Monday, December 30, 2013

BarkBox - December 2013



Leo & Harvey Checking Out Their BarkBox


This is a monthly subscription box for dogs called BarkBox.  It's my four dogs' favorite subscription and they get quite excited when it arrives on our front porch!  Included in the December box were the following goodies:
  1. Planet Dog - Chicken & Pumpkin Pot Pie Flavor Dog Treats
  2. Bistro Bites - Peanut Butter & Applesauce Dog Cookies
  3. Go Dog - Yeti Toy
  4. Barkworthies - Junior Bully Stick
  5. Simply Fido - Organic Toy
Harvey was the first to chose something out of the box.  He chose the Simply Fido Toy.  Teddy who was on the floor due to his stealing tendencies still managed to grab it from him.  So off Teddy went with that toy.  Leo chose the bully stick as his first choice.  Later they all enjoyed chewing on it.  It's a stinky brand though.  I buy bully sticks from Doggyloot on auto delivery and thankfully they do not stink.  So we had to smell that nastiness while Leo, Teddy & Harvey chewed on it for the next couple of days. Issy didn't want to chew on it. They are really good for keeping their teeth clean.  The vet was impressed during their last visit. After I took the labels off, Teddy chose the Yeti Toy as his favorite.  He played fetch, enjoyed making it squeak and nuzzled it with little love bites.  My dogs always prefer the furry type of dog toys.  They rejected the dog cookies for the most part.  They snubbed their nose at them and let them sit for hours.  Finally, they decide to eat them when there aren't any carrots left on their snack plate.  My dogs get homemade dog cookies everyday, so they are quite picky about cookies.  I have many healthy dog cookie recipes on this blog, take a moment to check them out.  Visit my Pinterest Dog Cookie Recipes Board to see them all at once.  Click on the photo of the one that interests you the most and it will take you to the recipe.  What are your dog's favorite toys and treats?

Check out what they received in their previous BarkBoxes:


Discounts:  $5 off Doggyloot, click here.  $10 off BarkBox, click here.

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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Julep Shoshanna Manicure




This is a manicure using a nail polish from Julep called Shoshanna.  It was in my December Julep Maven Box. Julep calls it a "full coverage yellow holographic glitter polish".  It's much prettier in person and video & photos don't show that, unfortunately.  If you have ever seen gold holographic wrapping paper, that is exactly what it looks like!  The reflection is simply amazing!  The entire nail is reflecting a rainbow of colors.  Reminds me of looking at the lights on a Christmas tree at night.  I used three coats for the above manicure and I was shocked to see that it took half the bottle!  I've never had one manicure take half a bottle of any brand.  Mind you, Julep's are smaller than most brands at only .27 fl oz whereas OPI bottles are .5 fl oz.  The polish was gloppy and thick and a bit tricky to apply.  I used one coat of Perfect Formula's Manicure Booster as the base coat and one top coat of Seche Vite.  It didn't feel rough at all with one coat, but I did apply another layer of top coat a few days later to help the manicure last longer.  This manicure lasted ten days before it chipped just a bit.  The tips were the issue, because the tips didn't wear but instead chipped and then the edge would snag on clothing. This is a pretty nail polish and I recommend giving it a try, if you have the patience to deal with a thick, gloppy polish.

Well there you have it, my latest manicure. I have over fifty manicures featured on this blog. Take a quick glance at them all on my Pinterest Manicure Board. Then simply click on the ones you want to read about on my blog, since they are linked to the matching blog post. I'm selling some of my new & used nail polish on my Blog Sale, see them all on my Nail Polish For Sale Pinterest Board.

