April 28, 2011

Going on a stay-cation... don't forget to enter my April giveaway!

Hello, Beautiful!

It's been just over a week since I packed and shipped my last order for the old ValentineKisses.com. It's been a great week, but I think it's time for a stay-cation.

I won't be away long; I just want enough time to clean my house... to really clean it and get everything organized. I've been so busy running my own businesses for the past 6 years that any free time I did have went to my son or husband, or to sleep (even though I never got much of that). I was pretty good at keeping up with the house and laundry, but all that went downhill about two or three years ago. I hate to admit this, but I haven't cleaned my house on a constant basis for at least two years. I only clean when we need to; such as when family comes to visit or if my son has a party here (like his Halloween party). I barely had time for laundry, and when I did do laundry the clothes never made it out of the laundry room. I'd be lucky to get them out of the dryer! I have a wonderful, large walk-in closet that I don't even use. A closet we built with our own hands and it's going to waste. How pathetic is that? It's just been really frustrating trying to keep up with everything and I'm so excited to finally have the time. After all, that's why I closed the business in the first place.

I took a week to do fun things - like celebrate my son's birthday, do some swatches for the blog, and watch some movies - but now it's time to get down to business and clean!

Hopefully it will just be a few days and then I'll be back to daily posts, but I'm going to stay away long enough to at least get the entire downstairs cleaned, and my son's bedroom and playroom. I should take before and after pics because you would never believe how messy our house is. I'm not embarrassed by that kind of thing, because I honestly think cleaning all the time is a wasted life, but I do like my house to be at least livable. Half the rooms in our house aren't used because of the mess. I want my pole dancing room back! :)

So anyhow, that's where I'll be in case anyone wonders why I'm not posting. I do have a bunch of swatch photos that I already took, I just need to process them, so there is a lot of great posts coming up!

Enter through May 8, 2011!

CLICK HERE for all the details! :)

April 26, 2011

NOTD: Ty's Birthday Glitter!

Hello, Beautiful!

Today (April 26, 2011) my baby boy turns 6 years old! Happy Birthday Ty! :)

In honor of his birthday, and because he really does enjoy picking out colors for me to wear, I had him pick out what he wanted me to wear on my nails for his birthday. He picked out a light lime green (Claire's Grasshopper) and a multi-colored glitter to go on top (Deborah Lippmann's Happy Birthday). I love the green because it's an almost exact match to the color on the walls in our kitchen & dining room (Behr Asparagus); I find the shade fresh and happy.

Also, on a side note, I decided to start using my photography lights for swatches and other photos for this blog and for ValentineKisses.com. I used to have a photography studio and still have all my lighting. I never want to use it because it takes up so much space, but I now have a spot in the house for it so I can easily access anytime. For now on my photos should look a lot better! Let me know what you think of the new lighting set up!

Anyhow, back to Ty's Birthday Glitter mani....

Below are some pics of my son opening his birthday presents, which he opened the night before his birthday. We opened them outside because of how nice it was, and thankfully the wasps were gone.
(Yes I know, the wrapping paper is pink and purple... but I wanted to use some of the gift wrap I had on hand. It was either this, Christmas print, or girls shopping. Plus, my son doesn't care - he actually thought it looked cool).

Eat a cupcake today in honor of Ty's birthday :)

The battle of the multi-colored glitters! Comparison of Deborah Lippmann, Milani, Ulta and Wet n Wild!

Hello, Beautiful!

I've wanted to make this post for awhile now but didn't have the time. I'm excited to show these comparisons because I feel like Deborah Lippmann's Happy Birthday is a shade a lot of people like, but what they don't like is the $18 price tag. I'm happy to show cheaper options!

* UPDATE: I added a new post (on July 23, 2011) comparing 7 different multi-colored glitters. To see the updated multi-colored glitter compare, CLICK HERE

now back to the original post...

The Battle of the Multi-Colored Glitters!
The Line-Up:
[Shown in the photo below from left to right.]
Milani - Gems
Deborah Lippmann - Happy Birthday
Ulta - Pinata-Yada-Yada
Wet n Wild - Party Of Five Glitters

The Swatches:
(all are two coats)

Some More Photos:

Price Compare:
  • Milani - Gems: $4.99 on Cherry Culture's website.
  • Deborah Lippmann - Happy Birthday: $18 on Deborah Lippmann's website.
  • Ulta - Pinata-Yada-Yada: $5 at Ulta (it's sold out online, but used to be found on this page).
  • Wet n Wild - Part Of Five Glitters: $1.99 at select drugstores.

