The Business of Being A Blogger


HostGator-Customer-Portal-WordPress
When I started blogging in 2010, I was a new makeup artist in a small country based out of South East Asia. I was living as an expat with a career I loved and abundant curiosity in the world of beauty in Asia and beyond. Being in Singapore, I wanted to get to know more brands and join a community of similar interests. One of the reasons I started blogging was to help my career as a makeup artist gain more exposure. At the time, social media platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, Vine and even Twitter either did not exist or were very new-ish to the game. I needed a voice and an outlet to talk about my passion for makeup and noticed there was a very active beauty blogger community in Singapore with events and opportunities beyond doing just makeup. And thus Norah Loves Makeup the blog was born using WordPress as my platform.

I knew WordPress was perfect for my blog from the outset, it offered a lot of robust features and endless customization possibilities. While it posed a great challenge at times, I felt very comfortable once I began writing and learned the ins and outs of WordPress, all self taught. As a connector and a business, blogging has been good to me. Back then blogging was much more complicated in terms of setting up, everything had to be done separately from hosting, domain name, etc. Now there are options in the market such as HostGator Optimized WordPress which make it simple and easy to get started. If you are a small business owner like me, a blog is a fantastic tool to get your name out there. I can’t recall how many times, I’d get asked about my blog and get makeup gigs because of it. The feedback I get from real clients, brands, other makeup artists is so wonderful that I have no desire to ever stop for as long as I can.

If you are less tech-y (like me) and really want to get a start on an awesome blogging platform like WordPress, you ought to check out HostGator Optimized WordPress. Here are some of the benefits of HostGator Optimized WordPress:

– 24/7 live support via chat, phone, and email
– One click WordPress installs – no messy downloading and uploading of files.
– One click and start easy to use website builder – drag and drop tools that make building a site simple
– Design services (if you want to let a pro design your WordPress website)
– Marketing services (SEO and PPC)
– Parking your own domain with HostGator

Features of HostGator Optimized WordPress

– Automatic updates of plugins/theme/WordPress
– Sitelock malware scanning and removal
– Sitelock Content Delivery Network (CDN)
– CodeGuard daily backup and restores (down to the file level)
– HostGator Optimized WordPress is a new premium product and just a small extension to existing products provided by HostGator

A lof of these details are crucial and part of the maintenance process of a WordPress blog. Don’t let this deter you! Unlike years prior, you now have the option to have all this done through HostGator Optimized WordPress. Personally, I feel it is a much easier way to get a blog started using a hosting platform specifically built for WordPress. HostGator handles all of the core, theme, and plugin updates without the need for any action on your part. In other words, you won’t have to worry about logging into your WP-Admin panel to handle common updates. To learn more about HostGator Optimized WordPress, click here.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

FROZEN Themed Loot Bags For The Busy Mom

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #BDayOnBudget #CollectiveBias
Frozen Headband Birthday girl
My daughter Eva just turned two and for her birthday, I was in the midst of a busy work week. What is one to do? I headed over to Walmart to prepare some cute FROZEN loot bags for the children I had coming for Eva’s birthday. Eva is at a difficult age where she is not talking yet, has little patience but she definitely loves very girly things.

For my loot bags, I went with a FROZEN jewelry-themed idea that would be simple, budget conscious and also age appropriate as most two year olds aren’t quite playing with fancy toys or objects, all these items are safe. I wanted to add a little necklace to each loot bag so I decided to make my own FROZEN necklaces using tiaras, string, scissors and tape. With this idea you’ll have an extra item in your loot bag, and more importantly it won’t take a long time to prepare it.

Once at Walmart, I located the American Greetings FROZEN themed section and picked up just a few items

– FROZEN loot bags
– FROZEN Tiaras
– FROZEN bracelets
– FROZEN Mega Mix Value Pack with 48 pieces

I also got up a FROZEN head band for Eva to use, since she is too young to wear tiaras comfortably and keeps taking them off, like the typical impatient toddler that she is! This stage is a tough one so everything has to be very basic but still fun/ cute.

