Wednesday, 30 May 2012

My Summer Essentials Pt2: Haircare and Styling

Evening all!! 
I'm back tonight to bring you the second part of my Summer Essentials series. Yesterday saw my skincare and tanning choices and today it's all about hair! Gonna round it all off tomorrow with my favourite makeup products and summer shades. 
Summer can be a stressful time for your hair and it's so important to protect it and give it that extra bit of TLC when spending time out in the sun, swimming and styling. Humidity is also a major hair issue for a lot of people (remember Monica in Friends) and I'm no exception. Doesn't take much to make me look like something out of Saturday Night Fever!


Since the heat has been on i've been majorly turning to products that contain UV protector and it just so happens that i have a few Twisted Sista products in my cupboard at the moment. All of these products in this post contain UV filters and antioxidants so you know you're going to be protected throughout the washing, drying, styling process. I'm not necessarily trying to push these particular products on you, but these are exactly the TYPE of products you should be shopping for. If you do want to know more about the range than you can find information and stockists HERE!!

Straightening Thermal Protector:
Heat protection spray should be in everyone's beach bag. The name of this product really doesn't mean that it's only to be used for straightening. I spray this all over my hair after washing, even when i'm letting my hair dry naturally (blow drying, for me, is a hot, sweaty and unnecessary process in hot weather). I sometimes even take a heat protector in my bag when i'm on holiday or out in the sun, just for the odd spritz to help it along. 

De-Frizz Shampoo:
This product actually won a Hair Award last year for Best Shampoo and Conditioner Under £5 (all Twisted Sista products are under a fiver). De Frizz products really come into their own in the summer months, and there are many on the market, but i'm liking this one. 

Straightening Blow Dry Cream:
Of course, if you're in a hurry or REALLY desire a poker straight, smooth style, then blow drying with a styling product like this with UV filters built in is a must. I haven't used this product yet but I'm glad i have it on standby for emergencies!! Twisted Sista also do a blow dry cream for curly, permed or afro hair (which my boss has really been enjoying).

Hot Curls Perfector:
If you're not blessed with naturally wavy hair (can be a blessing AND a curse, believe me) and desire a curled look or beachy waves than this is a great product to be using with your hot tongs, rollers or wavers. I give each section a spritz of this before tonging and it just helps combat the heat, enhance shine and protect your curls against dropping as well as the heat.


Ojon Damage Reverse Serum:
Of course, at the end of a day of glaring sunshine, your hair will need as much TLC as your skin. Heat can completely change the structure of your hair, even if you can't see it like you can on your skin. Intensive serums and oils are a great way of putting back in what the heat takes out. There are several ways to use them. One is to actually smother your dry hair with them BEFORE going out in the sun as an intense conditioning treatment (the heat of the sun opens up your hair so the product is absorbed straight into the cortex), then wash it out, or you can use it on your hair wet after washing and leave it in. Silicone based products such as Moroccan Oil are also okay for this, but for a real treat, try to go for a pure Argan oil (or similar). 

OSIS Style Shifters Texturising Spray:
These kinds of products are a must for me. My hair has a natural wave to it and its such a godsend to just be able to let my hair dry naturally then scrunch in some of this to create natural beachy waves. If you're not blessed with natural waves, don't worry, I'm coming to you in a minute. Other products similar to this that i have used in the past are the Bumble & Bumble Surf Spray and the Lee Stafford Sea Salt Spray. All have their merits and are very similar, but just appeal to different budgets. 


Diva Professional Styling Heatwave:
As promised, for you straighter ladies, you can still get gorgeous, beachy, mermaid waves with minimal hassle. Even i use this sometimes after scrunch drying just to tease my waves into shape. Make sure you use a good heat protector (like those mentioned in this post) and use a medium/low heat setting. The titanium plates also enhance shine so your hair will appear more glossy. 

My summer hair - EEEEK no makeup (apart from lip butter hehe). This is having washed my hair and drying naturally, followed by a spritz of OSIS and a quick going over with the Diva Heatwave. SORTED! And i don't have to worry about frizz or kinks.


Diva Professional Styling Feel The Heat Styler:
Can you tell i'm obsessed with Diva products?? Not gonna tell you or show you too much about this product today as i'm planning a full review in the near future, but this is the first EVER styler to have ceramic plates INFUSED with Argan Oil! Perfect for smoothing holiday frizz!!

