Homemade Lip Balm with Nature’s Garden!

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Hi beauties~! How are you today? I’m SUPER excited to reveal this post to you today about making homemade lip balm~! Remember I talked in a previous post about Nature’s Garden, that I was going to be making some homemade beauty products? About a week ago I wrote an article describing in greater depth the story behind Nature’s Garden and included a great interview with the CEO Deborah Ward! If you haven’t seen it, you can check it out here! The story behind how Nature’s Garden came to be is very interesting! Well today is the day – we’re going to make Lip Balm!!!

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A Wild and Exotic Manicure Reveal – Kiss Nail Dress Review

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Hey Chicas – how’s you day going? Its a beautiful, sunny (albeit cold) day  – but no complaints here! I love the sunshine, just puts you in a good mood and is a little reminder that Spring is coming!

I just recieved some products from Kiss Nails and I’m so excited to bring you this post and reveal my “Wild Manicure”!

Here you see three packages of Kiss Nail Dress, 3 packages of Impress Manicure, Kiss Everlash MD Eyelash Enhancing Serum and Brow Enhancing Serum.

  

I’ll be bringing you reviews of the Impress Manicure and Everlash MD Eyelash and Brown Enhancing Serums in upcoming posts! So stay tuned for that~! I’m excited to try both products, they look fabulous!

Now I’m not sure if you guys read my previous post on Wham Bam Instant Glam? In that post I talk about the different nail enamel strips and the pros and cons of each. Well as you saw, Kiss Nail Dress is my absolute fave! For several reasons, one being that it lasts the longest of all the nail strips I’ve tried,  I find these don’t start “chipping” like some of the other brands do! And I’m definitely hard on my nails – playing with the kids (and their legos) , doing dishes and cleaning etc, all of which isn’t very manicure friendly! Also they come with 28 strips in each package which is a GREAT deal, the most strips per package of any set I’ve ever found. They’re easy to apply and easy to take off and you aren’t dealing with the regular nail polish smell! Definitely instant glam for us ladies~!

 

First thing I did was “prep” my nails. Filing them, taking care of the cuticles and buffing them.

 

Once they were adequately prepped, I applied a base coat. I use Nail Life Gripper from Sally Beauty Supply.

 

 

I applied the Zebra print to all of my nails except the ring fingers on both my hands, where I put one different strip from the other package. Makes for a fun and interesting manicure! I always love having either a different color or pattern on my ring fingers of both hands! If you want you can alternate regular polish with these strips, if the first time around you want a more subdued manicure. But I have to say I love “Wild” nails! When applying these, I’ll apply the strip to the nail bed and then cut off the excess; which I’ll apply to a nail on my other hand. So I only need 1 strip for 2 nails! Total strips used for this manicure is only 5!!! Not too shabby ;) ! And don’t be afraid to trim the cuticle portion when applying it to your other hand, because it may be to wide, which is such an easy fix! Make sure to press down and smooth them out well, then file the ends off.

 

After you’ve applied all your strips, apply a top coat.

 

 

And it’s done, my wild and exotic manicure! Do you like it???  One thing that’s such a bonus, is when you are ready to remove them, they just peel off! Which I didn’t know the first time I went to take them off, and I was so shocked! Having them come off so easily – yet stay on your nails SO long and so well! Don’t know what kind of adhesive they use – but its amazing~! ;) The smell of nail polish remover bothers a lot of people, so this is a great option for those of you who have that issue (like my mom ;) )!

Big Kudos to Kiss Nails for creating these fabulous products for us ladies to stay looking glam so effortlessly and affordably~! I was at my son’s Football practice tonight and I got so many compliments and inquiries on my manicure – they are definitely a hit! I also wanted to mention, these packages come with wide enough strips that work perfectly for doing pedicures, so you can do either or both – a matching Mani/Pedi~! I’m excited to see what new designs they come out with next! I hope they expand their line to include some solid colors and of course more patterns! I love my patterns~!

Oh and before I forget, I want to remind you ladies Kiss is having a giveaway on their Facebook Fan Page – when you go to there, click the “Freebies” tab on the left hand side. Or, you can go there directly from my site, by clicking the “Kiss Giveaway” banner on the top right hand side of my website! That way you can enter for a chance to score some of these little beauties! Keep your eyes peeled, as I’ll be bringing you reviews of the Impress Manicure and the Brow and Eyelash Enhancing Serums – always my honest and objective opinions! Till next time Chicas – keep it wild, keep it exotic and always keep it glam~! xoxo

Macaroni Salad with a Flavorful & Healthy Twist!…AND An Update!

So how many of you like Macaroni Salad?

