Tag Archives: sparkle

July: Sparkle or Dull?

This month I decided to do something a little different and review something I have gotten so many messages about: My summer Fab Fit Funbox!

Chances are if you have Facebook you have seen at least one sponsored ad from a D list celebrity talking about this quarterly box of goodies tailored to you. I would see these posts daily and wonder if they were as awesome as they appeared to be, and with so many of these boxes being out on the market, why this one? Is it better than its competitors, like Bless Box, Ipsy, Birchbox, Boxycharm, Beauty Box, or Babe Boxx to name a few?

If you dig far enough back in this blog, I’ve reviewed both Birchbox and Ipsy before, as I used to subscribe to box. Both were a lower price point at $9.99 a month, but I ended up canceling both due to the fact that I felt they weren’t paying any attention to the profile I had created. For example, I had been very specific that I didn’t want hair care products in my box, as I am very weird about what I use on my hair and was more interested in makeup/skincare items. Several months in a row I ended up with duplicate items, all hair oriented, and customer service never seemed to give me an answer why this was happening. For me, it didn’t end up being worth it.

So back to Fab Fit Fun….with a $49.95 quarterly price tag, I was a tad bit skeptical. However, my mom had ordered one the previous quarter, as did my aunt, and they both loved it. If it passes the Mom test, it’s golden, right???

My mom actually had secretly ordered one to be delivered to me, so when it arrived on my doorstep, I was super excited! I couldn’t wait to see what was in it!

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My Fab Fit Fun box!

Here’s a breakdown of everything I received in my box! You can click the link to view the item, learn more about them, and see the cost of each item individually if you don’t believe me when I share!

Mystic Bar necklace by Kris Nations: I love jewelry, and I’m really into the color turquoise, so I loved this necklace immediately. It is simple enough that I can layer with other necklaces, but substantial enough to wear it on its own. It retails for $58….right there the price of the entire box has been exceeded!

Bkr Little Water Bottle: I have been using this thing constantly! I received the Romeo bottle; my mother received Rosy, a pink color. This product retails for $35. They have lots of colors and styles based on your preference!

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Cargo HD Picture Perfect Highlighter: As a makeup lover, I can honestly say that I had never heard of the Cargo brand, which meant I wanted to try this product first. I love highlighting, and my go to is an illuminator from Urban Decay. I love that product so much and didn’t anticipate liking this product as much as I did. It has a great shimmer to it, goes on smooth, and looks amazing in photos and when the light hits it (it retails for $30). I definitely will be giving this brand a chance moving forward and this highlighter will be replacing my Urban Decay!

Juice Beauty Eye Concentrate: I’ve seen the Juice Beauty brand at Ulta in the past, but, again, never tried it. When it comes to under eye products, I am a big fan of Benefit Cosmetics’ It’s Potent! Undereye cream….it is a killer product that I have been using for years. I replaced my Benefit with this Juice Beauty product every day for a week and loved it….it had a great smell and texture, and it wasn’t heavy if worn under makeup. At $29, it is cheaper than the Benefit product I use, but I didn’t like it as much as what I currently use. I still think this is a great quality product that I would recommend.

Eau Thermale Avene Hydrating Sunscreen: I have yet to use this product, as I haven’t been in the sun or to a beach since I received it. However, I have a few beach trips coming up that I will allow me to try it out! All I can attest to is that it smells great!

Understated Leather On the Road Again Travel Set: Guys, I am obsessed with this! As you know, I travel a lot, and surprisingly one thing I don’t own is a cover for my passport. I’m not sure how I have lived so long without one, but I love the quality and texture of this! It came paired with a matching luggage tag and retails for $28.

Klorane Dry Shampoo: I’ve been very upfront with everyone about my love for dry shampoo….it’s my secret to only washing my hair once every two weeks or so. I’ve been a loyal Batiste user for a loooooonnnnggggg time. This product intrigued me because it claimed to not leave a white residue after application and was made with oat milk. Even though I have perfected a system to ensure no white is hanging out in my hair, I’d still love a product that allowed me to cut out that step. Surprisingly, this product was awesome and lived up to its hype. I loved the smell, and it did the same for my hair as Batiste. The only negative to this? It has a $20 price tag as opposed to the $8 one of Batiste, so I don’t know if I love it that much more to fire my trusty faithful brand.

Michael Star Ruana: I was most excited about this ruana! I love anything that is versatile, and I loved the colors of the product! I’ve been wearing it with a belt and love that look, but I’m also a huge fan of how it looks when it is loose and flowy. Allegedly I can wear this as a scarf or sarong, but I haven’t tried either way yet. This ruana retails for $58 (I included the website for others similar since this one is sold out) and if I hadn’t received anything else but this item, I would’ve still been happy.

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Items in the box differ based on how you complete the profile. My mother got the ruana  in black, and she also got an art kit instead of the travel set. Some people received a himalayan salt kit, and some also got a massage oil instead of the dry shampoo.

Overall Verdict: SPARKLE!

This Fab Fit Fun box was a great value and was full of amazing products. I 100% recommend it to you if you’ve been on the fence about trying it!

sparkleon

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June: Sparkle or Dull?

