10.31.2013

Thrifter Thursday: Fall Colors

To me, nothing screams fall like burnt orange, brown and flannel. I decided to combine them all in this outfit I wore to work.
Sweater: Forever 21 
Top: American Eagle, thrifted
Pants: The Limited
Shoes: Mootsies Tootsies, thrifted

Hope you all have a boo-tiful Halloween!

Today, I'm linking up with Mix Match Fashion.

10.30.2013

Dr. Scholl's Active Series Insole Review


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Dr. Scholl's is known for their insoles, including my favorite the Ball Of Footfor heels. They have been a lifesaver to so many pain inducing pairs of pumps.

Now, Dr. Scholl's has an active series line specifically geared for those of us who are gym rats or daily runners. These insoles will run you $20 at your local drugstore but I found them on Amazon for less than $15. The insoles claim to reduce shock and impact that active lifestyles comes with. They are designed with "triple zone protection" that focuses on the ball of foot, heel and arches.



The inserts can be cut to your desired size. I wish I would have noticed that the back of the insole shows exactly where to cut because I just went at it blindly. So buyers, don't make the same mistake as me. Flip 'em over and you will see exactly where to cut!


I inserted my insoles into my everyday gym shoes. I purchased the pair around a year ago and lately they have lost some of their stability. Since I am doing weightlifting (including dead lifts and squats!) it is important for me to have a shoe where I won't lose my balance. I found that the Dr. Scholl's Active Series insole added the stability back into my shoes that were falling flat. 

I am not big on running. I do cardio work but not enough that shock is a problem. Therefore, I did not see any changes there with these inserts. There was an increased comfort level and as I mentioned earlier, stability. If you have flat feet, the high arch on these will be unlikely to suit you.

I was thrilled to find that at $20 or less, there's an insole that can revive tired gym shoes. I think with these, I can stretch out buying a new pair for a few more months. 

Product was sent by Influenster for review consideration. All opinions are my own.

10.29.2013

Busy Girl Nails Fall Challenge: Orange

I was excited when I realized orange week of Busy Girl Nails landed at the same time as Halloween. I searched Pinterest for some inspiration. I found this design from That Leanne and loved it!

Unfortunately, this orange polish took forever to dry. I had to re-do my web nail probably 5 times because it smudged every time I went to do the art. It also took 3 coats to get opaque coverage. Either way, I love doing to Halloween look!


Wet n Wild MegaLast in Sunspot

Can't wait to see your orange nails this week!

10.28.2013

Disney Villains Ardell Lashes in Cruella de Vil & Maleficent Review


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This fall, several brands partnered with Disney to release the Villains collection. I have seen everything from nail polish to eye palettes and now these lash kits from Ardell. 

The lash kits can be found in Walgreens for $7.99 per box. You receive 3 pairs of lashes. There are 4 villains to choose from including Cruella de Vil, Maleficent, Ursula and Evil Queen. The kits are also packed with a small lash glue.

Ardell has consistently stayed in my number one spot for favorite lash brand, so it's no wonder that I love these kits-particularly for Halloween. I found that the kits include 1-2 "normal" pairs of lashes and 1 "fun." The fun pair is where I find costumes come into play. The other pairs are fantastic for everyday wear. Each pair can last you multiple uses, with proper cleaning and storage. 

The glue is a bit lackluster, so that is why I reach for Revlon Precision Lash Adhesive.

Disney Villains Ardell Lashes in Cruella de Vil

Disney Villains Ardell Lashes in Maleficent

My favorites in the pack are #107 and #101. I have purchased these several times for my everyday wear. The price of these kits cannot be beat! Generally, one box of Ardell lashes will run you $4.99. In this collection you get three for around 8 bucks.

What lash brand do you love?

Products were sent by the company for review consideration. All opinions are my own.

10.23.2013

5 Tips I Wish I Knew When I Started Blogging


I recently reached my blog's two year anniversary. As it was approaching, I had been thinking of the lessons I have learned in this time. I also thought about what I wish I would have known before I began this little blog. Considering both, brought me to this post. I wish I would have known this early on, as I believe it would have saved time and money.

Some say content is king but photos are equally as important. We've all heard it, content is king but what about photos? I'm telling you, if your posts don't have photos people are unlikely to read. Studies have shown when people see big blocks of writing they become overwhelmed and do not read. 

