Fun & Healthy Holiday Nails with L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Nail Color


loreal colour riche nail color glow renewal

‘Tis the season for holiday parties and festive nails!

I have a secret to confess. I’m absolutely terrible at nail art! I try, and I try—and I can’t seem to mimic all of those cool designs I spy on Pinterest and Instagram. You guys keep me inspired and on my toes! In a rare event for me though, I just tried something that I liked.

One of the reasons I don’t have my nail tech give me holiday nail art, is because I don’t want them to be the typical red/green/gold combos I see so much of around here. Sadly, I don’t want Santa or Rudolph on my nails either. Lest you think I’m being all bah humbug about it—I’ve relegated our fave characters to our silly ugly Christmas sweaters and wrapping paper! (Our ugly sweaters this year deserve an entire post devoted solely to them, but I’m afraid we’ll wind up on Awkward Family Photos. That’s another story!)

But…what about blue & white snowflakes with a neutral base shade? So I gave it a shot.

loreal nail color

Left to right: Midnight Fireworks, After Hours, Hit the Slopes, Julianne’s Nude

With one of the best mass-brand nail polish shades I can find affordably and easily, L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Nail Color has given me a few options to work with for this idea. Even if it didn’t turn out 100% perfect, there’s still time for me to practice and get it right! And it also gives you time to riff off of the idea and come up with your own variation.  [Read more…]

Holiday Gifting 2014: Indie Brands


indie brand holiday gifts

I’m sure your holiday shopping is in full swing by now, and if not—it will be very soon! Are you stumped on gift ideas for someone special because you don’t want to give something that’s unoriginal, or something that can be found at every retailer in town? I’ve got some great gift ideas for you, and they’re all from indie brands—almost guaranteeing that you won’t be gifting them a dupe they’ll want to return!

I’ve searched for some unique items, and these are a few I fell absolutely in love with. Check out my picks from these indie specialty brands!

gnarly whale hair products

Hair Products from The Gnarly Whale

All of the products from The Gnarly Whale are 100% vegan and cruelty-free, and they smell delicious! This husband and wife team creates unique haircare and bath products with minimal ingredients for low-impact on the earth, yet still yield full efficacy. 10% of their sales each month are donated to earth and marine-friendly charities, like the Clearwater Marine Aquarium.

My fave pick is this awesome haircare gift trio with their signature shampoo, detangler, and beach wave spray in their Thai Coconut fragrance. Just $20 will score you this substantial gift, and you can select your product fragrance from a list of 13, or opt for the unscented versions. Once you see the list of available scents though, I have a feeling you’ll go for a fragrance! Coconut Lime VerbenaCoconut Milk & Peaches, or Bubblegum anyone? $20, thegnarlywhale.com

strawn soaps

Olive Oil Bath Soaps from An Ancient Art Handmade Soap Company

My amazing hairstylist turned me on to the soap bars from this tiny artisanal shop out of Strawn, Texas. She gifted me a bar of their handmade Red Wine soap, and I immediately ordered more! I love supporting this small business, they have over 30 scents available in their handmade olive oil soap formula that I’m obsessed with! You’ve got to look at the list of soap fragrance varieties they offer. I’m also a fan of their Vitality Cuticle Cream, and their lip balms. I’ve got the banana lip balm on my desk (which I use very often), and due to its high shea butter and olive oil content, my lips feel like buttah! Soaps—$6.50 each ($6 each for 3 or more—mix & match), strawnsoap.com   [Read more…]

The Lipstick League: Week of 12/1/14


tree

Happy December! I love the scents of this season, especially the way Christmas trees smell. Unfortunately, we have two cats—and one of them is especially mischievous (Scratch!), so unfortunately we have to rely on pine-scented candles and creative ways to have a “tree”. This year, I picked up this sparkly guy at Target, and I’m pretty smitten with it! We have other decorations with lights in the house, and thankfully they aren’t interested in those, because I’ve heard some horror stories. Whew! Do you have any pets vs. holiday decorations stories? I’d love to hear them in the comments! I know we’re all in the holiday bustle, but I hope you can take a few minutes to cruise through these links from my friends in the Lipstick League.

