Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter!

From all of us at Chez Sparkle...

Peanut the Bunny

Hope you and your family had a great Easter! Peanut's first one was definitely a success... even if she didn't like her bunny ears!!! There's always next year...


Friday, March 29, 2013

Maybelline Impeccable Greys

Maybelline Impeccable Greys
Artificial Light

Maybelline Impeccable Greys
Artificial Light - Brightened for color accuracy

Maybelline Impeccable Greys
Artificial Light - Brightened for accuracy

Maybelline Impeccable Greys
Blurry in Artificial Light

I picked up Impeccable Greys to satisfy my need for a dark grey polish. Grey shades tend to be on the lighter side, so I was drawn to this immediately when I saw it. It leans slightly purple, but I don't know that I would go as far as calling it a grurple, per se... It's a shade I think would look great on every skin tone. I love wearing dark polish, especially black. Impeccable Greys is a little softer than black, but still gives your look some edge.

Polishes Used:

1 Coat Beauty Secrets Ridge Filler
3 Coats Maybelline Color Show Impeccable Greys
1 Coat OPI Top Coat
1 Coat Seche Vite

I topped off Impeccable Greys with a coat of OPI Top Coat, but I don't think I really needed it. The finish was pretty shiny to begin with! This is the first time in a while that I've done this, but I used to do it all the time. It's a great way to feed thirsty glitters or give your manicure some added shine!

Have you tried any of the Color Show polishes from Maybelline?

Good Friday

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Take Your Peanut To Work

Take Your Kid to Work Day with Peanut...

Trying on Mommy's headphones

Following in Mommy's footsteps?

Didn't you see the On Air sign?!? Hrmphh...

My full-time day job is at a radio station. It's been a looooong time since I brought Peanut in to see everyone I work with. Bring Your Kid to Work Day isn't until April 25th this year, but we like to get the jump on things at Chez Sparkle!

I regret waiting until after Peanut had her bottle to take pictures. She was super happy and smiley this morning, until someone mentioned we put her to work. She didn't like that idea at all and suddenly realized she needed a bottle.


After the bottle, she tried on Mommy's headphones for size, took a tour of the station, checked out the production room, and got acquainted with the Boom Mic. (Thank goodness she didn't try to eat it!!!)

She captured everyone's hearts and I'm pretty sure they'll want to see her back again really soon! It was great to hang out with her for a little bit longer... Some days it really is hard dropping her off at daycare without spending half an hour saying goodbye. She's got me wrapped around her left pinky, right pinky, and pinky toes! Love. Her. So. Much.

No worries... I got this!!!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

China Glaze Keep Calm, Paint On

Emerald green might be the Pantone color of the year, but for Spring 2013... Mint is insanely trendy. It's fresh, and part of the pastels that are oh-so-hip this time of year, and particularly this season. Spring always makes me think pastel colors and flowers blooming... so Keep Calm, Paint On by China Glaze was a welcome addition to my collection.

China Glaze Keep Calm, Paint On
China Glaze Keep Calm, Paint On (Natural Light)

China Glaze Keep Calm, Paint On
Keep Calm, Paint On by China Glaze (Natural Light)

China Glaze Keep Calm, Paint On
(Natural Light)

China Glaze Keep Calm, Paint On
(Natural Light - most color accurate)

China Glaze Keep Calm, Paint On MACRO
Macro (Natural Light)

In person, Keep Calm, Paint On from China Glaze is a beautiful shimmery sea-foam green that's just perfect for this time of year. Unfortunately, my camera captures it as more of a turquoise/blue. The 4th pic is the most color accurate of the bunch, and even that's a bit too blue.

Polishes Used:

1 Coat Beauty Secrets Ridge Filler
3 Coats China Glaze Keep Calm, Paint On
1 Coat Seche Vite

Subtle shimmer is one of my favorite polish finishes. It doesn't matter if it's a complimentary color, a contrasting color, or a simple silver shimmer, like in Keep Calm, Paint On. I would buy this finish over a plain opaque any day of the week!

I mentioned above that mint is tres "in" right now. I've seen it on countless fashion blogs, and I'm sure you've seen it start to pop up all over the place, too. Shoes, purses, pants, sweaters... In. Mint. Green. Oddly enough, this spring, pastels happen to be trendy again, so in addition to Mint, there's a whole lot of Sky Blue, Baby Pink, Soft Yellow, Peach, Lavender...