For me, its always been a favorite food of mine! I LOVE love it!!! But never ate it that much due to the high calorie content, and the fact that I’d never found a low-cal version that tempted my tastebuds. But my search has ended. This recipe is simply deliciouso~! Whenever I make this for company/family, people are always asking for the recipe. And I’ve had several people tell me that they normally don’t like Macaroni Salad – but they love this one! My very own husband and kids never even liked Macaroni Salad, but when I make this recipe they want to eat this as their main meal – not a side dish~! Now THAT’S high praise, right?

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“Eye” Candy – The Sequel! What Eye Shadow Palettes Did I Choose?

Its funny how sometimes you get stuck in a rut. Whether its in fashion, in life or also in makeup. And I think I was stuck in one of these ruts! I was doing the same basic kind of makeup day-in an day-out. You find a sort-of groove, and you’re happy with it, its simple, but it starts getting monotonous, you know?

For me I was sticking to a natural look that I was happy with. But after a couple months of this – I’ve definitely been getting bored with that look. I was doing black eyeliner over my top lid, mascara, blush and cherry red lipstick. Simple, natural, but I needed to change it up – and its funny how a little trip to the mall with a couple of gift cards in hand could change that! And now, even the colors I have in my stash, I see myself using in new and fun ways~!

We went to the mall on Sunday, the whole family for a fun little outing. My hubby took our boys to see a movie they’d been wanting to see, while I took to the mall and got to browse uninterrupted for a couple of hours of bliss~! Armed with gift cards in hand, an Iced Peppermint Mocha, I was ready for some great alone time coupled with retail therapy! Worked out well for everyone, since they wouldn’t have been happy being dragged into all of my “girly” stores.

I had one gift card to Nordstrom and one gift card for Sephora. So I knew I’d pick up a palette from each store, and while they’re were several contenders at Sephora, Nordstrom was more “slim pickings”. I first went to Sephora, where I walked the store from end to end with a friendly gentleman who was helping me find just what I was looking for. I told him I was interested in a “fun, springy” colored palette – not neutrals, but maybe some soft pinks and amethysts. I will say they sure had SO many to choose from – truly something for everyone’s tastes! But knowing that I have an extensive collection, and the majority of my shadows are neutrals and/or shimmery shadows; I wanted to step outside that, and go for a matte or even a satin finish.

I was torn between 3 palettes that I saw: The Too Faced Matte Palette, Kat Von D’s True Romance Palette in Saint, and a Sephora 5 Color Palette in Amethyst (don’t quote me on that…lol…can’t quite remember its name). So after much consideration, a lot of eyeshadow testing – I made the decision.

It had to be the Too Faced Matte Eye Shadow Palette. ( <–Link  )

Not totally surprising. But I felt good about the decision, because it was one I’d been eye’ing for quite some time now. And if I didn’t get it, I would have probably would have wanted to go back for it! Plus it had some colors that I didn’t already have in my stash, so it was a win-win!

One gift card down, one more to go.

Off to Nordstrom I went. I was pretty sure I was going to buy the new Mac Palette “Call Me Bubbles” ; but again I went with an open mind and went to each makeup counter to mill over other brand’s selections. What I discovered really affirmed my love of Mac Cosmetics. At Nordstrom, you have the Bobbi Brown, Chanel, Estee Lauder, Shiseido, Lancome and Laura Mercier Makeup Counters, in addition to the Mac counter. At each counter I was honestly disappointed with the color selection (and suffering a little bit of sticker shock! 5 Color Palettes that averaged $50! Eeek!). The palettes felt very uninspiring, many shades I already had – really nothing new for me. So I felt quite good going back to the Mac Counter. But the “Call Me Bubbles” palette was a tad too much on the “orangey” side for my tastes; I was hoping for more pink shades.

So I had a dilemma – a first for me. Armed with gift card in hand, ready to pick up a palette – yet I didn’t want a single one! How could this be? So of course, I was thinking, I’ll just save my gift card for another day. Wait until the next collection comes in, and hope I’ll find something that will tickle my fancy.

 

UNTIL, the Mac makeup artist, after hearing the colors I was interested in, showed me the Mac Mineralize Eye Shadow Duo in Pretty and Prim and a single Eye shadow in Sketch. ( <—Link  )

It was perfect! A true, soft, satiny pink with a pretty cranberry shade to compliment it. After “swatching” it on my hand – I knew that was exactly what I was looking for. And with a few dollars extra, she helped me pick out a single shade eyeshadow that would compliment the 2 colors in the mineralize duo. And it actually turned out to be a color I”d been meaning to get for quite some time now; But would always get side-tracked with other colors. I bought “Sketch”! The makeup artist at Mac also gave me some fun, new tips on how to use my new shadows; ways that were new to me! YAY! I love new tips and tricks!

I was extremely happy and very content knowing I’d strayed from my usual patterns of buying either neutral or shimmery colors. All the colors I purchased were either Matte or Satin finish and all were new shades! YAY! Definitely a successful shopping trip!

