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Peeptoad Hollow Handmade Soaps!

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Peeptoad Hollow is an independent bath and body company that offers decadently rich handmade soaps and other skincare products. I recently had an opportunity to try some of their wonderful creations, and I really like the different scents they have available.

Peeptoad Hollow Soaps

I am currently using their 98% natural Vanilla Spearmint Handmade Soap as a hand soap in my bathroom... love it. It feels a little bit different than other soaps because the butters and oils in it seem to coat and hydrate your hands while washing.

Another one of my favorite scents of theirs is the Dreamy Buttercream Goat Milk Glycerin Soap. It smells delicious! -- Like an almost foodie scent that just warms you up.

If you are thinking of escaping the chemicals and boring scents of regular soaps, you should really consider treating yourself to a natural soap, or buying some as a gift. Peeptoad Hollow offers some nice, affordable gift sets that would surely be appreciated by all.

Check 'em out!

SWAV Loves: adesign Brushes!

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I recently had the opportunity to try out brushes from adesign, a fabulous makeup brush company!

adesign Brushes

I honestly have to say, I love these makeup brushes! I have never felt a softer brush, ever. They are super professional looking, as they are all black so they never look "dirty", and they feel amazing to the touch. Also, I have not had any problems with them shedding on me.

Adesign brushes are a great bet for high quality, user-friendly, sturdy makeup application. I know they will definitely be a staple in my traincase for years to come!

To get your own adesign brushes, check out their website, here.

New Details and Upcoming Posts

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Hey Everyone!

Sorry the blog has been down a few days! I wanted to redesign the layout and it caused me a bit more problems than expected.

On a more personal note, I am finally moving into my new house tomorrow and I will probably be a bit busy this coming week with that. I am also adopting a dog! He is an American Eskimo and is 2 years old. I will be posting more about him shortly. Regardless, I will have some downtime, I'm sure, where I can post and keep everyone up to date on what is going on!

Here is a sneak peak of what is to come:
  1. Estee Lauder Maximum Cover Review
  2. Peeptoad Hollow Natural Handmade Soaps
  3. A Design Brushes Review
  4. A gorgeous haul from ShoeStruck.com
  5. Kryolan Foundation Review
  6. Dragon Eyewear Giveaway

Hope you all have a lovely week and I will be posting soon :)

AminoGenesis Photolagen-AGF Penetrating Repair Serum Review

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I have recently been using AminoGenesis Photolagen-AGF Penetrating Repair Serum. This product is a very tall order, as it claims to be an intensive treatment for sun damage, photo depletion, and prematurely aged skin. I don't really feel that my skin is prematurely aged, but a few years in the tanning booths I'm sure could have done some photo depletion and definite sun damage. I suppose they are all in one, really.

The patented peptide technology in this serum is proven to dramatically reduce fine linces and wrinkles up to 68%, infuse moisture deep into the skin, reverse damage caused by the sun, diminish age spots, reduce the appearance of dark circles, improve skin firmness, texture and feel. Like most people, I am skeptical of any product that says it can/will do so much! To be 100% honest, I am not sure if this product lives up to its claims. I have been applying it fairly often, concentrating on my somewhat dark undereye circles, due to those late college nights.

The serum is like a milky lotion in texture, and comes in a futuristic silver bottle. Unfortunately, you can't see how much product you've used. But regardless, you only need a little bit. It has a very light, almost undetectable fragrance.

Luckily, since product testing sometimes does me more harm than good, this serum is doctor approved, hospital tested, hypoallergenic, and non-comedogenic. I experienced no breakouts or redness from this serum. I have noticed a slight reduction in my undereye darkness. I haven't really seen any other difference in my skin, but I have yet to experience a dreaded wrinkle or age spot in my lifetime, so perhaps I am not really the target audience here.

If you suffer from wrinkles or age spots and want to try an amino acid serum with a lot of potential, definitely try out AminoGenesis. I am going to continue using it, just to see if I notice any other differences in my skin. So far, so good.

Get your bottle of AminoGenesis at a location near you!