My Thoughts:

If you're looking for a dupe to Deborah Lippmann's Happy Birthday, Milani Gems is the one you want to buy. It's closest in glitter shapes, sizes and colors, as well as the amount of glitter your get using two coats. The only real difference is Milani's version has slightly more silver glitter, while Deborah Lippmann's version has more gold and the base has the slightest yellow tint to it (which you can't see in photos, but makes it looks more gold toned all around compared to Milani's version, which seems more silver toned). The micro glitter shape is different (Deborah Lippmann's version has micro square glitter; Milani's version has micro hex glitter).

Ulta's Pinata-Yada-Yada is another close dupe to Deborah Lippmann's Happy Birthday. The main difference is Ulta's version is missing the large green hex glitter that Deborah Lippmann's version has. The micro glitter shape is different (Deborah Lippmann's version has micro square glitter; Ulta's version has micro hex glitter).
Wet n Wild's Party of Five Glitter is a good multi-colored glitter but not really a full-on dupe for Deborah Lippmann's Happy Birthday. It's missing some key glitter shades - the orange and gold - and the micro glitter shapes are also different (Deborah Lippmann's version has micro square glitter; Wet n Wild's version has micro hex

If I had to pick a favorite I would probably pick Ulta's Pinata-Yada-Yada because I don't miss the green glitter that's in it. The shade of green glitter in Deborah Lippmann's and Milani's versions seems a little too Christmas toned to me. I like that Ulta's version is missing that and in Wet n Wild's version the green is a cooler, blue toned. Don't get me wrong, I love Deborah Lippmann's and Milani's versions. But if I'm picking a favorite I'm picking Ulta's version.

What are your thoughts?

April 25, 2011

NOTD: Golden Rose Paris Holographic polish in #102 - Silver

Hello, Beautiful!

Finally a sunny day where I can wear a holographic polish. I swear, there has been so many rainy and cloudy days and I miss my sparkly, eye-catching holo's! But today the sun has been shining non-stop so I decided to do a holo manicure.

Not too long ago I purchased about 20 some holo polishes from Golden Rose Cosmetics. I swatched them and fell in love. They were beautiful holos - not too in-your-face holo, but still beautiful!

This is one of the Paris Holographic colors - which to me looked the same as the regular holo polishes they have, except you get more.


I was going to do more holo mani's today, all shades from Golden Rose, but then the wasps came out and I had to go back inside. I am NOT a bug person or an outdoors person. Not. At. All. I love sitting outside, but the minute bee's and wasps start to circle me I am inside. Sure I could keep doing holo mani's inside and take photos outside, but I have a bunch of things to do today since my son's 6th birthday is tomorrow! Yay!

I have to bake cupcakes to bring into his class, and bake him a cake, plus wrap his presents. I can't believe my baby is turning six! I thought by now I would have given him a brother or a sister, but sadly, no. Hopefully he'll get the brother and sister he's been asking for. Like I said, one of my goals is to be pregnant within the next year - fertility treatments or natural. I don't care what has to happen. But for now, I will continue to spoil my son and make his life the best it can be!

Tonight is manicure and pedicure night for him... yes, he loves it! He always says "mom, this is so relaxing", haha. I feel bad because his future wife (or husband) is going to hate me for spoiling him this way. Hopefully he'll find someone that can spoil him the same way :)

April 23, 2011

Philosophy Microdelivery One-Minute Purifying Enzyme Peel

Hello, Beautiful!

I think I may be addicted to at-home peels and masks. I don't like spas, so everything for my skin has to be done at-home. I've grown quite the collection and could probably do a peel/mask per day for the next year and not need to buy any new products (okay, maybe not that frequently, but you get the drift).

One of my most recent peel purchases was the Philosophy Microdelivery One-Minute Purifying Enzyme Peel.

I had read the reviews on Sephora and QVC, both of which were very positive. Most peels and masks take anywhere fro 10 to 30 minutes, but Philosophy is great because they make some of the fastest at-home peels/masks (I have their Microdelivery Peel and their Oxygen Peel - both of which take about 5 minutes). But the thought of a one-minute peel really caught my attention, especially with all the amazing reviews.

