This Thursday calls for some Thinking Out Loud

Today I’m linking up with my one of my favorite Link-Ups: Think Out Loud Thursday hosted by Amanda at Running With Spoons.

Please excuse enjoy the randomness of it all!

I’ve been drinking protein shakes for the last 10 days in the mornings after my run. The chocolaty goodness packs a full 25 grams of protein and actually keeps me full until lunch! I am super psyched to have just been given this new type of Protein + Coffee goodness by Drink CLICK. It tastes just like a latte but with the benefits of the protein. Can. Not. Go. Wrong. with that combo! Get yours here (at my affiliate link).

The Long Run: I’ve been struggling to run lately. It all started with taking two weeks off due to my Plantar Fasciitis. Right after that, my runner husband found out he has a stress fracture, which means he can’t run. And when he can’t run — look out! So I have this guilt when I go run that I’m just adding salt to his wounds… I will have to get over it because I registered for a half in May and I must get moving along on my training!

And on one final random note, let’s talk about hair for a minute. I know, random, right?! I received this Kenra Brightening mask from Influenster to test and review. I used it for several weeks before taking my “after” photo. The stuff actually works! Now, I still have an appointment next Friday for highlights, but I would definitely recommend this product. The deep purple mask helps remove the brassiness. Don’t beleive me, check out these pictures!

That’s all for now!

Until Next Time,
Meg

Think Out Loud Linkup

Curly Hair Don’t Care

My daughter recently got a perm and for someone who is pretty much a minimalist when it comes to styling her hair (she’s been a big fan of the ponytail), it has taken some getting used to.

My one condition before agreeing to the perm was that she had to do a better job of brushing her hair in the mornings and that likely she would need to wet it down every morning.

You can see why….

SoCozy

This is how she wakes up (some mornings it doesn’t include the smile)

You can see that the curls not only need brushed, but also need revived. We’ve tried mousse and gel and both seem to work about equally. I typically help her apply the product so that she doesn’t get globs of it in one spot.

What might we find in there?!

When I had the opportunity from Brandbacker to sample products aimed at curly hair, I jumped at the chance. Especially, when the opportunity featured hair care products specially designed for kids.

We received Curl Conditioner, Curl Leave-in spray, and Curl Gel Cream all from SoCozy. SoCozy not only are tailord for kids, offering salon-quality hair care products developed specifically for kids’ hair, but they also cater to busy moms. The products are multi purpose and streamline the process. Oh, and I should mention that they smell DE-vine. The gel and the conditioner are scented like sweet cream — yummy!

This is our after photo. We were in kind of a hurry after her shower, so her hair is still a little damp, but you can see that it did revive her curls. It also kept her hair managable and without frizz for the entire night. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SoCozy prides itself on pure and safe products, therefore they are made without parabens, formaldehyde, sulfates, phthalates, synthetic color, propylene glycol. Free of alcohol, gluten, wheat, peanuts and tree nuts.

SoCozy products are available at Target, CVS, and Walgreens and if you purchase any of their products from now, through mid-February, you can register your receipt into their sweepstakes for a chance to win an all-expense paid 5 days, 4 nights, deluxe family vacation for four! Visit their website for details!

Do your kids have curly hair (natural or permed)? I’d love to hear your tips on how to keep the curls vibrant!

Until Next Time,
Meg

***This post is Powered by BrandBacker*** 
As always, all opinions are my own 

Five Things Friday: Wellness & Fitness Edition

Welcome FRIDAY! Whew, it has been a week! Am I right or am I right? This week’s Five focuses on fitness & wellness trends in 2017.

**All opinions are just that, opinions!**2017 Fitness & Wellness TrendsSupplements: I don’t see supplements going away any time soon. In fact, I see new formulas popping up All. The. Time. Whether the supplements be for better nutrients, electrolytes, boost immunity, boost stamina — they will continue to be relevant throughout 2017 (and beyond!) I recently received a jar of HANAH One – a botanical supplement – to sample and review. The claim is that it helps with focus, balance, mindfulness, immunity, the works! The trick is that you have to use it daily and it tastes pretty bad (sorry, just being honest!) I have found that when I mix it in with a fairly strong flavored herbal tea, the wangy (yes, I just made that a word) flavor is much less noticeable. I’m going to keep using it to see if I see the benefits (which usually are noticeable after 7 days of continued use, according to their website.) Stay tuned!