I haven't jumped on the mint bandwagon in any real shape or form... unless you count buying Keep Calm, Paint On from China Glaze. This polish is from their Avant Garden collection. I was worried that the formula on this might be problematic like Dandy Lyin' Around. Fortunately, Keep Calm, Paint On was much smoother and easier to apply. The end result looks so much better because of it!

How have you incorporated Mint Green into your wardrobe?

Lay's Do Us a Flavor Contest

Potato Chips are one of my favorite snacks. By. Far! I've tried a whole lot in my time, some of which are brand staples, others that haven't lasted long at all. I frequently pick up limited-edition snacks just to try a new or unique flavor. You never know when you'll find a new favorite!

A while back, Lay's had a promotion on Facebook called Do Us a Flavor. It was a contest to create a new flavor potato chip for Lays. I saw some entries for flavors that looked inspired and delicious, and others that were downright strange! Recently, Lay's announced the 3 semi-finalists in the contest, and they're leaving it up to Facebook users to pick a winner!

Lay's Do Us a Flavor
Cheesy Garlic Bread, Chicken & Waffles, Sriracha

Cheesy Garlic Bread

My apologies, I don't have a picture for this one. I enjoy Sour Cream and Cheddar chips, so I thought I would really love these. I was a bit disappointed. The garlic taste was great, but the cheese flavor wasn't as prevalent as I would've liked. I sampled the snack size bag, and I was ready to be done with the bag before the chips were gone. That's never a good thing.

Lay's Chicken & Waffles Chips
Lay's Chicken & Waffles

Chicken & Waffles

I can't say I've ever tried a Chicken flavored chip. (And trust me, I've sampled a LOT of potato chips in my time!) I've eaten Fried Chicken, I've eaten Waffles. This should taste like a combination of the two, and it really doesn't. These taste bad. Like, really bad. There's an attempt at maple and a hint of smokiness that just doesn't translate into a good-tasting flavor at all. I couldn't eat more than 5 before my stomach started to turn. Blech.

Lay's Sriracha
Lay's Sriracha

Hot chips seem to be trendy at the moment, but none of them are ever really hot. These are my pick of the 3 flavors, but they are definitely not as hot as Sriracha sauce straight from the bottle. They have a decent heat to them, a better attempt at heat in potato chips than some other brands, and I like that the heat built up as you ate through the bag. These were definitely the tastiest of the 3, and my pick to Save!

Have you tried any of the "Do Us a Flavor" chips from Lay's? Which one would you save?!?


And the winner is...

Lay's Do Us a Flavor Winner

Friday, March 22, 2013

5 Things: March 2013

This is a fun trend going around the internet... I'm not sure where it started, but people are tagging each other on their blogs, on Instagram accounts... basically all of social media. Given the nature of this blog and my search for myself, 5 Things fits right in! Look for this to be a continuing series here at Seize the Sparkle.

Chocolate Chip Cookies
And yes... I actually baked the ones you see here!

1. I microwave my chocolate chip cookies so they taste like they've just come from the oven.  Just a couple of seconds in the microwave turns them into a deliciously warm treat. So much better than just eating them cold. When I make a batch, I always sample at least 3 at that perfect stage of gooey goodness. Chocolate chip cookies are my absolute favorite. Hands down. And I make delicious Chocolate chip cookies from scratch... :)

Pretty Notebooks

2. I have a slight obsession with buying pretty journals and blank books... and not using them. I always have a notebook on me, just in case I have an idea or need to jot something down on the fly. My current book is a composition book with a soft cover from Pink Light Design. I have a pretty decent collection of blank books and notebooks! They range from basic spiral notebooks to buttery soft embossed leather journals. Some I've owned for over 5 years. They seriously just collect dust, because they're either too pretty to use, or I just don't have the perfect plan for them yet. If I see one I'd like to buy while shopping, I tell myself to put it down and walk away, because I know I have so many that I need to use first... oO

Yes... I write really hard on purpose.

