product picks

Sephora VIB Sale Picks and Wishlist | November 2017

by Jamie Sanford on November 10, 2017

The Sephora VIB sale event is back!

If you are a Sephora VIB member (it’s free to join), you can get 15%-20% off this weekend at Sephora and Sephora.com. I will definitely be stocking up on some products that I always need to replenish but are generally never on sale.

Check out the box below for my own wishlist as well as some tried and true favorites. Happy shopping!

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Loves & Recommendations #2

by Jamie Sanford on August 30, 2017


In an extension of my Product Picks, I wanted to share a regular post about things that I’m enjoying and recommending. Welcome to Loves & Recommendations #2!

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission if you make a purchase using these links.

To see all of my product picks, click here.

My foray into fantasy hair continues, and I’m currently using Purple Rain by Arctic Fox. This color is particularly beautiful.

Coty Airspun Powder. I could probably write a whole blog post about this. It is so old school – note the “since 1935” on the package, but it is the best setting powder for foundation that I have ever used. I have tried using regular foundation powders, setting powders, and I love this one the most. It does have a scent, which I know isn’t for everyone, but the finish does not lie. You can get this at drugstores, and on Amazon, for an average price of about $7-$8. I don’t use the powder puff, I use a big fluffy powder brush to apply, and it gives the most amazing finish. Matte but not powdery and gross.

Safari Live! We came across the Safari Live channel while looking at other live channels on YouTube via the Xbox, and we have been HOOKED ever since. As in, putting safaris on our TV for 3 hours at a time, almost daily, becoming invested in the lives of the animals and the tour guides, it is a THING that we are doing. They broadcast 6 hours of live safaris from Africa every single day, and they archive them to watch later. You can interact with the guides through a Twitter hashtag, and you get so many amazing looks at beautiful animals. Warning – they do not shy away from live animal kills, so be prepared for that. The internet is so full of hate and vitriol, and finding Safari Live has been an escape that is very welcome. Check it out!

The AmazonBasics Portable Bluetooth Speaker. I bought this in response to having sound issues with my iPad, where the audio levels are so low (only on certain YouTube videos), and it needed to be dealt with. I purchased this because it was the “Amazon’s Choice” product, and it is a wonderful item! It is smaller than I expected, but it connects without issue to both my iPad and Will’s Android phone. I actually think I might buy a second one, as this has been commandeered for use in the kitchen. I’m sure that for outdoor use, or to fill a room with music, I would buy something bigger, and with more promise of sound quality. However, for small personal needs – for podcasts while you cook or something similar, this is a great option.

The Popsocket. I saw someone on YouTube using this and bought it immediately. I love my iPhone 7 Plus, but it is enormous and unwieldy, even after months of use. This extra bit of stability is amazing. It took a few days to adjust to it, but I don’t think I could be without it now.

LinkedIn Learning. I had access to Lynda for a while, which was purchased by LinkedIn, and the content is available in both places. The beginner and intermediate courses in marketing topics are GREAT, and provide a good foundation of knowledge on topics. I haven’t yet explored the more advanced courses, but I have a membership now so I will have to try it out.

What are your recent favorites? Tell me on Twitter.

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Loves & Recommendations #1

by Jamie Sanford on February 23, 2017


In an extension of my Product Picks, I wanted to share a regular post about things that I’m enjoying and recommending. Welcome to Loves & Recommendations #1!

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission if you make a purchase using these links.

To see all of my product picks, click here.

Arctic Fox semi-permanent hair dye.

The 4 oz bottles are $10.99, and the 8 oz bottles are $16.99.

I have been experimenting with fantasy hair over the last 5-6 months, and I switched from using Manic Panic to Arctic Fox after seeing a LOT of great videos on YouTube of regular people using Arctic Fox to get great color. I have a lot more to say about my experience with non-traditional hair colors, and will post about it soon, but spoiler alert, I will be saying great things about Arctic Fox products.

Maybelline Unstoppable Eyeliner in Pewter.

I have been in love with this eyeliner for years, as made evident by this blog post. I bought another one in pewter, because it is my ride or die eyeliner. Available for $5.94 from Amazon.

TurboTax Deluxe.

Boring? Maybe, but I’ve been using it forever and will buy it every year that it makes sense for me to do my own taxes. It is so easy, and once you use it once, everything pulls over to your new return from the previous year. It took me no time at all for federal taxes this year, and until I buy a house and have much more complicated financials, I’m sticking with it. Around $40 on Amazon.

Paine’s Red Cedar incense trees.

I bought these for Will from his Christmas wishlist, and I love them so much that I bought a second box for our home. It smells so woodsy and fire-burn-y (not a word) and I love it. $8.92 on Amazon.

John Frieda Beach Blonde Shampoo and Conditioner.

I first purchased these years ago when a nearby Eckerd story was closing and everything was on sale. Neither Will or I were blonde, but it says on the back that you can use it on any color hair. Will ended up loving these products because they are minty, but for a long time I could not find them. A random search one day, and they are back in our life. What’s weird is that the set of 2 is over $20 on Amazon right now, but you can buy them separately for around $12.

Unique Extra Dark “Splits”

I’m so glad that this brand is getting more exposure! We found these at a farmer’s market a while back, and they are the most polarizing snack I have ever had. Everyone loves or hates them. I love them, and my dad liked them when I gave him some, and I bought a pack of 2 before Christmas and sent him a bag along with keeping one for my house. You can get them for as little as $3/bag on Amazon.

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Product Pick #6: OPI Natural Nail Strengthener

by Jamie Sanford on August 2, 2013

Check out all of my Product Picks here. If you want to see all of the products I’ve reviewed (not just the ones I like), click here for Reviews.

As anyone who has been following along for a while knows, I own a LOT of nail polish. I stopped biting my nails in 2010 after getting a single manicure, and I haven’t ever gone back. I started taking care of my nails to help me keep the habit away, and it doesn’t even occur to me to bite them now. I truly believe I have reduced my number of colds due to breaking this habit.

Anyway, in 2012, I completed the Polish Project after realizing that I had way too many nail polishes to work with, so I tried them ALL and parted with a bunch. I’m still working on parting with more actually, since I’m fully obsessed with the A Englands and just want to use those all the time.

I have fallen off of the polish wagon in a big way – I did purchase the aforementioned A England recently when I was presented with a sale, but otherwise, haven’t purchased any in a while. I’m working with the 100+ bottles I have, which is really fine. When something comes out that blows my mind, I won’t hesitate, but I’m not purchasing blindly anymore.  Anyway.

The biggest nail care issue I have is that my nails are pretty flexible and break a lot. It’s pretty devastating when all of your nails are looking cute and all the same length and then something happens and you break one and then it looks like a big eyesore. I can’t speak for everyone, but I can’t handle that, so I file them all down to match the little sad one, so they can all go back to the starting line.

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(Click here if you can’t see the video.)

Anyway, I stumbled on this video from FarahDhukai on YouTube, and she recommended the OPI Natural Nail Strengthener. During a recent trip to Ulta, I decided to grab a bottle and see how it goes. I’m skeptical from the beginning, because it’s clear and it looks like top or base coat and clearly they have NOT been helping with these issue.

Turns out that this OPI Natural Nail Strengthener really does what it promises! My nails have been in amazing shape since I started using it. I have been wearing natural nails a lot more, so that might be helping a bit as well, but this product is making a big difference. I am thrilled with the results and will keep buying it, which is the best compliment that any of us can give to a beauty product.

I would love to hear about any other nail strengthening options in the comments!

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