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BlogHer Life Well Lived – Finding Inspiration

BlogHer asked me to answer their Life Well Lived Looking Your Best question,

“What are your favorite resources for inspiration on style, fashion, beauty and living life well?”

 

Books

I love reading books because they force me to create images in my head. While a novel may state that the protagonist is a brunette or wearing a navy dress, the rest of the description is truly up to me. I envision each character – how they dress, they walk, they talk and I think about why I chose that trait. It’s a great exercise to see style beyond what is on the television, and also to see how I look at style. From this, I often get inspiration for my own wardrobe.

Along with novels, I also love style books. This past weekend I finally got around to reading Ari Seth Cohen’s book Advanced Style and it was so inspiring. These fabulous women with fabulous personal style, making their own rules and looking gorgeous while doing so. The book has very little text, but each quote gave me such food for thought.

Magazines

If you read this blog regularly, you know I love Real Simple. They show wearable fashion at reasonable price points, and each issue ends up adding some new item to the shopping list for Target, Sephora, or Drugstore.com. Through Real Simple I have learned about life-changing night creams, skin-clearing gentle face washes, and lip glosses that make me actually like lip glosses. I also learn ways to simplify my life and daily routines, giving me time to actually life my life and not be a machine.

While I love Real Simple for showing great pieces that are buyable now, I do love falling into the fantasy that is in high-end fashion magazine spreads. I could look at a Vogue spread for an hour, creating characters, imagining situations, and also trying to see into the stylist’s head as to why she put things together in the way she did. Letting my mind wander on a spread gives me a lot of inspiration for my own wardrobe – creative pairings and unexpected additions.

The Street

Yesterday I passed a woman on the street in lavender skinny jeans, a white v-neck tee, and a gray tweed blazer. The look was so simple, but so fresh and crisp it made me want a pair of lavender jeans in my life. Washington DC isn’t necessarily known for its fashion, but every day I see women who push sartorial boundaries, or who take class and style up a notch.

For every woman in an ill-fitting polyester suit and pair of worn-down TOMS there is one in a perfectly tailored vintage blazer or one-of a kind frock. I also see women who give me ideas for my beauty routine – natural waves, fresh dewy skin, or a shock of color on the lips, eyes or even in the hair. These women give me inspiration, and regularly help me shop within my own closet for completely new ensembles.

We want to know, what are YOUR favorite resources for inspiration on style, fashion, beauty and living life well?  Visit BlogHer and let us know in the comments!  Also be sure to enter the Life Well Lived sweepstakes, where you could win an iPod Touch!

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Hair Update: How to Style Blunt Bangs

As you know from a previous post, I got a haircut I didn’t expect or necessarily like. It has been a learning experience since then, trying out new products, tools, and methods to style the new ‘do. One of the biggest changes is I now have thick blunt bangs. With naturally wavy hair, it’s not easy to keep the bangs looking great. So when BlogHer asked me if I wanted to choose a video from their extensive BlogHerTV collection and recreate one of their beauty or hair tutorials, I was thrilled. Even more thrilled when I found this video on how to style blunt bangs from Lorenzo of the Warren-Tricomi salon in Los Angeles.


The video instructs that to get great blunt bangs, dry bangs in a sweeping back and forth motion with a paddle brush. This was actually how I was drying my bangs before, but thanks to the video I have added flat ironing with a fine-toothed comb and a fine mist of hair spray to set. Amazing how these added details really improved the look of my blunt bangs, and also kept them looking good for a longer period of time!

If you too are rocking the blunt bangs, I encourage you to check out the video above to get some useful styling tips. And don’t forget to enter the contest for a chance to win $100!


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Life Well Lived – Day to Night Beauty

Recently BlogHer asked some bloggers about our beauty shortcuts – It’s the end of your day and you’re rushing to get ready for an evening out. How do you create a nighttime look in just a few minutes? This is something I deal with often as a full-time working mother as well as a fashion blogger – I often run from an 8-11 hour work day to an evening blogging event or date with my husband. I have learned ways to make a day look quickly and easily transition to evening.

Day to Night Makeup


In my purse I have a small cosmetic bag with essentials to amp up my daytime makeup. A travel-sized tube of volumizing mascara, a black kohl pencil, a creamy lip balm, and a flame red lipstick. What I am wearing determines whether I amp up the eyes, or amp up the lips.

If I am wearing dark colors or a modern silhouette, I usually choose to get a rocker vibe with an intense eye. I will slowly circle my eyes with the kohl liner, use a warm ring finger to smudge a bit, and then add a few coats of mascara to up the intensity. For the lips I will keep it simple with the pinky-brown lipcolor I wore during the day.

If I am wearing bright colors, I find a red lip makes what could be seen as a day look instantly look evening-appropriate. I have a long-wearing red lipcolor so I don’t have to bother with constant reapplication (or lipstick on my teeth or the cheek of the person I air kissed); I use my ring finger to add a thin layer of the lip balm to my eyelids – this makes the face look dressy without sparkle or shimmer. the balm then goes in my bag to keep the long-wearing lipstick shiny and feeling soft all night.

Both makeup updates only take a couple minutes and can completely transform not just my face but my entire ensemble.

I loved reading the other bloggers’ responses to this question – lots of great tips on how to create an evening look in a jiffy. If you too would like to learn other bloggers’ tips for keeping for a quick day-to-night makeup transition, I encourage you to check out this post. While there, share your own personal tips for a quick day to evening look!

While visiting BlogHer, be sure to enter the Life Well Lived Moments Sweepstakes – share your Life Well Lived Moment and you may win $250!

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Elizabeth Arden PREVAGE® Anti-aging Serum Review & Giveaway [Sponsored]

BlogHer and Elizabeth Arden recently asked if I’d like to try out Elizabeth Arden’s PREVAGE® Anti-aging Daily Serum and share my thoughts with you.  Um… yes please!  PREVAGE® Anti-aging Daily Serum is clinically proven to reduce the appearance of lines, wrinkles, sun damage, and uneven skin texture. Not only that, PREVAGE® is formulated with Idebenone, a powerful antioxidant that fights environmental threats, including pollution.

It’s like my face decided this year that it was going to start acting its age; though I am 40 and spent more time in college in a tanning bed or on a beach sans sunscreen than in a lecture hall, I’ve had pretty great skin. However lines are starting to be more pronounced and I’m getting little lines around the eyes and mouth. I have sun damage; a brown spot on my left cheek that arrived a decade ago and far more freckles than I had as a child. I’m the poster child for PREVAGE® and was thrilled to be able to try it. Elizabeth Arden reports that 96% of women who used PREVAGE® saw an improvement in their skin’s overall appearance in just four weeks**. This line of skincare solutions is an alternative to professional procedures helping to give skin a smoother, firmer, more resilient look.