Inside the bag

– One FROZEN pink ring
– One FROZEN bracelet
– One DYI FROZEN necklace made out of a tiara cut-out with string + tape
– One FROZEN ruler
– One FROZEN puzzle
– A FROZEN themed mini notebook and an ice decoration

How to make the FROZEN necklace?

With scissors, I cut out a heart shaped photo of Elsa and Anna using the tiaras I bought from Walmart. To make these items into a necklace, you will need some string and tape. Once the heart shapes were cut out, I punched two holes on each side, ran my string through the holes and taped them in the back of the hearts. Voila! A cute FROZEN necklace to add to your loot bag and complete your “jewelry” set with the ring and bracelet.
Tutorial Frozen Necklace made out of tiara
Do you remember your best birthday ever? Tell me about it below!

True Nature Botanicals Exfoliating Cleanser + Pacific Mist

I am prefacing my review of True Nature Botanicals with a little back drop as to why I love this brand so much. A lot has to be said about the ingredients in a skincare brand and the reasons why they matter. I am by no means an expert on all things skincare but have things to say on this matter, one is that I do makeup on a wide range of skin tones/ types. Secondly, I speak from my own experience with sensitive skin, severe acne as a teenager later cured by six months of Accutane, and dry combination skin at my age (I am 41).

Having sensitive for me means that I can’t do foamy soaps, electronic brush cleaners, and certain types of toners. I am really not sure where this stems from but after six years of living in Asia in intense humidity, I lived with number of issues that left my face and underarms pretty much susceptible to a lot of products. For a while, I had dermatitis, a horrible period of hyperhydrosis (fancy word for sweating too much), itchiness, redness that only came from certain products, lots of drugstore brands. The breakthrough came once I moved back to the USA and had a change of climate, air quality and a wider range of products. Less allergies although I do get them from time to time.

If you have me as a Facebook friend or know me from beauty blogger groups, you might know I broke out horribly a few weeks ago, all this resulting from trying an electronic brush for “sensitive skin”. From this experience, I learned a valuable lesson, stick to what you know. Once my skin cleared, I immediately went back to using Pacific Mist spray by True Nature Botanicals . This gives my skin much needed daily moisture without irritating agents. I like using this spray day and night, sometimes I use it alone and it is enough when I am home. Pacific Mist works well under makeup and also if you are feeling a little dull in the morning from a bad night or not enough sleep. The scent is very soft, like a fresh floral infusion. There is zero alcohol so no chance of irritation at all.

PACIFIC MIST INGREDIENTS

Camellia sinensis (green tea)*, citrus aurantium (neroli) hydrosol, camellia sinensis (green tea) extract*, camellia sinensis (white tea) extract*, green crithmum maritimum (sea fennel) extract, macrocystis pyrifera (sea kelp) extract, saccharomyces/xylitum black tea ferment (kombucha) extract, polyaminopropyl biguanide (Cosmocil CQ**), simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) oil, polianthes tuberosa (tuberose) essential oil, trachelospermum jasminoides (star jasmine) essential oil, citrus aurantium (neroli) essential oil*
* organic

After and while my skin broke out in red, itchy bumps, I did not exfoliate until I felt my face could handle it without feeling stripped. Enter the True Nature Pacific Exfoliating cleanser, a cleansing exfoliant that leaves my skin feeling clean, renewed and surprisingly smooth without feeling like cardboard. Does that make sense? Some exfoliants have a drying tendency and this cleanser will not do that. The texture is fine with zero beads or particles that may feel harsh on contact, this I really like.

Retail value $48

TRUE NATURE PACIFIC EXFOLIATING CLEANSER INGREDIENTS

Camellia sinensis (green & white tea)*, phaseolus angularis (adzuki bean) powder*, Actifoliate® [glycerin, water, mucor miehei extract, glucosamine HCI, urea], glycerin (vegetable glycerin)*, aloe barbadensis (aloe vera) juice*, phenethyl alcohol**, xanthan gum, honey (manuka honey)*, colloidal oat flour*, ascophyllum nodosum (kelp) powder*, rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) oleoresin*, matricaria recutita (chamomile flower) powder, ethylhexylglycerin**, lavandula angustifolia (lavender) essential oil*, pelargonium graveolens (rose geranium) essential oil