When it comes to the beauty items I review, I always try my best to not just review the higher end brands but also the cheaper items that can easily be found at your local drug store. Some of the cheaper products I have reviewed have become staples in my makeup collection, beating out those that are more expensive by a long shot….and I’d be lying if I said that didn’t excite me! It’s always a great thing to save money!

Last July I reviewed a waterproof eyeliner by Stila (read that review here) after having a disastrous time with the cheapo eyeliner I had been using for awhile. I loved it…it was essentially an easy to use magic marker for my eye, and it stayed on like a champ. However, one negative thing about it…..well, about me….is that I use A LOT of eyeliner, and I felt I was going through this pen like crazy. At a little over $20 per eyeliner, I wanted to see if I could find a more cost effective product.

Product #1: Nyx Super Skinny Eye Marker

Whenever I am trying to find a more cost effective beauty product, one of my go to brands is always Nyx. Nyx can be found at Ulta, but also Target, Walmart, and various drug stores. Ulta often has buy one Nyx item, get one half off, so I timed this purchase up with another Nyx purchase (Im a huge fan of their HD powder), making it about $5.

As I mentioned, I loved that the Stila pen was like a large marker…that helps with precision when drawing on your eyeliner and also draws on a cleaner line in my opinion. Since this item had “marker” in the title, I figured it would be a great one to try.

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For starters, I wanted to share with you the two side by side. Not only is the Nyx product cheaper, but it is larger. I like that. I like that a lot. Once you remove the lid, the items look basically identical. Like Stila, the Nyx liner comes in a variety of colors for those of you not into jet black liner like I am.

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I was really impressed by this product. Everything I loved about the Stila liner I loved with this one as well. The only negative: the color wasn’t as bold as the Stila, but it was still enough for me to be satisfied…I think I’m just used to that super black in your face color.

FINAL VERDICT: Sparkle! Use the money you save by buying this product and hook yourself up with something else fun!

Product #2: Elf Makeup Remover Pen

Elf is a lower cost brand that is right up there with Nyx. I’ve reviewed their products many times before and am always pleased. They are extremely affordable, great quality, and can be found in most stores, including Target and Walmart.

A while back I was watching a youtube tutorial when the girl in it mentioned she always carried an Elf makeup remover pen with her. Surprisingly, I had never heard of or tried this item, and immediately went to Target to snag one. At $2.99, I hoped this product was as good as she claimed.

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Here’s the thing with me: I know I know what’s going on with makeup application, and during the application process I rarely make a mistake. Buuuutttt……I always seem to sneeze right after I put on my mascara and/or lashes, so I am constantly ending up with black dots or lines that aren’t attractive. Sometimes this means having to redo the entire eye, which is such a pain in the ass. I hoped this product would be a little lifesaver. Fortunately for me the day I wanted to try this product I went on a sneezing binge.

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See those cute black dots? Thanks mascara/liner/whatever. Instead of freaking out, I opened up my makeup remover pen and simply ran it over the mess. It immediately was gone. There was a very small area that needed touched up….easy with a little concealer…..but other than that my eyes were safe from destruction.

The only negative thing I see with some Elf products: they don’t last nearly as long as others. I’ve only used this pen a handful of times and am wondering how much life it has left…I’m guessing I’ll know the answer this week when I take it to New Orleans and will be using it for photo shoots and other fun things.

FINAL VERDICT: Sparkle. It’s definitely something you want to have on hand for emergencies and can save you a lot of makeup aggravation.

I always love 2/2 months! If you try these items, let me know….I always love hearing from you guys!

Hope your day (and beauty routine) is full of sparkle!

sparkleon

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January: Sparkle or Dull?

Back at it with some makeup reviews, friends! Sidetone: Sparkle or Dull has officially turned ONE year old! Yay! I’m so glad you guys like the reviews of various beauty products and enjoy all of your feedback! I hope this segment on my blog has helped you in some way!

Let’s chat products!

PRODUCT #1: Too Faced White Chocolate Chip Palette

If you’ve been around the makeup block for awhile, you know that Too Faced is my main eyeshadow brand.I’ve always loved the pigment of the palettes, the way they smell, and I just think the overall quality is great. As someone who owns literally EVERY palette they have ever made, I’d like to think I know a thing or two about their products.

When the White Chocolate Chip palette was released, naturally it went out of stock almost immediately. Usually I grab these items asap, but for some reason I was slacking around the time it was released and wasn’t able to get it until it was restocked after Christmas….perfect timing since I had a ton of Sephora gift cards (people know what makes me tick).
Screen Shot 2017-02-06 at 6.25.30 AM.pngLately I have been gravitating toward more pink hues for my eyes, a color I typically don’t do. I was excited about the colors in this palette because the majority were ones I didn’t really own in addition to the fact that the colors fell into the pink trend I was loving.

Sephora was out of stock in the store with the palette, so they ordered it online so it could be delivered to me. Oh, the anticipation!

And then I got the palette…..and my excitement somewhat diminished.