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I received my bottle of PREVAGE® Anti-aging Daily Serum a week before this post was due. The packaging is quite impressive, as you see above. A heavy weighted bottle with a mirror finish and an equally luxe box that Emerson quickly took to be part of her homemade cardboard dollhouse (I think it’s the bedroom mirror). I began using the product that very evening, applying three pumps of the Creamsicle-colored lotion to my face, neck, décolleté, and any remainder to my hands that are also realizing their age. I replaced the serum in my usual skincare routine and for a week have used it every morning and every evening under my moisturizer. While it’s far too soon for me to be able to report on any skin improvements with this serum, I can report that my skin seems to like it. No breakouts (which usually happen when switching to a new product), no irritation, no redness. It’s creamy, smells lovely, absorbs nicely and lightly moisturizes. I’ll be sure to report after a full month of using the product to let you know the actual results.

Elizabeth Arden PREVAGE® Anti-aging Daily Serum is available at ElizabethArden.com, Macy’s and Nordstrom.

*Bahman, G et al (2009), Factors Contributing to the Facial Aging of Identical Twins.
**Based on a US home use test on 99 women aged 25-65 after 4 weeks.

Giveaway

Do you plan on trying PREVAGE® Anti-aging Daily Serum to reverse the signs of environmental damage to your skin? Tell me in the comments for a chance to win a $100 VISA gift card.

Entry Instructions: No duplicate comments.  You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

  • Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
  • Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
  • Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
  • For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older (or nineteen (19) years of age or older in Alabama and Nebraska). Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. The notification email will come directly from BlogHer via the sweeps@blogher email address. You will have 2 business days to respond; otherwise a new winner will be selected. The Official Rules are available here.This sweepstakes runs from 4/6/15 – 5/31/15. Be sure to visit the Elizabeth Arden PREVAGE® Anti-aging Daily Serum brand page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ posts!

Review and Giveaway: J.Jill Uncomplicate Me This Spring

I learn so much from you readers: sites to visit, beauty products to try, and clothing brands to check out. Many of you have raved about J.Jill and how the brand carries quality pieces in regular, petite, tall, and women’s sizes. With spring upon us, I’ve been looking for warm weather clothes to add to my wardrobe. When BlogHer and J.Jill approached me to try out J.Jill’s linen collection, I was excited.Many of you have raved about J.Jill’s linen collection in how it washes and wears so well. Linen is one of the oldest fabrics still in use today; it was first used in Egypt where it was prized for its purity and cleanliness. Today, linen is loved for its breathability, easy care (machine washable and dryable or dry cleaned), and durability – a great linen piece can last for years of wear because it’s 2-3 times the strength of cotton and just gets softer and better with time.

This spring, J.Jill is offering Linen in a Whole New Light. Their popular linen collection is updated with fresh details, blended knits, and watercolor effect prints that offer new ways to experience the fab fabric. J.Jill’s linen blend fabrics include rayon to increase the fabrics’ softness and provide luster and drape; and cotton for softness, a cool touch, and to minimize shrinkage (J.Jill’s linen can take a tumble in the dryer!).

J.Jill Pure Jill Indigo Knit Easy Dress

It has been hard finding clothes that work with my cast; something that fits over it, is easy to put on, something uncomplicated. Knit dresses have been great with the cast so I decided to try the Pure Jill Indigo Knit Easy Dress. When it was cold I wore the dress with leggings, tall boots, and a scarf for an easy casual look. With the temps rising, the dress is great for running errands with a pair of tennis shoes or Capri leggings and ballet flats. This is a Large Petite.

J.Jill Linen Big Shirt and Perfect Tank

I’ve wanted a white linen shirt; as soon as I heard about this opportunity I checked out J.Jill’s Linen Big Shirt. I ordered a Petite Large, which fit perfectly… except it didn’t fit over the cast. I went to the store and exchanged it for a Regular XL, which gives it a true big shirt look and fits over my right arm. For this weekend look I paired it with the J.Jill Perfect Tank (size Petite Large) and an old favorite pair of jeans. This shirt would look great knotted over a pencil skirt, belted over skinny jeans, or under a cropped top for a trendy silhouette. I must say the Perfect Tank is exactly that; having a petite tank is a game changer; it still has enough length but the neckline doesn’t gape and my bra straps stay well covered. The tank is an opaque, smooth refined knit that could dress up to be a shell under a casual blazer or paired with a full midi skirt and sandals. I liked this tank so much I got a second one in black!

Interested in checking out J.Jill’s Linen collection to uncomplicate your spring wardrobe? I’ve got two ways for you to do it for less!

Promotion
Use promotion code BLOGHER at checkout and get 30% off one full-priced item! This code is valid through May 21, 2014.

Giveaway

One Wardrobe Oxygen reader will win a $100 J.Jill gift card! To enter leave me a comment letting me know what is your favorite spring look!

Sweepstakes Rules:
No duplicate comments.  You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

  1. Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
  2. Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
  3. Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
  4. For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. The notification email will come directly from BlogHer via the sweeps@blogher email address. You will have 72 hours to respond; otherwise a new winner will be selected.  The Official Rules are available here.  This sweepstakes runs from 4/3/2014-5/27/2014.

Be sure to visit the J.Jill brand page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ posts!

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Spring Style with ECCO (Plus a Giveaway) [Sponsored]

Sometimes brands approach you about a partnership and it’s a perfect fit. I was contacted about doing a sponsored post with ECCO and I was psyched. I’ve featured ECCO shoes before (here and here for example) and think it’s a great brand that marries classic style with comfort. They asked for me to style one of their shoes and one bag here on the blog.

ecco bag 1 ecco bag 2Top | Skirt | Bag: c/o ECCO

Before this partnership, I didn’t know that ECCO made bags. I shouldn’t be surprised that they do, and that they are elegant, classic, and high quality. I received the ECCO Felicity Crossbody in a neutral Saffiano leather. It’s a nice sized bag from nice materials, but it’s hard to properly gauge it because it is not the color or style of bag I would normally choose for myself. It’s a size big enough to carry all your purse essentials yet slim and streamlined. Everything inside stays safe and dry too, thanks to the soft fabric lining water-repellent lining. I decided to style the ECCO Felicity Crossbody with a classic look to highlight its traditional lines. I’m glad for this partnership with ECCO because I found that they make nice bags. My first choice for this campaign was the ECCO Sculptured Clutch, which is made of buttery leather and is the shape and style that will work all seasons of the year and be chic for years to come.

ecco sho9es 1 ecco shoes 2Dress | Necklace (similar) | Hat (similar) | Shoes: c/o ECCO

The ECCO Touch 45 Cross Wedge is a comfortable sandal. I had recently ordered this turquoise dress and saw it next to the shoes and LOVED the color combination. Considering the comfort and versatility of this shoe, I decided to style the ECCO Touch 45 WS for a summery vacation look. I like the look of the ECCO Touch 25 T-Strap which is a wedge sandal of a similar height, but thinner straps that give a more feminine feel that may prove more versatile. Available in four colors and a variety of fabrics, it’s the perfect blend of comfort and style for spring and summer.

The craftsmanship of this bag and these sandals is classic ECCO and a reason why this brand is a favorite of mine. The shoes are comfortable straight out of the box and crafted to offer comfort and style for years. I encourage you to check out the ECCO site and see the other styles they have available. And if you’re a fan of ECCO like me, today’s your lucky day!

