Closing out 2012

12/31/2012 06:53:00 PM Ashley 0 Comments

As I watch 2012 come to a close, I can't say that I am all that sad. It's been a year of adjustments and a lot more self doubt than I care for. But it hasn't been all bad. I have taken some major steps in a direction that I have been tiptoeing towards for months, years even.

So while 2012 might be quietly making its exit in my life, 2013 is waiting to start with a bang. Why is that you might ask? Well that's because I have taken a huge leap and am excited with where it's going.

I have started another blog, one that revolves around my love of all things nail polish. It's about time, seeing as I have a very large love of all things nail lacquer. But that alone is not the big jump. The big jump is that after 6 months of making nail polish of my own, I am going to launch a shop. I am going to sell my nail polish!

If you would like to join me on this journey, please join me over at Emerald & Ash. I will not only share my polish collection, but also the polishes I have made and that I plan to sell.


Running my own shop and making something I truly love has been something I have dreamed about for years. So I am beyond excited. I hope to be able to still blog over here, but it will probably be slow while I work on my shop and getting everything up and running.

2013 is already looking to be full of excitement and new things and I hope that you will join me in this new endeavor.

I also hope that you have a wonderful new year and that it brings you all of the things you have been hoping for.

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Promo: SquareHue

12/10/2012 01:39:00 PM Ashley 0 Comments

I blogged last week about SquareHue which is a monthly subscription box for nail polish. I also talked about the fact that they were doing a special $14.99 promo that you would be locked into for the life of your subscription. Well that promo ended on the 8th and the price went to $21 (which still isn't an awful deal), but the wonderful people over at SquareHue have given me a promo code that will give you the chance to get your subscription for the $14.99.

So if you want to get the box...but waited too long you're in luck! The promo is good till December 24th. So don't wait too long.

So go now and enter in the code: DECBLOGGER05 (it is case sensitive). 

Also...their January collection is called the Arctic Collection. So looking forward to it! So go sign up now so you can get it!

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Review: SquareHue

12/06/2012 02:14:00 PM Ashley 1 Comments

Hello! Today I am very excited to share with you a new monthly subscription box called SquareHue. Why am I so excited? Because SquareHue is a nail polish box! Yep...it's like my dream box.

When I first heard about the box it sparked my interest. After looking through their website I knew that I had to try it. You get 3 polishes each month that have been specifically made for that month. The company looks at what is trending in colors for at the time and they create beautiful colors from there. Even better is this:


We are sure you’ll love SquareHue quality. Our colors are developed by the same lab as some of the largest international brands. No cheapy stuff here.
  • “3-Free” Clean formula – Does not contain (1)DBP, (2)Formaldehyde, (3)Toluene.
  • We like our formula extra clean… so no Camphor either.
  • Not tested on animals.
  • Proudly Made in the USA.


Here's what really hooked me. Their bottles are the "normal" .50 oz bottles. None of this tiny bottle for a high price crap (I'm looking at you Julep). That and it's their own brand. So if you're like me and have a huge collection you don't have to worry that they might send you an OPI you already have. 

I was actually lucky enough to get their very first box, which was December's, sent to me for review and I have to say that not only am I honored, it was an absolute pleasure talking with Laura at SquareHue. She was nothing but helpful and answered all of my questions. 

So after a little wait (wrong zipcode issue) I finally got my box yesterday. I have to say, it's an adorable little box. It's so small, but perfect for the polishes. Once opened I was greeted with a welcome card that was signed by everyone from SquareHue. It was a simple, but sweet extra. 


Getting past the welcome note, the polishes were packed with crinkle cut paper. Both pretty and great padding for the polish.


Each polish was held in it's own space with a divider. Also super smart for shipping the polishes safely. 



The bottles are a great square shape with a good weight behind them. They don't feel like they are going to fall over at all. One side has a large white square printed on it with hue written inside of the square. The opposite side has their website, size of the bottle and Made in USA printed on it. All of the printing is nicely done and allows you to see the polish through all sides.


On the bottom of the bottle are stickers with the company name, name of the polish and the date of when the polish was sent out. I actually love that they put the date on the bottles. So I always know which collection they were a part of. Seriously...it's brilliant. This month was all about the holidays and the names reflected that as well. 


