Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!!!

 This year was a big year for costumes for me! But sometimes cold wins out - my Dothraki Khaleesi from the Game of Thrones outfit was not to be. So today the office gets this:

If you've been watching my Facebook Page then you know the ears and mask are taken from my version of Chris Nolan's Selena Kyle that I wore to ARC Masquerage this year:

Me, with my friends Jenny (The Green Fairy) and Katy (Ursula the Sea Witch)

Although my dress (from ModCloth) was tight, I think I pulled Ms. Kyle together well. However, my "Bruce Wayne" had other ambitions. He just had to be a Dothraki Horse Lord:

My Husband as Khal Drogo from Game of Thrones
He earned it, too! Mike lost about 50 lbs and put on 20 lbs of muscle to make his Halloween dream come true. I'm so happy for him! I know what that's like. Remember me as  Starbuck from two years ago? That took a 50 lb weight loss too. So, because Mike earned his Khal Drogo, of course I had to be his Khaleesi:

Me as  Daenerys Targaryen
Both of us constructed our costumes ourselves (HUGE WIN). But I just don't think it's a "Frak it's cold outside!!!" costume (Although "winter is coming"). Can you blame me?

Happy Halloween, dear readers. Stay WARM and DRY (especially those  who are affected by FrakenStorm).

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Get Crafty at Sew Dayton!

Jesy, Tracy... and Someone's
Back in September I attended the Grand Opening of Sew Dayton, part of the Activated Spaces initiative in downtown Dayton. I made it a point to go to this one because my good friend Tracy McElfresh is co-owner of this store with another friend Jesy Anderson. Together they have opened a store which they have referred to on their site as a "Seamstress's Heaven". I have to agree.

Sew Dayton stocks primarily vintage fabrics and basic notions. You'll also find other nifty odds and ends. The very cool thing about Sew Dayton is that they offer classes on a scheduled basis. You can also request private lessons and project trouble shooting. In addition, Tracy and Jesy will also do custom work at your request (priced based upon the project of course).

If you can't become inspired by the vintage prints or designs Sew Dayton has around the shop, your modern side might take kindly to the  Mike Elsass  work in the adjoining space. Bonus for Jesy and Tracy - automatic awesome decor!!! Win-win!

I encourage you to take a stop down on Brown Street across from Thai 9 and get to know Tracy and Jesy. Take a look at Sew Dayton's calendar and sign up for a class. Take advantage of this store and learn something new. Or do what I did: walk out with a bunch of Fat Quarters not knowing what the heck you're going to do with them and challenge yourself!

Note: If you do need Costume Help for Halloween, Sew Dayton is offering that service as well. 

Sew Dayton
16 E. Brown Street Dayton, Oh 45402
Sew Dayton Website  and Sew Dayton on Facebook 

To Tracy And Jesy - I am seriously excited for both of you! It is quite exciting to see dreams come true!!!
Best wishes always,

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Awesome Straight Hair - Copying Nicole Kidman with It&ly Products

Remember back when I posted Nicole Kidman's Emmy Hair by It&ly? Well I got a chance to try it out myself!

See I have some nice sexy straight hair too!

My hair is usually straight but it is rarely ever tamed for any period of time. I followed the instructions that were outlined in my previous post using It&ly's Pure Water Drops Serum first over my hair while it was dry. The texture of the product is like slightly oily water and smells like HEAVEN. I don't usually like the way hair products smell - this one was awesome! Botanical, slightly flowery but not overly strong, just fresh - it smelled "clean" not like hair product chemicals.

Next I used my flat iron to straighten and gently curl the ends.

The last step outline that I used was to take It&ly's Pure Definition Hair Spary and spray some on a tooth brush and brush down the fly aways. You wouldn't think that would work, would you? But it did! Best yet, the fly aways stayed down all night and my hair still had very natural movement! Bonus, it smelled just as nice as the previous product.

So... What About Heat Protection?
I was a little nervous about putting this on my hair followed by my flat iron because I was unsure about how it would react with heat. I asked the PR person that I was in contact with about this and she said the following:
"The Purity Design Line is composed of a protective "Desert Blend". The “Desert Blend” is comprised of proteins developed from desert plants such as Agave, Joshua Tree and Cholla Cactus to protect hair from harmful UV rays. So your hair is protected no matter what product you use."
Nifty, eh? So basically, heat protection is built right into the line assuming those ingredients do what they are supposed to do. I like that. I've always had a problem with heat protection sprays because what if it makes the texture of your hair different than what you want? So many of them are just like hair spray.

I did a bit of a web search on It&ly's Pure Water Drops Serum and found it selling around $32-$35 depending on distributor. It doesn't take a lot of product to make your hair sleek and nice (a pea sized drop at most). So I imagine one bottle will last a long time.