*organic **paraben-free anti-microbial agents % organic ingredients: 92%

Retail value $48

**These products were given to me for editorial consideration all opinions and views are my own.

Make Up Forever Ultra HD Foundation Review

MUFE ultra hd 120This is the newest release on foundations for Make Up Forever. The MUFE Ultra HD foundation was previewed at the Makeup Show NYC back in May. Before I buy a few more of these foundations for my kit, I wanted to test drive it myself. It’s been a few years since the HD formula first came out and while it is still one of my favorite foundations, it does not work well on every skin type, in my opinion. Ultra HD (liquid) has released forty colors ranging from very light to darker tones as well as 15 shades for the Ultra HD Stick (cream version).

The texture is very fluid, light in texture, blends and builds really well depending on your desired/ needed coverage. Like its predecessor, MUFE Ultra HD is meant to work with latest high-definition technologies of the film and TV industry, also known as 4K technology in cameras. If you own or are familiar with the older version of HD, one of its traits is that it is much more creamy in formula, not great for oily types, it is a formula that needs to be prepped well.

My first impressions are positive. Application and coverage are easy and flawless, little goes a long way. I went to the Make Up Forever Pro Store in NYC and spent some time trying the new colors, getting a sense of the product. I am very familiar with the numbering system of MUFE foundations and ended up getting 120 / now known as Y245 Soft Sand. My undertones are yellow and since I don’t tan, this is a color that works well year round. The best part is that all the MUFE foundation bottles carry the old and new numbers making it extremely easy to identify. I can definitely see this formula working well for oily skin. The texture of MUFE Ultra HD is very similar to Face Atelier Ultra Pro, they are NOT the same product obviously but their formula accommodates a wider range of skin types/ tones. This is great news for you foundation lovers.

This new formula uses these ingredients:

Amino Acid Coated Pigments reflective particles that blur flaws for translucent, invisible coverage
Hyaluronic Spheres hydrate and plump the skin for a longer, more comfortable wear
Sericite a fine grained mica that adds light reflecting properties to create a radiant and luminous effect, mimicking the vibrancy of naturally beautiful skin
MUFE Ultra HD foundation Norah
To prep my look, I used Dr Haushcka Rose Light cream and True Nature Botanicals Pacific mist. I am not wearing any concealer. Also, for some light tint, I used Inglot cream blush on my cheeks and a little L’Oreal Manga black mascara. The finish of this foundation is incredible, I used my own hands to blend it all in.

***This was my own purchase using my makeup artist discount at the Pro Store in NYC***

Make Up Forever Ultra HD is going to be launching at Sephora by September 2015, and it will retail for $43

How I Work Twelve Hour Days With Always Discreet


How I Work Twelve Hour Days Always DiscreetMakeup touchups Always DiscreetAlways Discreet Very Light Liners
Whenever people ask me what the hardest thing is about my job is, the answers often surprise them. No, it is not doing makeup on certain skin types or working outdoors in the cold or the heat, such things do not bother me at all. The hardest thing about my job is that there are days, long days of filming or photo shooting and sometimes I don’t have time to run to the restroom when leakage of the bladder occurs. Luckily, this does not happen often but when it does, it is awful and I am prepared.

Always Discreet Liners to the rescue! I like using super thin liners because they are so slim in size and offer a flexible design for discreet incontinence protection. I am sharing some behind the scenes images from a recent promo shoot I did with ESPN here in New York. This was a long day with very little time to be running to the restroom! I was perpetually glued to the screen making sure hair/ makeup was perfect, in addition to doing makeup getting all the talent ready for their segments. We were on a super tight schedule, I had to work fast and under pressure from the director, director of photography and AD. These are very standard days of video taping, intense so much happening all at once, everyone has to be on their toes. I hope you find this relatable and useful. In my blog, I share a slice of my daily life and as glamorous as it sounds, it involves a lot of sweat, leaks and tears (OK I might slightly exaggerate that but it is a labor of love).

