This is a test beginning:
And this is a test ending.
This is a compensated review by BlogHer and Werther's.
Okay, so I joined Weight Watchers about a month ago. Usually I wait until spring arrives and I'm confronted with my "winter weight" situation in the form of too-tight sundresses and a sob-filled session in a dressing room with 15 bathing suits/self-esteem destroyers.
Not this year, my friends.
The diet is going great, with one small exception: I still have a raging sweet tooth that demands attention, particularly between the hours of 7pm and 9pm, especially while I'm watching American Idol or Dancing With the Stars.
I was really excited when BlogHer asked me to be one of the Werther's Sugar Free candy reviewers, because it fit in perfectly with my sweet tooth needs, and my "not eating my own weight in ice cream and Girls Scout Cookies nightly" goal.
They sent me a package that included four bags of sugar-free flavors:
They also included a little box of the Werther's Originals Caramel Minis -- it's my new favorite purse treat!
You probably have fond memories childhood memories of Werther's Originals -- it's delicious, caramel, hard candy, what's not to like? But it's also probably been ages since you've had one. Let me tell you, they're even better than you remember.
The taste is really rich, and surprisingly satisfying, probably because they're still made with cream and butter (how do they not go bad? I've never understood!).
The cool new flavors are fun, I'm a big fan of the Caramel Coffee, which gave me the delicious flavor of a caramel latte (five Weight Watchers points) with just one guilt-free point! And since one serving includes 5 pieces, I can stretch it out and enjoy it all day.
I actually went into this review sort of doubtful -- when you're on a diet, you don't exactly dream about sugar-free hard candy as a "treat". But my grown up palette is really into it!
The big surprise was my non-dieting husband, who usually ignores the boxes of review samples that turn up. He had that Werther's box open in about two seconds, and even after I said, "You know, those are sugar-free," he still grabbed a handful. And then he continued to grab one every time he walked by the box, finally offering to take them to work, so I wouldn't be "too tempted" by them.
That's true love, right?
I told him thanks, but no. They're my treat, and I'm keeping them!
Want to read more reviews? Check out the BlogHer.com review/giveaway round-up page for special offers. For more information about Werther's Sugar Free, check out their official site.
Have you tried Werther's Sugar Free yet? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments!
I'm a false eyelash expert. At any point in time I have literally a dozen sets on hand, in different shapes, and colors. With and without embellishments. Expensive, cheap, feathers, singles, bushy strips -- you name it, I have it on hand.
I have the experience and the credentials, so you can believe me when I tell you that the Lush Style of Revlon Fantasy Lengths False Eyelashes is P-E-R-F-E-C-T.
Best. Lashes. Ever.
As you can see in the image above, this style is ideal in several dimensions:
Bonus expert level knowledge: the glue that comes with the Revlon lashes is excellent. Although it starts out white, if you use a thin enough layer (it's hard to resist using too much glue, but try) and give it enough time to dry, it dries both clear and flexible. Even better, it peels off without taking your skin with it! Other glues are way more rigid and ouchy.
Want to do something fun for a holiday party or New Year's Eve? Get these.
* Disclosure: In the past few months Revlon has sent me a ton of different styles of false eyelashes to try, as well as lashes for gift bags sponsored by my company, Clever Girls Collective. I appreciate them sending me product to try. Also, these lashes are so perfect -- including affordable -- that I would spend my own money on them.
This is a compensated review by BlogHer and L'Bel.
As a beauty blogger I get a lot of cool make up, but even I was a little giddy when the giant package of $200 worth of L'Bel Paris product arrived. You can tell this stuff is fancy and French just by the way it smells!
As I get older, my beauty regime has evolved into a "less is more" approach, with a focus on preserving and showcasing my better features. I like a clean face, dramatic but simple eye, and lip balm rather than lipstick.
The thing that I always add on, every day, to feel beautiful is some kind of perfume. I love the bottles, I love the scents, and I love the ritual of spritzing into the air and wafting through it.
L'Bel sent me exactly the products to keep my look going in five simple steps:
Step 1: Cleansing
Smells good, leave your skin glowing and fresh.
Step 2: Moisturizing
SUPRÉMACIE JOUR Replenishing Treatment Facial Day Cream (am)
Light, smooth, has SPF 15, dries with a matte finish that took a couple of days to get used to, now I'm into it.