As for the spray It&ly's Pure Definition Hair Spray seems to retail around $25. Again the bottle is HUGE so you get a lot of product for that price.

Bottom Line
I'm sure you could find similar products for a lower price, but I'd bet they won't smell as nice. I'm currently getting a TON of use out of those Pure Water Drops, so at this moment yes - I'd consider purchasing it myself. The spray... I'd probably get something else and just use the same technique.

If you'd like to learn more please visit It&ly's website.

The products in this post were provided for by PR for the purpose of review. This blog is not affiliated with It&ly nor does it sell It&ly products. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Review: Too Faced 3-Way Lash Lining Tool - I Get Closer to that Darn Cat Eye!

I've been a bit obsessed with eye liners lately, and when I saw the Too Faced 3-Way Lash Lining Tool I just knew I had to try it!

Please excuse the cell phone pics, but my camera was not back from the shop yet when I decided to do this review. 

The concept behind this lash liner is to allow you to get as close as possible between lashes, to have finer control over where the color touches your lashes.  It's even supposed to help you get a better "cat eye" as a result. Considering I always have trouble doing my own cat eye... well you know I wanted to try it.

My Experience:
I really like this lash liner. It was strange at first, working with something that is three pronged, however I found I could use the corners of the tips to lightly line your lashes and create the shape you want. Then I turned the tool vertical and smudged between the lashes.  To really try to get that space between.  The packaging says you can work close to the waterline, so I tried to line my lower lashes... this is where the problem comes in: If you're naturally teary, you WILL have color bleeding if you blink your eyes shortly after application to the lower lash line. I had to do significant clean up in this regard. However, I was able to get the closest to a nice cat eye I've ever been able to get on my own!

Bottom Line
Great tool! However it does not replace the need for something like a good old fashioned MAC Smolder Eye Kohl along the lower lash line. I will not be replacing all my old standbys for this but it is a step in the right direction.

I purchased this Too Faced 3-Way Lash Lining Tool from Sephora for $22.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Send the Trend - A Good Thing Just Got BIGGER!!!

As a frequent Send the Trend  shopper I was SHOCKED to see how much larger the site had gotten since the last time I logged in last month. An email from co-founder Divya Gugnani explained  - The site has been acquired by QVC.

What's Now AWESOME!!!
  • You can now see what BRAND you're buying! -  This is great because often times I would like the style of something and wanted to see more like it, but STT didn't really reveal their suppliers openly.
  • There are MORE brands! - Even better, you can sort your items by brand if you want to.
  • Variety!!!!! -  Yup, there is so much MORE that you can shop for on STT. In particular, I LOVE the additions in the Beauty section. Just go look! I mean, Laura Gellar, I've been wanting to try that for a while. And Fresh - I might need to give them a second chance.
What's Still Awesome!!!
  • You can still share and get credit  - This is what made STT pretty cool and fun in the first place. We all love a discount!
  • You still get personally currated items  - This I think has even gotten better. Or at least now STT realizes I like pretty much anything with spikes and probably always will. 
  • My Style Section - Yup, you can still keep track of the things you like in the My Style section and others can shop from it if they like your style.  
What Still Needs Improvement -  (personal opinion)
  • No Invite LINK???  - Sharing via Facebook and Twitter or Email is fun, but I want a dedicated invite link.
  • Interface Clutter  - Forgive me, I'm a usability specialist so I pick on the interface. The interface has been getting cluttered for some time and the QVC takeover seems to have upped that. The has lost some of it's clean interface in favor of showcasing the variety. I won't go into detail but for me the interface has a lot to do with my enjoyment of the shopping experience. Occupational hazard I guess.
  • My Style STILL Pre-populates  - I have a big problem with things called "My Style" having items in there already that I haven't chosen to be there. I know they are there for example. But I'd do this differently.
  • Things Got Expensive  - Gone are the days when you had a flat rate for shopping from STT. Boo.
In any case, check out the new Send the Trend and I'd love it if you took a look at my MY STYLE (affiliate link) page and shopped from there! *wink*

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

FYI - Shabby Apple is Having a Super Sale!

Woo hoo! A small (but good) sale on Shabby Apple (Affiliate Link - please use it!)! Using code SUPERSALE you can get an extra 25% off select items. These types of deals are only worth it if you really want something that is one of those chosen items. Personally, I've had my eye on the Study Hall dress for a while so I'll take this deal!

Incidentally, Shabby Apple - Please fix your PayPal checkout. It could be more streamlined. Thank you!

Yes, Pretty in Dayton is a Shabby Apple Affiliate. But you know this because I already stated that in this post.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Happy Birthday Althea Harper!!!