PS. Did you know? Target offers a super neat Always Discreet subscription service for those who love the convenience and privacy of shopping online for your feminine products. You can choose your product, size, and frequency of delivery service on the Target website. To learn more about this, go to the Always Discreet product page by clicking here.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Fitness Must Haves This Summer Sponsored By Poise



I kicked off this summer in high gear with my fitness once again. It feels so good to be able to set time aside to work out, my mind and body feel really connected when I exercise. Being able to work out in the park doing bootcamp is my most favorite thing to do during summer, no doubt. For me to get some fitness done the right way, I gotta be confident and with the help of some essentials like Poise Thin pads along with my other fitness must-haves. Since my work hours can be long days when I am out doing makeup, getting at least one hour of circuit training plus two sessions of cardio are necessary. I credit my fitness for being able to withstand a 36 hour labor with my 2nd baby and a fast recovery, I bounced back to my original clothes in less than a year. When your body and mind are in the right place, everything is possible.

What are my fitness essentials?

A good pair of cross trainer shoes
Give the girl the right shoes and she can conquer the world! I am all about comfort and support, and this is what a pair of cross trainers offers. My cross trainers were purchased on Black Friday last year and they are awesome because they excellent when I am out in the park or indoors at the gym. I also have a pair of dancing shoes with ankle support for Zumba.

A sport bra for support

You need to work out with good clothing. I use fitness gear aka a sport bra that is versatile and wears well under a fitness tee or on its own. Bra support is necessary when I do my short intervals and Zumba (I burn as much as 800 calories and can do it for more than hour, if I have the time). I am not huge in the bust but I still like everything to be in place.

Hand weights
Weight resistance is part of my fitness routine at bootcamp or at home, it tightens muscles. I use a pair of dumbbells that are 5 lbs each. I love my little hand weights because they have handles with cushions that don’t leave calluses on my fingers and you can also go speed walking with them.

Heart rate monitor
Heart rate zone is important. I’ve been using a heart rate monitor for a very long time, since before I had my 2nd baby actually. I know my resting heart rate (between 90 rpm) and where I need to be (157-160 rpm) in order to maximize my sessions. Even when I was pregnant, I used my heart rate monitor to stay on top of my fitness and not push myself too much.

Poise Thin Shape Pads
In order to move and do my fitness right, I need to have Poise Thin Pads, they are comfy and so flexible perfect for leaks and bladder leakage. Poise Thin-Shape pads feature Super Absorbent Material (SAM) and a Thin-Flex design for extra protection. I don’t like being caught with any leakage during my workouts and Poise offers great absorbency.

** What is LBL?
• One in three women experience Light Bladder Leakage (LBL) . These leaks can be triggered by everyday occurrences like coughing, sneezing, laughing and exercise. Weak pelvic floor muscles, pregnancy, childbirth and weight gain are just a few LBL contributors.

Interested in trying Poise Thin Pads? Get your free sample here and see for yourself.

POISE PAD FREE SAMPLE

Viseart Eyeshadow Palette Cool Mattes + LOTD

Viseart cool mattes Instagram Norahlovesmakeup_muaViseart cool mattes swatchesLOTD Viseart cool mattesYesterday, I posted an image on my Instagram featuring my Viseart Cool Mattes palette and of course it had a lot of likes. Suddenly, I realized I had not done a proper “review” of this palette. I actually started using it since May and just forgot the cool mattes by Viseart is fairly new in my makeup artist kit. Suffice to say, I am a huge Viseart fan and today I am bringing you a mini LOTD with the swatches of this awesome palette.

When I got this at the Makeup Show New York, I had a really hard time because I also wanted the editorial brights palette and the dark mattes and a budget for only ONE of the three. I chose the cool mattes simply because I needed a buildable working palette for the variety of work I do, commercial/ print work as well as my creative for fun submissions for various publications online. For the creative, I typically will bring my Makeup Forever Flash Palette and use Viseart – both give me major intensity with little fallout and COLOR. This is the kind of palette that offers the ability to add other mediums such as a cream shadow or a pencil and the colors get more intense. Viseart shadows also happen look great on brows, see mine?