Athleisure: aka – leggings all day, every day! Okay, for those of us that can’t get away with leggings daily at the office, be on the lookout for work appropriate athleisure. Think: dress pants in sweat-wicking fabric (perfect for a quick lunch hour workout). Well + Good calls it: Workleisure!  I ran across this brand (that I have yet to try) that offers a variety of dress pant yoga jeans – wait, what?! Yes Please!

Workleisure

Fitness Trackers: These babies are not only not going away, there are becoming more and more options on the racks, from the Fitbit (whatever the latest model is) to the Apple Watch to the new Garmin Fenix (which I. Must. Get.) These devices can tell you nearly anything you’d want to know about your body. Down to the VO2 max. The best thing about them is that it doesn’t matter your fitness level, there is a device for everyone! Even the fashion industry has jumped on the bandwagon!

I get giddy when I get 100% on my Jawbone UP Move

Clean Beauty: I know I am focusing on fitness and wellness, but I’d be remiss not to include at least one beauty item in my post! The trend of knowing all the ingredients in your makeup, skincare, and hair products is here. It kind of started with the sulfate-free products and has gained some traction. Now there are whole lines of products using the phrase “non-toxic” on their marketing materials, from nail polish to foundation to eye cream.

Unique Spins on Old Workouts: I’m an ambassador for Sweat Pink and right now we are right in the middle of a HIIT Yoga Challenge. Who knew that yoga could also work for High Intensity Interval Training? Check out the Fit Approach Instagram feed for the next week to see how!

I’d love to hear your predictions for trends in 2017!

Until Next Time!
Meg

**Some of the links within this post are affiliate links**
I received products from Hanah One for review purposes

Do I have to choose between acne and wrinkles?

**Sponsored Post**

As you might remember, I have suffered from acne nearly my entire life and lately, though I’m not going to share my exact age, I’ve been faced with the challenge of dealing with acne prone skin at the same time as trying to fight the early signs of aging. There are not many products that are effective in targeting both (though, there are getting to be more out there).  Many acne products, geared towards adolescent acne, are just too harsh for aging skin. There has to be a happy medium, right?  One of the most effective ingredients in anti-aging formulas as well as acne topical treatments (remember Retin A?) is Retinol. One of the things that you have to be careful of when using Retinol products is over drying sensitive skin — even acne-prone and oily skin.

As most of you know, I am a beauty product fanatic. I love to try the latest makeup, skincare, hair care, nail products, you name it! So when I had the the opportunity to sample Valentia Night Revive Retinol Serum through my affiliation with BrandBacker, I jumped at the chance.

Thimg_0355e great part about this Valentia Night Revive Retinol Serum is that it also contains things like Vitamin C (for absorption) and vitamin E to replace moisture. I stillfound that I had to alternate nights when using this product as it tended to dry out my skin on my cheeks.

I’ve been using this product for about 3 weeks and am very happy with the results. Short term, my skin feels smoother and I can tell a difference in my forehead “frown” lines. **There isn’t a big enough difference (yet) to merit before and after photos.** With long-term use, I am hoping to see improved coloration, more even skin-tone, and continued diminishing wrinkles.

You can get this product (plus many other great skin care products) on the Valentia website or at Amazon for $35.

**This is a sponsored post powered by BrandBacker. As always, all opinions are my own.**

Review: Vibrance by Eu Natural for Healthy Hair Growth

As you know, I am a beauty-product fanatic. I love to try the latest products and even more than that, I love to be able to share my experience and opinions.

Recently, BrandBacker announced a campaign working with Eu Natural on a vitamin to support healthy hair growth. As you may not know, I cut my long hair last fall and, while it needed it and I have enjoyed the change, I very much am longing for my hair to be long again. So, I jumped at the chance to sample this product in hopes of rushing the re-growth process along a little.

I received a full-size bottle, which is a 30-day supply (retail value of $29.99 on Amazon). While I am not yet finished with 30 days, I have noticed a difference. I haven’t measured my hair growth, but my hair does feel healthier overall. I am pretty rough on my hair. I shower daily due to my running, I use a hair dryer and straightener on a regular basis, so the damage is definitely occurring. After 3 weeks of using Vibrance my hair feels thicker and is shinier.