So, do you guys want to see the swatches? Well here they are:

 

 

Too Faced Matte Palette (From left to right: Tufted Suede, Chinchilla,Coffee Bean, Velveteen Bunny, Pebbles, London Fog, Fresh Linen, Vintage Violet, and Midnight)

 

 

 

From Bottom: Mac Sketch Eyeshadow, Mac Mineralize Eyeshadow Duo in Pretty and Prim

 

So, what do you think? Do you guys think I made the right choices? I’ll be honest, it was hard not “allowing” myself to buy neutral colors! I found a couple palettes that were definitely “calling” my name! But I’m SO glad I stuck to my guns and came home with NEW colors! Mission accomplished! Now I just can’t wait to play with all my new colors, and now – I’m even looking forward to using my old colors in NEW ways!

Till next time Chicas, step outside your comfort zone, try new colors and get creative with your makeup~! That’s the FUN part of “making” ourselves up – the part where we get to be our own makeup artists~! xoxo

Nature’s Garden – A Company That CARES!

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In today’s day and age of Big Box retailers, chain stores,  supermarkets, and drive-through just about everything – a company that actually cares is a very rare thing. But that really does describe this company, as well as the team behind Nature’s Garden!

Who is Nature’s Garden, Let’s Rewind to 1997….

Nature’s Garden is a Wholesale Candle and Soap Supply company, which was created in 1997 by Deborah and Mike Ward after turning their homemade candle making hobby into a business. Growing their business initially from home parties, retail and wholesale sales, Ebay, Fundraisers and Open Houses to a company in 1998 that had more than 40 independent sales representatives selling Nature’s Garden Candles and Bath Products.  Then on May 21, 1999, after previously coming up against several “road-blocks” within the candle and toiletry supply industry (inadequate customer service and support, lack of unique products and a “secrecy” within the industry) while trying to expand their product line, Nature’s Garden Candle Supply Company was born.  The company’s anagram C.A.R.E. (Customers Always Remember Excellence) was embraced by its employees and Nature’s Garden set out to “de-mystify” the industry.  Improving customer service voids within the industry,  while also creating unique fragrance oils, materials and support, manuals and classes for businesses in this industry.

 

 

Now Fast-Forward to 8 Months Ago….

I started buying homemade bath and body products from a dear friend.  With my allergies, and the fact that I’m extremely picky, I was getting frustrated with my local bath and body chain retailers carrying products that did nothing for my skin, while often giving me headaches from the smell.  Well, needless to say I instantly fell in love with the homemade body products!  These products felt amazing and luxurious on my skin, while not only smelling fabulous~!   The other huge draw for me was the fact that they were more natural, containing less chemicals and additives that you find in the mass produced products! I was instantly hooked and very intrigued! So I began trying other products from small bath and body businesses, as well as “Liking” them on Facebook, and several seemed to have one thing in common – Nature’s Garden!

The beauty junkie in me was instantly fascinated. So I began doing more research – surfing soaping websites, as well as Nature’s Garden Website and their Facebook page. What I discovered was a company that was extremely interactive with their customers. Not only that, but after spending a lot of time on their Facebook page and Twitter, seeing HOW they interacted with their customers! Always answering each and every question with great care and compassion – which is a great feat considering their large customer base! Since beginning my blogging journey, I’ve made a point to spend time on other big business Facebook/Twitter pages, and  that’s how I’ve seen other businesses very rarely, if at all, acknowledging customer concerns or questions. We, consumers, often feel like our input falls on “deaf ears”. Or at the very least, “ears” without enough influence or knowledge to help out.

 

Interacting with Nature’s Garden and with their customers honestly felt like interacting with friends!

 

 <-Deborah armed with Nerf!  <-Nicole and Melissa

All the friendly, kind words and support of each and everyone’s unique businesses, coupled with the resounding praise their customers give Nature’s Garden with respect to their products and their customer service and support. Customers quite often are interacting directly with Deborah Ward (Nature’s Garden CEO) on their Facebook page!!  Interacting directly with a company CEO on Facebook, I would safely say is a rare occurance for most companies – but not Nature’s Garden!  And I’ve also had the pleasure of dealing directly with Deborah, and through this I see the driving force behind this company that actually does CARE! Its not just a motto, a mantra or an anagram. Its a passion for Deborah and the Nature’s Garden team. And we, the consumers, greatly benefit from this.

 

Without Further Adieu, Let Me Introduce You to Deborah Ward!


I had the pleasure of doing an interview with Deborah, and I’m SO excited to share it all with you~!

 Glam Wife: I read on your website that you started off in the Candle Making business. How did you get into that business?

Deborah: While I was an environmentalist at the Cuyahoga County Board of Health, I began studying naturopathic healing.  Several of my clients wanted aromatherapy candles, so I began making candles in my spare time.  When my first son, Matthew, was born, we found out that his skull bones were fused together, and that he would require surgery.  I quit my job at the county health department to stay home with my son.  In order to cover some of our bills, I started selling candles to friends and family.