What’s your favorite spring shoe trend? Tell me below in the comments for a chance to win an ECCO shoe card worth up to $250!

Giveaway

Entry Instructions: No duplicate comments. You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

  1. Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
  2. Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
  3. Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post

For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older (or nineteen (19) years of age or older in Alabama and Nebraska). Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. The notification email will come directly from BlogHer via the sweeps@blogher email address. You will have 2 business days to respond; otherwise a new winner will be selected. The Official Rules are available here. This sweepstakes runs from 4/2/15 – 4/30/15.

Be sure to visit the ECCO brand page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ posts!

#SavedBySkimmies: Jockey® Skimmies® Slipshort Review and Giveaway

A couple weekends ago, I attended an outdoor wedding. Our friends’ Big Day was hot – extremely hot, and extremely humid. There was also a chance of rain. Not only was I an invited guest, but Karl was the hired photographer and I was to assist him in organizing guests for posed photos. Emerson was also invited, so I would also be chasing after her. I knew I had to dress in a way that would keep me comfortable, mobile, yet festive. I chose a floral print silk maxi dress and flat sandals but knew my underpinnings would be just as crucial. The Friction Affliction, we’ve all been there. That bow-legged stride that aims to keep a dreaded thigh fire from ruining your day. Heat and humidity, sweat and running around plus curvy girl chub rub can quickly make a gal miserable. There was no way I was going to experience Friction Affliction at this wedding. And the Shake Down. You know when you wear a silk dress and it rubbing against your undergarments causes static cling? I had no time for the one part wiggle, two parts tug dance on this day. Thank goodness for Jockey Skimmies®. I’ve written about them before, I think they’re pretty darn fantastic and they literally saved my skin all last summer. So when Jockey reached out and asked if I’d like to try another pair this year and share how I was #SavedBySkimmies it wasn’t hard to say yes. And for this wedding, I wore my new Jockey Skimmies Slipshorts.

PicMonkey Collage

Some Instagram photos of the wedding: the hazy humid ceremony, me dancing between the ceremony and reception, with my sweaty daughter during the ceremony, my daughter and I taking a silly and very sweaty and rain-soaked selfie after the reception

No Friction Affliction, my thighs were happy campers all day and night, through humidity that felt like pea soup, sweat that rolled down my back and legs for hours, a torrential downpour I got caught in on two separate occasions, and all the dashes I did to help Karl, tend to Emerson, and enjoy the event. As for The Shake Down? The only shaking I did that day was my booty as I danced to live music from afternoon until dark. Jockey Skimmies aren’t control garments so there’s no muffin top, no gas pains from being squished for hours, no tell-tale thigh dents, and the shorts don’t roll or sag or ride. Honestly, with the combination of the dress and my Jockey Skimmies I didn’t have to think about what I was wearing all day. And honestly, if I didn’t receive these Skimmies from Jockey the week before the wedding, I would have worn another pair of them because I know they’re the best to wear for such a situation. Learn more about Jockey Skimmies by visiting jockey.com/savedbyskimmies or visit Jockey on Facebook, YouTube, and Pinterest.

Do Jockey Skimmies® sound awesome to you? Are you ready to be #SavedBySkimmies this summer? One Wardrobe Oxygen reader is going to be Saved by Skimmies thanks to Jockey!

Giveaway

How would you like to be Saved By Skimmies? Tell me in the comments for a chance to win a $100 Jockey.com gift card.

Entry Instructions: 

No duplicate comments. You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

1. Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
2. Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
3. Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
4. For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older (or nineteen (19) years of age or older in Alabama and Nebraska). Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. The notification email will come directly from BlogHer via the sweeps@blogher email address. You will have 2 business days to respond; otherwise a new winner will be selected. The Official Rules are available here. This sweepstakes runs from 6/10/2015 – 7/31/2015

Be sure to visit Jockey’s brand page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ posts!


She Works Hard for the Money: Blogging and Financial Compensation

I like to be transparent with you here on this blog. I have mentioned before that this blog is for profit – this blog is income for my family to make it possible for one of us to stay home and raise our daughter.  I treat this blog as a job – I may make money, but I put in hard work and strive to create a quality product for you.

Financial compensation has become a sensitive topic in the blogosphere. More and more money is out there for bloggers, and one’s vision can be clouded by dollar signs. My vision has been clouded before, but I’ve learned that there is no dollar amount that is worth losing my self-respect or tainting the voice and brand I have built. I’ve had a few readers comment lately on my monetization, and I’d like to explain it more carefully to you – what I do and why I feel okay doing it.  I know this topic is not interesting to everyone, so though I despise them, I’m going to put in a jump for the rest of this lengthy post.


Giveaways. 99% of the time, my giveaways are through BlogHer. I have been a proud member of BlogHer for several years. I think the organization does great things, and they respect me as a person and my goals for this blog.  I am not blackballed if I refuse campaigns, and they understand if bloggers don’t want to participate in programs or ads because they go against their beliefs or ethics or lifestyle.  Every so often, I receive an email from BlogHer asking if I’d like to be part of a certain campaign. I am told the brand, the general direction for the post, and am asked if I fit a certain demographic. Sometimes I apply, sometimes it’s a wrong fit and I decline.  Sometimes I am approved for a campaign I apply for, sometimes I am not.

These giveaways always involve some sort of review or knowledge of the brand mentioned in the post. I receive the product for free as well as money for writing the post and touting it on social media. I don’t half-ass these reviews, I truly use that product more than one time and I believe give a thorough review. Heck, some of the products I review for giveaways become products I purchase again and again. I write all the content – they do give me some wording from the brand about it’s benefits and ingredients and who they see as their customer, but how I use that is 100% moi. I like working with BlogHer because they pick random numbers for giveaways, they understand not everyone uses social media or wants to blog about a giveaway, they always mail the winners their product, and they work with brands that I like and respect. Oh, and the prizes are good stuff – gift cards and fancy gift baskets and such. I won’t do a giveaway if the prize isn’t something I would like to get myself.

For every giveaway/review I do, there’s three I reject because I don’t think they’re a good fit for the blog or I don’t want to be connected with the brand. As for timing… well sometimes I ask to be part of a program in March but it doesn’t go live until July. this can make for some wonky scheduling (I have to go live the day they choose), and can end up having a month that is way too heavy on the sponsored posts. Luckily it usually ends up that the month after is nice and quiet so hopefully those who come by on a regular basis don’t see me as a perma-sellout.

Sponsored Posts. Other than the BlogHer giveaway posts, I don’t do sponsored posts on this blog. I rarely do a guest post, but when I do it’s from someone I know very well and who knows me and my blog very well and I think provides information or a perspective I cannot provide but will still provide content that resonates with my readers. Sometimes I have done sponsored content on a different URL with a teaser here, but I have gotten burned in the past with how it goes, and am far more careful/less likely to do them these days.

Occasionally I am paid to add a bit of javascript to the top of a post to promote some BlogHer promotion, often a giveaway I am not hosting.  The content of the post is organic and something I had scheduled to share anyway on that day.  I don’t do a ton of these, but just like giveaways they are sometimes scheduled at random times and ends up being right after a giveaway post so it looks as though I’m sponsoring every post.  I apologize for that, I do not have control over when they are scheduled and I usually agree at least a month in advance.

