Friday, July 31, 2015

July Favorites~ Lifestyle items

Olive Lip Balm
Mario Badescu Rose Spray
ColourPop Monkey Lippie Stix

ColourPop Hope Eyeshadow
Dermae Hydrating
Tom's Toothpaste

What were your favorites in July?

Until my next y'all!

Bookish Humor

Where has the month gone?!?!?!?

If only..if only..#agirlcandream

Until my next y'all!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Guilty Pleasures

I am not going to deny it..I am behind on my reviews and posts for today because I fell prey to my guilty pleasures...reality TV, Youtube videos, Snapchat and Mistresses:)

Seriously if you have not watched them yet you! Want to know about food, fashion, makeup, scandals, etc. one or all of these can fit those criteria:)-

And yes..I will be watching and talking back to the TV tonight, tweeting and chatting with friends about the finale and After the Rose for this seasons The Bachelorette!!

I will be back with posts tomorrow!  If you check these sites or shows out let me know what you think!

 Until y'all:)

Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Elimination Diet: Discover the Foods that are Making you Sick and Tired- and Feel Better Fast by Alissa Segersten & Tom Malterre, book review

General Information
Genre: Health, Diet
Publisher: Grand Central Life & style
Published March 31, 2015

Book Summary (per Goodreads)
The Diet Designed Just for You

Could the toast you ate for breakfast bring on your afternoon headache? Could the milk in your coffee cause joint pain and brain fog? Could your healthy tofu stir-fry slow your metabolism?

Yes-there is an age-old, powerful connection between what you eat and how you feel. Just as no two bodies are the same, no two diets work for everyone. The only way to discover your ideal diet is to follow an elimination diet that will help you link foods to symptoms and customize a diet that works for you.

Known for their ability to radically improve overall health, elimination diets are growing in popularity. But there's no definitive book that explains how to follow one safely and effectively-until now. Written by two authors who are revered in the alternative health market and functional medicine community, THE ELIMINATION DIET guides you through a proven three-phase program that detoxifies the body and promotes fast healing:

Phase 1: Detoxification--A 2-day liquid fast that includes broths, smoothies, and juices to calm the immune system and removes toxins from the body.
Phase 2: Elimination--For 2 weeks, you will eliminate potentially inflammatory foods from your diet, which will ease symptoms quickly.
Phase 3: Customization--For 2 months, you will test different foods to see what works for you and what doesn't, resulting in a tailored diet you can enjoy for life.

Complete with over 100 delicious recipes, shopping lists, and meal plans, THE ELIMINATION DIET is a complete resource for you to improve your health and feel better, naturally.

My Thoughts
I enjoyed this health/diet book more than most.  It had enough of the science to explain the reasoning behind the approach without being a medical book that you need a science degree to understand, an easy to follow guide, shopping lists to help one not stress out, sample meal plans that one easily could follow and stories of other people's ailments and experiences that one can potentially relate with on a personal level.  What I had a few problems with where there is an innate assumption of everyone has money.  The food recommended is all organic and the machines recommended is not what I or any one I know has just around the house. Out of the list of suggested items to help make this diet occur I only had 2 of the machines.  I wish there was something in the book that discussed the success or ability to utilize this diet without everything being organic or not having all of those tools.

Now this does not mean I think one should not read this book or even take part in this diet.  I plan on actually trying this one out because it would be cheaper than many other options that I am looking into, but it will take quite a bit of planning and preparation since 1) all I currently have is a standard blender in my kitchen (no food processor, juicer, immersion blender, etc.) and 2) many of the recommended food items are not sold in an organic style near where I live.

The layout of the book and the diet is easy to follow.   I appreciated how the book discusses everyone will not have the exact same experience and listening to one's own body is important.  I thought several key parts of the book is when the authors discussed how to set up this diet for success.  I thought the tips and tricks of telling others, cleaning out the kitchen, trying to get the family to do it together, etc. were quite on point and very realistic to the struggles many will face in taking on this adventure.  The book also provides an additional resource in the form of their website for one to recipes, resources and support. If you are someone who is starting to look into what they eat, how their body reacts or just unsure of your current health situation I think this book might be an interesting read and potential experience to follow.

