Saturday, August 23, 2014

Cirque du Soleil's Amaluna at the National Harbor - Review and Giveaway

Disclosure: Thanks to TAA PR and  Cirque du Soleil, I received four complimentary tickets to Amaluna to facilitate this review as well as four complimentary tickets to giveaway. As always, opinions stated are mine and are never influenced by free or comp products, tickets and/or services.

Please note: Although this review of Cirque du Soleil's Amaluna was carefully written to avoid revealing any major spoilers, if you wish to enter the giveaway for 4 tickets to the August 28 performance at 8pm at the National Harbor without seeing this review, simply scroll to the bottom of this post. Ticket information can be found at the bottom as well. 

I am a big believer in teaching my daughters and stepdaughters that femininity can be both powerful and graceful. I believe that all too often our society tries to separate femininity from power, creating the stereotype that one must be "manly" to be strong.

Thanks to the fabulous minds behind Cirque du Soleil's newest big top show Amaluna that stereotype is put to rest as a 70% female cast (a first in Cirque's 30-year history), along with an all-female band, come together to showcase the strength and beauty that femininity has to offer.

I was invited to a performance of Amaluna at The National Harbor in Maryland and was given tickets for three guests. In the spirit of celebrating women, I chose to bring my stepdaughter, daughter-in-law, and a dear female friend, all of whom were just as enthralled and empowered by the show as I was.

#CirqueSelfie with my powerfully female guests!

Amaluna is a tribute to the work and voice of women”, explains Director of Creation Fernand Rainville. “The show is a reflection on balance from a women’s perspective."

Director Diane Paulus, winner of a 2013 Tony Award (Pippin) says, “I didn’t want to build a ‘women’s agenda’ show. I wanted to create a show with women at the center of it, something that had a hidden story that featured women as the heroines.”

Paulus drew from a series of classical influences when creating the concept of the show; including tales from Greek and Norse mythology, Mozart’s The Magic Flute and Shakespeare’s The Tempest.

Here is the show's official description:

Amaluna invites the audience to a mysterious island governed by Goddesses and guided by the cycles of the moon. Their queen, Prospera, directs her daughter’s coming-of-age ceremony in a rite that honors femininity, renewal, rebirth and balance which marks the passing of these insights and values from one generation to the next. 
In the wake of a storm caused by Prospera, a group of young men lands on the island, triggering an epic, emotional story of love between Prospera’s daughter and a brave young suitor. But theirs is a love that will be put to the test. The couple must face numerous demanding trials and overcome daunting setbacks before they can achieve mutual trust, faith and harmony. 
Amaluna is a fusion of the words ama, which refers to “mother” in many languages, and luna, which means “moon”; a symbol of femininity that evokes both the mother-daughter relationship and the idea of goddess and protector of the planet. Amaluna is also the name of the mysterious island where this magical story unfolds.

Prospera and Miranda are the main female characters, along with The Moon Goddess who proves that confidence and strength can be alluringly feminine.

Prospera delivers a commanding, confident performance while Miranda is curious, energetic and mischievous.

Miranda's life-long friend, half-lizard, half-human Cali, opens the show by coyly interacting with the audience, immediately inviting them to enter the world of Amaluna. Spectacular peacocks and fanciful fairies are just a few of the other wondrous creatures that inhabit the island.

Cali is in love with Miranda while she views him as merely a pet. This unrequited love triggers Cali's jealousy, especially when Miranda becomes enthralled with the dashing Prince Romeo.

Romeo's manservant Jeeves and Miranda's childhood nurse Deeds, both clowns, provide comic relief in between acts and their adorable romance becomes a sweet story in and of itself.

The music performed live by the all-female band during the show has an edgy, hard rock feel as opposed to Cirque's usual soft and ethereal soundtrack. The bands' spiked hair and electric guitars blended perfectly with the theme of female power.

The acts were as mesmerizing as I had heard they would be (this was my first Cirque show ever), with my favorite being "Cerceau and Waterbowl" in which Miranda performs a challenging hand-balancing routine and dives in and out of the Waterbowl, all while Prince Romeo watches and eventually joins her to frolic and kiss for the first time in the water.

"Chinese Pole" and "Manipulation" were also my favorites as I joined the crowd in disbelieving stares and jaw-dropping awe over the mind-blowing feats pulled off by the artists.

