21. July 2014 · 15 comments · Categories: NSBR

I’m sure many of you have now heard of Younique. I have a few friends who sell it and rave over it. It’s another one of those direct sales companies that uses consultants to present their products at parties (in person or online) and the party hosts earn free or discounted product and the presenter earns more by getting more people to sell it… you’ve probably been to similar parties before for Jamberry or Pampered Chef or whatever. I generally don’t care for this business model. It’s hard to know if these people are raving over these products because they genuinely love it or simply because they just want to sell more and bring in more money. A couple friends of mine threw online parties for Younique and I was intrigued by the 3D Fiber Lashes product, but opted not to buy it for 2 reasons: it’s expensive ($29) and some of the photos I saw were less than impressive. So… when my friend, Alicia, messaged me and asked if she could send me some product to review, I was thrilled to see if this stuff was really that great. Alicia is an independent consultant for Younique and you can purchase from her personal site at explosiveeyes.com.

Here I am to give you a totally unbiased review. I do NOT sell Younique and I opted not to throw an online party (I didn’t want this review being swayed by possibly earning some stuff from it). None of the links in this post will earn me any free product or other compensation. I received free product simply for the purposes of completing this review. Any purchases made through the links in this post will benefit Alicia, but I will receive no commisions or other free product.

Here’s everything Alicia sent me:


At the top is the 3D Fiber Lashes set, a cream foundation, and a lip gloss in Luxe. I was sent a full size of the eye pigment in Sexy and loads of samples of other eye pigments, a blush, and some concealer.

Since the 3D Fiber Lashes seems to be their big seller, let’s start with that…

Younique 3D Fiber Lashes

I really like the packaging – it comes in a sturdy case that looks like an eyeglass case. Note that this is NOT considered a replacement for mascara. It came with instructions and they tell you to put on one coat of your regular mascara before applying the Fiber Lash, then you apply the transplanting gel, followed by the fibers, and followed by another coat of the transplanting gel. This makes your usual eyelash routine a bit longer: curl lashes + apply mascara + transplanting gel + fibers + transplanting gel. There is a bit of a learning curve with this product. If you’re not careful, you can go overboard and it will start getting clumpy and might even make your lashes look a little furry (if that makes any sense). The fibers sometimes come off the wand in large clumps and I’d have to pull off these clumps. It’s best to do it with a light hand and concentrate on the outer lashes and apply sparingly to the inner lashes. I did not apply any to my lower lashes. It was essential for me to use a lash comb with this product in order to avoid clumps and to get the fibers to all face the right direction. You WILL end up with some loose fibers on your cheek or around your eyes, but I just brushed them away with my kabuki brush. I did have a few fibers fall on my cheeks by the end of the day (the individual fibers are really small), but I’m not sure if this just means I didn’t use enough of the gel or if this is normal. Either way, they weren’t noticeable. I only noticed them because I was looking for them up close before I took off my makeup.

EDIT: Alicia told me that she thinks it works BETTER without first applying your usual mascara. Here’s what she said:  I always use the fiber lashes as a stand alone mascara. I personally don’t care for it over other mascara. I don’t think it turns out as well and sometimes the fibers can fall off because they don’t stick as well, but that is my personal opinion. The transplanting gel is colored black so I have absolutely no problem using stand alone (and most people I have talked to feel the same). I actually have no idea why they say in the instructions to use another mascara underneath. I think it detracts from how well it works.

Good to know! I will try it without mascara next time! :)

So, does it work? Yes. My lashes definitely look longer and thicker when I use the 3D Fiber Lash. Is it something I’d apply every time I do my makeup? No. I might wear it once a week and for date nights and special occasions. The bottles do seem pretty generous, so I’m curious how long it will last me with only using it once or twice a week. I heard that with daily usage, it should last about 2 months, but I’m not sure on that.

Younique 3D Fiber Lash Mascara Review

Taking photos of your own eyes with a heavy DSLR is kinda hard, dudes. Just FYI. :p

I really did not care for the cream foundation. It was hard to blend and a lot harder to apply evenly in comparison to my usual liquid foundation. The concealer was alright, but I would rather use a liquid or cream concealer than a powder. I just feel I get better coverage from liquid and cream concealers.

The eye pigments are really, really pretty. They have lots of beautiful shades in matte or shimmery finishes. The eye pigment in Sexy is super pretty and the perfect highlighter for the inner eye. The pigments feel almost silky when rubbed between the fingers. I didn’t have much fallout when applying it, but I always rub my eyeshadow brushes on my hand before applying the shadow to my eyes. The color lasts through the day, but I use an eye shadow primer (Urban Decay’s Eyeshadow Primer Potion) so I can’t tell you how they wear without the primer.

