2019 Christmas Card Exchange

Oh hey there! Don’t mind me while I take a few seconds and wipe the dust off of this old blog here. It hasn’t been used in awhile…

There, that’s a little better, isn’t it? Now, let’s start this blog resurrection off with something fun.

It’s time for my Christmas Card Exchange!

Yes, it might be the beginning of November, but Christmas music launched on the radio and we’ve got below freezing temperatures, so it just feels right, don’t you think?

Why a Christmas card exchange? With 98% of all our snail mail being bills, advertisements, and people trying to scam us, I wanted to bring a little bit of joy back to our mailboxes. You know that feeling you get when you see an envelope with a handwritten address on it? I want to fill as many mailboxes with that joy as possible. I did this exchange on a whim last year, and it was wildly successful, so I want to do it again.

I have all I need to get started and I can’t wait to start filling mailboxes with my beautiful cards with personalized notes for everyone. The Diva and the Divine community has grown so much this past year that I feel I know you all better than ever. I know names, I know stories, and it makes me feel so good to know we have such an incredible community.

So, here’s how it goes. Anyone who sends a holiday card my way gets one back. It’s that simple. You can be from anywhere in the world. I have international stamps at the ready! I only ask that you make sure there is a return address on your card somewhere so I know where to send my response. That’s it! It’s that easy!

And with that, consider the Christmas mailbox OPEN!!

Lovely Luxuries Holiday Gift Guide

 

 

Jo Malone Perfume Collection: Jo Malone is something I have personally been dying to own, but the price is so high that I can never decide exactly which fragrance I want to commit to. Why do I want to own Jo Malone? No idea! I likely have it in my head that it’s some symbol of ultimate luxury or something, but it’s been on my wishlist for years now. This set has 5 minis in it that give a nice variety of fragrances so you can try things out and decide if there is any scent you love or you can mess around with mixing the scents to come up with your own signature scent. The scents included are Lime Basil & Mandarin, Nectarine Blossom & Honey, English Oak & Redcurrant, Wild Bluebell, and Wood Sage & Sea Salt. You end up with 1.5 oz of product total for $115, which prices it out as slightly more money per ounce ($77/oz) than buying a one-ounce bottle ($68), which is a bummer, but you would get to try 5 different scents instead of having to commit to one. Ultimately, this would be an amazing and luxurious gift for any fragrance lover in your life. 

Tata Harper Jumbo Resurfacing Mask: This mask is my new love. I went and got a sample at Sephora and after that one try, I knew it was going to be a love of mine. This made me sad because it is a really pricey mask, clocking in at $62 for a 1 oz container! ūüėĪ I know, what am I thinking? I happened to go over to Tata Harper’s website instead of Sephora, just to look around, and I stumbled across this beauty. Meet the JUMBO sized container of my new beloved mask! This is 3.55 oz of product for a whopping $125. Before you think I’m a crazy person for not only suggesting this but also buying it (because I totally did!), do the math. At that price, the mask is only $35.20 per ounce instead of the regular price of $62. That is a major discount and completely worth shelling out the extra cash for upfront. I am excited to see what using this mask regularly does for my skin, and with it being as popular as it is, I’m certain this is a great gift for the skincare lover in your life. 

Dagne Dover Midi Tote: I use this bag every single day. It’s just like my Dagne Dover Classic Tote (which I did an entire blog post on) only smaller and more convenient for everyday use. I ended up buying mine because the color was on sale, but I didn’t realize I was purchasing my new go-to handbag. All of the small details that go into a Dagne Dover bag is why I have become a brand loyalist. In the midi tote, there are pen loops, an iPad sleeve, many pockets, and (most importantly) a build in water bottle holder. This bag carries everything I could possibly need while I’m out and about. I get so many compliments when I carry a Dagne Dover, no matter what size (I own a petite one too). This is a beautiful, but fully functional gift. 