The costumes worn by the band and artists were just as captivating and also added to the wonder of feminine empowerment and beauty.

The costume and the artist are inseparable in costume designer Mérédith Caron's mind. "One calls out to the other," she says. "It's a communion, a symbiotic relationship. But above all, it is the artist that I dress."

For example, Miranda wears linen, cambric and distressed velvet that is highly reminiscent of the Italian Renaissance and conveys Miranda's enthusiasm and thirst for discovery.

Take a look at the detail that goes into the peacock costumes alone for an understanding of how magnificent and intricate Amaluna's wardrobe really is:

The peacock costumes are made up of 14 layers of heat- pleated materials trimmed in leather and stretch metallic fabric. The tails open out to a “fan” of eight feet with hydraulic pistons that compensate for their weight. Made in the same proportion to the performers’ bodies as the bird’s fans have to theirs, the tails are attached to the artists with belts that hide the mechanisms under embroidered feathers. The skeleton and leaves of the fans are made of the same Fiberglass material used in the manufacture of fishing rods, and screen-printed metallic paper is glued to the leaves to recreate the iridescent look of peacock plumage.

We were able to stay after the show for a question and answer session with Amaluna's publicist Rowenna Dunn and Head of Wardrobe Larry Edwards where we learned fun and interesting behind the scenes facts about #CirqueLife.

I was mostly interested in hearing about the costumes so I was thrilled that Edwards was part of the Q&A session! I was fascinated to learn that more than 180 costumes are used in Amaluna and are made up of nearly 1,000 different items. 120 hours per week are spent on laundry alone!

Another fun fact: The Water-bowl which plays such a vital role in the story is 5’5” tall, 7’3” in diameter, and weighs 5,500 lbs when filled with water.

Take a look at this sneak peek of Amaluna to see for yourself how the costumes, actsstoryline, characters, set design and more, all come together to tell a mesmerizing tale:

Trust me when I say that no photographs or videos can come close to the wonder of experiencing the show live. As cliche as it sounds, I seriously had chills during many of the performances and I expressed my feelings about wanting to be just like the enchanting and alluring artists in this tweet:

Would you like a chance to see the beauty of Amaluna in person for free? And would you like to bring THREE guests with you at no cost as well?
Cirque was kind enough to offer readers of So a Blonde Walks Into a Review a chance to win FOUR tickets to the August 28 Amaluna show at The National Harbor at 8 pm! One lucky winner will be selected at random to win all four tickets!

Please only enter this giveaway if you are able to attend the August 28 performance at 8pm! 

To enter, simply leave a comment on this post telling us why you'd love to win, then follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter widget below to complete your entry (If you are having trouble commenting, go ahead and mark that entry method as complete on Rafflecopter. It was brought to my attention that Blogger's comment section is acting up, thus that step is no longer mandatory. Thank you for your understanding!) Bonus entry methods are available as shown on Rafflecopter.

This giveaway ends at 12 am EST on August 26, 2014. Winner will be notified by email and will have 24 hours to respond. If no response is received, the prize will be forfeited and offered to another randomly selected winner to ensure that the tickets will be used due to the short turnaround of this giveaway.

By entering, you automatically agree to all of the rules and disclaimers listed here. Please also see my disclosure policy here. Good luck!

If you can't wait to see if you are a winner or if you're unable to make the August 28 performance, click here to purchase tickets for a date and time of your choosing. (Don't miss the Family Four Pack deal before it's gone!) Check out upcoming cities that Amaluna will be touring at here.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Behind the Seam Designer Jeans Review and Giveaway

Disclosure: I received a complimentary pair of Behind the Seam Designer Jeans to facilitate this review. As always, opinions stated are mine and are never influenced by comp products, tickets or services.

How many of my readers remember the fabulous movie, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants? It's one of my favorite movies of all time! How fabulous would it be to share a pair of jeans with your best girlfriends as well as the memories created while wearing them?

That is the concept behind a super cool new company I discovered on Twitter called Behind the Seam Designer Jeans. Owner and creator Natalie Alberti Salamone collects gently used designer jeans and resells them at an affordable price. The bonus is that each pair comes with a story of a special memory that happened to the previous owner while wearing the jeans.

"Ever since I was a young girl, I have loved fashion and, in particular, the look, feel and quality of good designer jeans," Natalie says. "But high-end jeans are far too expensive for most of our budgets. As I began to do some online research, I found I could locate lightly worn jeans from various sources and offer them for resale."

