Trip:

Top 10 Beautifying Essentials to bring to Maui, Hawaii:
Reminder: Make sure any large liquids or aerosol containers are in your checked luggage! Don't want to have TSA take your beauty essentials away from you!  Also, a lot of these tips work no matter what your gender is, so I'm adding to my list of "For Him" posts.

  1. Water Proof Sunscreen.  By far my #1!  Buy it on sale at home and bring it with you.  Hawaii knows that if you will pay more for sunscreen there so they make the prices higher than I know I want to pay.   Bring your own is economical and necessary to prevent skin damage from the sun.  Vacation is no fun with sun burns.  I suggest going higher in SPF than you normally go, since there is so much sun in Hawaii.
  2. Lip Balm with SPF.  Your lips burn can burn just like the rest of your skin.  And honestly, you want to be relaxing and playing in the water.  Not worrying if your lipstick is smudging.  If you really need some color, get a tinted lip balm with SPF of apply a lip stain before your normal SPF lip balm. It's Maui, no need to dark vampy lipsticks here.
  3. Very Waterproof eyeliner.  Mascara and eyeshadows probably aren't going to stand up to all day on the beach and in the pool.  But I have been quite successful with the eye liners I detail in my Best Long Wearing Eyeliner for Monolids/Hooded Eyes post.  These barely budged after all day lounging in the chlorinated pool.  Waterslide and all! And nothing helps me feel more confidant in my bikini than a little eye liner. 
  4. Swimsuit(s).  I want to mention this because I believe no matter who you are, what size, color, gender, or alien race you are--you should be free to enjoy the water on vacation!  No sitting on the sidelines in your normal clothes because you don't want people to see you. You are amazing and beautiful just the way you are! Nobody is perfect and like every other non-perfect person at the beach/pool, you should enjoy your beach vacation.  Swim away in whatever swimwear you desire little Shine and Sparklers.  It's your vacation, you'll do what you want!  I do suggest bringing more than one, since it takes longer for them to dry in the humidity. Nothing grosser than putting on a damp swim suit in the morning...
  5. Sun glasses. Again with the sun protection, I know.  But really, you want to be able to read your book or look at things without hissing like a vampire caught in the sun.  It's really sunny folks.  I'm not kidding.
  6. Hair Ties.  If you have long hair, you will really want these to keep your hair from becoming knotted and tangled in the pool.  For medium-long hair, pony tails and if you can do braids/buns work great.  If you have really long hair like me, buns and braids are a must! 
  7. Deep Conditioning Hair Masque: All that time in the sun and water can really stress out your hair.  I highly suggest bringing along your favorite deep conditioning hair masque.  It will make life much nicer for your hair.
  8. One "Going Out" Outfit: Ok, so not something tight and clubbing-style like you would in Vegas, but maybe a casual pair of heels and a nice flowing dress or skirt top combination.  Just in case you decide to go to a nice Luau or upscale dinner.  Nothing in Maui is super over the top, but it's nice to have an option that isn't a bikini and shorts if you know what I mean.  
  9. Nail Polish Refresh Kit: If you are addicted to having your nails colored (like yours truly) bringing the tools to refresh your nails is a must.  All the water will chip your nails faster than a knife fight in a phone booth.  I suggest keeping it really simple with just a nail file, nail polish remover pads (like these pads from E.L.F*), and the polish.  I normally preach about the benefits of base coat and top coat (like in my "How to Get Salon Perfect Nails at Home" post), but for a refresh in the middle of your vacation, you don't want to be spending all that time.  Also, the humidity means nail polish dries much slower. 
  10. Intention to Unplug:  My last essential is NOT bringing your media everywhere!  Unplug for the day, everything can wait until you get back to your hotel room at least!  The day of surfing, swimming, and lounging don't need to be bothered by a constant barrage of media from life back home. Really take this time to escape, relax, and center yourself.  If you are on the vacation with others, enjoy your time with them in the moment.  Don't worry about if the rest of the world knows you are enjoying the moment.  Why do you think I missed a blog post *GASP*.    If you HAVE to bring your phone with you to take pictures, I really suggest putting it in airplane mode, to encourage you to avoid the addition to social media and really concentrate on the lovely vacation you are having.

I hope this "Top 10" list helped you out!  I thought it was kind of fun.  Generally speaking I get a bit annoyed with blogs that are always making "Top -insert arbitrary number here-" lists as a way to get people to click on things.  But I thought it might be a fun format for this post.  

Let me know in the comments or other social media if you also get annoyed with the whole "Top 24 Thing-a-ma-bobs For Picking A Wombat-Puppy Hybrid Pet or Your Nose" internet article trend.  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.