Monday, February 28, 2011

Coming Up: The $75 Thrift Shop Makeover Challenge

You know I adore thrift shops. I enjoy the thrill of a good bargain when it comes to decorating. I have a goal: to re-do my living room and dining room and not spend more than $75, excluding the wall paint. Can it be done?  We'll see! I bet it can and am up for the challenge.

First of all, I have done quite a bit to the dining room already. Here is what it looked like when we moved in in 2004. That quickly changed--as in the first day we were in the house.


It was once navy blue:


It was also lavender. Then it became Behr Warm Caramel with a primitive/country theme.





And by Friday, it will be the dining room that truly reflects ME. It will not change in terms of the wall color, but with moving in a piece of furniture and lamps from another area and adding thrift shop vintage finds, the room will look completely different.

I thought it would take a while, but at the Salvation Army today, I found a FABULOUS vintage 50s tablecloth for $0.99. I also found 2 pairs of curtains. They were 50% off of $1.99 because blue tags are half off today. I spent $4.97 today and have the tablecloth and window treatments all done.

I am also giving life to a very old and large 9 drawer dresser that my neighbors planned to donate. Instead they gave it to me and it will be transformed using nothing more than a $2.94 bottle of Behr Opal Silk paint in a tester size. It's on the greener end of a robin's egg blue and I love it. 

Total Spent on Dining Room Makeover: $7.91 and I am looking for just 2 more things--two mismatched vintage wooden chairs. I am putting the windsor chairs we have now out in my jewelry studio around my work table and will use 4 mismatched chairs which may or may not get painted. I have two already from previous thrift shop shopping (both were under $5).

Next up will be the living room. This one will be much more labor intensive, as I will be priming and painting the walls. I also may be slipcovering a sofa...not my vintage green one, but the other one that the dog lounges on.

Here is something I am thinking of doing myself...this is furniture from an Etsy shop called Vintage Chic Furniture. I might like to try my hand at recovering the couch in a way similar to this:

Picture from Etsy's Vintage Chic Furniture. Do check out her shop!

Color Scheme for the Downstairs: Muted greens, robin's egg blue, accents of shabby pink roses, whites, creams...I want the two rooms I am redoing to reflect this vibe: retro meets shabby chic meets vintage and a tad quirky. 


My project completion date: March 15. If I write it down, I know I'll stick to it! I'll keep you updated on what I find and what I end up doing...

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Giveaway Winners!

Ed T. is the winner of the Just Be... handbag and Christina C. is the winner of the Loubird necklace. Congrats to both!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Snowy Day Musings

It's not technically a snow day in terms of a day off because of the weather. The boys are already on winter recess so there's no school. We've been getting hit with a winter storm this morning and it's been blowing and drifting since I woke up.

This is what I see from our living room window right now:


I declared it a pajama day. The boys are playing the Wii and I've been reading blogs. Tom took a few hours off and will be done working at 11. The rest of the day will be food, family, fun, movies and games. How fun is that?

The boys head back to school Monday. Tom, who normally works from home, begins a project back downtown that day and it'll make for a very quiet house. The wheels are turning, though, and I know what I am going to do when he's back to working out of the house for a few months...painting.

"Not again," you say? Yes. Again. As you know because I've said it a bazillion times, my favorite color is robin's egg blue. My kitchen cabinets are robin's egg blue. My jewelry studio is robin's egg blue, mint, and lavender. And soon, the living room will join the robin's egg blue family.

I just painted the living room in the fall. It was green:


Then it became a rich caramel....something I thought I'd like because Tom would like it and it'd have the neutral factor going on so I wouldn't be tempted to paint:



The thing is, while the neutral is great, I spend SO MUCH TIME in this room. It's the hub for our family. I want it to be fun and in my most favorite color. So I've been getting inspiration today....

I stumbled upon a blog called Flea Market Trixie. Her banner jumped right out at me with the robin's egg blue, muted greens, and overall shabby meets vintage vibe.

Do you remember the green sofa I found last fall at the Salvation Army?


In person, it's really more of a pale avocado as opposed to a mint shade. What I want to do is play up that avocado green and add loads of accents in yellows, black & whites and lavenders. Mod fabrics and things....

