Wednesday, August 30, 2017

NOTD: Beyond The Reef

Envy Lacquer. This was from the Moana Duo Indie Shop exclusive. Two coats of this stunning turquoise shimmer with scattered flakies. Great formula; smooth and easy to apply.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

OOTD: Fuchsia & Floral

Cardigan: JC Penney
Tee: Walmart 
Skirt: DKNY, thrifted
Sandals: Target 
Bag: Payless 

NOTD: Bright Fuchsia

2 coats of POP Polish Heathers.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Summer Fun: Hubby's Birthday & Family Reunion

Yesterday was a wonderful day. My favorite person in the whole world celebrated his 32nd year. We marked the occasion by getting spiffed up and taking pictures with his new iPhone camera in the front yard. I'm so happy with how lovely these pictures turned out. Beautiful memories.

I wore a lovely rose printed Lularoe Nicole dress that I had scored on Ebay. I adore it! Accessorized with a gold holographic Rebecca Minkoff clutch, Walmart sandals and a dainty bow necklace.

I even did very detailed matching nails for the occasion. Rose, scroll and polka dot nails. They were inspired by the beautiful print on the dress.
Colors used were SC Break Away, Essie Russian Roulette, NWP Jedha's Destruction and BP white stamping polish. Thumbs and index are nail stickers from Kiss. The dots and roses are hand painted.

Then we drove to sunny California's bay area, to a lush green park in a quaint little city to take part in a family reunion of my husband's father's side of the family. It quite an amazing event as my father-in-law has 11 brothers and sisters! The family is spread out across the country from California all the way to Chicago where the family grew up. A couple of the siblings have passed on and a few others were not able to make it, but half a dozen of the siblings were there, along with over 100 of their kids, grandkids, great grandkids and spouses.

I had actually never met any of that side of the family and my husband hadn't seen most of them in over a decade, but I couldn't have asked to be welcomed by a kinder group of people. I felt totally at home amongst the laughter and stories of this joyous bunch.
I think this incredible family is really a study of good hardworking people embracing their diversity and with all the tensions occurring in today's society it was a beautiful thing to witness. The patriarch of the family was African American and Cherokee Native American and the matriarch was Creole (French and African American.) They raised their 12 children to be wonderful people who went on to have partners of all different backgrounds including white, black and Asian. Beautiful to see so many skin tones and rich cultural heritages in one close knit family.
Here is all the cousins that were in attendance; it's hard to believe there are even quite a few more!

This is FIL and his sisters and brother.

Hubby's parents.

Hubby with his brother and uncle.

I was blessed to be welcomed as a part of this family and thoroughly enjoyed myself.

Afterwards hubby and I went out for his birthday dinner and had some delicious Indian food, yum!

What a great day, rich with memories that will last a lifetime.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Product Review: Biore Pore Strips

Interestingly enough I've been in a pretty good place with my skin recently. I've really only been getting a few blemish breakouts right before my monthly cycle starts (darn hormones.)

For the most part though my skin is has been fairly clear for nearly a year and at 27, nearly 28, I think I may have finally outgrown my moderate acne; yay! I was beginning to wonder if it would ever happen.

I used to like to try a ton of different skincare products as most never made a huge difference in my skin clarity and I was always on the perpetual hunt for that "miracle product." Now that my skin has calmed down some on its own, my facial products sit largely untouched and I've really only been using makeup remover wipes and rinsing my skin with water for several months. I still use my favorite Clean & Clear moisturizer after I shower but that's about it.

The one remaining issue I'm not really happy with is the large pores on my nose. I wanted to get them unclogged so  they will be less noticeable. When I was poking around Walmart last week I decided to revisit these Biore Pore Strips. I remember trying them many years ago and the results were so so, but I decided to give them another shot.
Honestly I was sold by the cute leopard print design; much more fun to look at than white.

Of course I had to go with a leopard theme while I waited for the strip to dry; note the leopard head wrap and leggings.

I've noticed I've become increasingly obsessed with themes. Every occasion and/or item has to have a perfect coordinating outfit for me. It's just more fun that way.

But I digress. After 15 minutes I peeled off the strip, which was slightly uncomfortable but not painful. I would say it was a moderate success because it did have some gross spiky gunk stuck to it as advertised. Ewww. 

I think I will continue to use these once a week or so and see if they make a great difference over time. Next time I may try to open my pores with hot steam beforehand and see if that helps remove extra gunk.

Overall I enjoyed using these strips; a fun little pampering process. A pretty good value at 8 strips for $5.97.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Another Ross Haul

I had a fun little day yesterday; it was the last day of my free gym membership so I enjoyed one more water aerobics class. Then I donned my cute floral exercise capris, Danskin brand from Walmart, and my Old Navy tank and wandered over to a nearby tea house that I hadn't tried before for a refreshing Thai iced tea, yum! 
After a nice veggie sandwich from the grocery store deli I did some shopping.

