A Beauty & Lifestyle Blog

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Second Act: In Theaters December 21

PR Event: I was invited to see an advance screening of the movie Second Act at The Prytania Theatre this past Wednesday. I was excited to go, because it stars Jennifer Lopez. I've followed Jennifer's career since she was a fly girl on the show In Living Color. Some of my favorite films featuring her are Selena, Anaconda, The Wedding Planner, Enough, and Maid In Manhattan. My new favorite movie from her is Second Act which comes out December 21st.


I can't divulge much about the movie! But if you love beauty, fashion, dancing, being in LOVE, Christmas music, comedy, friendship, family, and a good rags-to-riches story ... this movie is for you. I took my mom and she literally LAUGHED OUT LOUD (along with so many others) throughout the movie. It's really good from beginning to end. It exceeded my expectations and it had a lot of really good life lessons in the movie. It definitely has substance. I could watch this movie again and again! This movie will put you in the holiday spirit. I'm not telling you this, because they invited me to the movie. I was not paid. This is not sponsored. Nor did they ask me to promote or write this post. I'm doing this, because I thoroughly enjoyed watching it and I feel you will as well. I love romantic comedies.


Let me show you around The Prytania Theatre! Isn't it cute! It's a boutique movie theater (one screen). It's over 100 years old. It's operated by the Brunet Family. Three generations of the Brunet Family currently work at the theatre. They do an amazing job! Rene Brunet (former operator of The Prytania) recently passed (2017). I remember meeting him (he would greet moviegoers). Lovely man. A beautiful portrait of him is displayed in the lobby (shown below). I go to this movie theatre all the time & no matter how many times I go my eyes light up. Everyone falls in love with the concession area, classic movie posters (don't you love that Frankenstein & Harry Potter poster), chandeliers, lighted cinema signs, vintage movie books, pictures of actors & actress from the past & overall charming decor. It's a splendid mix of both past & present. The theatre even has their own cats! Meow! There are two! One is pictured in the red chair below. He literally took a cat nap. I was bundled up that night, because it's the coldest it's been in New Orleans in a very long time. But The Prytania's coffee bar did a great job heating everyone up. What I love about The Prytania Theatre, is they make you feel like you're at home (part of the family). It's charming, comfortable & cozy!


How cute is The Prytania's concession area! I wish I could pack it up and take it home with me! LOL I just may use this as inspiration to make a small theater in my house! HaHaHa I love the snack characters on the wall: soda, popcorn, candy and chocolate bar. It just makes me want to buy everything! LOL They sell all of that plus nachos, bottled drinks, icees and artisan cookies. Everyone that works there is really nice and personable. I thoroughly enjoyed myself.


I want to take this opportunity to thank the PR Team that invited me to see Second Act. They put me on the VIP List and I felt extra special. You guys, I can't tell you enough how much I loved this movie. It was time well spent and I encourage you to see it! I tweeted my enthusiasm for the movie (see below) and as you can see from the likes & retweets others felt the same way. They seem to be doing advance screenings throughout the US, so look for announcements at your local movie theater. You can follow Second Act via the Social Media icons below :)

GO SEE IT DEC 21st! TRUST ME!

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Thursday, November 15, 2018

Pixi Glow and Rose Tonic Review & US Giveaway

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. I get commission for purchases or clicks made through links in this post.

PR Sample: I think everyone is familiar with Pixi Beauty's popular Glow Tonic (Target). I reviewed it here. It's a very effective exfoliating toner. There's even a Glow Tonic To Go (reviewed here). Did you know that Glow Tonic can be purchased in 250ml, 100ml, and 15ml? Pixi sent me six 40 ml. What I hadn't tried, was there Rose Tonic! They sent me four 15ml bottles. The Rose Tonic is suppose to rehydrate, replenish and refresh your skin! Pixi states it is naturally soothing and rich in nutrients. The Rose Tonic helps to tone, balance pH, minimize redness and calm the skin. I've been using this for several weeks now and I must agree. The Rose Tonic has a light botanical scent. If you're not a fan of roses, you won't be offended by the scent. I found it to be uplifting and pleasant. Applied to the face this tonic felt refreshing and nourishing to my skin. It's fast absorbing and dries quickly. It's nice! I have a lot of Glow Tonic, so I would like to give this set MINUS one Rose Tonic (because I had to try it) to a lucky reader of A Very Sweet Blog. Because these are liquids, I'm making this giveaway US ONLY. No worries to my International readers, because I'm putting together some other things. Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter and Good Luck to everyone.

