Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Getting Flawless with my Simply Essentials Kabuki Brush

I think I have loved make-up since I was really young. It is always the aisle in the store I am most attracted to, and my wish list is hopelessly never-ending. A little over a year ago a high-end makeup store opened it's doors in my area. I, with my trusty BFF by my side, was one of the first few people to step foot in there and get my eyes on all of the beautiful make-up I can't afford. I was on the search for a full-coverage foundation that was actually *gasp* full-coverage. When the sales associate was helping me, she applied the foundation on my skin with a brush. This was the first time that I had ever used a brush to apply liquid foundation to my face, and from that point on, brushes have been my obsession. I was ecstatic when I was chosen to review the Simply Essentials Kabuki Brush, and this brush does not disappoint!

Please excuse the fact that it is not perfectly polished in the picture.... I could NOT wait to use it. I have zero self-control. As you can see, this is a full-sized brush with a sleek look and a very sturdy wooden handle. The brush itself has very dense, soft bristles which makes coverage a breeze. I use this with mineral powder, loose powder and compact powder, and it works flawlessly. I have a set of pretty expensive brushes, and I reach for this one most often.

I have problematic skin, so I love the ease of full coverage that the Simply Essentials Kabuki Brush provides. I literally buff away my imperfections, leaving my skin with smooth, even coverage. This is achieved through those dense bristles of the brush which are the most functional characteristic of kabuki brushes, and why they are my favorite!

Obviously my brush needs a good washing, but, here is a close-up of those bristles. Speaking of washing, this brush holds up wonderfully through and after cleanings. I will also mention that I have experienced VERY minimal fall out; maybe just a few bristles have fallen out in the months that I have owned it. This brush certainly exceeded my expectations, and I plan to purchase more from this same line in the near future. They come with a 1 year guarantee, so you have nothing to lose!

I use this brush every single day, and I give it 10 stars:

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While this brush has a list price of $31.99, you can grab it off of Amazon for $15.96 right now (go HERE).

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Keeping Hydrated Round the Clock with Hydracentials

If there is one thing I know, it is that I don't drink nearly enough water. It is recommended to drink, what is it.... 8 - 8 ounce glasses of water a day? So that is 64 fluid ounces of water, and quite frankly, ain't nobody got time for that! Does my morning coffee count? I mean, I put water in the coffee maker.... it is just tinged with ground coffee. Sounds legit, right? Ok, good! Anyway... I have found one thing that has made my water consumption more of a priority, and that is my new Hydracentials Sporty 25 oz Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle!

Love, love, love this water bottle, and my kids do too! This is a large sized bottle (25 oz), which I appreciate because I only have to fill it up a few times per day to get the recommended water consumption. Additionally, this is beyond convenient to take with me if I am on the go. The spout can lay back into the handle for easier travel, and is super easy to pop open when it's time to take a sip - Even my two year old has it figured out (and consistently steals it from me). Another one of my favorite features is the soft foam bottom. Stainless steel water bottles can be "clanky" (for lack of a better word), I appreciate the sturdy, quiet base that this foam bottom provides. It is like a built-in coaster!

Aside from looking so classy, I am pleased to say that the double vacuum wall keeps my drinks chilly for hours! There is nothing more disappointing than hot water after a long walk, or a sweaty work-out session - Not happening with the Hydracentials . I also received that nice gray koozie, which hugs the water bottle so perfectly! The Hydracentials Water Bottle is BPA free and made with 18/8 food quality stainless steel, giving you the added benefits of no chemical leaching into your drinks! I use this strictly for water, but I think you could use this with any cold drink - It is never to be used with hot drinks, however. I find this to be easy to clean, and the straw actually detaches from the top to make cleaning more thorough.

I absolutely adore the Hydracentials Sporty 25 oz Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle and give it 10 stars:

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I know you need one now too, so go HERE and grab it while it is reduced in price to $27.97!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

{Book Review} - A Deadly Business by Lis Wiehl

If you love to read novels that focus on crime, murder and mystery, you should definitely grab yourself a copy of A Deadly Business by Lis Wiehl. While this is the second book featuring detective Mia Quinn (the first is A Matter of Truth), it can easily be read as a standalone. Mia Quinn is a single parent and a prosecutor who works on high profile violent crimes. As if caring for her children and prosecuting some truly difficult cases is not enough, she recently lost her husband in a car accident, which homicide detective Charlie Carlson has come to believe was not an accident after all. As they delve into this new possibility, a string of hard-to-swallow scandal and chaos ensues making Mia question if she really knew her husband at all. This book is a fast-paced page turner with action and (some predictable) surprises at each turn of the page. Additionally, the scenarios in this book beg the question: Do you really want the truth, no matter the cost?