SUPRÉMACIE YEUX Replenishing Treatment for Eyes - Cream (am - pm)
I love-love-love how light and non-greasy this eye cream is. Plus it didn't make my eyes water. We are together for ever.
Step 3: Repair
LIBERTÂGE ADVANCE JOUR Ultra Expression Line Corrector Cream Gel with Instant Effect
This is the magic stuff. It fixes that line between my eyebrows. I don't know how, I'm just glad. It's hard to only use a little, because I'm tempted to put it everywhere I want to "plump" up.
On my face. Where did you think I meant?
Step 4: Cake on the black eyeliner
COULEUR LUXE Défini XP Soft and Long-Lasting Eyeliner
I am an expert on black eyeliner. No really, I have tried literally every black eyeliner on the market. Pencil, liquid, cake, gel. I have them all.
This one is my new favorite for daily wear because it goes on smoothly like a gel, it's inky dark, and it has a little bit of smudgeability, but doesn't wipe off. It's not the longest wearing one out there, but it touches up nicely during the day/evening. It's ungel-like in that it holds up well with eyeshadow (most gels attract eye shadow like glue & glitter) and it keeps point (most gel pencils smush down and/or the tip breaks off).
Step 5: Smell Good
BRISES DE VIE Eau de Toilette Atomiseur Pour Femme
It's french perfume. It smells nice! And it makes me finished and pulled together, like it wraps me up in an invisible essence of pretty.
Get Your Own Five Steps to Beauty!
Want to create your own luxurious L'Bel Paris beauty regime? One lucky winner will get more than twice as much L'Bel product to enjoy as I did -- that's right, you will receive $500 worth of L’Bel products custom selected for you! The prizes will include:
"L’Bel Paris is a brand developed with the support of the prestigious Centre de Biodermatologie des Laboratoires Serobiologiques and Sederma Socete d’Etudes Dermatologiques. The latest scientific innovations are incorporated into each product, creating a beauty regimen for radiant skin that withstands the passage of time. Join us on Twitter for beauty tips and special offers @LBelParis."Here's How You Can Win!
To enter, leave me a comment below and tell us about what do you add to your make-up routine for extra special moments. You may leave a link to your post on your own blog in the comments below. The contest will begin at December 9, 2009, and will end January 8, 2010. Make sure that the e-mail address you leave is correct.
Even More Chances to Win!
Check out the other reviews on the BlogHer review/giveaway round-up page and get 8 more chances to win!
This is a compensated review from BlogHer and Arbor Mist
My favorite way to spend cold fall and winter evenings is in front of the TV with a couple of girlfriends, a glass of something bubbly in my hand and some savory hors d'oeuvres warming up in the oven.
Who am I kidding? That's my favorite way to spend warm summer nights, too!
I firmly believe that anytime someone comes for a visit, it's an excuse to celebrate, so I always have a cold bottle of bubbly in the fridge, and I always use my wedding crystal.
Knowing that, you can be sure I was delighted to say "YES, PLEASE!" when BlogHer and Arbor Mist asked if I would put together a "ready to celebrate anytime" party basket centering around the new Arbor Mist Sparkling wine flavors: Peach Sparkle and Raspberry Sparkle.
Here's what I included in my "virtual basket", ready to be put into action the moment a friend drops by to watch a reality show finale, Christmas special or awards show!":
I know, you want to come over! Seriously, there's something on tonight! Please drop by so I can pop the cork and put those scallops in the oven!
Tis' the season to be entertaining, and Arbor Mist is sponsoring a sweet little giveaway to help you make these days merry: I'm giving away a $100 Visa gift card!Even better? You have seven more chances to win! Check out the BlogHer.com special offers page to see all of the Arbor Mist baskets and enter to win $100 Visa gift cards there, too!
To enter, leave me a comment below and tell me about your favorite cold weather hors d'oeuvres - or you may leave a link to your post about them on your own blog in the comments below. The contest will begin at 12/4/2009 at 9:00 a.m. (PST) and will end 12/31/09 at 5:00 p.m. (PST). Please make sure that the e-mail address you leave is correct!
Also please note: You must include your DOB (day/month/year) in your comment to be eligible for this sweepstakes.
