How to Prep and Polish Your Holiday Look

Finding the perfect gift, addressing cards, cleaning house, baking treats and wrapping presents consumes my holiday season leaving very little time to this about my own holiday style.  Of course, the kids have coordinating outfits and accessories but as the big day draws near, I realized I have nothing for myself.  At all.

Thankfully, the celebrity makeup artist and Neutrogena Brand Ambassador Amy Oresman is on the case. Commence Operation Holiday Prep and Polish by following the tips below:

•       Rushing from party to party with minimal prep time? Use multitasking products like the NEUTROGENA® Crease Proof Eye Shadow, the three-in-one is infused with a primer, eye shadow and eye treatment to condition the delicate eye area while you celebrate.

•       The secret to applying eyeliner is getting as close to the lash line as possible, making it slightly thicker as you move outwards. With subtle light diffusers, NEURTROGENA® Nourishing Eyeliner makes the whites of the eyes appear even whiter, giving that extra pop that we all want.

•       Just because the holidays can get expensive, doesn’t mean your beauty routine has to pay the price! NEUTROGENA® Healthy Skin Liquid Makeup is not only silky and ultra-lightweight, but it is also comparable to similar products in the prestige category.

•       All too often this time of year we rush to transition from day to night looks. The NEUTROGENA® Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes are a quick and easy way to make the switch (and make a great stocking stuffer, too!).

•       I’m always a fan of products that have dual uses. The NEUTROGENA® MoistureSmooth Color Sticks serves as a moisturizing lip color and can give the perfect touch of color on the cheeks.

Insider Tip: MoistureSmooth Color Sticks are on Rollback at Walmart for just $6.97.

Now that we have flawless skin and a glowing holiday face, let’s tackle hair! Follow the tips below from hairstylist and Neutrogena Brand Ambassador, Sam Leonardi:

•       This time of year, the wind and cold weather can wreak havoc on hair. It’s important to protect overall hair health against not only the elements, but also heating tools and products used to primp for holiday gatherings.  Try the  NEUTROGENA® Triple Repair Fortifying Shampoo and Conditioner into your routine for 3 times stronger hair after just one use.

•       From buns to braids, be sure to use bobby pins with coated tips for reduced breakage, and keep blow dryers at least seven inches from hair to minimize heat damage.

•       For longer, thicker hair, use a small amount of NEUTROGENA® Triple Repair Leave-In Treatment and reapply as needed, especially when using flatirons, curling irons, etc. frequently.

•       Conditioner should be focused on the mid-length to ends, where strands are most damaged and at their weakest. After applying, rinse with cold water to remove residue and static, giving it more shine.

Ready to get the look?  One of my lucky readers will win a selection of Neutrogena holiday staples and a $50 Walmart gift card! Enter below:
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How to Select the Perfect Pair of Boots this Winter

This post is written by the Experimental Mommy.  While a sample was received to facilitate this review, all opinions remain 100% mine.

Inspired by one of my favorite fashion bloggers, Ellen from That Chic Mom, I decided to tackle a fashion post myself (believe it or not, sometimes I shed the lab coat for real girly clothes).  Given that I live in New Orleans, I have tons of summery outfits and my closet is full of an assortment of flip flops.  But, my winter wardrobe consists entirely of a pair of jeans, one sweater and a scarf I have no idea how to tie.  Fortunately, my friends at Shoebuy.com are coming to the rescue with some great tips on how to pick the perfect pair of boots this winter.

As for this season’s top boot styles, booties are leading the way, with harness boots, over-the-knee boots and western-inspired styles falling closely behind. But which ones are best for YOU?

Booties:

A great pair of booties is a MUST this season. Perfect for pairing with a skinny jean or matching with a pencil skirt, this style can be worn day or night. For your first pair, try a neutral color like beige or black. Once you have a chance to break-in your “go-to” pair, go a little bolder with a flashier color like red or dark blue.

Over-the-Knee:

If you’re looking for a more glamorous look, say for a night on the town, you gotta go big or go home! Over-the-knee boots can add the perfect amount of spice to any outfit, specifically when paired with a sleek pair of black jeans, leather leggings, or a fitted dress.