I liked the blush, but I prefer my cream blush from nyx since it’s not as messy as loose powder.

All Younique products claim to be naturally based and chemical free and their products are not tested on animals. They have a Love It Guarantee so you can buy with confidence.

Now here’s a full face shot – I’m wearing some of the eye pigments (Sexy, Daring, and Curious), the 3D Fiber Lashes, blush in Sweet, and the lip gloss in Luxe. This shade of gloss is a really natural color for me. Alicia warned me when I picked it that it’s a little orange, but I have warm yellow undertones and my usual lip color is a peachy color, so I knew this would be a good shade for me. The gloss has a really nice feel to it and doesn’t feel at all sticky. It lasts a few hours, which is pretty good for a gloss!

Younique 3D Fiber Lash and Eye Pigments Review

Alicia would like to give away one set of 3D Fiber Lashes to one of my blog followers! Here’s how you can enter:

REQUIRED entry: Go to Alicia’s Younique Independent Presenter webpage www.ExplosiveEyes.com. Look at the 100% natural mineral eye pigments. Come back and leave a comment with your favorite color.

Bonus entries:

1 entry: “Like” Alicia’s Younique Independent Presenter Facebook page

1 entry: after “liking” the page, hover over the “liked” tab and click that you would like to “receive notifications”

1 entry: pin an image from this post on Pinterest (there is a Pin It button at the end of this post to make it easy peasy for you!)

3 entries: Book an online Facebook party with Alicia (contact her at ExplosiveEyes@yahoo.com or on Facebook) – entries will be given once she has been contacted and party date has been arranged

Use the Rafflecopter widget below to record your completed entries (entries that are not entered into the Rafflecopter widget will not be included, so make sure you record them below!)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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31. December 2013 · 2 comments · Categories: NSBR

Man, it’s been awhile since I posted here! As I’m sure you can imagine, the holidays kept me pretty busy! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas (or Hanukkah or whatever holiday you may celebrate)! Every Christmas, I make a delicious honey ham and there are always lots of leftovers. My favorite thing to make with the leftovers is this creamy, extremely delicious ham & potato soup. It’s my favorite soup ever (and I’m not generally a big soup lover, but this is so darn good). For real. Paired with these amazing homemade rolls, it makes an incredible “comfort food” meal. It’s satisfying, flavorful, and creamy – without being too heavy. I realize I’m not typically one to blog about my favorite recipes, but this is just too good not to share! I started off with a base recipe about 3 years ago and it has been heavily modified over the years to create what is below! Enjoy!

Creamy White Cheddar, Ham, and Potato Soup

Creamy White Cheddar, Ham, & Potato Soup

2 tbs. vegetable oil
1 sweet onion, diced
3 ribs celery, sliced
4-5 carrots, peeled and sliced
5 cups *less sodium* chicken broth
4 cups potatoes, peeled and cut into bite size cubes
2 cups diced, cooked ham
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Salt, to taste (1/2 tsp. is about how much I use)
5 tbs. butter
5 tbs. flour
2 cups whole milk
3 cups shredded sharp white cheddar cheese


In a stockpot, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat and add the onion, celery, and carrots. Sauté until veggies start to soften. Stir in the chicken broth, potatoes, ham, and salt & pepper. Simmer over medium heat until potatoes are tender (about 10-15 minutes).

In a separate saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Whisk in the flour and whisk constantly until thick, about 1 minute. Slowly stir in the milk (don’t add it all at once to avoid clumps). Continue stirring over medium-low heat until it thickens, about 5 minutes. Add the cheese and stir until melted and smooth.

Stir the cheese mixture into the stockpot.

Serve and garnish with cheese, green onion, etc. as desired.

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27. November 2013 · 4 comments · Categories: NSBR

It’s no secret that Christmas is my favorite holiday. I love the excitement, the magic and wonder that I get to experience through my kids, the hot cocoa and treats, the reminder of my blessings, and the constant reminder of our Savior’s birth. I love doing an advent activity calendar so we can celebrate Christmas every day in December.

Back in September, I made it out to Hobby Lobby. Imagine my GLEE when I saw that their Christmas stuff was already out. I have NO problem with seeing Christmas stuff put out well before Christmas. The nearest Hobby Lobby is over 2 hours from my house, so I used that as an excuse to pick some stuff up without guilt since I might not make it back before Christmas. I saw this cute little gold sleigh and snagged it for 40% off. I had no idea what I was going to do with it. At first I thought maybe I’d fill it with ornaments… but then I thought how cute it would be filled with mini gift boxes?!