The stories that come with the jeans have added a fun dimension to the new venture and helps connect women to a common sisterhood.

"Each story is a creative narrative based on true facts (told to me by the original owner) about something interesting or exciting that happened to them while wearing the jeans," says Natalie. "Our jeans have traveled all over the country and come with cool stories, so if you believe in karma, our jeans are for you!"

The brands, which include 7 For All Mankind, Vigoss, Antik Denim, Citizens of Humanity, and Lucky Brand among others, range in price from $40 to $65, about 70% less than original retail prices.

Natalie was kind enough to send me a pair of jeans to review for this article and I have to say, the story behind my new 575's was definitely meant for me!

As someone who has been dealing with chronic pain and illness, being encouraged to believe in my dreams and to realize that anything is possible is something I desperately needed to be reminded of. I don't believe it was a coincidence that these jeans and the story behind them ended up in my hands.

I love the look and feel of the jeans just as much as I love the story, too! Distressed, dark denim is my favorite style...perfect for dressing up or down!

You can check out all of the  current jeans in stock, as well as their stories, here (click photos to display more selections in each style shown). Be sure to check back often as inventory changes frequently.

Natalie also hosts "Trunk Shows for a Cause" to benefit charity and is starting a new program called "The Great Jean Makeover- Inspiring and Empowering Teenage Girls."

Once a month, the program will allow a teenage girl to receive a pair of designer jeans as well as a makeover that teaches appropriate make-up application, and a headshot from a professional photographer. The program is part of Natalie's goal to empower young women.

Behind the Seam Designer Jeans' mission statement is: empower and inspire women of all ages, religions, socioeconomic background, and races by allowing them to make connections with other women across the country through their shared stories of their beloved jeans.

In addition to purchasing online or via trunk show, Behind the Seam Designer Jeans can also be found at these retail stores.

Want a chance to win a pair of your own Behind the Seam Designer Jeans? Post a comment in the comment section below telling us your favorite style of jeans (skinny, boot cut, etc.), then follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter widget below to complete your entry. Other bonus entry actions can be found in the Rafflecopter widget.

Entry deadline is 12:00 am EST on Sunday, August 24, 2014. By entering, you automatically agree to all of the rules and disclaimers listed here. Please also see my disclosure policy here. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Boat Safely This Summer With Sea Tow

Disclosure: I participated in an Influencer Activation Program on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Sea Tow. I received a promotional item to thank me for participating.

The Chesapeake Bay

Having grown up on the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland, I will always be a water baby at heart. Some of my fondest memories were made boating out on the bay, either on my mom's catamaran or my aunt and uncle's speed boat.

My husband and his family enjoy the water as much as my family does, so I've been lucky enough to share my love for boating with them as well.

My Husband and Me Boating in Florida
I was taught about water safety from an early age but even the most cautious and well-prepared person can experience an emergency while enjoying the water. My aunt and uncle were once involved in a very serious boating accident that sent them to the hospital. Thankfully, they eventually recovered from their injuries, but the accident was a harsh reminder of the dangers that can go hand-in-hand with boating.

That's why I was intrigued to learn about Sea Tow and the Sea Tow Foundation.

Sea Tow is the #1 choice of boaters nationwide for on-water assistance. Sea Tow members receive free towing, fuel drops, jump starts, priority service, Automated Radio Checks, 24/7 nationwide coverage, knowledgeable Captains, covered ungroundings, savings and much more.

My Mom's Prindle Catamaran

The Sea Tow Foundation was created in 2007 by Sea Tow founder Joe Frohnhoefer and promotes safe boating practices and education initiatives that directly reduce accidents, fatalities and property damage related to recreational boating. The foundation has distributed close to 15,000 life jackets nationwide to help keep recreational boaters safer on the water with their Life Jacket Loaner Stands. (Click here for a list of Sea Tow Loaner Life Jacket Stand locations.)

My Mom Racing Her Catamaran in a Regatta

Ensuring that every passenger has a life jacket is a vital part of boating safety and is at the top of Sea Tow's First Mate Checklist safety infographic for kids:

I wish a checklist like that had been around when I was a kid! It's never too early to teach these basic safety measures. And I wish my family could have had Sea Tow's service available to us during our many years of boating, especially during my aunt and uncle's accident. Such service is invaluable even for minor emergencies.

