Nally and Millie – a Valentine Getup

Nally and MillieSay what you will about Valentine’s Day; it’s commercialized, it’s based on a massacre, why can’t you show someone you love them everyday, yada, yada, yada. The redeeming qualities: chocolate (oh that’s not enough!?), and a perfectly good reason to dress up and go somewhere. If you’re anything like me, 2011 is a fresh year to save the most amount of money possible (I started walking to work and school thankyouverymuch!), a get out of jail free pass once in a blue moon is very welcome. Then there’s the second dilemma – where do you start and what do you do?!

1. Breathe.
2. Easy peasy lemon squeezy! Check out Nally and Millie!

The brand has a collection perfect for any kind of fun you’re up to partake in for Valentine’s Day.

Look to the current trends appearing for Spring: ruffles, draping, pastel colors, medium length skirt (or even longer – knee length and a little bit longer is in right now).
Nally and MillieGo easy on the colors, but not on your date. A mini dress with sleeves doesn’t reveal too much skin, but is just as appealing (if not more from all that intrigue). Look for a light fabric so that it will skim your body just right, and be able to move freely with you when you do.Nally and MillieChoose a knee length (or even an inch or two lower) skirt to break out the Mad Men vixen out. Pull the skirt up a bit and cinch your waist with a wide belt if you feel like showing some leg. Mix up tough and soft pieces to let your attitude and personality speak for itself (metallic belts/jewelry work great with soft skirts/blouses).Nally and MillieWhen all else fails and you just want to purr at your date, break out the LBD! A sheer panel on the shoulder is perfect for a hint of skin and cleavage, while keeping you warm and covered up. The dress doesn’t even need to be a super mini considering it’ll cling to you no matter how you want or don’t want it to.

If you’re celebrating in a cold climate, remember that a pair of opaque tights do wonders for warmth and contrast. Black is great to lengthen legs and suck in problem areas, and work best with patterned and colorful getups. If your actual dress is black though, find a different color pair of tights, or a sheer black with a pattern.

Or… if you’re eyeing a gal – you can surely get a dress or two for her to wear on the date 😉

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Book It Outta Here

Graphic USAOften times, the holidays bring out the most boring in our personalities. What should we get our loved ones? I say ones because in my household, everyone is everyone else’s Valentine. It’s like the second, pink coming of Channuka and Christmas in the household. While you may be wondering if a gift card or a bottle of perfume or cologne will rock your love’s socks, I look for an interesting small gift my grandmother could cherish and not bug me about what it might have cost me.

If you have a beau with a traveling bug (or aspirations to), they’ll be the first to tell you that travel always rocks when you can find the spots on the less traveled roads, without befriending (or running from) sketchy characters lurking in the dark alleyways of Sherlock Holmes‘ days. Graphic USA is just that, on paper. Except here, twenty five countries get a makeover as well. You get two for the price of one – one half graphic artist genius, other half town savant with the “connection” to all the right places to visit before you run back to work on Monday.

ISBN 978-0-9562053-2-2
Flexibound, 6.5 x 8.5 inches, 272 pages, 350 color
U.S. $30.00 CDN $33.00
Published by Cicada Books

How do you choose/gift shop for a Valentine?

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ChinaGlaze debuts limited edition for the holidays!

MyOwnJudge China Glaze Limited Edition HolidayNormally I’m the crazy person buying up gifts for family and friends starting from July. By mid October I am only shopping for boxes and wrapping paper and thinking about how many cards I’d need. Not this year though. In between financial deficits in both my pockets and my bank account, and the spacial deficit in my storage room and apartment, I felt like I’d be better at winging it this season. Last year taught me that the procrastinators got the best sales anyway.

This year, China Glaze is kicking up gifting nail polish a notch. Sure you can buy a nail file with a polish bottle, and sure you can cook up a crazy gift bag with plenty tissue paper, you may even get really crazy and put a coveted polish bottle inside several Russian Nesting dolls and have your giftee work triple hard for their gift… or you can hit up China Glaze.

The colors are as follow (color description courtesy of China Glaze):

Naughty and Nice: Deeply rich wine crème. Sugar Plums: Plum shimmer.
Mommy Kissing Santa: Deep cherry red shimmer. Phat Santa: Red crème.
Ruby Deer: Bright red crème. Mrs. Claus: Red glitter.

 Party Hearty: Green, gold and red chunky glitter. (I spy a favorite!)

Mistletoe Kisses: Green glitter. Jolly Holly: Forest green shimmer.
Peace on Earth: Olive green shimmer. Little Drummer Boy: Navy blue shimmer.
Jingle Bells: Champagne shimmer. Midnight Kiss: Gold shimmer.
Cheers to You: Silver shimmer. Frosty: White frosty shimmer.
Snow: White crème.