When I received it in the mail I just kind of put it aside for a few days, but then it was time to do a peel and I reached for it. Even though it's called the "One-Minute" peel, it says to leave it on for 1 to 3 minutes, as tolerated. I tend to leave things on for the maximum amount of time they suggest (and sometimes even slightly longer) to get the most benefits.

Here's what I did the first time I used this:

  1. I washed my face to start with a clean surface (using my Clarisonic and DDF Blemish Foaming Cleanser)
  2. I applied the Philosophy Microdelivery One-Minute Purifying Enzyme Peel to my face. It doesn't look like it's even on there; it goes on very clear. The consistency is a jelly-like product. You only need a thin layer.
  3. I waited 4 minutes. During this time I couldn't see anything working, or really feel anything going on, so it really felt like it was doing nothing.
  4. But then I washed it off... and WOW! Instant results!

Let me tell you, out of all the peels I own, this peel gave me the most results from a single use - especially in just four minutes!

My skin glowed, my pores looked better, my skin felt firmer, and my skin was velvety smooth. Normally my skin will feel smoother and have a glow after an at-home peel/mask, but that's usually where the instant results stop.

I tested it out for just 1 minute on my husband and he has instant results too! His skin was glowing, his pores looked better, and his skin was super smooth. He looks vibrant and awake afterwards, when before his skin looked a bit tired. So really you don't need to leave the peel on for more than a minute to get great results, but if you have the full three minutes I say to go for it.

Here is my before, during & after from today using this:

[I know you can't really see a huge difference in pics, but believe me, in person there is a noticeable difference.]

You can pick up Philosophy's Microdelivery One-Minute Purifying Enzyme Peel at Sephora.com for $40, or pick it up with a 16 fl oz Purity Cleanser at QVC.com for $60 (which I actually just purchased last night when it was at a one-time only value of just $49.50 fo both and on two easy pays! I love this peel too much to not have a back-up!).

Do you own this peel? If so, thoughts? If not, I highly suggest you pick it up!

April 22, 2011

Illamasqua Matt Primer SPF 20: swatches, review

Hello, Beautiful!

I am so excited because I think I may have found my dream primer: Illamasqua's Matt Primer SPF 20!

I had recently purchased Illamasqua's Rich Liquid Foundation and Powder Foundation and fell in love with both, but I skipped over their primer at that time and many times before. I would add the primer to my shopping cart, then remove it. I'd go check out the product page time and time again, then check it out on blogs and YouTube. I just kept skipping it. Why oh why did I wait so long to buy this? This primer works perfectly with my skin!

I tested it out today and let me just say, I am shocked at how good this primer worked! Normally primers work pretty well for me, or so I thought, but this primer blows all other primers away.


Why I Love It:
  • It goes on easily and blends out clear (some white primers can leave a slight ghostly tint behind; this one does not).
  • I didn't have to wait for it to set/dry before I applied my makeup, which is the trick with most primers to get them to work perfectly.
  • My makeup went on perfectly.
  • Even though this does make your skin matte, I didn't feel like my skin was tight or too dry.
  • My makeup lasted all day... and still looks FRESHLY APPLIED hours later!
I have combo oily skin, and makeup easily wears off my face or wears weird. I came home today from running my son to the doctor, then going to the pharmacy, then out to eat and I looked in the mirror in total shock. Usually my makeup would be worn off or spotty, but nope, my makeup looked perfect!

I can't say this primer is going to be a miracle for everyone, but I've found my favorite primer (for now anyway). I'd love to try their Satin Primer in the fall and winter, but I think I'll stick to the Matt Primer for spring and summer

You can buy Illamasqua's Matt Primer on Sephora.com for $30 (they don't carry it at my local Sephora, so call ahead if you plan to buy at the store to make sure they carry this brand).
Do you own this primer? If so, thoughts?

NOTD: Summer Zebra Print

Hello, Beautiful!

I still can't believe I have my time back since closing my business. Even though it's only been 2 days of freedom, I feel incredibly happy. It doesn't feel real yet, but I'm sure it will set in soon. This weekend we are packing everything up from my business and turning that room into a guest suite, and the current guess room back into my exercise/pole dancing room. I think once those changes happen it will start to feel real.

Anyhow, a quick NOTD (and rather sloppy), but since my son is on spring break I wanted to spend more time with him rather than spend time making pretty nails. In fact, I didn't even prep my nails like usual. I just took off my old polish and straight away added a base coat (which is probably why my cuticles look terrible). This whole manicure took me about 15 minutes.