Christmas Advent Calendar in a Sleigh

I found some inexpensive kraft jewelry boxes on Etsy. They are pretty close to the size of a mini box of matches. They came in a set of 25 for $7.50 (plus shipping). I purchased some glitter card stock and used my trusty Silhouette Cameo to cut out my numbers and glued them to the tops of the boxes. I added some embellishments to some of them, printed out our activities and placed them inside, then piled them into the sleigh!

Advent Calendar Assembly

Advent Calendar mini boxes

Advent Calendar

I thought I’d share our activities in case you are looking for some ideas. Some of these have photos from years past. I have all these activities typed into my iCal so if I need to shuffle things around later, I know which boxes to check.

1. Write letters to Santa

2. Prophets Foretold the Coming of Christ Family Home Evening (free lesson plan on A Year of FHE)

3. Pick out a toy at the store to donate

4. Unwrap a new Christmas book and read it together (I’ll be picking up The Polar Express this year)

5. Pick out a Christmas tree and decorate

Silver and gold Christmas tree

6. Clean out toy bins, organize, and donate unused toys

7. Go to the church Christmas party and meet Santa


8. Take silly photo booth photos (we’re using these cute, free printables from Catching Fireflies)

9. Come Let Us Adore Him Family Home Evening (from the Family Home Evening Resource Manual, which you can view for free here)

10. Make a Christmas craft (I haven’t decided what yet, but we might make ornaments or just do something simple like cut out paper snowflakes)

11. Donate food to a food drive

12. Make snowman pancakes

Snowman pancakes

13. Decorate a gingerbread house


14. Unwrap a new Christmas movie, pop popcorn, and watch it (We’re buying Elf… I can’t believe we haven’t added this to our collection yet!)

15. Make Christmas cards for grandparents

16. Gifts for the Savior Family Home Evening (free lesson plan on A Year of FHE)

17. Make homemade hot chocolate

18. Make a gift for school teacher

19. Perform a random act of kindness (like pay for someone’s lunch or leave a little cash for someone)

20. Campout in front of the Christmas tree – this is one of our favorite parts of December! We pull out mom and dad’s mattress, watch movies, eat treats, and sleep in front of the tree! This tradition is never complete without some jumping on the bed the following morning!

Camp in front of the Christmas tree

21. Make treats for friends – baking day

22. Drive around and look at Christmas lights and bring some hot chocolate and snacks for the ride

23. Symbols of Christmas Family Home Evening (we’ll be merging this free lesson plan with the story at the end of this post)

24. Make cookies for Santa


So fun! I love December! Feel free to share your favorite December traditions in the comments. I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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Large Photo Gallery Wall

When choosing frames for a statement wall, I strongly believe that bigger is better. Imagine how sad my gallery wall would look if I printed these all up as 8×10′s. It would be very sad indeed. With this wall, I decided to go BIG! So big, in fact, that my largest frame is actually taller than my 5.5 year old (who happens to be tall for her age).

Large frame

These are all Poppy Tree Frames and I ADORE them!! I’m sure you’ve seen similar ornate cut frames like these before, but I went with Poppy Tree Frames because theirs were a little more unique. I liked their shape offerings and I LOVE how the openings in the frames are also cut into pretty shapes. This was not something I saw in any of the other shops. Obviously, with a large wall like this, I was going to be dropping a bit of cash, but their prices are extremely reasonable. I don’t know if you’ve ever priced getting custom frames done somewhere like JoAnn… but geez, even after you use one of the JoAnn 50% off coupons, they are pricey! Poppy Tree Frames are priced just right, especially considering the custom nature of the frames (you pick the size, color, can add a print, and can request special designs as well). You can also follow their Facebook page to stay up-to-date with their weekly specials!

I planned out this wall a looong time ago. Before we even moved into this house. Basically, I started dreaming up this wall as soon as we picked a floor plan. I went to town in Photoshop, like I always do for stuff like this, and planned it all out. I emailed Poppy Tree and asked the outside dimensions for each frame I was looking at and then created a layout in PS to scale.

Photo Wall Planning

This was a really important step for me so I could visualize how well the sizes and colors would work together. I ordered my prints and then I saved and saved until I could order my frames. I ordered an 8×12″ Oval in Gray Shower, a 10×15″ Faint in Simply White, a 16×24″ Harmony in Timber Wolfe, a 12×24″ Sovereign Strata in Timber Wolfe and Simply White, a 10×15″ August in North Sea, a 10×15″ August in Simply White, and a 20×30″ Brazen on Faint Strata in Simply White and North Sea. They have a lot of fun colors to choose from, but I decided to keep my frames neutral.