Do you have any miracle products you swear by? Used or want to try AminoGenesis? Let me know!

Please Excuse The Mess

The new layout is 95% complete! How do you like it?

I WILL be back up and running shortly, so don't worry, and hopefully SWAV will be better than ever!

If you were previously blogrolled with me and would like to be re-added, please let me know. Otherwise, I am accepting some new entries so shoot me a comment/email and I will add you to a link list :)

<3 Nicole

Straight From My Stash: Blushes

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Hey all! Hope you like the new layout :)

So, today I have some swatches straight from my stash! These are my blushes. It's a small, but sweet, collection of just the basic colors.

My Blushes

Clockwise, from top:
  • Benefit "Thrrrob!" Powder
  • Sonia Kashuk "Beach Bum" Cheek Sheer
  • Milani "Sweet Cheeks" Powder Mosaics
  • Jane "Blushing Plum" Blushing Cheeks
  • NYX "Pinky" Blush
  • Milani "Luminous" Powder Blush
  • Stila "Lillium" Convertible Color
  • NYX "Peach" Blush

My Blush Swatches

I think people sometimes underestimate the value of a blush to brighten up the face. I really love these shades and use most all of them, except the cream/gel ones because my they don't flatter my skin type so much.

My favorites are the Milani Luminous shade, Benefit Thrrrob (which didn't show up too well in the photo, but I love the scent), and NYX Peach.

I would like to add Benefit's PosieTint to my collection in the future.

What do you think? What are your favorite blushes from your stash? Any recommendations? Let me know!

Magic Of Makeup: Brooke Hogan!

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Last night, I caught an episode of "Brooke Knows Best", the reality TV spinoff of Hogan Knows Best. As most of us know, Brooke Hogan (or Brooke Bollea) is the daughter of Hulk Hogan. She seems to be pursuing this reality TV career as well as attempting a music career.

I seem to alternate between thinking Brooke Hogan is cute, trashy, manly, and pretty. I can't seem to make up my mind about this one!

Here is Brooke Hogan with and without makeup:

Brooke Hogan without makeup

Want Brooke's bronzed makeup look? Try dusting a powder bronzer like MAC Solar Field Bronzing Powder or Benefit's HOOLA all over!

[Oh, also, I decided to get rid of the poll function on these Magic Of Makeup posts because for a while they were down and making my posts have a bunch of bad-looking code. Plus, this will allow people to really speak their mind, if they are so inclined!]

So, tell me, what do you think of Brooke Hogan?

MelanSol for the Nature-Loving Sun Worshipper!

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Attention sun lovers! As we all know, Summer is in full force, so your sun protection should be as well. On my last trip to the beach, I tested out a pretty cool product by MelanSol.

Instead of sticking with Banana Boat or Hawaiian Tropic, I chose to use the 100% Natural Antioxidant Sunscreen Lotion by MelanSol. This sunscreen was SPF25, so I got a nice tan even while using it. It is for face and body, but I decided to play it safe and only apply to my body to try it. Their website even explains that according to contrary belief, you don't need a super-high SPF to fully protect yourself from the sun. MelanSol uses natural mineral zinc-oxide pigments to shield your skin, similar to the mineral powder sunblock I use on my face by Peter Thomas Roth (see full review here).

As the "Antioxidant" part of the name suggests, this sunscreen is loaded with goodies like Grean Tea, Vitamin E, and Bio-Melanin! I love the fact that it doesn't contain any unknown chemicals. Also, it has a very unique, earthy smell, probably due to ingredients such as "Lemon Oil and Lavender, Oregano, Thyme, and Rosemary Extracts". It absorbed quickly, leaving a nice sheen to my skin, and seemed to moisturize while protecting.

All in all, I will be using this natural product again! If you are looking for an all-natural alternative to beat the sun this summer, check out MelanSol!

Have you tried an all-natural sunscreen before?

What is your favorite sunblock?

Reader Appreciation Week Winners!

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I am just writing a quick post tonight to let you know who the winners of the two Reader Appreciation Giveaways are!

The Eclipse Spa package winner is:
Stacy Stone!