My Daughter at the Helm of the Schooner Woodwind in Annapolis, MD

On a much lighter note, every parent knows that snacks are a high priority on the boating checklist! Check out Sea Tow's list of snack ideas to make before heading out for a day on the water. That snack pop recipe looks pretty amazing to me! 

Sea Tow memberships are available in Gold Card for $169 per year or Lake Card for $119 per year. 

Matt and Me on the Schooner Woodwind

I still plan on owning my own boat someday and when I do, I will be sure to become a member of Sea Tow. You simply can't put a price on safety and there's no such thing as being too cautious or too prepared for possible emergencies when it comes to boating.


Thursday, July 3, 2014

Kiss Everlasting French Manicure

Disclosure: I received a complimentary set of Kiss Everlasting French Manicure Nails for testing and review purposes.

I always enjoy seeing what surprises are in Influenster's Vox Boxes and the Spring Vox Box was no exception! However, I think that the Everlasting French Manicure by Kiss Nails has to be my all-time favorite beauty product I've ever received in a Vox Box, by far!

These nails look so real and natural that a friend of mine said she couldn't believe they weren't my own nails. Not only were they beautiful and natural, but they were easy to apply and lasted past the recommended 7-day period in the instructions.

I was even able to use the larger nails that didn't fit by filing and cutting them down to size, so I got double the use out of one box. Those fit better and lasted longer, so I highly recommend filing yours to size if you find them too large for your nails. I have SUPER tiny fingers and nails so even the smallest sizes rarely fit no matter what brand I use. (My pinky nails are especially difficult as they are about the size of a baby's nails!)

Click here to check out more info on Kiss Everlasting French Manicure as well as other Kiss products. I've tried other styles from Kiss and have always been pleased with the results!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Give Back Through the State Farm Neighborhood Assist Initiative

Disclosure: I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for State Farm. I received a promotional item to thank me for participating.

As someone who is a big believer in paying it forward and helping others, I have always done my best to donate my time, talents and money to charity and those in need. I have also been on the receiving end of such charity while battling a devastating chronic illness that has cost me physically, emotionally and financially. After being on both the giving and receiving end, I now believe even more that charity makes the world go around.

Before my illness hit me hard, I was much more active in helping my community. One of my proudest moments was being able to donate enough to our local police department for the purchase of a brand new McGruff the Crime Dog costume that is now used to teach safety to children in our community. My husband and I also involve our children in charity so that they are raised with a spirit of giving. Here I am with three of our six kids participating in the Random Acts of Zu charity drive:

I recently learned of an excellent program for giving back to our local communities called the State Farm Neighborhood Assist initiative. Communities across the United States and Canada answered the call from State Farm® to help create a positive impact in their community and submitted 4,000 causes as part of this year’s State Farm Neighborhood Assist. Now the top 200 causes have been selected by the State Farm Youth Advisory Board® and they need your “assist” to help vote them into the top 40. From April 28 through May 16, anyone who has the free State Farm Neighborhood Assist Facebook application can vote daily for their favorite cause, or causes, and help bring $25,000 to the top 40 vote-getters.

Extreme Recess in Wisconsin- Providing Adaptive Sports & Activities for Children With Disabilties-
Previous Grant Recipient in the State Farm Neighborhood Assist Program

This is such an easy way to help a cause in your community without having to even leave your home or spend a dime! I chose to vote for "A Place 4 Us," an organization in my homestate of Maryland that helps children who have suffered from abuse, neglect and/or trauma. Here's how this important charity plans to use the $25,000 should they place in the top 40:

"The $25, 000 will address the need because it will provide A Place 4 Us program leaders and volunteers with the opportunity to not only acquire the basic supplies (sports and art supplies/equipment, educational supplies, stuffed animals, books and additional supplies) that the program needs, but it will also allow for the acquiring of 1-3 skill professionals to work in the program. In addition, the money received will assist One Love 4 Kids, Inc in securing a location to house this essential program. Children who have experienced abuse and trauma need empathy, consistency, but most important a place to feel safe. And One Love 4 Kids, Inc. A Place 4 us program wants to create this safe place for children for many years so that they may continue on their healing journey. Therefore, it is vital for the program to secure funding which will also assist in securing a location that the program can be housed in for a long, long time.
"A Place 4 Us will have a lasting impact on the children, families and community being served. Reason being, although the focus of A Place 4 Us is on providing direct support to children who have experienced, trauma, abuse and neglect, it is common knowledge that children are best understood in the context of their families, schools and communities. As a result, A Place 4 Us program leaders will work diligently and tirelessly to provide resources for parents and caregivers so they can better support their children. In addition, A Place 4 Us program leaders will work with local schools, other agencies serving children and families and county government agencies to ensure that programs are in place to prevent future child abuse. Thus, A Place 4 Us will be a fixture in the lives of children being served and in the community for many years to come."
Check out this heart-warming video of a previous grant recipient from the State Farm Neighborhood Assist program- Extreme Recess by Dreams for Kids:

How wonderful would it feel to know that YOU helped make such a difference in your community, just by placing a vote? It's free, quick and easy, and the rewards will have a profound impact on your community.

Take a look at what organizations are in the top 200 and place your vote here. Did you know that the difference between the charities that placed 40th and 41st last year were just 62 votes? Your vote definitely counts and could make all the difference! You can even vote from your mobile phone. As shown in the infographic below, 35% of votes from last year's initiative came from a mobile device (click to enlarge photo):


You have until May 16 to vote for your favorite cause/causes and you can vote up to ten times each day, so head over to the State Farm Neighborhood Assist Facebook app and help keep communities strong by voting now!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Wen Hair Care by Chaz Dean Review and Giveway

Disclosure: I received a complimentary Wen Hair Care kit to facilitate this review, as well as a second kit to giveaway. As always, opinions are all my own and are not influenced by comp products.

Being the "Blonde Blogger" for several years now, my hair has been a big part of my online identity. So taking care of my hair is very important to me. Until I had the opportunity to review Wen Hair Care by Chaz Dean, though, I was always battling to keep my hair healthy and moisturized.

I was actually born with red hair that turned blonde around the age of 3 and it stayed blonde into my twenties. Now I need a little help to keep my locks golden, which means keeping my hair from being dry and frizzy was always big challenge.

I have tried so many different shampoos, conditioners, moisturizers, leave-in conditioners, etc. but my hair always tended to be over-dry and straw-like, especially after coloring. I kept hearing rave reviews online about Wen Hair Care and wondered if it could be the product that would finally make a difference in my hair.

Here's a description of Wen directly from

"WEN by Chaz Dean® cleanses with astringent and antibacterial properties without lathering; it adds sheen, luster, moisture, strength and manageability to the hair. Color lasts much longer and it stimulates the scalp promoting blood circulation, stopping hair loss and promoting healthy hair growth. WEN by Chaz Dean® is formulated with the perfect balance of ingredients for all hair types and performs amazingly well on ethnic hair, due to its moisture content. Try the WEN by Chaz Dean® cleansing conditioners and styling products and notice the instant results, giving your hair the love it deserves. WEN by Chaz Dean® cleansing conditioners were created with herbs and natural ingredients, not only cleansing your scalp and hair, but also moisturizing, soothing, strengthening and adding sheen. WEN by Chaz Dean® is designed to eliminate shampoo and its harsh and damaging effects, without sacrificing the integrity and beauty of your hair. WEN by Chaz Dean® is the only cleanser/conditioner you will need to use in your daily routine, and can be used as often as necessary. Enjoy your WEN® and see your hair and its texture change instantly."

Thanks to the kind people at Guthy Renker, I was sent a review kit of fabulous Wen Hair Care products by Chaz Dean that has changed my hair's health profoundly. The kit included:

My Wen Hair Care Review Kit

You can see how my hair looked before using Wen in my preview video:

After just one use of Wen's Cleansing Conditioner in Sweet Almond Mint, I noticed a visible difference in the health, moisture and vitality of my hair. Though I had heard so many rave reviews about Wen, I was still stunned that just one wash could make such a huge difference.

I didn't even need to style my hair for once. I let it air dry, tousled it with my hands a bit and was done! Wen gave me so much natural body, shine and moisture that I didn't need my usual leave-in conditioners that never really did much for my hair anyway. (I did use a tiny bit of the Wen Styling Cream, however I've since used the Cleansing Conditioner on its own and my hair is just as fabulous. The Styling Cream just gives my hair a bit of extra bounce and shine).