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Monday, December 23, 2013

Vine.com - Method Cleaning Supplies Bargain



Bargain Alert - you can save 50% off your order at Vine.com by combing 30% off sale items with the 20% off 1st time customer coupon code: "VINE20"!  I was so happy to stock up on Method products at 50% off and purchase some scents I haven't seen in other stores. Method does not use toxic ingredients in their cleaning products and they are my favorite. I have tried other brands, but I don't find the competition cleans as well and/or smell as good.  Feel free to check out my review of one of the competitors, The Honest Co. I absolutely love the scents Method comes up with and a little aromatherapy while cleaning is nice.  In my Method haul, I bought the following:
  1. Orla Kelly - Limited Edition All Purpose Cleaners in Tomato Vine 28 oz, two
  2. Orla Kelly - Limited Edition Pump Dish Soap in Tomato Vine 18 oz
  3. Limited Edition Gel Hand Wash in Sugared Mint 12 oz, two
  4. Limited Edition Dish Pump in Sugared Mint 18 oz, two
  5. Limited Edition Gel Hand Wash in Frosted Fir 12 oz, two
  6. Limited Edition Foaming Hand Wash in Mistletoe 10 oz
  7. Limited Edition Foaming Hand Wash in Gingerbread 10 oz
Shipping was free and it arrived in five days via FedEx.  It was well packed and each item was individually wrapped in plastic as shown on the two Tomato Vine All Purpose Cleaners in the left rear of the photo above.  I highly recommend Method products and ordering from Vine.com.  I also like ordering from one of their other companies called Soap.com. You can read my review on my 1st order with Soap.com by clicking here. Also, you can receive 20% off your order with the coupon code "PEACE3598", up to $20 off!  While the Method products are not currently on sale, there are many other items that are.  I tweet sale items & deals and then blog about them after they arrive.  So be sure to follow me on Twitter.

I invite you to follow my blog via PinterestTwitterGoogle +Bloglovin', or Networked Blogs.  Be sure to check out my Blog Sale before you leave!  New items are added to the bottom of the list.

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Sunday, December 22, 2013

Ipsy - December 2013



This is a monthly subscription bag from Ipsy for $10 a month including shipping.  The retail value of this bag is $59.20 not including the makeup bag. Included in the December shipment were the following:
  1. Mirabella - Eye Blender Brush, $27 retail value
  2. J. Cat Beauty - Big Lip Pencil, Caramel Mocha, $4 value
  3. Pop Beauty - Bright Up Your Life Eye Shadow Trio, Naturally Bare, $7.20 value
  4. Be a Bombshell - The One Stick, Sunset, $16 value
  5. Nicka K New York - Nail Color, $5 value
  6. Ipsy - black makeup bag with red lining
The eye blender brush has a very long handle and is heavier than any of my brushes.  Not really a fan of it. The lip pencil is the wrong color for my skin tone.  Browns just make my face look dirty.  The eyeshadow trio is also in brown colors.  I prefer pink, purple, green and blue eyeshadows.  Cool colors work best on my skin tone. Anything with a warm tone doesn't flatter my fair skin.  I prefer powder blushes since I can never seem to get the creamy ones to blend properly.  So The One Stick won't work for me. The nail polish is a pretty, dark red color and the bottle design is nice.  The cosmetics bag has a nice texture to it and would be easy to wipe clean. While I prefer Ipsy over Birchbox, this month the only thing I really like is the nail polish. I will be selling the rest of the cosmetics on my Blog Sale along with many others from other subscriptions. Be sure to check it out before you leave. If you're an Ipsy subscriber, be sure to use your Ipsy Points. They currently have the Beauty Blender as a reward for 1,000 points!  I redeemed my points for that several days ago and waiting to receive it in the next bag.  After that I will consider taking a break from this subscription.  My favorite cosmetics subscription is QVC's New Beauty Test Tube.