Now for the swatches! I started with Champagne Toast, which is a great light gold foil. There are some flashes of silver in it as well. It really does have a Champagne feel to it. This went on to be opaque with two coats. The first coat started out a little streaky, but I find that to be true with a lot of foils that I have used. After the second coat everything evened out and looked great. It didn't show much in the way of brush strokes either. It dried fairly quickly to the touch and is shown here without a top coat.






Next is Sugar Plum. It's a great deep purple metallic with a little shimmer in it. I honestly don't own enough purples, so I was haver happy to add this to my collection. The first coat started out very streaky, but was easily fixed with a second coat. I did do a thin third coat for peace of mind, but probably would have been fine with only two coats. The formula was really nice, not too thin that it flooded my cuticles and not to thick that it was hard to work with.






Last, but not least is Holly Berry. It's a great red metallic with gold shimmer. Maybe not the most original red, but lets face it there is no such thing as an original red at this point. I do really like that it's a metallic with the shimmer, because it makes it look lit from within. I will apologize now, because the sun went off and hit by the time I was ready for pictures, so you can't see the gold as much, but it's there. After applying the purple I decided to try 3 thin coats with this color, which worked perfectly. Again, streaky at first, but smooth and wonderful after the second coat.






So overall what do I think? 

Well I'm impressed. The colors are perfect for the holidays. And while I would have loved a green (I adore green and have a huge desire for a green polish with silver shimmer), it's just a personal wish and nothing to do with SquareHue. Really the purple was perfect in this set. It took it away from the basic green and red of the holidays. 

Now for the details. Right now they have a deal where you can get the subscription for $14.99 per month with free shipping, but that does end on the 8th of this month. Then the price jumps to $21. 

I personally feel like it's a great deal and will be jumping on it, because getting polish each month that has been picked out based on trends is right up my alley. I really look forward to seeing what their next colors will look like and I hope that their formula is just as wonderful down the line. 



Disclaimer: This was sent to me to review, but all thoughts and views on the products are my own. 

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Decor: The rainbow tree returns!

12/04/2012 12:51:00 PM Ashley 0 Comments



It's back! After a year of our rainbow tree being gone, I couldn't wait to get it back up. My only wish it is that it would put its self up. But I love it...and am so happy that its back again!

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Review: Influenster

11/18/2012 11:47:00 PM Ashley 0 Comments

So I know you've all been reading all of my recent reviews on different beauty products. I got them because I am a part of Influenster. It's pretty much a way to share your thoughts and reviews on different products. The more active you are, the more likely they are to send you a VoxBox. The great thing is, is that they send out a lot of different VoxBoxes (beauty, bride, college student...) and all they as for in return is your honest opinion on the products.



I signed up with them over six months ago, and while I enjoyed my beauty VoxBox, the website wasn't very interactive. That all changed recently when they did a huge revamp to their site. It is now more interactive and you are able to review items and places even if it's not something you received in a VoxBox. I no longer feel like I can only occasionally pop in. In fact I find myself going to the website a lot more.

So if you like testing out products and reviewing them I would very much recommend Influenster. You do have to ask to join, but seriously it's worth it. Also, if it's something you are really interested in, I can share one of my invites with you. Just let me know.

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Review: Bath & Body Works Fall Mini Candle

11/16/2012 04:04:00 PM Ashley 0 Comments

I may or may not have saved the best item, from my Influenster VoxBox, for last. What is this thing that I love so much you ask? Why it's a Fall Mini Candle from Bath & Body Works. I was sent Mahogany Teakwood.



What they say about it:

Mini but Mighty! Our Mini Candles provide an amazing fragrance experience exclusively developed and tested by our team of Home Fragrance experts, including the world's best master perfumers. Now in an elegant glass container, these are the perfect size for trialing all our fall home fragrances! Mini Candles burn approximately 15 hours.

Mahogany Teakwood—The scents of fine woods-mahogany, cedarwood and oak – highlighted by delicate lavender and geranium notes conjure up an escape to a cozy library on a chilly fall day.




Now please give me a moment or 20 while I gush. I.Love.Candles. I, no joke, have a dedicated spot in our hall closet for my candle collection (don't worry they get used). I am addicted to wonderful smelling things. Something you'll notice in this collection is a good amount of candles from Bath & Body Works. To say that I love their candles is an understatement. To say that I don't start salivating the moment they put out their fall and winter scents means you have no idea how deep my love runs. So when I opened my VoxBox to see a Bath & Body Works mini candle staring back at me, I squeed out loud. Yes, I squeed. I may have danced around the house when I saw that they sent me Mahogany Teakwood. Which is one of mt new favorite scents from them.

