Disclosure: Some posts on this blog are sponsored, meaning that I received goods, services, or monetary payment for my writing. My opinions however, are not 'purchased' and are always 100% my own. Posts contain affiliate links that I earn a commission on. This disclosure is done in accordance with the FTC 10 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Restaurant Review: Gyroville in Plantation

Last week my husband decided to take me on a spur-of-the-moment date night. We didn't have a lot of money on hand, so we went strolling around a nearby-plaza in search of what I like to call 'fancy-fast-food'.

An eatery called Gyroville looked pretty enticing - we hadn't had Greek food in a while (which we love) and the prices seemed more than reasonable.

Gyro Platter with side of hummus at Gyroville in Plantation.What I Loved:

The food was spectacular. We ordered Gyro Platters (which comes with gyro meat, fries or rice, pita bread, choice of sauce, and a freshly-made Greek salad) for $10.99 each. The meals appeared on the small side at first, but I was more than full by the end of the meal. (I could barely finish my fries, those dishes are deeper than they look!) We even snagged a free order of hummus and pita bread by checking in via our Foursquare app, and we got out of the restaurant for less than $25.

Special-Diet Friendly:

Vegetarian? No problem. Not only is falafel a protein option, they offer a selection of appetizers, sandwiches and platters that all fit into the meat-free lifestyle.

For the Parents:

The restaurant isn't huge (I think max capacity was somewhere around 40 people), so if you don't feel comfortable taking your kids into a place where all eyes will be on them (which for some reason always makes my children want to be louder-than-usual) you might want to wait until after the lunch rush to stop in. I did notice that they have high chairs available and there is a baby changer in the women's restroom. The kids menu is priced better than most fast-food restaurants these days: $3.99 will get you a choice of entree (grilled chicken, gyro, grilled cheese, or a mini-version of their signature Hermes sandwich), fries or rice, and a drink.

What Makes Them Unique:

In addition to their platters and sandwiches, they have a simple, streamlined, build-your-own option. Pick a 'style' to eat your meal (pita bread, rice bowl, wheat wrap, or salad), add a protein (gyro, falafel, chicken souvlaki, or pork souvlaki), and then pick one of six sauces. The food here is fresh, so if you are like me and constantly on the look-out for food that doesn't taste like it came straight-out of a jar/bag/freezer, this is a great spot.

Gyroville on Urbanspoon Something That Surprised Me:

They cater. Cheaply. I mean, really cheaply. For ten bucks a person (minimum of 8) you can grab a nice little meal that includes a protein, 2 sauces, and a selection of toppings and extras. I don't know if you've checked into catering before, but in my experience $10 is a steal.

The So-So:

Gyroville on Foodio54The hummus wasn't the best I've had. Maybe it's just because I've eaten too much store-bought hummus, but it wasn't my favorite menu-item. Can't complain too much though because we got it for free (gotta love those Foursquare specials) and we ate it all anyhow.

Deals:

I love it when restaurants offer their diners a chance to snag a great deal. In addition to the Foursquare check-in deal, I noticed that there were signs around the restaurant advertising special discounts for students and VIP Club members. Their VIP Club consists of signing up on their email list so that they can send you coupons. We signed up when we got home and were promptly rewarded with $5 off our next meal.

Gyroville in South Florida Connect:

Feeling hungry now? You can find your closest Gyroville (currently only in South Florida) by checking out their website at www.gyroville.com. Or you can look them up in social media for updates, special deals, & discounts on Facebook or Twitter.


Have you been to a Gyroville yet? What did you think of it?
Chat with me in the comments below, I love hearing from my readers!

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Disclosure: I received no compensation for this post and, as always, my opinions are purely my own.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Frequent tummy trouble? Try these gluten-free chews!

I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms Meet­™ program, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet™ blogger, I agreed to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer of the product.

I've been having stomach problems since I was around 20. Not only do weird tummy-problems run in my family (seriously, my dad can't eat too many veggies or they form an indestructible ball in his stomach) but I am the only human I personally know that had to have a full GI tract work-up before the age of 25.

Unfortunately, the doctors never did find the root cause of my troubles, and chalked it up to high rates of stress. (Joy.) For every seven days of the week, I wake up with an upset-stomach on at least half of them. (Heck, even as I sit here writing this my tummy is telling me 'Did you for really need to eat that buffalo-chicken pizza?')

