Friday, August 24, 2012


I'd been eyeing this new line of shampoo and conditioner at Target for a little while, with its sleek matte-shine purple bottle and bold name CLEAR- In the world of cleansers, a word that promises to leave your hair the epitome of clean and ready to take on all that you and this crazy world are apt to throw its way- From product to heat styling to pollutants in the air. I still had a ton of shampoo and conditioner hanging around of another variety, I didn't really think much of trying something new until I joined Influenster and they sent me a Summer VoxBox that contained a free sample of CLEAR Scalp & Hair Beauty Therapyin the Total Care formula. Iiii did a little dance, haha.

First thing I did was open the bottles and take a nice big whiff! THEY SMELL AMAZING. Oh my gosh!

Next I hopped onto their website to check out as much information as possible. Growing up with a sister who is quite the beauty guru, it actually came as no surprise to me that 99% of hair's natural strength and beauty comes from the scalp. CLEAR's mission is to address the very good question- Why have we been ignoring it for so long, focusing so often only on our ends?

Rich in vitamins and nutrients, featuring Nutrum 10TM technology, CLEAR Scalp & Hair Beauty Therapy™ is available in six shampoos, five conditioners and they've actually recently introduced a new Men's Line as well!  I can't wait to check this out for my boyfriend! He has an awesome full head of hair that is just begging to be nourished!!

I've only been using the product for about a month, so it's a little too soon to determine how any new hair growth compares to the...ah...old hair? haha. But one of the other claims CLEAR makes is to reduce the amount of breakage, and I can say I have definitely noticed far less hair on my comb when I get out of the shower! Here are some more notes on my usage-

I have long, medium thick, naturally curly, not dyed or processed, normal to oily (yet flaky, go figure) scalp-dry ends hair...And from the very first wash my hair has looked, felt and smelled incredible!

The shampoo and conditioner, both of which you massage into your scalp, leave you feeling a smidge cool/tingly which is amazing in the summertime, and perfect for a groggy morning. This sensation stays with me for a couple of hours after my shower, which I really love. I feel so clean! It's awesome.

What is great about the conditioner is that despite applying it to your roots, it doesn't weigh your hair down, or lead to the greasies later on in the day at all. I was really worried about this as I do have a tendency to go from clean to oily in under 12 hours. My curls also have a bad habit of being easily weighed down, and I often have to go to great lengths to give them that extra boost...never quite seeing the curl I crave all of the way to my roots. can imagine my surprise when I noticed my hair, completely sans styling product of any kind, curling in the fashion I'd only previously dreamed. This is why it didn't take me but two seconds to make a full-size purchase.
My only quandary was do I stick with the Total Care formula or try the 
Volumizing Root Boost formula like their fun little quiz suggested?!

*I received this product compliments of Influenster for testing purposes. All opinions are my own.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Always & Tampax "Always Radiant" Collection

If a little bit of TMI scares you, then this might not be the blog entry for you (*cough* Boys, avert your eyes)- But something tells me most of my readership, and the other random women who may stumble upon this review, will be happy to find an open, full review on the new Radiant Collection from Always and Tampax.

Influenster sent all of us lucky participants in the Summer VoxBox program a very cute carrying pouch filled with samples of this collection to test and review. The best part of course being that it was compliments of Influenster and P&G! So a big thank you to both companies :)

Always Radiant Incredibly Thin Liners:
I've been a very loyal consumer of Always pantyliners for quite some time now, this I cannot deny. Although I've tried several other brands, including the generic equivalent thereof, none have quite measured up to Always in terms of absorption, overall coverage and their absolutely excellent adhesive! Always definitely believes in edge to edge adhesive, which is one of the most important factors, if you ask me, when it comes to any pad or pantyliner. The LAST thing you need is that baby budging!

I use pantyliners every day just to feel fresh. I honestly do think they keep everything cleaner, especially in the Summer when the temperatures are high. So it's for this reason I had a misconception that I needed a thicker pantyliner. The Radiant Collection proved me wrong.