The frames take about 4 weeks until they’re shipped out, but they are worth the wait. They all came very well packaged and I was impressed when I opened them up and felt the weight of them. They are thick and the craftsmanship was perfect.

Close-up of frame

Hanging them was quite a task. We had to anchor all of them into the drywall… I think only one hanger on my whole wall hit a stud. We bought anchors rated to hold 20 lbs and they all worked perfectly. I took the time to trace each frame onto butcher paper and poster boards so I could tape them to the wall and marked each hanger onto the papers to make hanging a little easier. It took quite a while, but it was completely worth it to take this step.

Hanging the Frames

Poppy Tree Frames

Poppy Tree Frames 2

I’m seriously in LOVE with my wall. I smile when I come out from my room each morning and I come out into the family room because my favorite family photos are right in front of me!

Large Photo Gallery Wall


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Is anyone else as addicted to Amazon as I am? Their Prime membership has ruined me for life. I LOVE the 2-day shipping. I place multiple orders every month and that membership has more than paid for itself – several times over. I’m always super annoyed when I place orders with other shops online and I have to wait a week to get my order. Blah. I’m RUINED, I tell ya! Ruined! hehe!

If you are a college student or a parent/caretaker, you can sign up for FREE trials of their Amazon Student and Amazon Mom memberships. These free trials give you access to FREE 2-Day shipping Prime benefits.

When you sign up for Amazon Student, you will get (.edu email required for verification):

  • 6 months FREE 2-Day shipping on items shipped by Amazon
  • Once your free trial expires, you can subscribe to Amazon Student for $40 OFF the regular Prime subscription price. You’ll get a full year of 2-Day Prime shipping for just $39 instead of the regular $79 fee. Plus, once you pay for a subscription, you will have access to the free Prime streaming instant videos.


When you sign up for Amazon Mom, you will get:

  • 3 months FREE 2-Day shipping on items shipped by Amazon
  • 20% off diapers and wipes subscriptions with Subscribe & Save

(you don’t have to be a mom to enroll in Amazon Mom… you can be a dad or a grandparent or other person who cares for young children)

I’ve been subscribed to both Amazon Student and Amazon Mom. I used to order Pampers diapers for my baby boy and it was quite a bit cheaper than purchasing the diapers at Walmart when I took advantage of the Amazon Mom discount with Subscribe & Save. Subscribe & Save is terrific for items that you need to keep stocked around the house on a regular basis. You select a frequency (every month, every 3 months, every 6 months, etc.) and they will automatically send out your subscriptions so you never run out!

I live in a rural area and we do not have much shopping around here, so I always shop Amazon first. Amazon’s prices are so competitive that it almost always has the best price and combined with free 2-Day shipping, I end up putting in A LOT of orders with Amazon every month! Many of the items I buy are even cheaper than my local Walmart. Plus, I like shopping in my jammies. :) They have such a large amount of stock… you can find nearly everything. Some of the grocery items I’ve ordered from Amazon include diapers, makeup, razor blade refills, replacement heads for my Oral-B electric toothbrush (with Subscribe & Save these are significantly cheaper than Walmart), Finish Powerball dish detergent (my FAVE ever), and organic extra virgin coconut oil.

Of course, I like to buy fun stuff a lot as well. We do lots of gift shopping and I’ve bought myself a few toys on Amazon. With nearly always the best price and the free 2-Day shipping, I like to treat myself to fun stuff. I bought my Canon Pixma wide format printer, my Silhouette Cameo, and an external hard drive to help me in my work and hobbies. I regularly order new, fun tools and gadgets for my kitchen because I LOVE to bake and cook! If you haven’t heard of OXO, then you need to get yourself some of their tools. They are my FAVE kitchen gadgets EVER! I have loads of their fun stuff.



We buy a lot of Christmas and birthday gifts on Amazon as well. A couple years back I placed a few last minute orders for Christmas just 3 days before Christmas and that Prime shipping SAVED me! It all came on Christmas Eve and I didn’t stress about whether I’d get my stuff in time. I’ve always had wonderful customer service from Amazon and I always feel confident ordering from them. Third party vendors do sell some stuff on there, but the vast majority of my orders are directly from Amazon (they always note who is selling the item on the page).

Come get addicted, too! ;) Those free trials linked up above are a great way to give Amazon Prime a try if you haven’t already!

This post contains my Amazon affiliate links.