I have used lots and lots of tablets, liquids, pills, and diets over the years to try and control this problem. I've learned that although it isn't going to go away completely (since apparently I am just naturally super-stressed), I can do a lot to alleviate symptoms. After years of using so many medicines though - both OTC and prescribed blends - I began to wonder if I wasn't doing some damage to the rest of my body with the constant influx of chemicals.

Since that thought, I've started looking for healthier, more natural ways of treating my tummy troubles. Moms Meet, a popular website for parents who are seeking out chemical-free options to products they already use, was the perfect place to start my search. When they recently sought out a few bloggers to try Gutsy Chewy (an all-natural, gluten-free, lactose-free and vegan friendly chewable supplement) I was psyched to find that I made the list!

The Good:

Gutsy Chewy tablets are convenient.The supplements are made with ingredients like apple cider vinegar, papaya extract, and licorice extract and contain calcium and magnesium as an added benefit. I like knowing what's in the tablets, and the fact that they are all-natural helps me feel like I'm making a better decision.

I only needed to take one of these on the mornings I wasn't feeling so well, and within a few minutes my tummy-upset would disappear. (Definitely better than grabbing a handful of tablets to munch on and STILL having troubles - I'm sure some of you can guess which mainstream brand I'm referring to...!)

The So-So:

Everyone knows that you have to pay a little more for foods, beverages, medications, and household items that are natural or organic. Until the whole world gets on-board with the idea that less chemicals are better for our bodies, the manufacturers of these better-for-you products are going to have higher overhead costs. Don't be surprised then, when you find out that you can't get these in-store and have to order them online for about $16 for two tubes (16 tablets) or $80 for 12 tubes (96 tablets, and a better deal). Fortunately, this company is active in social media and interacting with them on their platforms can score you discounts and special offers.

The Questionable:

The product contains xylitol, an ingredient that I'm on the fence about. On the one hand, it's reported to do great work when it comes to keeping your teeth bacteria-free (thus inhibiting cavities) and it is a great sugar-substitute for those who are diabetic... but... it is also toxic to dogs and rats. I know I'm not a dog, or a rat, and that dogs can't eat chocolate either (which I most certainly can) but it is still something to keep in mind.

My Personal Beef:

It comes in two flavors: wildberry and citrus. (Oh citrus. I have hated your flavor since I was a child, carefully picking out each and every orange-colored candy in my Halloween or Christmas stash and 'gifting' them to my brother. He wasn't fooled though. I suspect he wasn't a citrus-lover either.) While I loved the wildberry flavor, I wasn't a fan of the citrus. It's not surprising though because I almost never eat orange-flavored anything. If this isn't a problem for you though, you won't have an issue.

Gutsy Chewy Flavors

Bottom Line:

If you are looking for a natural alternative to flooding your body with chemical-filled supplements & liquids, this is definitely an option to check into. This is an especially good product if you have certain dietary restrictions such as diabetes, a lactose or gluten intolerance, or are a vegan because the formula caters to all of those needs. Checking in frequently with their social media outlets will allow you to take advantage of any deals they might have, and the product is effective enough to work with just one tablet.

Connect:

Gutsy Chewy products are all-natural.Want to check out Gutsy Chewy a little further? You can visit them on their website at gutsyproducts.com to see their full product line! Or, connect with them via social media for updates, deals, and more on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube.

So what do you all think? Have you tried Gutsy Chewy or a similar all-natural product? Chat with me in the comments section - I love hearing from my readers!

♥ Psst. Did you like my post? If so, pretty please become a follower on any of my social media platforms to give me some blog-love! ♥

Disclosure: Hey, I'm not a doctor - but you knew that right? Here's a little reminder that you should always check with your physician before starting any supplement product and specifically Gutsy Products. My statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. (I'm pretty certain the FDA doesn't even know I exist.) This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Consult your healthcare professional prior to use if you are pregnant, nursing, taking any medication or have a medical condition. This product contains papaya and should not be used by people with a latex allergy. Keep out of reach of children and little green aliens.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

My Favorite Gadgets for Kitchen Efficiency

I don't know about you, but I have a small kitchen. Not only is it small, it's shared with my mother-in-law. More often than not we are cooking two entirely different dinners; bumping into one another and twirling around so much it looks like a bad version of the hokey-pokey.