 Sweet-Bittersweet-NotSweet
supersweet(run & buy it) sweet(really good,buy it) bittersweet(ok, issues)not sweet(not good,don't buy this stuff) 
  Pixi Glow Tonic is Sweet 
  Pixi Rose Tonic is Sweet  


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Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Farmacy Green Clean, Lip Bloom and Sleep Tight Review

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. I get commission for purchases or clicks made through links in this post.

Not Sponsored: The Farmacy skincare brand has been on my list to try for awhile. They are considered a CLEAN brand! They use natural ingredients and believe in Farm to Face skincare. You may have heard of Farm to Table, well it's reached over to beauty and skincare as well. So, I love Farmacy's overall philosophy and ethics. I had some deluxe samples of their products. I've had a chance to try each. Let me share my thoughts with you.

 background magazine picture: Garnet Hill (September 2018 Cover Issue)

Sweet-Bittersweet-NotSweet
supersweet(run & buy it) sweet(really good,buy it) bittersweet(ok, issues)not sweet(not good,don't buy this stuff)

Farmacy Green Clean (makeup meltaway cleansing balm) $22-$34 - Sweet
I love cleansing balms! Farmacy describes Green Clean (JCPenney, Sephora) as a nourishing makeup remover + cleansing balm that gently melts away stubborn makeup and impurities caused by pollution, without stripping skin. I found that this mint green, balm to oil formula did a great job removing basic makeup (foundation, blush, concealer, eyeshadow), but it struggled removing eyeliner, heavy mascara and stronger eye shadows. It removed those things, but I had to go over it 2-3 times. If you're a light makeup wearer, this is perfect for you. If you wear heavy eye makeup, then I would go with something a little stronger. I would describe the scent as very FRESH! Farmacy describes it as Summer! I would even throw Spring in the mix. It's nice, but I still prefer my Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm (Nordstrom, QVC, Saks Fifth Avenue, JCPenney, Sephora, Bloomingdales, ULTA) (review here) and IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Makeup Melting Cleansing Balm (QVC) (review here). One application with those and I'm done.

Farmacy Lip Bloom $12-$16 - Supersweet
Farmacy describes Lip Bloom as an herb infused lip balm, that replenishes moisture and forms a protective barrier on the lips. I was very impressed with Lip Bloom! I found it to be extremely moisturizing. My lips felt nourished. It's super long-lasting. It's not greasy. I had the scent citrus lemongrass, but this also comes in honey ginger, strawberry basil and apple rosemary. There's no taste, just scent. It even stays on if you drink something. It's really good!

Farmacy Sleep Tight $16-$48 - NO RATING
Farmacy describes Sleep Tight (Sephora) as a lightweight balm that melts into your skin, firms and you wake up with beautifully revived, hydrated skin. My dry, sensitive skin did not react well to this for some reason. I put this all over my face and between my undereye area and cheeks (cheekbone) became super sensitive (like a burn). So I immediately removed this from my face. Even after removing this, I experienced sensitivity for two more days. Everywhere else on my face was fine. It must be something in that I don't agree with. Just to give you a little insight, If I don't put on sunscreen and I'm in direct sunlight my entire eye area will swell up. It's a very sensitive area on my face. A number of people have had great results with Sleep Tight. I don't feel it's fair for me to rate it when I only kept it on for such a short period. If you have really sensitive skin, I would suggest trying it maybe on one side of your face. It's not greasy, but I didn't particularly care for the scent. It has a lemon au natural scent. I like some lemon scents, but this one ... no.
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Finding the Right Rock: Conflict-Free Diamonds

Conflict Free
Although for many people planning to tie the knot will not really care too much about the background of the type of diamond they buy for their betrothal rings, this is not always the case. Indeed, there are more and more couples today that not only look for rocks that have not had anything to do with supporting a conflict in a developing country, but will actually campaign against such wars which usually leave a trail of devastation in their wake.