The walls will be a more muted robin's egg blue than my cabinets....maybe the shade I have in my jewelry studio:



Maybe I should just paint the walls white. Ahhh. I am not sure what to do, but I really want the room to reflect me. The kitchen does. My jewelry studio does. Tom says he doesn't care as long as he doesn't have to help me paint.

So that's my day thus far....decisions, decisions :)

Giveaway Day!



Today is the final day to enter the Just Be... artisan made handmade giveaway. Click HERE to enter.



Also, the Loubird Handmade necklace giveaway also ends tonight. Click HERE for details.

Good luck to everyone!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Another Giveaway!

I have two great giveaways going on right now at Chic & Green!



You all know that the month's big giveaway is an artisan-made bag from Just Be... and I also have a little giveaway going on from my jewelry line.

One lucky person will win one of my new Eiffel Tower themed necklaces from Loubird Handmade. There are two ways to enter. As you know, I moved my website last week. My new host has a great "follow" option much like Twitter or Facebook and I'd love to have some new followers. If you go to my shop and follow me, you will automatically be entered to win. All Facebook Fans of my line on the Loubird Facebook page are also entered. It's as simple as that. If you do both, you get two entries.

Good luck!

By the way, you also have time to enter that Just Be... giveaway. Click here for details. Winners will be drawn Friday night.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

etsy love: funkyshique

I've mentioned Funkyshique here on the blog before. In fact, two years ago, Amanda's shop was featured right here in Etsy Love.

Some shops just deserve another mention. I think about Funkyshique's unique style every time I look at the PARIS banner on my living room wall. This came from her shop:


What I love about this shop is that Amanda was the first one out there on Etsy selling these banners. She had this idea in her head one day to create awesome banners and pillows out of burlap and even though many have come along and made similar items since then, none can rival Amanda's creativity, quality, or thought put into them.

Some of my favorite things from her shop:




Spring banner, $20

Bird's nest, $7.50

Gift bag set, $16

Pillow sham, $30

Simple is better.

I've realized that the simpler the routine, the better it is for me. I'm talking about skin care. A few weeks ago, my skin started to rebel. Why wouldn't it? I am sent, on average, 8-10 facial products per week for the purpose of trial and review. Of course, I do not review all at the same time. When I try so many new things, even spaced out over time, my skin can get angry with me.

A few weeks ago I wanted to cry. My skin started itching, getting red, irritated, and just ticked off at me for wreaking havoc in its routine. Essential oils were causing redness, anything with added fragrance at all was a trigger. This has resulted in some changes to my routine--a return to the basics. To what works and is gentle. It also means that I will be adding others to my testing team, as one person simply cannot test so many products without it causing skin problems. Plus, not every product is ideal for me. 

Here is what I am looking for:

*A tester with oily and acne prone skin


*A tester with very sensitive skin


*A tester with normal/combination skin


I meet the normal/dry/sensitive criteria and I have a tester with extremely dry, more mature skin as well.


If you are willing to be a C & G tester, email me at thecurvyblogger [at] gmail.com. Perks include free products to try out. In exchange, I will need you to test out products for 1-2 weeks at a time and report back on your experience. You cannot be affiliated with any skin care or cosmetics companies or have your own beauty review blog.


Now, back to my thoughts on "the basics." I looked back at my own product usage and results over time in terms of the most basic cleanse/tone/moisturize routine. I'm not counting serums or eye care right now.

I returned to what always has worked in the past--fragrance free, as natural as possible, and with few ingredients. I am happy to report that my routine is working once again and my skin is no longer mad at me.



I've gone back to the double-cleanse. I remove my makeup with oil. Right now, I am using pure sunflower oil. After I remove my makeup and wipe away the residue and splash with water, I follow with my old standby--Aunt Nancy's Rose Clay Facial Bar ($5.50).



Next, I use Thayer's Alcohol-Free Cucumber Witch Hazel with Organic Aloe Vera ($7.99). It is the most soothing toner ever and makes my skin feel clean and takes away any itchiness. I used to use the Rosewater formula of Thayer's, but the rose parfum in it started to irritate my skin. This formula contains no added fragrance.


Lastly, I continue to stick with my favorite cream: (seed) Simply Fragrance Free Healthy Hand Cream. It's not marketed as a face cream, but it is the perfect recipe and blend of ingredients for dry skin. This one also retails for $7.99.