Over the years we've managed to become efficient in the kitchen together by making use of every last bit of counter-space, and adding an arsenal of gadgets to our cooking endeavors. I frequently browse through catalogs to try and find something that will give us a bit more room, or cut down on time.

So here (in no particular order) are my absolute favoritest-ever kitchen gadgets that I think are must-haves for any kitchen.

(Please note that although I decided to write this post on my own, I did choose to use affiliate links in it to display the products. That means that I may earn a small commission if you buy something through one of the links listed here. For more info, please see my disclosure policy at the top!)

Anyhow. On to my super-awesome list!


    Carousel Spice Dispenser
  • Spice Dispenser - This one from KitchenArt is great if you consistently use the same spices, don't have a lot of pantry space, and have a cupboard that you can attach it to the bottom of. No more knocking over bottles to search for your garlic powder, and no more digging around for your measuring spoons (it auto-measures in 1/4 tsp increments!). And if you really have more than 12 spices that you want to put in it, guess what? You can buy another to attach to it. Plus, it spins. I love it.

  • Slow Cooker - Also called a 'crock pot', these handy dandy things can make an entire meal while you're off doing something far-more-important than sweating in a kitchen. At the end of the night, the only dishes that need washed are the ones you ate off of and the pot the food was cooked in. (If only the slow cooker would wash itself too...) There are a lot of great brands out there, I suggest grabbing one that is at least 6 quarts since that is about the size you need to make a full pot-roast for a family of 4-6.

    Pot Spoon Holder
  • Whatever-this-thing-is - I guess it's called a pot spoon holder? I don't know, but I love mine. You attach it to the side of the pot and voilĂ ! - instant spoon holder. Gone are the crusty little marks on your counter top from repeatedly setting a spoon down after stirring. (And if you're like me and constantly forget if the spoon on the counter is clean or dirty, you will no longer have to get a new spoon each time you have to stir the pot!)

  • Deep Fryer - Yeah, yeah... I guess this doesn't fall under the category of things you absolutely-must-have in a small kitchen, but I'm in love with mine. When my mother-in-law is cooking, she tends to take up the entire stove-top - so if I'm making fried fish for dinner, I'm sorta out-of-luck. Since we bought a deep-fryer though I've been able to whip it out whenever we're short on space. It's also super-handy for mozzarella sticks that taste restaurant good, although I should warn you all that ONE PIECE is a serving size. (I totally learned that the hard way.) My one regret with the deep-fryer? We should have bought the one with the double basket.

  • Reusable Squeezy Bottle - Far be it from me to tell you to dig through your trash and reuse an old ketchup bottle instead of buying something fancy from the store... but seriously, keep your next jumbo ketchup bottle & use it in your kitchen. And just what might you use it for? Only the most awesome pancake-batter-maker ever of course! Dry mix & liquid goes in, shake the bottle, squeeze the batter out into perfect little circles. So easy.

    Herb Scissors
  • Herb Scissors - I feel like there should be a little vocal intro and a spotlight and perhaps applause whenever I see these scissors. I mean, whoever thought up the idea of using scissors instead of a knife to chop herbs, I had to tip my hat to them because that little trick saves me a lot of time... but special scissors for the herbs?! Whoever was behind these really went above & beyond the call of kitchen-duty. I'm still both amazed that someone came up with it and surprised that it wasn't thought of sooner, yet ever-so-grateful.

    Angled Measuring Cups
  • Angled Measuring Cup - If you don't know what an angled measuring cup is, it basically allows you to measure liquids like a normal human being. You know. Standing up. Not bent over the counter with your head practically in the sink while you try to hold the container still just so you can figure out how much fluid you've got in there. The marks are viewable from the top, which means you save time and don't have to twist yourself like a bendy straw. I've had mine for about 8 years now and I'm pretty sure that I'd freak out if it went missing.

So there you have it. These are the things that make my life easier. Do you have any kitchen-must-haves or a favorite go-to recipe when you're trying to get things done fast? Share with me in the comments below, I love hearing from my readers!