Designed to work in every style of panties from boyshorts to thongs, you can trust that this is by far the thinnest, most absorbent, versatile, pretty pantyliner you will find! Again, that adhesive! It stayed put even on my microfiber boyshorts that once left me wondering and running around the office, because...O-M-G...WHERE DID MY PANTYLINER GO?! (I never did find it and I am still mortified.)

Always Radiant Infinity Pads:
I switched to using pads 100% for a while because tampons just became too uncomfortable. I don't really know why, so over the past year or so I have tried many different brands- Always trying to find that magical, seemingly mythical, perfect pad. You know the one- Long and wide enough to provide full coverage, wings, edge to edge adhesive that really adheres, great absorption that also keeps it away from your skin as much as possible, and a wrapper that works well for disposal.

If it's not one among those features it's another that every pad I've tried seems to be lacking!

And then I tried this pad. Ticking off every one of my must-have boxes! If it's possible to squee! with joy during your period, I was squee-ing! Haha... I honestly don't have much more to say about it than that!

Tampax Radiant Tampons (Regular and Super):
Now, I just mentioned that I've been 100% pads for quite some time because of discomfort with tampons, but I thought I would give these a try anyway. See if their design was a better fit- Especially because I actually DO prefer using a combination of pads and tampons.

The wrapper, which is just as pretty as the rest of the packaging in the Radiant Collection, is designed to open both easily and quietly and is resealable. When I was talking about this with my girlfriends at our last Girls' Night they wondered what the big deal was with a resealable wrapper. Well. Let me tell you what the big deal is- Once You Go Resealable, You Never Go Back! I am serious! It is amazing and so much less messy than the traditional fight-with-the-wrapper-to-open-then-try-to-shove-the-applicator-back-in-it route every other tampon comes in.

Then there is the applicator itself. I previously would have issues with the little grip portion, it being too small or awkward to keep a hold of (I told you there'd be a bit of TMI!), but the Tampax Radiant tampons (plastic applicator, a must!) have this fluted grip with a very pretty, but functional, scroll design that makes it SO much easier to keep a hold of and position it just-so- Which I learned must have been a big part of my discomfort with all of the other tampons. In addition to these exterior features of the product- their absorption was great, and I found they stayed in very well, expanding comfortably to fit my body.

I definitely felt confident that there would be zero 'accidents' while using all of the products within the Radiant Collection, which is definitely the biggest pro of all. The more comfortable you are, the more your natural radiance will shine through, no matter the time of the month.

*I received this product compliments of Influenster for testing purposes. All opinions are my own.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

5 Hour Energy

5-hour ENERGY®: Thx @5hourenergyguy 4 my free shot! #5hourmission Click to help me win the 5-hour ENERGY Sweepstakes!  *Please remember the FTC requires you to mention that you received a free sample courtesy of Smiley360 when sharing. <--Indeed it does, and indeed I did! :) Thanks Smiley360!

Stay tuned for my review on this popular energy shot!

Pomegranate vs. Berry
Which came out on top?!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Sally Hansen Magnetic Nail Color

To say my sister and I are obsessed with nail polish would be understating it a bit. Our collection is rather fact, we decided to count and reorganize recently- The grand total reaching over 130. I'm sure this is smaller than some women, but still expansive in its own right. We truly have the full spectrum of colors, and just can't get enough.

The opportunity to try out this new magnetic polish trend compliments of Influenster was, in a word, GROOVY, haha. That's my favorite word to describe the 3-D wavy effects. :)

Of the eight colors available, I was sent Graphite Gravity- True to its name, this shade is a very rich graphite color, and I was pleased to find that it was very flattering even with my very fair pink undertoned skin. It also looked great on my sister, who has an olive skintone.