This is a compensated review from BlogHer and Pepperidge Farm Baked Naturals Cheese Crisps
I get stuff to review all the time, but this box was way too big to be the usual eco-friendly laundry detergent or the latest lip-liner sensation. It was excitingly large. But puzzlingly light. What could it be?I was all aquiver with anticipation.
I called my (competing cheese cracker snack addicted) husband at work to tell him the good news:
Me: Twenty boxes of Pepperidge Farm cheese crackers just arrived for me to review
Him: Sometimes I love your job
Natural, preservative-free snacks, made with an artisan blend of real cheeses golden baked to bubbly perfection on top of a thin, crispy, crunchy cracker.And their tagline:
“Real Taste, Real Crunch, Real Goodness - Naturally, the best things in life are real”Here’s how I describe them:
Dangerously addictive cheese crackers that are mercifully free-of high-fructose corn syrup and other junk. But don’t leave 20 boxes of ‘em out when your husband and his friends are drinking beer and watching football because you’ll only have seven boxes left at half-time.My tagline:
“ZOMG, goldfish for grownups, only with enough cheesy-salty goodness to taste right with wine! Or beer, if you must."To sum it up: We like them. A lot. Or I should say, we liked them, past tense, because they’re gone now. But we will be getting more, and plan to like them again, in several ways, including using them as cheese croutons in a salad.
More Reviews and a $100 Prize
As part of this review program, Pepperidge Farm and BlogHer selected eight bloggers, including me, to review the product, and hold contests to give away a $100 Visa Gift Card.
My Contest: “What Wine Goes with Pepperidge Farms Baked NaturalsCheese Crisps?”To enter, leave me a comment below sharing which adult beverage you think should accompany these deliciously tasty Pepperidge Farms Baked Naturals Cheese Crisps.
The contest will begin at 10/5/2009 and will end 11/2/2009. Make sure that the e-mail address you leave is correct, or someone else will wind up with your prize.
You get extra chances to win by tweeting and blogging about the contest!Rules:
Please see the official rules here: Official Rules
At BlogHer a few lucky ladies were invited to a special event at the Estée Lauder counter at Macy's in Chicago. On display were the latest and greatest in the venerable cosmetic line's makeup and skincare offerings, including the Advanced Night Repair serum.
I have very sensitive skin, so looking for a good moisturizer has always been a challenge. As I've learned more about serums they've become one of my favorite skincare tools. They are usually light enough for my skin, but intense enough to actually make a difference. Also, cosmetic companies put a lot of R&D into them, which means they are where you'll find the most up to date skincare chemistry.
Estée Lauder Advance Night Repair is pretty cutting edge. I'm very concerned with skin damage caused by environmental factors -- junk in the air, UV rays, pollution, etc. -- and they claim that this product "neutralizes 90% of environmentally generated free radicals." It's also supposed to support your skin's natural ability to protect and repair itself. I'm not a chemist so I don't have any way of telling if any of this is actually happening, but so far I do like the way it feels.
Also, because I have such sensitive skin, the big thing for me is getting to try a sample before I buy an expensive product -- and these days, in this economy, they're all expensive products. I like that Estée Lauder is very generous with the samples, both in person and online. I'm willing to give something new a shot, but I like to date before I get married, if you know what I mean.
Skincare is great and all, but I have to admit the big excitement for me is always eye makeup. I've been trying to find the perfect neutral-bone-burgundy-smokey eyeshadow combo for ages. I spent over an hour in Sephora looking for the perfect one, but everything had too much sparkle, glitter and disco action. I was thrilled to open the Estée Lauder BlogHer gift bag and find exactly the eyeshadow combo I'd been searching for! It has enough shades that you can go from subtle daywear to vixen night-time vamp. I wore it every day at BlogHer, and then accidentally packed it in a box to ship home. Now I'm waiting for Fedex every day like a kid on Christmas, hoping to get my perfect eyeshadow back!
A while back I did a review of the Estée Lauder site, and I have to say that I appreciate them coming back to bloggers and making the effort to build a relationship between us and the brand. They aren't the sexiest brand out there, but I'm so much more inclined to try them now because they've put themselves out to me. And I've been pleasantly surprised a few times now!
Note - this is a sponsored post.
This was a review that could have gone bad in a hurry. Instead, a delightful customer service rep named Victoria saved the day for Estée Lauder, and for me.
