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Nota bene: I am a Pura Vida Bracelets rep! That means I will receive a commission on all sales that use my coupon code (NAOMIDENSMORE20)! While my code cannot be used on Pura Vida Club subscriptions, it can be used for everything else. Thanks for your support! I love Pura Vida, and I think you will, too. 

Unboxing: Pura Vida Club January Review

It’s the first unboxing of 2017! I’m happy to kick this off with a review of the Pura Vida Club box for January. I wasn’t planning to pay any attention to this box whatsoever when it was unveiled last year, because I don’t really like surprises when it comes to jewelry and accessories. When teaser photos were shared of this month’s bracelets, though, I caved. I’m a sucker for anything with an ocean theme. Thankfully, this subscription is very easy to pause if you decide you need a break.

The Pura Vida Club box is $14.95 each month, shipped. Each month’s shipment includes three coordinated bracelets, which may include Club exclusive designs. Each bracelet is made by hand with wax coated cord, and is 100% waterproof. Charm and beaded bracelets might require a little extra care, obviously. Pura Vida provides jobs for Costa Rican artisans, supports a number of non profit organizations, and is a member of 1% For the Planet.

Unboxing: Pura Vida Club January Review

January’s Club included: Gold Wave Charm ($15 value), Braided Sea Nights ($15 value), Wave Chaser Original ($5 value)

I  already knew I was going to love all three bracelets (the wave especially), so obviously I couldn’t be happier. These bracelets make a perfect stack, but can also easily be paired with a number of Pura Vida’s other designs. My only minor complaint with the subscription is that marketing materials are sent with every order, and I wish there was a way to opt out. As a Pura Vida rep, I like being able to give away stickers, but the extras still seem unnecessary. Still, far less waste and packaging here than with many subscription boxes! So Kudos on that note. ♥

As evident in my photos, it snowed six inches or so yesterday, so the arrival of this package was timely and very much appreciated. I needed a little brightness and color! Besides, my love for the ocean is certainly not seasonal! Honestly, this southern Maine/New Hampshire stretch of seacoast is beautiful this time of year.

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Just how many millennia has it been since I posted a manicure of the week or a polish review? This one is exciting!

Digits: Trust Fund Beauty Hot in the Hamptons

This bright pink shade from Trust Fund Beauty is going to be on my fingers all summer long. Hot in the Hamptons is a hot, hot pink with a touch of shimmer. Even though I’m normally a neutral polish kind of girl, this is a dose of happiness every time I look down at my hands. I can’t get enough. It’s nice to have a bright color in my polish arsenal. I’m a little out of my comfort zone, in a good way. Pink is secretly (sometimes) one of my favorite colors. Don’t tell. I’m complicated.

Trust Fund Beauty is home to 100% vegan, cruelty-free and toxin-free nail polishes, made in the US and EU. The names are cheeky, and the polishes are bright, long-lasting perfection. Each bottle costs $15, and it’s money well spent.  The manicure you see in the photo is a touch up on four days of wear with very little chipping. Two coats, no topcoat (plus just the single touch up coat). This polish blows my mind. Trust Fund Beauty is definitely an indy cosmetics company worth supporting. These three polishes on my wish list:

Digits: Trust Fund Beauty Hot in the Hamptons

London Snog, Why U Mad Tho?, Bye Felicia

Non-toxic and cruelty-free beauty is incredibly important to me. I have a strict set of standards when it comes to my infrequent (but enjoyable and necessary) cosmetics and body care purchases, and with so many options available, in all price ranges, there’s no reason not to be picky. I’m so happy to have discovered this company. While there are now quite a few toxin-free nail polishes on the market, Trust Fund is now officially in my top three (along with LVX and SpaRitual).

What polish colors are you wearing this summer?

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BITTW: Fraoch

Beer I Tried This Week is back! None of my new year resolutions involve cutting back on alcohol, so that’s good for me. Beer is important. Food and drink review has always been a favorite of mine, from way back in the beginning of my blogging days with Okazu. I like the idea of beer reviews with a feminine touch. Is that my so-called niche?

Hm. No, probably not. But I like it.

Williams Brothers Brewing Company, UK (Scotland)

5% ABV

available year round

bottled

This is a Scottish ale. I’ve tried a couple different imported Scottish ciders over the last few years but, weirdly enough, never an ale. While I do like to focus on New England brews in this feature, and tend to go for Maine beers when we’re out and about trying new things, Fraoch Heather Ale definitely had my name written all over it. I am a sucker for label art. I first tried this at Novare Res, a beer bar in Portland, ME (which you should absolutely visit if you’re in the area). Perhaps it’s my Scottish heritage, but I immediately felt transported. And in love. Williams Brothers Fraoch is available by the pint bottle at Tully’s in Maine, so we bought a couple before the holiday to enjoy at home.

This ale is brewed with heather flowers and Scottish malt. It’s one of the oldest styles of ales still being produced, based on an ancient Gaelic recipe for heather ale, “leann fraoich.” It’s floral with light carbonation and a dry finish. Floral without hoppiness is a beautiful, beautiful thing for a girl who bursts into sneezing fits at the mere sight of hops.

I recommend this if you want a light ale colored by ancient history (and who doesn’t). I found it very easy to drink; it has become a new favorite.