Over the Summer I was given the opportunity to read the book A Deadly Business by Lis Wiehl, and this was such a wonderful Summer read. I found myself flying through it with little effort. The story line is easy to follow and attention-grabbing to keep you turning those pages. The chapters are short in length, so I found that I would persuade myself that "of course I had time for one more chapter", which may have turned into TEN more chapters. It flows beautifully, so you never have to second-guess your reading or go back to make sure you understood correctly. These kinds of books are perfect for the beach, or now that it is officially Fall, great to pair with a warm blanket and a cup of hot cocoa. I highly recommend this book if you are looking for something engaging and entertaining without making you over think and analyze every sentence.

I rate A Deadly Business with 9 stars:

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Disclosure: As a member of the BookLook Blogger Network, I received an electronic copy of this book complimentary in exchange for an honest review. The opinions in this review are honest, and my own.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Getting That Straight, Sleek Look with the Gurin Hair Straightener

I have semi-weird hair that has caused much jealousy in my life for people who so effortlessly have gorgeous hair ALL. THE. TIME. I envy the long, shiny, frizz-free look, and, while I do not have curly hair, I have stubborn hair that is dangerously persuaded by the weather. I have a natural wave to my hair if I let it air dry. In my dreams, it looks like nice tousled beach waves, but in reality, I look like I have a head of hair that doesn't know if it wants to be curly or straight. If I blow dry it, it looks poofy all around, and for some reason, the hairs on the underside always try to curl or wave or do whatever the rest of my hair is NOT doing. It is coarser, curlier and just has a mind of it's own; it is very resistant to styling, and the second it becomes humid out, any previous styling to those hairs is forgotten. I have been using a flat iron for a LONG time to get the straight hair look that better suits my preferences, and puts those rebellious hairs in their place. I used to use a wide flat iron, but coveted the preciseness of the skinnier ones. You can imagine my excitement when I was given the opportunity to review a 1.25" Ceramic Flat Iron from Gurin.

The Box, The Flat Iron, The Super-Cute Travel Bag
I use this flat iron almost everyday, and I have run into zero problems! The controls are very basic (see below), so you can easily turn the flat iron on and off and adjust the heat setting which ranges from 140°F to 450°F (120°C - 220°C). I tend to lean towards the highest heat setting to save time, although everyone is different, and no two heads of hair are alike, so you can play around with it to find out which setting works best for you. 


It also has a "ready" light that is red when you turn it on, and turns green when the iron has reached your desired temperature. I have found that this heats right up within a minute or two, which is amazing for those days when you are running late, or thought you turned it on, but really didn't. The plates of the flat iron are ceramic/tourmaline providing a soft, silky look while saving you time. 

Not Ready

The Gurin Hair Straightener has provided me with reliable, consistent performance day after day with no faulty functioning. If you are in the market for a flat iron, I would highly recommend this one as it can deliver straight, frizz-free locks or styles with flips and curls after a simple flick of the wrist. I love that styling my hair takes only a few minutes from the time I turn the flat iron on to the time I shut it off. 

Here is a picture of my hair 8 hours after straightening it with the Gurin Hair Straightener (and putting it up and down and up and down all day long):

I give the Gurin Hair Straightener 8 stars:

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If you are interested in buying one for yourself, or a special person in your life, you can do so HERE for only $20.95 (they are on sale right now - I have no idea how long that will last).

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Cleansing Your Skin With Oil - Featuring Instanatural Deep Cleansing Facial Oil

I have fought long and hard to not jump on the whole "oil" bandwagon that seems to be overtaking the skin, body and hair scene these days. From Argan oil to Coconut oil to Cleansing oils, it is just everywhere. For some reason I always thought of oil as greasy because, lets face it, it IS! I never wanted to put it in my hair because I figured it would make my hair look un-washed, I never wanted to put it on my body because I figured it would make my skin slimy and would stick to/stain my clothes, and I never once thought of cleansing my skin with it because I figured that: acne + oily = more acne and shiny, oily skin. In the recent past I have tried oil in many different forms, and much to my surprise, it has been exactly the opposite of what I expected. I now use it daily in my hair and on my body. The one I was most hesitant to try it on was my face, due to my acne, but I gave it a shot when I was given the opportunity to review Instantural's Deep Cleansing Facial Oil.

Once you start researching oils, one of the first myths that gets busted is the fact that oil doesn't make you "oily". It is actually such a benefit for people with oily skin to use oil to cleanse their skin with! You see, oil attracts oil, versus water, which opposes oil. When you wash your face with oil, it pulls the dirt and oil from within your pores, whereas water and a cleanser may clean the surface of your skin, but it will likely not pull to dirt and oil from your pores as effectively as oil.

The Instanatural Deep Cleansing Facial Oil has a lemony-fresh scent that is energizing, especially for those early mornings. It has a very convenient pump-top, which allows you to pump your oil before cleansing (I use between 3 and 4 pumps for my face). I massage it all around my face as I would any cleanser (if you have a facial sponge, those work great for this too!), and use a warm, wet washcloth to wipe it off after about a minute (remember water and oil do not mix, so trying to splash your face with water is not going to remove the oil as thoroughly as a warm washcloth). This stuff is superb and taking off make-up (obviously, since a good portion of make-up is oil based) - even MASCARA! On days that I do not use it as a cleanser, I use it as an eye make-up remover. It works perfectly, and more importantly, doesn't irritate my eyes! Additionally, this can be used post-shave to soothe any irritation. This oil is made with only natural and organic ingredients, so you can feel safe using it.