Western influence:

If you’re looking to step out of your traditional style comfort zone, try incorporating some fun, western-inspired looks. This year, cowboy boots are making a name for themselves in the fashion world and we can’t help but love it!

Harness Boots:

To complete your leggings/sweater combo, skip the Ugg boots and turn to a pair of harness boots. This classic equestrian-inspired style can liven up any casual look with comfort and ease!

After checking out the rules, I decided on the perfect pair of black leather booties.  Turns out, they really are quite versatile.  One pair of shoes, three totally different looks.  I found ways to where my booties with leggings, dress pants and jeans and make them work!

When shopping for boots online, it’s important to shop early if you want to snag the most popular fashion trends, as those styles often sell out first. If you find a pair you love, don’t hesitate! Make sure you do your research to guarantee you are getting the best deal – after all, who doesn’t love to save a few extra dollars here and there!

This year, we’re seeing more people searching for wide calf boots. How do you know if that style will work for you, you ask? Fortunately, Shoebuy.com, makes it a priority to feature the Shaft Height and Circumference on our product pages. If you see a style you like, take a fabric measuring tape and measure your calf circumference. If the numbers are only a few inches apart, you should be good to go.

Go Forth and Conquer your winter wardrobe!  Tell me in the comments which is your favorite style of boots?

Neutrogena Face-to-Face Foundation Challenge {Big Reveal}

This post was written by the Experimental Mommy. While I am an Ambassador for Neutrogena, all opinions remain 100% honest.

As a Neutrogena Ambassador, I have had the opportunity to try lots of the brand’s products but never done an actual head to head challenge with any other brands….until now.  To participate in the Face-to-Face Challenge, I was sent two identical bottles of foundation just labelled “A” and “B”.  I was instructed to use each product for at least 2 days and report back on the results.

Up first, Foundation “A.”  The texture of this product was fairly thick and I was surprised at how light it actually felt on my skin. This product provided great coverage without over drying my skin.

The following week, I tested Foundation “B.”  This product was was noticeably thinner in texture (almost watery).  While this foundation provided good coverage initially, I feel like it did not stay put throughout the day.

At the end of the testing period, I chose Foundation “A” due to its’ staying power.  At the end of the day, I felt like my makeup still looked fresh which is essential for this busy working Mom.  After providing my results to the people at Neutrogena, it was revealed that Foundation A (the one I chose as superior) was NEUTROGENA® Healthy Skin Liquid Makeup SPF 20 which sells for $12.50 and Foundation B was actually NARS Sheer Glow which sells for $45.

Neutrogena Healthy Skin® liquid makeup takes over where your skin care leaves off. Silky-light coverage glides on for a perfectly natural look, while the exclusive blend plus Broad Spectrum SPF 20 work together to visibly improve skin’s luminosity, tone, and texture.

Lesson learned: a higher price does not always equal a better product.  What’s your favorite foundation?

 

Fall into Fashion with RUUM Amercian Kid’s Wear

Some days, I think I have a runway in my home.  Oh yes, I have two fashionistas who are NOT shy about expressing their fashion style and strutting their stuff.  You can imagine the squeals when they had the opportunity to check out Fall looks from RUUM (pronounced room) American Kid’s Wear.

RUUM is built around style, trend and comfort and has been seen on the backs of mini celebs such as Suri Cruise, Harper Beckham, North West and the twins of Sarah Jessica Parker. But above all, RUUM strives to help boys and girls look their best by feeling their best.

Lily paired a RUUM floral raglan shirt with super soft skinny cords which was a perfect compliment to the first Fall day here in New Orleans.  The shirt and pants retail for $26.50 each but right now the entire site is 25% off!

 Because we don’t expect Fall to last too long here, Aubrie’s layered look is perfect when the temps rise again here in the South.  She loved the sequin heart tee which is on sale for less than $12. As the sun went down, she reached for the High Low Cardigan to fight the chills.