*As always, I am not a doctor or medical professional so please check in with your doctor before doing anything that can impact ones health.*

Important Links

Links to Purchase the Book

Disclaimer:  I received this book in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Explosive Eighteen by Janet Evanovich, Book Review

General Information
Genre: Humor, Fiction, Romance, Myster
Publish:January 1, 2011
Publisher: Bantam

Book Summary (per Goodreads)

Bounty hunter Stephanie Plum’s life is set to blow sky high when international murder hits dangerously close to home, in this dynamite novel by Janet Evanovich.
Before Stephanie can even step foot off Flight 127 from Hawaii to Newark, she’s knee deep in trouble. Her dream vacation turned into a nightmare, she’s flying back to New Jersey solo, and someone who sounds like Sasquatch is snoring in row 22. Worse still, her seatmate never returned to the plane after the L.A. layover. Now he’s dead, in a garbage can, waiting for curbside pickup. His killer could be anyone. The FBI, the fake FBI, and guns-for-hire are all looking for a photograph the dead man was supposed to be carrying.
Only one other person has seen the missing photograph—Stephanie Plum. Now she’s the target, and she doesn’t intend to end up in a garbage can. With the help of an FBI sketch artist Stephanie re-creates the person in the photo. Unfortunately the first sketch turns out to look like Tom Cruise, and the second sketch like Ashton Kutcher. Until Stephanie can improve her descriptive skills, she’ll need to watch her back.
Over at the Bail Bonds Agency it’s business as usual—until the bonds bus serving as Vinnie’s temporary HQ goes up in smoke, Stephanie’s wheelman, Lula, falls in love with their “largest” FTA yet, lifetime arch nemesis Joyce Barnhardt moves into Stephanie’s apartment, and everyone wants to know what happened in Hawaii?!
Morelli, Trenton’s hottest cop, isn’t talking about Hawaii. Ranger, the man of mystery, isn’t talking about Hawaii.  And all Stephanie is willing to say about her Hawaiian vacation is . . . It’s complicated.

My Thoughts
Yes, yes, yes! This was one of my favorite Stephanie Plum stories.  Now, if you have read my blog recently you saw that I just reviewed 19 and 20 so why just now 18. Well, as I kept reading I was like why do they keep referring to a marriage, closet action, etc.  So I went back through my book shelf and saw I had not read 18..gulp..what was I missing!

Well the answer to that is only one of my favorite in this series.  Seriously.  I am such a team Ranger girl so this book was lovely!  The references to the time in Hawaii (jealous), the scenes where her car keeps getting stolen, the bus is on fire, the manure in the Mercedes, etc. had me in stitches or more book crushing on Ranger.  I obviously am a fan of how JE writes since I keep reading her books, but I felt this one was more descriptive than normal and hooray for that!  I felt like I could see the hair color on Stephanie, the scene with the chest and ashes had me gasping with laughter and the love potion..oh the love potion, let's just say I love Lulu and how the Morelli ended this book!

I have read several reviews saying that this series should end, but I so disagree.  I think I mentioned that in another post, but after reading this book I must repeat it!  I love laughing so hard when I read a story.  I love seeing the relationships, progression of Stephanie as a bond enforcement and not knowing what troubles everyone in her circle of friends and family will get into next.  I enjoy these light hearted reads and think we need books out there that make us laugh and have a fun time.

Important Links

Links to Purchase the Book

Disclaimer: I bought this book with my own money!  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

The Man in the Monster: An Intimate Portrait of a Serial Killer by Martha Elliott, book review

General Information
Genre: True Crime, Non-Fiction
Publisher: Penguin Press
Published: August 4, 2015

Book Summary (Per First to Read website)

An astonishing portrait of a murderer and his complex relationship with a crusading journalist

Michael Ross was a serial killer who raped and murdered eight young women between 1981 and 1984, and several years ago the state of Connecticut put him to death. His crimes were horrific, and he paid the ultimate price for them.

When journalist Martha Elliott first heard of Ross, she learned what the world knew of him— that he had been a master at hiding in plain sight. Elliott, a staunch critic of the death penalty, was drawn to the case when the Connecticut Supreme Court overturned Ross’s six death sentences. Rather than fight for his life, Ross requested that he be executed because he didn’t want the families of his victims to suffer through a new trial. Elliott was intrigued and sought an interview. The two began a weekly conversation—that developed into an odd form of friendship—that lasted over a decade, until Ross’s last moments on earth.

