Pink & White Mani

This week’s DIY manicure was inspired by these gorgeous white and pink speckled roses.

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I used a medium sized dotting tool, although the rounded end of a bobby pin will do the trick, to add some interest to this bubble gum pink Deborah Lippmann shade in “I Kissed a Girl.” The white polish by Wild and Crazy in “Montana” works well because it’s opaque in one coat.

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Hope you’re having a happy Sunday.

~ Elmira

Charming Charlie Jewels

I’m a fan of costume jewelry, but won’t pay high-end prices. So, I was pleasantly surprised by the bling stock available at Charming Charlie, both online and in-store.

The jewels are color coordinated and beautifully displayed. They carry everything from bold, neon colored pieces to dainty items. Here are the pieces I purchased.

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This emerald necklace is quite weighty, but beautiful. It’s marked down to $8.99 from $18.

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This $15 clear rhinestone necklace will pair nicely with so many outfits and is also available in silver. It’s very lightweight.

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The filigree earrings are on sale for $3.99!

They also carry a few J.Crew inspired pieces for a fraction of the price, like this crystal bib necklace.

I’ve only worn the items a few items but I think they’ll hold up well, especially since I keep my jewelry away from perfumes, lotions and store them properly.

What’s your favorite store for costume jewelry?

~ Elmira

13 All-Stars of 2013

2013 was filled with new beauty discoveries and old favorites. Here are my most-loved beauty products from the past year.

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1. I’ve raved about Jojoba oil in previous posts, but the one from the Jojoba Company was the only face moisturizer I used in 2013.

2. Bite Beauty’s lipstick in Musk is not only my perfect nude shade, but it applies smoothly, wears well and is very moisturizing. It’s a bit pricy but also a high quality brand.

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3. Kat Von D’s Bellisima blush is a wearable peach-tone shade with a slight sheen. It’s pigmented and blends easily.

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4. At first, I wasn’t a fan of this highlighter by Josie Maran because it’s powdery and was too subtle for my taste. But once I put away my brushes and applied it with my fingers, I saw its true beauty. It’s a neutral shade, not too gold or pink and is appropriate for day and night. It works well as an eyeshadow, too.

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5. The dual-ended creamy pencil by 100% Pure has been a staple in my collection. I’ve used it as eyeliner and an eyeshadow base. I especially love the chocolate shade when doing a smokey eye.

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6. China Glaze Glistening Snow nail polish is a must-have for all glitter lovers. It makes for gorgeous nail art or can be worn solo.

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7. Jane Iredale’s Berry lipliner is smooth enough to be worn as lipstick and has decent lasting power.

8. Everyday Minerals is by far the best mineral powder I’ve used. They offer a wide shade range and various finishes.

9. This favorite is sadly discontinued, but the Josie Maran Argan Blend Concealer is definitely a standout product and I’ll surely miss it once it’s gone. If you have a favorite natural concealer, please let me know.

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10. Alba Botanica’s Unpetroleum Jelly is my favorite lip balm.

11. For most of 2013, I used organic, cold-pressed coconut oil as a body moisturizer. It absorbs quickly and smells delicious. I opt for the 54 oz. tub by Carrington Farms, split it into two containers and use one for beauty and the other for cooking. Here’s a helpful post listing 101 uses for coconut oil.

12. My number one pimple zapper continues to be Sibu’s Seabuckthorn Seed Oil. If you suffer from breakouts, you need this bottle in your life.

13. Finally, the leave-in conditioner by Kinky Curly makes combing through my post-shampooed hair a breeze. And, it smells like a tropical cocktail.

~ Elmira

Glistening Snow by China Glaze pairs beautifully with any nail polish shade and is an easy way to inject a bit of sparkle into your manicure.

Glistening Snow by China Glaze pairs beautifully with any nail polish shade and is an easy way to inject a bit of sparkle into your manicure.

DIY Facial

Hi, friends

I recently came down with the flu and used the steam facial method to help relieve my congestion, and was reminded of its amazing skin benefits.

Although I’m sick and sleep deprived, my skin glowed after a few minutes of breathing in the steam from the boiling water while tucked under a blanket.

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Afterward, I hovered my hands over the steam and they, too, feel silky soft. This ancient method works wonders, and is especially helpful during the colder months.

Quick, natural and free skincare fixes are the best, right?

Hope you’re all having a wonderful Sunday.

~ Elmira

Cyber Monday Beauty Alert

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Hi, friends

A few of my favorite brands are partaking in the Cyber Monday festivities. I’m stocking up on necessities and trying out a couple newbies.

100% Pure is running a 10 items for $10 each deal, plus free shipping on all orders. A trio of their newly released polishes, lip crayons and skincare items are included. Check out the full list here.

Sibu Beauty is offering 60% off its entire site with the code SIBU60. This is the perfect time to test out their sea buckthorne oil. Check out my review here.

Desert Essence is providing 30% off sitewide with promo code CYBER. I’ve raved about their red raspberry shampoo and thoroughly clean face wash.

Everyday Minerals are keeping their lips sealed about the upcoming deal, but check out their facebook page for the announcement tomorrow. I highly recommend the matte base face powder. Their blushes are lovely, too.

If you know of any other natural beauty deals, please share.

Happy shopping!

~ Elmira

Love this soft blush colored polish. Any tips on avoiding streaks? I applied three thin coats over a base coat. The glitter accent is OPI’s Teenage Dream. Strobe Light by Sally Hansen is a less expensive dupe. 

~ Elmira

Love this soft blush colored polish. Any tips on avoiding streaks? I applied three thin coats over a base coat. The glitter accent is OPI’s Teenage Dream. Strobe Light by Sally Hansen is a less expensive dupe.

~ Elmira

Review: 100% Pure Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream

I don’t know about you, but I feel better about the aging process when I’m consistently using an eye cream.

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I feel even better knowing this eye cream from 100% Pure is just that- completely pure. This cream is lightweight and absorbs quickly while leaving a velvety finish behind, which makes it ideal for use under makeup. It has a slight scent of coffee and herbs.

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I don’t suffer from puffiness and I didn’t notice a reduction in dark circles but it kept my under-eye hydrated.

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My only grumble is about the packaging because, as you can see in the picture, the pump is very short so the product can get stuck.

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I’d recommend this for anyone who is just starting out with eye creams because it’s the perfect consistency, texture and finish.

~ Elmira

Simple Tip Saturday: Toxic-Free Produce Wash

This is a departure from my usual beauty-related posts, but my mom taught me this toxic-free way to wash produce, so I want to share the simple mixture with you.

Submerge the veggies/fruits in cold water, add a few tablespoons of baking soda and a splash of white vinegar. Let soak for a few minutes and rinse clean with cold water.

Place the  produce in a drainer to dry before storing in the fridge. Happy eating!

~ Elmira

Rave Review: Kinky-Curly Knot Today Natural Leave In Detangler

This cleverly named leave in conditioner is my main weapon for combing through my overly tangled hair after its freshly washed.

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First off, it smells like a tropical smoothie (it’s naturally scented, by the way) and best of all, it works without leaving a residue or weighing down the hair.

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The first time I applied it to my wet hair, I had low expectations because it just seemed to coat the tangled mess without softening it, but the moment I gently ran the comb through my hair, it worked its magic. And now, I’m hooked.

Also, the jelly-like texture works as a low maintenance styling product. When I’m pressed for time or just don’t want to apply mousse, I scrunch¬† my hair and it subtly defines my natural waves.

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About how much I use each time:

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If you’re used to going to battle every time you comb through your wet hair, you need this stuff in your life!

~ Elmira