Affiliate Links. When I link to the dress I am wearing, if it’s not a gift from a brand and it’s a mass retailer, it’s likely an affiliate link. I primarily use ShopSense, which has an unknown super secret algorithm on how they pay, but it’s not solely based upon you buying items when you link. I also receive a commission if you sign up for Gwynnie Bee past the intro month and use my custom URL link.  I also use affiliate links when I mention music or books, but then use Amazon. I dabble with SkimLinks and RewardStyle and have used Commission Junction in the past and I may use a different program in the future if they make it easy for me to use, don’t force you readers to buy anything for me to profit, and have the brands that I feature naturally on this blog.

Speaking of which, you’ll never see a What I Crave Wednesday or similar post because I don’t want to encourage you to buy anything you don’t want or need. When I discuss brands and items in non-personal outfit posts, I always write the post first and then do the links – if I can’t find an affiliate link for something I mentioned I just do a straight link instead of changing the content. I also provide the brand of each item I wear so you don’t have to click on a link for more information – you can Google the brand and a description and find it. In fact, when it comes to shoes if I know the style name I will share it so you can click on the link, or choose to Google to find it elsewhere.

Banner Ads (Primarily Found in the Sidebar). I use the sidebar (and occasionally other places on the blog) to sell ads. Some come from ad companies (Google AdSense, BlogHer, Burst Media, Technorati, Lijt, etc.), and some come straight from the brands who work directly with me. With the ad companies, I can’t guarantee what they will show, it’s often determined by your web habits. This is why if you went to look at dresses at Lands’ End and then visit my blog, there’s suddenly an ad right there for the very dress you considered putting in your shopping cart. While I don’t know what will be shown, I do restrict certain products or brands (politics, weight loss, cosmetic surgery, firearms) that I do not wish to support. I also won’t sell adspace to any old company – the longer I blog the more discerning I am with my blog’s real estate and I offer primo space to those companies and brands I like the most.  I promise not to clutter my social media channels or dedicate blog posts to courting sponsors.

Gifted Merchandise/Opportunities. When I started having brands offer to send me free stuff it was so exciting! Sure I’ll take that ugly sweater, go ahead and send me that weird scarf, I’d be happy to try your stinky greasy body lotion, it’s free! The thing is, I would then have to take my time and my blog real estate to review that free item, and it’s not very nice to get a product free and then write a negative review (though long-time readers know I do it from time to time). I now am far more discerning with what merchandise I will accept, and I let them know ahead of time that it will be shared on the blog ONLY if I like it.

Recently a brand I like and wore before they contacted me offered to send me some of their merchandise. I picked out my pieces from a lookbook (AKA teeny little low-res pictures), guessed my size and thanked them. The clothes arrived, they were well-made and cute but they were too small. However, I was able to clearly see the quality and style and the error was on my part, so I incorporated the brand into an advice post instead of looking awful in their very nice clothes.

Sometimes I am gifted an event or opportunity, I always incorporate in the post that they gave it to me. If I don’t mention that a brand was kind enough to send me/let me try/have a membership to something, it’s because I bought it with my own money. Sometimes this may not be clear, so I often write a disclosure stating that my raving is because I am a fan, not because I am paid.

I will note an item of clothing or accessories is gifted with “C/O” which means courtesy of. Even if the piece is three years old, I will still note that it is “C/O.” I have received some comments lately that I wear too much gifted merchandise, but you need to realize I have been blogging for seven years, I choose to feature brands I like, so some of that C/O stuff could be three years old. Also do know for each brand I do choose to feature, there’s three who received a “thanks but no thanks” email. I also find this blog a great platform for lesser-known brands and companies that do good with their product; if it feels I am wearing too much of a certain brand it’s probably because the company as a whole is pretty amazing, has a good message, or supports women who are curvy or plus sized.

Speaking of size… brands often choose to partner with bloggers who are younger or thinner than I even if they have a smaller or less appropriate audience. When a brand contacts me and wants to work with me, a 38 year old soft size 12/14 person, I am impressed. You may have seen that some of my “go to” brands of yesteryear I hardly wear or mention any more, that is because I don’t believe they see us as their desired demographic or my blog as a proper platform. I choose to promote brands that realize that women over 30 and a size 10 love fashion and are willing to open their pocketbooks if a brand will provide and promote quality and style for them.

***

When I see blogs I love start having more gifted merchandise, events that they are hosting, trips, and ads I am happy for them if they are maintain their voice. Some bloggers are in it just for the money, some are in it just for the platform, and some of us are so honored to be able to receive compensation for what we love and would do for free.

I love blogging, I love connecting with all of you. My goal is to be compensated for this work without compromising the content. If you feel I am selling out, if I am putting money before content… send me an email and let me know. There’s no point in this blog if I am turning off those who have been with me since the get-go, or people who could be new readers and friends.

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Showing the Love: Karen Kane

karenkane

Karen Kane has a very special place in my bloggy heart. Back in 2011 Karen Kane reached out to me to do a partnership. Back then, I may have done a couple partnerships through BlogHer and a giveaway for store credit to Shopbop and Perricone (remember when those two companies would do giveaways over and over with every blog under the sun? And look at them now!) but I hadn’t made any relationships with brands. I had no idea how to pitch or even that I was supposed to but Karen Kane contacted me, offered to send me some of their clothes and do a giveaway.

I already was familiar with Karen Kane, a brand I was used to seeing in major department stores. I liked the relaxed yet luxe vibe and that the brand was made in the USA. They sent me some pieces and a relationship was born. Since then, I feature Karen Kane on Wardrobe Oxygen because I respect and believe in Karen and her brand. I appreciate their ethics, the way they make versatile wearable clothing in regular and plus sizes, the style factor without pieces being too trendy, and how it’s possible with Karen Kane to look sophisticated and polished while still being comfortable and relaxed.

While it’s my tenth year of Wardrobe Oxygen, it’s Karen Kane’s 35th anniversary and they’re celebrating it with a bang. Becoming a complete lifestyle brand, this spring Karen Kane is adding hats and jewelry to their line! I can’t tell you how excited I am for this addition, I love the Karen Kane aesthetic and what pieces I have already seen I want in my wardrobe ASAP! So far the only accessories available on their site is the gorgeous Coronado Teardrop Cocktail Ring but stay tuned for more additions to their accessories line as well as more new arrivals from their three Spring 2015 collections: Baja (how fab is that jumpsuit?), Nature Study (the zebra dress is calling my name), and Art + Soul (hello colorful fit and flare dress, I need you in my life).

I’ve written before about how Karen Kane is a brand with style and substance, and they proved it again when I reached out and asked if they would be willing to donate a prize to Wardrobe Oxygen readers for a decade of reading and supporting this blog. Karen Kane is offering one Wardrobe Oxygen a $250 shopping credit to enjoy at their site, and international readers you are able to also win this giveaway!