Over the course of his twenty years in prison, Ross had come to embrace faith for the first time in his life. He had also undergone extensive medical treatment. The Michael Ross whom Elliott knew seemed to be a different man from the monster who was capable of such heinous crimes. This Michael Ross made it his mission to share his story with Elliott in the hopes that it would save lives. He was her partner in unlocking the mystery of his own evil.

In The Man in the Monster, Martha Elliott gives us a groundbreaking look into the life and motivation of a serial killer. Drawing on a decade of conversations and letters between Ross and the author, readers are given an in-depth view of a killer’s innermost thoughts and secrets, revealing the human face of a monster—without ignoring the horrors of his crimes. Elliott takes us deep into a world of court hearings, tomblike prisons, lawyers hell-bent to kill or to save—and families ravaged by love and hate. This is the personal story of a journalist who came to know herself in ways she could never have imagined when she opened the notebook for that first interview.

My Thoughts
This may well be the hardest review I have written.  Not because I did not like the book or disagreed with something, but rather because my mind can't settle after finishing this story.  I had never heard of Michael Ross before this book.  So his stories, his victims, their families and the insight Martha Elliot provided was all new to me as I read and became immersed in this story.  To say this book was horrifying, gripping, unsettling, etc. would not be adequate in explaining the complexity of emotions and reflections that I experienced while reading this story.  It would be easy to read this story as if it is were fiction, but knowing that these events did take place, these crimes did occur and that these people are dead just led me to a different seriousness and reaction.

I was appalled at the crimes, hurt for the families, but also shocked at how many times there were issues that ME showcased in the justice system during and after the trial with the attorneys, transcripts, jury issues and more.  Her step by step approach to showing the events, the appeals, how her relationship grew, the honesty between the two and the final days and moments of Michael Ross's life provide a gut wrenching view into the arena of mental illness, death penalty and the American justice system.  I appreciate the honesty ME demonstrated with her feelings about her research, Michael's role in her and her family's life, the idea of the death penalty and more.  The roles of Michael the man versus the monster are very clearly showcased in this book with the conversations between them regarding family, faith, sarcasm about how he is the only guilty one on death row and then those regarding his retelling of the crimes, emotions and thoughts especially when he wrote ME the letter about one of the stalking/rape/murder crimes.

If you are passionate about true crime or really like knowing the why or how behind a situation this book will grab you from the beginning.  I think that individuals, legal scholars, and those interested in the justice system, death penalty and mental illness would find this book extremely riveting especially given the current conversations regarding mental illness with gun control and other legal matters.  Regardless if you are pro or anti death penalty or pro or anti the need for more help with/funding for mental illness research and aid Michael Ross's story and ME's telling of the people involved will cause you to think through your stance, where our judicial system was and is and how decisions impact people (victims, the families, the perpetrator, friends, legal workers, community, etc.) immediately and for years to come.

Important Links

Links to Purchase

Disclaimer:  I was loaned this book in exchange for a review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Flex it Pink Virtual 5/10k~a look back

This weekend a lot of people will take part in races.  Some of their own creation, some for their community, some to beat a PR, some to help a charity and some to work on their own health.  One such event will be the start of the time frame to complete the #SummerSoleMate virtual 5 or 10k with Flex It Pink.  This race is open/taking place from July 25- August 1st.  I love that they provide a span of time to complete this race.  That way if one day or weekend is to busy for your schedule you still can take part in this event, enjoy this race and help support a charity and this community of Flex it Pink run/walkers!  Additionally how cute is that tank top and medal?  I am in love with the saying and colors!
So when I got my bag of race goodies I started thinking how many of these have I received and what all charities have I learned about, given back to, etc.  So the rest of this post is a look at the fantastic virtual 5 or 10ks that this company has created, supported me and many others through and found a way to give to charities!

