Review & Giveaway! Mia Mariu Refreshing Foaming Gel Cleanser

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*Product sent for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

One of the best things about having this blog is learning about new brands or brands that are at least new to me. Being able to give away a product to one of my readers is even better! 

Mia Mariu is a direct selling company that has a full range of skincare, makeup, and supplements, and I have really enjoyed getting to know a bit more about this brand from using the Refreshing Foaming Gel Cleanser. 








You can probably determine most of what you need to know about this product from the name alone, but I'll tell you my thoughts anyway.
  • This cleanser is oil-free, sulfate-free, and paraben-free.
  • It foams up nicely, even though it's sulfate-free.
  • It has a citrus scent from natural oils instead of fragrance.
  • The gel cleanses thoroughly without stripping your skin.

I love using gel cleansers for my combination/oily skin, but this one can work with all skin types. It has a lot of natural ingredients, so it isn't too harsh. This cleanser has been a great introduction to this brand. I'm always appreciate brands that take a more natural approach to beauty.


One lucky reader will be able to win a bottle of this cleanser to try! Enter the giveaway below!
Here's what you need to know:
- This contest is open to US residents only.
- Contestants must be 18 and over.
- The contest will end on October 6.
- I will contact the winner to get shipping information to give to the company.
- If the winner does not respond with shipping information by October 8, then a new winner will be selected.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck! I have another giveaway ending soon. Go check it out here!
-xoxo Lauren

Let's be friends!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.
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Don't Let Anyone Dull Your Sparkle! Bellacures Preston Center Grand Opening

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"I've never worked so hard for a free manicure!" said the woman in front of me in line at the grand opening for Bellacures in Dallas. Announce free manicures in a room full of Dallas women and watch what happens! Manicures were promised to the first 50 people, and there were folks lined up early in the Texas heat, myself included! You've seen my nail polish collection, so you know I love a good mani!


This line is no joke, ya'll! 

Photo courtesy of Julie!
I brought my awesome singer friend, Julie, with me, and met Addie from Old World New Girl there, and I got to meet some other wonderful Dallas style bloggers! Yay to new friends!


Bellacures has a glamorous yet serene space with gorgeous chandeliers and comfy oversize chairs.




The event was catered by Urban Taco. It was delicious!


Me with the beautiful Julie!

Like any top-notch nail salon, Bellacures had a variety of brands and colors. I recall seeing OPI, Essie, and my choice, Deborah Lippmann. Because I don't have this color in my collection, I was looking for an almost red orange. I chose Don't Stop Believin' by Deborah Lippmann.  





I sat in one of the incredibly comfortable chairs while the nail tech worked away on my manicure. The nail tech was very nice and thorough with my nails. She worked quickly but didn't rush through it, which was a bit miraculous considering how many people came to the event.

Photo courtesy of Julie
All done!
All done!
Julie got sparkley nails!
The finished product.
A day later, and my nails still look great! I had a wonderful time, and it won't be my last. If you're in the DFW area, check out Bellacures. Maybe I'll see you there! 

-xoxo Lauren

P.S. Don't forget to enter my Azure Naturals Ultimate Retinol Anti Wrinkle Serum giveaway! Link to giveaway here.

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2 in 1 Tags! My Writing Process and The Secrets of Blogging

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Happy Monday! I hope your week is off to an amazing start. I got tagged to do a couple of different tags about writing and blogging recently, so I decided to combine them into one post!

My Writing Process

Kelly from Hint of Blush tagged me to do the My Writing Process tag. 

1. What am I working on?

I'm working on getting some reviews done. Some of them are of products that I was sent, but most of the products that I plan to write about are things I bought and really want to share with all of you. There's also a face of the day that I need to post.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I don't know if this is really different, but I try to think of everything when I'm reviewing a product. I try to give really tough reviews because I don't want you to read my blog and go buy a product and not like it because there was something I missed during the review. Sometimes, I do think of things that I should have said later, but I do try to tell you all of the information so that you can make an informed decision about whether or not to purchase a product.

3. Why do I write what I do?

This is probably going to sound so shallow, but I really like talking about beauty products. I really do. One only has to turn on the news to see how much ugly is in the world, so let's talk about pretty things here. 

4. How does your writing process work?

I'm trying to get better at being a more organized blogger, but I'm still not at a place where I can get on a posting schedule. I just started making lists in order of importance of things that I need to post. This has helped a lot. I like to take photos, test out the product, write notes, then flesh it out into a full post.