In fact I remember when they released Mahogany Teakwood last year (along with Black Pepper Bergamot, which is also amazing). I bought a huge 3 wick candle in the scent and didn't want to burn it in fear of it never coming back. Then, this year I went into the store and snapped up the new color and labeled version not realizing it was my beloved scent (thank you friendly employee that clued me into the fact that it was in fact the same scent). 

I love woody scents. They are my weakness and because of that Mahogany Teakwood is already a favorite in this house. It's warm and woodsy, but not as crazy as say their Firewood candle (also amazeballs). So if you feel that woodsy scents can be overpowering, this might be a great candle to try. Also, the mini sized candles are awesome. I really love getting them to test scents out. They are almost always running a 2 for $5 promo on them, which makes them great to grab and test. There are some scents that I am not sure about and don't want to buy a full size of it (I'm looking at your French Baguette). They are also great for smaller rooms. I use them in our half bath, because they don't take up a lot of space. 

The scents when burning are amazing. They are the type of candle where I get them burning and within a few minutes, not only can I smell it in the room, but I can smell it all around the house. They have a great burn time as well. I think my biggest gripe is that the mini were once sold in plastic containers. They recently switched over to glass containers, which is fine, but you now get less candle for the same price. That sucks. But really that's my only issue. 

So if you're wondering what I think about Bath & Body Works candles...I love them and would recommend them to anyone and everyone. They have a ton of amazing scents that range from floral, to sweet, to woodsy, to fresh. Plus they also send out a lot of great coupons and have a lot of 2 for type deals. 


Influenster was also kind enough to send a coupon so I could buy some 3 wick candles...which I did, because how could I not!? Plus they had just put out their winter scents and they were super yummy! 

So to end this rambling wall of text...GO...go buy yourself some yummy candles. And if you need any advice for awesome scents, let me know! 

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Review: Goody Simple Styles Spin Pin

11/15/2012 08:00:00 AM Ashley 0 Comments

Today's review is a hair product! We're going to be looking at the Goody Simple Styles Spin Pin.


Here's what they have to say:

The Spin Pin does the work of 20 bobby pins! Easily achieve chic updo styles; simply twirl your hair up and spin the Spin Pins in for a perfect top knot, undone bun and side bun!

Steps:
1. Gather your hair at the nape of your neck (no ponytail holder needed) 

2. Twist your hair into a tight bun and tuck in the ends 

3. Spin one pin in from the top and the other from the base, taking care not to interlock pins.



So I totally owned a pair of these before I was sent a set for review. I've used them multipul times and have a love hate relationship with them. The Spin Pin is and amazing idea in the fact that it means you don't have to use a hair band (no more crimped, frazzled ends) and you don't have to use a ton of bobby pins. Awesome. But the issue I have is that if you don't place them pretty much perfectly you're going to have your hair fall out of the bun pretty quickly. So there is a learning curve. And I don't use them all the time, so I find myself having to relearn how to use them. Luckily they pack a little cheat sheet in the box with the pins to help get you started. This time around I won't be tossing that cheat sheet, that way I can refresh my memory when I need to. 

The big idea is that you "spin" them into your bun. You put one at the bottom (I like to use that one to capture the ends of my hair) and then the other at the top, making sure you don't inter lock them. So think of a clock. You want 12 and 6. But really you can do 3 and 9 or 1 and 5 (you get the idea). 

I've found that my bun will feel a little loose, but not so loose that it feels like it's going to fall out. I also like to do a little head bob to make sure that they feel locked in. Plus because they are a spiraled U shape, you don't have to worry about them spinning out the other side of your bun. I will say that my hair is on the ticker side so I have a good amount of hair that these need to hold up. I have no idea how well they work for thinner hair, though they do now make the Spin Pin Mini which would probably be awesome for someone with finer/less hair. 

They come in two colors so you can match them to your hair color. I go with the darker ones for my hair color. And as I said before, they now sell a mini size. Minus the learning curve and figuring out what placement works best for your hair, I really like these. I like that I don't have to tuck tons of booby pins into my hair. Plus the Spin Pins come out easily. I've never had issues with them coming out. Which is great. These were definitely  great additions to my hair accessory collection. 