Straightening can be an absolute NIGHTMARE on holiday and in hot, humid weather. My top tips for summery straight hair would be (at risk of sounding like a stuck record here) a good heat protector at every stage and choose a styler with variable heat settings. Heat stressed and frizzy hair will only be made WORSE by going in with your irons on full whack. If you own GHDs (which is no bad thing, as i also use those wonderful things) you don't have to fork out for another expensive styler as there are several cheaper alternatives available from drugstores with variable heat settings, which may be handy to have just for holidays. If you use hair extensions then i'd advise you should invest in one also, as GHDs really are a bit too hot for use on even human hair extensions.

So i hope you got some handy hints on hairstyling in the sun. If you have any further questions about styling or care then i'd be happy to answer them. Just comment below! See you later in the week for my top makeup and colour picks for summer 2012!!

What are your summer hair issues?? Any must have products i need to try?? 
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Tuesday, 29 May 2012

My Summer Essentials Pt1: Skincare & Tanning

Afternoon beauty seekers!!
Yet another essay to bash out this afternoon so i'll shut up in a second and get on with the post, but last night i got to thinking how much i am enjoying a few products recently and how perfect they are for summer. This post is inspired by those items and i thought i'd share with you my Summer ESSENTIALS!! I'm covering skincare, makeup and a bit of haircare and styling but today I'm carrying on with yesterday's theme and doing skincare and tanning. I hope you enjoy noseying through my summer beauty arsenal.....



St Ives Invigorating Apricot Scrub:
Not really much i need to say about this as it's all down in black and white in my previous post from last night haha... But what i will say is that, I've been so thankful for this in the last week. I really feel like it freshens up my face at the end of a hot day as well as removing all the sweat and dirt and leaves my skin lovely and glowy.

Amie Morning Dew Matte-Finish Moisturiser:
This is a great product!! I have combination skin and other, more oily, moisturisers can often leave me shiny which is a no no for during the day. This is a perfect moisturiser for this kind of weather as i feel it helps combat the shine factor and similarly for oilier skin types in general. I also love that Amie use only pure and natural ingredients and their products never feel gloopy or heavy on my face. It sinks in really quickly and there's no greasy feeling afterwards so its a great one for using before applying makeup. For more on the Amie Pure and Natural range and to buy online check out their website at amieskincare.com


Sophyto Restorative Toner:
This is a product that i use for both day and night. I LOVE that it's a spray as it really refreshes my skin as well as restoring the pH balance INSTANTLY. The size i have here is a sample size as i was introduced to this product at an event i attended recently but i will definitely be purchasing the full size as it's so affordable and, once again, pure and natural and certified organic. I've even been popping it in the fridge during the day in this hotter weather and it really wakes my skin up and really aids my moisturiser in improving the texture of my skin. Find out more about this, and the other Sophyto products HERE, although i will be featuring this, along with two other Sophyto products in a future post so stay tuned for more.

Dr T's Supergoop City Sunscreen Serum:
This is another US brand that has recently come to British attention. Again, this was a product i was given at an event, but i have seen the products on Amazon HERE. Not only does this product have SPF 30+ but it helps to repair the skin and protect against UV damage. I've been using this when going out in the sun, under my makeup (i haven't been wearing an awful lot of foundation in this weather but have been using a powder variety just to ward off the shine monster). My skin feels soft after i've used it and i know i'm protected. 


Dove Spa Silk Rhapsody Body Cream:
I can't say I'm loyal to any particular brand of body cream/butter but this is the one i have been using just lately. I suppose the rich formula is pretty perfect for putting on at night to help the skin recover from a sun battering. I find body butters to be pretty essential during the hotter months as well as all year round, and everyone should have one in their beauty regime. Other brands i like to use are Palmers, BodyShop Passionfruit Butter and Vaseline Cocoa Butter, but this one just feels that little bit more luxurious. It's not cheap, but it's not the most expensive product out there by any means. You can check it out HERE


St Moriz Instant Self Tanning Mist:
I have to say i only actually bought this yesterday and tried it for the first time last night BUT I find spray tanners a lot easier in warmer weather because, think about it, you've already slathered yourself in body butter or aftersun and (if you're like me) slaving away, rubbing in yet another layer of lotion of mousse is just too much hassle. An aerosol tan just requires a squirt all over and minimal blending. This one is pretty decent!! Its not a DARK formula but i don't need it to be as i'm working on a natural tan of my own, i just want to enhance and speed it along a little. St Moriz is readily available via the usual channels and is super affordable.