Question of the week: So let’s hear it. Did you make any Black Friday/Cyber Monday beauty purchases? Spill the beans!

Answer: I’m happy to say yes, and no. I actually finished holiday shopping the week before Thanksgiving, and even shocked myself! We don’t have a long list of people to buy for though, so I guess it all evens out. I usually don’t do Black Friday because I worked in retail for a long time when I was younger, and I think I’ve had enough Black Fridays for a lifetime of holiday seasons! On Cyber Monday, I only ordered one thing, and it was Keurig K-Cups because they were having a 20% off sale on their site. Boring, I know! Do you have any special deals you snagged?

Love for Lacquer: Jess shows us how she cleans up her manicures to make them flawless by using Q-tips precision tips!

My Newest Addiction: Have some last minute gifts to buy? Check out The Perfect Holiday Gifts for Her from Kipling!

Nouveau Cheap: If you haven’t seen the new Maybelline 2015 goodies yet, here are just two of the seven new product lines I covered on the blog this week!

Prime Beauty has the perfect gift for that hard-to-buy-for person. Enter to win L’Occitane 13 Desserts of Provence giveaway, it’s the ideal gift for everyone!

Phyrra: The struggle is real! I bring you The Simple Guide to False Lashes. Wearing falsies has never been easier.

we heart this: Check out the most subtle highlights one of our co-editors ever received (and laugh at her Bride of Frankenstein impersonation!)

Beauty Junkies Unite: You don’t have to be a beauty junkie to appreciate a good night of beauty sleep, but you’ll REALLY appreciate it if you win the Casper Memory Foam mattress I’m giving away! Enter the giveaway here. (Ends 12/16. Sorry, but U.S. babes only this time.)

EauMG: From snow days to toasts at midnight, EauMG has you covered with these Winter Perfume Picks.

Glitter.Gloss.Garbage: The Holidays are all about giving right? Well you have to check out all the giveaways I’m running right now! There’s something for everyone!

Gouldylox Reviews: Winter is coming, are you ready to survive beautifully? I’ve got a list of must have products that are game changers!

(Wondering what the Lipstick League is? Find out here.)

Guest Post of the Week, as chosen by Love for Lacquer: Brooke from Blushing Noir is that friend who will get you to buy anything regardless if you need it or not. Her blog is the death of my wallet. I absolutely love her Top 10 Holiday Gift Sets of 2014 and because of her, I have purchased several!

Pantone Color of the Year 2015: 6 Marsala Lipsticks You’ll Love!


pantone marsala banner pantone marsala lipstick

By now you’ve heard the word…

Pantone’s color forecast for 2015 is out, and the top pick for their Color of the Year is Marsala. The 90’s version of me couldn’t be more pleased! I can’t tell you how many tubes of Revlon’s “Toast of New York” I went through, but I can tell you I’ll be purchasing my first tube of it in almost 20 years the next time I hit up the drugstore. I think Marsala is probably best described as a rosy-brown shade, but can go as far as deep wine tones.

With my Brenda Walsh-era bangs, I absolutely loved everything earth-toned—along with body suits and jean shorts—but let’s forget that part. Marsala reminds me of my days in high school in the 90’s, listening to Seattle-based bands on cassette tape in my first car, and the era of the Supermodel. (CINDY! LINDA! NAOMI!)