With your photos, it's one thing to have them but they have to be quality, too. If you are choosing the smallest size, no one can see what you're talking about! I made this mistake early on. Once I increased to large or extra large, my blog began appearing more professional. Quality is also important. I'm not saying you need a fancy DSLR, but your photos have to be clear and have good color. I click right out of blogs that have fuzzy or blurred photos. If there are shadows everywhere, I have no interest in reading. I have used my iPhone, point and shoots and a DSLR with a lot of success. 

Take a look at an early nail photo I took compared to now:

Which do you prefer to look at? The right? Yeah, me too.

And lastly people, it's a no-no to take stock photos of the internet. I did this in the beginning and see a lot of new bloggers make the same mistake. You appear less credible and in most cases, it's copyright infringement and stealing. That's right, I said stealing. This really pisses off the blogigng community. So bloggers, use your own original photos

If you are not tech savvy, you will need to become an IT nerd and quick. As a beginning blogger, it's more than likely that you will be a one person show. You will have to do everything from learning HTML, how to design and in some cases web hosting. It is essential that you learn how to do these things. Google is an amazing asset on how to learn. Generally, you just google "how to ___" and you will very quickly get the information you need. If you don't your blog will look like all of the other blog's out there and when it crashes, you will have no idea how to restore it. 

See this pinterest board? This is where I store all of my info on how to blog, I suggest you make one too and start filling it up.

Join a blogging group on facebook. I wish I would have known about these a long time ago. And I don't mean join one of those post sharing groups, join one that is for learning. I have been able to gain more than I could ever have expected from veteran bloggers. From growing your readership, improving content and media kits you will benefit from these communities. Plus, joining these groups helped me to have the gumption to apply for the Allure Beauty Blogger awards, which to date has been the best thing I ever did for my blog.

Do a search and join some. You will thank me later.

It takes a long time and a lot of work to grow a blog and a lot this has to do with luck. When I started, I honestly thought this was going to be an easy hobby. Boy was I wrong. 

Many of the people who have a large readership base have been doing this for multiple years and with hours upon hours of work. I promise you're not going to be able to quit your full time job anytime soon. It's going to take a lot of evenings and weekend hours to get your blog to become a money maker and even then, it might not happen. That's where the luck comes in.

Back in August, The Bloggess, posted this article on growing your social media. Friends, I could not agree with what she had written more and honestly had been thinking it for a while. Please read her #16, it will save your blogging life.  For many "exploding bloggers" they had serious luck on their side. Whether that be knowing the right people, the right person seeing their post or timing. Unfortunately, there's no science to figuring this out.

Don't waste your money on advertising on other blogs, join group giveaways instead. Earlier this year, I noticed that every blogger and their mother were doing paid ads on blogs. I even jumped on the bandwagon. I thought gee, if other people are doing it must be a way to grow my blog and make some money. Boy, was I dead wrong. It took a lot of work to get advertisers and I saw very little return from the blogs I advertised on. Essentially, what I'm saying it was a big fat waste of time. 



Whenever I have joined a group giveaway, though, the payoff has far exceeded the cost and it takes very little work on your end to join one. I have gained a lot of readers this way and a lot of them stuck around. Unlike with my ads.

Bonus time! A few of my other longtime blog friends have also shared their tips:

"I would say my top tip to my beginner blogger self would be using Disqus for my blog comments. When I first started blogging, I hated that Blogger doesn't notify commentators that I replied to their comment, so I could never truly hold a conversation with my readers - ever since I start using Disqus on my blog, I LOVE chatting with everyone that stops by to comment on my posts. It's so worth it, plus I get to find new bloggers through its community too." -Krystal of Beauty by Krystal

"When I first started blogging I wish I had known to start with a clean and easy-to-navigate layout. I remember starting out with a black background with a bunch of unnecessary gadgets in the side column. I think this may have been a turn-off for those that visited my blog and I think it's important to have a good first impression on first-time viewers to your site."-Traci of Drinkcitra

10.22.2013

Busy Girl Nails Fall Challenge: Oxblood

This week of Busy Girl Nails is Oxblood! I love this deep red that was popularized last Fall. I thought about popping the color with a leaf design but after seeing it with cheetah on Pinterest, it was love!