Sugarfina Holiday Gift Box: This gift box is a great gift for anyone with a sweet tooth that you want to shower with a little bit of luxury. This box contains festive, limited edition holiday flavors from Sugarfina dressed in a super fancy box to make it look and feel extra luxurious. A great gift idea for someone you want to buy an extra special treat for but don’t really know what they’re into. 

Beats Headphones: Noise canceling headphones are something actually appearing on my wishlist this year. In the age of noisy workspaces, inability to focus (my issue) and people at the gym that you just want to tune out while lifting, noise-canceling headphones are something that you might not buy for yourself, but they’d make a truly thoughtful gift for someone who loves music and quiet.

Thread & Supply Fleece Pullover: Doesn’t this pullover just look like the coziest thing you ever did see? When temperatures outside are as chilly as they’ve been lately, it’s easy to live in your favorite sweatshirt. Treating someone to a high quality, super cozy pullover is a gift that anyone is sure to enjoy this time of year. 

Dyson Hair Dryer: This is the most expensive hair dryer ever, but I’d be lying to you if I didn’t tell you it was also the best hair dryer ever. I have owned this for a year or two now, and I LOVE it. I’d go into details, but I actually have an entire blog post about it that you can read that tells you all about how awesome it is. If you know someone who regularly does their hair or someone like me, who physically struggles to blow dry their hair, this is 100% worth every penny.

Weighted Blanket: This is another product that I’ve owned for a year now (got it last Christmas) and I love, love, LOVE it. Weighted blankets are supposed to help with anxiety, insomnia, and have an overall calming effect, and I must say, it is the coziest thing I’ve ever slept under. I’ve been using it every night and it just feels so good to slip into bed and let the extra weight of my blanket take over. I only use it at night, as carrying a 20lb blanket around from my couch to my bedroom is a bit difficult for me, but I imagine it’s a joy to curl up under while watching a movie or anything you need a quick break to close your eyes and regroup.

Tata Harper Let There Be Light Gift Set: I personally purchased this gift set after falling in love with the resurfacing mask (see above), and it’s a wonderful set at a wonderful price. It contains a full size resurfacing serum ($88 value) as well as .5 oz each of the regenerating cleanser ($24 value) and the resurfacing mask ($31 value) for $92. Not too shabby. It’s a great way to try out several of the most popular Tata Harper products. Another option, if you want smaller sizes of a greater variety of products is the Tata Harper Everyday Essentials kit.

I also have to add that if you don’t already use Ebates as a part of your online shopping experience, you need to stop what you’re doing this instant and go join. All you do is click a little button when you’re shopping and you will get a percentage of your purchase back in cash! I’ve already gotten over $450 back, and that number is getting higher with Black Friday shopping. Sephora is also doing 10% back with Ebates for Black Friday, which is worth it all on its own. Ebates is totally free, and if you use my link you will get $10 credit after your first $25 purchase just for being a friend of mine ūüôā

These lovely luxuries are sure to bring a smile to the face of any lucky recipient. Do you have any suggestions for items to add to this list?

 

 

*links may be affiliate links*

Cozy Home Gift Guide 2017

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, my friends, and that means it’s time for us to forget that Thanksgiving is even a holiday and skip ahead to Christmas shopping.  This year I’m actually trying to get a few gift guides on the blog, and here’s my first one.

As a housewife, blogger, and certified homebody, I spend 90% of my time at home, so I feel that I have the expertise to create a gift guide perfect for the woman (or man) that spends a lot of time in her cozy little part of the world.  I love having things around that make my home feel warm and cozy, and I think this list covers several different bases and price points.  Let’s jump right in.

Interchangeable Letter Board 

This is a less expensive gift on the list, but it’s a great addition to the home, especially for the blogger or Instagram addict in your life.  If I had one, you had better believe it would make a regular appearance in photos.  It’s a great place to put your favorite inspirational quote or Bible verse, or even a little note to your husband.  They come in a bunch of colors and you can find letters for them in all kinds of places.   Read more

6 Lip Products for the Holidays

With Christmas looming a mere 12 days away, this coming weekend is bound to be filled with holiday parties galore.  Winter is when we break out darker colors, smokey eyes, and bold red lips.  While I’m not usually a bold-lipped kind of lady, being in a show and rocking a bold red lip in Pippin has forever changed my opinion of red lippies, and I now have faith that I can rock them.  Here are 6 lip products I’ve been using this holiday season.