Don’t miss any of the latest fashion trends for kids by following RUUM on Twitter and Facebook.  What are your kids wearing this Fall?

Following in My Footsteps #InvisalignTalk

This post was written by the Experimental Mommy and brought to you by Invisalign.  All opinions are 100% my won.

When I was 10 years old, I had an opportunity to appear on television with my Girl Scout troop.  I could not have been more excited to get my face in front of a camera.  But when the episode aired, my Mom tells me that this is when she first realized how badly I needed braces.  Off to the dentist I went and for the next five…yes, FIVE….years, I wore braces to correct a severe overbite.

Now, my oldest daughter is following in my footsteps.  Unfortunately, during her last smile assessment, she has an extra permanent tooth that is making the others shift in ways that will cause problems in the long run.  We will be visiting an oral surgeon next month in order to have her tooth extracted, but it is inevitable that braces will shortly follow.

I vividly remember getting braces at 10 years old and how miserable I was until my Junior year of high school when they were finally removed.  I want a different experience for my daughter.  Surely, technology has come a long way in 25 years, right?  Recently, my sister-in-law decided to straighten her teeth with Invisalign so I am curious if this option would be a good one for my daughter.

Invisalign Teen clear aligners straighten teeth without traditional wires and brackets giving teens the confidence to live life to the fullest while improving their smile.  Teens can play sports without fear of injury and continue cheerleading, musical instruments, acting and singing without interference. And because it’s removable, brushing and flossing is easy and no food restrictions to worry about either.

With Invisalign Teen, this option certainly seems like a better alternative to metal and wire but I have heard that the system can only handle small cosmetic problems and the price makes it a burden.  However, I learned that Invisalign Teen can handle severe cases as well and that it is covered by most dental insurance policies just like traditional braces — up to 50% of the cost may be covered by insurance.  Check out the Invisalign Cost Calculator to see an estimate.

Now that I know Invisalign Teen could be an attainable option, my final concern is that my daughter will take them out too often to be effective.  However, Invisalign Teen aligners are made with small blue dots, officially called compliance indicators, that gradually fade as aligners are worn. It’s a quick visual check for parents and teens to confirm they wearing aligners long enough to get results. In fact, clinical data from orthodontists confirms that teens wear their aligners an average of 21 hours per day, just as recommended.

I could not be more excited to check out this option for my daughter as braces become necessary.  I am hoping that her corrective experience is better than mine and Invisalign Teen seems like the way to make it happen.

Think Invisalign is right for your or your teen? Enter the Invisalign Sweepstakes below:

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My Fashionista is Helping to Raise Money with Schoola #Clothes4Schools

This post was written by the Experimental Mommy and brought to you by Schoola.com.  All opinions remain 100% mine.

It’s time to pack up the sandals, beach bags and pool toys.  My daughters began school two days ago and we are trying to get back on routine.  On the first day, they both came home with activity schedules and I was pleased to see that Art remains in their school (albeit one day a week).  With many schools lacking funding, creative arts programs are generally the first to go. Fortunately, Schoola.com is here to help.

Schoola is an online shop dedicated to recycling brand-name children’s clothes, with 40% of the proceeds going to schools in need.

In my first post, I outlined how Schoola can help raise money for your school.  But now, my daughters are ready to shop!  I challenged my 9 year old to find a complete outfit and tally up how much it would cost (like how I threw in a math problem?).  Always ready for a challenge involving fashion, she shopped the “Grade Schoola” section and found a pretty adorable outfit which totaled $32.oo for a shirt, jeans and shoes.  But if you use code BacktoSchoola20 (limit one use per customer), you will receive an additional 20% off bringing the total of her outfit to just $27.00!

 

Better yet? Forty percent of the proceeds will go to a school in need (which you can designate).  Right now, I have selected Yick Wo Elementary in Brooklyn, NY whose parents have taken it upon themselves to raise $25,000 to save the art program.  I just could not pass up the opportunity to help the cute faces in this video.

Learn more about how you can get involved by following Schoola on Facebook and Twitter.  Save money on your back to school shopping while making money for your child’s school.  What a perfect way to start the new year!