4I really love this oil, and it has quickly become a staple in my beauty regimen. For that, I give it 10 stars:

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If you are interested in purchasing the Instanatural Deep Cleansing Facial Oil, you may do so here where it is $19.95 for the generous 4 fluid ounce size. Additionally, be sure to follow InstaNatural on  FacebookTwitter and Google + to keep up with new products and promotions!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

{Book Review} - The Execution of Noa P. Singleton by Elizabeth L. Silver

I am a book worm.... I just really, really, really, love to curl up with a good book and just devour the words right off of the pages. I have always loved to read, so being given the opportunity to review books is always one of my favorite things. I was recently invited to a community of book bloggers, Blogging For Books, where I am given the opportunity to, surprise, review books! The first book that I chose was The Execution of Noa P. Singleton. This is a debut novel for author Elizabeth L. Silver.

The novel revolves around Noa, who is on death row for murder. Only 6 months before "X-day" (the day she is executed), the mother of the woman that Noa murdered has had a change of heart, and wants to see her life spared in exchange for her story, as she never spoke on behalf of herself against this crime. The story is told in Noa's perspective and flashes back and forth between the past, where you learn about her negligent mother and her absent father, and her present, as she waits on death row attempting to make sense of her victim's mother coming to her defense.

As a lover of all books suspense, psychological thriller, murder-mystery, etc... I was so drawn by the premise of this book. However, once I started reading, I had a difficult time staying as highly interested. The book is very wordy, and at times would distract from the story line. I still found the book to be enjoyable as I was incredibly anxious to see how it would end (and there is a twist at the end, which I always appreciate). If you are turned off by the overuse of similes and metaphors, then I would not recommend this book. If you find them helpful for painting a picture in your mind, then you may love Silver's use of them throughout the novel. I really enjoy the act of reading itself, and was not entirely bothered by this, however, it is prevalent enough that it deserves mentioning.

Overall, I enjoyed this book, and I give it 6 stars:

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****I would highly suggest reading a handful of reviews on Amazon before you decide to purchase this book to get a better idea of whether this book may be the right one for you. Because this book has reviews that seriously range across the board, I think it would be best to consider your personal preferences in reading material and style before deciding to read. 

Disclosure: I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Supple Skin with Foxbrim

Although I recently reviewed a moisturizer that I think will be perfect for Winter, I want to focus on another moisturizer that is great year round: Foxbrim's Complete Anti-Aging Moisturizer. I have skin that leans on the border of not dry to almost oily during the Summer months, and disgustingly dry in the Winter months. I have found that I need to change the way I moisturize my skin throughout the seasons to keep from looking like I either rubbed my face all over a greasy pizza, or like I may be experiencing a bout of Leprocy. I have found great success with using a lighter moisturizer in the warmer months, and a heavier one in the colder months. I recently was given the opportunity to try out Foxbrim's Retinol-Based Anti-Aging Moisturizer, and am very satisfied with it's performance.

I LOVE the pump top. I cannot express how truly magnificent all beauty products would be if they just used a pump top. It is mess-free, less wasteful, more attractive and just all around the best idea ever. The moisturizer itself has the consistency of a lotion, so it goes on evenly, and is not thick or overpowering. It is fragrance free, making it non-irritating to your skin, or your senses. The Foxbrim Complete Anti-
Agng Moisturizer contains a generous 1% of Retinol, with the added benefit of Vitamin A and antioxidants to reduce the drying and flakiness that can be common with Retinol exposure. Due to the organic and natural ingredients, this moisturizer is best for all skin types, even sensitive skin!

I use this morning and night after washing and toning my face. I have found that it provides all day (or night) moisture in a non-greasy or irritating way. I prefer using this during the warmer months because it is so lightweight for having such a creamy consistency. I think this would be perfect for someone who is blessed with "normal" skin, as they could use it year round. I feel that I need something heavier in the colder months to make up for my dry, dry skin, but I am willing to ride this one out as far as I can to see if it can get me through those harsh Winter months. As always, I am also a huge fan of any company that makes it a priority to use natural and organic ingredients with no parabens, additives and remains cruelty-free. Even though that cute little fox is on the bottle, they do not test on animals!

If you are in need of a new moisturizer, and feel that you could benefit from the anti-aging effects of Retinol, I highly recommend the Foxbrim Complete Anti-Aging Moisturizer with 9 stars:

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I would suggest you RUN to get it because it is currently only $17.95 on Amazon, when the list price is $79.99. Otherwise check out their website, or give them a shout out on Facebook (tell them Momma of 2 Review sent you), or follow them on Pinterest for all of your skincare ideas.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.