I call it my Summer Zebra Print. The colors - peachy orange and hot pink - remind me of summer anytime I wear them. Even though it's not summer yet, there has been summer-like temps lately (not today though; today it's rainy - which is my favorite kind of weather).

Supplies I used:
Supply List
  • Essie Ridge Filler Base Coat
  • MASH stamping plate m57 - CLICK HERE to see details of this image stamper and 24 other MASH stamping plates.
  • stamper and scraper (I used my old season pass from Kings Dominion)
  • 100% pure acetone polish remover
  • paint brush for clean-up
  • China Glaze in Peachy Keen
  • Sally Hansen Insta-Dri in Racey Rouge
  • Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat

Tutorial and more details will be posted on ValentineKisses.com soon. But for now it's time to make some Easter cookies with my son :)

Have a great weekend everyone!

April 20, 2011

MASH Nail Art Stamping Plates: Review and pics of 25 plates - including showing all designs stamped!

Hello, Beautiful!

I recently received the MASH Nail Art Stamping plates (a set of 25 for $9.99 on Amazon). They're sold out at the present time, but I highly suggest you pick up this set the next time they come in stock.

These plates are really great quality for being just $0.40 per plate!

They stamp beautifully, even with non-stamping polish (I used Sally Hansen's Insta-Dri polish for the sample pics).

I'm not going to post all the pics here on the blog, but you can check them out on the new ValentineKisses.com where I have 25 MASH stamping plates listed - showing each plate and then a paper with each design from each plate stamped out. I really should have used a better polish for this purpose, but it's done now. You'll still get a good idea of the design -- and keep in mind the designs look better on the nail than on paper (since paper soaks up some of the polish and the designs don't look as crisp).

CLICK HERE to see all the MASH stamping plates.

In addition to the MASH plates, I added a nail art stamping photo tutorial. Click here to check that out.

I'm going to add more stamping plates and their designs soon (all the ones from the Born Pretty Store... well, most of them). I don't own any Konad plates, so I can't compare MASH or the Born Pretty Store plates to them, but I can say that the MASH plates were far better than the Born Pretty Store plates. Then again, I did see that the Born Pretty Store now has round plates (they were the hexagon shaped plates) and they look very similar. I ordered some, so I'll have to see if they're the same quality once I receive them.


April 19, 2011

NOTD: Fun Colors Leopard Print

Hello, Beautiful!

I recently received my MASH stamping plates in the mail and couldn't wait to try them out. I'll do a separate review on the MASH stamping plates, but let me just say for only $10 (for 25 plates) they are the best quality "cheapies" around. They're sold out on Amazon, but check back often and snatch them up the second they come back in stock. You won't be disappointed!

Anyhow, onto today's NOTD (Nail Of The Day)...

The first image I wanted to use was the leopard print. It's not hard to make leopard print by hand, but it's far easier to stamp it on. I didn't want to do a traditional leopard print palette of browns, blacks, and golds; instead I wanted something sweet and bright... something that reminded me of Easter. This is what I came up with:

What I Used:
  • MASH Stamping Plate m57
  • Stamper (a generic one I received with other generic stamping plates)
  • An old credit card (to scrape the polish off the stamping plate)
  • Essie - Ridge Filler Base Coat
  • Essie - Mint Candy Apple (base color)
  • Sally Hansen Insta-Dri - Night Flight (my stamping color; the leopard print)
  • China Glaze - Flip Flop Fantasy (pink dots)
  • Seche Vite - Dry Fast Top Coat

What I Did:
  1. After prepping my nails (removing old polish, buffing, cleaning, cuticle care, etc.), I applied one coat of Essie's Ridge Filler Base Coat.
  2. Once my base coat was dry I applied two thin coats of Essie's Mint Candy Apple, followed by one coat of Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat to speed up the process.
  3. I waited about 3 to 5 minutes, then began to stamp.
  4. I applied my polish to the image design (leopard print), scraped it with an old credit card, and transferred it onto the stamper.
  5. Then I rolled the design from the stamper onto my nail.
  6. After I stamped all nails with the leopard print design I went back with a dotting tool (although you could have used a small paint brush) and added pink dots in random spots.
  7. Then I applied one coat of Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat to make sure everything was dry and glossy.