Bronze Ambition Glow'n'Go Instant Matte Tan:
This is a total bargain and a great time saver product! I've been using this product in tan emergencies for some time now and is just a great little product for touch ups and last minute body bronzing. You may have seen Bronze Ambition featured on The Apprentice this last series but, I'm happy to report, the price of it isn't as hefty as what the candidates were charging for it! In fact, you can buy it in Poundland!! They have a full range of self tan and instant tanning products which you can browse at bronze-ambition.com

So those are my summer skincare picks. I will be following up tomorrow with my haircare and styling essentials and finishing off with some summer makeup must haves. 

What products do you run to when the heat is on?? How do you keep your skin happy in hot weather?? 
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Monday, 28 May 2012

St Ives Scrubs Up!!

Evening my lovelies!
I seem to start every post lately with a moan about how little time i've had to blog and this has, once again, rung true for the last week. More uni stuff, work stuff and general rushing around have kept me away from my blog again. I'm hoping after this week i might get some relief from the essays and get back to blogging more regularly! But i'm taking this evening to relax and i'm taking the opportunity to tell you all about one of the events i attended recently, organised by Handpicked Media to showcase some new products from the skincare brand St. Ives!!



Big thank you to HPM for inviting me! I'm sure we've all heard of St. Ives at some point. I first used the scrubs many years ago when i was a teenager. All their products are made using 100% natural extracts and exfoliants which promise to make your skin brighter and more radiant. In fact, they say they can have your skin looking healthier in just 7 days!! 
We were treated to some yummy apricot-themed cockails and canape's whilst we listened to the lovely Pedro (great name, ferret number one is named Pedro haha) talk us through how the products worked and even a little demo on the effects they have on your skin, making it instantly more moisturised after one gentle exfoliation. 


The three main products on show were their Invigorating Scrub, Blemish Fighting Scrub and Gentle Scrub. They have one for almost every skin type! The ingredients all looked totally yummy and include apricots (duhh), walnuts and corn kernels to exfoliate your skin naturally and are designed to promote skin cell turnover and regeneration. 
Unfortunately, we couldn't stay around all night for the whole event as we had another stop to make, but we listened to a very interesting talk on how skincare has evolved through the ages from Cleopatra's milk baths leading right back up to today! There was the opportunity later on to decorate a mannequin head to reflect your take on natural beauty. Unfortunately this was the part we missed out on. 


As for MY thoughts on the product.....
We were given two of the scrubs to take home: The Invigorating Scrub and the Gentle Scrub. I finally got round to using the Invigorating scrub last week. With the weather heating up (seriously, how GLORIOUS has it been lately),  my face has been feeling less than fresh and i really wanted to use something that would cheer my combination skin up and clean off the sweat and dirt. This product really does smell YUMMY!! No lies now, but after the first time i used the scrub my skin immediately looked more glowy and felt super smooth. And i have been enjoying using it ever since. I may even go in search of the Blemish Fighting scrub as my skin has been changing quite a lot recently and i'm experiencing the odd breakout that i never have in the past (I blame old age creeping in - 30 this year: EEEEEEK).


It was really interesting to see how St. Ives have reinvented and developed, what really is, a classic product. I've been thoroughly enjoying using it and look forward to discovering more from the range. I really have been lazy with my skin in the past but i'm repenting now for my skin sins! This is a great product to help whip me into shape! 

The scrubs featured in this post retail for £5.10 and are available via the usual channels such as Boots and Superdrug as well as being available online. 