Before I get to the application and effects- I want to just say something about how insanely gorgeous these polishes are. They are so rich in pigment, and Sally Hansen doesn't skimp at all on the shimmer. The graphite really does look like metal, which is excellent- And after checking out the other shades in the store, I am equally as impressed. Next on my list are Kinetic Copper and Red-Y Response. (SRV $9.99)

Unlike a couple of the competitors, there are directions right on the bottle, which makes for easy reference while doing your manicure. Additionally the magnet is on the top of the lid as opposed to inside of the lid, or attached in some other somewhat hinky fashion. I found this to work out marvelously.

After using this more than just a couple of times,  I can honestly say it really is as easy as following the directions. I cannot tell you how often I will read negative reviews on any given product only to find myself muttering at the computer, "If you just USED it as it was INTENDED..." or some variation thereof, haha.

What are the instructions?

1. Apply basecoat to clean dry nails. Allow to dry.
2. Apply one coat of Magnetic polish to all nails. Allow to dry thoroughly.
3. One nail at a time apply a second coat and immediately hold the magnet above the nail for 10 seconds. (I held it above it for longer, just in case. I have no idea if this made a difference! Probably not. I just don't trust my seconds-counting ability.)
4. Apply topcoat.

Et voila!

Groovy 3D Artwork on your nails!

I find that the design the magnet creates just totally depends on the length of your nail and the general nature of your nails. It is going to be unique for everyone- Which is actually pretty cool. I have short nails, in part because I type all day for a living, and in part because I have a pesky nail-biting habit that I cannot seem to kick- So my 3D Magnetic Effects weren't quite as elaborate as they were on my sister's much longer nails. 
Oh, and I can say this- Don't expect to be able to paint it on sideways and have it make waves that direction, haha, we tried that. No dice. BUT something that looks really cool! is to apply a base of a vibrant shade like fuchsia and then a solid stripe down the middle, or off to the side, in the Magnetic (one coat, allow to dry, then another and utilize magnet). It looks really neat! So being creative with this polish is not totally out of the realm of reason. Couple with that, again, how remarkably gorgeous the polish is on its own, and you'll be happy to have these in your arsenal!

The quality of the polish is just as absolutely excellent as I've come to both love and expect from Sally Hansen. My manicures from this polish hold up for several days without chipping, which I really appreciate!

Overall, I am very impressed with Sally Hansen's Magnetic Nail Color! I truly just cannot say enough how beautiful the colors are, and what a neat and easy way to add a little pizzazz to your manicure!

If you've tried this, I would love to know what color you used and what you think! Feel free to share a photo :)

*I received this product compliments of Influenster for testing purposes. All opinions are my own.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration Lotion Sunscreen

Upon opening my Summer VoxBox from Influenster my eyes immediately took to the perfect purse-size sample bottle of Hawaiian Tropic's Silk Hydration Lotion Sunscreen.
When it comes to summertime sun protection, Hawaiian Tropic is no doubt synonymous for the beauty and budget conscious among us. I know I'm drawn to their incredibly vast array of products from sunscreen to sunless tanning to lip care- Here is the low-down on their newest product- Available in SPF 12, 30 and 50, Hawaiian Tropic's Silk Hydration Lotion Sunscreen's ultra hydrating silk ribbons wrap your skin in broad spectrum UVA and UVB sun protection and promise luxurious moisturization for 12 hours! So to say I was enthused to try the newest addition to their diverse lineup is a massive understatement!

I pulled it out, admiring the swirl of the orange and cream lotion ribbons, which immediately made me crave a Creamsicle, haha- Smoothed my hand over the bottle, taking note of how silky they made the packaging, a perfect compliment to its name- And took the cap off for...

Moment of Truth No. 1-

The Scent: Formulated with shea butter and aloe leaf juice- No stranger to skin care products, Hawaiian Tropic adds papaya, passion flower, guava and plumeria extracts to the mix- All of the above melding to create one intoxicating scent. A hint like sunscreen, but not at all overpowering. It smells to me like a more sweet and floral shea butter lotion than anything. Light and perfect for hours under the Summer sun! I love it! Next it was time for...