♥ If you liked this post, pretty please do me the favor of becoming a follower through social media! ♥

Disclosure: I received no compensation to write this post and, as always, my opinions are purely my own.

(The Perfectly Prepped Giveaway that was associated with this post has expired; please check out our giveaways tab for a list of available contests! Please take a look at our Winners List or contact the lovely blogger over at ALuckyLadybug.com if you have questions about the results of this giveaway.)

Fifth or 'Wood' Anniversary Gift Ideas

When I saw that my friend over at A Lucky Ladybug had gotten to review a wooden watch, my first thought was what a great anniversary gift it would make. (You can see her awesome review here!)

JORD Wooden WatchNot everyone realizes this, but there is actually a traditional list of anniversary gifts. The idea behind it is that you buy a gift made out of certain materials, and the materials represent the strength and longevity of your marriage. (Thus bringing us terms such as 'Silver Anniversary'.) I love this system of buying anniversary gifts because it allows spouses to give each other very unique and creative gifts.

For example, the first wedding anniversary is the 'paper' anniversary (not a super strong material because the marriage is still new). Common paper gifts are cards, handmade love coupons, or favorite books. The next year brings you the 'cotton' anniversary; the material the gift is made of is stronger because (ideally) your marriage is too.

The fifth anniversary is the 'wood' anniversary, which is why I think this watch would make a fantastic gift. Not only is it perfect for men (whom I find incredibly hard to buy for!) but it is elegant and creative. Any guy can get a watch as a gift, but how many of them get wooden watches?

A wooden watch would make a great fifth anniversary gift, but if you can't afford the price-tag on one just yet, here are some thrifty DIY ideas that are perfect for a 'wood' anniversary!:


  • Make a clock. It's actually a lot more simple than you might imagine! Purchase a piece of wood in a pre-cut shape (or cut out your own shape if you have the tools at home!) and then paint it however you want. Drill a hole through the center and buy a clock-kit from your local hobby store that will allow you to attach a battery-operated mechanism on the back. Buy some stick-on numbers (sort of like the ones that go on houses, but smaller) and add a little hanger on the back. Tadaa! Handmade clock.
  • Create a shadow-box. Shadow-boxes are super easy to make and allow you to put lots of sentimental items into your creation. I like the tutorial done here by +Gail Wilson from My Repurposed Life.
  • Design a unique picture frame. Using special items from your life together, create a picture frame that has a meaning for the both of you. For instance, if you got engaged on the beach, cover a frame with tacky-glue, then pour sand over it. Add sea-shells as embellishments and use a crafting paint-pen to write a phrase on the top or bottom. When I make a unique frame I try to find a photo I want to put in the frame first and then I make the frame to go with the picture.
  • DIY wall-art. We've all seen those cutesy-phrases hanging on the wall at someone's house. But let's get honest: it's just a board with some paint on it. Instead of getting a cookie-cutter Hallmark phrase, why not make it into something special that only the two of you will understand? The words you first spoke to each other, the things you love most about one another, your wedding vows... any of these makes a great adornment and serves as an awesome reminder of the love you have together.
  • Craft a 'Welcome' sign. Why buy a sign that says 'Welcome to the Smith House' when you can make one yourself? Wood-burning kits are not too expensive to purchase and can be used on many projects around the house. Plus, if you make your own sign, you have the added bonus of being able to change or add to it as little ones arrive!

Connect:

Interested in knowing more about that JORD watch? You can visit them on their website www.woodwatches.com. Or check them out in social media for updates deals & more on Google+, Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.

Do you have a great wooden anniversary gift idea?
Chat with me in the comments below, I love talking to my readers!

Follow Me on Social Media!

(The Knock on Wood Giveaway that was associated with this post has expired; please check out our giveaways tab for a list of available contests! Please take a look at our Winners List or contact the lovely blogger over at ALuckyLadybug.com if you have questions about the results of this giveaway.)

Disclosure: I received no compensation for this post and, as always, my opinions are purely my own.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Montagne Jeunesse Creamy Coconut Mask Review: PLUS a giveaway!

My thanks goes out to Montagne Jeunesse for sending me a few free masks in order for me to do a review of their products - you guys are awesome! Although I got the masks for free, please know that my opinions are always 100% my own!