What are your skin essentials?? Have you rediscovered any old favourites lately??
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Thursday, 24 May 2012

A Hair-Raising Challenge from Clynol

Afternoon lovelies!!
How gorgeous is this weather?!?! Stark contrast to what we've been getting lately! Hopefully it's a change for the better and will stick with us. Don't fancy having yet ANOTHER Winter this year, do you??  Unfortunately, today, i am stuck indoors chained to my laptop as i have uni assignments to get handed in (left it til last minute, bad Lisa), BUT i wanted to pop this post out there before i get too carried away as i was invited recently by the lovely ladies at ImmediatePR to take part in their hair challenge featuring some hardcore Clynol Products! 



So the product up for scrutiny in this case is the NEW Clynol Grip Hairspray, however i thought this would also be the perfect opportunity to unleash my Clynol Hairshine for a proper testing. 
So the brief was to create a wild, fierce, extreme editorial look worthy of the runway. It's been a little while since i've gotten silly with my styling so i jumped on it. With a little help from my trusty Patrick Cameron Long Hair Kit, the Clynol hairspray and a HELL of a lot of kirby grips I came up with THIS.....


Now, i did fail somewhat, with these photos, to capture the true SIZE of this hairstyle. It was MAHOOSIVE! Unfortunately due to camera flash and the darkness of my current colour it wasn't easy to get photos that did it justice. 
Anyhoo, I'll talk ya through it.... 
This is a look i originally did on a model last year for a hair showcase. I suppose it's your typical Faux-Hawk really but PERFECT for testing the metal of any hairspray out there. Didn't work quite so well on ME, as my full fringe/bangs are used to growing forward and did NOT wanna go back. To give the hairspray it's props, it put up a HELL of a fight and was even semi-successful, but the fringe is still a little wayward in these pictures. 



And there are what i used to create the look. It isn't as time consuming as it may appear BUT it's soooooo much easier to do on other people than it is to do it on yourself. There is a fair amount on sectioning involved and a LOT of backbrushing.

 Here's a little idea of HOW i did it...

- Take the front, top section of your hair (ending just BEFORE the crown) and clip it away. 
- Then secure the two side panels of hair so that you are left with just a long section of hair running down the back of your head from the crown.
- From this section secure smaller sections into ponytails using snag free hair elastics so that you end up with a vertical row of little ponytails going down the back of your head (how many ponytails you end up with will depend on the amount of hair you have)
- Take down the side sections and take them back piece by piece (like you would with a french braid), criss-crossing them in between each ponytail and securing with a grip.
- Smooth the sections back as you go using the Hairspray and a bristled brush like the one shown above. 
- Once all hair at the sides is smoothed back you can begin backbrushing. I find it easier to start from the nape of the neck and work up.
- Apply hairspray throughout the backbrushing process.
- Once all of the sectioned hair and ponytails are MASSIVE you can then take out your front section and carry on backbrushing (directing the section backwards as you go).
- Apply another layer of hairspray to finish. As i mentioned before i also added a layer of Clynol Hairshine.


For anyone more interested in the makeup side of this look here's what i used...

Face: MAC Matchmaster Foundation - Shade 04
MAC Mineralise Skinfinish Natural - Medium Plus
Sleek Contour Kit - Medium
Cheeks: MAC Melba
Eyes: VIVO Pearl Eyeshadow - 09 Goddess
Shades from my HD Brows palette (Vamp)
Brows: Also HD Brows
Lips: MAC Matte Lipstick - Heroine
Bourjois Effect 3D Lipgloss - Beige Elastic (dabbed over the centre)
Same VIVO eyeshadow as before applied over the gloss. 

So that's about as FIERCE as my hair gets!! I'll add in a little photo at the end just to give you all a giggle and show you what you can expect when you REMOVE all the grips and bands. The hairspray itself performed VERY well and wasn't as difficult to brush out. My hair is very heavy and its difficult even to get backcomb to stay in place for long but Clynol Grip put up a good fight. If i'd been allowed to use a model i may have come up with several different styles using the product but, thats not the rules haha. 


RAWWWWR!! Bonnie Tyler eat ya heart out!!
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Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Much Love for Mavala!

Evening ladies!
I'm doing well this week and keeping up with everything i'm desperate to share with you all. Most of this week's posts will have been typed up in advance and scheduled, or posted as and when, Tonight's offering is dedicated to heavyweight nail brand
 Mavala.