2b. I love the sound of crunchy handwritten pages. I even push a little harder when I write in order to achieve this. It's also why I prefer ballpoint pens. Weird, huh?

Short Nails, Nubs
No clickety-clacking here!!!

3. Despite the fact that I regularly paint and photograph my nails, and that my nails are great at growing, I can't stand it when they get too long. And long for me is insanely short for most people. I type a LOT... and one thing I can't stand is the sound of my nails click, click, clicking as I'm type, type, typing away. It seriously irks me.

Pond's Cold Cream Cleanser
My makeup remover. When I remember.

4. I go to bed/fall asleep without taking my makeup off. A lot. It's a really bad habit. More often than not, I wake up looking like a cross between Ricky Racoon and a Zombie. Not. A. Good. Look. For whatever reason, I seem to touch my face a whooooooole lot while I'm sleeping with makeup on. The best is when I wake up with eyeliner smudges on my nose AND forehead. I'd use the excuse that I have a 5 month old, but truth is... I was doing this long before she was born!

PaperMate Profile Elite Pens
PaperMate Profile Elite ballpoint pens.

5. I'm a little bit of a pen snob, and when I find a kind I like, I can justify owning them in every color available. PaperMate Profile and Pilot G2 07's were my trusted go-to pens until my last birthday. My sister introduced me to the PaperMate Profile Elite pens, and whoa! They just gliiiiiiide over the paper like butter. Butter, I tell you! Definitely my new faves.

What about you? Care to share one random thing about yourself?!?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Pretty Little Liars: A dAngerous gAme (3x24)

So many questions and so few answers... Okay, so we got a couple of answers in last night's Season Finale. But that really only led to more questions. (In typical Pretty Little Liars fashion!)

Going into the episode last night, we knew we were going to find out who Red Coat was. The producers told us that much ahead of time. They also threw in a couple of curve balls, just to keep things interesting. As a fan of the books, I'm familiar with the possible twists and turns the TV series could utilize, but I think they switch it up enough so that it's not EXACTLY like the books. That being said... here's what happened last night in Rosewood in case you missed it...

1. Aria and Ezra broke up. Again. She pretty much told him in last week's episode that she couldn't do it anymore, so this week, we just reiterated that and made it feel official. Ezra is teaching at Aria's school again, and all the drama with Malcolm is just too much for her to deal with. Despite graduation being only 7 months away, (guess that means it's November in Rosewood...) she just can't see them getting back to what they had pre-Malcolm. Fair enough. Mr. Fitz stuck around a lot longer on the show than in the books. Now that Aria's on the market, it's hard to say who her next love interest will be. Fitz Jr? Noel Kahn? I've been rooting for Noel since the first season because I really liked his back story in the books. Not sure if they're going to go there or if they'll bring in someone new for her.

2. Spencer really joined the A-Team. (But only as a double agent.) The girls confirm this by having Hanna dress up as red coat, luring Spencer into the girl's bathroom for a confrontation. She assures them that she's doing it to find answers... But during her time as a double-agent she found out that...

3. Toby's Alive! Not just alive, but also a double-agent. He's been working with Mona to keep Spencer safe. I wasn't so sure if he should be trusted so easily, especially when he offered to "take care of Spencer" at the lodge. For a minute, I thought he might really be the evil Toby we had suspected. Turns out that was just an act for Mona. Toby really is a good guy! Collective sighs from Spoby fans all around. 

4. Jenna, Melissa, and Shana are up to no good. Jenna and Shana are the ones who helped Wilden escape the woods after being run over by Ashley Marin. The 3 met at Jenna's house and seemed to be very happy that the girls would finally be getting a comeuppance. But for what? Are they upset at something the girls did long ago... like blinding Jenna? Are they still upset about the videos from the NAT club? Does Melissa really hate her sister THAT much? (See what I mean about so many questions?!?)

5. Red Coat is really... *SPOILER ALERT* Alison. Or maybe her twin Courtney. Mona was convinced it was a mask. After all, Alison's dead, right? Weeeeell, maybe. In the books, Alison had a twin named Courtney. Alison forced Courtney to pretend she was Alison at certain times, eventually ending up with her being institutionalized at the Radley. During a visitation weekend, Courtney switched places with Alison, and befriended the girls.  The girls never knew the real Alison. They were friends with Courtney pretending to be Alison. On the night of the fateful sleepover, the real Alison came home for the summer for a trial run. Courtney and Alison got into a huge fight and Alison killed Courtney. At least, that's what happened in the books...