Creamy Coconut Mask from Montagne JeunesseI have written before about my huge love of DIY spa days. I love feeling pampered, but when I don't have the time or money to go to the actual spa, having some spa-ready items at home make me feel fantastic whenever I want!

Montagne Jeunesse makes some great facial masks that are easy-to-use, easy on the wallet, and work wonderfully. I love that they come in so many varieties and have never had any problem locating them in my local stores.

From the selection I was sent, the first facial mask I decided to try was the Montagne Jeunesse Creamy Coconut Mask. I chose this one first because I've been getting some dry patches on my face and I wanted to see if this facial mask would take care of that.

It only took me 20 minutes to do the facial from start to finish: Just tear off the corner of the package, squeeze the mask out like a cream, then apply to the facial area and you're done. I played a video game and had some coffee while I left the mask on, and when 15 minutes was up I washed it off.

My face felt so smooth in the areas that it had been rough and patchy before! Usually when I use a cream or a lotion, my face dries out again rather quickly if I've been having dry-spot troubles, but the mask actually took care of the problem completely! At the time of writing this post it had been over a week since I tried the mask and the dry-patch still hadn't come back. (Yay!)

The part I loved the most though was that the 'spa-fresh' & soft feeling the mask gave my face didn't immediately go away. It took about 3 days for my face to return to what I would call it's 'usual texture'. I'd say that's pretty darn good for a mask that can be purchased for right around $2. (When I'm in-store, the usual price I spot the M.J. masks for is $1.99 - that is a great price for a facial.)


Do you have a great at-home spa product you love to use? Have you tried these masks?
Chat with me below, I love hearing from my readers!

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Giveaway!

The good people over at Montagne Jeunesse let me know about the huge giveaway they are having right now and I wanted to share it with my readers! Between now and the end of July, they'll be selecting a total of 50 winners to receive a free mask! Click HERE to enter the giveaway via their easy Facebook app for your chance to snag one.

Connect:

Want to know more about Montagne Jeunesse? You can visit them on their website at www.montagnejeunesse.com to see their full range of products. Or, connect with them on social media for updates, deals & more via Google+, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook or YouTube!

Disclosure: MasterofMom.com is not responsible for the distribution of this giveaway.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Arvazallia Review - Restore your hair!

A few months ago I was testing out a hair product that pretty much destroyed my hair. (All I can say is that if you have naturally-dry hair, waterless shampoo products are probably not for you.)

This left me with a disgusting feeling every time I washed my hair - it felt like I was running my fingers through strands that had been squeaked-clean with dish soap. (Blech.) Unfortunately, no matter what I tried my hair just wouldn't go back to its regular texture.

Okay, so I've never exactly had perfect hair...

I can't say that my hair has ever been super-silky. I have a natural hair type that is somewhere between frizzy and overworked. Most days I just toss my locks into a pony-tail and head out the door. With hair so unmanageable it can take me an hour just to tame it down and (as a mom of two toddlers) I just don't have time for that!

After I added my waterless-shampoo-catastrophe into the mix, my hair was in sad shape. I started to think that the only way to get my hair back to normal was to cut it all off and start over.

Blogger Resources to the Rescue?!

However, I was saved from that when I was selected on BrandBacker to try out a couple of hair products from Arvazallia. I did receive my items for free, but please know that this does not influence my opinions on it whatsoever.

When I got my kit from them, I started out by using the Arvazallia Hydrating Argan Oil Hair Mask. I thought it would take at least a couple weeks of using the mask before I would start to feel the results, but I got relief after just one use! My former so-dry-they-squeak-strands were no more, and I could actually run my hands through my hair again without getting my fingers caught in a rats' nest of tangles. (Gloriousness!)

Despite this return-to-normal, having my hair be squeak-free wasn't the same as being manageable. Don't get me wrong, the hair mask went a long way in getting my hair back under control... but I was still getting flyaways when I went to style my hair. I wasn't surprised at this of course, especially considering that my hair got frizzy sometime around the 9th grade and never returned back to normal. (I blame those doggone 90's crimpers.)

Luckily I was sent Arvazallia's Premium Argan Oil Hair Treatment to go with the hair mask... and boy does this stuff ever work.

Wow, just wow.

