Hands Down the Lauren B brand is superb

Lauren B Polishing Hand Scrub, Cuticle Oil, Nourishing Hand Cream

Lauren B Polishing Hand Scrub, Cuticle Oil, Nourishing Hand Cream

I used to bite my cuticles. It was a tasty snack, had no calories and was always available at my fingertips. It was only when I entered management that I stopped because I couldn’t envision being taken seriously while I was gnawing at my fingers. I went cold turkey with barely a nibble here and there. Although that was many years ago, my cuticles still were ragged and rough. They looked fine right after a manicure but I couldn’t get daily manicures, now could I?

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I did try various oils and creams over the years but, after a week or so, my cuticles didn’t improve so I just gave up. Then, as luck would have it, I was sent three nail couture products by Lauren B.:  Polishing Hand Scrub, Nourishing Hand Creme, and Cuticle Oil. For 10 days, I used the scrub once daily,  the creme several times a day, and the oil in the evening. And voila, my cuticles are smooth, my nails look healthy and my hands are soft.

Lauren B Cuticle Oil, Polishing Hand Scrub, Nourishing Hand Cream

Lauren B Cuticle Oil, Polishing Hand Scrub, Nourishing Hand Cream

Lauren is the niece of hair-care expert Philip B.  She says: “Our products are proudly made in the U.S.A. and never tested on animals. Everything we create is vegan-friendly and free of harsh chemicals like formaldehyde, DBP, toluene, formaldehyde resin and camphor. For me, everything’s come full circle,” Lauren adds. “As someone who truly believes that nails are the best accessory—and is fanatical on the subject—these are my personal bests, inspired by all things beautiful. I hope they’ll be yours, too!”

Lauren B Polishing Hand Scrub

Lauren B Polishing Hand Scrub

I find the Lauren B Polishing Hand Scrub to be a little grainy so you need to rinse carefully and well. It is pleasantly scented and the fragrance disappears after you rinse. According to the website: 

Our polishing hand scrub contains a proprietary blend of potent anti-aging powerhouses such as: Swiss-derived Apple stem cells (they contain peptides-boosting cell turnover, thickening thin skin, fading age spots, and smoothing crepiness), Aloe OilSunflower Seed Oil and Vitamin E (these brighten, soothe, and heal chapping while also providing anti-pollution benefits. Moreover, our proprietary amino-acid complex strengthens and softens your skin.

Lauren B Polishing Hand Scrub

Lauren B Polishing Hand Scrub

The result: A fresher more youthful look for your hands in under a minute!

Lauren B Nourishing Hand Cream

Lauren B Nourishing Hand Cream

The Nourishing Hand Creme is lovely- nicely scented with orchid and peony, it leaves your hands smooth. soft and not slippery.  “A super rich indulgence. Laced with antioxidants, peptides and amino acids, this remarkably non-greasy hydrator leaves hands ridiculously smooth and soft. A special delivery system ensures that moisturizing agents sink in fast to plump and soothe for hours. And the heavenly orchid and peony scent alone will make you want a lifetime supply.” says Lauren’s website.  How true.

Lauren B Cuticle Oil

Lauren B Cuticle Oil

And now the Cuticle Oil which I adore and which I think is making the biggest difference in my nails and cuticles. “Our custom blend of 12 ultra-pure plant, nut and flower oils designed to quickly hydrate your dry cuticles. Also, it is packed with amino-acids promoting healing and revival. Apply with our convenient brush applicator so you can take as little or as much as you need – no mess! We love Olive Fruit Oil, Peanut Oil, Sesame Oil, Walnut Seed Oil, Sweet Almond Oil, Jojoba Seed Oil, Lavender Oil, and Geranium Flower Oil.” 

Lauren B Cuticle Oil

Lauren B Cuticle Oil

Lauren B has worked with Sky Hadley, owner of As U Wish Nail Salon and is sharing these cuticle tips

  • Always use a cuticle oil/cream. Having dry, scraggly cuticles is not a good look and may even make you want to pick them, which can lead to a bacterial infection. Using a cuticle oil can make your manicure last longer. Keeping the nail beds and areas around your nails moisturized will make the nail polish stay in place longer. A cuticle oil is a great way to make a two day old manicure look like you just walked out of the salon
  • If you don’t have cuticle oil or cream available, you can use anything from your kitchen! Olive oil, baby oil, or even Vaseline are quick go-to solutions
  • NEVER cut your cuticles, they should only be pushed back. Cuticles are designed to protect your fingers from infections, and bacteria. You should only cut the dry skin around the nail and not the actual cuticles themselves

I will order these three items when I run out and want to try her nail polish next because: Lauren B. is good to me. And will be good to you.  –  guest post by Phyllis

*sent for consideration

What brought me back to POPSugar Must Have?