6. Wilden's Car is back... Someone pulled Wilden's car out of the lake Aria and Hanna pushed it into, and the video still works. That lets our PLL's know that Jenna and Shana were the ones who helped Wilden up. Wilden was a bit obsessed with getting his car back... Judging by the looks on the Liars faces... I think there might be something, er, someone, pretty shocking in the trunk.

The Ride Back to Rosewood
On their way back to Rosewood

Aria, Spencer, Hanna, Emily, Mona
It's baaaaaack.

PLL What's in the trunk?
That can't be good.

Soooo... while we found out a couple of things, I think this episode just opened up a whole new set of questions for season 4 to address. I'm not sure where they're going with the story from this point on, but I do have a theory or two and a whole bunch of new questions!

If Toby's alive... who were the 2 bodies found in the last episode? I'm guessing the first one probably was a random, but who was the second? Emily's mom was carrying a missing person's box... Could it be DNA and other info from Alison's original case that they're trying to match to Jason? And if it's not Jason... who was it?

What's in the Trunk? More like who... If I had to guess, I'd say CeCe Drake. I think that Wilden might've had her tied up in the trunk or something. Or maybe Jason was trying to tail Wilden and he was in the trunk? Either way, I'm pretty sure it's a body. I guess the interesting part would be whether or not the person was dead before the car went into the water... 

When they're on their way back to Rosewood... why isn't Toby with them? No room in the car? Couldn't find him in time? Kinda weird...

When did Jenna and Shana happen? I thought Jenna was still dating Noel... or have we freed him up for Aria?

Was Spencer's party a ruse to lure all the girls to the same location? It just seemed odd to me that no one else showed up for the party.

Jenna, Shana, and Melissa together are just plain shady. Plus, they sounded so evil when they were meeting at Jenna's house, talking about how they're going to "get what they deserve." Really? Aren't they a little bit older? Shouldn't that make them a little more mature? I think there might be more to this than what we saw last night.

Jenna's going to eventually be blind again? Interesting.

What were they trying to show at the end with someone helping the hand out of the ground? Does this mean that someone helped Alison out of the gazebo hole? Is Alison really dead? If she's not, whose body did they find? Courtney? I know from the books that Mr. and Mrs. DiLaurentis didn't believe the real Alison when she claimed to be Ali. They thought it was Courtney pretending to be Alison again, so they sent her to the Preserve at Addison Stevens. Ultimately, I always got the idea that Mr. and Mrs. DiLaurentis suspected that Courtney had caused Alison's disappearance. I don't think they had any clue about the switch, and I'm not sure that they ever suspected her of murder. In Ali's Pretty Little Lies, we find out that someone else was there the night Alison killed Courtney. Is that what they're hinting at with Red Coat?

Overall, I thought this was a great episode. Maybe not quite as revealing as other season finales, but we still got some pretty decent answers. I think they're going to have to start answering bigger questions soon if they want the audience to stay invested. I watch because I was a fan of the books first, so I'm not sure how the series is really seen by non-readers. After all the revelations last night, I am hoping that they'll be giving Sasha Pieterse some more screen time. I feel like she's been underused this season, and I know I really enjoy the flashback scenes.

Season 4 premieres Tuesday, June 11th... Will you be tuning in?

Was anyone else loving Spencer's hat in that scene in Fitz' classroom? Her shirt was a bit outside of the norm of what Spencer usually wears, but the hat ties it all together.

PLL Season 3 Finale: A DAngerous GAme
Seriously loving this hat!

What did you think of the Season 3 Finale?!?

Monday, March 18, 2013

Essie Vanity Fairest

AKA My Perfect Nude Polish...