I think most of us are familiar with the name Mavala, but it is a Swiss brand named after its creator (Madeleine Van  Landeghem) which has actually been around for over 50yrs! The brand is most famous for it's best selling Scientifique Nail Hardener, but has an extensive range of nail colours and has also branched out into makeup and skincare. I, for one, didn't even know they did lipsticks!! 
I learned more about the brand and drooled over all the gorgeous colours last week at an event and tonight i'm going to show you two new products that i have been playing with. 


Mavalia Lipstick in Shade 558 (Neon Pink)



The name of this lipstick scared me before i opened it. I thought it would be garish and Big Fat Gypsy Wedding-worthy. I was, in fact, WRONG! I actually had trouble getting it to look pink at all for these photos. It's actually a very pretty, coral-ish pink, summery shade. It has a slight shimmer to it, but not enough to put me off. 

(testament to my humble little Nikon that you can see both my reflection AND my fingerprints in this photo - who needs a DSLR)

These lipsticks contain both Botanical Extracts and Shea Butter to condition the lips as well as add a fabulous pop of colour. Upon further investigation i am guessing that the shade i have is one of the Sheer shades as, i am glad to report, it isn't as Va Va VOOM as it's name suggests once it is applied. In fact, i had to build up the swatch a little for the photos. 



So my neon pink lippy isn't nearly as scary as i'd built it up to be, and will be a great addition to my summer lip palette! I can imagine it will be gorgeous with a tan! 

Mavala Nail Color Cream in 182 (Fresh Melon)



I love that this is the colour polish i got in my bag of goodies! It's a tropical, peach/orange shade which is bang on trend for the approaching summer season and will also look good with a tan! I've actually been searching for a pair of jeans this colour. Mavala polishes only come in a 5ml size which is because, as was explained to us on the night, it keeps them affordable and who uses up a whole nail polish bottle anyway? This way you can buy TWO colours! 


Yes, i know, my mani is KNACKERED in this photo. I had actually only JUST applied it but my ferrets seem to have a radar for wet nail polish and, as usual, as soon as i started painting they were all over me. So that's why it's wonky and patchy. I give up haha. At least you can see the colour effect. 

It has a slight hint of a sheen to it, and two coats gives a decent opacity. Considering the bottles are small size, the brush didn't appear to be affected. In the OPI mini sizes, i find the smaller brush really makes application tricky and streaky but i didn't find this with Mavala which is a bonus. 

Overall i'm very pleased with these products. They are the first Mavala products in my collection and i doubt they will be the last. For more information on all Mavala's different products, and to find stockists, you can go to mavala.co.uk

What colours SCREAM summer to you?? Are you a Mavala junkie?? What are your favourite shades/products??
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Tuesday, 15 May 2012

London Baby!! Pure PR Press Event

Two posts tonight ladies!! 
See the previous post for some AMAZING handmade jewellery, but NOW i wanna talk about last week's London exploits! I was invited by the lovely peeps at Handpicked Media to go and see two new products from the skincare brand St. Ives. I got to meet up with the gorgeous Sharmin once again along with meeting AMAZING blogger Sabrina properly for the first time. As well as the HPM event we also got to go along to the Pure PR press event on the way there, where we were shown some FABULOUS new product releases from some heavyweight brands! 

This is likely to be a VERY photo-heavy post as there was just so much to take in! 


It was very kind of Pure to have me, as i wasn't officially on the guest list. I went along with Sharmin because she was going on the way to our other event. However I am now a fully fledged friend of Pure haha. Here are just a FEW of the products we were shown on the day.....



Neom and Les Eaux de Bach both have some AMAZING, natural, beautiful scents using some wonderful natural ingredients and essential oils.



Mavala! We got the chance to browse the whole range of Mavala polishes. There are some VERY exciting Limited Editions coming up in honour of the Olympics. Think red, white and blue: Very patriotic. Also, is it only me that was oblivious to the fact that they do LIPSTICKS as well?? 


Fragrances by Kimmy K and Justin Bieber: Now there's a name i never thought would be uttered on this blog!! *Shudder*. I found his fragrance too sweet for my taste but i LOVED the Kardashian fragrances and am seriously considering purchasing! Just hope i can remember which one it was i had on!