Smith & Cult Lip Gloss in The Warning:  This is the sheerest of all of my picks, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a perfect look for the holidays.  This bright red gloss brings a pop of Santa red to your lips without forcing you to panic about getting red lipstick everywhere. It’s hydrating, not sticky, and even has a little bit of subtle glitter in there for an extra pop of party bling. ($22 @ Smithandcult.com)

Too Faced Melted Berry Liquid Lipstick: Melted berry is a stunning shade of berry red (almost deep, dark pink.  Almost.) that will surely pop on your lips this season.  I’ve found that I really enjoy the formulation of the Too Faced Liquid Lipsticks, and this is a bold shade I found I wasn’t afraid of even on the very first wear. ($21 at Ulta)

Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetic Stained Gloss in Nomad: I’ll be honest, at first I thought this shade appeared to be far too dark for me to even consider trying on. Turns out that this deep colored gloss sheers out into a great winter maroon. It can be sheer or be built up for a more intense coverage.  I was incredibly surprised by how much I liked this shade, and have been wearing regularly. ($18 on Amazon)

Dolce & Gabbana Dolce Matte Lipstick in Dolce Flirt: I got a mini of this lipstick from an Influenster campaign a year or so ago, so I had to try it for review purposes. This was another product that really surprised me by how much I liked it.  This matte formula was very comfortable and non-drying. The shade “dolce flirt” was such a beautiful, flattering true red color that I loved wearing it to my husband’s office Christmas party. I felt sexy, feisty, and very festive. (available at Nordstrom $38)

Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Cruella: This lip pencil is in a shade that feels like it was inspired by Miss Cruella DeVil herself. This is a deep scarlet red that definitely feels like the perfect bold winter lip in a long wear, top rated formula by Nars. ($26 @ Sephora)

Bite Beauty High Pigment Pencil in Pomegranate: This lip product is the one I used in my show that made me accept that I could pull off a bold red lip color.  Pomegranate is a gorgeous rich red that made my lips pop on stage, made my teeth look a bit whiter, and made me feel like a sexy little vixen going out on stage.  This is definitely a shade I will now rock on a regular basis. This product felt great on, stayed put, and lasted my entire show ( and afterward) without needing to be reapplied. This baby is the reason I’m no longer afraid to rock a bold lip, so shoutout to Bite Beauty to opening my eyes to a world beyond nudes and light pinks. ($24 @ Sephora)

What are some of your go-to lip products for the holiday party season? Do you wear the bold statement lip, or do you have some deeper neutrals that you enjoy? Let me know in the comments below. 

*This post is not sponsored. All opinions are my own. Some links may be affiliate links*

 

Too Faced Merry Macarons Palette | Holiday 2016

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The second edition of my Too Faced holiday 2016 review (I also reviewed the Grande Hotel Cafe set) is the Merry Macaroons palette.  This is an Ulta exclusive and retails for $39.  Of all of Too Faced’s holiday palette releases, Merry Macarons is hands down my favorite.  

The packaging of the entire line is stunning, featuring a Christmas in NYC theme. All of the palettes feature packaging decked with beautiful pastel pinks, purples, and mint, and is accented with gold foil.  Merry Macarons takes place ice skating next to a pretty famous tree in NYC, only this one is made of colorful macarons.  Next to our skater is a deluxe mini of Too Faced’s best-selling Better Than Sex mascara.

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The 12 eyeshadows ( 0.03 oz each) are an excellent balance of mattes and shimmers in a mostly neutral color range (aka my perfect palette), save a purple shade. I’ve had to resist using this palette in order to focus on using the other palettes from the line to review for the blog.  

