A Review of 4 Popular Budget Beauty Techniques

Being beautiful can be an expensive business. Salon treatments, expensive haircuts and designer clothes don’t come cheaply. So, while we might strut around looking the part, it’s hard to enjoy it when we’re too busy worrying about our bank balance. So, to help you save some precious pennies where you can, we’ve tried and tested four of the most popular budget beauty techniques. So you can decide for yourself if they match up to the make-up and cosmetics that can be bought at your local drug store.

1. Lemon Juice Lip Treatment

Every woman dreams of having soft, plump and pink lips, and many go to great lengths in order to achieve that look. But do you have to spend a fortune on branded products in order to do it? Well, apparently if you massage lemon juice into your lips, it helps to bleach them and gives them the desired pink and healthy color. We tried this technique, and whilst it made our lips tingle, it didn’t really have much of an effect. So, we’re going to stick with our Rimmel Lipstick, thank you very much.


Photo Credit: Flickr

2. Baking Soda

Baking soda is something that many of us have sat idle in our kitchen cupboards, but the truth is that it can be used for so much more than just baking. Baking soda can be used in place of regular toothpaste to help give you that perfect ‘Hollywood smile’. You can also use it to wash your hair to give it a healthy glow and natural shine. Just sprinkle a little onto the roots of your hair and tousle it gently to create a fresh and up-to-date look.

3. Home Spa Treatment

A day spent in a spa is most women’s idea of utter bliss. But did you know that you can recreate the same effect at home, only without the hefty price tag? We all know how healthy our skin looks after a session in the steam room. To achieve the same feeling, spend 15 minutes in a hot shower, so that plenty of steam fills up the bathroom. Then before jumping out and drying off, expose your body to cold water for about 20 seconds. Repeat the process about two or three times. It’s not quite as relaxing as going to a spa, but the effect is pretty amazing. It helps to unblock your pores, and if you get a slight sweat on, it’ll also help to detoxify your system.


Photo Credit: Flickr

4. Cucumber Eye Revitalizer

Most of us have seen our moms or nanas with a couple of slices of cucumber over each eye at some point, or another. The idea is that they help to revitalize, refresh and keep the skin around the eyes looking young. But the question is, do they actually work? We found that after a late night, they were very effective at helping to reduce puffiness and the appearance of dark circles. They also make a good moisturizer, but not quite good enough for us to replace our existing store-bought lotion.


Photo Credit: Flickr

If you’ve got any more budget beauty techniques that you’d like to share, we’d love to hear from you. Please leave a comment in the box below!

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How to Decide Which Watch to Buy Next

If you’re building up a collection of watches, it can be difficult to decide which watch to buy next. Many people love owning multiple timepieces; one for casual wear, one for going out, one for business – you name it, there’s a watch suited to the occasion! But just how are you supposed to choose which watch to buy next when there’s so much choice out there? Read on for help making this tough decision:


Image Author: Flickr

Consider the Occasion

The first thing to do when buying a new watch is to consider the occasion. Are you buying this watch for any particular reason? Is it a party? A posh meal? A business meeting? This should help you to narrow down your choices and separate the casual/trendy watches from the more professional pieces. If it’s not for any particular occasion, skip this step.

Look at Your Current Collection

Take a long hard look at your current watch collection. What is it missing? Is there something you feel you need? Perhaps you’ve got plenty of business watches but you’d like a more casual piece for everyday wear. Or maybe you fancy a digital watch for a change. Think of the features your current watches have and whether there’s anything missing. You may want one that’s completely different to anything you currently own. You might want a different shape, colour, pattern – try to be diverse with your choices, otherwise there’s no point in owning multiple pieces!

Consider the Theme

Instead of buying a diverse watch so you have a variety to choose from, you could keep a running theme with your watch collection. However, it may seem nonsensical to have a bunch of watches that aren’t too different from one another. For example, you may solely want to own black watches. You could try a Detroit watch company to get different ideas.