I have used so many hair serums in my lifetime. I couldn't even began to recount them all because I've snatched them up like candy. Out of all the oils, treatments, or serums I have ever used, this one is hands-down the one that has had the best results with the least amount of product used.

The treatment even comes with different methods for using it in your hair so that it's easy to work into your usual styling routine. The method I used the most was simply working it into my hair after washing it, but I've become a big fan of setting the oil into my hair, letting it soak, and then rinsing it out before a quick towel-dry & style.

I've got blogger problems.

My hair has looked amazing lately. As a matter of fact, when I went to take the Before & After pictures shown below, I had to go about half a week without using any of the Arvazallia products before I could get my hair frizzy enough to take a decent 'Before' picture. (Seriously, who has to work on taking a good before picture?! Oh wait, I know... bloggers who forget to take a freaking 'before' picture BEFORE they start using something...) Even after going without the product for a few days, my hair was still nowhere near as frizzy as it was prior to using the Arvazallia oil & mask.

Arvazallia Review


I rate this stuff A++. Five stars. Two thumbs up. Whatever rating system you use, score it as high as it will go because that is how much I adore this brand. Bottom line? If your hair is anything like mine (dry, unmanageable, frizzy, out-o-control...), you need to grab some Arvazallia and quit messing around with those store-shelf serums.



Have you used Arvazallia before? What did you think of it?
Chat with me in the comments below, I love talking with my readers!

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Discount!

Right now you can snag some Arvazallia for 60% off. Click here to check out the Oil Treatment and here to check out the Hair Mask.

Connect:

Want to find out more about Arvazallia? You can visit them on their website at www.Arvazallia.com. Or, connect with them through social media for updates, deals, & more on Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, or Twitter!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Big Fish Games Website Mini-Review

Love playing games? So do I.

I discovered the Big Fish Games website this month and decided that it was a pretty epic platform for online gaming. There are no ads (how sweet is that?) and the variety of games is so huge that I could never find time to test them all. The only bad thing I can discover about this game-site is honestly that I have a hard time choosing which games I want to try first. (Seriously, check out this calendar full of new releases...)

Big Fish Games LogoAfter playing one of their popular arcade games for a while (Bushwhacker 2, which is a mini-RPG, which I can't stop playing, lol) I went browsing around through their selection of games that are downloadable to the PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad and Android platforms. I loved what I saw. The games remind of the old-school PC games I used to play, only they are much cheaper, up-to-date, and you can try them for an hour before purchasing!

Big Fish also has a cool gaming club I'm thinking of joining, where any games you purchase count towards your 'punch card' on their site - get 6 punches and you get a free game! (On Mondays, you can even get bonus punches.)

Discount:

New customers can use the coupon codes found on their coupons & deals page by clicking HERE to get 70% off their first game and 50% off their other games.

Ready to get started? Head over to BigFishGames.com to check it out. If you like what you see, sign-up (it's free!) and start playing in their awesome online gaming center or use the new customer discount code to score a downloadable game for a great price!

Connect:

You can connect with BigFishGames in social media by checking them out on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube or Google+.

(The Big Fish Games Giveaway that was associated with this post has expired; please check out our giveaways tab for a list of available contests! Please take a look at our Winners List or contact me through the form found here if you have questions about the results of this giveaway.)

Have you tried out a Big Fish game?
Which one would you try if you could pick any?
Chat with me in the comments below about which ones you love!

Follow Me on Social Media!

Disclosure: If you would like to see your company advertised in a giveaway or a review like this one, please contact Alicia at MasterofMom@gmail.com.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Virtual makeover anyone? Try before you buy with GlamST.com.

I've never been great at picking out my own make-up. I don't know if there was a class in middle-school that I missed or if I was just too busy watching my dad change spark-plugs... but I am horrible when it comes to putting a make-up look together.

Of course, it doesn't help that the super-beauties who are modeling the make-up in all the ads look positively fantastic in every single color they apply. The problem is that none of those models have my Irish-French-Native-American-and-a-bit-of-who-knows-what facial features.

So when I go to put on that sky-blue & purpliest-purple eyeshadow combo that I thought looked sooooo very beautiful... I end up looking like Mimi from The Drew Carey Show instead of the model wearing that same combo.