Image Source: Pixabay

Understandably, the last thing a young couple planning to have kids once they are married would want on their conscious is the possibility that the diamond they have on their wedding rings has in some way helped fund a brutal conflict in an African country. Fortunately for such people with good morals and admirable principles, there are plenty of like-minded providers of brilliant cut diamonds and other styles in New Zealand to choose from. In fact, what many people hoping to purchase an ethical diamond will do in order to achieve this is scour the internet for websites providing insightful blogs on the matter. For sure, there are websites that could prove to be extremely useful for couples who although want to buy a stone to be used for their wedding rings, do not wish to purchase anything that could be deemed as unethical.

Image Source: Pexels
Research
As we all live in a world where it is possible to find almost anything we can think of with an online search, there is no wonder that people after an ethical diamond will reach for their smart phone or laptop in order to get their search off to a start. However, because there are so many sites detailing information about how to snap up an ethical rock for our wedding rings, it might not always be clear as to which ones are more reliable sources of information.

When purchasing any of the Diamond.co.nz engagement rings Wellington lovers prefer, one should be on the right track to buying the right kind of stone with regards to ethics. Just by spending a short amount of time going through the different options in beautifully designed wedding rings being sold by this leading New Zealand company, consumers should be convinced they have come to the right place at last.

Couples who would like to learn more about the best ways to source an ethical diamond would be wise to consider the following: 

  • Look beyond conflict-free rocks
  • Find retailers with social standards initiatives
  • Carry out extensive research on conflicts worldwide
  • Don’t settle for a donation to a specific charity
  • Remember direct activism can help change the industry

Fair Trade
It is probably true to say that lots of companies throughout the world that deal in the sales of diamonds and other precious stones will do all they can to ensure they only buy from companies that are involved in fair trade practices. 

Image Source: Pixabay

And couples planning to get married will not just think about where the diamonds they are interested in have come from, but also the fair trade of other goods they may need or want at any particular time. Of course, if we are determined to not have anything hanging over us with regards to the source of the rocks used to create our wedding bands, we will need to make the effort to ensure that we only deal with highly-ethical jewellery firms in New Zealand.
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Monday, November 12, 2018

The Top First Aid Kit Essentials You Need to Pack for Your Next Holiday

Are you going to be going away on a winter break this year? Or maybe you are already thinking about where you are going to be jetting off to next summer? As soon as you start to pack you can quickly get carried away with the excitement of going on holiday and forget to pack other essentials. While we all, hopefully, remember our passports and sun cream on our next trip, one thing that many of us are guilty of forgetting about is packing a first aid kit! While this is not the most exciting thing to pack it is vital and you want to have the peace of mind on your holidays that it is there should you, your family or friends really need it.

So, if you are wondering what exactly you need to pack in your first aid kit, make sure to carry on reading for all the advice that you need.

Painkillers
A handy thing to always have in your first aid kit is a few boxes of painkillers and we would recommend taking a few different types such as Ibuprofen and paracetamol. These come in handy when you have a head ache or a minor ache or pain. What’s more, it Is a good idea to pack a few packs of these in your suitcase to take with you as you don’t want to be stung by inflated tourist prices when you are abroad.

Plasters
Next up, in your first aid kit we would recommend that you have a box of plasters. A multipack with lots of different sizes should be enough to help protect against any infection, and we have all been there where we have a new and very uncomfortable pair of sandals that we need help breaking in and in these situations,  plasters can be a lifesaver.

Mosquito Repellent
There is nothing worse than going on holiday and ending up being covered in itchy and horribly mosquito bites every night. To avoid this, you need to buy insect repellents that contain DEET. Apply this more during the evenings as this is when they tend to come out and bite more.