That was the first tag! There's one more to go, or you can go to the end of this post to see who I tag.

The Secrets of Blogging

Fellow Texas blogger, Lily, from Beauty with Lily tagged me to do The Secrets of Blogging tag. Some of these answers may be repeated in some form from the previous tag.

1. When did you start blogging and why?

I started blogging in October, so almost 10 months ago. It was something that I had really wanted to do, but I had to just work up the courage. I really enjoy talking about beauty products and sharing information with others. The interaction with everyone is so much fun.

2. How many people in "real life" know about your blog?

I never tried to keep my blog a secret, so everyone knows about my blog. My friends and family have been so incredibly supportive of my blog, and I'm so grateful for that.

3. What are your favorite posts to read? 

I really like monthly favorites and empties posts because they have lots of mini reviews all rolled up in one post. I really like hearing what people think of a product once they've used the entire thing. I also love reading reviews.

4. List a blog you have discovered recently. 

I need to add some new blogs to my list. Let me know if you have any suggestions. I've followed some fashion blogs lately, and those are always fun. The last one I added on Bloglovin was Style Sunrise.

5. Which posts are you most proud of?

Um...I'm pretty sure this would be the equivalent of picking a favorite child. Honestly, I'm proud of all of my posts. Some are definitely better than others, but I put a lot of effort into all of them. I guess it would have to be the ones that are the most helpful to my readers, so you tell me.

6. What advice would you give to future bloggers?

Blog from your own point of view and perspective. Don't feel like you have to be like anyone else. Also, just start blogging if you want to do it. Don't feel like you have to wait. Happy blogging!

Huge thank you to Kelly and Lily for tagging me.
I would like to tag these bloggers:
Karen from KPsays
Karen from StyleSunrise

I would love to read your answers to one or both of these tags, if you would like to participate.

-xoxo Lauren

P.S. Don't forget to enter my Azure Naturals Ultimate Retinol Anti Wrinkle Serum giveaway! Link to giveaway here.

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Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes Mascara Review

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Hello everyone! I hope all of you are having a great week! Many of you have been interested in the Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes mascara since it was in my July Favorites, so I thought I would review it for you. 


If you wear makeup, then you know that a great mascara can do a lot for your look. I am so excited to review the Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes mascara because this has been a favorite of mine for quite some time. Tarte calls Lights, Camera, Lashes "A lengthening, curling, volumizing, and conditioning mascara." I do agree with that, but I think that volume is the most noticable of all. 





The wand is an average size wand, with the nylon bristles. I really like the size of the wand because it's easy to use and isn't so big that I make a mess. Let me show you what this mascara does for my lashes.


Bare lashes before mascara
I'm not gonna lie; I have good lashes anyway. But, I think you can see what it does to mine to determine if it is something you might want to try.



One coat of mascara

One coat gives thick and separated lashes with tons of volume and length without any clumping. I don't know how it does it. It's so easy! I could stop there, but you know I can't wear just one coat of mascara. In a recent video on the Wayne Goss YouTube channel, Charlotte Tilbury was doing a model's makeup and was saying how ladies don't put on enough mascara. (Here's the video, case you're curious.) Let's pile it on then! Here we go to coat number two!


Two coats of Lights, Camera, Lashes

Bam! With the second coat, I was expecting to have a little bit of clumping, but I really didn't. The second coat gave a dramatic, false lash effect--at least on my lashes anyway. 

This mascara is now $20 at Ulta and Sephora (this has increased by $1), but it's usually on sale at some time during the Ulta 21 Days of Beauty sale for around $10. I purchased mine during the last sale. You can see that haul here

Has anyone tried Tarte's Best In Faux Lash Extending Fibers that you can use with this mascara? Part of me wants to go ahead and get that one, but I really don't want to get anymore fibers until I have completely used up my Too Faced Better Than False Lashes Lash Extension System. (Full review of that here.) 

Have you tried Tarte's Lights, Camera, Lashes mascara? What did you think of it? Leave me a comment. I love hearing from you!

-xoxo Lauren

P.S. Don't forget to enter my Azure Naturals Ultimate Retinol Anti Wrinkle Serum giveaway! Link to giveaway here.


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Azure Naturals Ultimate Retinol Anti Wrinkle Serum Review & Giveaway

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*I received this product for free for review purposes.

Happy Wednesday everyone! Hope you are all having a great week! I have a review and a giveaway for you today. I know I have been reviewing a lot of skincare lately, but I really want to slow that down to get more into a routine that I can use for a more extended period of time. Lucky for me, the majority of products have worked for my skin!