The Sak winner is:
Lindsay Otten!

Congrats ladies, I'll be emailing you with details :)

Reader Feedback: Sensitive Skincare!

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For my third reader question, Misti asks:

"I have incredibly sensitive skin; a good skin care line?"

Shop With a Vengeance Response:

Hi Misti!

Are you looking for a higher-end line, or a drugstore line? I know it's frustrating to have sensitive skin, especially with so many enticing products out there you must want to try them all! My skin is part-sensitive too, so I feel your pain.

To start off, a couple really gentle drugstore picks I could recommend are the Purpose line by Johnson & Johnson. The cleanser is fragrance free and very gentle, but at the same time cleans a lot better than Cetaphil, which I will not bother to recommend. Although Cetaphil is super-gentle, I have found it ineffective as a cleanser and not too exciting as a moisturizer either. I do like CeraVe, another drugstore find, for their Lotion.

However, another product that I like is the Redness Control Calming Gel Cleanser from the Skin Effects line by Jeffrey Dover (available at CVS). This is a product that feels great to apply, washes clean, and takes off most makeup. It is thicker in consistency than Cetaphil, but I liked it even though it did not foam. It is also fragrance free. I believe there might be a dye in there though to give it its blue color, which is meant to offset the effects of Rosecea. The Redness Control line also has a corresponding SPF 30 face cream, which I thought was okay as well. Overall, the line didn't do too much for my skin because I am acne-prone, but it also did not irritate me. It's slightly pricey for a drugstore brand (products are around $13-$20 each).

Lastly, if you are looking for a high end line, I would suggest DDF (or Doctor's Dermatologic Formula). I have yet to actually try their products, but they were recommended to me by another reader. They make a Sensitive Skin Cleansing Gel which has received good reviews on MakeupAlley and should likely have other products that are okay for sensitive skin as well.

Most importantly, be sure to read your labels. Anything that contains too many ingredients is likely to upset your skin! Stay away from Origins, too, because they overload their products with irritating fragrant oils. One Origins counter woman even tried to convince me that their oils are not the kind that make you break out, after I tried to explain that I had an ALLERGIC reaction. Whatever. Anyway, try to stick to products that are fragrance free and dye free.

OH, also... I noticed a small allergic/itchy rash on the side of my face a few weeks ago, and upon reading some recommendations online, I applied Boudreaux's Butt Paste - a diaper rash cream, to the rash (yes, I put Butt Paste on my head) for a few days straight, and it completely got rid of the rash. I was surprised because the ingredients on the Butt Paste said mineral oil, petroleum, etc, so I wasn't expecting much... but it settled down right away. I'm not joking, this stuff is amazing for irritation.

Anyway, I hope that helped out somewhat! Good luck, Misti!

Any more recommendations for a sensitive skinned lady?

Feel free to share :)

SWAV Loves: Lint-On-The-Go Sheets!

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Meet my baby cat, Elliott! Here he is being a little sailor on our boat:


Being the proud owner of a beautiful domestic short hair cat, I find myself covered in cat hair, oh, about 90% of the time.

We all know how inconvenient it is to tote around a sticky lint roller, so I am happy to present to you these super convenient Lint-On-The-Go-Sheets!

I threw this thin little box in my car and no longer had to worry about the hair and fuzz I would get on my black work clothes from my partially-white cat. Just a quick swipe and I'm lint free.

These portable and disposable sheets have been seen on ABC7, TV Guide Network, and are a favorite of Top Celebs like Kelly Ripa, Tyra, Angelina and Paris.

Order yours at ShopGoGirl.com!

Reader Feedback: Sulfate-Free Shampoo Recommendation!

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For my second reader question, Anonymous wanted to know:

"Can you recommend a great shampoo that doesn't have sulfates? (sulfates strip the highlights/color from your hair!)"

Shop With a Vengeance Response:

Why yes, I do know of a good brand.

I am currently using a sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner from the Giovanni Organic Cosmetics line, which is available at health food stores and even Target now.