Here’s the thing about Too Faced products….as I mentioned, the quality is great, but one downfall is that they aren’t cheap. Since I own so many of their items, I know what to expect when it comes to the size of the palettes.

This thing….yeah, no where near their normal palette size.

I opened the box to find an item literally the size of a credit card. WHAT????!!!!!! Besides that fact, it was exponentially thinner . Too Faced, what is happening here?

 

FINAL VERDICT: DULL-ISH
Overall, the colors are great…..the smell of the palette is nice….but I don’t feel like it is a good value. When I can buy one of the Chocolate Bar palettes that feature way more shadows for about $15 more, why would I want to buy something this size? If you don’t care about cost then this would probably be a sparkle in your world….so really this product could go either way for me.

Product #2 Precisely, My Brow Pencil by Benefit

I know, I know….you may be asking yourself “Why is she reviewing ANOTHER brow product”…….

Well, I had to, my friends.

October’s S or D featured a random find from Target, a brow pencil from Elf. I loved loved LOVED this product…even after I realized it didn’t last long (about 7-10 uses). For a few bucks and the great color I was okay with it though…until I went to Target and they stopped carrying my color!

If you are someone who uses the lightest shade, you are still in luck. I’ve been creeping various Targets and stores that carry the Elf brand, and the color I use seems to have magically vanished. Whatever.

I needed a brow product replacement and decided it was finally time to give Benefit a chance. I’ve been hearing about their brow line for awhile but didn’t know if it would be worth a try….which is usually my hang up with a product. And, like many items, I was expecting a disappointment.

WRONG.

FINAL VERDICT: SPARKLE!!!!

Let’s cover everything I like about this product:

-The color is spot on….and, unlike many brow products, there is a wider variety of colors to choose from.

-There’s a lot of product in here….I’ve been using this for well over a month, and we are still rocking it out.

-The precision of the pencil is great for shaping your brows with smooth lines.

-The spoolie is fantastic.

100% worth it.
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Have you tried either product? Tell me your thoughts!

sparkleon

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#Lashgamestrong

Oh, lashes…..how I love you. Let me count thy ways.

I talk a lot about consistency with workouts and nutrition and do my best to be consistent, but I’m human….so sometimes I fall off the wagon. When it comes to my lashes though….those…those I am consistent with every.single.day. I never fall off the lash wagon!

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So many lashes, so little time. 

I get a lot of questions about them….like why i love them, what ones are my favorite, why don’t I try extensions, why don’t I try this lash product or lash product, yadda yadda. Let me break down my lashes for y’all.

Let’s address extensions first and foremost…….

I was born with lovely lashes (thanks, parents) and honestly only used mascara up until about four years ago or so. Occasionally I wore falsies for a special event or wedding, but that only  happened a handful of times a year, not daily. As I got more and more into the makeup scene and doing makeup for friends, I realized I loved the look of longer, fuller lashes, so I made the decision to get eyelash extensions.

I waited a while to do this, researching Do’s and Don’ts because I had heard horror stories about lash extensions. On the flip, my dear friend and personal makeup consultant, Marenda, had gotten them done, as had my cousin, and both had fabulous experiences.

My appointment was scheduled over Fourth of July weekend in 2015, and I conveniently made it on the day of my engagement photos. In my mind it was the perfect time to get them done, and I was excited at the thought of these super glam lashes in our photos.

The place….exactly the kind of place I would usually go…trendy and modern, and my lash “expert” was the kind of person who seemed to really know her stuff….at first. I had called ahead of time to ask questions about how they did things and wanted to make sure they did not use a glue with formaldehyde, which is common in glues purchased overseas. They assured me they didn’t.

I’m going to spare you the complete details of the experience because it was wretched, but I will tell you it left me calling Marenda, who was on her way over to do my makeup for the engagement shoot, in tears.  The lashes looked terrible….wonky like Helen Keller had applied them because they were all curving in different directions, and the “expert” told me when I was paying that the glue in fact had formaldehyde in it. Cool.

Ren saved the day for the engagement photo shoot (thank heavens), but the weeks to follow included my lashes falling out and, at one point, me having barely any lashes at all. It was a sweet look, let me tell you. In order to avoid looking scary, I started applying my falsies daily. As my lashes grew back, I continued to wear falsies because they didn’t grow back the way they were before (Spoiler alert: they STILL aren’t the way they used to be). I’ve been in a serious relationship with lashes ever since.

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Thankful for a talented friend for making my lashes look great for this shoot!

What are the lash products I swear by?

I have an extensive collection of lashes ranging from drugstore brands to more expensive ones. My favorites are from House of Lashes and are the Heartbreakers, but I also love the Faux Mink lashes from Lilly Lashes…..I wear these a lot when I want a more dramatic look. My wedding look featured the Miami lashes from Lilly!

The most important thing with lashes….whether they are cheap ones or the more expensive ones is THE GLUE! Having quality glue is the most important thing. I swear by the HOL Glue and recommend it to everyone….trust me on this! It is worth the cost and is the best product out there for lashes. I carry the travel size glue with me at all times, and the full size is always stocked up. This product is formaldehyde, phthalates, and paragons free and great if you have sensitive eyes.