Research the Brands

If you’ve found a couple of brands you like, research them. I always enjoy finding out a bit about the brands I’m buying into. Their history might seal the deal for you when you realise that they’re a family run company who specialises in making leather watches, for example. You’ll also find out a bit about their company values and how they grew to be what they are today.

Read Reviews

If you have a particular watch model in mind, read reviews online to make sure that it’s all it’s cracked up to be.

Ask for a Second Opinion

A second opinion can be a great help when hunting for your next watch. Somebody you trust may be able to tell you what watch they think suits you most. You don’t have to agree with them, but at least if you don’t agree with them, you realise which watch you really want!

Consider Your Budget

Of course you should always have a budget when watch shopping. It’s far too easy to spend more than you wanted, so give yourself a budget and stick to it.

I hope I helped you to narrow down your options!

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Bloggers Wanted for Essio Shower Giveaway

Essio Shower Blogger Giveaway

ESSIO is the greatest thing to happen to showers since running water itself. It clips onto any shower and diffuses 100% organic essential oils into the shower water at the perfect rate, rejuvenating the mind and body.


Want to Try It? Sign Up Here 

We are looking for awesome bloggers to review our product for our upcoming October giveaway. Simply click the button below to request your kit. The first 100 bloggers to sign up and also promote this giveaway announcement on their blog will be sent a free sample!
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The Bouqs Review

I love how getting flowers for someone is more than just a gift. Whether it’s a holiday, a special occasion or even just because getting someone flowers is a way to show you care. It is hard to find good flowers online that do not arrive wilted or last more than a few days. I was very excited to review a Bouquet from The Bouqs.

My favorite flower is a Stargazer Lily. I love how brightly colored they are and how they make the whole house smell when they bloom. So of course I chose The Bouqs “Good Karma” bouquet. I could not wait until it arrived.


I was a little surprised that it was packaged in such a small box. It took a couple minutes to figure out how to get the flowers out without hurting them, but I learned that if you cut the ties from the outside of the box first they will come out a lot easier. A couple of the flowers had started blooming while in transit and looked a little off color which worried me.

I put them in a vase as fast as I could and added the flower food included with the flowers. Within an hour the color of the flowers had returned to a normal shade and had started blooming. I couldn’t believe how fast they had bloomed! Within a day half of the flowers were fully bloomed and gorgeous! They smelled absolutely amazing and you could tell they were in the house.


After a while I noticed that the other half of the flowers had still not bloomed even though the ones that had were starting to wilt. I clipped the wilting flowers off the bouquet and within a day the rest had started blooming. I was very impressed because I had a very pretty bouquet for a little over 3 weeks before they all wilted which is way longer than any other flowers I have had.

IMG_0016 IMG_0017

When you get flowers from The Bouqs you know your flowers are going to last because they are shipped directly from the farm instead of a warehouse. You also skip the middle man if you choose them instead of the florist. My flowers lasted a long time and were beautiful the whole time!

Right now you can get 15% off by clicking any of the links on this page. So be sure to check out their website here and show someone you care!

**Disclaimer** Star Focal received samples of the above product in order to facilitate a review. However, we were in no way paid, or obligated to give a positive review, or a review at all for this company. If you would like to read my full disclaimer for reviews you can find it here.

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Natures Bounty Optimal Solutions Hair Skin & Nails Review

There are a lot of things in life that you either just don’t want to do, or you just can’t seem to do it. For me, one of those things is taking vitamins. Yes, I know that this is quite ridiculous but it is something I have always had a hard time with. For one, there are so many different vitamins I never know which one(s) to get. I also hate taking pills. The main vitamins that I try to keep up with are ones that improve hair, skin and nails. I was so excited when Smiley360 contacted me to review Natures Bounty Optimal Solutions Hair, Skin and Nails Gummies.