Wardrobe Oxygen + Karen Kane Giveaway

Review and Giveaway – Olay

I’m not afraid to admit the behind-the-scenes actions I take to feel feminine and beautiful on a daily basis. The steps I take to prevent sweat, smell, and yes, unwanted facial hair. Every two weeks I pull out my tube of smelly white cream and slather it over my upper lip. I hate it; it stinks, it often causes redness and breakouts, and usually leaves that part of my face numb for the rest of the day. Not an enjoyable act, but it gets the job done.

So when BlogHer contacted me asking if I would like to try the New Olay Smooth Finish Facial Hair Removal Duo, I jumped at the chance.

I read that New Olay Smooth Finish Facial Hair Removal Duo is a uniquely formulated two-step system designed to gently, yet effectively remove unwanted facial hair, leaving skin smooth, conditioned, and visibly hair free. This gentle hair removal system contains a Skin Guarding Balm, applied before the removal cream, that hydrates the skin to minimize irritation, redness, and other tell-tale signs associated with hair removal creams. It sounded like perfection!

This weekend I tried it out. The box comes with two products: a tube of the Skin Guarding Balm and a tube of the Hair Removal Cream. The balm is a stick, similar to lip balm; I applied a thin layer to my upper lip and rubbed it in completely. Then I applied the cream for six minutes. After six minutes, I removed the cream with a washcloth.

After those six minutes, I was a New Olay Smooth Finish Hair Removal Duo convert.

I have used many different drugstore depilatories, and they all were the same cream in different boxes. Olay is the first one to be drastically different. The Skin Guarding Balm really does work; it ensures that the hair remover doesn’t touch and irritate your skin. As for the actual hair removing cream, the scent is hardly noticeable.

New Olay Smooth Finish Hair Removal Duo didn’t cause redness, irritation, breakouts, or numbing of the skin. It just left smooth, happy, hairless skin. As a busy working mom I find this awesome; now I don’t have to block out time on the weekend so I can heal in the privacy of my home, I can do it in the morning while getting ready for work. Gentle on my skin and it simplifies my beauty routine? Who could ask for more?  How about getting this product for free? Today is your lucky day, BlogHer and Olay are offering one Wardrobe Oxygen reader a $50 gift card!

How to Enter:

To be entered for a chance to win, please leave me a comment explaining how you express your inner beauty through your beauty routine!
Rules:
No duplicate comments.
You can enter to win up to two (2) times, using any combination of the following methods:
  • Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
  • Tweet about this promotion and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
  • Blog about this promotion and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
  • For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

The sweepstakes runs from 1/3/2012 – 2/3/2012. This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected. The Official Rules are available here.  Also be sure to visit the Promotions & Prizes page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ reviews and find more chances to win! Good luck!

While we’re on the subject of looking good, you might want to check out the “Looking Your Best” posts in the Life Well Lived section of BlogHer.com. There are some great tips and expert posts!

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All the June Things

How is this month almost over? I feel I was just writing the Style File for the beginning of June! But time flies when you’re having fun, and this month has been pretty spectacular.

PicMonkey CollageJune 4th was our 11th wedding anniversary. Last year’s anniversary was pretty terrible – I was still in a splint and a lot of pain from my second arm surgery and couldn’t go far from home. We went to a local Tex Mex restaurant where Emerson threw a fit and my mom called stranded at the airport after her trip to Russia. I spent the dinner trying to secure her a ride home from Dulles and the evening ended with both Karl and I getting food poisoning from the meal. We swore this year would be better. We had tickets to see The Decemberists and Father John Misty the night of the 4th but there was a torrential downpour. We had lawn seats and decided it would be a far nicer night staying in our warm dry house, listening to albums and enjoying a bottle of wine.

June 6th was Emerson’s end of the year recital for her dance school. The theme was “Alice in Dancerland” and Emerson’s class had two performances – one jazz as a Jub Jub bird, and one ballet where she was a Changeling. She did an awesome job, and it was so cool to see her performing on a big stage at an historic theater in our area that I visited when I was her age. It was an especially emotional recital because it was the last for her school, which is closing. Emerson has been taking dance there since she was three and we’ll miss the teachers, the students, and I will miss the gang of parents I used to hang with during classes. Over all these years we have become friends and we haven’t been able to find another school that fits all of our schedules and is as convenient of a location.

June 10th the sutures were removed from my arm. I’m doing a bit of physical therapy now to prevent scar tissue from causing issue and to build up some strength in my fingers, but it’s not a big deal and I really enjoy PT.

June 11th was my blog party, which was a big fun blur. Hrm, I can vaguely recall dancing to EMF’s “Unbelievable” and a certain friend and party host admitting she saw them in concert way back when…

June 12th Emerson presented her first school project. Each class had a country they studied for Multicultural Night, and Emerson’s class was China. To add to this, each student was assigned an animal they had to do report on. Emerson got monkey, so we focused on the Golden Snub-nosed Monkey. She made this awesome diorama and a simple report and did a great job presenting in front of her class and other parents. After, her class performed a play about the Chinese animals in the zodiac; Emerson was the rat.

The Wednesday after was Emerson’s kindergarten graduation. No tiny caps and gowns, but the four kindergarten classes walked up to receive certificates and performed two songs for the audience. We got Emerson an Our Generation doll as a graduation gift and my mom and sister pitched in together to buy her the Our Generation Airstream trailer and the five of us went out for a celebratory lunch.

It’s amazing how far Emerson has come in one school year – she’s reading us bedtime stories now, she is always writing letters and notes and entries in her diary, she’s saving money and understanding how to add and subtract, she’s extremely independent and self-sufficient and we’ve learned that she LOVES performing in front of an audience. This summer she’ll be in a creative performance camp and will begin ballet classes at a new school.

In Girl Scouts, this month we had an second Investiture Ceremony for the three girls who have joined our troop in the past couple of months, and tomorrow we’re having our end of the year ceremony which includes four of our girls bridging to Brownies. Last week, the Service Unit had a peace rally in the community where they erected a peace pole older Girl Scout troops decorated and we all made peace cranes. While we won’t have any meetings this summer, us three co-leaders will be busy creating curriculum for the fall and independent study for the girls who missed meetings to earn petals and those older girls who were only in Daisies one year but want to earn all the petals before going to Brownies.

July and August are already looking busy. I’ll be going to my first blogging conference – BlogHer next month, and bringing Emerson and Karl with me. Between seminars and such the three of us will get a taste of The Big Apple; Karl and I have been many times but not for a while and Emerson has never been. August Karl and I are taking a couples weekend (details in an upcoming blog post), and my mom, sister, Emerson, and I will take our annual Girls Weekend to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware in September. There’s a few concerts already on the books and I likely will add a few more as the weeks go by and the Evites and Facebook Events have been rolling in for crab feasts, cookouts, and children’s birthdays and I can see every weekend filling up. But it’s all good stuff.

This month has been full, but really full of good people, good memories, good actions. I feel really blessed to have this life and be surrounded by such amazing people. I know summer will be over in the blink of an eye but I’m going to do my best to slow down, take deep breaths, and be present as much as possible. I hope you’re all doing well, and I’d love hear of any summer plans you have!