According to the company, most results are visible around 60 days of use. Another great tidbit about Eu Natural — they have a 90-day money back guarantee with no questions asked! I love when a brand stands behind their promise with a guarantee like that.

Another perk: I’ve really noticed a difference is in my fingernail growth. My nails are stronger and longer than they have been in years!

Each soft capsule is packed with 23 vitamins, minerals, and herbs, including Biotin and OptiMSM®, that revitalize your hair from the inside. The vitamins are gluten, wheat, and dairy free and are packed with pure and natural ingredients (no junk or fillers!)

I’ve ordered a second bottle in hopes of maximizing the results and will check in with you later with my results!

PS: Want to try it for yourself? Grab a bottle here for only $5!

Do you have any tips on growing your hair quicker? I’d love to hear them!

Until Next Time,
Meg

This is a sponsored post. I received a complimentary product in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

Just Another Mani Monday

I am a big fan of nail polish.  That being said, I am also a working mom, a sweaty runner (who must shower daily), and someone who does not own a dishwasher. You see where I’m going with this? Oh, and I’m also too busy to paint or touch up my nails Every. Single. Day.

When gel formulas came out, I thought it was the best thing next to sliced bread (**I’ve been trying to work that phrase in my blog for quite some time – hehehe).

I mean, what’s not to love about nail polish that sets hard as a rock and maintains a high gloss for 10 days? Oh, that’s right. The part that they don’t brag about is that the process of getting that high-gloss manicure that won’t chip for days takes about 45 minutes… and requires equipment (LED light). And one more thing worth mentioning — the process to remove the polish is almost as extreme. I mean who has time (or desire, for that matter) to walk around with remover-soaked cotton balls taped to their fingertips while the remover soaks the polish off? Not this girl.

I know I’m not the only one with these complaints because brands everywhere began to create gel-like formulas with simple base and top coats that produce a similar result for a fraction of the time and cost.

When I was asked to review Formula X System XCEL, I was stoked. If you’re familiar with Formula X, then you know that they have a TON of fun shades and effects. I received the color TGIF to sample, which is a salmon-y pink shade. It is perfect for the end of summer and will be great for spring.


The kit (retails for $32 at Sephora + you get to pick your shade). It comes with a cleanser, primer, color, and topcoat and takes only minutes to apply. The color is full coverage and I only needed 2 coats (though in a time pinch, one coat would suffice). It dries quickly and has that coveted gel-like shine.

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While my polish did not last the full 10 days without noticeable wear and diminished shine, I would say it lasted a good week and that is longer than most other polishes that I’ve tried.

The Delete All remover, which I was also lucky enough to sample, is uh-mazing. It has five finger holes in the soaked sponge and it seriously only took about 7 seconds per nail to remove every speck of polish.

My overall impression is that I will definitely be purchasing more shades from this brand (I am actually expecting one in the mail this Thursday along with the rest of my Sephora haul!)

What brands of gel polish have you tried? Do you think they are worth the extra money?

I received these products from Influenster in exchange for my honest review.  Links within this post are NOT affiliate links, but simply links to enable you to learn more about the product. All opinions are my own.

Until Next Time,
Meg

Product Review – Marc Jacobs Velvet Noir Mascara

I received a sample of this product complimentary from Influenster for testing and review purposes. As always, all opinions are my own.

Love the packaging on this @marcbeauty mascara that I received from @influenster! #VelvetNoir #contest

A photo posted by Megan (@pinkess1) on

Mascara is one of those products that once you start using it (which I crazily didn’t do until college!) you can never go back! My look just doesn’t feel complete until I have at least one coat of mascara on — even on those days where I’m aiming for an Au natural look.

That being said, I have tried about a bazillion (yes, I’m using a little creative freedom with a made up word to mean “a very large unspecified number” according to Merriam) types of mascara. As someone who subscribes to several different beauty boxes and is also a fan of beauty samples with purchase such as the Clinique Bonus, I always have a ton of sample sized mascaras of various brands laying around. One of my favorites is Benefit They’re Real that I received in my Birchbox many moons ago.

Anyway, on to my product review! I was one of the lucky handful of Influensters to receive the Marc Jacobs Velvet Noir Major Volume Mascara in black before it hit the markets! First of all, I must talk about the packaging. It is truly exquisite. The geometric shaped tube, while it adds an air of sophistication, it also makes handling and application easier.