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My wedding day lashes.

Were lashes tricky at first? Absolutely. There were days where I couldn’t get them to stay on…or they were off centered….or I didnt let the glue get tacky enough to apply them so they were a hot mess and my fingers got sticky. It took awhile for me to get to the point where I could apply them in less than a minute per lash.

If you are new to lash wear, here are a few basic Katie tips to help you out:

1. After applying glue to the lash, let it chill for about thirty seconds before attempting application. This is important….they adhere better when the glue is tacky.

2. Purchase quality glue (as already addressed).

3. Realize you may have to trim the lashes down. Sometimes I purchase a pair and realize they are too long to fit on my lid, so I have to cut a small piece of the end off. You want to wear the lash, not have the lash where you.

4. Have a storage system for them. Guys, lashes can be reused again and again. Don’t toss them after a single use….clean them and reuse! I use rubbing alcohol to clean mine…easy and inexpensive.

5. Tweezers are the best applicator!

Here’s a quick video I made awhile back to help you with eyelash application! Give it a try…..and if you DO opt for extensions….do you research so you don’t have a horrible experience like I did.

Why do I lash? I love changing my eye look daily….the love how easy they are to wear….how inexpensive they are…and just how badass they make me feel. 

Long live the Lash!

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November : Sparkle or Dull?

Guys!

This Sparkle or Dull blog….what a headache it has been! The month is nearly over!

I had gotten quite a few requests to review a certain product, and it took me nearly 8 weeks to receive it! Apparently my package got lost in the mail not once, but TWICE, but it finally arrived two days ago, so I jumped right to the review. I was assured that is not the norm with the company’s shipping….so if you order from the same site I share below, don’t fret! Since I was hell bent on reviewing the item AND I don’t do a December Sparkle or Dull (I do a wrap up of some of my favorite finds instead), I had to wait to try the product out before posting!

Product #1: Pantene Pro-V Root Reboot Dry Shampoo

First of all, this isn’t the item I was waiting on…..this you can find at any drugstore, Wal-Mart, Target, etc.

I recently was reading a Cosmopolitan magazine (Yes, I still like to read them) and stumbled across a list of their best beauty finds of the year. I disagreed with most of them (shocker), but I was intrigued when they named this Pantene product as the best dry shampoo.

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You guys all know how I feel about dry shampoo….I wash my hair about once every two weeks so I rely on a quality dry shampoo to save me the other days. I have been having a love affair with Batiste dry shampoo for quite some time and did not have any desire to cheat on it….but thought just trying out this product would be ok. Who knows, I may love it more!

For starters, they aren’t far off in price. The Pantene product was about $6 at CVS when I snagged it, and Batiste is usually about $8. I always take advantage of the Buy 1, Get one 1/2 off sale on that, and when you pair with a coupon at Ulta it actually ends up being cheaper.

The point of dry shampoo is obviously to suck up the grease or nastiness hanging out in your hair, and Batiste does that incredibly well. When I tried this Root Reboot…..I did not think the same. At first it felt similar to the Batiste, but after I used my token hairdryer trick, I realized my hair still looked greasy and gross. The only benefit to it: It smelled nice, but then again, so does Batiste, and I have options for scents with that one.

This may be a better product for baby fine hair? I’m not sure, but to be named Best Dry Shampoo of the year by Cosmo SOMEONE had to like it…just not sure what hair type that person had. I let one of my pals with finer hair take it and am waiting back for a report from her.

Final Verdict: DULL.

Product #2: Max Makeup Cherimoya Lip Tattoo

Ok….this is the item I waited and waited and waited for!

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Couple of things to talk about first…..I’ve been completely skeptical of these kinds of products since they hit the market. I mean….you put something on your lips, let it harden, peel it off, and the color stays? Yeah right. There are so many different kinds of lip tattoos out there (the one I got was temporarily sold out when I visited the site to link it for this blog) that I had a difficult time narrowing down what one to try. Honestly, I just went with the first one that popped up, and I have tried Cherimoya items before with success, so I figured it was a good option.

This definitely deserved a full video review so this blog is turning into a mini vlog.

My pieces of advice just to recap some of the things in the video:

1. Always look at the before and AFTER color swatches before purchasing…they will be different.

2. Use a lip brush to apply product evenly.

3. Make sure it is completely dried before peeling.

4. Be careful…it will dye your hands, clothes, etc.

5. I recommend exfoliating before use!

Definitely glad I gave this a chance and am excited to try more colors!

Final Verdict: SPARKLE!!!!

If you try a different brand, share your experience with me! I want to know what everyone likes when it comes to similar products!

sparkleon

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Things your Beachbody Coach Wants You to Know

When I began my journey with online fitness and wellness coaching a little over three years ago , I had no clue what I was doing. I did know I was starting something incredible…but I had so many questions that I kept to myself. With so many people reaching out inquiring about programs and solutions….especially with New Year’s and resolutions looming….I wanted to take a minute to share a few things that I, as your coach (or future coach) want you to know.