Who would have thought that Tobacco and Cannabis (yes, cannabis) scented candles from Malin and Goetz would actually smell so GOOD!! Even i, as a reluctant smoker, am repulsed by the smell of tobacco but this candle actually smelled rather sweet! Think these would be a great way to bring boyfriends/husbands around to scented candles with scents like Dark Rum and Tobacco! 


How AWESOME are these!! I've seen these Violent Lips lip appliques before on blogs and thought they looked amazing, and we were shown the full range at the event! I can't wait to try these out but, as there are only 3 in a pack, i am trying to ration them for special occasions. 


Philip Kingsley is brand that, as a hairdresser, i get VERY excited about. He is a world renowned Trichologist and much respected in the hair industry. I'm sure you've heard amazing things clattering around the blogosphere about his Elasticiser, but we were shown the full range of his products. These are the two i got to take home and i am so excited about using them. I was also lucky enough to be given a copy of 'The Hair Bible' by Mr Kingsley himself and i can't wait to share some of his wisdom with you all! 


Sophyto and Supergoop are two brands that i had honestly, never heard of before. Sophyto is another brand which favours all natural ingredients, which i love. I've already tried out the toner and it's AMAZE!! Supergoop is a brand from America and i can't wait to report back on the products. The lip balm tastes like a cross between coconut and CAKE!! 


Perricone MD is a MASSIVE name in cosmetic circles. He is a reknowned MD, now retired, but still putting out some AMAZING products to help us all stay healthy inside and out. His products range from body treatments to supplements and we got to take home this MASSIVE bottle of his Cold Plasma Body, which i plan on fully road testing for this blog. I'm so intrigued as to what the results might be! It promises to tone, tighten and smooth me all over! 

This is only SOME of what we were shown and treated to! Other brands included Dove Spa, Planet Organic, Thalgo and Great Lengths hair extensions. I can't wait to share my thoughts on some of the products i brought home. I've already typed up my post on the Mavala polish and lipstick i have, which is sheduled for later in the week. 
All in all an AMAZING event, and i am so thankful to Pure for having me. 

Anything out of this little lot catch your eye?? What would you most like to hear about?? Do you rate any of these brands??
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Pretty Gothic by Jewel-Rhi

Evening lovelies.
I'm getting super organised tonight and typing up a whole WEEK'S worth of posts as i have so many assignments to finish this week its not even funny! This first slice of blog tart is dedicated to the talents of a thoroughly LOVELY fellow blogger by the name of Rhi, who you might know better as OtherSideofCool. Rhi has started making some amazing handmade jewellery pieces and we decided that we were going to do a little swap. I sent her one of my own handmade iPhone cases and she sent me some of her jewellery items. 

Her site is better known as Jewel-Rhi  



Rhi describes her creations as being 'Edgy, but with a Girlie Twist". I'm such a fan of anything skulls and crosses but i love how she makes these pieces so dainty, despite the gothic style of the charms she uses. I also love the little Tiffany-esque heart shaped bar clasps she uses. I received 3 items from her collection....

6-Cross Necklace

This was the first piece i saw from the site (i saw Rhi modelling it herself on Instagram) and i instantly went a bit mad about it. She also sent me the matching bracelet (which i conveniently forgot to photograph for this post, but can be seen below modelled by moi).... 


5-Skull Necklace

It has actually transpired that i have worn this item more than the others. I just LOVE how the little skullies are grinning away! I've even been wearing this to work and had loads of compliments about it. I've been wearing this one more for daytime wear and keeping the crosses for evening as it just seems more dressy in my opinion. 



As you can see her designs are so simple but manage to be both pretty AND stylish at the same time! They are super affordable too. The necklaces are £5 a piece and the bracelet is a snip at just £3.50!!

You can view all Rhi's gorgeous items at jewelrhishop.bigcartel.com and make sure you follow Rhi's fabulous Blog. Her outfit posts are AWESOME and she's a hair and makeup junkie to boot!! My kinda gal! 
For any questions about products from Jewel-Rhi you can get in touch via shopjewelrhi@gmail.com

I've really been getting more into jewellery just lately. I'm gasping to get something else pierced soon as well. I really fancy a couple of dermals in my collarbone if i can grow the balls to actually go through with it!

What accessories get you excited?? Are you a skull or a cross kinda gal?? What other handmade sites do you LOVE??
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