After about 18 months of buying the POPSUGAR MUST HAVE Subscription box in 2012 and 2013 (reviews here) I decided it was time to move on. The items were always quality ones and I certainly got more than my money’s worth from the subscription but I realized I was keeping 1/3 and giving away 2/3 of the box so I decided to go on a hiatus. But I’m back and going to give it a few months to see whether the boxes changed and/or my taste changed. I started with the September box after seeing their teaser:

Too Faced Brow Envy Kit

Too Faced Brow Envy Kit

PopSugar Must Have sells for $39.95 and the Too Faced Brow Envy Brow Shaping & Defining Kit is $39. That meant I could try a new product plus whatever goodies would be in the subscription and come out ahead. I know that PopSugar only sends full size items that are from great companies so I had nothing to lose. Did it meet my expectations??

PopSugar Must Have for September 2015

PopSugar Must Have for September 2015

PopSugar takes inspiration from the latest fashions and fads when putting together a box. All boxes are the same and they are a blast to open. I try not to read other reviews because I love the surprises inside. September’s box turned out to have a value of $156. Let’s take a peek:

TOO FACED BROW ENVY SHAPING & DEFINING KIT ($39) This is a one size fits all kit. I’ve become brow obsessed in the last year after realizing that my brows are beyond sparse. The kit is interesting but far from perfect. It contains setting wax, a cream highlighter, blonde powder and brunette powder. There’s also a set of mini tools (brush, spoolie, tweezers) along with 3 eyebrow stencils and directions.

Too Faced Brow Envy

Too Faced Brow Envy

Too Faced Brow Envy  swatches

Too Faced Brow Envy swatches

Too Faced Brow Envy tools and stencils

Too Faced Brow Envy tools and stencils

I am not a fan of stencils though I have used them on occasion. I always feel I need a third hand to hold them in place while my real hands do the work. Plus it’s hard to get them to match my brow shape. That said I know some people who need to start from scratch so these can be extremely helpful for them. While my swatches are quite light, the powders apply much better on my eyebrows since they have something to grab onto and a brown base. This won’t take the place of my Pixi brow favorites but it’s a good kit for on the go.

ncLA SO RICH VITAMIN-E ENRICHED CUTICLE OIL ($18) is close to perfect for a subscription box like this. There’s no worrying if you get a color you don’t like or can’t wear (glitters for me) because this works for everyone. Other than nail bloggers I’m willing to guess that most of us don’t take care of our cuticles like we should. This conditioning oil goes a long way and it smells so yummy. When I get my nails manicured I have about a minute with a cuticle oil on so having this is a nice touch.

NCLA So Rich Vitamin-E Enriched Cuticle Oil

ncLA So Rich Vitamin-E Enriched Cuticle Oil

NCLA So Rich Vitamin-E Enriched Cuticle Oil

ncLA So Rich Vitamin-E Enriched Cuticle Oil

BRIOGEO ROSARCO MILK REPARATIVE LEAVE-IN CONDITIONING SPRAY ($20)  is a leave in conditioner that’s different than the ones I have. First of all, it really looks and feels like milk. It’s not the least bit sticky. While it’s a thin consistency you don’t need as much as you’d first think because it’s loaded with amazing ingredients that will help protect your hair from heat and the elements. It contains an antioxidant rich milky blend and nutrient packed argan, rose hip, and coconut oils. I remember when my blog partner Lisa reviewed Brigeo and fell in love with the brand. Now I can too.

Brigeo Rosarco Milk Reparative Leave-In Conditioning Spray

Briogeo Rosarco Milk Reparative Leave-In Conditioning Spray

So far we’ve hit a triple with three great products. Let’s see if the others can score a run for the home team! Next onto travel, fashion and food!

KRIS NATIONS “XO” STUD EARRINGS ($35) are the cutest earrings I’ve seen. XO of course means hugs and kisses and that’s what these will do to your ears. The packaging is great – they come in the cutest cork topped bottle. I love mini items. The only bad news about these recycled brass & plated with 14k gold earrings is that I don’t have pierced ears. Boo hoo. I’d wear these in a minute but my once pierced ears have closed up after I had an allergic reaction to metals.

Kris Nations "XO" Stud Earrings

Kris Nations “XO” Stud Earrings

Kris Nations "XO" Stud Earrings

Kris Nations “XO” Stud Earrings

One of my favorite items in the box is the HUDSON+BLEEKER LABYRINTH ONYX TRAVEL TRIO ($42). It’s TSA perfect. There’s a see through cosmetic bag big enough to hold a good amount of treasures along with 2 14″X12″ silky drawstring bags to hold things like your intimates and shoes in your luggage. These are so well made and so handy. They fold up easily back into the travel case to store until you need them again. I can see using these at home too for your “special” intimates that you don’t want co-mingling with the reggies.

Hudson+Bleeker Labyrinth Onyx Travel Trio pouch

Hudson+Bleeker Labyrinth Onyx Travel Trio pouch

Hudson+Bleeker Labyrinth Onyx Travel Trio bags

Hudson+Bleeker Labyrinth Onyx Travel Trio bags

Hudson+Bleeker Labyrinth Onyx Travel Trio

Hudson+Bleeker Labyrinth Onyx Travel Trio

Yes ladies and gents, we’ve scored! The only thing I can’t use are the adorable earrings but I’m sure they’ll find a home with one of my daughter-in-laws. To celebrate …. let’s eat!