Here's what my hair looked like the next day after using Wen the night before:

Never before have I been able to just wake up, comb my hair and go! I love that I can wash my hair at night now and not have to worry about it looking greasy or having to spend a lot of time styling it the next day. And as I mentioned in my video, I'm blessed enough to have a husband who plays with my hair at night as we fall asleep. He noticed a huge difference as well and remarked on how soft it felt.

I sometimes still curl my ends, but I don't see the heavy damage that I used to see after doing so. Here is my hair curled after washing with Wen three times:

My curls have bounce and softness that I've never been able to achieve before Wen!

I was so hooked on Wen from the start that I knew I would never go back to regular shampoos and conditioners ever again. I found a great special on a Wen set on QVC and jumped on the opportunity immediately (keep an eye on QVC for upcoming Wen shows and specials, especially their rare Wen TSV deal which is what I got). I love the Sweet Almond Mint so much that I chose that formula for my new set:

The set I purchased includes:

I'm SO happy that this set included SixThirteen because I had not heard of it before and wouldn't have known to try it. Chaz Dean calls it "Wen on steroids" and he's not kidding! I didn't think my hair could be any more healthy or moisturized but SixThirteen gave my hair's health an even bigger boost.

I now regularly mix SixThirteen with my Sweet Almond Mint Cleansing Conditioner with each wash. I highly recommend trying both a regular Wen formula along with the SixThirteen. Adding the SixThirteen into your regular formula will stretch out the time before you need to replenish your Wen products and it will give you moisture beyond anything you can imagine!

I also think it's super sweet how the SixThirteen line got its name. It's the birth date of Chaz's mother as well as the day a special friend of his, a homeless woman by the name of Spirit, who officially became part of his family when he purchased the property she had been living on. Chaz's kind heart and love of people and animals make me even more proud to be a Wen Girl!

Now that I've been using Wen regularly, I find that I can go longer in between washings without my hair getting too heavy or dirty feeling. This picture was taken after four days of not washing my hair:

Wen keeps my hair fresher and cleaner between washings.

Even my husband is a fan and he's bald! Wen is so natural and moisturizing that it can be used as a body wash and/or shaving cream. My husband uses it to shave and I can always tell if he uses his old shaving cream. His skin is visibly dry with shaving cream. With Wen, his whole head and face is as soft as a baby and there is no flaking or dryness whatsoever.

My gorgeous Wen Man with his soft and smooth skin!

There is a slight learning curve to using Wen since it's not like regular shampoo or conditioner (watch Wen's instructional videos on YouTube or on for great tips). But it's easy to get the hang of it very quickly and your hair will thank you for it! Here are my tips for getting the most out of Wen:

  • Be aware that the different Wen formulas (Sweet Almond Mint, Pomegranate, Lavender, etc.) are designed for different hair types. Sweet Almond Mint and Pomegranate are universal and can be used on all hair types but the other formulas are specifically designed for various needs, so be sure to read the description on the formula you choose before buying. You can see a description of every formula and its purpose here.
  • The Cleansing Conditioner is just that...a cleansing conditioner. Don't be afraid to use too much or to put it on the top of your hair. A lot of people mistakenly think that Wen is just a conditioner and they'll use it sparingly on the top and more on the ends, leading to greasy, heavy, unclean hair. The more you use the better!
  • I have long, thick hair so I use about 6-8 pumps of the Sweet Almond Mint and 2-3 pumps of the Six Thirteen on my first wash and then I repeat again with the same amount of pumps for a second cleanse.
  • Apply, rinse and repeat! I always use two applications, making sure the Cleansing Conditioner is applied evenly and heavily all throughout my hair. I wash the first application out immediately, then leave the second one in until the end of my shower.
  • I use one pump of the Sweet Almond Mint as a leave-in conditioner just before towel-drying my hair.
  • Don't let the price scare you! Wen replaces so many other products...shampoo, conditioner, leave-in conditioner, moisturizing sprays, etc. and it holds color longer, making your salon trips less frequent. Being able to go longer in between washings will also save you money. In the end, you may end up spending slightly more, but it's totally worth it!

I cover these tips and more in my final Vlog review:

Now that I've been using Wen for several weeks, I continue to see such a vast change in the overall health of my hair and I couldn't be more happy with it. I am definitely a lifelong Wen girl now!