Each of these products is well under $10 and will work beautifully without irritating the skin and breaking the bank! You do not have to spend $20, 30, or $40 for each item to have healthy and glowing skin.

The total for the 4 products I am using is right around $30.

All are paraben free, sulfate free, palm oil free, fragrance free, phthalate free, and free of other nasties.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Style Snapshot--The Whole Look for $67

Today on my other blog, The Embrace Your Curves Project, I posted some favorite spring looks. I thought I'd share them here as well. You can grab all 4 items for $67.45.





~Where to Buy~

Bangles by Excessary, $10
Dress from Forever 21+, $27.80
Lip Gloss in Innocent from Silk Naturals, $4.75
Shoes from Target, $24.99

Monday Morning Musings

Good morning, lovelies! It's Monday, so it's time for me to just sit here and type what's on my mind.

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. It was a nice one here. Tom and I went out for "date night" Saturday, which was a great chance to have a long, quiet dinner together. The boys are off all week for Winter Recess, so that quiet evening was really needed before what I anticipate will be a long week!

Last night was amusing. Nick and Ben decided to give me a makeover. I should've taken pictures, but didn't. Maybe next time. Let's say they were liberal with the amount of bronzer on my cheeks and enjoying drawing red lipstick on me. Ben also enjoyed drenching my hair with the water bottle and trying to change my look. It was a success to them--there was an interesting Justin Bieber bangs meets grunge chic meets abstract art look going on.


The boys combed my bangs forward a la Justin Bieber.


I also spent quite a bit of time making new pieces for my jewelry line, mailing orders, and doing other business-related tasks. I also got some fun new additions to add to my order wrapper/packaging drawer. If you've ordered before, you know I use French-themed gift bags. Right now, for example, they are in pinks with the Eiffel Tower. I love to use different ribbons and tags as well and stumbled upon a shop on Etsy called Vintage Bella. I ordered these thank you tags as well as some custom Loubird stickers:




Packaging and presentation is nearly as important as the item being sold. It completes the buyer experience. I am continually trying to step things up and make the buyer experience flawless and exceptional in every way. One goal I have is to have Loubird Handmade  in 12 boutiques by the time Ben starts full days at school in September. One year beyond that, I would like to be in 30 stores. Writing and jewelry are how I make my living so I am able to stay at home with my boys, and adding on more accounts for my jewelry is a strong goal.

It's easier said than done. There's lots to consider--wholesale vs. consignment, location, proper "feel" for the shop. I've had good and bad experiences. Unfortunately, stores can come and go. Sometimes you also have to decide whether a location is the right fit. For example, I had my hair pins in a salon in a great city neighborhood, but it just wasn't the right fit. I pulled them out after about 6-8 weeks.

Then there are stores you may do really well in--for me, Vintage Bliss in Webster, NY and Bento in Honesdale, PA. Both boutiques have closed. So that is two less stores where my line is offered. You all know what happened with the Queen City Emporium in Springfield, Missouri--well over 100 vendors were taken advantage of to the tune of over $55,000 and counting. I had my merchandise there as well. That store is closed as a result. You just cannot predict what will happen. I never thought 1000 Markets would close. Or Lollishops. Or many other online and brick and mortar venues that one enjoys...

On the flip side, though, I will soon be coming to Soulstice Artisan Market in Rochester and have had my line at VIX Emporium in Philadelphia for almost a year. In December, my products came to Southern Fried Studio and Shop in Virginia Beach.

In a way, I learn as I go with this. I've only been in the jewelry business for just over a year. It is very different than the skin care business. I love it. Sadly, I do not think I ever L-O-V-E-D having a skin care business. I love writing about skin care, studying ingredients, and feel passionate about skin care is different than the day to day business aspect.

Coming This Week On C & G:

Look for beauty reviews, a What's In It Wednesday reader request (an Avon item), more Etsy Love features, and a DIY Thursday once again.

Don't forget that our Just Be... giveaway continues and the lucky winner will be drawn Friday night. Click here for details on how to enter.

Also on my mind today...