TheMarc Jacobs Velvet Noir next feature worth mentioning is the brush. It is not only very full bristled, but it also has a unique shape that allows you to reach the middle lashes and side lashes at the same time!

Finally, I’ll note that I really only need one coat of this mascara. It does a great job of coating my lashes and adding volume as well as length. My only complaint is that sometimes by the end of the day (depending on the eye cream that I used that morning) the mascara tends to bleed at my lower lash line. If I use a matte eye cream or one that isn’t super hydrating, this does not happen. Adding a bit of powder over the top of my eye cream seems to work as well, so maybe it’s my eye cream and not my mascara??!!

Overall, this mascara will be making my list of favorites for the next time that I need to purchase a full size tube (meaning: if I ever run out of my endless supply of samples!)

Do you have a favorite mascara? If so, I’d love to hear about what brand and why it tops your list!

Until Next Time,
Meg

Product Review: OZ Naturals Retinol Serum

I received this product from Brandbacker for review purposes. I was in no other way compensated for this post. All opinions are my own. 

If you’ve read my blog before then you are likely aware that I have suffered from acne nearly my entire life and have tried nearly every product on the market. In more recent years, I have been trying to balance having acne prone skin with battling the early signs of aging. (If you haven’t followed along on any of my journey, you can catch up here, here, here, or even here.)

So as you can see, this is a subject that I’m quite versed in. You can’t use the same products to fight adult acne as you used in your teens. Those products are simply too harsh on aging skin, so trial and error gets a little dicey now that I’m older.

A year and a half ago, I used Accutane and, as scary as it was (and as overly drying to all parts of my body) it was the best thing I ever did for my skin as it pertains to acne. However, now I suffer from hyper-pigmentation and ruddiness in my cheeks from all those years of acne.

OZ Naturals Retinol SerumAlways on the lookout for products that claim to help smooth complexion while preventing breakouts and wrinkles, I jumped at the chance to try OZ Naturals Retinol Serum. This serum contains clinical strength 2.5% Retinol plus Vitamin E and is the only retinol product on the market to contain Astaxanthin. The unique blend of active ingredients promises to minimize hyper-pigmentation, fine lines, wrinkles and, over time, greatly improve texture and tone. A few other things worth mentioning: this product is made in the USA, is cruelty free, 72% Organic, and doesn’t contain any alcohol, parabens or sulfates so it is safe for sensitive skin.

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I’ve been using the product for about 10 days and, while I haven’t noticed a huge difference in my hyper-pigmentation, I have noticed the texture of my skin feeling better overall. Also, and this is a huge plus for someone with my skin type, it has not caused a single breakout! I plan to continue using the serum, targeting my cheeks for ruddiness and my forehead for fine lines as well as on my neck and decolletage. I’ll report back here when I have Uh-mazing results!

Until Next Time,
Meg

The Busy Mom’s Manicure

I received this product from Brandbacker for review purposes. I was in no other way compensated for this post. All opinions are my own. 

I love to have my nails done just as much as the next gal, but let’s face it, I don’t have time to paint my nails every other day (that’s about how long painted nails last without chipping on this busy mom) and I certainly don’t have the money (or time) to go to the salon for a gel manicure every two weeks.

When I got the opportunity through Brandbacker to sample imPRESS Press-On Manicure products, I said “YES” wholeheartedly.

They sent me two different colors of pre-painted nails. One set is hot pink and the other is medium beige. Both sets came with the option of having a sparkly accent nail. I decided for my first attempt with the nails to try the beige set. They are super easy to put on. The adhesive is already on each nail, so after laying out the correct size for each of my nails, the whole process took about 6 minutes. Plus – no dry time! It never fails that after I paint my nails, I end up smudging the polish because I can’t sit still long enough for it to thoroughly dry!

To apply, you simply peel off the plastic backing, line up the nail with your nail bed, and press on the nail for about 30 seconds. That is literally it — super easy, no mess, quick application and I have a salon quality manicure for less than $8!

I’ve had the nails on for 4 days without losing one nail. That is 4 days of washing dishes (twice per day by hand), 4 showers, 15 miles of running, one football game, one volleyball game, playing with my kids, using the sewing machine and other crafts, and typing on the keyboard. They are still shiny like a gel manicure and chip-free, of course.

I added sparkly to the remainder of my nails rather than keep the accent nail since it would only fit my pinky finger.