1. I want to help you….and will continue to help you….long past your initial purchase. My role as your coach is to help you for as long as you need it….whether that be for a month, a program, a year, or forever. My customers always have access to one on one support and all of my challenge groups, as my goal is to help you reach whatever goals you have set for yourself. I don’t mindread though(unfortunately)….so please don’t hesitate to tell me if you need more help!

2. I want to see those sweaty selfies and pictures of your food! I read somewhere recently that one of the top reasons why people are defriended on Facebook is because they post pictures of their food. Are you serious???!!!! I am proud of my clients when they share healthy changes they are making, and it makes me sad that some people are afraid they will be the butt of other people’s jokes when they share something healthy they are doing. Let me be real: I post my sweaty selfies because I need the accountability, and I know there are people who will shoot me a message if I don’t share something about a workout to make sure things are ok. When it comes to sharing what I am eating….I hope it encourages someone to try a new recipe or get past the idea that eating healthy is difficult or bland. When you share what you are eating for dinner, my wheels are turning and I am looking at a new addition for my next meal plan.

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3. I get you free stuff! When you purchase a bundle from a coach, you get a special thank you gift….a FREE workout! Having the ability to be in my challenge groups allows you to win lots of fun prizes, and once you finish a program I help you get your free completion t-shirt! Free stuff is lovely. Don’t pretend like it isn’t. Purchasing from a coach is different from getting programs from a random site….here’s a little more about that……

4. I struggle with workouts and eating healthy, too. I think a lot of people are intimidated by working with a coach because they think they have to be perfect and never mess up a meal plan or skip a workout. WRONG! Guys, I mess up all the time! I practice a life of balance, so I eat clean 80% of the time, but sometimes I overindulge more than I want. Some mornings I don’t want to workout and press the snooze button. Some days my workouts straight up suck and I don’t give it my all. The joy of working with a coach is having accountability and someone who has solutions when these things come up. Fitness is a journey with ups and downs…we all have them….but it sure is nice to have someone in your corner when you are having a down day to help power you through it.

5. I will take you back regardless of how many times you break up with me. Life happens. You may not finish a program. You may disappear in a challenge group. You might ignore my emails checking in on your progress for a month straight. It’s ok….when you are ready to get back on track, I will take you back, no worries.I just want to help you reach whatever goal you have!

6. Yes, I really do love Shakeology. Giving this product a chance was the best thing I ever did for my health. I realized very early on that it played a HUGE part in the weight loss success I had and it is the saving grace every night when my chocolate cravings fire up.  If you are starting a program and not seeing the results you want, your nutrition needs to be looked at, and, as your coach, I am most definitely going to recommend this bad boy. Don’t compare this item to another shake…there isn’t one out there that can compare. Comparing this shake to those is like comparing the rides at DisneyWorld to the horsey ride in the food court at the mall. I don’t just talk the talk with the products Beachbody offers; I genuinely love them and value what they do for my health and longevity.

7. No, I don’t love every program Beachbody has, and I will be honest with you when it comes to them. I’m not some robot….and I am very opinionated. I’ve tried pretty much every single program we have to offer because I think it is important to know first hand what is great or not so great about a program, and I want to be able to answer any question a client has. I’ve fallen in love with many and hated some as well. My goal is to help connect you to the right program, so I will always share with you what recommendations I think would be best based on what your goals are and what you like.

8. I love what I do, and I truly want everyone to find something they love like this. I’d love everyone to be a coach, but I know it isn’t for everyone. I’m sad when people write off what I do, but I have learned that if someone feels that way they don’t really know me and what makes me tick. I live for helping others and sharing my sparkle with everyone I meet. I want to make the lives of everyone I know better in whatever way I can. It look me 32 years to find this opportunity. If you haven’t found something that lights a fire in your soul yet, maybe you are overlooking it. I’d love for you to see what I see in coaching.

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Enjoying the view from our balcony on last year’s All Expenses Paid Cruise to the Bahamas and Jamaica.

My team and I are hosting an online open house that is sharing a behind the scenes look at coaching this Sunday, the 27th. We will be answering lots more questions and sharing more of our hearts with you about why we love this business. Join us! You have nothing to lose and can see if it is something you want to learn more about! Fill out this quick form so I know to add you, and connect with me on Facebook by searching for The Sparkle Fitness Babe!

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October: Sparkle or Dull?

My makeup peeps…..why are there so many new and fabulous products being released???? Seriously! There are so many that I want to try out for you guys!

This month I decided to review a purchase I had made while redeeming some points at Ulta earlier in the month, the Too Faced Grand Hotel Cafe boxed set, and a brand new item from the Elf line, the instant brow lift.

Let’s start by chatting about some brows!

PRODUCT #1: Elf Instant Brow Lift Pencil

This was one of those random finds as I was trolling around Target one day. You know those trips….the ones where you go in for one thing and end up leaving with a cart full of things you really didn’t need???