In honor of “90’s me” (and Pantone’s top color pick for 2015), I bring you six shades of Marsala-hued lipsticks to love. I chose a variety of matte, sheer, and uber-pigmented lipstick options for you, and you have plenty of time to decide what’s the best fit for your beauty arsenal in 2015!

strip

Urban Decay Revolution Lipstick in Strip

For some, I know that wearing a wine color on your lips will feel like being pushed head first into the deep end of a pool in the middle of winter. So let’s take it easy with a more sheer shade to break you into the Marsala category gently. Strip is a lovely brown based mauve that will look great when worn solo, and if you fill your lips in first with the 24/7 Glide-On Lip Pencil in Manic, you can really amp it up when you’re feeling more courageous. The Revolution Lipstick formula is a beauty junkies’ favorite due to its lush, hydrating feel—making it perfect for the lip-drying effects of harsh winter weather. Lipstick—$22, Lip Pencil—$20, urbandecay.com   [Read more…]

BLACK FRIDAY / CYBER MONDAY Deals 2014 — Updated for 12/1!


black friday cyber monday 2014

A few words…

Before we get started, I wanted to let you know that I’ve done my very best to bring you the most accurate, up-to-date information I could find. Some of this information came directly from the retailers, and other information was found through my own research online. As you know, retailers often pull things after sell-outs, and can alter their sales information at any time at their discretion. I personally have nothing to do with any inaccuracies or discrepancies, and can’t be responsible for any purchasing issues if they should arise.

Additionally, I’ve found that even some of the online deals that state they are “Black Friday”, can actually be running as late as 11/30. So please make sure to double check by clicking the link to see if the deal you are interested in is still active!

I’m hoping you can use this as a resource, as I’ve spent a lot of time putting it together. If you feel something is in error, please speak with the retailer directly. I want you to get the best deals possible! Happy shopping!

100% PURE

BLACK FRIDAY: Free Black Tea mascara with $75+ purchase, 11/26 through 12/1. Free shipping on all orders with code PUREFRIDAY (11/26 through 11/29)

CYBER MONDAY: 10 for $10, select items, limited time only.

pure

ANTHONY

Black Friday (11/28), through Cyber Monday (12/1): 30% off site-wide at anthony.com. Use code GOBBLE

anthony

AHAVA  

BLACK FRIDAY: 35% off any order using code BFRIDAY14 on ahavaus.com

CYBER MONDAY: Receive 35% off, and a free Triple Mineral Body Lotion using code CYBRMON35 on ahavaus.com

ahava

[Read more…]

Happy Thanksgiving Wishes, 2014


Happy Turkey Day

Happy Thanksgiving Blessings…

Every year, I realize how just more and more blessed I am. I don’t know if it’s because I’m getting older and I appreciate more of the subtle things in life than I did the year before—but I do know one thing for sure.

I’ve been lucky enough to come in contact with some of the most kind, funny, generous, friendly, thoughtful, supportive, and loyal people I’ve ever met (or not physically met, yet) right here, through this little blog over the past 6 years. How thankful I am for you isn’t just relegated to a single day of the year here in America. I am thankful for you every single day, no matter where you reside in the world.

It goes without saying that I’m thankful for my health, my peaceful home life with two sweet cats, and an incredibly loving husband who has stuck by my side through thick and thin for 8 years. I’m blessed to have a wonderful relationship with my younger brother, who is my only sibling—yet I’ve found the sister I never had (but always wanted) through his incredible wife. I guess you could say I’m being mushy, but I love these people more than anything in the world. I guess you could say my family is very small, but it is my family. That’s all that matters.

One more thing I wanted to mention was that I know there are many people out there who have a hard time during the holidays. Maybe it’s because they don’t have family to spend today with, or the resources to participate in customary Thanksgiving traditions. I want you to know you’re invited to be part of my family in spirit, and know that when I’m saying my blessings at dinner tonight—I’ll be saying grace for you, too.

Much love,
Amber

GIVEAWAY: Get Better Beauty Sleep on a Casper, Win an Amazing New Mattress!


win a casper mattress

I remember the last time we went mattress shopping. It was about three years ago. We spent about an hour in a mattress superstore, lying on beds within our price range, taking turns saying “Honey? How does this feel to you?”

“It’s too stiff.”

“Well, it’s actually too soft for me. But what about this one?”

“I can feel and hear the springs. So this would be a NO.”