Excuse the hot mess of a picture, but I wanted to take a snapshot of all of the virtual 5k/10ks that Flex it Pink has provided all of us.   Each time I see their posts on Instagram or Facebook I am always struck by how supportive they are to other people's voyage into a fit and health life. This picture holds all 10 medals, 9 shirts, 10 notes of thanks and encouragement, wrist bands, stickers from this company.  Now what might be odd, but one of my favorites of all that is in the picture are the notes!  These notes hold encouragement and praise.  Encouragement that yes we can finish and achieve the results we want for our virtual 5 or 10k and praise because this company uses these virtual runs as a way to give to charity. 
Now I have mentioned a charity several times.  So which one you might ask?  Well each virtual race has a different charity attached to it.  On your letter within the race bag information about the charity is included.  You also can see who the charity is when you register for the race on their website. Additionally sometimes there are stickers, pamphlets, bracelet/tags with more information from that charity.  

The initial virtual 5k took place in 2013 and it was called the Pink Pumpkin Virtual 5k.  The race took place in October and was my first ever official 5k.  The charity was the Beyond Boobs Organization which is an organization that helps support those with and provide education to all regarding breast cancer. A tank or t-shirt was not part of this race pack.  It came with the encouraging letter that also discussed the charity, a medal and those wrist bracelets. I remember having "complete a 5k" as a goal on my list every year, but never doing it because I was terrified of being last at the 5k, not being able to finish, getting lost,etc.  Well when I found Flex It Pink on Instagram and this virtual 5k I was thrilled!  I could work on improving my health, meet a goal of mine FINALLY, give back to charity and STILL be part of a community.  For me, the concept of a virtual race was ideal:)  It must have been for others as well because according to their note they had such a great success and and were able to make a difference that they would work on a second run for December.  Well, as you can tell from this post they had that second run and many more since October 2013!

The second run did take place in December 2013.  It was the first with a Swag bag and came with a T-shirt, medal, note and a Quest bar (say what!).  They always have catchy names and this second race was titled Light the Streets Pink 5k.  Along with the swag bags the were helping encourage all of us through their Facebook and Instagram accounts where we could send our pictures and they created albums of us!  All of the albums for each race are still up and so fun to look at!  The participants of this race supported the World Vision Philippines Disaster Response Fund.  I enjoyed the swag, knowing I was working on my health during a time of year were the treats are definitely plentiful, learned about a new company (I had not heard of Quest bars at that time), and was able to help out in a small way a country that was in need!

After those two races I think all of us Flex it Pink enthusiasts were waiting to see what was coming our way.  More races, more charities, more swag..what!  Well, per usual these ladies did not let us down.  They released a virtual 5k schedule that included 5 races spread throughout the year.  They would include the 2 races from 2013 and add in a race in February, April and July.  The race in February was Heart & Sole 5k and ran from Valentine's Day thru February 21st.  They had a charity picked out, but then switched it to help support #megsmiles which was helping and honoring Meg Cross Menzies who was a mother who lost her life due to a drunk driver while out on her morning run.  I found it tragic that someone lost their life, but also so moving that this community was rallying around her family during such a time of need and loss.  This swag pack or race bag came with a t-shirt or tank, medal, note and some fun stickers.  This was the first tank top opportunity and I loved it!  This tank is great for working out, running or walking, cleaning the house or lounging around.  The design is one of my favorite to date:)  
After this race we had the Spring Sparkle and my goodness that is a pretty tank top and it was a great time to run/walk because it was near all the Easter candy goodies and was great to get out in the spring air and flowers.  The charity for this virtual 5k was  Our donations helped provide "sparkling clean water to the people in Nicaragua."  This charity sent a cute arm band/bracelet with the race bag.  Additionally Quest Nutrition teamed up with Flex it Pink and sent more bars to us!  I am telling you, these ladies and company really go all out in encouraging us to take part, get healthy and support others!

The third new race was Girl on Fire Virtual 5k.  This race started in June and ended on July 4th.  I am partial, but July 4th is my favorite holiday and the fact that the charity chosen for this race was the Wounded Warrior Project warmed my heart.  I loved the race bag, the tank was gorgeous and the stickers from Wounded Warrior and Flex it Pink were on point!
The last two races were the 2nd annual Pink Pumpkin Virtual 5k and the 2nd annual Light the Streets Pink 5k.  These two races had some great in the pink Run for the Boobies shirt is on fleek and the play on words with Runderland..I can't even begin to tell you how much I enjoy that!  The charities chosen for these two races were 1)Beyond Boobs and 2)Feeding America Network.  The Pink Pumpkin race introduced race packs for men and they are great.  Seriously some of the men shirts have made me want a woman and mans shirt because they are just that good.