Azure Naturals Ultimate Retinol Anti Wrinkle Serum comes in one or two ounce bottles with a pump. The product itself is a light gel consistency. I really like the lighter texture in a serum, especially during the summer. 


According to the company:

  • Retinol is one of the most effective ingredients for reducing fine lines and wrinkles. Vitamin A is proven to improve pigmentation, fine lines, wrinkles, skin texture, skin tone, color, as well as increase your skins hydration levels. ULTIMATE RETINOL is the most advanced Retinol product currently available. We have designed a delivery system that allows very high strength 2.5% Retinol to be used around the eyes and even by people with sensitive skin. Our elegant suspension of Retinol combined with a synergistic blend of other active ingredients, softens and heals the skin.
  • HOW DO YOU RECEIVE OPTIMAL RESULTS? Start using in your late twenties or early thirties. Early use of Retinol can combat fine lines before they become apparent. If you don't have prior experience using Retinol products start slowly and be consistent with your use. Apply a small amount every other day, after a couple of weeks you can begin applying more frequently as your skin adapts. Just like exercise, it is very important to use your skin care products consistently. If you do experience any irritation decrease usage for a few days and work your way back up after that.

Directions

Here's how I use it. At night, I apply two pumps of the serum all over my face. It feels hydrating and refreshing without being oily. It is a serum, so you can apply a moisturizer over it. I haven't been using moisturizer, but I have been using the Aveeno Positively Radiant Targeted Tone Corrector (reviewed here) on any acne scars and freckles for some extra attention. It's important to use this or anything with retinol at night rather than during the day because it can make your skin very sensitive to the sun. Even though the company suggests to start off using this every other evening, I started using it every night, and I didn't notice any problems with my skin adjusting to it.

Ingredients

Like Vitamin C, retinol is an ingredient that dermatologists recommend for an anti-aging skincare routine, so I am so happy to have the opportunity to try this serum. Azure Naturals Ultimate Retinol Anti Wrinkle Serum can be purchased from Amazon, and the one ounce bottle is on sale for $23.95. You can also enter my giveaway to win a free bottle!

I am so happy to be able to do a giveaway for you! Here are some rules.
This contest is open to US residents only.
Contestants must be 18 and over.
The contest will end on August 30 at midnight.
I will contact the winner to get shipping information to give to the company.
If the winner does not respond with shipping information by September 3, then a new winner will be selected.

a Rafflecopter giveaway I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.
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July Favorites

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Bye bye July! August is here! Hope ya'll are having a great summer and are finding fun ways to beat the heat. I know it's hot here. It is so hot that I haven't really been wearing a lot of makeup at all, and most days I have gone completely foundation free. That hasn't kept me entirely off of the beauty products, as I have several things to bring you in my July Favorites!



Aussie 3 Minute Miracle
I didn't realize how much I loved this until I didn't use it for a couple of washes.
My hair felt course and dry.
Great product for the price!


Bare Minerals Eyecolor - Nude Beach
I have been wearing this champagne pink eyeshadow on its own on those days that I'm not wearing any foundation.
It adds just enough brightness to the eyes and isn't too much for practically no-makeup makeup.

Bare Minerals SPF 20 Eye Brightener - Well-Rested
This may have been on my face every day this month.
It does a great job brightening under the eyes and does not get cakey on me.
The color is just right for my NC20 complexion.
I apply this using a large fluffy eyeshadow brush.


Estee Lauder Pure Color Envy Lipsticks - Dominant & Infamous
These pink shades have been getting a lot of wear this past month.
I have a review of these HERE.
Dominant is a shade that will go well into fall, but I think it works for summer too.
I'm really liking Infamous right now because it's still easy to wear even though it's a bright pink.


Milani Brilliant Shine Lip Gloss - Pink Lady
I'm not a gloss person, but I'm so impressed with this lip gloss.
Pink Lady is really pigmented and has pretty good lasting power for a gloss.
It's really comfortable and isn't really sticky.
This is the only shade I have in this gloss, but I would check out more of these!


Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes! Mascara
This is one of my favorite mascaras that I have ever tried.
I got this during an Ulta 21 Days of Beauty sale for half price.
Lights, Camera, Lashes! gives a lot of volume without clumping.

So, those were my favorites! They weren't very exciting this month except for the lipsticks, but I have been using these products almost every day. What have you been using and loving lately? Leave a comment. I love hearing from you!

-xoxo Lauren 

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