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Review: Kiss Ever PRO Lash Starter Kit

11/14/2012 08:00:00 AM Ashley 0 Comments

Back again with another review for the Kiss Ever PRO Lash Starter Kit. Again, this is another product that came in my Beauty Blogger VoxBox from Influenster. 


Here's what they say it does:

Ever tried applying eyelashes but became frustrated when they didn’t position correctly? Only to remove them and start over? Kiss Ever PRO Lash Starter Kit provides everything you need for amazing lashes instantly! Each kit includes 1 pair of Eyelashes, 1 3g Adhesive,and 1 PRO Lash Applicator. The new PRO Lash Applicator allows for a flawless application every time! Kiss lashes come in a variety of styles that are perfect for everything from day wear to a formal evening event. 

To Use: Simply apply glue to the lash band and let set for 30-60 seconds for adhesive to become slightly clear and tacky. Using the PRO Lash Applicator, apply lashes along the natural lash line. Hold, allowing adhesive to dry completely. Do the same to the second eyelash. Both lashes have a perfect fit!

Kiss Ever PRO Lash Starter Kit retails for $4.99 and are available at Walgreens stores nationwide. For more information and how-to videos, visit EverEZlashes.com.





I really like the idea that you buy a whole kit. Not only do you get the eyelashes, which are reusable, but you also get the lash glue and what they call the PRO lash applicator (tweezers).  And the $5 price tag is great. Especially if eyelashes aren't something you mess with a lot. The lashes themselves are thick and black. They say they are 100% human hair (if you're not into that you may want to look elsewhere), but they don't feel like it. They are a little stiff feeling, which I am not a huge fan of. I like a little softness while still firm enough to hold their shape. But they do offer a great, full lash look which so many of us want. 

As for the glue. They say it's no smell and while there is no toxic smell to it, I can still smell something. But I also have the nose of some super smelling animal. What I do love...the hard plastic wand. Having that means you can far more precisely apply the glue to the lashes. Which is awesome, because so many of us know how awful it is to try to squeeze out the perfect amount of glue onto your lashes without it being gloppy. The PRO lash applicator is supposed to help you place your lashes on you eye as well as helping them get as close to the lash line as possible. I personally didn't like using this tool and ended up using my fingers more. That's not to say that with a little more practice that I couldn't grow to love using it. But right now I am not impressed, but I see what they were going for. 

All in all I think this is a great value and love that it's a complete kit. From what I can tell, there is only one style of lashes offered in this kit, so I do hope that they expand a bit so that people can have more options. But beyond that, if you need lashes for the holidays or a party this is a great choice! 

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Review: NYC New York Color IndividualEyes Custom Compact

11/13/2012 08:00:00 AM Ashley 0 Comments

Another product that I got in my VoxBox is NYC New York Color IndividualEyes Custom Compact




Here's what they say it does:


Discover NYC New York Color IndividualEyes Custom Compact, the all-in-one compact with everything you need for a complete eye look: primer, illuminator, applicator and complementing shadows. With four colors, specially coordinated to intensify and enhance your eye color, you can create a look as individual as you are. Make your eyes pop!






I was sent 0156-08 Dark Shadows, which consists of a primer, illuminator, highlighter (cream color), all over lid (silverish gray), crease/contour (graphite) and crease/contour (black with silver shimmer). The idea behind this is that you can create a smokey eye with all or a few of the colors or any other look that tickles your fancy. On top of that they give you a primer and an illuminator which is great to help brighten by the brows and inner eye. I will say that I don't use dark gray and black a lot, but I am always willing to play around. 

I personally love that they include a primer and illuminator. It makes it great travel item as it cuts down on how much you have to pack. The colors are perfect for creating a smokey eye look. Though you could do something more simple if you got a more neutral pallet. For the most part the shadows are silky and have decent pigmentation, though the black is a little lacking. The fall out is also a issue, especially with the darker colors. The brush is comes with is a double ended sponge applicator which in my opinion is pretty useless. The primer is a little thick, but not hard to work with, though it probably won't come close to matching most skin tones. The illuminator is a shimmery white color that catches the light nicely. I did notice that you had to blend it a little more than usual so it wasn't super noticeable.