I always try to resist the pull of extemporaneous shopping; sometimes I'm successful and sometimes I'm not. Before the last few months I hadn't been to a Ross in a few years, but lately various activities have had me in close proximity to the discount retailer and I've found myself in there a few times for different reasons. I was there yesterday to help my mother-in-law pick out an outfit for an upcoming family reunion. I wasn't planning to get anything for myself but when browsing the clothes intently I kept finding stuff that would look good on me. *sigh*

I successfully picked out 3 tops, a sweater and a pair of pants for MIL, but I ended up with just as many items. At least everything was really reasonably priced.

Ross's fall candle game is pretty strong; I've really been enjoying the candles I purchased there a couple months ago and was excited to see the fall scents. I limited myself to one candle but there were several different pumpkin scents as well as apple and fall leaves types. I chose the yummy smelling Caramel Pumpkin Latte scent.

Ross's copycat game is also strong; these 3-wicks look extremely similar to BBW's down to the fancy labels and decorative autumnal lids. 
But at $5.99 they are a sight cheaper than BBW's  regularly priced $22.50 candles. It was just over a dollar more expensive than Walmart's 719 Walnut Avenue candles, but still an excellent value. This is a nice candle with moderate throw and an even wax pool. I would definitely purchase again.

Also in the houswares section I found these adorable cat mugs!
You know the two in front came home with me. I'm just a crazy cat lady with no cats; a wannabe cat lady. How sad.😂 But I also love mugs and the beverages that go in mugs so it's really a win win. $3.99 each.

Then I restrained myself to just a few clothing items. I'm really into super soft, comfy fabrics and drapey fitting tops with slimmer bottoms lately. I'm also digging black, floral prints and fun animal and tribal prints. I love that cute yet comfy is really having a fashion moment right now. There's nothing more ideal than looking and feeling good in your clothes.
I got a cute elephant tee that will go well with my various elephant print leggings and a beautiful navy and pink floral tee. $9.99 each.
Also some rose print jogger pants and yet another pair of ultra soft black leggings, because one can never have too many. At $5.99 and $4.99 respectively, they certainly are better priced than many of the $25 leggings out there.

So that's my haul for yesterday. Have you found any good bargains recently?

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

NOTD: Color Club Holiday Splendor

Holy neon Christmas trees Batman! Holiday Splendor is fantastic! I don't even care that it's August. 
A very saturated holo-y glitter, opaque in 1-2 coats, fairly easy to work with.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Wax Testing: Epic Wax Review

Disclaimer: I received free wax samples in exchange for an honest review.

I was honored to be contacted by Jeremy Puth of 16 Candles brand to test some new wax products he had been developing. I had previously won some 16 Candles wax melts from a Facebook giveaway, and while I enjoyed the scents I ordered, the melts were all 100% soy wax and I got mostly light throw from them. The creator of 16 Candles is now working on a parasoy wax line to be released under a new label called "Epic Wax." I received 8 different Epic Wax scents to test and now that I have melted through them all, I am excited to give you the results!
Overall I found the wax visually appealing; the shapes were very cute and the colors were pretty. On cold sniff all had a strong and pleasant scent; no "off" notes detected.

Pumpkin Apple Butter: smells heavenly and strong on cold. Spiced pumpkin purée and rich, sweet apple butter. When melting it had fairly strong throw for a couple hours and became moderate thereafter. A very enjoyable scent.
Melted in Glade 25 watt warmer, whole tart (approx. .75-1 oz). Overall grade: A-. Would purchase.

Pumpkin Spice: A rich, complex pumpkin pie spice scent on cold. Individual spices like allspice and cinnamon are detectable against a yummy pumpkin bakery background. When melting it had a moderate throw for about 4-6 hours and became light thereafter. Melted on Glade 25 watt warmer, whole tart (approx. .75- 1 oz.) Overall grade: B. Might purchase.

Banana Creme Brûlée Pie: a very interesting sweet blend. A candy like "lafft taffy" banana type scent which I actually like, with noticeable toasted sugar notes. This was a different wax formula than the others. Jeremy had said in a note he included in the package that there were two formulas: a firmer wax for shapes and a softer "easier to cut" wax. I prefered the firmer wax, it stayed nicer looking and less messy in the package and was still quite easy to cut. Soft wax honestly drives me nuts. Anyway, this scent had moderate throw for about 4 hours and became light thereafter. Overall grade: B-. Might repurchase.

Sea Salt Orchid: I really enjoyed this one; very unique! It was a soft floral, slightly sweet and powdery, with a refreshing salty sea air note. Very pleasant; not artificial at all. Moderate throw for about 6-7 hours. Melted on Glade 25 watt warmer, about 1/4 tart (approx. .5-.75 oz). Overall grade: B+. Would purchase.