Starting off 2015 I was excited to see what they had in store.  I knew it would be some great virtual races, quality race packs and deserving charities based off of the last year and a half.  So far this year we have had 2 of the scheduled events with the third to start tomorrow.  We had the second annual Heart & Sole 5k/10k.  This was the first time they started advertising as a 10k, but that does not change the price for your race bag, it is just a new adventure that they as always support and encourage us as we try to expand our fitness/health journey.  This race donated funds to the Love-Water organization.  This is the second time they donated to this charity and I have enjoyed learning more about this cause and the need for assistance in the realm of clean water.  In this bag I got the tank top (which tweaked the heart design a cool), a medal, runner ID, information about the charity and a Quest bar.  Seriously those things are good!  I also must point out, that each race the quality and design of the medal just keeps on improving.  I am not really big on medals because I do the runs to 1)try and just keep my health in check since I have some health issues that I struggle with and 2) I love giving and helping out with charities, but I am not going to deny that these last 3 or 4 medals have had bling and make me stop, stare and share with oh everyone!
The second race was Girls Run the World and I am in love with this tank top.  It is cute and girly but still so comfortable to wear working out, running errands, lounging around etc.  I always get compliments on it and love wearing it!  This virtual 5k/10k introduced us to a new organization (or new to me..) Girls on the Run International.  The mission of this organization is just simply fantastic.  I love to see organizations working with the youth to help provide and ensure a healthy, safe and supportive environment for them to grown and learn!

Then the third race that starts tomorrow is the Summer Soul Mate Virtual 5k/10k and fun run.  The medal on this one would have to be my favorite!  I am a fan of the mint/teal/turquoise family and love items that incorporate them in.  Also I am obsessed with the ocean, coastal life and miss my years spend in that community so this tank top is life right now:)  Again, it probably helps lead to my being partial to this summer run but the charity chosen for this race is the Wounded Warrior Project. Our men and women who serve do so much for us that I love having an opportunity to do something, regardless of how small it may seem, to give back in thanks.
Along with the amazing charities, opportunties to work on your own health, be part of a community and get some great race swag bags, last Christmas Flex It Pink surprised many of us who had been part of every race.  They sent a great headband in our race bag that matched our running tank!  Seriously how cute is this?  I may or may not have worn it today for my walk/run (NC summers you are going to get that sweat in the face without some sort of band/help!)

So if you have made it through this whole look back..kudos to you and thanks!  I just wanted to share the races and charities that this company has supported.  It allows me to set goals, give back and feel like I am part of a community.  Now this company does more than just sponsor virtual events.  If you are looking for some fun, cute, cool fitness apparel than you should definitely check them out!   I have a few more tanks from them and I adore them!  This one would be my might be the quickest I have ever bought something..seriously I saw it and just clicked to buy. no other thought. and I love it.  It is the softest material, obviously great certain holidays and perfect to work out, lounge, run errands, etc.!
A few more glimpses of my still a work in progress photography skills and all the race t-shirts or tanks!
Just the shirts/tanks
Tanks/shirts with the supportive and encouraging notes

I hope if you read this and are 1)looking for some great workout clothes and fun events, 2)just starting on your fitness voyage or 3)looking for a way to help make some type of difference you will check this company out!  I did back in October 2013 and have loved every minute of it:)

Have y'all tried any virtual races?  What are some of your favorite workout attire companies? Charities? let me know!

Until my next y'all!

*This is not a sponsored, requested or affiliated post.  I just really wanted to share a product and company that I enjoy.

Bookish Humor

It's true I am addicted to books and happy about it:)

Until my next y'all!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Dogs Don't Look Both Ways: A Primer on Unintended Consequences by Jane Hanser, book review

General Information
Genre: Dogs, Animals, Fiction
Published: March 18, 2014
Publisher: Software for Students (Ivy Books)

Book Summary (per Goodreads)

"When reading a book about animals there is always that slight apprehension that 'This is not going to end well!' As a dog and cat lover I have read books in the past and have had to buy in boxes of tissues and chocolate to get to the end.. I am delighted to say that those extreme measures are not required for this book.. All the chocolate that you need is Joey himself who is of the Labrador variety..." writes Sally Cronin, "Smorgasbord - Variety Is the Spice of Life."