Back to School Nail Art

This post is written by the Experimental Mommy.  While a sample was received to facilitate this review, all opinions remain 100% mine.

It happened.  Summer is officially over and my two daughters have returned to school.  In honor of the big day (and searching for inspiration on Pinterest), my daughters decided to make the first day of school fun with themed nail art.  Here’s how you can have Back to School Nails, too!

Nail Art is all the rage in my house right now. But with a 6 and 9 year old, the finished product doesn’t always come out the way you planned.  Through trial and error, we have learned that the right tools are imperative to success.  To achieve this look, we used Hot Designs Nail Art Pens.

Each pen has two colors and each color has a brush to apply base color and a fine point for details.  In order to create our “Back to School” themed nails, we began with base color.  Red for the apple, white for the paper and blue for the ruler.  The paint dries quickly so we were ready to move on to details within minutes.

Next we simply used the fine tip to draw the ruler, the lines on the paper and the stem of the apple.  Ta-da! Admittedly, I am not a professional manicurist but I think my daughter’s nails came out super cute!

Do you have a cute nail design to show off?  Hot Designs is giving fans the chance to win the ultimate beach package including a $250 Target gift card by submitting a selfie of your summer style using the hashtag #WinHotLooks and tagging @GetHotLooks on Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, or @Get_Hot_Looks on Instagram. Plus, I have one set of Hot Designs to give away to one of my lucky readers.  Enter below:

 

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Raising Money for Your School with Schoola #Clothes4Schools

This post is written by the Experimental Mommy in partnership with Schoola.  All opinions remain 100% mine.

11.  Eleven.  This is the number of days until my kids start school.  Where did the summer go? We have had some amazing adventures but it’s time to settle down and get prepared for the start of the new school year.

Just because my kids wear uniforms to school does not make me exempt from back to school shopping.  On top of the expense of uniforms, my girls are getting older (read: more social) and require multiple outfits for after school activities, weekend parties and field trips.  And don’t even get me started on shoes! Thanks to my two fashionistas, my Fall budget is tight, so I am all for saving money wherever I can. I am happy to add Schoola to my list of ways to do just that!

Schoola is an online shop dedicated to recycling brand-name children’s clothes, with 40% of the proceeds going to schools in need. The innovative new program – which saves parents money and gives back at the same time – has been heralded by Fox News, the LA Times, Forbes and Parenting Magazine. So, how does it work?

1. Simply request a Schoola bag to be sent to your home. Fill it up with gently used outgrown clothes and drop it in the mail (Schoola pays for postage).

2. If items are acceptable, Schoola lists your items and online shoppers benefit from drastically reduced prices.

3. The school you designate will receive 40% of the proceeds from the sale of your donated items. What a great fund raiser!

From now through September 14, 2014, I am focusing my efforts on Yick Wo Elementary which s trying to raise $25,000 to fund an art program for their students.  Unfortunately, when schools face daunting budget cuts, the art and music programs are the first to go.  But, I love that the parents at Yick Wo Elementary make sure that their school’s students have art class anyway, and Schoola is forming a community to help them do it.

You can help Yick Wo reach their goal as well!  Click through my referral link and every transaction that is made or Schoola donation bag requested, Schoola will donate $1 to Yick Wo. PLUS – when you donate clothes and fill out your child’s school information, $2 of every $5 made will go back to YOUR CHILD’S SCHOOL.

Ready to start saving money while raising money? Let’s get this school year off to a great start!

Finding Fall Trends at Carter’s {Giveaway}

This post is written by the Experimental Mommy in partnership with Carter’s and The Motherhood.  While a sample was received to facilitate this review, all opinions remain 100% mine.

With two girls in my home, it should come as no surprise that they LOVE to shop.  From a very young age, it was very clear that I had two fashionistas on my hands.  But because they both wear uniforms to school, they don’t get to express their individuality with their wardrobe very often.  So, I was thrilled to take them to Carter’s to explore the new Fall trends and see what caught their eye.