Don't miss out on the fun, to sign up for your own Ipsy bag, click here.  Before you go, check out my previous bags:


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Friday, December 20, 2013

The Julep Naughty & Nice Mystery Box



Click on photo to enlarge


Look what arrived in the mail today from Julep, my Naughty & Nice Mystery Box!  I purchased this box for only $14.99 with free shipping and I will be getting 60 cents back from Ebates.  So that makes the box only $14.39! The normal price is $24.99, but I had a coupon for 40% off that was in my last Maven box!  So that makes each of the ten items only $1.44. So excited, such a bargain!  Don't you love a bargain?  Each month they offer a mystery box for purchase and you don't know what products you will receive nor how many.  This is the first time I have purchased one. Usually there are several different boxes and some have more products than others, but this time everyone received the same products.  Included in this box are the following:
  1. Luxe Care Hand Cream -  two sample packets, .07 oz
  2. Luxe Repair Skin Serum - two sample packets, .07 oz
  3. Green Tea Facial Blotting Paper, 40 sheets
  4. Kajal Eye Glider - eye liner in brown and black with sharpener, $22 value 
  5. Lip Gloss in Timeless - sheer nude, $17.60 value
  6. Alaina Nail Color - driftwood taupe crème, Classic with a Twist, $14 value
  7. Aviva Nail Color - purple with full coverage silver holographic glitter, Boho Glam, $14 value
  8. Brenda Nail Color - blizzard white microglitter, Classic with a Twist, $14 value
  9. Joanna Nail Color - lilac frost, Bombshell, $14 value
  10. Nellie Nail Color - pink fuchsia crème, It Girl, $14 value
  11. America Nail Color - silver stars with red & royal blue glitter, $14 value
  12. Blank Canvas, 1 oz, $28 value
  13. Rock Star Hand Cream, 1 oz travel size, $6.67 value
The retail value on this box is an incredible $158.27 not including the samples and blotting paper!  I look forward to trying the Luxe Hand Cream and Skin Serum.  I have no use for the blotting papers, so those will be for sale or a giveaway.  The eye liner is for tightlining and waterlining which I don't do.  Just the thought of it makes me feel sick and my sensitive eyes would have a bad reaction for sure.  So I will be selling that on my Blog Sale.  Wow, the lip gloss looks like a prettier color in the picture than in person.  It looks like it has some glitter in it in the photo.  If you move it towards the sunlight it does appear to have some fine gold glitter in it.  I like all the nail polish except for Alaina.  I already have America, so I will be selling that.  You can see my manicure using America by clicking here.  I tried Blank Canvas today and it leaves a nice smooth texture to the skin.  I'd compare it to Laura Geller's Spackle, but not as smooth. The ingredients in Blank Canvas are much better than Spackle, so I'll be switching to Blank Canvas.  Spackle has mica and paraben in it, which I'd prefer to avoid.  I've been anxious to try the Rock Star Hand Cream for some time.  It's very moisturizing with a clean light scent though it does leave a bit of a slippery feeling on the fingertips.  Will have to be careful when picking up dishes!  Thankfully, the slippery feeling went away after a few minutes.  What an exciting mystery box!  If you aren't familiar with Julep, check out my other posts for more information.

Check out my Julep Maven Boxes:


I invite you to follow my blog via PinterestTwitterGoogle +Bloglovin', or Networked Blogs.  Don't forget to visit my Blog Sale before you leave!  I've lowered the prices!  $1 off your order, if you mention "Blue Skies for Me Please".

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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Birchbox - December 2013