I remember when I was younger and all my friends started getting the gummy vitamins. I was super jealous and would always ask to steal some when I saw them. Back then they didn’t taste very good but that didn’t change how much I wanted them. What  I love about the Hair, Skin and Nails Gummies is that they actually taste great! They are not the same texture as say a gummy bear but they are really close compared to others that I have tried.

What to know what else is great about these gummies? They contain no artificial flavor, no milk, no lactose, no soy, no gluten, no wheat, no yeast, no fish and they are sodium free! I think the one I am most excited about is the no fish part! It is nice knowing that these gummies have such great ingredients!

These gummies contain the antioxidants Vitamin E and Vitamin C which contribute to health and vibrant skin. They also contain Biotin to help maintain healthy hair and nails. Since taking these gummies I have noticed my nails have been a little stronger, but most of all I have noticed that my hair has been stronger. My hair falls out constantly and since taking these I have noticed a lot less hair in the shower. My skin has been softer, but I don’t know about more “vibrant.”

Overall I really like the Nature’s Bounty Hair, Skin and Nails Gummies. They are great vitamins and a great price and so much easier to take than traditional vitamins. I highly recommend them! You can check out these and other great Nature’s Bounty  products and take the Hair, Skin, and Nails Challenge here.

**Disclaimer** Star Focal was sent product from Smiley360 at no cost to review. Regardless all statements were not influenced by the company, but are my own personal opinion.

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Marie Astor #SearingLies Twitter Party

Brie Snyder's photo.
Come join me for an hour of fun and prizes as we Celebrate
with Author Marie Astor and the release of her new book Searing Lies
on May 5th from 6-8 pm EST.
When: May 5th at 6-8pm pm EST
Where: Twitter Chat
Use HashTag #SearingLies  to join in on all the
Make sure to follow me @mizvanilla  and Marie to win prizes!

Please don’t forget to RSVP for the #SearingLies  twitter Party, if you are there and participate during any of the party  you are automatically eligible for the grand Prize and all other prizes  , you do not have to stay the entire party, we are doing the 2 hours so  that UK & US have a chance to participate. As long as you  participate at least 30 minutes, you are eligible for all prizes, and  you can also enter the Rafflecopter for additional prizes on the blog. I  just wanted to clear that up, you do not have to be present to win, as  long as you RSVP and participate you are in the ruining for any of the  prizes. We will DM you or tweet you if you win and are not present 

To gain an extra entry in to the Preparty RSVP Prize Tweet the text below exactly
 @marieastor New Release #SearingLies Twitter Party 05/05 6-8 pm EST RSVP NOW:https://www.facebook.com/events/238630676342613/?ref=5

You must RSVP to be eligible for the Preparty Prize, everyone
who particates however is eligible for the in party prizes, which are
listed below

PreParty RSV Prize: (1) $20 Gift Card & An Autographed
book from Marie

(5) In Party Prizes of $10 gift cards
(5) In Party Prizes of An Autographed book from
(1) Grand Prize of a $30 Gift Card and (2) Autographed books
by Marie
We also have a few great prizes to be won for those of you who
may not be able to attend the party, enter on the rafflecopter below
and those winners will be drawn after the party

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Marie Astor is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling
Author of the Janet Maple Series:To Catch a Bad Guy, Catching
the Bad Guy, Bad Guys Get Caught
, contemporary romance
novels This Tangled Thing Called Love, Lucky Charm,
Smitten at First Sight
, and a short story
collection, A Dress in a Window.
Marie is also the author of a fantasy adventure
novel, Over the Mountain and Back.

Be sure to let us know if you plan to join and of course if you win!
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Ozeri Green Earth Textured Ceramic Non-Stick Frying Pan Review

Don’t you hate it when you buy something and in a couple of years it falls apart? Every time I buy new pans they end up falling apart, sometimes within a couple of months. Most of the ones that fall apart are the Teflon pans. I know I cannot be the only one that is terrified about what is hiding in the Teflon that is possibly flaking into the food I am cooking. This is why I was so excited to have the chance to review the Ozeri 8″ Green Earth Textured Ceramic Non-Stick Frying Pan.