Carter’s has been one of my long time “go-to” stores from the time my girls were babies. Did you know that they sell over 400 million pieces of children’s clothing each year?  But what I love even more than the convenience is that Carter’s is dedicated to value, superior quality and age-appropriate style and these goals are immediately noticeable when you enter any one of their stores.

In a recent virtual briefing with Laura Barber, Vice President and GMM of eCommerce for Carter’s, I learned about the exciting Fall Trends for 2014.  Here’s the scoop so you can be on point as well:

  1. Camo: It’s not just for boys anymore! Add camo to your child’s wardrobe by mixing patterns (especially florals) to create a fun twist and make it more feminine.
  2. Activewear: The easy t-shirts (many have fun positive messages) can be paired with mesh shorts for Summer or layered under a jean jacket for Fall.
  3. Vintage Prints: The smaller, sweeter graphics caught our eye especially the ones with ponies and puppies!
  4. Tomboy Chic: Pair a sweatshirt with a lace layered skirt to be both comfortable and feminine.

After trying to spot each trend in the store, my 6 year old (very opinionated) daughter selected two complete outfits which she was very eager to model.

Aubrie chose a denim dress that she can wear in the heat of a New Orleans Summer but which can be layered with a camo or perhaps animal print cardigan for Fall.  For her second outfit, she was drawn to the vintage print of this adorable skirt and decided to pair it with some really feminine and fun colors. Because our local Carter’s does not carry Lily’s size, she was unable to participate.  But good news! Some Carter’s locations are now carrying sizes 7-12!

Looking for more Fall Fashion advice?  Laura Barber offers this:

The thing to remember is that there aren’t any rules that apply anymore! Let your kids go into their closets and put crazy things together! It inspires creativity, and in this season probably more than ever!

Ready to start shopping? From now through August 5th, Carter’s entire store is 40% off!  In addition, you can print the following coupon for 20%, too.

Download and Print the Coupon Here

To help you stock up on Fall Trends, I also have a $50 Carters Gift Card to giveaway to one lucky reader.  Enter below for a chance to win:

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Join Me for the Neutrogena Sun Up, Sundown Tweet-a-Thon! #ChooseSkinHealth

This New Orleans girl is no stranger to the Sun.  Louisiana is known as the Sportsman’s Paradise and the majority of our natives love to be outdoors.  But, with temperatures reaching the mid-90′s on an average summer day, it is imperative to make sure your family’s skin is protected.  But what are the best practices and products to make sure you keep away the harmful UV rays?

On May 22 from 9am-9pm EST, NEUTROGENA® will host the Sun Up, Sundown Tweet-a-Thon which will spark the sun education conversation and encourage participants to join the #ChooseSkinHealth movement. Each hour of the Tweet-a-Thon will focus on a different topic relating to skincare and sun protection, as well as feature different experts to share tips and answer consumer questions. Plus, you will get a chance to interact with expert dermatologists and Neutrogena Celebrity Ambassadors such as @BellaThorne, @ItsGabrielleU, @KerryWashington, and @IMKristenBell to name a few.

As a Neutrogena Mom Ambassador, I will be hosting the Family Fun in the Sun hour at 10:00am EST along with celebrity guest @itsJulieBowen and dermatologist Dr. David Bank.  Join me for some great tips to beat the Summer heat and win fun prizes, too.  During this hour, you can win a Neutrogena sunscreen pack + designer flip flops as well as enter to win the GRAND PRIZE which includes:

  • Summer supply of Neutrogena sunscreen
  • AMEX gift card valued at $500
  • Colorful beach towel
  • Designer flip flops
  • Sunglasses
  • Sports water bottle
  • Wide-brimmed beach hat
  • Ear buds
  • Trendy beach cover-up
  • Waterproof camera
  • Beach mat
  • Trendy beach bag

Each hour, a prize will be given away via @Crowdtappers. To enter, simply tweet your “Sun Safe Selfie” with the hashtag #ChooseSkinHealth. The selfie can be anything from a literal selfie to your outdoor scenery – we want to see it all!  Good Luck!