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Coconut: Matte beige

Champagne Rose: Champagne Rose gold shimmer

Praline: Gold shimmer

Dulce de Leche: Matte milk chocolate brown

Mint Chocolate: Matte,  cool, dark mauve

Honey Lavender: Lavender purple shimmer

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Banana Cream: Dark brown shimmer

Tiramisu: Deep peach nude

Violet Cassis- Bright purple with shimmer

Almond Mocha- Dark chocolate brown, satin 

Chocolate Raspberry- Maroon shimmer

Cookies and Cream- Matte black with silver micro glitter

As I said, the Merry Macarons palette is my favorite of all the Too Faced holiday releases this year.  I find that the quality of these shadows is somehow better than the quality of the shadows in the other two sets.  Seeing how this is the least expensive set of the 3, that is both a positive (for those wanting to buy only one of the sets) and a negative (for those that spent more money and got poorer quality).  Granted, this is just my personal opinion, but it is an opinion formulated after using all 3 sets pretty thoroughly. 

Like the other Too Faced sets, Merry Macaroons is scented (vanilla), but like my statement in the Grande Hotel Cafe review, don’t let the scent be a big selling point for you, as it isn’t very strong to begin with, and it fades over time.  The real stars in Merry Macaroons are the shadows themselves.  I love the neutral shades and the variety of finishes this palette offers. It’s very easy to create many looks suitable for every day with this palette.

I always use an eyeshadow primer before applying shadows, and I find the longevity of the shadows in the Merry Macarons palette reasonably substantial. These shadows are also soft and blendable.  While some shades are powdery, none of them are dry. Overall, I really have been enjoying this palette, and it’s something I’ve been reaching for frequently since it’s arrival.  

The Too Faced Merry Macaroons palette is an Ulta Exclusive for $39.  

Have you purchased any of the Too Faced Christmas in New York collection?  What are your thoughts?

 
*I purchased all Too faced Holiday 2016 with my own money. All opinions are my own*

Why Are Some Christians Fired Up About the Starbucks Red Cup?

 

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The short answer: I have NO idea!

Let me start this post by saying, for those of you that don’t know, I am a Christian. Lutheran, to be more specific. ¬†I was baptized into the church my mom grew up in, and it has been a huge part of my life since the day I was born. ¬†I love God, I believe in Jesus, and I know I am saved by grace.

That being said, I can’t help but rant a little bit about one of the things I’ve been seeing online lately. ¬†For those that don’t know, apparently there are Christians that are livid about the design for the 2015 Starbucks red cup. The red cup is what all hot beverages at Starbucks get served in for the months of November and December to add a little color to the holiday season’s coffee.

I have always loved the red cup. ¬†My first red cup each season is a moment I savor as I sip my skinny peppermint mocha, which is a beverage I only allow myself during red cup season. The red cup is usually a deep shade of red and printed with adorable white holiday designs; snowflakes, sleighs, ornaments, etc. ¬†This year, however, it is this really plain ombre red cup that starts as a deeper red at the bottom (the color I prefer) and fades into an obnoxiously bright red at the top. ¬†Now, I was very disappointed in this cup, as were many others. I didn’t feel like it was nearly as festive as in years past…but that did not send my Christian heart into a wild haze of espresso flavored fury.

Apparently this blank cup made Christians accuse Starbucks of taking away the meaning of Christmas. Removing all of the symbols (I repeat, of snow, sleighs, wintery animals, ornaments, etc) I guess also removed the hope of Jesus’ birth. The pastor that started all of this Starbucks angst even said ”¬†Starbucks REMOVED CHRISTMAS from their cups because they hate Jesus.”

Really….?

You, my dear pastor friend, are the reasons that being a Christian is starting to get a bad reputation rather than a good one. ¬†All of this extremist, “lets get angry and offended about anything, even if it doesn’t have anything to do with us directly” attitude is not what Jesus wants. ¬†It’s not what he would do! How do you expect to be able to spread the Gospel and share God’s love when you are too busy ranting about a¬†cup from a SECULAR company?? ¬†There has never been a nativity scene, a cross, or a baby Jesus on the Starbucks cup, so really, this has nothing to do with Christianity or Starbucks hating Jesus. For the love of God (literally), stop making us look bad!