The company famous for colors that go opaque in usually just one coat has caught the holiday spirit early, with sixteen limited edition colors available in singles and gift packs. I’m digging the gift packs, they are in packs of three, as well as sets with gifts like shot glasses, stuffed toys, necklaces, and candles. That way, when you purchase a polish gift you don’t scratch your head thinking; “Should I be adding something else to this gift?

MyOwnJudge China Glaze Limited Edition
The gift sets will feature the following colors:
Celebrate in Style Collection: Includes Little Drummer Boy, Peace on Earth, Mommy Kissing Santa, Jingle Bells and a holiday necklace.
Merry Mint Set: Includes Naughty and Nice, Mrs. Claus and a complimentary China Glaze Peppermint Oil.
Rejoice Set: Includes Mistletoe Kisses, Mrs. Claus and a special red holiday candle.
Cheers to You: Includes Midnight Kisses, Cheers to you and a China Glaze shot glass.
Dreamin’ of a Green Christmas: Includes Mistletoe Kisses, Midnight Kiss and Jolly Holly.
Oh, Ruby Deer: Includes Sugar Plums, Ruby Deer and a stuffed animal.
Peppermint Kisses with Holiday Wishes: Includes Mrs. Claus, Phat Santa, Snow and Frosty.

Anything catch your eye?

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From Valentine Brain Fart to Genius in .2 seconds

MOJ Valentine's Gift GuideSo you decided you wanted to celebrate Valentine’s Day but you want it to be special. Not just pretty flowers and yummy chocolate special (although no one ever got hurt with pretty flowers and yummy chocolate), but “ohmygosh how did you think of that and have time to do that?!” special.

Image Credit: DeviantArt user luscious-cookie

These are some of my ingenious (even if I say so myself) ideas for you to hit the mega brownie point jackpot. Remember to accidentally leave this page on the computer for your significant other to find, and to make sure y’all don’t do the same things, remember to personalize each effort with what is closest to you and yours.

Take a trip
I know money is tight for a lot of people. So don’t take this as my attempt to go extravagant. Yaya thinks we can all just up and travel for Valentine’s Day. Wrong. But sometimes travel is cheaper than going out somewhere. Buckle down and commit to doing research on a bed and breakfast. Know a friend close by? Ask to house swap (you kind of need to live alone for that to work out right lol). Find free areas of interest around like a Botanical Garden, a zoo, museum exhibit, performance, etc. You can ever ask a friend to be a “chauffeur” and promise to clean their house/shovel their yard in return.

Even if money is tight and you have to ruin the surprise by going Dutch with your mate (each person paying for themselves), buy little trinkets and items to make the day memorable. In the past, I have invited my honey to a bed and breakfast and told him that all he needed to bring was himself. That the place was so posh that all amenities and clothing would be provided for. Little did he know, I had already shipped some new tees and jeans to the area and asked them to put the clothing in the closets and drawers so that it’d be ready for him. When we got in he was surprised, but shortly figured out that it was me.

Surprise trip? Tell them you are going for the day (just be sure they don’t have prior engagements for the following day) and pack their stuff/buy new stuff for them to find in the area (similar to the previous suggestion).

MOJ Valentine's Gift Guide

Image Credit: DeviantArt user daidaiiro-kun

I have a gift… and a box
Some of you are ready with a ring, necklace, earrings… what have you. Skip the box presentation and be more original. Hiding it in food and drinks may be cute on tv but is pretty messy, and to be honest, it would be a bit repulsive for me to drag a ring out of my mouth in the midst of chewing on a cake. Worse yet, to swallow it in a gulp and then hope for it to come out safely (not that it ever happened to me before…).

Incorporate your gift into a presentation. Wrap a ring around the base of a flower if you are giving flowers. Pose a ring in a chocolate, or instead of a chocolate inside the box (this way it’s visible and risks less chances of being consumed). Hang it on a string in front of a door with a note (this is great for bedroom and bathroom doors). Have a pet or child/neighbor’s kid deliver it (it’s always cuter when a kid or pet does it).

Feeling adventurous? See if you know a police officer or a fireman, or befriend one, and see if they can try to make your mate travel to a precinct or court to find their gift. This is very adventurous, or maybe even dangerous so don’t try this unless you know the person well. No one needs to spend Valentine’s Day in jail. Lovin’ a driver? Hide the gift inside their engine and ask them for assistance (please don’t turn on your car just yet – fake that it won’t start!). Going to act like the day is a run of the mill day? Ask someone at your favorite fast food joint to put your gift in as a “happy meal” gift surprise. I can go on all day, but then you would know my secrets. These suggestions should get your juices going.