For my LOTD, I felt like creating an eye look show you that mattes and cool tones don’t necessarily mean boring or lacking vibrancy. I started with an eye primer and added a mixture of a pale skin flesh color from Viseart cool mattes, then added a dark grey on my lids. For something a little different I lined my under eyes using the dark blue, going over several times and sealing with a teal Sephora pencil. Also, I filled my brows more than I would normally with my Senna Sketch a Brow pencil in Mink, which I LOVE. Once I sketched what I needed for my brows, I also used some of the browns in my Viseart mattes to add extra wow factor. Of course there is eyeliner, mascara, moisturizer and foundation but that is it. I’ve already covered Face Atelier Ultra Skin on a previous blog and that’s what I am into lately.

If I wanted this look to stay on bullet proof, I spray a ton of Skindinavia all over my face and also Makeup Forever Mist and Fix. Metallics are really popular right now but to me they are not age friendly and when I remove, I hate having glitter eyes for days, mattes are my love. Feel free to drop any questions you may have.

Viseart Cool Mattes palette retails for $80 ***I purchased this with my own money and opinions and views are all my own***

Easy Ways to Save on Your Electric Bill


Thermostat Sunrun
With the high costs of electric bills living in a large home, I have a few things I want to share when it comes to saving money on this front. There are simple changes or habits as I like to call them, that can make an impact on your monthly bill. As I have previously shared in my blog, I live in a beautiful older home in South Orange NJ, this is relatively a new purchase since it was only end of 2013 that we got ours keys and moved in. Although our home has been renovated, one more thing we are doing soon, is adding solar power panels to have even more savings on our electric bill. We are looking at Sunrun which gives you control over your electricity costs. With Sunrun solar leasing, homeowners can get solar on their roof for as little as $0 down and start saving on their monthly electricity costs immediately. With this being said, in the meantime as we are in our hottest time of the year, I’d like to tell you how I am saving money on our bills.

**Here are my top 3 ways to save energy in summer time**

1) Control your central A/C aka use a thermostat Our temperatures are very extreme here in New Jersey, we have extreme heat and cold during the year so having a thermostat is crucial. During the year, our average home temperature is 65 degrees. Our house is large and boasts three floors so we have to ensure we are not too heated and or too cold. To be honest, we don’t ever use AC because we have enough windows in the home so summer time is a huge bonus in terms of energy saving. During winter, it is a little different because we get really cold in this area, and during this time our average home temperature ranges from 68-70 degrees max, this works fine. We turn the heating off upstairs and use very thick down covers at night to sleep on. By knowing what our house temperature is at all times, this helps us save energy!

2) Wash your clothes in cold water and hang clothes to dry We have a large basement with a very huge gas operated washing machine where I do our laundry in mostly cold water during the summer, our washing appliances are energy saving ones. I try to do large bundles of clothes and hang all my clothing to dry in a rack or plastic hangers. I actually only use a drying machine in the winter and for very large items like sheets and blankets. Honestly, your clothes last longer if you air dry them, jeans and thick materials like wool especially. And trust me by doing this, you save money too.

3) Turn off lights whenever possible In addition to switching off lights when you’re not using rooms as well as your appliances, consider a summer tradition of dining al fresco if you can. During the day, rely on natural light alone. When it comes to home cooking, cook on the stove, use a microwave oven, or grill outside – that’s what summer is all about, the outdoors.
Sunrun-Photo-7Sunrun-Photo-6
One reason for us taking the plunge with Sunrun is the fact that this can save more dollars by cutting costs on 20% of the electric bill *Actual savings will vary, for details click here. But for those who are asking, what Sunrun is, I am adding some information to get better acquainted with this service. In addition, solar service providers like Sunrun will take care of all of the details of going solar, from designing the system, installing it on your roof, monitoring the system’s production, and maintaining the system throughout the lifetime of the solar service agreement.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

My Truly Radiant Moments

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Arm & Hammer™, all opinions and views are my own

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In life, we have highs and lows, that is part of our own individual journeys. For me the birth of my daughter Eva is one of my personal #TrulyRadiantFinish moments. After many attempts in trying to have a 2nd baby, surgeries, treatments, I had nearly lost hope that this would ever happen. Age was a factor and also medically, it was a challenge. I tried just about everything humanly and medically possible. Still, after nearly six years, I held hope that one day I would be able to have another baby and against the odds, it happened. It was nothing short of a miracle, as I was about to embark on a 2nd treatment and I felt something was not right but in a good way. In the blink of an eye, I was expecting a baby! I kept my pregnancy a secret as I knew it was a risky one, all fine by me, no social media photos or announcements. As a family, we were delighted to say the least and when I discovered I was expecting a little girl, I cried tears of joy.