Anyway…..I have been toying around with changing up my eyebrow routine for awhile now because I have not been 100% satisfied with the Anastasia brow products I have been using. If we are being honest….quality eyebrow products seem to be expensive, so when it comes to me purchasing a new one I really try to do a lot of research and get friends’ opinions so I don’t waste my money. I mean….I know this blog is about determining if a product sparkles or if it is a little lackluster, but my hope is to always have more sparkles than dulls….a dull product means money down the drain!

I was leaning toward trying out a product from It Cosmetics and was actually en route to Ulta when I stopped to make the previously mentioned unnecessary Target stop. It proved to be a smart move on my end, because the new brow pencil from Elf had just been released and came across my line of sight. At $2.00, its price was very attractive, and since I have always had good experiences with the Elf line, I decided to give it a chance.

Let’s talk about brows for a second. Do you need a product? Not necessarily. I never used to use one. Then one day I had an eyebrow wax that left them looking a little wonky and uneven if I didn’t use a product. For me, the product is more about shaping my actual eyebrow as opposed to filling them in. Depending on your brow, you may do the same, or they may be thin and you may need to spruce them up a bit.

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A look at the product in action. 

FINAL VERDICT: SPARKLE!

For $2.00, I was extremely pleased with this product. It went on smoothly and was easy to use, kind of like a mechanical pencil. I also loved that it included a spoolie brush on the opposite end to help blend and mute the color if you got a little crazy. I definitely recommend this product, especially if you want to try something cheaper before moving on to a higher price brow product.

***I do need to state this. The one thing I wasn’t super pleased with when it came to this item was the fact that it only came in three colors. I used deep brown because of my coloring, but it also comes in a taupe and neutral brown. I’m not sure if this is just because it is newer, but hopefully they expand the palette soon…the taupe, which is the lightest of the three, may still be too dark for you if you have very blonde hair, and there aren’t any options for my ginger friends. Fingers crossed for you guys!

PRODUCT #2 Too Faced Grand Hotel Cafe Palette

If you follow me on Facebook you may have seen me unbox this purchase live after redeeming my Ultamate rewards points at Ulta. When I saw this product, I had to have it….they claimed the three palettes smelled like coffee, and you guys know me…..

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Look how cute the packaging is!

What all comes in this boxed set?

-3 palettes that include 6 eyeshadows each, as well as one blush: Peppermint Mocha (top), Gingerbread Coffee (bottom left), and Egg Nog Latte (bottom right).

-Deluxe size of Too Faced’s Better Than Sex Mascara aka best mascara in the damn land.

As you can see from the picture below, the color palettes are great for all people, as there are colors that compliment both warm and cool undertones. I personally love them all, however, I have been using the Gingerbread Latte more frequently for the eyeshadow colors than the other two. The blush in that palette, called Gingerbread, is great for contouring if you are a contour lover like me. I’ve been using it for that purpose, then using the blush from the Egg Nog palette over top of it. As with any Too Faced eye shadow, the colors are incredible and great quality…some with some shimmer, some with a matte finish…but all able to be blended beautifully.

When it comes to the mascara…this is the kind I use every day. I always put one layer of mascara on before applying my lashes, and with some lash styles actually apply a layer after to blend my lashes and the falsies together. It is great on its own for you non lash wearers!

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A look at what you get with the Grand Hotel Cafe box, photo courtesy of Sephora. 

Here’s a look at a basic eye that I did last week blending three colors from the Gingerbread palette on my eyes: Maple Syrup on the lid, Ginger Cream on the upper lid to blend, and Cup of Joe to smoke it out a bit. I used the Peach Cobbler blush from the Egg Nog palette. Absolutely love it!

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Love the simplicity of this look….add lashes and a bright lip to make the eyes pop. 

FINAL VERDICT: SPARKLE!

This boxed set is a great value…it is only $49, and you get a ton of great items with it. The only bad thing about this item…it is limited edition because it is seasonal, so if you want it get it asap!

Be on the lookout for great deals coming up at Ulta and Sephora….they always have awesome items that are great for gifts or stocking stuffers that surface this time of year!

sparkleon

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August: Sparkle or Dull?

Guys, can you believe it is September???? I’m having a hard time accepting that summer is over and before you know it Christmas will be here. This year is flying by!

And so is this month! We have been crazy busy with wedding stuff these past few weeks which delayed this blog being posted a bit more than I had anticipated, and this week we had a curveball thrown in with a death in our family. My apologies, makeup lovers!

This blog is all about the eyes!!!!

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PRODUCT #1: Tarte Colored Clay Under Eye Corrector

I think Tarte has an amazing line of products, but I have mostly stuck to their eyeshadow palettes and lipsticks. Since I have a pretty strong love affair with my Kat Von D foundation, I’ve never considered their foundations or concealers (I know…..I’m sorry!). I guess I’m one of those people who sticks with something that she knows works for her and doesn’t like to always change it up…especially with foundation and concealers.

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Shopping with Mikaele!