Pomegranate Spice: this was one scent I had tried previously in the 16 Candles 100% soy melt and I was quite excited to compare the throw in this new formula. I definitely think it was improved. I really love this dusky, juicy pomegranate and mulling spice type blend. It makes me think of what a pomegranate cider would smell like and evokes fall and holiday vibes. Fairly strong throw for about 7-8 hours. Melted on Glade 25 watt warmer, about 1/4 tart (approx. .5-.75 oz.) Overall grade: A. Would purchase.

Coriander and Tonka: another scent that I had melted previously in the soy blend. I remember loving the notes but wishing it was a little stronger. I got my wish with this new formula; it was heavenly! Probably my favorite scent of the bunch. It had exotic spice notes with rich vanilla bean extract. It actually reminded me a lot of maple brown sugar oatmeal. Fairly strong throw for about 8 hours. Melted on Glade 25 watt warmer, 1/4 tart (approx. .5-.75 oz.) Overall grade: A. Would purchase.

Jamaica Me Crazy: this was one of my less favorite scent blends. A very sweet pineapple coconut type but almost cloying. Just not my personal cup of tea. Moderate throw for about 4-6 hours. Overall grade: C+.  Melted on BHG 15 watt bulb warmer, 1/4 tart (approx. .5-.75 oz.) Would not purchase.

Flowering Dogwood: another scent I had tried previously in soy. I'm neutral on this  aroma; I don't love it but don't hate it. A nice fresh floral but a little powdery and leans towards laundry detergent. Moderate to light throw for about 4-5 hours. Melted on Glade 25 watt warmer, 1/3 tart (approx. .75 oz). Overall grade: C+. Would not purchase.

I really enjoyed testing these wax blends and I noticed a significant improvement in strength of throw from the previous soy wax melts I had tried. I wish Jeremy and the new Epic Wax team tons of luck and am definitely looking forward to browsing these new melts whenever they become available in the next few weeks. The new line will be available at and the current products are available at 16 Candles

Have you ever tried 16 Candles? Are you interested in the Epic Wax line? What type of wax do you generally prefer and why? (Soy, parasoy, paraffin, palm, etc.) Please leave your answers in the comments below!

Monday, August 21, 2017

NOTD: Polished For Days Aurora

This mani is inadvertently eclipse appropriate; I had planned to wear it regardless of the eclipse. But it looks so celestial doesn't it? It is STUNNING! Midnight blue base with silver sparkles and iridescent blue/green flakies. Can be a one coater and is a super smooth easy to work with formula. Love it! My favorite Indie Shop purchase so far.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

OOTD: Turquoise & Elephants

Top: Lularoe Irma
Leggings: Walmart 
Scarf, earrings: thrifted
Head wrap, sunglasses:

Saturday, August 19, 2017

NOTD: Zoya Amira

2 coats of Zoya Amira, a sky blue polish with a fairly subtle bronze shimmer.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

NOTD: Dance Legend Sub Zero

Three coats of my only Dance Legend, Sub Zero. It is so subtly beautiful; a teal jelly with teal flakies and red iridescent micro shimmer.
It's also a thermal but I wasn't able to get much color change with cold and hot water. Oh well, still pretty.

Gym Blurb & Fun Patterns

So despite all the time I generally spend lounging on the couch, watching TV, reading, and writing these posts, I actually really enjoy excercise especially in a group setting. A couple years ago I had a three month guest membership to a local In Shape City gym and I just loved it. I tried a variety of classes including yoga, Tai Chi and water aerobics, as well as various piece of exercise equipment.

Recently my in-laws were able to get a membership through their insurance as part of physical and for recent shoulder and knee surgeries so that's great for them. I was able to reap the benefits a little these past few days by getting a one week guest pass. The classes were just as fun as I'd remembered and working my muscles really does give me a sense of empowerment. Even though I'm not in tip top shape, my body is far more capable than I realize. Sometimes it feels great to just get up and move and working out alongside others helps keep me motivated and makes the time fly.

I do hope I can swing a membership financially at some point in the future. Maybe I'll ask Santa to contribute for Christmas, IDK.

Another thing I enjoy about the gym is wearing fun and silly workout wear. Cheerful prints help me keep upbeat while huffing and puffed and I like the compliments they usually garner from other gym goers. Last week I wore a pineapple tank and swirly capris.

Just today I wore my new "Meow Meows" leggings from Fabulegs and a pink tee; I love them! They were so comfy and adorable.

You'll have to excuse my serious case of resting b*tch face in these sweaty selfies. After all the exertion I can't seem to manage to make my face muscles smile.😂

And yes, I did work out in sandals. I had just changed after swimming and was too lazy to put on tennis shoes. I have a general aversion to close toed shoes anyway. Fortunately I didn't injure anything; these nifty flip flops with back straps are surprisingly sturdy.

Anyway, do you enjoy any particular form of excercise? Ever worked out at a gym? What workout clothes do you like? Please share in the comments!