Bandages and Gauze Pads
Another essential item that you need to have in your first aid kit is bandages and gauze pads. You only need a small roll, but this will come in useful If anyone has a more serious cut or wound and will help until they can seek proper medical treatment. You can buy a range of great bandages on MFASCO who offer same day shipment if your holiday is fast approaching and don’t have the time to go out to the store. This website stock lots of different types of bandages including strips, bulk, finger, kids, waterproof and wound closure. 

Hand Sanitiser
Last, but most certainly not least, we have hand sanitiser. This is an essential in your first aid kit no matter whether you are simply heading off somewhere new on holiday for a few weeks or going backpacking. This will sterilise your hands while you are out and about to stop you from picking up any infections.
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Sunday, November 11, 2018

MAC Prep + Prime Fix + Uses

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. I get commission for purchases or clicks made through links in this post.

Not Sponsored: Ah! Makeup Setting Sprays. I use my Urban Decay Makeup Setting Spray $39 (Nordstrom, Sephora, ULTA, QVC <-$32, Macys <-$32) (review here) all the time. I'm always reaching for it. It hydrates my skin (with makeup/without makeup). It sets my makeup without making it move about. It makes my makeup LAST ALL DAY! It's supreme. Well, I purchased MAC's Prep + Prime $26 (Nordstrom, ULTA, Harrods, Bloomingdales, Selfridges, Birchbox, Saks Fifth Avenue) awhile ago and it just kind of sits on my makeup tray...lonely....calling out, USE ME...USE ME PLEASE! LOL Oh, if makeup products could talk. HaHaHa I use it if an eye shadow needs help with pigmentation, but other than that the bottle just sits. So I thought I would hop on the internet and research its uses again. I found a lot of uses for it and I'm ready to give it a go again. I'm not going to rate this products, because personally I haven't used it to it's fullest potential. I thought I would share some of the uses I found below. Maybe yours is sitting! Maybe this post will get you to use yours once again as well ;) It's definitely a really good product. People talk about it all the time. I feel there are many others like me, that are not getting all the uses out of it. It's too expensive to just sit.


1. Hydration (Great for Dry Skin) - On MAC's website, it says it will provide hydration. It's a lightweight hydrating mist that will soothe and refresh skin. It's a lightweight mist of water packed with vitamins and minerals, infused with a blend of green tea, chamomile and cucumber to gently soothe and refresh skin. It gives and instant boost of hydration while setting makeup. Moisturizes and soothes tired skin.

2. Makeup Setting Spray - MAC states Fix+ will set your makeup.

3. Use it as a Base - Before applying your makeup, use it to hydrate and PREP your skin before makeup application. It will also create a smooth and even surface for makeup application.

4. Tone down your makeup - Applied too much powder, blush etc. MAC Fix + can be used to tone down those errors. It can also be used to erase makeup mistakes (if applied with a cotton ball etc).

5. Thin out thick concealer & foundation - You can use MAC Fix + to thin out thick (full coverage) foundation and concealer that has become too thick. 

6. Intensify eye shadows & highlighters- Some shadows/highlighters need a little help in the pigment department. Spraying a little Fix + (brush or skin) will help intensify them.

7. Helps soothe sunburn - Who would've thought!?! But the chamomile, green tea and cucumber extracts have soothing properties. 

8. Adds Hydration & Shine to Hair - Spray a little in your hair, brush and comb through.

9. Give new life to dried out eyeliner and eye pomades - A spritz or two should help bring the consistency back to life if dried out.

10. Hydrate your Beauty Blenders - I've been using my Smashbox Primer Water for this, but I will also try it with MAC Fix+
These were some of the most common uses that I came across. 
I'll give it another go :) Hope you do as well!