The Giovanni line makes a number of shampoos, conditioners, and styling products. They also make amazingly scented body washes, including one called Raspberry Ice (I think) that smells heavenly. The specific products I use are called 50/50 Balancing and they smell divine.

The shampoo even lathers up with no problem (despite being sulfate-free) and rinses away clean. Love it. The 50/50 Conditioner is protein-based and I think my hair has been doing well with it so far. I tried the Smooth as Silk Conditioner as well, and I definitely prefer the 50/50. Depending on how your hair handles protein conditioners, you can determine what kind of conditioner you will need.

A few other brands I've heard good things about are Yes To Carrots, Pureology, and also the Pravana line.

Unfortunately, shampoo is one of those things that could work awesomely for one person and be not-so-awesome for another, so it is really a trial and error process.

However, if you haven't tried the Giovanni hair line, I suggest you try them out!

Reader Feedback: Why does my Liquid Foundation change colors?

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For my first reader question, I will be answering this gem by reader Apple:

"Sometimes my liquid foundation becomes lighter or darker than my face. What's the deal?"

Shop With a Vengeance Response:

Hi Apple! I believe this phenomenon you speak of is called "oxidation". There are many theories on why it occurs, and to be honest I'm not 100% sure as to the reason. In researching, I have found that it can happen because of changes that occur within the foundation after it touches and mingles with the air, oils, or the acidity of your skin.

There are many theories on what happens when your foundation changes color, one of which claims that the oils on your skin will intensify pigments in the foundation. So, if you are noticing that the foundation changes color well into the day, perhaps this is occuring.

Another theory claims that liquid foundation, when exposed to air, begins to break down. If you think about it, if you look at an old bottle of foundation that has been opened and closed a lot, it tends to appear broken up and discolored. So, that kind of makes sense.

The acidity theory I'm not really too sure on, but apparently if your skin has a more acidic pH than most other skins, you could find your foundation oxidizing a bit more often.

Back when I used liquid foundations, I found that L'Oreal's True Match Liquid Foundation would turn orange on me within a few hours, whereas Revlon's Colorstay would never change color. Some foundation formulas now will claim to have anti-oxidizing agents, so that this color change can be prevented. All in all, if your foundation is consistantly doing this to you, I'd suggest getting a new foundation!

I hope that helped somewhat!

Vincent Longo, Awake, and Goldie items 50% off at Bath and Body Works (Haul with Swatches)!

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Good news! Upon strolling through my local Bath and Body Works store yesterday, I discovered that select makeup was 50% off. I bought three lip glosses and one lip balm from the Vincent Longo collection (regularly about $22 each) for half price!

Vincent Longo Lip Glosses and Balm

The shades I bought were:

Vincent Longo Swatches

  • "Love Berry" Baby Balm: a twist-up lipstick tube of a nice, light and sheer berry shade that looks glossy and healthy on

  • "Traviata Pink" Diamond Lip Gloss: a sparkling, glossy, pigmented pink that feels smooth, not gritty or sticky

  • "Via Veneto" Diamond Lip Gloss: a fiery red gloss with a similar texture to the previous shade

  • "Baci XXX" Perfect Gloss: a great everyday gloss, looks milky light pink in the tube but shows up sheer and natural, great soft feel
Like my color choices? I tried to get items that were a little different than my normal nude/pink family of gloss shades. I have worn "Traviata Pink" all day and loved it so far, its truly a beautiful and wearable color.

All of the Vincent Longo items were half price, not just the glosses, but these were just what I was drawn to! They did have some impressive lip stains as well, and some nice eye shadows. If you normally use Vincent Longo foundations or powders, now is your chance to stock up!

Head over to your local Bath and Body Works immediately to snag some of these high quality cosmetics! They are phasing out the Vincent Longo and Awake lines so they won't be in B&BW much longer.

The Sak Handbag Giveaway! (7/13/08 - 7/19/08)

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This week, the teen sensation Miley Cyrus was spotted, not once, but twice, with a bag from The Sak's Silverlake Collection. Miley was seen with The Sak Silverlake Convertible Satchel in Dark Amber, which is a gorgeous staple leather bag!