MOJ Valentine's Gift GuideDrugstore Love?
A lot of us are product junkies. But who would get a lipstick or a nail polish offered for a BOGO half off to their loved one?

For fears of being cheesy or being called cheap, we shy away from what we would actually really like. It’s all in the packaging.

MOJ Valentine's Gift Guide
Don’t leave it to Russell Stover to put the hearts and bows on your love. Make a bouquet out of nail polish (or whatever tickles your mate’s fancy) like Getcha Nails Did made here (hers is for a giveaway but is still a great idea!). Purchase a cosmetics case and fill it to the brim with their favorite products (can be applicable to men and women).

Plus side? You can even sneak in a pricey gem into these (see my interpretation below).

MOJ Valentine's Gift Guide

Give What You Can’t Do

The fast solution? All services ranging for luxury haircuts (and by luxury I mean famous places like Bumble and Bumble, or hairstylists like Sally Hershberger), to facials, massages, manicures, and pedicures. This would be a good time to throw in a product they can take home as a gift as well, but you control the cards.

Do What You Can’t Give
Massage and mani sounds splendid to everyone but your wallet? I hear ya. Most importantly my VISA hears ya. Or rather, not trying to hear it. Brush up your YouTube skills and bake a cake, do their mani, make their lotion, create a necklace. You are only limited to the limitations you set for yourself. I believe you can do it!

Procrastination Nation
Okay so it’s the last day and you got to this post late. You are about to rip your hair out and just want to buy a multi pack of Hershey kisses and promise a million for each one they eat (also a good idea hehe). All that’s left in the stores are gift cards and thousand dollar items. You don’t want to buy the gift cards because you don’t want your procrastination sins unearthed, but you can’t afford the big ticket items. The secret? If your mate needs a wallet, get a new one and fill each slot with a gift card to a place they’d like. Put your picture in the photo slot and wrap it up. Already have a wallet? Snatch it and do the same. This way, they will panic about losing their wallet. Look at you funny for gifting them the same said wallet, and then be pleasantly surprised at the gifts inside. In love with a product junkie? Forever 21, Bloomingdale’s, Sally Beauty Supply, Sephora, etc. are great gift card ideas.

Most importantly, remember you are not limited to February 14. Make your __/__/2010 more meaningful with a surprise. Remember that love isn’t defined by neither a holiday nor a store. Remind all your loved ones (friends, family, and mates) just how much your love for them costs (priceless), and what they mean to you (everything) every day.

Inspired yet?

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My Valentine Smells Like…

MOJ Valentine's Day Gift Guide - PerfumeWelcome to the Valentine’s Day Gift Guide (interactive links coming soon) on My Own Judge! In the coming days you will see multiple posts including product reviews, product recommendations, and advice on making your Valentine’s Day in 2010 just what cupid ordered.

Feeling a bit like a grinch? Remember that Valentine’s Day, similar to every other holiday is what you make of it. Just because flower shops revel in their payday one out of several (Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, etc.) days a year doesn’t mean you can’t make your day not just memorable, but unforgettable. Feeling really bold? Celebrate Valentine’s Day on a day other than February 14! I will be going out on the 13th with my honey.

Don’t have a Valentine? You must kid. When I was little, I was the mastermind of Valentines. My mom. My aunt. My grandpa. Shoot even the four legged animals weren’t immune from being my Valentine. The best part about it for me? There are amazing sales on candy after the day, and amazing sales on products in the time leading up to the event. So really – don’t hate on a holiday that makes people money, if it saves you some!

Speaking of saving money… Have y’all heard of Fragrance.Net? It’s a site that gives you the most wanted perfumes and colognes at discount prices. Think of it as the moment you finally get a coupon to a department store that for once doesn’t exclude perfumes, but every day, and online.

Just so you guys know what to look for, I have a perfume review for you. Now this is somewhat difficult to convey to you, because well… scent is a bit harder to describe than texture, and even harder to photograph.

Enter into the courtroom: Exceptional perfume. I love flattering titles as much as I love a visually stimulating product. So something that’s called Exceptional (because you are)? Better smell good. At first spritz I was a bit put off. I thought the scent was a bit too strong for me and consulted with Mama Yaya. She loved it at first spritz. I looked at her funny and said, “Will retry tomorrow.”