Joey, the chocolate Labrador, is an incredibly well-socialized dog who also loves to run and run. Living in the neighborhood of the Boston Marathon, he runs as many as twelve miles a day, early in the morning, with his dad. But after they return home from a run, Joey still wants more, much more. Keenly observant, he allows no opportunity to explore the world pass him by. Will his insatiable sense of discovery lead him to gratification? Or to danger? Preparing his shenanigans well in advance, a decision Joey makes early one morning forever changes his life and the lives of his mom and dad, his running partner, and leaves them to deal with the consequences.

Dogs Don't Look Both Ways is a true story with a unique voice and a lot of adventure. Readers love it for its colorful and heartfelt story-telling, but the canine narrator never lets go of the book's main messages about discovery and freedom, rules and boundaries, communication and caring for a dog, and, of course, our dependence on the kindness of others.

Appropriate for all adults and for children 5th grade and up.

My Thoughts
I came across this book at site where bloggers post their book reviews.  I knew I wanted to read it immediately because it was about a dog and well we know here that I am animal minded and loved the furbabies!  I reached out to the author and she so kindly and quickly responded.

If you are an animal lover, enjoy reading, like stories that are heartwarming and contain life lessons this book is for you.  It is a very quick and enjoyable read from the viewpoint of Joey.  Joey, the chocolate Lab, takes on a trip where we learn his rules, lessons and thoughts about his initial mother, his new human family, the runs and walks with his dad, being injured and what comes after.  I enjoyed reading this story, especially with the book being in Joey's voice because so many times I wonder what my furbabies must be thinking from my tone, words, actions, etc.  So many items I do must seem so arbitrary or random to them!

When I first started reading it I was not sure if it was going to be the standard cutesy dog lover story or something traumatic where I would need tissues for the rest of the day...I am very pleased to say it was neither!  It had cute moments and it had some sad moments, but by and large this story enabled us to get to know Joey, his family and what he loved.  The runs with his dad and the swims or splashing with his mom are probably my favorite parts of the story.  It showed the relationship between human and dog, friends and how they can become family.  The only part I got tangled up in was the initial history of his family lineage...but then as we learn more about Joey's roaming ways this made sense and was very applicable!

Upon completing this story I wanted to meet Joey.  I wanted to see if he came to events or something of that nature because my goodness he sounded so sweet and fun!  I was worried what I would find though when I saw the book was published in 2014 and that when the story occurred Joey was already 9+ old. Sadly while looking at the website and Joey's blog JH shared that Joey has passed, but his passing is the only thing I did not enjoy about this experience.  I found the story a joy to read and a true loving testimony to the impact and relationship Joey had with his family, neighbors, vets, mail carriers and all those he encountered!

Important Links
Joeys Blog

Links to Purchase Book
Barnes & Noble

Disclaimer:  I received this book in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Favorite Literary Couples

I have been reading quite a few books recently and in all of them regardless of genre there has been some type of relationship..maybe friendship or usually romantic.  This had me start thinking of who would be my favorite literary couples that have stood the test of time with my reading?!?

Here are the main ones I thought of (romantic~ not friendship relationships) no real order.  Do you have a favorite literary couple?  Let me know!

Eve Dallas and Roarke
Book~ In Death series by JD Robb
I just love everything about them...their sweet moments, fights, growth, etc. #relationshipgoals indeed

Scarlett O'Hara and Rhett Butler
Book~Gone with the Wind & Scarlett
This list would be incomplete without this couple.  They were my first favorite couple and I still love so many of their lines and issues!

Claire and Jamie
Book~ Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon
I don't know how I have not read about them before now.  They are such a fantastic couple for the ages!

AJ and Sam
Book~ Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone
I finished this book last month and oh I think everyone will love this couple and how supportive and loving they are with each other

Can I just say EVERY couple by Kristen Ashley...I have been working on this part of this post for over several weeks now.  Every time I put down one couple I think well I don't know because what about that scene with ___ or when ___ said this...aghhh KA you kill me with the relationships you provide!! So good:)
*I  am going to buckle down and try to list my favorite couples from might have to be by series though b/c I am not sure if I can have a true #1 overall!!