Glam Wife:  How did Natures Garden Candle and Soap Supplies come to be?

Deborah: When I started making candles, the industry was very secretive.  Those who knew how to make candles kept the knowledge to themselves.  It was candle making that helped our family keep our heads above water during financially hard times, and I knew that there were more men and women out there who needed a way of making extra income and be able to stay at home.  My ambition was to help people make extra income for their families by telling them everything I knew about the candle market.

Glam Wife:  How did you choose the name for your business?

Deborah: I chose the name Natures Garden because of my interest in naturopathic healing.  I was into natural medicine way before it was popular.  I wanted a name that would allow for future diversification in other markets.  Natures Garden allows for that.

Glam Wife:  As CEO of Natures Garden, describe a typical work week.

Deborah: Natures Garden is a turn-key operation.  Every job at our company is well-documented, and each person has his/her own job responsibilities.  This form of operation, and the fact that I am married to the most wonderful man on earth, has allowed me to work from home; while my husband runs operations at the company.  We did this so that our sons would not have to have a baby sitter.  I work 7 days a week, rarely taking a vacation.  I simply love what I do…period!  I work while my sons are at school, and work while they are asleep.  My main focus is on the customers; listening to what they have to say, and answering any questions they may have.  I facebook, twitter, blog, do website development, product research/development, and hold meetings with vendors.

Glam Wife: What two or three things would be most important to you in your job?

Deborah: Every job at Natures Garden is equally important for our operation to run smoothly.  I guess my job is like the “mom” in the company; the role of keeping the family happy.  Many customers and employees rely on me to make the right decisions so that Natures Garden is around for many years to come.  I want people to feel confident that when they buy from Natures Garden, they are buying quality.  We are always looking for new ways to better service our customers.

Glam Wife: What’s your favorite part of business as a whole?

Deborah: Communicating with customers.  I love listening to their ideas, seeing what they create, and helping them when I can.

Glam Wife: What would be the most challenging part of the job/business?

Deborah: Business is the easiest job in the world.  You simply have to follow these two rules and it will work out:  1.  Focus on other people instead of yourself,  and 2.  Never get greedy.  If you follow these two rules, you are going to build lasting, happy relationships with other people.  What could be more exciting than that!

Glam Wife: What’s your favorite product (or 2 or 3)  from Natures Garden?

Deborah: I absolutely love the work our perfumist does!  He is one amazing man!!  I never get tired of smelling new scents!!  It is my passion!!

Glam Wife: Where do you see your business in the next 5-10 years?

Deborah: Currently, our creativity is exploding!  We look forward to expanding in multiple markets, becoming a premiere, handcrafting community.  Surprises will be around every corner!

Glam Wife: What do you do in your spare time? (Assuming you have any~! ;) haha)

Deborah: My sons are quite involved in sports and music, so my spare time is typically spent watching baseball games, band concerts, or attending football games.  I also enjoy quiet time with my husband.

Glam Wife: What’s your favorite fragrance that Natures Garden carries?

Deborah: Right now my favorite fragrance is Honey Bunny.  It just makes me happy smelling it!

Glam Wife: As a successful entrepreneur, what advice would you give to someone trying to start up their own business?

Deborah: The world is filled with negative people who will try to talk you out of going after your dreams.  Fear it and do it anyways!   Listen to your heart, follow your gut, and shoot for the stars!

 

I want to say a BIG thank you to you, Deborah, and your team at Nature’s Garden! Its been an absolute pleasure getting to know you, your team and your company! And for those of you, my beautiful blog readers, who think Nature’s Garden is JUST for businesses…Think again~! Nature’s Garden has a whole section on their website dedicated to different recipes for homemade body products and candles. So if you’ve ever wondered, wanted or been interested in crafting your own homemade body products or candles – go on over to the Nature’s Garden website; check out some recipes and pick up the amazing products and have FUN~!  Knowing that if you hit a stumbling block, have a question, or concern – they are always more than willing to help and guide you!

 

I’m excited to announce Deborah is going to be putting me to work. making some of her body products with Nature’s Garden recipes and products. So if this is something you are interested in but aren’t sure of,  stay tuned to upcoming posts where I’ll feature the whole process!  So you, Ladies and Gents, can take the journey with me and see first hand, just how to make body products! I do want to point out though, that I’m a beginner and have never made any before; but I have to say I’m extremely excited to try my hand at making some~! And I hope you will join me for the ride!

 

Nature’s Garden Contact Info:
Website:  http://www.naturesgardencandles.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/naturesgardencompany?ref=ts
Twitter: @ngscents
Email: info@naturesgardencandles.com

Till next time friends, follow your passions, and shoot for the stars~! If you can dream it, you can do it! xoxo