I'd like to ask for prayers for a very dear friend who is recovering from surgery and is dealing with a cancer diagnosis at age 41. This friend is dear to our hearts and he and his family are close friends of ours. They have three small children and I'd just like to have everyone please keep him in your thoughts. Thank you so much.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Saturday Inspiration: The Eiffel Tower

Tote from Etsy's Ika Bags
$70


One of my new pieces in the Affordably Chic line at Loubird
$12


$18


Men's cuff links from The Green Daisy
$30


Cuff from Designs by Tami
$20



Pillow from Word Garden
$32


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Storenvy...like going home again

 Visit my store on Storenvy


When the handmade marketplace 1000 Markets closed in September, to say I was distraught would be quite accurate. 1000 Markets was my home. It was the ideal venue for me in terms of comfort level and sales. I sold my skin care line there after leaving Etsy at the end of 2008. When I decided to launch Loubird Handmade in January 2010, I knew 1000 Markets would be my home once again.


As you may remember, this company was bought out my Bonanzle and became known as "Bonanza" with the deal. Bonanza didn't have the look or feel I was going for, so I forwarded my domain name and headed to Big Cartel. I've been content there. Not thrilled, but content. A big sticking point for me has been the fee. I was paying $19.99 per month for 100 items, but if I wanted to add just one more, I would be paying $29.99 per month. That is less than my typical Etsy seller fees would be and I didn't have to play Etsy's endless listing/relisting merry go round. Big Cartel, though, never felt like home.

Earlier this week, I opened a message from my friend Tanvi, She lives here in Rochester and I met her on 1000 Markets. She is the talented force behind Excessary. We share many common interests and she told me about a marketplace I hadn't yet heard of called Storenvy. She just opened her own shop and thought I might be interested in checking it out. She was right!


I decided to check it out and within about 10 minutes of doing so, knew I'd be taking a major leap of faith once again. I'd be putting all of my eggs in one online basket once more.

#1, it is free for sellers, as was 1000 Markets. There are also a few artisan markets one can join. I like this. I put my heart and soul into starting the New York Festival market from scratch at 1000 Markets and the market aspect is actually what drew me in to 1km in the first place. Right now, I am a member of Storenvy's market called Handcrafted. I am slowly dipping my toes in and need to meet new people once again--something that can be hard for me since I am actually quite shy.

I had to do the same thing at 1000 Markets and once I did, I made several new friends--many of whom I speak to on a daily basis still.

Storenvy feels comfortable to me. This is crucial when you are selling online. Think of moving your furniture and favorite things into a new city with all new people and never feeling like it'll be home. It just won't work. That is how some online marketplaces are. Some are like giant metro areas with too many shops and too many people. It never feels like home. Others (like Big Cartel was for me) are like living way out in the country because you didn't get to see any neighbors. It was a bit isolating in terms of interacting with other sellers.

You know, it's kind of like Goldilocks trying to find that perfect bowl or porridge or that just-right chair. As a seller, it is crucial to be selling in the right for you place. Just as finding the right boutiques to house your wares is crucial, finding that right environment online is even more crucial. It's where you'll invest the bulk of your time, so it might as well feel like home.


I officially went live yesterday afternoon. It's still the same www.loubirdhandmade.com, but it really is a whole new place for me. In many ways, this new venue feels like I'm going home again. I am not saying it is the same as 1000 Markets. It is not. There are many good similarities, though. The differences for me just going in--Storenvy has a slightly younger, more easy going vibe. I liked that 1000 Markets was juried. In other words, one had to be approved to open a store to keep quality high. What I really like about Storenvy, though, is the social marketplace aspect. People can buy right from my Facebook page. It is a very social media savvy venue. 

They have their finger on the pulse of what e-commerce has become with that emphasis on the two biggies that are not going away: Twitter and Facebook.

Do check Storenvy out today. You might stumble upon some great finds. In addition to the typical handmade wares, you can find original music. There are many singers and songwriters selling their CDs. In fact, I have a talented, musically gifted friend. She's going to be appearing locally in Tommy this spring and has toyed with the idea of putting out a Christmas album. I know she'll be reading this and Storenvy would be a great place for her to sell that CD when she makes it!

By the way, C & G readers can save an additional 20% off by using code CHICANDGREEN at checkout in my shop.

Just Be-autiful!

I've been singing the praises of Just Be... bags since I stumbled upon them at Vintage Bliss when I was having my Trunk Show a few weeks back.