Review and Giveaway: COVERGIRL LashPerfection™ Mascara

I remember my mom allowing me to start wearing makeup in 7th grade. Not a lot, a bit of gray liner, some soft, pink lipstick, and mascara. I loved how this little bit of makeup could completely change my look — distract one from what I thought to be a large nose, make my lips look fuller, and give me long lashes like my younger sister. As I got older, I got more creative with my makeup — a strong lip would make me transform me into Rita Hayworth, a smoky eye turned me into a sex kitten, dewy skin and I felt years younger.

When I worked as a personal shopper, I won a makeover at our company convention. They cut off a good 10” of my hair, which was life-changing. But more life-changing was the makeup application — the artist used brushes in shapes I had never seen before, put shimmery, lemon shadow on my eyes, and even mixed shadow with gloss for my lip color. I was so inspired to get even more out of the box, treating my face like a canvas and the makeup as my paint. I was shocked by the final product of the makeover, but so inspired that I purchased a set of new cosmetic brushes that very weekend.

My sister putting the final touches on my makeup before going down the aisle

When planning my wedding, deciding on my makeup was just as important as deciding on my dress. I knew that makeup would complete the entire look, make me feel confident, feminine, and beautiful on my Big Day. I wore liquid liner and lots of mascara to perfectly complement my silk shantung gown and fingertip veil and loved the whole effect.

For me, makeup choices are just as important as my shoe choices or what necklace I paired with an outfit — makeup is the ultimate accessory. With makeup I feel more polished, I feel my look is complete.

If you are a regular reader of Wardrobe Oxygen, you know my favorite type of makeup is mascara. I feel naked without it! So when I got the opportunity to try the new COVERGIRL LashPerfection™ Mascara, I was so excited!

Usually, I am a “the more the better” sort of gal when it comes to lashes. I want them thick, I want them long, I want them full. I want to look as though I am wearing false lashes. However, this past summer I had been wishing for a more natural look that would go with cotton sundresses, sandals, and shorts. I was achieving that by wiping my mascara wand prior to application, but I wasn’t always thrilled with the results. It’s as though COVERGIRL was reading my mind when they created COVERGIRL LashPerfection Mascara!

I received a tube of black, which is the only color I wear for mascara. The brush is very stiff, almost feels like a comb instead of a brush. The bristles are spaced nicely to wiggle between each lash. After curling my lashes, I applied one coat and was impressed with the results — my lashes were darkened and looked miles long. That being said, they looked completely natural, as though I was born with gorgeous long lashes (just like my sister)!

My lashes with COVERGIRL LashPerfection Mascara

I applied a second coat, and then a third and was pleased with how well it layered — it didn’t give me spider lashes, just darker and thicker. I even wore this mascara to an outdoor concert, and the mascara held up through the humidity and heat and never irritated my contacts-wearing eyes. COVERGIRL LashPerfection Mascara is a fantastic day mascara, giving long, lovely lashes without clumps. With a few more layers, it would also be smashing for after-hours events.

Well here’s your chance to try this mascara out! BlogHer is offering one Wardrobe Oxygen reader a $50 gift certificate to Drugstore.com (one of my favorite online stores). Plenty of moolah to try out COVERGIRL LashPerfection Mascara or any personal care product that Drugstore.com carries!

How to Enter:
Rules: No duplicate comments. You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

  1. Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
  2. Tweet about this promotion and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
  3. Blog about this promotion and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
  4. For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected. The Official Rules are available hereEnter between October 4th and November 4th, 2011. Also be sure to check out the BlogHer Promotions & Prizes Page!

While we’re on the subject of make-up and looking great, you might want to check out the “Looking Your Best” posts in the Life Well Lived section of BlogHer.com. There are some great application tips and ideas for switching up your look for fall!

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Book Review and Giveaway: Ladies’ Night

It’s hard to explain to a non-blogger what it is like when you choose blogging as a profession. An outsider doesn’t understand why you spend every waking moment with a camera or SmartPhone, and how something as minor as a title of a post can make or break your monthly income. So to read a book where the protagonist is a successful Lifestyle Blogger is quite a treat.

Recently BlogHer gave me the opportunity to check out Mary Kay Andrews’ latest book, Ladies’ Night. The book is about Grace, a Lifestyle Blogger who is going through a divorce and a major life change. When Grace decided to react to her husband’s infidelity by driving his car into their backyard swimming pool, she was forced to attend weekly counseling sessions with fellow women (and one man) going through divorce. The group became friends, and through it had a weekly Ladies’ Night, hence the name of the book.

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I really enjoyed Ladies’ Night – it was an engaging and fun read. I looked forward to reading it each evening after a long day at work and putting Emerson to bed; it was my mini escape. It was fun to find that Andrews didn’t just write this book, but has a whole site dedicated to it with reading group discussion questions and recipes for food inspired by or mentioned in the novel. I must say while reading the book I was craving some crab corn bisque and was excited to find the recipe on the site!

Having this book from a blogger’s point of view was interesting; you saw into how a blogger makes money and has to do a lot of business deals and networking to stay relevant and profitable. But more than that, the book showed how strangers can quickly become best friends, and the power of a group of girlfriends and the occasional Girls’ Night.

Since having Emerson, my Ladies’ Nights are less frequent, but more necessary. Having that time with people you love and trust and to be able to have a couple of cocktails, dance, and gab about unimportant topics is so healthy and recharges me for work and family life. Each summer, a few of my girlfriends and I head to the beach for a weekend. We lay out, read trashy magazines, go out to dinner, hit a few bars. We drink, we dance, we laugh, we eat Buffalo wings at 3am. We let go of the drama and stress at home for those couple of days and come back better friends and better people.

Giveaway
This giveaway is now closed and the winner has been notified.  Thanks for entering!

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Review and Giveaway: Dove® VisibleCare™

The older I get, the dryer my skin becomes. I am always searching for a product that will keep my skin feeling hydrated and looking soft and supple. I have used Dove® body washes with NutriumMoisture™ and am impressed by how they keep my skin looking soft and dewy all day long.

Well Dove® has come out with Toning Crème Body Wash, a body cleanser designed to help promote skin’s elasticity and strength. Built on the brand’s heritage in cleansing and caring for skin, Dove® VisibleCare™ Toning combines the best of Dove® technology into a luxurious experience for beauty seekers. With the highest concentration of NutriumMoisture™ of all their products, Dove VisibleCare Toning actually improves the look of your skin. The body washes are available in three variants each of which cue different skin care needs, thanks to BlogHer I was able to try out Dove® VisibleCare™ Toning Crème Body Wash.