Althea Harper's Wedding

Happy birthday, Althea! I know, I'm using a pic from your wedding (one where you have "cake face" no less) but I have yet to take a picture of you that I love as much as this one. So I hope it reminds you to have fun and stay happy on your birthday (and enjoy a little cake!).

Much adoration always,

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Review of Regret: b.Liv Skincare by Cellnique

I really dislike starting a week off this way but... sometimes you know you need to post something and you just have to get it out there.


Hi Readers.
This is one of those posts I keep putting off because because it's tricky. I firmly believe that Skincare is highly individualized. So please keep in mind I'm only reporting my experience and my opinion. 

A PR rep for b.liv contacted me about reviewing their skincare line. I asked around the Beauty Blog Coalition to see if they were legit and was happy to hear that other bloggers either had great experiences with this line. At the time, my skin was problematic - I had come off of some medications from my dermatologist two months before and I had started to see some break outs again. I wanted to try something new. I have combination skin, it IS prone to breakouts, skincare is difficult for me during softball season... these are all things I shared with the PR representative who recommended the five products pictured above for me to use.

In other words, I went into this review knowing full well that would have a tough job to fulfill.  And I let the rep know that.

Squeaky Clean - $25.00
This green gel cleanser has tiny microbeads for light exfoliation. I liked the feel of this cleanser and the exfoliating beads were a plus. I did have to use an additional product for makeup removal - this cleanser did not seem to do the trick. But it felt nice on my skin to use and I liked the light exfoliation enough to continue to use this product longer than the others.

Off With Those Heads - $49 for 30 mil, $63 for 45 mil.
This was the product I was most looking forward to using. I'd read some good blogs on how great it was a removing black heads or reducing their appearance. I was pleasantly surprised at first - it DID seem to be helping blackheads on my nose. I tried it on my chin as well. Unfortunately, after a few weeks of using it, those areas just started breaking out EVERYWHERE and any benefit was deminished.

Oil Leviate - $35
As a mattifying moisturizer (which I had understood it was) this product did not feel at all like it was moisturizing to me. It warned that there might be initial oil over production at first but that should subside with in a few weeks of use. I persevered  but never saw my oil production reduce. For me a clear loser.

Spots Got Shot - $25
You got it! Blemish killer. Or at least it's supposed to help. I did not see any benefit using this product and ditched it for straight up Clearasil after about a month of use.

Glow and Shine -$25
Your typical exfoliating mask. You put it on, let it dry for about 5-10 minutes, then rub it in circles to help exfoliate your skin. I used it a couple of times. Meant to be used once a week, I often forgot it. When I did use it, I found it easy to use and my skin did feel smoother.

My Experience with b.Liv
As I've already hinted, my experience with these products combined was not a positive one. I would use Squeaky Clean to clean my skin twice a day. I would apply Off With Those Heads in problem areas followed by Oil Leviate. I would dab on Spots Got Shot where necessary. As I mentioned, my use of Glow and Shine was minimal.

During the course of using these products (July through the beginning of September... yes I gave the products a fair run, particularly the Squeaky Clean  and Off With Those Heads),  my skin went from not-so-great to THE WORST BLEMISHES I have EVER had! Yes, worse than teenage acne, worse than travel acne, worse than softball face mask acne, worse than any other hormonal acne break out. While all those things (minus teen age acne) were all factors, I've never had my skin go this haywire on me before. That's one reason you haven't seen me post any Face of the Day pics for a while - I really have been avoiding it. It's embarrassing!

Could my breakouts be due to something other than the b.liv line of products? Absolutely. But I'll never know. I went through the whole summer season hoping this line would get through the so-called "purging" phase and I would come out the other end with clear skin, or at least manageable skin. I know that having one's skin get used to a new set of products takes time - and I was willing to give that time to b.liv. I think I continued using it longer than others in my situation would have. On the plus side for the products, Even after 2 months of use I still have plenty left.

In late August I contacted the PR representative again and asked her if I was using the products incorrectly or if there was another way I might need to be using them that would be more advantageous. I received no response. 3 weeks later I followed up - still no response. Therefore I informed the PR representative that I would be switching back to my old products and writing this review. Less than a week after discontinuing usage of all b.liv products my skin started to look better. Thank you, Renee Rouleau Anti-cyst Treatment!

I may revisit some of these products now and again to see if their properties do help (Off With Those Heads for example). I'll never try them all together. I honestly don't know what happened, or if my skin just had a bad reaction. But for the time being I'm also going back to my dermatologist, which I really didn't want to do. He's recommending Accutane now, seeing how bad my skin has gotten.

Bottom Line
Everyone's skin is different, but personally I can not recommend this line.

These products were provided to me by b.Liv PR for review purposes. I am not affiliated with b.Liv and do not sell b.Liv products.