I adore my handbag from this company and Suzi of Just Be... was kind enough to do an interview with Chic & Green and host this month's giveaway. I have been weeding out some of my makeup. More like paring down. I only want to keep what I actually use regularly in my makeup bag. I decided to give me that extra motivation to keep things organized and pared down that I'd treat myself to a gorgeous new makeup bag.

I placed an order with the Just Be... Etsy shop a few days ago and my bag arrived in this morning's mail.
I just adore it! Everything is so beautiful--the colors, textures, and workmanship. The bag is just what I was looking for. It was $16 and a great deal compared to boring mass produced, made in China bags at the store.



I even put down my pared down makeup collection in it a moment ago:


I just had to share my new bag. I also think it's pretty enough to use as a clutch on date night. I can put my phone in it, some makeup, my wallet, etc.

Don't forget to enter the Just Be... giveaway right here on the blog. Enter and you just might win this bag:

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

100% Pure Reviews: Part 1

I have 5 products I am going to be reviewing from 100% Pure. As you know, I have been on a little bit of a 100% Pure kick lately. I've had ample time to try them out and will do three today and two in the next few days.


Today I will begin by reviewing the Fruit Pigmented Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20. Today's one of those low key days. I was in a bit of a hurry this morning and had about 2-3 minutes to do my makeup. I quickly put on the tinted moisturizer, a coat of 100% Pure Fruit Pigmented Mascara in Black Tea, 100% Pure Fruit Pigmented Concealer SPF 20, a lip gloss from Silk Naturals called Delacoeur. I also used my fluffy brush to apply a little wash of a limited edition bronzer meets blush from Everyday Minerals called Hiking Everest in Heels.


This tinted moisturizer gives a sheer wash of color to the skin.


Tinted Moisturizer--I am really loving the tinted moisturizer from 100% Pure. It retails for $32, which is more than I would typically pay. That being said, I had that $20 for $40 worth of products Mamapedia deal last week, so I was able to shop at Organic Beauty Now and get a great deal on two 100% Pure items.

In the past, my favorite tinted moisturizer has been Smashbox Sheer Focus. While it is a lovely product, it seemed to work better when my skin was more on the combination to oily side. While being paraben free, it still wasn't a "natural" product. I can tell you that the product from 100% Pure is far superior for someone looking for a truly natural product with skin that is more on the dry side.

What I really like most is the fast that the colorants come from fruit pigments such as peach, apricot, goji berry and more. You can forget the FD & C colorants and other questionable ingredients.

As you can see from my picture, this is far from a full coverage product. You can see my actual skin. I have very rosy cheeks and this product, like other tinted moisturizers, will not completely cover it. You can also see my freckles. It is great for a natural, but better look. I chose the White Peach which is a good shade for me. It is quite neutral--not too pink or too yellow. In terms of longevity, I can put this on at 7:00am and have it looking fresh for most of the day and evening. I sometimes need to add a little dab of loose mineral powder on my t-zone, but that is normal.

My skin seems to love the soothing cucumber and aloe juices in this as well. It does not in any way feel as though I have makeup on. If you are looking for a very sheer and natural tint, this is for you.

My Grade-- A+


Mascara--This could be "the one".  In many ways, it really is. This is a truly non-irritating mascara. The ingredients are spectacular. As much as I adore Physicians Formula Organic Wear and Tarte Lash Hugger for mascaras, this one knocks them both off their pedestals when it comes to being made of truly natural ingredients.

I adore the brush as well. I have long eyelashes naturally, but they aren't dark or full. I like that lush look. Applying two light coats of this mascara does not give me that lush and full look, but it does add darkness and definition. The brush also makes it easy to use mascara on your bottom lashes.

After wearing this for 12+ hours, there is no irritation. No redness. No feeling of having a sticky, tacky feeling product on the lashes. In many ways, this is pure perfection. The caveat? For me, it smudges when worn on the bottom.

Yesterday,  my husband asked me if I had been crying. No, I hadn't. I was perfectly content. He said because of the black under my eyes, he thought I was upset. I went to look in the bathroom mirror and my mascara had rubbed off quite a bit.

I find that for me, this is a top lash only mascara. It is a delightful everyday mascara if you just want to add a bit of definition. Is it perfect? No. Does it beat out the other mascaras in terms of ingredients? Absolutely.