Dove® VisibleCare™ Toning Crème Body Wash is designed to promote skin’s elasticity and strength, which is important to me as I get older and see the lack of elasticity in my skin. While it contains a mild cleanser, this body wash also includes glycerin, stearic acid and Vitamin E to heal and hydrate the skin. The scent is a blend of ylangylang, wood, mandarin and bergamot which I honestly found a bit overpowering. Some like their body products to be fragrant, I prefer a more subtle scent so it doesn’t compete with my perfume. I love the rich lather, and that the product rinses clean, leaving my skin feeling fresh but still soft and supple. And VisibleCare™ is the proper name for this product – after one use I saw my skin looking softer, plumper, and all over happier (which does make it look younger and firmer). On days where I was in a rush and forgot body lotion, my skin still felt and looked soft and hydrated thanks to Dove® VisibleCare™ Toning Crème Body Wash.

Dove® has three versions of their new VisibleCare™ Body Washes:

  • Dove® VisibleCare™ Toning Crème Body Wash – the one I tried, which promotes skin’s elasticity and strength
  • Dove® VisibleCare™ Renewing Crème Body Wash – this wash nourishes and replenishes skin
  • Dove® VisibleCare™ Softening Crème Body Wash – this formula softens skin and gets rid of dry spots

This new line of body washes from Dove® helps you be proud to show off your skin this summer! Visit Dove® VisibleCare® to get a coupon for $1 off!

This giveaway is now closed, thanks to all who entered!

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Life Well Lived – Skincare Streamlined

Recently BlogHer asked a few of us bloggers about our skincare routines how to we care for our skin if we don’t have any “me time”? Working full time, chasing after a toddler, blogging and maintaining relationships with friends and family means my “me time” is few and far between, but I try not to let it affect my skincare routine.

After having Emerson I was looking for ways to get my skin back to normal. Pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding creates all sorts of hormonal imbalances and my skin was looking dull and I was getting breakouts around the jaw line and under my nose. I found that what worked better than any cream or serum is water. I now have a Camelbak reusable bottle on my nightstand, one on my desk at the office, and one in my living room. When at work, I force myself to drink at least two refills of the 32 oz. bottle; at home I consume at least one refill before bed and another before I head off to work. Staying so hydrated, my skin is getting back its glow, cleared up my adult acne, and even plumped up my skin to hide fine lines. On top of that, staying well-hydrated has also helped me lose the baby weight!

I loved reading all the other responses to this question – lots of great tips on how to streamline my beauty routine. If you too would like to learn other bloggers’ tips for keeping skin looking and feeling great with little “me time,” I encourage you to check out this post. I’d also love to hear from you – what are your best tips and tricks to care for your skin when you’re low on “me time”? I always learn so much from your comments, and would love to hear how you handle your beauty routine when you’re in a rush!

I also encourage you to enter the Life Well Lived Moments Sweepstakes – share your Life Well Lived Moment and you may win $250!

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Giveaway: The HSN Gift Store [Sponsored]

The holidays are a magical time, but they can feel pretty stressful when it comes to gift shopping. Fighting for a parking space at the mall, long lines, and trying to find the right gift for your Secret Santa can take the joy right out of gift giving. Consider HSN for your holiday gift shopping. HSN? Yes HSN! The HSN Gift Store makes it easy to shop for everyone on your list, breaking it down by who the gift is for, the price point, and whether it is eligible for FlexPay (a free and easy way to divide your purchase into monthly interest free payments, click here to learn more).
HSN Gift Store My favorite category in the HSN Gift Shop is “Under $25″–I always have Secret Santa gifts I need to buy that are at this pricepoint, and I have the hardest time finding good gifts. I was impressed by the interesting, useful, and stylish gifts for everyone that were under $25. My favorites:
Gifts under $25 for Her

Gifts under $25 for Newlyweds, Cooks, and Homeowners

Gifts under $25 for Him

Gifts under $25 for Kids

HSN Cares HeART Designer Ornament Collection

An ornament is a great gift for the person who has everything. Once again, HSN partnered with St. Jude and created an ornament collection where 100% of the profits are donated. The bear ornaments are adorable and are the perfect way to give and give back!

HSN Giveaway

To help you with your holiday shopping this year, one Wardrobe Oxygen reader will win a $100 gift card to HSN. To be entered for a chance to win a $100 HSN gift card, check out the gifts at the HSN Gift Store, then come back and leave a comment letting me know which item you’d love to give or receive this year!

Sweepstakes Rules: No duplicate comments. You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods: Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry. This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. The notification email will come directly from BlogHer via the sweeps@blogher email address. You will have 72 hours to respond; otherwise a new winner will be selected. The Official Rules are available here. This sweepstakes runs from 11/25/14 – 12/26/14.

Be sure to visit the HSN brand page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ posts!

Review and Giveaway: Vaseline® Spray & Go Moisturizer

I know it’s important to care for my skin, to moisturize and nourish it on a regular basis. But to be honest, I often don’t have the time. Very regularly I am trying to fit in a whole body cleansing, shampooing and a quick shave of the legs and pits in less than five minutes, and I hardly have time to rub in moisturizer and have it soak in fully before I struggle to slide jeans over greasy legs. So when BlogHer and Vaseline contacted me asking if I’d like to try new Vaseline® Spray & Go Moisturizer, I thought it was worth a try. Anything to help me save time in the morning!

There are three variants in the Vaseline Spray & Go Moisturizer line.  I received Vaseline Spray & Go Moisturizer Total Moisture® formula, which contains pure oat extract to leave skin feeling healthy and soft. This formula has an almost non-existent scent which I loved since it doesn’t compete with my perfume or any other body products.

Vaseline Spray & Go Moisturizer is an aerosol, so you get a continuous spray, no need to pump. It goes on in a fine mist, and with a quick rub it absorbs quickly and doesn’t leave a greasy finish. I was surprised at how little rubbing needed to be done to get my skin to absorb it and be ready to don clothing. Seriously, it goes on super easy. Vaseline recommends one to spray up, switch hands, spray down, and then rub in (“Up, Switch, Down, Rub”).

Vaseline Spray & Go Moisturizer provides light moisture to keep from having scaly legs and creepy forearms. It is a fantastic choice for busy women like me who need tools to simplify their beauty routine. It’s also a great touch-up moisturizer, to quickly rub into legs if you have a date after work. If you’d like to learn more about these moisturizers, you can visit their Facebook page.

Giveaway
I totally won by having Vaseline Spray & Go Moisturizer added to my daily beauty routine, and now one of you can win as well. Leave a comment letting me know how Vaseline Spray & Go Moisturizer  would max your morning and you will be entered for a chance win a $1,000 SpaFinder gift card! Entries will be pooled from participating blogs and one winner chosen.

Sweepstakes Rules:
No duplicate comments.

You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

  • Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
  • Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
  • Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
  • For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.


This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winner  will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.  The Official Rules are available here

This sweepstakes runs from 7/1/13 – 7/31/13.

Be sure to visit the Vaseline® Spray & Go page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ reviews and find more chances to win!

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Olay and my Good Life Bucket List

Hi my name is Alison Gary and I’m 37 years old.
I’ll be 38 in January.
And I’m darn proud of my age, my life, my self.