But let me start at the beginning.
One of the great things about working with BlogHer is when you get asked to review products. This time I was one of the lucky bloggers chosen to receive a $100 gift card to try out the new Estée Lauder website.
Everyone knows Estée Lauder is a classic brand, with a well-deserved reputation for quality. But I have to admit it never occurred to me to visit their website.
It's always tricky to buy foundation and moisturizer online, but with a couple of quick questions these two tools proposed good suggestions for products that matched my skin type and tone. Plus the interface was fun, with nifty sliding bars, so you can pick where you are on a continuum. If that sounds confusing, just go try the tools, it will make sense when you see it.
From a makeup fiend's perspective, Estée Lauder's range of products and colors are a bit limited, but the ones they do offer are solidly on the mark -- they're not wasting our time with green and blue nail polish or glitter eyeshadow.
This is a line for women who want to look polished and pretty. You'll want to wear most of the "Vintage Jewels" holiday collection all the time, not just to parties. They have all of the important items, plus a really comprehensive range of skincare.
There were a few things about the site I disliked. Flash intros? Hate. Always a waste of time. I don't even see what's going on, I'm so busy looking for the "skip intro" button.
At times the grey text was a little too subtle. I know it's a design thing, but please: black text on a white screen is boring but effective. And some of the pages take eons to load. Maybe getting rid of those flash intros would speed things up!
In terms of content, the "How To" demos were a mixed bag. I get really impatient watching long videos, like the one for the "Classic Look." I know 4 minutes doesn't seem long, but it's an eternity when the only action is powder brush basics.
Remember to tap excess powder off the brush? That's the kind of thing you learn in Teen Cosmo. Estée Lauder's target market is...shall we say...more mature and experienced? We know the basics.
On the other hand, the quick clips that were less than 60 seconds long, like "Dramatic Eyes" and "Captivating Lips" were more entertaining and useful.
Also interesting were the Model Looks, which I liked because they were a combination of text and photos, so I could scan them quickly.
Are you sensing a theme? Yes, I like things that are quick and easy to mentally digest, especially online.
The other thing I liked about the Model Looks was that they were more sophisticated than the Classic Look. They put the products used to create the look right next to the directions, so it only takes two clicks to put it in your shopping bag.
Again, the range of looks is narrow -- behold the many shades of beige neutral eye shadows! -- but also again, universally pretty and flattering.
One of my favorite things is samples, so I was delighted to see they had a special offer for orders over $50 with a bunch of trial size treats. Also, on the special offers page I noticed that they give double points for American Express membership rewards, although it would be nice to have that pop up on the check out page.
But then again, maybe it does. I wouldn't know, because I broke the internet when I tried to checkout.
No live chat, no "click here" for help, no link back to home page. Just a dead end page.
Good thing was the 800-number was on the page. I had nothing to lose, so I picked up the phone and called.
An exceptionally nice woman named Victoria answered, and she took the time to try to figure out how to make the site work for me.
When that failed, she placed the order for me, answered my random questions about the moisturizer I chose, and sent me a separate box of samples when I was disappointed that the special offer samples were sold out.
Victoria was awesome, and she had no idea that I was doing a review. I believe she's always an incredibly gracious brand ambassador for Estée Lauder. And that says a lot for the organization.
She apologized for the trouble I was having, shared that they'd been doing some work on the site but never bad mouthed the company. I hope someone important reads this and gives her a spot bonus.
The site and the products were good, but the thing that sets Estée Lauder apart, the thing that will make me return and spend my own money, or tell my friends to check it out, is knowing how well they take care of customers.
Well, also the incredibly moisturizing Resilience Life Extreme -- that stuff is pretty amazing. But mainly, I'll recommend Estée Lauder for their outstanding customer service.
Thank you, Estée Lauder, BlogHer and especially Victoria, for what turned out to be an excellent reviewing experience.
Check out the other BlogHer reviews here.
One of the best things about blogging is that people keep sending me stuff to review. Fun!
Lately I've received a few things that don't fit the editorial guidelines of any of my other sites. Since I still want to share my opinion -- because you know I have one -- I decided to set up this page as an extension of wishbone clover.
As long as people keep sending me products to review, I'll keep posting my reactions here.