My Grade--Ingredients-wise, I would give this an A+. In terms of how it works on my lashes, it gets a solid B.


Concealer--I am reviewing the wand concealer with SPF 20. 100% Pure makes 2 concealers, for reference. This is a fabulous undereye concealer. It doesn't settle in the fine lines I have starting. It doesn't run at all. It is non-irritating. I apply a small amount of this just to the inner corners and undereye area nearest my nose. I typically use a concealer brush, but I've just been using the wand and patting with my ring finger very gently. It works well and covers dark circles without it screaming "I AM WEARING CONCEALER TO HIDE THESE DARK CIRCLES!"

Color-wise, the White Peach works well for me. It blends seamlessly and easily. It lasts all day long. I cannot tell you how it works on acne or breakouts, but I can tell you that it is a top-notch concealer for the undereye area.

My Grade--A+



The Chic & Green Bottom Line

I am really happy with my 100% Pure purchases. I wasn't sent products from the company--these are my own purchases and will most likely be repurchases because 2 of the 3 are new favorites I see sticking in my beauty rotation indefinitely.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Coming Soon...

Do you ever feel like your mind is going a million miles a minute? When I've lost a few days of my "normal" schedule due to being sick or having sick kids, I feel like I am in a state of catching up. I have lots to talk about this month still on the blog.

Here's what I do to brainstorm topics. I don't keep a file on the computer of topics--I just take out my markers and paper and jot down my ideas...very simple and basic, yet it works for me:


Monday, February 14, 2011

Monday Morning Musings

Happy Valentine's Day!

What's on my mind today? First of all, let me say just how thrilled I am that we are all feeling better! The stomach virus is no fun and I was in pajamas from Friday afternoon through this morning. It was nice to get dressed and do my hair and makeup again!!! Although it is so windy out there this morning that I didn't need to do my hair since it stands up straight once I go outdoors.


Speaking of makeup, I have to rave about a new product I am trying. My friend Deanna told me she thought I'd like the mascara from 100% Pure and she was right! I ordered it and really love it. I'll have to try it in other weather conditions (ie: hot and humid), but right now it is my new favorite. My other two favorites are Physicians Formula Organic Wear and Tarte Lash Hugger. As far as being natural goes, no other companies beat out the ingredients in 100% Pure. It is non-irritating, glides right on, and so far hasn't smudged.

What I really like is that all of the colors in in are fruit derived. Another huge plus is that 100% Pure uses coconut-based stearic acid as opposed to palm stearic. This is a big deal for me because I do not use products with palm oil because of the effect on the orangutan population.

I also have to show you the new makeup bag I ordered! I really believe in paring down what you use. Seriously, there is no need to have 30 blushes or 10 different kinds of powder. I think you get such a good feeling when you just use up what you have and what you need. You save money and room at the same time. I don't need my big makeup trunk I used when I worked as a makeup artist. I need a makeup bag and I just ordered one from Just Be...

Here it is:



In other news, I am about to head out to the school to help with Benjamin's Valentine's Day party. It should be a fun time. Then since we were under the weather, the lunch date he and I usually have on Fridays will be today. He also had a great report card (as did his brother), so I told him he could get a new Star Wars guy. That's my plan for the afternoon. Then it'll be time for Nick to come home and we're going to bake heart shaped cookies together.

Have a Happy Valentine's Day!

Oh, and what is MY favorite treat for this day? Read on:




I love Stever's. I may have mentioned this local biz before. I first tried this local business when I was in my early 20s living in Rochester's Park Avenue neighborhood. Our apartment did not have a washer and dryer, so we had to go to the Lilac laundromat on Park Avenue. Luckily, I could eat lunch next door at Cobbs Hill Pizza and grab a quick treat across the street to make the experience more bearable.

Stever's Candies has been making homemade candy since 1946. For the past 40 years, they have been located at the corner of Park Avenue and Vassar Street in the city of Rochester.

They offer traditional chocolates and seasonal delights, such as salt water taffy, the best chocolate Easter eggs on the planet, and caramel apples.

My favorite time to go to Stever's, though, is during the summer. They are closed in July for vacation, but in June you can get dark chocolate dipped strawberries. In August, my favorite indulgence is the dark chocolate covered raspberries. Heaven on earth.