In the past, I wasn’t very kind to my skin. Drinking more beer than water, going to sleep with my makeup still on, visiting tanning beds on a daily basis, even washing my face with hand soap. But as I have gotten older, I have realized the importance of caring for my skin. Yes, it will keep it looking younger, but it will keep it feeling and looking healthier, and that’s what my body deserves. I care for my skin, and I believe I am aging with grace. In celebration of Olay’s 60th anniversary, Olay continues to empower women to challenge what’s possible and to be proud of their age. Olay is encouraging and rewarding women for checking items off their bucket list– not in the negative aspect of the bucket list but in the empowering aspect of ‘I’m knocking things off my list—living a good life’. Olay and BlogHer asked me to share my own bucket list accomplishments. Being 37, I have a few wrinkles, a little less elasticity, but in trade I have some amazing life experiences under my belt:

  • I created a human being (and a pretty awesome, smart, and funny one at that)
  • I traveled to many places I dreamed of back in school – Italy, France, Norway, Costa Rica and more
  • I’m an ordained minister and have married several wonderful couples
  • I taught myself how to use computers – from being an English major in the decade where a Brother word processor was pretty hi-tech and going straight into jobs that didn’t require computers, it still amazes me that I now work in digital communications and keep a relatively modern blog
  • I made good on a promise to myself. Always wanting to write but afraid to have it outside my journals, I read The Artist’s Way in 2005 and committed to blogging on a regular basis. I have been mighty good over the past 37 years at having great ideas but letting them go by the wayside, and this blog is the first project I have started and continued on my own

A great aspect of this blog is it forces me on a daily basis to notice myself. It’s easy to get so caught up in work, family, and life to forget who we are, and that we deserve self-care. Blogging reminds me that I am one of the good things in my good life, and I deserve to care for my appearance, my body, my soul. It reminds me that I am 37, and I am beautiful and proud of my age and accomplishments.

Giveaway
This giveaway is now closed.  Stay tuned, I will have more great giveaways in the future!

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Review and Giveaway: bodycology

I often catch myself getting into a beauty rut. I keep using the same products, even if I am not completely satisfied with the results. That’s why I was excited to be able to try out the new bodycology rich&creamy Body Lotion and Body Wash. While the body wash and moisturizer I was using was fine, I felt that my skin was still dry and looking dull. The new bodycology rich&creamy line states that it is proven to lock in moisture for 24 hours, which sounded just like what I was lacking in my beauty routine.

I received the bodycology rich&creamy Hydrating Body Lotion and Body Wash in the mail and was so excited, I immediately decided to take a shower and try it out. The Body Wash was a thick cream consistency that lathered easily, washed away clean, but left my skin feeling so much softer than with my standard body wash. I also liked that the bodycology Body Wash didn’t have a strong scent; it just left my skin smelling clean. After my shower, I applied the bodycology rich&creamy Hydrating Body Lotion to my still-damp skin. The Lotion isn’t really thick, which I was happy to see. While I have dry skin, I find a really thick lotion leaves a greasy feeling in the summer. The bodycology Body Lotion absorbed quickly, leaving my skin soft and silky and not at all sticky.

As the day progressed, I was impressed at how my skin continued to feel soft and hydrated. While many products will make my skin feel soft at first, they usually wear off within an hour or so requiring me to “touch up” with additional applications of lotion. Not so with combination of bodycology rich&creamy Body Wash and Body Lotion. It really stood up to its claim of locking in moisture for 24 hours!  It also seemed each time I used the Body Lotion and Body Wash my skin got softer, felt more hydrated, and looked younger.

The new bodycology rich&creamy line is available in six different formulas such as Skin Softening, Hydrating (the formula I tried), and Advanced Healing. Each formula comes with subtle specialty fragrances that treat the senses without being overwhelming or competing with your perfume. All of the bodycology rich&creamy products are formulated with aquation Hydration Technology, an exclusive moisture complex of essential nutrients including:

  • Glycerin to add silky, all-day hydration
  • Jojoba Extract to improve skin’s texture
  • Petrolatum to act as a barrier to harsh elements

The Hydrating formula that I tried also has the combination of Aloe Vera and Vitamin E which gives rich moisture and quenches skin’s thirst throughout the day.

Sounds pretty fabulous, yes? Well BlogHer and bodycology would like you to also experience and fall in love with the new bodycology rich&creamy line! One of you will win a bodycology gift basket worth $100!


How to Enter:
Visit www.bodycology.com then leave me a comment here sharing which rich&creamy formula is right for you and you’ll be entered to win. Also be sure to check out bodycology on Facebook for hydrating tips and a hydration quiz.  Giveaway runs from August 1 – August 14, 2011.

Rules:
No duplicate comments.
You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

  1. Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
  2. Tweet about this promotion and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
  3. Blog about this promotion and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
  4. For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older.
Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail.
You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.
The Official Rules are available here.
* You must have a valid email address in your comment or Blogger profile to win.

Be sure to check out check out BlogHer’s Promotions & Prizes page for other reviews and giveaways!

Good luck!

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Monster N-TUNE HD Headphones Review and Giveaway

Now that we have Emerson, there’s less time in our lives for hobbies and pastimes. As I recommend with your wardrobe, Karl and I have chosen quality, not quantity when it comes to our interests, and one we both love and share is music. Once a month or so we have a Date Night of dinner and a concert, we play music when cooking and cleaning, and have playlists for most any activity. We love that we can share this pastime with Emerson and see her interest in music develop with time.

But sometimes it’s not appropriate to blast your music to the world. Be it me working from home, taking the Metro to work, or when Emerson is taking a nap, it’s nice to have a great pair of headphones that don’t distort the music. So when BlogHer and Monster Headphones asked if I would like to review a pair of Monster N-TUNE HD On-Ear Headphones I jumped at the chance.

Monster sent me a pair of their candy green N-TUNE HD On-Ear Headphones and I gotta say, I was excited (green is one of my favorite colors!). Unlike the on-ear headphones I use at work, I find these lightweight, comfortable, and durable.

Designed with the input of Nick Cannon, the Monster N-TUNE HD On-Ear Headphones provide the perfect sound for music, emphasizing beats and bass. These headphones feature a built-in ControlTalk remote so if you use them with your smartphone, you can easily pause your tunes to receive a call. I found that with these headphones, I could play music as loud as I liked without distortion, or the music bleeding out and being heard by those around me. In turn, you can turn the music down low but still hear all the detail. I think the sound is better than my friend’s headphones promoted by another popular musical artist. Seriously, the sound is so good, it’s addictive. When I can’t find my headphones it’s usually because Karl has snagged them to watch a movie on his phone or to listen to tunes while working out or doing yard work.

The Monster N-TUNE HD headphones also have a noise cancelling feature which is great when working from home; I must admit I sometimes even wear them without listening to anything just to muffle out distractions. And wearing them is comfortable; I actually catch myself forgetting that they are on! I also love that the cord is detachable/reusable, means no tangling and easy to pack away. The whole packaging of these Monster headphones are brilliant and perfect as a holiday gift – sturdy box with magnetic closure, a beautiful presentation of the headphones, storage pouch, brand sticker and more marketing. I think anyone would be impressed to get this box under the Christmas tree or for another holiday!

Giveaway:
The giveaway is now closed and winners have been notified.  Thank you for entering!

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