We were striking out, HARD. Feeling pressured by the salesman, and being desperate for something to sleep on that night—we compromised on what we thought was a nice pillow-top mattress within our budget. You really just want to get out of those places as soon as possible, because I’m finding more and more, that buying a mattress is about as high pressure as being stuck at a car dealership. Mattress shopping shouldn’t be that hard!

After a few weeks, we could feel and hear the springs every time we tossed and turned (which we were doing a lot of, since we were so uncomfortable). One morning at breakfast, I looked up from my coffee mug with a sore neck, and exclaimed that I HATED our new mattress, and that we would never buy one with springs again. The only thing was—memory foam mattresses aren’t exactly in our budget, especially after we had just shelled out for that terrible pillow-top thing they called a “mattress”.

casper mattress

Along comes Casper, and all of these problems were instantly SOLVED.

I was prepared to give our new Casper at least two weeks before making a decision on it. I didn’t want to rush it, and neither did Mr. Beauty Junkies. Especially since Casper offers a 100-night risk-free trial. (He’s actually the most hard to please out of the two of us!) Well, we ended up texting each other the next morning (nearly simultaneous), to already proclaim our love for the Casper we had slept on for the first time the night before. I’m not making this up!

So, what makes a Casper, a Casper? 

[Read more…]

MAC Cosmetics Black Friday EXCLUSIVE: SMOKY BLACK FRIDAY Eyeshadow Trio


mac Smoky Black Friday eyeshadow

I haven’t seen this in-person yet, but I’m definitely curious! Here is this year’s online-only, Black Friday specialty item from MAC Cosmetics.

The deets from MAC:

This Black Friday, M∙A∙C offers an exclusive online-only edition of Veluxe Pearlfusion Shadow. The Smoky Black Friday palette features a new trio of complementary noir shades that blend beautifully for infinite nighttime looks. This is Eye Shadow innovation like you’ve never seen before: the pure power of pigment in a creamy, lightweight hybrid. Applies wet for a super saturation of colour with metallic brilliance, or dry for sheer coverage with a soft finish.

VELUXE PEARLFUSION SHADOW (Trio)
Smoky Black Friday
Suggested Retail Price $25.00 US
Available: North America November 28, 2014 exclusively at maccosmetics.com

MAC GIF

Does this pique your interest enough for a Black Friday purchase? They’ll likely sell out very quickly if past releases are any indication!

The Lipstick League: Week of 11/17/14


Pixi Beauty God Jul nail polish swatch

Happy almost Thanksgiving! So last night, we took our first “official” holiday card photo. We’ve been married almost eight years, and have never taken a proper family photo for our Christmas cards. Since we don’t have children, our cats are our children in the photo—and let me tell you—it was a stressful few moments. Looking back now, I think we managed to do a great job considering what we had to work with. But next year we have to rethink our plan!

I went all out red with nails and lips to look festive, and I fell in LOVE with this December Color of the Month shade from Pixi Beauty — it’s called God Jul!, which I’ve found can mean Happy Holidays! or Merry Christmas! in Swedish. I also wore the Pixi Tinted Brilliance Balm in Rosy Red (it’s perfect!), and I applied their Endless Silky Eye Pen in Glimmery Black. Paired with a neutral eye, I think these products tied together a balanced holiday look that will make our photos festive. I can’t show you the holiday card photos, sadly—but will show you some of the other Pixi products I used soon! I hope you like that polish above. I love it, and that was just one coat in the swatch. I swear!

Question of the Week: Do your beauty spending habits change during the holidays? Do you tend to purchase more (or less) beauty-related items for yourself at this time of year?

Answer: In terms of purchasing, I think I have all the beauty goodies I need to make it through the holidays, but if I spy a cute sparkly cocktail ring, or hair band—it might as well be in my shopping basket! I’ve been known to throw an extra twinkly eyeliner or nail polish in there too, but I honestly find dupes of them as soon as I get home! Every year, I’m always like—now THIS is THEEEE red lipstick I’ve been looking for! And then I already have it at home. The struggle!  [Read more…]