Ozeri Green Earth Ceramic Textured Non-Stick Frying Pan

So what makes this pan so much better than your typical non-stick pan? This pan is made with GREBLON, which is an ulta-safe ceramic coating from Germany which is PTFE and PFOA free. It is also scratch resistant which is easy to clean and gives you piece of mind that you are not eating part of your pan after cooking. The textured surface delivers enhanced heat distributions and offers superior non-stick performance without releasing harmful fumes or toxins.

Not only does this pan make me feel safe about cooking on it, but it works great! The non-stick is absolutely amazing! Food slides off quick and easy which makes cleaning the pan a breeze. Even brand new, the previous pans I have owned were not as slick as this pan. My Ozeri pan still look and works like it is brand new! Once you have one, you will be addicted to its amazing quality. I plan on replacing all my pans with Ozeri pans because they just can’t be beat.

For this review I decided to make what I believe to be one of the harder things to make on a pan without it sticking, an omelet. I couldn’t believe that none of the egg stuck to the pan. I didn’t have to clean the pan in between omelets and afterwards cleaning only took a minute of my time. Here is my wonderful creation on this pan:


If you are looking for a safe non-stick pan than this is the pan for you! You can find this and other great Ozeri products on their website here, or on their Amazon page here.

**Disclaimer** Star Focal received samples of the above product in order to facilitate a review. However, we were in no way paid, or obligated to give a positive review, or a review at all for this company. If you would like to read my full disclaimer for reviews you can find it here.

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Rimmel Moisture Renew Voxbox

If you have been following us lately, you have probably noticed a lot of lipstick lately. I am still not sure where it all is coming from, but apparently someone really wants me to wear it more! Recently I was able to participate in the Rimmel Moisture Renew Voxbox which included Rimmel London’s new Moisture Renew Lipstick in As You Want Victoria.

Rimmel London Moisture Renew


At first I was a little worried about this lipstick being too bright. However, when I put it on I thought it looked amazing. It is super smooth and feels more like you have an amazing chapstick on instead of a lipstick. I could not believe how well it glided on and how vibrant the color was. I love the case that it comes in too! It is purple (my favorite color) and is a really cool design. I love makeup containers that are a little different than the norm.


What really surprised me about this lipstick is how long it stayed on. Not too long ago I went to the airport to pick up my older brother. I put my lipstick on before we left (the airport was 1 1/2 hours away) and picked him up at about 10pm. we didn’t go to sleep until about 2am and when I woke up the next morning my lipstick was still just as vibrant as the night before. I could not believe it!


After using this lipstick for about a week I noticed something even more amazing. My lips had improved tremendously. My chapped lips disappeared and the color of my lips also improved.  I couldn’t believe that one product could do so much good and add color too! Most companies will either suggest using chapstick or have their own similar product or steps to improve your lips. I love that this lipstick is one step to great lips!


You can find this and other great Rimmel London products on their website here. Also be sure to check them out on Facebook and Twitter.

**Disclaimer** Star Focal received samples of the above product from Influenster in order to facilitate a review. However, we were in no way paid, or obligated to give a positive review, or a review at all for this company. If you would like to read my full disclaimer for reviews you can find it here.

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Red Apple Lipstick Review

Ever since I was a little girl, I have been afraid of wearing too much lipstick. From being told “you have too much makeup on,” to hearing that it’s made of whale blubber, I guess I just learned to stray from it. Since I started this blog I have started wearing more and more lipstick, but I still think about all the bad things every time I wear it. I was so excited to be able to get some products from Red Apple Lipstick to review!