Holiday 2013


This is a monthly subscription box from Birchbox for $10 per month.  Included in my December box were the following cosmetics:
  1. Sumbody - Lip Balm in cantaloupe
  2. Twistband - Butterfly Printed Hair Tie
  3. Embryolisse - 24 Hour Miracle Cream
  4. Lulu Organics - Lavender + Clary Sage Hair Powder
  5. Borghese - Brightening Makeup
My favorite lip balm is from EOS in the mint flavor.  I'm loyal to that brand, so I will be selling the lip balm that came in this box.  I love the Twistband brand and I find their hair ties are very good.  Always happy to see one in my box.  The Miracle Cream is very strange, it says it can be used as a primer, moisturizer or a makeup remover.  It should be one or the other, the ingredients in a cleanser should be very different from those in a moisturizer!  Not sure I want to give that one a try.  I just looked at the ingredients and I'm going to pass on that one since I'm not impressed and never heard of this brand before. I don't like the idea of using a dry shampoo. I wash my hair everyday since I exercise five to six days a week, so I'll be selling that.  I'm loyal to the WEN brand of shampoo. I'm looking forward to trying the Borghese makeup.  Not sure if it will work for me, but willing to give it a try.  You can find that brand at Costco. So there you have it, my latest Birchbox. Disappointing box, I was expecting something festive with a holiday theme.  At the very least, the hair tie should have been in Christmas colors or had a Santa or snowman printed on it! If it wasn't for their point system, I would be unsubscribing.  On second thought, I think as soon as I use all my points I will in fact be unsubscribing. I'm tired of receiving small samples that I don't want. Time to take a break from this box again. You can learn more about their point system on a previous post.  If you are a subscriber, are you considering unsubscribing?

Check out what I received in previous Birchboxes:


I invite you to follow my blog via PinterestTwitterGoogle +Bloglovin', or Networked Blogs.  Don't forget to check out my Blog Sale before you leave!  New items are added to the bottom of the list and I just reduced the prices!

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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Mugler Addict - Fall 2013



Mugler Addict's December Shipment


This is a fairly new subscription box that is available from Thierry Mugler. It includes four shipments a year for $50 which breaks down to only $12.50 a box with free shipping. Included in the 2nd shipment were the following:
  1. Womanity - Perfumed Body Cream, 1 oz
  2. Angel - Perfumed Hand Cream, 1 oz
  3. Alien - Perfume Sample
  4. Angel - Perfume Sample
  5. Alien - Mini Perfume Bottle, .2 fl oz
  6. Angel - Nail polish in the periwinkle color that matches the Angel packaging, .3 fl oz
I'm really enjoying this subscription and can't wait till I receive the next quarterly box.  If you love the Angel or Alien perfume, you really owe it to yourself to sign up for this subscription box!  I have been enjoying everything that they have sent so far.  Everything in their line is made in France. It comes in the same size box that Birchbox sends out.  Check out what I received in my first box by clicking here.  What's your favorite inexpensive subscription box?

I have reviewed many different subscription boxes on this blog.  To see them all check out my Subscription Box Pinterest Board.  Any that you would like more information on, just click on the photo and it will take you to the matching blog post.

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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Christmas Dry Marble Nail Art



Photos taken in direct sunlight indoors



Some nail art is worth repeating and this is a duplicate of one I did a year ago.  See last year's manicure here to compare. This is done using a dry marble technique with a dotting tool and three nails polishes.  I used a gold nail polish from OPI called Goldeneye for the base, two coats. For the dots of color on top I used a red & a green polish. The red may be Sephora by OPI's Sample Sale or another very similar color, since it's an unlabeled mini and I may have put it in the wrong box. For the green polish I used a holographic polish from Nubar called Reclaim.  Instructions on how to do this manicure are fully explained here.  I started out trying to come up with a fall marble design, but I didn't like any of the designs I came up. So I decided to just repeat one of my favorites. This manicure lasted eleven days before chipping on the right thumb.  There was tip wear within a few days, but from a normal distance it was unnoticable.  Dry marble art is very easy to do with a little practice and not messy at all compared to wet marbling.  I dare you to give this technique a try and post a link to your results below in the comments!  Just make sure that you review my tips, view the video tutorial I recommend watching and practice first. I assure you that you will receive many compliments and comments about how difficult it must have been to do!  If you have any questions, feel free to ask below.  I updated my Julep Maven December box post with swatches and reviews, check that out here.

I have over fifty manicures featured on this blog. Take a quick glance at them all on my Pinterest Manicure Board. Then simply click on the ones you want to read about on my blog, since they are linked to the matching blog post. I also have a Blog Sale going on right now, so be sure to check it out before you leave.