I'm sitting here enjoying some Stever's right now. Tom gave me my favorite Stever's treat for one of my Valentine's Day gifts--Cashew Croquettes. These are cashews, dark chocolate, and caramel in a yummy little mound. They're absolutely delicious, too. By the way, you can't just eat one...or two. They are so delicious!


Stever's can be found at 623 Park Avenue in Rochester. They are open from 10am - 6pm Monday through Saturday.




Friday, February 11, 2011

the BUG.

Hello lovely readers,

I will be taking a couple days off from the blog and will be back Monday. We've been playing a game of ping pong with viruses here the past couple weeks. First it was the respiratory bug. Nick had it, then Ben had it. Then they both had it....and then they picked up the stomach bug from our neighbor. Ben had it first....then Nick was sent home from school with it yesterday. Now Mommy is feeling its ill effects. The three of us are sprawled across the sofa bed watching history unfold on the news. My homemade chicken soup is cooking on the stove and we're enjoying tea, toast, and a little conversation about everything from Star Wars to Legos to politics. See you on Monday!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Enter Our Just Be... Giveaway!

I wanted to remind you that you all have a chance to win a handmade bag from  Just Be... for our February Giveaway

Here is the bag you can win:



How to Win!


2 Ways To Enter:

1. Follow this blog.


Earn Extra Entries:

1. Go to the Just Be page on Etsy and look around. Leave me a comment with the name of one the one creation you love the most. Please leave an email address with your comment.

2. Tweet about this giveaway using #chicandgreen.


The Nitty Gritty:


Open to US residents over age 18. Immediate family members of C & G or Just Be... may not enter. Winners are chosen via Random.org.

The drawing will be held at 9pm EST on Friday, February 25. Winner will be notified and announced Saturday, February 26. 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

What's In It Wednesday: Reader Request

I received an email last week from a reader. Here is what it said:

"I was actually wondering if you can do a Whats in it Wednesday review on a foundation. Its called Healthy Skin Foundation with Super Fruits by 100% Pure. I have read that the 100% pure brand is dishonest with their ingredients; that they do not list them all. I have also read that they have misleading names on their ingredient list. I would really love to read what you have to say about it."


I would be happy to discuss 100% Pure some more and take a look at this foundation. First of all, I personally have not tried this foundation. I used to buy a few things from the line here and there a couple years back and recently started on a 100% Pure kick again thanks to my friend, Deanna.

I really, really love the purity of their products and the ingredients chosen. My one issue was the fact that a couple years back, I had an issue with shelf life of a couple of their products. This is because they typically use essential oils to preserve, when these oils have not been proven to be true preservatives against microbes, bacteria, staph, etc. I would not, for example, buy a facial cleanser from them and expect it to last for months.

Their makeup, though, is really lovely. In fact, I just ordered a mascara and concealer for myself the other day. I also have been using their Organic Coffee Bean Eye Cream since Monday and love it so far. I can tell you that their lip gloss, dyed only with fruit, is also top notch. I have plans to order their tinted moisturizer as well.

Let's take a look at the ingredients in the product I was asked about, Healthy Skin Foundation With Super Fruits SPF 20:




Ingredients: Organic Aloe Barbadensis Leaf (Aloe Juice)1, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Starch, Extracts of Prunus Persica Fruit (Peach), Prunus Armeniaca Fruit (Apricot), Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa Bean) and Lycium Barbarum Fruit (Goji Berry), Euterpe Oleracea Pulp (Acai) Oil, Punica Granatum Fruit Extract (Pomegranate Oil), Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Sodium Ascorbate (Vitamin C), Euphorbia Cerifera (Candelilla) Wax, Extracts of Organic Camelia Sinensis Leaf Ferment (White Tea)2, Coffea Arabica (Coffee Cherry), Aristotelia Chilensis (Maqui Berry), Vitis Vinifera Skin (Muscadine Grape), Garcinia Mangosteen Peel (Mangosteen), Malpighia Punicifolia Fruit (Acerola), Sambucus Canadensis (Elderberry), Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Seed, Lonicera Caprifolium (Japanese Honeysuckle) 

SUNSCREEN ACTIVE INGREDIENTS: 15% Titanium Dioxide, 10% Zinc Oxide


Based solely on the ingredients, this looks like a beautiful formulation. The aloe will be soothing to the skin. C & G simply adores aloe vera and combined with the antioxidants in here, you should have nothing to worry about at all. 
There is also a decent concentration of sun protection in this product.