NOURISH SNACKS ALMOND TO CHERRIES ($2 for 1.4 oz) is an absolutely delish snack that is totally my taste. Their website is loaded with mouth watering products that are gluten free, dairy free, GMO free and vegetarian. They were founded by Joy Bauer, the Today Show’s nutritionist. I need these to carry around with me to stop my cravings!

Nourish Snacks, Almond to Cherries

Nourish Snacks, Almond to Cherries

Nourish Snacks, Almond to Cherries

Nourish Snacks, Almond to Cherries

PopSugar September Must Have Box

PopSugar September Must Have Box

A winner!! I’m so happy that I resubscribed and hopefully I’ll be filled with joy on subsequent boxes. I do have a referral code that will help me earn money off future boxes if you decide to subscribe yourself.

What do you think of this PopSugar Must Have Box? Is this worth $39.95 to you? — Marcia

October's teaser

October’s teaser

Mother’s Day gift ideas part three: lavish her with Lush!

 Moms work hard, there’s no doubt about that.  A gift shows appreciation, but a truly unique and thoughtful gift says even more.  Lush is a great place for unique and thoughtful – I was at a wedding shower last weekend and the gift that got all the attention was the basket full of Lush items!

Lush has some great ideas for Mother’s Day, including the Mama Mia ($39.95) wrapped gift set.  I am completely enamored of this option from Lush, it’s perfect for moms who love bath time and a little pampering.

How about a box of total pampering for mom?

To decorate the bigger gift, put a few limited edition reusable ‘bubble bars on a stick’ on the top of the package.

Everything is better on a stick

My picks are Madame Butterfly ($8.95) and The Dish Fairy ($6.95).  They totally complement the Mama Mia packaging, and are cute beyond belief.  Madame Butterfly smells of roses and lemon, you swirl this around in the bath and the water is magically full of bubbles.  Wrap it up and save it for future baths – one of these bubble bars lasts through about 6 baths.

because your mom is such an angel...

 And how cute is the Dish Fairy??  What I love about this is it’s a bubble bar…for your dirty dishes!!  Mom can keep this cute little angel in a cup next to the sink, and anytime dishes need to be washed, just swirl this in the water and  your dishes get squeaky clean.

The stick says, "Relax! I'll do the dishes, Mum!!"

Even better, when the Dish Fairy is gone, the stick is a free pass out of doing dishes!!  The Dish Fairy smells of lemon and it leaves your dishes clean and your hands beautifully soft.
 
When you open the Mama Mia gift, here’s what you see first:

The first peek - even the packaging is colorful and happy!

And then after digging through the colorful packing:

And then a second look...

Isn’t is pretty?  Plus there’s more:
Voucher for more pampering

Inside the Mama Mia package is a voucher for an in-store face treatment and a custom sample set, so your gift can keep on giving.

So much good stuff inside!

And there’s a list of products with ingredients, as well as an explanation on how to use each item.  Mama Mia is full of pampering shower and bath products, plus moisturizers that take care of softening you from head to toe.  Here’s what’s inside:

Lush The Olive Branch shower gel

The Olive Branch Shower Gel:  This is a pretty orange shower gel that smells of mandarin oranges and lemons.  You have to shake it up, it definitely separates in the bottle.  But once shaken, the gel is a soft liquid that creates a nice rich foam.  The olive oil really softens your skin.

Lush Sultana of Soap

Sultana of Soap:  Yummm, this soap actually looks like a big old slice of cake to me.  It smells fruity and spicy at the same time, and it gives the most creamy lather.  It’s very moisturizing and great for dry skin.

Lush Buffy!

Buffy:  I have LONG been a huge fan of Buffy!  This soap has ground almonds, rice, and beans, so it exfoliates rough patches.  It’s also super moisturizing, with tons of cocoa and shea butter.  Best place to use this?  Your rear end!!  It makes your backside so unbelievably smooth and soft you will be completely amazed.

Ro's Argan

 Ro’s Argan:  This is a body conditioner made with cocoa butter, cupuacu butter, almond oil and Argan oils.  It’s meant to do for your body what conditioner does for your hair.  At the end of your shower, slather this on, then rinse.  Towel dry and your body is ultra smooth and baby soft.

inside Ro's Argan

 Ro’s Argan smells lightly of rose – it’s not heavy or old-fashioned.  You don’t need a moisturizer after using this.  It’s great for days you shave your legs, or any time you are feeling dry.  After toweling off there is no tacky feel, it’s just soft, soft, soft.

Inside Lemony Flutter

Lemony Flutter:  This is a cuticle cream that can also be used on any part of the body that needs softening, like heels, knees, and elbows.  It has beeswax and cold-pressed avocado oil in it, so it’s super moisturizing.  Like the name suggests, it smells of lemons.  I find this to be an extremely rich and effective moisturizer, you need a very small amount to get maximum results.  If you use too much, it could feel greasy – use the right amount and it soaks right in.

If your mom is a bath and shower junkie, the Mama Mia set is perfect for her.  And do think about throwing in a few bubble bars for fun, too!!  – Lisa
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