If your Christmas spirit and celebration of the birth of Jesus is solely dependent on secular winter images appearing on your Starbucks cup, maybe you don’t know the true meaning of Christmas..

Starbucks’ claim as to why they designed the cup this way is because people have started doodling on their cups and turning them into works of art. This design allows people to tell their own holiday stories, rather than have the stories Starbucks chooses to tell on the cup. ¬†That’s all fine and dandy; Boring, and less fun and festive, but fine.

My First 2015 Red Cup

My first Red Cup of 2015 being enjoyed while shopping at Target

If you, dear brothers and sisters in Christ, want to spend your holiday ranting and raving about a coffee cup, trying to turn people against this coffee chain and making Christians look bad (or crazy..), that’s you choice. ¬†Me? I will be focused on spreading the joy and love of the holiday season, just like Jesus would want…all the while enjoying my skinny peppermint mocha or a gingerbread latte out of a brightly colored Starbucks Red Cup and thanking the good Lord for creating the coffee bean.

Too Faced Under the Mistletoe Gift Set – Holiday 2014

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I have been dying to try the Too Faced La Creme lip colors for quite some time now, but at $22 a piece and so many glorious shades to choose from, I kept putting it off, that is, until this gift set was released.

Behold, the Under the Mistletoe La Creme lip set for holiday 2014!  This adorable set has 3 full size La Creme lipsticks in shimmering versions of the top selling shades (Naked Dolly, Marshmallow Bunny, and Spice Spice Baby) and for only $28!  You better believe I jumped at the chance to order this simply for its value alone.

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Of course, I ended up falling in love with the La Creme lipsticks because of this purchase. ¬†The formulas are so smooth and hydrating that my lips feel like they’ve been given a lip balm, not a lipstick. ¬†I really like hydrated feeling lips, so this product was right up my alley. ¬†There’s white lotus flower extract in the formula for lip conditioning benefits and power peptides to offer a collagen boost. ¬†Before we even get into the “holiday” part of this set, lets establish that I think the products are great. ¬†Now, on to the holiday features.

“Under the Mistletoe” comes in an adorable pink glitter case that is the perfect size to hold some lip essentials in your purse. ¬†It’s a festive and functional piece to have to help keep things neat and organized. ¬†Definitely a nice little bonus.

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As I mentioned before, this kit contains limited edition versions of the 3 top selling shades of the Too Faced La Creme lipsticks.  What makes these limited edition is the gold shimmer in the holiday formula.  At first glance I thought that the shimmer was going to be overwhelming and look a little childish, but it actually adds just a little something extra without going overboard.  The shades are amazing.  I am very into more natural and nude tones, and all 3 of these cater to that sort of genre while letting me feel a bit more on the festive side.

  • Naked Dolly- A nude satin pink that’s definitely a “my lips, but better” shade. ¬†The formula is a little thin.
  • Marshmallow Bunny-¬†A playful light pink with gold shimmer. ¬†This one I found to go on a little streaky, but with a hydrated base (put chapstick on first and/or make sure lips are exfoliated) the color gives a nice pop.
  • Spice, Spice Baby-¬†Sort of a rosy coral color with a gold shimmer. ¬†In my opinion this is the most “dressed up” of the 3 shades. It appears slightly redder in the photo than in real life. ¬†This color applies smoothly and isn’t streaky.

Bottom line, this is a great set and an amazing value (I mean, $22 for 1 or $28 for 3?? You do the math..). ¬†As long as you don’t have any dry flakey patches on your lips (exfoliate and/or apply lip balm) , the colors apply smoothly and last for 2+ hours (especially Spice, Spice Baby). ¬†This is a great little gift to get the beauty addict in your life or, of course, to get for yourself. ¬†Too Faced did an excellent job with this one!

 

I purchased this with my own money and all opinions are my own.