Fraoch Heather Ale bottles and kegs are vegan friendly, according to Barnivore. Casks are fined with isinglass, though this practice is being phased out.

Suggestions for beer/beverage photography? I’d greatly appreciate it.

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The necklace featured below is a custom made sample product received for review purposes. I was contacted by Anjolee and asked if I wanted to review their products and website. The thoughts and opinions in this post are my own. Thanks to Anjolee Jewelry! ♥

Anjolee Jewelry Review :: girldust.com

Anjolee offers high quality, customizable diamond and fine gemstone jewelry. The California-based company was founded in 1977, and is highly regarded for their customer service. Check out their site for more information. What really sold me on this collaboration was the plethora of information provided on the Anjolee website. It really means a lot to me when a company, especially one dealing in high-end goods like diamonds, is upfront about their manufacturing process and source materials. I didn’t have to hunt for the details I wanted. Anjolee conforms to the 2003 Kimberly act, ensuring their diamonds are obtained through legitimate channels.

I received a sterling silver CZ and amethyst tennis necklace. The necklace is bright but still delicate and understated, and appropriate for everyday wear (though I think I’ll probably save it for date nights). It will pair well with some of the plainer silver pieces I already own. Amethyst is one of my favorite gemstones, so I really liked that I had it as an option. Many of their statement pieces allow for the choice of a gemstone instead of a diamond. The amethyst and the CZ’s provide a subtle pop of color and a bit of sparkle to a mostly matte dark wardrobe, so I think I’ll probably get a lot of wear out of this piece.

Anjolee Jewelry Review :: girldust.com

When it comes to fine jewelry and diamonds, I think I will always prefer vintage, but it was a pleasure working with this company. If you are in the market for a new, custom jewelry piece, I recommend checking out Anjolee.

 

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Jamberry nail wraps are a non-toxic, cruelty-free alternative to nail polish, and are super simple to apply. Nail wraps make it a little easier for an uncoordinated person like myself to get a decent looking manicure. The wraps work as accent nails to accompany your regular polish, or can be used for a full-on manicure. Many of the Jamberry designs can be mixed-and-matched to create a unique look.

I recently “attended” an online party hosted by a friend. I placed an order and received a couple sample sheets from the representative (one pictured below). And yes, Jamberry is one of those products that involve a rep and parties. Avon! Tupperware! Whatever! Thank goodness, though, you can purchase online without a rep link, if that’s your thing, and it’s not a “members only” kind of product.

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L to R: Darkest Black, Midnight Sky, Moon Glass, Birds of a Feather / Floral Noir

I really like the way Moon Glass looks with a solid black nail. I haven’t received it yet, but Floral Noir will be fun with just about anything I have in my polish collection.

To use Jamberry nail wraps, you’ll need a few simple supplies:

  • rubbing alcohol
  • cuticle pusher or orange stick
  • nail clippers or scissors
  • heat source (Jamberry makes a mini heater, but a hairdryer will do)
  • nail file

Jamberry Review :: girldust.com

Black & White Stripe, Natural Leopard, Sheer Genius, Sweet Nothing, Mind Games

Check out the official application tips and videos. Removal is just as easy; simply soak your fingers in some warm water (I added some lemon essential oil), break the “seal” on the edges of your nails with an orange stick, and carefully work the wrap off of your nail. Follow up with some ultra hydrating lotion. I also gave my nails a few resting days in between wrap applications.

The wraps are not reusable, but each sheet will give you multiple manicures, depending on the size of your nail bed and whether or not you choose to use them on your toes, as well. Each sheet of wraps will last longer if you’re not doing an entire manicure using one design. The cost of each sheet of wraps is $15, and there is a “Buy 3, get 1 free” deal. I won’t argue Jamberry’s cost-effectiveness, because I think, if you are actually skilled at painting your nails, a bottle of nail polish (even the more expensive brands) is more bang for your buck. If you regularly go out for manicures (I don’t because it involves socializing), using nail wraps instead will definitely save you some money. If not, probably not. I think I’m somewhere in the middle.

My first application lasted about five days, which is more than nail polish ever lasts on my nails. I found out that the wraps can last ten days or more, with proper application and care. The less you use your hands on a daily basis, I imagine the longer the manicure will last, and it will also depend on how fast your fingernails grow. It’s important when sizing up your wraps to use a size slightly smaller than your nail bed. I found this a little difficult with my child-sized fingers; the wraps intended for the index finger and thumb were actually a little too big, so I had some warping along the edges. You really want to make sure the wrap fits your nail, and does not touch the surrounding area.

The majority of the wrap designs were actually not my cup of tea, but as you can see, I liked enough of them to justify making a purchase. I’m happy I did. A number of designs are being discontinued after the 28th. You can find those here (including Midnight Sky, Moon Glass, Birds of a Feather, and Floral Noir). I actually snagged a second Moon Glass sheet because I loved it so much and am sad to see it go. I was excited to learn that there are some darker colors in the upcoming March catalog, since spring is usually all about brights and pastels (yawn). I’m liking the current collection’s wraps shown below, all of which will carry over into the next season, but I can’t wait to see the new designs!

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L to R: Black & White Stripe, Reminisce, Diamond Dust Sparkle, Boysenberry

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