By the way, if you are buying a fragrance for the first time, remember the following tips:

  • don’t try more than three at once. Look for a jar of coffee beans (most locations selling perfumes and colognes will have a nasal neutralizer like coffee beans available… it’s not just for decoration!), sniff some and then proceed. Your optimal choice would be to go home after three. 
  • if you can, spray one on and see how you like it at the end of the day. The wear test will also let you know how long it lasts and how it mixes with your body oils and skin. I like to do this several times to make sure that I am not wasting my money. But of course I learned this after wasting plenty of money first.
  • don’t rub the scent into yourself. When you rub your wrists, behind the ears, or wherever else, you break up the molecules, and of course the scent and experience.
  • once you spray the perfume, don’t trust the immediate scent. The strong spritz at first includes all the alcohol and other chemical mixes that go into creating perfume. Let it settle before you nosedive in for judgment.
  • get familiarized with what it says on the bottle. EDT, EDP, Parfum. You think those are all the same? Wrong! Each title describes the concentration. Eau du Toilette is similar to a body spray and generally is light and airy, and dissipates just as quickly. Eau du Parfum is of a heavier concentration, and thus of a higher price range. These are the ones that I tend to be the biggest fan of, as they last nearly all day for me. Parfum? This baby is expensive
  • have any allergies? Ask the salesperson, or check the net for what notes are contained in the perfume. I am not well versed in the science of this, so I can’t tell you if the note of an apple will make an apple allergic person break out in hives, but I sure as heck wouldn’t recommend the risk.

Now that we are equipped with information, let’s continue with being Exceptional. I sprayed the perfume on the next day. All over myself.

I like to spray perfume on my body (after knowing that my skin won’t spazz out) after applying lotion. For me, this keeps the scent the longest. I like to spray in my hair (my hair is dry and frizzy and picks up scents easily – want to hear my stories of coming home smelling like Subway’s, or street vendors? It kind of sucks…), and then when I get dressed I spray once inside my shirt in the front and then once in the back. Does that make sense? Imagine pulling your shirt bottom forward and spraying up to your neck, and then pulling your shirt bottom out from the back and spraying up to your neck again… this time on your back. Now you know my secret!

Well the verdict? This time around, I let enough time pass so that the full scent of the perfume settled on me. It was a bit reminiscent of one of my faves from ChanelAllure, but a little bit softer, and day friendly. Exceptional is listed as a casual perfume and is said to contain a “spiced floral heart.” This is what a sweet girly perfume would smell like if it grew up with a little bit of attitude.

Planning on buying perfume this Valentine’s Day? Here are some of my suggestions.

MOJ Valentine's Day Gift Guide
MOJ Valentine's Day Gift Guide MOJ Valentine's Day Gift Guide MOJ Valentine's Day Gift Guide
Lovely by Sarah Jessica Parker
A very light scent that is the perfect dose of perfume for the shy gal, or the gal that doesn’t like her entrance to be a grand smell. Gentle and airy, but long lasting.
Lolita Lempicka by Lolita Lempicka
My favorite perfume of all time. This is a scent unlike any other. It has vanilla, licorice, musk, and all sorts of other good stuff but the scent makes me think of sensuality, playfulness and story-tale forests. If you get a chance to sample this bugger, do so immediately!
Euphoria by Calvin Klein
This is a Mama Yaya favorite. A bit more ‘mature’ scent, and by that I mean it doesn’t have too much playful flowery scents. This is a bit more woodsy, and is no surprise of course that it contains notes of mahogany wood, pomegranate, and black orchid, amongst other notes.

MOJ Valentine's Day Gift Guide
MOJ Valentine's Day Gift Guide MOJ Valentine's Day Gift Guide MOJ Valentine's Day Gift Guide

Cool Water by Davidoff
If any of y’all have smelled this back in the day, you probably have memories of the corny guys wearing this, or the cool kids wearing this, or just the corny kids who thought they were cool wearing this. Sure they ruined the experience, but this is such a classy (to me), yet soft manly smell to me. That may make me sound a bit crazy… but you gotta smell it to believe it.
L’Homme Yves Saint Laurent by Yves Saint Laurent
Two years ago when I was looking for a perfect scent to gift to a male, I was torturing my nose with every scent aimed at men possible. I begged the salesperson to help me find a subtle, sexy, and please oh please not obnoxious scent for a man. This. is. it. I loved the scent so much I spent the next 30 minutes writing a letter to the manager of the store about how great the salesperson was. I’m serious.
Allure Sport by Chanel
This is completely different from the women’s (and not sport) version. This is less musky, and much more light and playful. As far as women wearing cologne, this is a scent that you can get away with, without smelling like a dude.

What are your favorite scents?

Disclaimer: This product(s)was sent to the author for review by the manufacturer/PR. All reviews on MOJ remain unbiased and unpaid. For more info, feel free to contact the author.

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