Moment of Truth No. 2-

The Feel: The smooth exterior of its bottle was a dead giveaway to what those yummy ribbons of silk proteins had in store! So smooth! It glides on easily, absorbing into your skin without leaving even a hint of stickiness behind, so you're left with very hydrated, silky, touchable skin- And the tiny bit of mica that it contains leaves you with just the right amount of glow to catch the sunlight.

Of course, now that I had slathered it all over my arms, it was time to put it to the test!

Moment of Truth No. 3-

The Efficacy: Since it was just on my arms and decollete, and this was a bit of a spontaneous first-run with the lotion sunscreen, I opted to just put the top down on my Beetle Convertible and go for a nice long drive, sun a-blazin' down on my arms. I cruised around one of the two lakes in this area before heading downtown to cruise around that one as well. I could feel the heat, but wasn't turning the usual bright pink that I usually do (in about 3.4 nanoseconds, mind you). When I got back home I could see the sun exposure written all over my face, because I hadn't thought to put a little tinted moisturizer with SPF on my face before heading out, haha...but my arms and decollete still looked unscathed :) Does it live up to 12 hour claim for moisturization? Well, I didn't whip out the stopwatch on this one, but I also took serious note of how soft and hydrated my skin continued to feel after use.

Reapplication is always key when using sunscreen and this is one product that will leave you wanting to apply it more, simply because it just feels and smells so good!

This is an excellent product that has a permanent place on my bathroom shelf and in my beach bag! 
Hawaiian Tropic raises the bar once again!

*I received this product compliments of Influenster for testing purposes. All opinions are my own.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Quaker Soft Baked Banana Nut Bar

As promised here is the start of my reviews on the products contained within my Summer Beauty VoxBox from Influenster!

First up I'd love to acquaint you with what is sure to become one of your own favorite on-the-go breakfast or snack bars- From Quaker's new line Soft Baked the Banana Nut Bar.
Doesn't that just look delectable?!

The first thing that struck me were those delicious crushed nuts on top. Talk about YUM! And although I was a little wary of it tasting too much like artificial banana flavoring, after taking a slew of photos of the product for blogging, Tweeting and Facebook-posting (because I was just too excited, haha), my sister, mom and I all dug right in!

FIRST- IT DOES NOT TASTE LIKE ARTIFICIAL BANANA AT ALL. I was worried for nothing! Listen up competitors, candy companies included! Nestle/Wonka, do I have your attention!?...That's who makes Runts, right? Go buy a box of these yummy bars, have yourself a nutritious snack, revel in the way banana is supposed to taste, and regroup on all of your banana flavored products! Quaker has accomplished what I truly thought was impossible. :) This really does taste like a slice of banana nut loaf!

It was a bit chewier than we were anticipating, I think because we had our minds set on a piece of banana nut bread and these definitely have the texture of an oatmeal cookie-brownie, so we decided to pop the other half into the microwave, as the package suggests, for about 10 seconds. This does wonders for an already great product- You know how brownies often taste better the next day because the flavors have had more time to develop? Well warmed up, it's as though there are flavor pods hiding inside that burst to life!

So aside from the yummy flavor, which if I were to tweak anything, it'd just be to add a little more spice- We're a spice-loving family, big on the cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and allspice in this house, we love the flavors of Fall- What does this bar have to offer that sets it apart from its competitors on the breakfast bar aisle?

Boasting a whopping five grams of fiber per bar, six grams of protein and only a smidge over three grams of fat, this bar is exceptionally satisfying while still remaining low in fat. Additionally, as you'll note in the complete nutrition facts, it is packed with vitamins/minerals B, E, A, Calcium and Iron.

Averaging around $2.70 a box here in North Idaho (Suggested Retail $3.29, for a coupon click here!), Quaker is offering a very affordable, nutritious alternative for a snack or breakfast on the go this summer- And as something tasty to heat up and nibble on while curled up on the couch with a cup of tea and your favorite book this Fall as the rain pours outside your living room window.

The only question you'll be asking yourself at the grocery store is...

Should I just cave and buy both? ;)

*I received this product compliments of Influenster for testing purposes. All opinions are my own.