What I've always needed (and desperately wanted!) is a make-over. Getting a make-over isn't easy though. To get a professional look, you have to pay. If you don't want to pay, you have to be willing to let your friends make you look like a streetwalker.

Why a streetwalker? Because it's not your friend's face. Also because your friend isn't a professional, and she will probably say something like: "Hey! I read about bright red lips and dark smoky eyes in my beauty magazine, it's sure to look hot on you. I could never pull it off, but you definitely have the look for it!" (Translation is: I would never dare put anything this dark on my face, but I'm going to do it to you because a magazine told me it's 'in' and I have nothing better to go on!)

And anyone who has had this done to them knows that there is no polite way to say, "You made me look like a floozy!", so you end up hiding in the house for the rest of the day. (Unless of course you have very insanely chosen your wedding day to let your friend make your face into a piece of artwork. Then you head down the aisle while your grandmother points to her face and makes googly-eyes at you as if you had no clue what has happened. How do I know this? Ohhhh, no reason.)

This leaves thrifty gals like me with only one excellent option: a virtual make-over. And luckily for me, I've found a fantastic site for it called GlamST.com.

GlamST Website Screenshot

How it works:

This site allows you to upload a photo of yourself and draw lines that exactly show the outlines of your features.

After you've uploaded your photo and told the system where the make-up should go, you're ready to browse through their huge product selection! They have foundations, eyeliners, shadows, blushes, lipsticks... even concealer & gloss!

I had a fantastic time giving myself a few virtual make-overs, but the most amazing (and surprising) part was when my husband told me to scoot over and used the system to give me a makeover! I have never seen a man so intently choosing foundation & blush colors and I was impressed with the result he came out with.

Bonus?!?

Best part, ladies? My husband told me to upload another photo of me with my hair down so that he can do another makeover, at which point he will purchase all of the make-up if I like it.

(Yes, you read that right: My husband is going to lay down about a hundred dollars in the name of beauty - all because I let him give me a virtual makeover!)

I think my favorite part of the system is that if you 'try on' an item, there is a review section below that will allow you to see what others think of the product. I'm all-for getting the opinions of others before I decide to buy something that I'm going to wear on my face, so this is a really important feature for me. Another great feature is that you get to see how great your handiwork is by checking out side-by-side Before & After shots.

All in all, this is certainly a website to try out.
And hey, I can't promise that letting your man give you a virtual makeover will score you some glam new products, but it can hurt to try, right?

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Want to know more about GlamST? You can visit them on their website at www.GlamST.com. Or, connect with them via social media on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram! Check out some of the great looks that bloggers like me have come up with by clicking HERE.

Before and After shots on GlamST

Disclosure: I received no compensation for this post and, as always, my opinions are purely my own.

Friday, May 2, 2014

How-To Use Baking Soda to Clean Jewelry

DIY Jewelry Cleaner Recipe


Recently I was sent a box of Arm & Hammer Baking Soda from Smiley360 so that I could check it out and share some neat ways to use it. Although I received the baking soda for free, any of my posts, videos, experiments, or opinions are completely my own.

I've heard many times that baking soda can be used to clean jewelry, but I had never actually tried it for myself. With a supply of extra baking soda ready for a little experimentation, I decided that now was as good a time as any to put it to the test.



If you are planning on cleaning your jewelry with baking soda, here is what you will need:


  • gold or silver jewelry
  • an old toothbrush for scrubbing
  • baking soda
  • water


The baking soda should be made into a paste by using 3 parts baking soda to 1 part water. Scrub the paste onto the jewelry you want to clean, then rinse. This method of jewelry-cleaning worked far better than I ever would have hoped. As a matter of fact, after I finished making the demo video below I cleaned my wedding ring using the same baking soda paste and it turned out just as lovely as when I get it professionally cleaned.

If you want to know more about my Smiley360 mission with Arm & Hammer, click here! If you want to know more about Smiley360 and find out how you can participate in cool missions like this, click here to head to the sign-up page.

Watch the video below to see how easy it was for me to clean my jewelry using baking soda & water.





Do you have a super-awesome baking-soda tip? Have you tried this one?
Chat with me in the comments below, I love talking with my readers!

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Disclosure: I received no compensation to write this post and, as always, my opinions are purely my own.