Essie Vanity Fairest

Essie Vanity Fairest

Essie Vanity Fairest

Essie Vanity Fairest

Every girl needs one and this is mine. The perfect Nude polish to use in a french manicure or wear on its own for a subtle, classy look.  This is just one of those looks that will NEVER go out of style. :)

Polishes Used:

1 Coat Beauty Secrets Ridge Filler
4 Coats Essie Vanity Fairest
1 Coat Seche Vite

Vanity Fairest by Essie is a barely pink sheer polish with extra-fine shimmer. I absolutely adore this polish and could justify wearing it every single day. This is one of the few bottles of polish in my collection that has a noticeable amount missing. That's how much I wear this... :)

Essie has one of the widest varieties of colors like this out of any polish brand I know. I truly believe they have a nude sheer to match every skin tone and personal preference. I could complain about the fact that this takes 4 coats to get to a non-streaky finish, but by building up sheer layers, the finished result is very soft and feminine. love, Love, LOVE this look!

Do you have a favorite subtle shade of polish?

Friday, March 15, 2013

Bonjour Pierre!

If you saw my post last night... You know that Monsieur Pierre finally made it to Chez Sparkle! I had a stuffed bunny for a lovey when I was little, so I wanted to pass along that tradition to my little Peanut. I was super excited to see how she liked him!

Pierre the Bunny
So excited to meet his new friend!

Peanut & Pierre
Hey fuzzball, this is my lamb chair! OUT!

Peanut is an only child, and very likely to stay that way. We're trying really hard not to spoil her... but have you seen her? Almost 5 months old, and so hard to say no to those ah-dorable little eyes. She's declared the lamby chair to be hers and hers alone... (We're still working on that whole sharing thing!)

Peanut & Pierre
Oh... Fuzzball is for me?

Peanut & Pierre play with? Gee. Thanks... I think.

Have to give her the benefit of the doubt... Measuring in at 18 inches tall, Pierre is only 6 inches shorter than Peanut. This is by far the biggest toy she's ever been given, so she wasn't quite sure what to make of him.

His head is SQUISHY!

Let me taste his arm.

Om nom nom...

Eat the satchel?

Peanut tastes everything. Everything I tell you. It's how she tests things.  Luckily, Pierre must've tasted pretty good, because he passed her initial inspection! 

Pierre's first hug. <3

Smushy Hug.


Don't tell Mommy! I'm making stinkers...

Relaxing in Peanut's Lamb Chair


I think it's safe to say that these two have become fast friends. It might be a little while before Pierre is able to join Peanut in her crib, but for now, he's happy to watch over her from the nightstand!

On a side note, Peanut has mastered rolling from her back to her belly. Unfortunately, she hasn't figured out how to roll back onto her back from her belly. She's constantly rolling over onto her belly, sometimes being a little turtle, other times nuzzling the ground with her nose.  Last night was the first night she didn't wake me up with all sorts of flailing noises. I'm hoping it's a trend that lasts!

Did you have a favorite lovey/stuffy when you were little?

Peanut & Pierre
See ya next time! 

Hard Candy Crush on Gold

Here's the first of my new Hard Candy Polishes. From the Crushed Chrome Collection... Crush on Gold!

Hard Candy Crush on Gold

Hard Candy Crush on Gold

Hard Candy Crush on Gold

Hard Candy Crush on Gold

Hard Candy Crush on Gold

Hard Candy Crush on Gold

Polishes Used:

1 Coat Beauty Secrets Ridge Filler
2 Coats Hard Candy Crush on Gold
1 Coat Seche Vite

I satisfied a major lemming with this polish, and I'm so glad I bought it! I don't own it for comparison, but I'm pretty sure this is a dead-on dupe for OPI Designer De Better from the Muppets collection. It's a champagne silver shimmery metallic with gorgeous gold flecks. They came out a bit coppery in my photos, but it's more of a gold color in person. You can see the distinction between the two colors up close, but from far away, this looks like a light gold champagne metallic. This shade is gorgeous and neutral enough that you can wear it with just about anything. I can't wait to see how it looks on my toes!

Hard Candy's formula is great. This is just two easy coats, and it was practically opaque with just one. Dry time wasn't too bad, and I didn't see as much shrinkage at the tips as I usually do when I use Seche Vite. Bonus!

I also picked up Crush on Amethyst from the Crushed Chrome Collection, Cotton Candy Pink and Gummy Green from the Candy Sprinkles Collection, and Fireworks from the Glitteratzi Collection.

How do you like the new polishes from Hard Candy?