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Monday, December 9, 2013

Julep Maven - December 2013



The Glitterati Collection


This is a monthly subscription box from Julep for the month of December.  My style is Classic with a Twist, but often I chose the It Girl box instead because it includes three polishes instead of two and a beauty product. Included in the box above are the following:
  1. Shoshanna - full coverage yellow holographic glitter polish, $14 retail value
  2. Evelyn - magenta purple crème
  3. Celia - icy green metallic
  4. Joelle - full coverage smoky holographic glitter, Boho Glam, add on
  5. Twistband - two hair bands, free extra
Normally this box would have cost me $19.99 plus $4.99 for the add on polish for a total of $24.98 with free shipping.  The retail value of this box is $56. This one was free since I had referral and purchase credits of 2,750 Jules.  One maven box purchase gives you 300 Jules.  One referral credit gives you 1,000 Jules.  A free box requires 2,000 Jules and 750 for each add on.

I was almost going to skip this box because the swatches weren't all that great as usual.  I really wish they had better quality swatches! I'm glad I did not skip because the holographic polishes are amazing in person. Actually my picture above is better than the ones they provided!  Look at the reflection of the rainbow of colors in the holographic polishes above!  As you move them in the light they are so reflective & colorful and they look like they are lit from behind!  I really look forward to trying them soon.  Stay tuned for a manicure post featuring one of them shortly!

Update - the gold holographic polish, Shoshanna, is very gloppy, thick and a bit tricky to apply. It takes three coats to be opaque. I just did my manicure with it today and it took half the bottle!  I'll be posting a picture of it soon.  Notice how it reflects like tree lights on to the magenta polish next to it!  The magenta polish, Evelyn, is very thin and runs off the brush quickly. The green polish, Celia, is ok and has some silver in it which you can see in the swatch below.  The silver holographic polish, Joelle, has a pretty good consistency, but isn't as holographic & reflective as the gold version, Shoshanna. It will also require three coats to be opaque. Take a look at the swatches below, which have two coats and no top coat:


Swatches of:  Shoshanna, Evelyn, Celia & Joelle  


Check out my previous Julep Maven Boxes:


I invite you to follow my blog via PinterestTwitterGoogle +Bloglovin', or Networked Blogs.  Don't forget to visit my Blog Sale before you leave!  I've lowered the prices!  $1 off your order, if you mention "Blue Skies for Me Please".

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Saturday, December 7, 2013

Crocadilly Essie Manicure



Photo taken in direct sunlight


This is one of my latest manicures using Essie's magnetic nail polish called Crocadilly, a gift from a friend. This magnetic polish is very tricky to work with.  The magnet takes a full sixty seconds to work properly and it's not easy holding the magnet steady that long.  A little movement during the sixty seconds and the crocodile pattern won't be defined.  I had to do most of my nails more than once to get a good enough pattern.  The other magnetic nail polish I have used is from Nails Inc & OPI and they only required about a three to five second hold of the magnet which is so much easier than sixty seconds.  I plan to try Essie's magnet on the Nails Inc polish to see if it's the magnet and/or the nail polish that is the issue. I was worried that since I had so many layers of this polish from having to do the technique over and over that it would chip quickly.  That was not the case, it actually lasted for ten days before chipping! Though it did have tip wear within a day but I type a lot. This polish looks like a silver metallic color in the bottle in daylight and appears more green in the sunlight.  Once it's on the nails it looks green in any light.  Magnetic polish looks like a marble in that you can see through the polish at the top yet it's opaque underneath.  The metallic element to it is really pretty and it looks much better in person than in pictures.  If you haven't tried a magnetic polish before, you really owe it to yourself to give one a try.  It's worth all the trial and error because I assure you that you will receive many compliments as did I.  The trick is to apply a base coat to all your nails, then wait till it's dry to the touch. Then apply a heavy coat of the polish immediately followed by another heavy coat. Then quickly move the magnet as close to the nail as you can without touching it and hold for as long as it takes to get a defined pattern.  If you don't like the look of it, you can start again immediately without removing the polish!  Simply repeat the process until it looks defined.  I'd suggest as many as three tries before having to remove the polish and start over.  Depending on the polish, you may get better results by waiting for the first coat to dry before applying a heavy second coat.  I recommend testing the polish first to determine which works best and how long you will need to hold the magnet. Check out my Nails Inc Manicure for more tips by clicking here and OPI's version of magnetic polish here. In addition, check out my other manicures on my Manicures by Peace Manor Pinterest Board before you leave!