So, what is so special about Red Apple Lipstick? They hand select the ingredients for their lipsticks to make sure that they are safe! Their lipstick has no petroleum, no animal bits, no gluten, soy, dairy, corn, harsh chemicals or GMO’s. However they do include ingredients to improve the health of your lips! They include a special gluten free Vitamin E which keeps your lips happy and healthy! They make everything in small batches and use an old school manufacturing process that doesn’t use chemicals.

What do we have to share with you? We received the Rallye Balm and Exfoliate pack, which is truly amazing! This is my first time using an exfoliate for my lips. Over the last year or so I have been hearing about how important exfoliation is, especially for your lips. Before that I had no idea about exfoliating anything! I know, it sounds crazy, but it’s completely true! So decided to give it a shot with Red Apple Lipsticks Exfoliate lipstick and boy was I glad I did. It makes my lips incredible soft and is super simple to do. It has a slight minty taste to it, but I really enjoyed using it!

This is before I started using Rallye Balm:


This is after 7 days of using Rallye Balm:


The second part of the pack is the Rallye Balm. I was a little shocked at first that their website says that Rallye Balm will cure chapped lips in 3 to 7 days. I have had chapped lips my entire life and nothing seems to help them. My lips will crack and bleed and it is not fun at all! So I’m willing to try just about anything to cure them. As soon as I put it on I could tell a difference. It is extremely smooth and feels more like a light lip gloss than a chap stick. It is not sticky or thick and you can tell that it’s doing something!


Last but not least I received their “Petal Pusher” lipstick and not only is it a beautiful bright pink, but it is extremely smooth and feels amazing on my lips! It stays true to color and lasts a long time. They also have tons of tips for putting on lipstick and getting it to stay on! So far I am in love with all Red Apple Lipstick has to offer! They have 36 different shades of lipstick and everything you need to go with them! They are definitely my new go-to lipstick brand!

You can find these and other great Red Apple Lipstick products on their website here, or check them out on Facebook and Twitter!

**Disclaimer** Star Focal received samples of the above product in order to facilitate a review. However, we were in no way paid, or obligated to give a positive review, or a review at all for this company. If you would like to read my full disclaimer for reviews you can find it here.

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Beyond Bedding Children’s Bedding Review and Giveaway

Sometimes it seems like I am always looking for the most comfortable bedding. I live in a pretty small area, so when I go shopping for bedding in a store I do not have a very big selection to choose from. After hours of searching for the “right one” I come home and it’s not even close to what I thought it was. My experience in stores have made it very hard for me to even think about online bedding shopping. Luckily for me, I found Beyond Bedding! Beyond Bedding offers bedding for kids, teens, adults and even crib bedding! They have tons of options to choose from and I could not wait to review for them!

Black Diamond Jacquard Modern Contemporary 3pc Bedding Set - Click to enlarge

I received the Black Diamond Jacquard Modern Contemporary 3pc Bedding Set to review. Lately, I have been really wanting a quilt. While I love the big fluffy blankets, I hate that the stuffing gets bunched up and that they don’t really hug you. When I pulled this blanket out of its bag I could not believe the quality! It has the look of a regular blanket with weight and thickness of a quilt. The fabric is absolutely amazing and super soft. Even after washing it still feels great!

I love the design on this set as well. Yes, it is black but it is not a solid black. I love that it has a subtle design on it. It is something that is not too plain or boring and easily matches any décor you may already have. The shams that come with this 3 piece set look absolutely amazing and are also super soft. It definitely makes sleeping a whole lot easier! Me and my husband have both agreed that this is the nicest bedding set that we have ever owned. This particular blanket is located in Beyond Bedding’s Children’s section, however because of the color and style I believe it can be used for any age.

You can find this and other amazing bedding sets on Beyond Bedding’s website here. Also be sure to check them out on Facebook and Twitter.

Enter below for you chance to win one of 10 children’s bedding sets!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

**Disclaimer** Star Focal received samples of the above product in order to facilitate a review. However, we were in no way paid, or obligated to give a positive review, or a review at all for this company. If you would like to read my full disclaimer for reviews you can find it here.


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