The best part about my #TrulyRadiantFinish moment was keeping it a secret and the fact that I had the most healthy, uneventful pregnancy. I worked doing makeup until almost 36 weeks along and I was able to exercise pretty much until the end. Although it was hard, I had the glow of pregnancy, great hair, skin, and my belly didn’t pop until nearly six months. Of course, there were many struggles like a major move out of the country, finding school for my older son, and packing our house but it was all worth it in the end. Holding my daughter for the first time at NYU Langone hospital in New York city almost two years ago, was everything. Two years later, my smile in that photo says it all.

I am very excited to announce that is ARM & HAMMER™ partnered with City of Hope Cancer Treatment Center to launch a social media initiative encouraging women to share their radiant moments using #TrulyRadiantFinish across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. To help reach the donation goal, ARM & HAMMER™ will donate $1 to City of Hope for each use of the hashtag. Truly Radiant™ is 100% committed in helping women feel strong and beautiful with their smiles and in their every day lives. And even more exciting news is that ARM & HAMMER™ launched three new products for a cleaner, whiter smile that oozes strength:

New ARM & HAMMER™ Truly Radiant™ Rinse – The first and only whitening rinse that strengthens enamel and helps stop stains before they start without alcohol or peroxide.
New ARM & HAMMER™ Truly Radiant™ Rejuvenating Toothpaste – Goes beyond the surface to strengthen, clean and repair tooth enamel and features a crisp, mint flavor.
New ARM & HAMMER™ Spinbrush™ Truly Radiant™ Manual Toothbrushes – The only manual toothbrushes that feature a rotating head, plus elongated, all-access bristles that get deep.

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Arm & Hammer™

Celebrating The Rock In Our Lives

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.
#NauticaforDad #CollectiveBias

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At home our rock and anchor is my husband Craig, the man I will be celebrating this coming Sunday for Father’s Day. For the past eight years, as we’ve moved across continents and experienced life in different countries, we’ve come such a long way! Each year, it’s been a new challenge and adventure, first as a newlyweds and most importantly as parents. Because of his job, my husband travels out of the country a lot and this is how I’ve come to appreciate him as my anchor. I couldn’t imagine not having kids without him in our lives every step of the way. He is the best father to my two children, when I can’t be there, he is all hands on deck, bathing, feeding, cooking dinner, changing diapers, going to soccer games, providing for us and giving us love. What else can I ask for?

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Ever since I’ve been with my husband, he’s all about the clean, fresh scents as far as fragrances go. I want to surprise him with something new this year and Nautica Life has the perfect gift set for Father’s Day. The male cologne by
Nautica is inspired by the water, a much favored element in our household. We love the ocean and our best vacations have been by the sea in Asia, Europe and South America. For $65 Nautica Life offers an amazing deal, a gift set that includes a 3.4 oz Eau de Toilette, 2.5 oz Aftershave Balm, 2.5 oz Shower Gel, and 1 oz Eau de Toilette. The actual value of this gift set by Nautica is $128! Such a great Father’s Day present for the anchor or rock as I like it to call it, and a fresh, very clean scent for summer and year round.

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Need some inspiration? Head on over to Macy’s and get a Nautica Life set for the father in your house! Personally, I can’t wait to see my husband this weekend, he’s been away from us working in London so this will make a lovely surprise as we celebrate Father’s Day this Sunday.

Who are you celebrating as your rock this coming Father’s Day? Tell me in the comments section. By the way, Nautica is doing a giveaway, the grand prize? A cruise! How fancy is that?! The grand prize is a $4000 cruise vacation package plus five 2nd prize lucky people will also win a fabulous Nautica Mens fragrance gift packages each. You must be 18 or older to enter and win, here is your chance:
Nautica for Dad