Well there you have it, one of my latest manicures.  I'm not crazy about the picture, but that was the best I could get at the time due to rushing to get a picture before the clouds returned.  What's your favorite brand of magnetic polish?  I'm selling some of my new & used nail polish on my Blog Sale, see them all on my Nail Polish For Sale Pinterest Board.  Mention "Blue Skies for Me Please" and receive $1 off your order!

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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

World Market Haul



Lots of British Goodies!



Fail, World Market, Fail!


I placed an online order with World Market on Black Friday and received it on Tuesday.  While the shipping was fast, unfortunately, the three items that I wanted most were all damaged.  The Downton Abbey Teapot, you can see in the photo above, was broken into pieces during shipping.  Sadly, only the lid was wrapped in bubble wrap, the rest was only wrapped in paper.  There was no way it was going to arrive in one piece the way they packed it! The Downton Abbey tea tins were also crushed, one so much so that the lid popped off.  I found customer service seriously lacking when I called to inform them of the damage.  My name, address nor my order number were confirmed and he refused to when I requested.  He could have had anyone's order up, accuracy in customer service is job one. He said that he would resend the damaged items, but couldn't tell me if they were in stock! He also said it would take 3-5 business days just to receive an email confirmation of the replacement order.  Since I was dissatisfied with the phone rep, I later sent an email to make sure that they were working on my order and not someone else's. Also, I didn't want to wait 3-5 days for confirmation!  I looked online and in fact they are out of stock and can not be replaced since they are limited editions!  Later I received an email response and it was simply "we have refunded you for the damaged items".  You would think that a company that sells fragile items would keep a few in storage as replacements instead of selling them all and not being concerned about the customers who will be receiving damaged ones.  That reminds me, there were no "fragile" stickers anywhere on the boxes!  I've done a lot of online ordering over the years and this is the worst packing I've seen.  The other box had everything simply thrown in the box with no wrapping except the two jams which were wrapped in paper.  Everything else was unsecured and unprotected.  So needless to say, I will not be ordering from them again.  If they had a better response to my call and email, then I would have given them another chance.  On to the good stuff, the items I ordered as shown above are:
  1. Alaea - Red Hawaiian Sea Salt, from Hawaii
  2. Cadbury - Drinking Chocolate, made in the UK
  3. Nestle - Quality Street Chocolates in a tin, made in the UK
  4. Cadbury - Digestive Cookies with milk chocolate coating, made in the UK
  5. McVites - Classic Chocolate Collection of milk chocolate biscuits in a tin, made in the UK & Belgium
  6. Mackays - Scottish Three Berry Preserve, made in Scotland
  7. Mackays - Strawberry Preserve with Champagne, made in Scotland
  8. Carr's - Rosemary Crackers, made in Canada originally in the UK
  9. The Republic of Tea - Downton Estate Blend Tea, made in the USA
  10. World Market - Printed Gift Tissue featuring Scotties, made in Korea
  11. Coleman's - Lamb Hotpot Recipe Mix, made in the UK
Since I was raised by British parents, I enjoy lots of British food!  It's not easy to find them in The States, so I'm always very excited to find products that I grew up on. I highly recommend any of the British products above, they are delicious and make for wonderful treats and gifts! I am very sad to hear that they have stopped carrying the Crunchie & Flaky bars from the UK.  Those are two of my favorite candy bars!  If you know of a place that sells them in the US, please comment below!  I have found some British food in Whole Foods and Harris Teeter carries some flavors of the Mackays preserves. What are your favorite foods & treats from other countries?

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