I've tried all of the other Wen products in my two kits and love them all! I highly recommend that if you switch to Wen, you stay within the Wen family of products for the best results.

My favorite is the Replenishing Mist. If you've slept on your hair after washing, or just want to refresh your look, just spritz and comb through or massage it in with your fingers and your hair will be so invigorated!

I love the Re Moist Intensive Hair Treatment as a once-a-week mask that adds even more shine and moisture. The Styling Cream is great for adding volume, but note that you will need to wash a little more often if you use it. Same with the Texture Balm which I will sometimes apply to my bangs to give them some separation and lift.

After several weeks of using Wen, my hair is amazingly healthy, shiny and soft!

To purchase Wen through an authorized dealer online, visit or Sephora.

Wish you could try out the same kit that I did? One lucky reader will be chosen at random to win a Wen kit just like the one that was sent to me for my review! The kit includes a 12-oz. bottle of Cleansing Conditioner, 0.35 net weight Texture Balm, 2 oz. Styling Cream, and 2 oz. Re Moist Intensive Hair Treatment, all in Sweet Almond Mint as well as a comb and pump!

To enter the giveaway, simply leave a comment on this post stating why you'd like to win, then follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter widget below to complete your entry. Both methods...commenting and entering via Rafflecopter, MUST be completed for your entry to be counted. There are bonus methods for entry as stated on the Rafflecopter widget as well.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Entry deadline is 11:59 pm on May 15, 2014. By entering, you automatically agree to all the rules and disclaimers listed here. Please also see my disclosure policy here. Good luck!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Labor Day Movie Review

Disclosure: I hosted a Labor Day viewing party with my friends and Paramount gave me a copy of the movie on Digital HD.  I was not compensated for this post, however I did receive a complimentary download of Labor Day for my review and I am entering a brand challenge for a chance to win a prize. All opinions are my own and are not influenced in any way.

Thanks to Influenster, I was given the opportunity to host a viewing party to see the new digital release of the movie Labor Day by Paramount. My husband Matt and I love romance movies, so we were especially excited to watch Labor Day after seeing the chemistry between Kate Winslet (Adele) and Josh Brolin (Frank) in the trailer:

Because it was Easter weekend, we combined our family's Easter gathering with our Labor Day Pizza and Romance Viewing Party. Matt's son Josh and his wife Courtney came over with our granddaughter Savannah who was clearly the center of attention until the movie started playing. We all found ourselves enthralled with Labor Day from the start. Even Savannah was glued to the TV as you can see in the bottom, middle photo in the collage below:

Winslet and Brolin are such superb actors, they reel you in with more than words. Much of Labor Day is filled with scenes that are suspenseful and silent, yet Winslet and Brolin are able to convey a vast array of emotions with just their body language. You can feel their connection through the screen.
The same holds true for Gattlin Griffith who plays Adele's son Henry. All you have to do is look into Griffith's eyes during any scene to feel the emotions the character is feeling. If I were a child actor, I'd be intimidated to play against talent such as Winslet and Brolin, but Griffith held his own and then some. He was a perfect fit for the role and I have a feeling we'll be seeing more of him in future films.
Labor Day starts out very tense, and led to a bit of brief commentary amongst us viewers: 
"No way would I have done what Adele did! I would have screamed in the store before we got to the car!" -Me (Josh and Courtney agree with me)
"Yeah, but he had her son."- Matt (Josh and Courtney agree with Matt)
There were more brief bits of opinion and commentary thrown in here and there by all of us, but the main opinion? That this was a splendid love story played out by three (and yes, I say three, because the familial love for Henry was a significant part of the story) extremely talented actors. In fact, every character in the movie was well-played and they enhanced the plot and tension to the very end.
Labor Day is all about family, overcoming obstacles, challenges, heartbreak, forgiveness and hardships, but most of's about the power of love and hope.
My husband and I are eager to see it again on our next at-home date night. When our guests left, we were feeling extra romantic because of the movie and took a moment to cherish the love we share outside under the sunset. "I'd wait forever for you," I told him, and I meant it. 

Check out Labor Day's official website here for more information on the movie and/or to purchase your own digital copy. And check out this delicious Peach Pie recipe that you can make just like Adele and Frank did in the movie.

Thanks again to Influenster for allowing my family and I to enjoy such a beautiful movie together!
© The Blonde Blogger. All rights reserved.