I recently took one of my coaches to Ulta because….well, that’s pretty much my second office….and she needed some lashes, so of course I volunteered to help her! During our trip and random perusal of the Tarte aisle I stumbled across this clay under eye corrector. Let’s be honest….I’ve been lacking in the sleep department big time lately and my under eye bags needed a little TLC. I tried the product out in the store and loved it immediately. It went on smoothly, felt like silk, and had great coverage. It was purchased immediately, and I can tell you….I am still amazed by this product. As you can see below, the coverage is pretty freaking awesome. Just an FYI, the color I use is Light/Medium.

FINAL VERDICT: SPARKLE ALL DAMN DAY!

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Product #2: Elf Under Eye Setting Powder

This was a product that I was skeptical about. We all know I think Elf has some awesome makeup products/brushes, but for some reason every time I was in the Elf section and saw this little guy I always talked myself out of it. Yeah, it is only $3, but do I really need a setting powder?????? For my eyes????

Earlier in the month I was creeping on a few different youtube tutorials trying to master a specific makeup technique and noticed that all four of the tutorials I randomly selected to watch featured the makeup artist using this Elf product. I told myself that was a sign and decided to give it a whirl.

The purpose of this powder is to do exactly what it says: set the makeup under your eye perfectly. It claimed to leave skin feeling silky and help blend fine lines. Skin also is strengthened because of the Vitamin K and Vitamin C blend in it.

I applied this as a final step, so foundation was on, concealer, eye makeup, etc. The brush I used was another Elf product, the Elf foundation brush. The product itself comes with a small brush, but I like this Elf one better. Even though it is a foundation brush, I hate using it for that and think this one is a better option.

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Few things about this product……

1. It looks a little shimmery when you look at it in its pot. It’s very subtle. I actually used this when strobing last week and liked the look because it wasn’t as in your face as normal strobing is.

2. With that being said, don’t OVERUSE it! A little can go a long way, and if you use too much you will have cakey under eyes and possibly too much shimmer. Once you get the product on the brush, tap it lightly to get rid of the excess. Remember, you can always add to it….it is much easier than having to take it off or looking like a gothic stripper.

FINAL VERDICT: Sparkle!

I’ve been having lots of luck with sparkle products lately! Are there any items you have been curious about? Let me know….I’m always up for ideas to help you make beauty easier!

sparkleon

 

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June Beauty Finds: Sparkle or Dull?

This month’s beauty blog led me to my favorite stores: Lush. I honestly thought I had tried everything in the store, but this month I stumbled upon an item that claimed to help hydrate dry and tired hands. Since I have had my struggles with dry hands and sometimes lizard like skin, it immediately jumped to the top of my “to try for the blog” list.

Product #1: The Golden Handshake Hot Hand Mask

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Before I go any further, let’s address the elephant in the room. THAT NAME! C’mon Lush. I don’t like buying products that could be mistaken for something in the urban dictionary. When I mentioned to a few people I was trying this item, they all said the same thing….golden shower? Um, no. Not even close.

Back to the product. For starters, let’s talk about the price. At $4.95 it’s not a bad price for Lush. I have spent a lot over the years on products that claim to moisturize hands, so I figured this was a reasonable amount if it worked well. I should state that is for ONE of the Handshakes. The name is very fitting, as you can see. A tiny oil hand covered in gold glitter (we know how I feel about glitter) that comes on a popsicle stick.

To use this product, you need to heat a bowl of water and then submerge the little hand in it, stirring as it thickens. Seems simple, right? I thought so. However, for some reason, my glittery mixture never thickened, which was a disappointment.
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After your mixture thickens (or in my case just hangs out and does nothing), your next step is to submerge your hands for fifteen minutes so the mixture can coat the hands and soften them. I did this one hand at a time because I was multitasking as always. Even though my mixture wasn’t thick like I had anticipated, I still could feel the oil on my hands and some softening did happen once I removed them from the water.

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FINAL VERDICT: DULL!

This product was okay. Did I think it was anything special? Not really. My hands felt a little softer, but truthfully many things can help with that. I didn’t like that I had to spend so much time sitting around, and the oily water was a bit messy to clean up. I will stick to my Become Hand Smoothing Cream because that always works, smells great, and it takes a quick minute to work. I’ll stick to my tried and true Lush products for the time being.

Product #2: Tweexy Nail Polish Holder

I will fess up. The ad for this popped up on my Facebook one day and I impulsively purchased it. I had to. How annoying is it to fumble with the nail polish bottle when you are trying to do your nails?!??!?!?! I wondered if this was all that the ad hyped it up to be.

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If you haven’t heard of this item, it is a silicone little ring-like device that expands to fit on two of your fingers regardless of the size of them. It has special internal grips to hold your bottle of polish and balance it. The brand claims it works with every kind of polish and bottle. There’s not much more to it than that.

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FINAL VERDICT: SPARKLE!

Guys, I loved loved loved this item! I always have issues with where to place my nail polish bottle….I may be guilty of spilling a bottle or two in my day, too. This product totally removed that issue from the equation. It was comfortable and super easy to use. If you are a nail polish junkie like me, you need to buy this!

Have a great Fourth full of sparkle, my friends!

sparkleon

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What to Expect When You are Expecting…

Ahhhh, yes.

What to expect when you are expecting.