The only thing that I would complain about would be the size choices of the nails. I think my fingers are pretty average and I had trouble finding nails to fit them (most were too small). As you can see from the picture below, the thumb nail that I chose was too small, while the only other option was huge and would have extended over onto my skin. There were tons of small nails to choose from, but little middle ground. In fact, I had to use the accent nail on my pinky since it wouldn’t fit on my ring finger or pointer finger. *I ended up adding sparkles to all my nails with a polish that I already owned rather than keep the pinky as an accent.  
When I’m ready to change out my manicure, I only have to gently peel the nails off — no acetone soak process necessary and no damage to my natural nails! These nails come in a variety of colors and options from french manicures to on-trend colors and patterns. You can pick them up at Walgreens and Walmart.

 

 

 

 

 

Overall, I would say that the value of this product is very good. For about the cost of a nice nail polish, you can have a salon quality manicure that lasts in only a few minutes!

Until Next Time,
Meg

**sponsored post**

Five Things Friday

I have a gazillion bottles of face wash, eye-shadows, have tried every foundation out there, and don’t get me started on shampoos! I subscribe to Birchbox, so you can imagine how many hair and makeup samples I’ve gone through! While I did not get these products from Birchbox, they are a few of my favorites (of the moment anyway!)

As you all know, I have struggled with acne nearly my entire life — including my entire adult life. From over-the-counter to prescriptions, I have tried about every product out their claiming to be the next best thing. I first sampled Murad Acne Clearing Solution when I received it through the StyleHunters program. It is, quite honestly, the best product that I’ve ever used. It works super well on my adult acne, which we all know is different than teen acne. It is not harsh on my skin, but it rapidly clears up any breakouts. I am not being compensated at all — this is my honest opinion. While it is a little pricey ($39) it lasts a long time because a tiny amount is effective.

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This J. Crew handbag is my very first purchase from The Fashion Project. This site created a platform to give back while offering gently used designer items at a discounted price to others. Donors choose their charity and when you purchase their item, a portion of the proceeds go towards that charity. What a novel idea! Plus, I got a super good deal on this genuine leather handbag!

I have sensitive skin — aka, acne prone skin, therefore I am always trying to find the best foundation. I like one that provides decent coverage (to cover my uneven skin tone and red marks), I need one that is not oily and doesn’t clog pores, goes on smooth and not cake-y. To say the least, I am kind of picky when it comes to foundation. I went through the Color IQ at Sephora a while back. If you’re not familiar with that, it is when they do a color check on your skin and then give you an ID number that will list a host of foundations in the color that works for you. It’s awesome for those of us that are hours from a Sephora and must order online. For my first order, I went for this Urban Decay Naked Skin foundation. At first glance, it seemed to be really runny and I was worried about the coverage. I have not be a bit disappointed — except to say that I am nearing the end of my bottle. It is a little pricey, but it happened to be cheaper than my previous favorite (Flawless by Laura Mercier). I will definitely be purchasing this again soon!

Another Urban Decay product is on my list of favorites. I love their eye shadow in Sin which is a shimmery champagne color. As you can see I am scraping out every. last. bit. of my little pot! I love how shimmery this is, but yet appropriate for me (in my 30s) to wear to my conservative office. The biggest drawback is that for one little pot of shadow, it is $18 – Yeouch! I think I’ll wait for a coupon and continue on my quest to match the color with a cheaper brand….

IMG_3560.JPGThe final product on my list, is this shampoo and conditioner combination that I received complimentary from Influenster for testing and review purposes. First of all, I am a huge fan of anything with Argan Oil in it. Especially hair products! This soap smells better than most Argan Oil products (it doesn’t smell manly in the least!). Also, and this is probably my favorite feature, with each purchase of these SoapBox products, they donate money to provide clean drinking water to those in need. Each bottle has a unique Hope Code on the back. When you go to the website and enter in the code, it tells you where the impact is being made for your purchase. It’s awesome!

Something else that’s awesome — the quirky way they write the description on the backs of the bottles. Example: “Directions: apply generously to wet hair, massage into a lather, sing your heart out and then rinse.”

I’d love to know if you’ve tried any of these products or tell me about some of your favorites!

Until Next Time,
Meg

*I did receive the SoapBox products from Influenster complimentary for testing purposes, however all opinions are my own.