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Saturday, November 10, 2018

Disney's The Nutcracker & the Four Realms Review: No Spoilers

Not Sponsored: I went to see Disney's The Nutcracker and the Four Realms this past week. I needed a healthy dose of holiday magic, with the hot & humid temperatures we're experiencing in New Orleans. Anyone that has been a long-time fan of The Nutcracker Suite, will immediately recognize all of the songs in the movie. I found myself humming to each and reminiscing when I was a flower in the Dance of the Flowers. Misty Copeland's performance was exquisite (be sure to stay after the movie to see more of her). Here's an article about Sergei Polunin who dances with her in the movie. The various sets in the movie will transport you to locations that are both real & not real. The winter scenes are both fanciful & magical. I also loved the costumes & makeup for the characters in this movie. The makeup on Jayden Fowora-Knight was gorgeous! The story starts and ends strong. I think somewhere in the middle it drags a bit. But what I love about this movie, is the moral of this Christmas story. I don't know if many actually catch the moral of the story. I want you to pay attention to the characters! What "looks sweet", may not be. What "looks horrid or bad", may not be. Isn't that true in real life? Too many judge a book by its cover. What is ... isn't always! This movie has both a sweet & dark side. More dark parts than sweet! HaHaHa It's Alice in Wonderland meets Christmas ... meets Tim Burton's Nightmare Before Christmas. It's A Christmas Carol meets The Chronicles of Narnia. But Disney movies always have a sweet & dark side. I do suggest going to see this movie. It's appealing to the eyes. It's important to understand the actual Four Realms (Land of Flowers, Land of Snowflakes, Land of Sweets, Fourth Realm). I found two websites that explain all four (here and here). I would love for Disney to make movies that expand on each! Especially the Land of the Sweets! Wouldn't it be nice to visit a land of sweets that turns dark? LOL Here's a link to the trailer.

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Friday, November 9, 2018

Melt Cosmetics Gun Metal Eyeshadow Stack + Gerard Cosmetics Double Shot & Underworld Lipstick Review and Swatches

I remember purchasing the Melt Cosmetics Gun Metal Stack ($48) a couple of years ago. I saw GlamTrashMakeup (Marina Reed) use it and I loved the look she created using the palette. I purchased it right away. One problem though! I was very intimidated when it came to eye shadow application. I can throw on some blush, lipstick, foundation, concealer etc. but I get mousey with eye shadow application. Have you ever seen someone buy eye shadow but was intimidated by eye shadow? Hmm, that would be me! Well, I put this away until the beginning of the year and used it for my profile pic (black lace top on your right). I used it to create a bold eye and softened the look with a pink lip. I've been cleaning out my email folder and I came across Marina's tutorial using this stack and she also used some lip products (Underworld & Double Shot) from Gerard Cosmetics (which I also purchased at the time - my review here woahhh 2017). I thought it would be fun to recreate the look, plus I never reviewed Melt Cosmetics. Melt Cosmetics is an indie makeup brand. Their eye shadow packaging is truly unique, because they come in MAGNETIZED circular discs. That's how they stay together and you simply pull them apart. You can purchase their shadows individually or in a stack. The one I purchased is called the Gun Metal Stack. You receive 4 shades (Harsh Stone White - glittery champagne white, Industrial - glittery grey brown, Gun Metal - blue black metallic eyeshadow and Assimiliate - deep taupe) plus a mirror. The quality of these shadows are superb. SUPER DUPER PIGMENTED. They lay so beautifully, you can even use your fingers to apply them. I used ASSIMILATE as a base color. I then applied GUN METAL to my lid with a flat eyeshadow brush. I used a smudger brush to apply GUN METAL beneath my bottom lashes. With my finger, I applied HARSH STONE WHITE to the inner corners of my eyes and just a little bit on the inner lid. In Marina's tutorial, she applied Gerard Cosmetics Underworld lipstick on her lips and in the center applied Double Shot lipstick. It's a really beautiful effect. This is a look I would've never created on my own. It definitely made me step out of my secure makeup box and branch out. That's all a part of learning and growing. That's another reason I started a YouTube Channel. It's helping me in my application skills. Don't get comfortable in anything you do. Always step out of your comfort zone. Keep pursuing. Keep growing.

 Sweet-Bittersweet-NotSweet
supersweet(run & buy it) sweet(really good,buy it) bittersweet(ok, issues)not sweet(not good,don't buy this stuff) 
  Melt Cosmetics Gun Metal Stack is Supersweet


I used the Melt Cosmetics Gun Metal Stack the beginning of this year for my blog profile pic. I used Marina's tutorial to create a bolder look (very sultry and sexy), which is perfect for Fall and the Winter months. Great for evening.

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