No, I’m not talking about that movie with Cameron Diaz. Or any new additions to the Kramer household.

I’m talking about what to expect when you are expecting……to buy a house.

Kyle and I recently purchased our first home after a year long search, and boy, was it an exhausting experience. I learned a few things I wanted to share with all of you who are expecting to purchase a new home in the near future….a few things that I hope can help you!

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So what should you expect on your house hunting search????

1. It’s pretty much the same as giving online dating a try. I can’t begin to tell you how many people fooled us with the pics they listed of their home. It’s like on an online dating profile where someone claims to be 6’4 but ends up being 5’6. Seriously people….using the panoramic picture option on you iPhone camera won’t work once someone steps into your kitchen and realizes it is the size of a shoebox. Also, much like photoshop, I can tell when a doorframe has a weird curve because of your editing. Not everyone is a moron. Just show the house like it is.

2. Ok, it’s a lot like dating in general. Dating can be an emotional roller coaster. House hunting…..I actually think it can be worse. You find something you love…..you get your heart set on it…..you start visualizing how you will decorate rooms….you might even start putting things into your Amazon Prime cart…then you find out that you lost the house to someone who was faster with an offer. Then you get bummed out. Then you begin the process again. I felt like my heart got tap danced on by football cleats over and over and over again.

3. Have a list of non-negotiables when you start the search. Kyle and I had many long talks about what was important to have in our home before we started looking. We knew things we absolutely HAD to have and things we just wanted to have. This helped us when we were searching by eliminating houses right away. You should never settle with a house, so make that list of non-negotiables so you don’t regret it later.

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One of my non negotiables…..an awesome kitchen. Got it!

4. You no longer spend hours on Pinterest…..you spend DAYS! The best part about the house hunting/purchase process was no longer having to explain to Kyle why I was on Pinterest so much. I think he actually realized what a great site it is during the whole process! Honestly though….I logged some serious Pinterest hours and show no signs of stopping soon, but that is ok! Finding DIY solutions for some of the projects I want to do will save us money and be fun……score!

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Part of my beautiful makeup room, thanks Pinterest! All I have left to do is have the Hollywood lights installed!

5. Always do a drive by. I fell in love with two different houses based on the pictures. When we drove by the first one, I realized it was in a shady neighbor where I am positive that I saw a prostitute walking down the street. The other we skipped the drive by and realized when we showed up that the beautiful house pretty much was located on a car dealership lot. After that we made a deal: no drive by, no appointment set to view.

6. Hire the kind of realtor that will get the job done. We started the process using one realtor who was nice but not a good match for us. I am very much a no nonsense kind of person and a shark when I want something, and we wanted a realtor who was the same. After all, if this person had to negotiate for us and go to bat for us, I didn’t want some timid mouse. Fortunately, a friend of mine who knows my style recommended Mark Young, who got the job done. If you are in the Cleveland/Akron area and looking for someone awesome, this guy is the one to call.

7. Cross reference like it’s your job. Don’t just look on one site or one app. Look on THEM ALL! In the beginning I focused on just one app…what a mistake. I found so many different listings on other sites that I would’ve missed if I didn’t check out everything. In fact, the house we ended up buying was listed on a random website when I first noticed it. Thank heavens I did!

8. Strike while the iron is hot. I understand you shouldn’t make any rash decisions, but you don’t want to miss out on your dream house either.Don’t take days or weeks to determine what to do. Go with your gut and make moves. We lost out on multiple homes we loved because we didn’t move fast enough.

9. Be prepared for unexpected expenses. The joys of home ownership means unexpected random expenses. People always say that buying a house can be a money pit, and that sure is the truth! The house we bought had brand new EVERYTHING and we still had random things come up, like the unexpected visit from a fat raccoon and her babies who decided to live in our chimney for a week. Prepare for the unexpected. Pay for inspections. Cover your butts!

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This raccoon weighed more than our dog!

10. It’s not over until it’s over………So true! The house we bought was put on the market Easter weekend. Since we were out of town we couldn’t see it until Tuesday morning. The minute we saw it we knew we wanted it, so we put the offer in that minute. Seriously, we didn’t want to lose it. Our realtor contacted the listing agent to tell him the news…..and then found out the seller had accepted an offer literally about an hour before. I was so upset. After crying and cussing like a madwoman, I contacted Mark and told him that if ANYTHING fell through on that deal to let us know. The next night he let us know that the initial deal had fallen through. YESSSSSSS! Of course we submitted everything and had an accepted offer late that day.

Kyle and I are still working at getting settled in, but I love how the house is coming together. It’s been a crazy and emotional process for me, but at the end of the day I love that I have closed the nomadic chapter of my life….the one that included 24 documented moves in about 12 years (yes, that’s a lot) and started a new one with my husband. There have been moments of frustration and sadness, as I am finding things of my dad’s as I unpack all of my things and being forced to accept that all of the big milestones in my life will take place without him physically being here. At the same time, there have been so many wonderful happy moments that I know will only continue.

Here’s to FINALLY getting rid of my storage unit and adulting!

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