Alexa Reed and Julian Bauer
Book~ The Alexa Reed Series by Hilary Wynne
Each book and situation will leave you rooting for one or the other until at the end I was in love with them both individually and as a couple!

Until my next post~ Love y'all!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Red Apple Lipstick~ Initial Thoughts and Haul from the Summer 2015 Collection

A few weeks ago I posted about Red Apple Lipstick (RAL) and how excited I was to make my first purchase from them.  Well, I finally made my decisions during their sale for their Summer 2015 collection introduction sale and recently got them in the mail.  Y'all it was like Christmas in my house when these products arrived!

As a reminder, the entire RAL Summer 2015 line is comprised of the following lip products: 6 lipsticks and 2 lip glosses.
I purchased all of them except for Firecracker and Petal to the Metal, which are two of the lipsticks.

I was fortunate enough to get all that I got because the night before Red Apple Lipstick held a Twitter Party where I won a store credit.  Then I went to one of the bloggers that Red Apple had shared a review from and they had a discount code.  So between the discount code and the store credit that I won I was able to really get a variety of their summer collection!  I will post my initial thoughts and pictures below, but I will do a more in depth review in a week or two since I just received my products this week.

So now to the good stuff~ the lipsticks and glosses!!
How adorable is the packaging? I love the bag and the boxes! I also appreciate that the boxes show that this product is vegan, gluten free, soy free, cruelty free, paraben free, allergen free AND made in the USA!!   So much goodness in and on such a small package:)
Out of the boxes and looking so pretty!
These are the four lip sticks I got.  In order from left to right is Risque, Unpinkable, Twist N' Pout and Beachside.  They look gorgeous and the packaging is very sleek.  I love the textured base and the sleek cover to the lipsticks.
These are swatches of the four lipsticks on the inside of my arm.  I am a fair complexion with rose undertones.  From left to right that is Beachside, Twist N' Pout, Unpinkable and Risque.  These glide on my skin and lips like butter.  They are so smooth and moisturizing.  As I  mentioned above I just received this late last week so I have not had a chance to wear them all beyond just playing with looks, but thus far I am in love!  My lips do not swell or itch (they have with other brands..a perk of having allergies!), they do not have a strong smell, the color is gorgeous, it feels natural and my lips have not dried out!  From the very first use, wear and upon reflection I am extremely impressed and enjoying the high quality of these products.
After those swatches I did two swatches of the lip glosses.  The top nude type color is Tiny Dancer and the bottom pinkish tone is S.W.A.K.  These are very easy to apply, very light smell (a little vanilla maybe?), not to sticky and very moisturizing thus far.  I have worn these alone and over three of the lipsticks.
Here are swatches of Tiny Dancer over the lipstick shade Beachside and S.W.A.K over Unpinkable.  If you refer back to my initial post regarding the sale you can see the suggested combination of these shades by RAL.

Along with the suggested combinations which I love I did a swatch of S.W.A.K. over Twist N' Pout...which has seriously become my favorite!  I have worn this almost every day running errands, taking dad to his appointments, etc.  It is a perfect combination of a pinkish everyday natural color and I am in LOVE.  It lasts a long time, my lips do not dry out, I have had to only do minimal touch ups and that is more of I like the glossy look than a need to create more color on my lips!
Look at that shade and love love!

Along with my purchased products I received a sample of Strawberry Lips!  I love getting samples and trying out new things (hello blog) so this was like a special treat.  The picture below is the stock photo of the lipstick from the RAL website.
If you are like me you might be thinking NO of course I missed the collection, the chance, etc., but fret not my friends RAL has all of the shades still available, just not at the initial sale price, on their website!  Currently the Twist N' Pout is sold out, but the rest are in stock. 

If you want more information or just to check them out you can find them at the following places!

Have you tried RAL products before?  What are your favorites? I will post back in a week or so with more in depth thoughts after I actually wear all the colors with different looks, events and times!

Until my next y'all!!

Wordless Wednesday~ Favorite Authors

Who are some of your favorites?

Until my next post~ Love y'all!

*All pictures were found via Bing searches or the author's website.  I did not take them or own them.  Their use is solely to help people put a face to a name.