Miley Cyrus and The Sak

Want to accessorize like Miley Cyrus? Well, good news! My second awesome giveaway this week comes from our friends over at The Sak! They are offering one lucky reader a handbag from the Silverlake Collection, the same collection that Miley chose her purse from!

Win a bag from The Sak!

I can't wait to share this prize with you! All you have to do is fill out this form with your name and e-mail, and you could win it!

Standard Disclaimer: This giveaway is limited to U.S. participants only. All complete entries, via the form, are valid until the closing of the contest, at 12:00 AM on 7/20/2008. Multiple entries under the same name/e-mail do not increase your chance of winning. One winner will be selected at random at the date of the contest closing. If the winner, chosen at random, does not respond to my e-mail by one week after the contest closing, another winner will be chosen!

To learn more, check out The Sak's website, here.

Good luck!

Eclipse Spa Giveaway! (7/13/08 - 7/19/08)

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EDIT (7/13/08): Sorry for the error, the form is now up and running!


Congratulations go out to Melissa, winner of the Affordable Mineral Makeup Giveaway! You've got a week to respond to my email in order to claim your prize :)

Moving on, my first giveaway for Reader Appreciation Week is this lovely package from our friends over at Eclipse Spa!

In case you missed it, I posted earlier about some of Eclipse Spa's wonderful goodies that they were kind enough to send me to review. Eclipse Spa's products are truly awesome and luxurious, and I'm absolutely delighted to be able to share them with you! As an added bonus, all of their products are natural and organic.

The prize for this giveaway consists of Eclipse Spa's amazing "Escape Package", a $69 value!

The beautiful spa set contains: A Lavender Drawer Sachet, Organic Sugar Soy & Tea Bath, Organic Lavender Body Moisturizer, a Lavender Candle Votive, and Escape Vol. 1 CD. This package comes gift wrapped in a handmade green leaf box made from banana leaves, how cool is that?!

I can't wait to share this prize with you! All you have to do is fill out this form with your name and e-mail, and you could win it!

Standard Disclaimer: This giveaway is limited to U.S. participants only. All complete entries, via the form, are valid until the closing of the contest, at 12:00 AM on 7/20/2008. Multiple entries under the same name/e-mail do not increase your chance of winning. One winner will be selected at random at the date of the contest closing. If the winner, chosen at random, does not respond to my e-mail by one week after the contest closing, another winner will be chosen!

To learn more, check out Eclipse Spa's website, here.

Good luck!

Reader Appreciation Week! (7/13/08 - 7/19/08)

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This week is reader appreciation week here at Shop With a Vengeance! What does this mean? As a way to say "Thanks" to all my beautiful readers, I've decided to do a few nice things for ya'll.

For example, instead of just one giveaway this week, I will be hosting two! That means two chances to win an awesome prize! Also, every week day I will be putting up a response to a reader question, in addition to some normal content.

There might also be a few surprise mini-giveaways or contests along the way, so stay tuned and keep on reading!

Magic Of Makeup: Amy Winehouse!

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Magic Of Makeup

So, I am not the biggest Amy Winehouse fan, but I thought it was quite interesting how different she looks without her trademark winged eyeliner!

Take a look at the before and after photos:

Amy Winehouse without makeup

Of course, this is her looking completely barefaced in comparison to her looking made up nicely. I neglected to include her looking a hot mess as she normally does. You know, makeup smeared, cut up, diaper wearing... the usual. So, this time, I was hoping we could compare makeup-less Amy to made up properly Amy.

Oh, come on, what's an Amy Winehouse post without a little jab?

Hope you have a lovely weekend, ladies!

Get Jennifer Aniston's Beachy Hair Look!

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I recently got the opportunity to test out HairPlay's Custom Blend SET & SEAL Duo Product Line! This line contains SET, a setting lotion, and SEAL, a shine serum. HairPlay is created by Fritz Clay, owner of two San Francisco based salons. This duo is perfect for all hair types and textures, as well as all lengths and styles.

