Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Cyber Week Sale!

I'm a little late announcing the Cyber Week Sale in my Etsy shop here on the blog, but better late than never, right?

Until midnight EST on Monday, December 3rd, enter the Coupon Code "CYBERWEEK2012" during Etsy checkout to receive 20% off your order.  I'm also offering free shipping for all US orders this week as well.  It's a great time to do a little holiday shopping for yourself or loved ones!

Happy shopping!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

November 2012 Glam Bag

I have another beauty subscription service to share with you.  Ipsy (formerly MyGlam) and I have an interesting history.  When the service launched last December, I immediately and enthusiastically signed up.  The first bag was amazing - full of generously sized high end makeup products.  Then January rolled around and the company apparently received more new subscribers than they could handle and a huge number of Glam Bags never reached customers that month (myself included).  February came and brought with it a disappointing array of drugstore products, microscopic sample sizes, and the inclusion of a coupon as a "sample."  I gave the company one more month, but when March disappointed me yet again, I decided to take a break from the company and see if the quality of the service would improve.

Fortunately the company took complaints from their subscribers seriously and began offering more makeup from high end brands.  After seeing quality samples sent out a few months in a row, I decided it was time I gave the Ipsy another chance.  I'm glad I did because the November 2012 Glam Bag certainly didn't disappoint.

For a very reasonable $10, the November Glam Bag included the following samples in addition to a makeup bag:

Starlet Cosmetics - Intense Eyeliner in Black ($11.00/1.5 g)
These creamy eyeliner pencils glide on to deliver a lasting vibrant color in chocolate or black.  Blend or line your lids to create your favorite glam look, whether a smokey eye or a straight line wing tip.

Sample size: 1.5 g
Sample value: $11.00

theBalm - Meet Matt(e) Eyeshadow in Matt Batali ($34.50/9.5 g)
Matt Batali is just one of nine shadows found in theBalm's Meet Matt(e) compact palette (named after their favorite Matthews next door) which can be combined to create a multitude of soft and wearable looks.  Matt Batali leaves a dark, matte finish, perfect for creating a smokey eye.

Sample size: 0.9 g
Sample value: $3.27

Nailtini - Nail Laquer in Millionaire ($13.00/.5 oz)
Introducing Millionaire nail lacquer from the new Nailtini “Speakeasy” Collection chosen specifically for the ipsy community. Millionaire spikes a base of rose gold micro-glitter with iridescent gold and teal tinsels for statement-making nails, whether worn alone or as a dazzling special-effect topcoat. The only line of lacquer developed to maximize the creativity of the user by "cocktailing" different shades, Nailtini serves up endless color possibilities with amazing performance, hip sensibility and tongue-in-cheek attitude.

Sample size: 0.5 oz
Sample value: $13.00

bareMinerals - Marvelous Moxie Lipgloss in Dare Devil ($18.00/.14 oz)
Unleash your inner moxie with a fabulously full, pillowy pout. The luscious marvelous Moxie lipgloss delivers vibrant sheer-to-medium color with a glistening mirror-like finish. Infused with natural ingredients, exotic oils, botanical extracts and antioxidants, the refreshing formula smoothes and hydrates lips for exceptional comfort without any stickiness or tackiness.

Sample size: 0.07 oz
Sample value: $9.00

Benefit - They're Real!  Beyond Mascara ($23.00/8.5 g)
They're Real! Beyond Mascara lengthens, curls, volumizes, lifts & separates. The jet black, long-wearing formula won’t smudge or dry out. A specially designed brush reveals lashes you never knew you had!

Sample size: 3.0 g
Sample value: $8.12

Total bag value: $44.39

I've gotten to try out a few of the items from my bag since I received it and most of them are fantastic!  I've been wearing the bareMineral lipgloss and the Benefit mascara almost daily since I got them.  I've tried out the Nailtini polish and the Matt Batali eyeshadow from theBalm as well and enjoy them.  I haven't tried the Starlet Cosmetics eyeliner yet, but I'm a little worried about the staying powder from the fact that when I swatched it on my hand it never set.  Perhaps it would be great smoked out with a little shadow for a smudgy look.

I'm definitely very pleased overall with the contents of the November Glam Bag and have high hopes that the coming months will continue to impress.

New in the Shop

{Flower Chandelier Earrings}

I just wanted to pop in and share a few new pieces I just listed in my Etsy shop.  I've been under the weather for the past week or so and fell behind on getting pieces up, but I'm hoping to play catch up this weekend.

{A Slice of Nature Necklace}

I've spent much of the day in the kitchen preparing a few dishes for Thanksgiving dinner with my in-laws tomorrow (Southern Cornbread Dressing, Maple Cheesecake, Bourbon Derby Pie).

{A Slice of Nature Necklace}

I'm looking forward to spending time with family and enjoying a modest feast to celebrate all the wonderful blessings in our lives.

{Dainty Rose Drop Earrings}

I hope all my US readers have a wonderful Thanksgiving and have an abundance of blessings to be thankful for.

{Flower Chandelier Earrings}

Hopefully I'll get plenty of time this weekend to get more pieces photographed and listed in my shop in time for a big Cyber Monday sale.  All sales from my Etsy shop come packaged ready for gifting and would make a lovely, unique present for any lady in your life.