All in all I'd say that for the value this is a great product. It costs about $5 and allows you to not have to buy primer and illuminator. I could easily see myself packing this for a weekend trip to cut down on how much I need to pack. I do hope that they come out with more colors, both bright and neutral. As I can easily see myself grabbing more of these if they catch my eye.

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Review: Not Your Mother's Kinky Moves Curl Defining Hair Cream

11/12/2012 04:46:00 PM Ashley 0 Comments

Not Your Mother's Kinky Moves Curl Defining Hair Cream is one of the products that I got in my VoxBox from Influenster. I'm not going to lie, I was a little bummed to see that I got a product that wasn't really going to work for me, as I have bone straight hair. But I still gave it a go anyway.

What it says that it does:



Final verdict? Much like I thought, it doesn't work for me. I tried it out to see if maybe it would help with my hair when I curl it. Not so much. What I can say is that it is a nice light weight cream. It's on the thinner side and not heavy feeling at all. It didn't feel like it weighed my hair down and I didn't notice any grease issues. The scent, while light, is not my favorite at all. It's a little too sweet for my taste and not something I wanted to be smelling all day. So for me, this product was a bust. But that's not to say that I wouldn't love some of their other products, and I may try some of their other things just to see. This was just a poor hair match, that's all.

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Life: Halloween

11/01/2012 01:21:00 PM Ashley 0 Comments



Hope everyone had a fun Halloween! We stayed home and handed out candy and Play-Doh. Yep we were that house. Luckily 90% of the kids were really excited.

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Beauty: Beauty Bloggers VoxBox 2012

10/30/2012 11:50:00 AM Ashley 1 Comments


A few weeks ago I got an email saying I was chosen for a Beauty Blogger VoxBox. I, of course, was super excited. I do love me some beauty.

Then about a week ago I got this box full of goodies. It's pretty awesome and I am really happy to see such a good mix of different products. Of course I was instantly smitten with the Bath and Body Works candle, as they are easily one of my favorite candle makers. And I adore their fall scents. I'm very excited to be trying all of these items.

Here's what I got in my box:

NYC New York Color IndividualEyes Custom Compact
Bath & Body Works Mini Candles
Kiss® Ever PRO Lash Starter Kit
Not Your Mother's® Kinky Moves™ Curl Defining Hair Cream
Goody Simple Styles Spin Pin
Vitabath® Fragrance Mist

In the coming days/weeks you'll be seeing reviews as I get to trying all of these items. So keep an eye out for those!

Oh and while I thought the VoxBox was awesome, Emmett thought it was even better!




He just kept creeping up to the box and then dove in. I'm still not 100% sure what it is in the box that he loves, but he kept harassing the box till I took everything out.

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Nails: Pegasus Poop

10/10/2012 12:58:00 PM Ashley 0 Comments




I received this beauty as a gift. It's called Pegasus Poop from Heart Lacquer. It is a stunning polish that I can't seem to capture in a photograph. I think it might be time for me to get a light box. 

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Life: Hi!

10/09/2012 08:00:00 AM Ashley 0 Comments



Some new crafty things and a hello from me. 

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Life: To Don't

8/27/2012 01:39:00 PM Ashley 0 Comments

There is always something that need to be done. Sometimes lists are made to remember what to do. And sometimes those to do lists seem never ending. Luckily when I need a smile I just pull out my "To Don't" list. 


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Nosh: Ginger peach jam

8/24/2012 08:00:00 AM Ashley 0 Comments

We may not have the pick your own farms like we did in Ohio, but we make do. Especially when we find an awesome deal on peaches and ginger. I love it when Nate makes jams and jellies, because the house always smells amazing and the payoff is tasty! 




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Life: The car seat stands alone

8/23/2012 08:00:00 AM Ashley 0 Comments

Something we never thought we'd ever do was be buying a car seat. Lucky for Cassie...I like her a lot. And I was more than happy to send Nate to buy a car seat off of Craigslist so that there was one less thing that Cassie would have to haul through the airport. 

The humor behind it, if you know us at all, is the fact that this will be the only time there will ever be a car seat in Otto. So after we said our good-byes at the end of their trip, I laughed as I looked into the review mirror. It was funny to me about the fact that we were driving around with a vacant baby seat. Never to be used again...until we hand it off to someone who actually needs it for a child.


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