Jennifer Aniston's Beachy Hair

Admiring Jennifer Aniston's tousled hair, I (with my coarse, frizzy, wavy-straight mess) used these products to scrunch in some nice beachy waves after shampooing. Not bad at all! And plus, the SET lotion smells like sweet cucumber! The SEAL serum is unscented, but leaves your hair shiny and smooth.

The SET lotion I tried is a level three holding lotion, which claims to define even the most unmanagable hair. It is also great for molding short styles, or blow drying hair straight. The SET lotion comes in three different holds, light, medium, and extra.

All SET levels can be purchased for $19.50 a bottle. SEAL is available for $22. a bottle. The duo can be found at http://www.hairplayproducts.com.

What are your hair tricks for managing summer styles? Let me know!

Image Credits:

Celebrity Crave: Christine Lakin and DentaBurst Mini-Giveaway!

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Celebrity Crave

Hello ladies! Hope your week is going well so far!

Want to get Christine Lakin's gorgeous, confident smile? Try DentaBurst!

I recently got the opportunity to test out which is a quick and easy alternative to gum or mints. Nothing helps boost your confidence like having a fresh, clean, healthy smile. This portable product helps remove plaque and banishes bad breath, leaving teeth smooth and clean.

Spicy nacho spinach dip? Garlic tuna salad? No problem! DentaBurst is a great way to freshen your breath instantly, while having the added bonus of cleaning your teeth on the go.


Just unwrap the individually wrapped DentaBurst, slide it over your finger, and gently rub over your teeth. This may look a little funny, but it is like having a toothbrush on the go. They are super minty, so go slow at first!

Wanna try DentaBurst? The first five comments on this post will each win a 12 pack of DentaBurst Freshening Teeth Cleaners! Leave me your email and a beauty/haircare/style question, and a pack of DentaBurst could be yours :)

*One comment per person, and please keep it in the US.

For more information, check out DentaBurst's website, here.

Thanks and enjoy!

Magic of Makeup: Kelly Ripa!

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Magic Of Makeup

This week's Magic Of Makeup features Kelly Ripa!

These past few years, New Jersey native Kelly Ripa has been a rising star on daytime television. She started off on All My Children, and now has moved on to co-host Live With Regis and Kelly. She has won an American Daytime Emmy Award, and now has a series of Electrolux promotional commercials.

So, here is Kelly without and with makeup for your viewing pleasure:

Kelly Ripa Without Makeup

I think that Ms. Ripa does not look half bad for 37. She definitely looks more stunning with the makeup, however, in my opinion. This is likely because she is blonde so she has fair features that do not stand out very much.

What do you think of Kelly?

Affordable Mineral Makeup Giveaway! (7/06/08 - 7/12/08)

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Congratulations to reader Tina, winner of the Alice Cosmetics Giveaway!

Didn't win it last time? No worries, because I've got another great giveaway for you this week! Affordable Mineral Makeup has been kind enough to offer one lucky reader the chance to win a $30 gift certificate to their online store!

Affordable Mineral Makeup is an Eco-Friendly mineral makeup company. Their products contain only natural ingredients, and each product only uses four ingredients (Titanium Dioxide, Mica, Iron Oxide, and Zinc Oxide)! Affordable Mineral Makeup products contain no bismuth or additional fillers, so you know you are using the best for your skin.

Affordable Mineral Makeup's product line is very easy on the wallet. Their multipurpose powders/eye shadows run about $7-8 each. They have birthday gift sets, mascaras, foundations, correctors, you name it! They also offer a variety of lip products for $10 each. There are over 200 shades of products, so you will definitely find something that suits you on their awesome site! Best of all, you get a free sample with every order :)

If you are interested in participating in this giveaway, please leave me your Name and E-mail on this Form!

This giveaway is limited to U.S. participants only. All complete entries, via the form, are valid until the closing of the contest, at 12:00 AM on 7/13/2008. Multiple entries under the same name/e-mail do not increase your chance of winning. One winner will be selected at random at the date of the contest closing. If the winner, chosen at random, does not respond to my e-mail by one week after the contest closing, another winner will be chosen!

For more information, check out Affordable Mineral Makeup's website, here.