Oxblood Nails with Cheetah Accent

Oxblood Used: Wet n Wild in Under Your Spell

10.21.2013

Happy 2nd Birthday, Blog!

I cannot believe as of today, my blog has reached it's 2nd Birthday. This year has been amazing for my blog and I couldn't feel more blessed. Here are my favorite moments from the year:

That call from Allure Magazine explaining that I was finalist in their Beauty Blogger Awards.


That tweet where I found our I was a Top 50 Beauty Blog on Beauty High.


That time when I was able to work with Make Up For Ever.


That time I was able to go to my first blogger event and saw Eve Pearl, Reggie Wells and James Vincent at the Makeup Show.




That time my blog reached 100,000 views.


I also feel incredibly lucky to have a community of readers, like you. Thank you everyone who helped make this little blog a success for another year. Here's lookin' to year 3!

10.18.2013

Busy Girl Nails Fall Challenge: Pink

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I absolutely adore blush pink for fall. The light hue makes me happy. I decided to pop it with a bit of sparkle this week.

Sonia Kashuk Sugar Rush & 

If you want to join us for #BusyGirlNails here are all of the details.
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10.16.2013

Taya Amazon White Clay Thickening Shampoo & Acacia Collagen Hair Plumper Review


PR SAMPLE 

Taya is a new to me company that derives their ingredients from the rainforest. According to their website:

"All TAYA products are formulated free of sulfates, parabens, animal products, and animal testing.
All indigenous rainforest botanical ingredients are sourced through environmentally sustainable programs which are free of toxic and agrochemical agents, or genetically modified elements, and where the local communities directly benefit from their harvests and conservation efforts."

After reading this, I was intrigued by the products and amped to try them. I was sent their thickening line which boasts that it will add plumpness and fullness to locks. It also touts properties that will volumize, give bounce and shine. 

While I have in my hands a majority of the Amazon White Clay collection, I wanted to share two products I was particularly impressed with: the Amazon White Clay Thickening Shampoo and the Amazon White Clay Acacia Collagen Hair Plumper.

The Thickening Shampoo runs $20. From first use, I knew this was going to do exactly what it claimed. As it was rinsing out, I could feel that my hair had added grip to it. This wasn't a residue, or something unwanted. It was similar to when we hairspray prior to curling to lock in the style. Even with this added grip, my hair came out completely clean, shiny and bouncy. My results last well into the next day. 

The College Hair Plumper retails for $24. I apply it to my damp roots, lightly rub in with my fingertips then allow it to soak in. I noticed the pump is a bit forceful and blasts at a full speed. After blowdrying, my roots have lifted quite a bit. Almost to impressive amounts. What I enjoy most is that I need very little teasing. Of what does need it, the plumper adds some grip to my hair allowing it to hold much better.

Overall, I love what the company stands for and how the products lack harsh ingredients. I'm also quite happy with the thickening results. The grip that both products add to my fine hair is something I have always desired in thickening lines. They gave my look longevity when styling.


Products were provided by the company for review consideration. All opinions are my own.
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10.14.2013

$100 Sephora Gift Card Giveaway

I can hardly believe that this little blog has been around for 2 years on October 21! To celebrate, I have teamed up with some fellow bloggers to bring you this $100 Sephora Gift Card giveaway.
a Rafflecopter giveaway


10.11.2013

Busy Girl Nails Fall Challenge: Antique Gold

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Busy Girl Nails is back for fall and we're starting with Antique Gold. I chose to swatch this gorgeous shade from Zoya called Jules. I have went to this bottle many times over the past year for the color and metallic quality to it.



I have loved seeing everyone's Antique Gold manis on instagram! It's never too late to join, so I hope to see more of you! Want more info? Here are all the deets.

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10.09.2013

Our Vacation in Photos

We just got back from our 7 day Carnival Cruise onboard the Liberty. Here are some of my favorite photos from the week!

Half Moon Cay with a Pina Colada

Carnival Liberty

Half Moon Cay

Morningstar Beach in St. Thomas

Morningstar Beach in St. Thomas

Morningstar Beach in St. Thomas

Bacardi Distillery in San Juan, Puerto Rico

Grand Turk

Grand Turk

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