My advice? Do not hesitate to buy this one. You might want to go a shade darker, though, as the sunscreen agents in this can make the color lighter/whiter. I would feel confident using it based on what's in it, though. The fact that it uses fruit pigments rather than FD & C dyes and other chemicals is a breath of fresh air. 

I would also like to address the concern that 100% Pure doesn't list all of their ingredients. I do not believe this to be true at all. The FDA requires all ingredients to be disclosed on product labels in order of concentration. In the past, one minor bone to pick with the company would've been how they worded some ingredients on the labels.

A couple of years back, 100% Pure had the habit of being a little coy with labeling--they disclosed everything on the label per FDA rules, but instead of coming out and simply saying "sodium benzoate" or other another naturally-derived preservative on the label, they'd say something like "all-natural berry derived preservative" or something like that. While it was true, it was a little bit misleading.

They'd still put the ingredient on the list, but it just sounded all the more natural mentioning where it came from. That is not to say that this was an unnatural ingredient--berries just sound healthier. That said, I do not even believe they use Sodium Benzoate anymore as part of a preservative system, so this may no longer even apply.

I can recommend 100% Pure without reservation--just pay careful attention to shelf life.


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A Special Coupon For You!

I've been a contributing writer for Mamapedia Voices before and subscribe to their emails. They have something now that is very much like Groupon called Mamapedia Sweet Deals. Today's deal is a great one and I would like to share it with you because if you are a fan of Chic & Green, chances are you like green beauty and saving money at the same time.



They have a great deal right now: $20 for $40 worth of products at Organic Beauty Now. Who doesn't love a 50% off deal? I know I do! More than just a deal, though, 5% of each purchase is donated to the school or preschool of your choice! I just bought one and was able to donate to the elementary school both of my boys attend.

I wish I had known this was coming, as I ordered a concealer and mascara this week from 100% Pure and both are available on this website. I haven't been to the site before today, but I am finding some eco-friendly products at often discounted prices. They carry a selection of items from 100% Pure, Nvey Eco, Balm Balm Organics, Priti, and more. In all, there are around 65 brands on this website from which to choose.

I am noticing some nice sale prices on the site as well. For example, the 100% Pure Acai Berry Anti Aging Eye Cream is marked 50% off already, so it's $12.50. They also have some really lovely options for children's skin care and sun protection. In fact, I think I'll be getting the boys the 100% Pure Yummy Ice Cream Bubble Bath which is marked down to $9.60.



My one gripe--the site seems to move at a snail's pace for me. I've been enjoying looking through what they offer, though!


To get your $20 deal now, click on this link. This offer expires on February 12th.


If you do end up buying this deal, please stop back and share your thoughts and reviews on what you try! I am always interested in your natural skin care and makeup thoughts!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Stylish Specs: Glasses USA



I have less than stellar vision and need bifocals to see while using the computer, watching television, and driving at night. I want to see well and look chic without breaking the bank.


Once upon a time, buying cheap eyeglasses meant that you had to select glasses that were out of date. Not anymore! I want to tell you about GlassesUSA.com.  This great site is a destination for stylish and sassy discount glasses for even the pickiest fashionistas. GlassesUSA is having a special Valentine's Day sale that I want to share with you.


I think these retro glasses frames will be perfect when I get new ones.

Special Coupon Code for C & G readers:

First of all, I have a special discount code just for you. As a C & G reader, you can save 10% on your next order of glasses with the code Mommy10. You'll be able to find an incredible selection of discount designer eyeglasses and sunglasses and be able to look chic without breaking the bank. With a selection from leading designers such as Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein, there is something for everyone.


In fact, my hubby needs some new frames after his next eye exam, so GlassesUSA.com will be our first stop! They have a great selection for men there as well.

Here's the Valentine's Day Sale at GlassesUSA.com:

- Take $10 off any order of $100 or
more when you use the code: 10FS

 
- Take $15 off any
order of $150 or more when you use the code: 15FS
- Take $30 off any order of $200 or
more when you use the code: BeMyValentine

**The 3 offers listed above also have free shipping to anywhere in the US or Canada.**

These offers expire 2/14/11.


*Disclosure, I was compensated for this post.