Friday, November 9, 2012

November 2012 Julep Maven Box

The November Julep Maven boxes focused heavily on the fall trend of matte/suede nails.  Most of the five box styles contained primarily neutral colored suede polishes.  While I thought they looked lovely, the colors were similar to shades I already had in my collection.  So this month I decided to go with the Bombshell box which stood out from the other styles in color and finish.

In addition to a pink grapefruit scented Body Frosting and three Polish Remover Pads, the Bombshell box included two polishes: Donna, a smokey peacock blue crème and Trina, a deep aubergine shimmer.

Donna is a really gorgeous moody blue that I adore for fall.  Trina is bewitching with it's stunning reddish/golden shimmer.  I look forward to trying out the Body Frosting once I have used up some of the other body lotions I'm currently working on.  I'm also really glad to have the Polish Remover Pads as they'll come in handy to take with me as I'm traveling around the holidays.

I'm really happy with the contents of my November Julep Maven box!  If you're curious to know more about the Maven program, check out my post on my September 2012 Julep Maven Box.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Etsy shop reopened!

{Buried Treasure Necklace}

I just wanted to pop in and announce that I have (finally) started listing some new pieces in my Etsy shop.  Tonight I listed ten pieces and I'm hoping to get in the groove of adding 5-10 pieces every few days.

{Coral Reef Bracelet}

Also, if you don't already follow my Facebook page, you may want to check it out for updates, coupons, sales, etc.

{Winter Branch Necklace}

I spent the better part of my day photographing these pieces, editing photos, pricing the pieces, and typing up the listings.  It's been a while and I had forgotten how time consuming running an online shop can be...

{Take Flight Brooch}

It can also be pretty darn rewarding and so much fun to send your creations to buyers all over the world.

Thank you to everyone who has been patient with me over the past year as I took a much needed break from selling my designs.  I'm so happy to be back in the swing of things now though, and just in time for the holidays.

Monday, November 5, 2012

The S'more Party

I had been causally planning a backyard S'more Party for the past few months, pinning ideas for decor and marshmallow recipes along the way (isn't Pinterest the best for party planning?).  I had originally planned to throw the party at the very beginning of fall, but life threw a few curve balls and I had to push the date back a couple of times.  I was able to set a certain date for last Saturday and was excited to finally get to throw the party.

I had planned some lovely lighting to help illuminate our backyard for the party, including tons of darling hanging mason jar lanterns I created to line the fence along the path to our backyard as well as pretty fairy lights to decorate our deck.

Unfortunately Saturday decided to bring unpleasant weather and rain forced me to abandon the idea of throwing a whimsical backyard S'more Party.  Instead I moved things indoor, used a few of the mason jar lanterns and lots of other candles as decor, and utilized Sterno cans as our marshmallow roasting source.

I set up a drink/dessert table for the party full of lots of homemade goodies to provide numerous s'more flavor possibilities.  I baked two types of graham crackers, made four marshmallow flavors (vanilla bean, chocolate, strawberry, and lime), bought five different types of Ghiradelli squares and Reese's cups for chocolate, and toasted coconut and chopped pecans for toppings.

I used this image as inspiration and created a little menu of sorts of various ideas for combining different marshmallows and chocolates to create unique s'more flavors from Italian Cream Cake (graham cracker + vanilla mallow + white chocolate + toasted coconut & pecans) to Key Lime Pie (graham cracker + lime mallow + white chocolate).  The hardest part about making your s'more was choosing what flavors to try!

To wash down the s'mores, I served up homemade hot chocolate, delicious hot apple cider from a local orchard, ice cold cream soda, root beer, and Ale-8 (a locally made ginger ale).

I set up four Sterno cans over a thick cutting board on our dining table so folks could gather 'round and roast their marshmallows.  The Sterno cans worked beautifully as a roasting source, caramelizing our mallows quickly and evenly.  I'm so glad I discovered these gems for indoor s'more making!  I see many (more simplified) s'more bars in my party hosting future.

I really love planning and throwing little parties like this!  The S'more Party makes for easier and less stressful prep than most food-oriented parties since homemade graham crackers and marshmallows can be made days ahead, if needed.  Hot beverages can be whipped up before guests arrive and kept hot in carafes.  You can go all out with tons of homemade marshmallows and various chocolate options as I did for a full-fledged S'more Party, or do a simplified s'more bar as a fun dessert option for any party.

I think throwing together a S'more Party for the holiday season would be a fun, unique alternative to the typical holiday gatherings.  Everyone loves making s'mores and substituting homemade graham crackers and marshmallows for the usual store bought varieties really elevates things and makes the party seem upscale and gourmet.

I always get so many surprised looks when folks try my homemade marshmallows, "What?  How do you make marshmallows?"  But, really, if you have a candy thermometer and are blessed with a stand mixer, these couldn't be simpler to make!

I'll be back in a day or two with a full recipe list for the graham crackers, marshmallows, and hot chocolate.  In the mean time, if you have any questions about my set up or how to throw your own S'more Party, leave me a comment!
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