Friday, January 23, 2015

Back? Hopefully!

I never wanted to be the type of blogger that complained about everything, and I have always tried my best to keep this a drama free zone. That being said, the last 6 months have been hard. I don't want to go into details but blogging has been put on the back burner because of it. In any case, I knew that doing the "first post back" would be the hardest - and I almost did several times, since I've enjoyed, rediscovered, discovered, etc. some great products. But something inside me irrationally made me stop.

I'm not making any New Years resolutions this year. Thanks to a medical discovery last spring (genetic testing by the request of my doctor - I can't recommend this enough - I don't want to write a post about it, but I'd be happy to talk to people one-on-one), I have dropped nearly 90 pounds and for the first time in my adult life, am considered fairly normal for my height. But I have missed blogging, especially when people ask what my hobbies are. I've gotten even "worse" in stores helping people out. Most bloggers and youtubers are trying to clear things out and be minimal this year. I'm not making that a goal; however, I decided after seeing a bunch of products I've never used and probably won't use, in addition to products I love and want to share that love, well - to be completely wordy, I'm having a giveaway/sweepstakes. Hopefully some of you still read this. 

  • Julep Nail Appliques (I think the style name is Rivets)
  • Fing'rs Edge Royal Punk Nail Art*
  • Incoco Nail Polish Appliques in a pink, gold and black cheetah print
  • Revlon Natural Pink
  • Julep Drew
  • Nailene So Natural Short Length Square Shape Glue-On Nails*
  • Revlon Crazy Shine Nail Buffer
For a girl that rarely uses styling products, this is ridiculous...and they are perfect for travel, except I still don't use hairspray (and I don't need volume and oh right, I don't style my hair)!
  • Kenra Blow-Dry Spray 1.7oz
  • Kenra Volume Spray 1.5oz
  • Joico Fast-Dry Finishing Spray 1.5oz
  • John Frieda Full Repair with High Heat Protection 1.7oz
  • Alterna Bamboo Style Boho Waves Tousled Texture Mist .85oz
  • Rusk Glue Form & Control 1.5oz
  • Marc Anthony Dream Waves Beach Spray 1.52oz
  • Oscar Blandi Instant Volumizing Conditioner 1.7oz
  • Bumble & Bumble Thickening Shampoo and Conditioner sachets
Please note that this batch is the only one that has used items (and by items, I mean the brushes - though they have been washed!). If you'd prefer I'd leave those out, just let me know and I'll toss them. But if you happen to have a niece or daughter that could use them, please let me spend the shipping on them!
  • A variety of makeup brushes of varying brands 
  • Lancome (310 Bisque), Boscia and Miracle Skin Transformer (medium), foundation and BB Cream samples
  • NYX single eyeshadow in Purple
  • Ardell Fashion Lashes in "Sweeties"

And finally, my favorite hand cream and lip balm of all time: Caudalie Hand & Nail Cream and Lip Conditioner. I seriously give a set of this to every female friend at least once and I invariably get them hooked. I bet I will get whoever wins this hooked too (in case you don't already love it)!

All you have to do to enter is comment on this post and say what you want to see on this blog in 2015. Unfortunately, due to some of the prizes, this is going to be US only, widget below.

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

How To Tell If You Have Dry Skin

Since I can't seem to stop making decision trees at work, here's one for a recent discovery that I thought might be entertaining:

In case you couldn't guess, I used the Origins Drink Up™ Intensive Overnight mask today as my normal daytime moisturizer. It sunk right in (no excess tissue-ing needed). My makeup lasted all day (about 12 hours). No dryness around some post breakouts. Basically, something that never happened, happened with a product that is meant to be a mask. I find that funny, really. But also, yeah, I have dry skin. So, if you also have dry skin, I might consider trying this as a daytime moisturizer, since it really didn't do much for me as an ultra hydrating overnight 'treatment' (for that I go to the big guns, oils and humectants).

This is brought to you by the workaholic who very occasionally decides it's hilarious to combine blogging and work. And I know I didn't use the right shape for the "decision" because the shape doesn't allow much in the way of text.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Review: L'Occitane Cleansing And Softening Shower Oil With Almond Oil

A rare moment occurred which made me cash in some of my Sephora Beauty Reward points. It was the L'Occitane 500 point perk from March. Primarily because it contained a pretty generous sample of the above product, the Cleansing and Softening Shower Oil with Almond Oil (yikes! Mouthful) and second because it contained a pocket or book bag friendly size hand lotion, which I accidentally got my husband addicted to (he won't use anything else - though he won't even try the scented ones).

Anyway, I recently used up a shaving cream (massive empties post on the horizon btw) so I thought I would give this a whirl. I do really like it. I was a bit surprised at the scent. I was thinking it was going to smell like marzipan, but it's more of a fresh scent, it doesn't even really remind me of almonds, but that's ok. I like that it rinses away fairly clean but still leaves my legs soft and not irritated, but it reminded me of shaving with something else and that something else somehow compelled me to blog after a nearly 7 months hiatus.

The L'Occitane is pretty luxurious and priced accordingly. The 8.4oz bottle will run you $25. I actually find that rather reasonable but only if you plan to use this sparingly. I can't even imagine someone using this as a daily full-body cleanser, though I'm sure some do.

So, you're going to think I'm a little crazy when I say what this reminded me of. But back during the winter months when my legs were so itchy that during the day, I would try to find ways of getting a good scratch at them under my work pants without anyone noticing, I tried using The Body Shop's Beautifying Oil to shave with and aside from not foaming up and rinsing away, it is very similar. You're probably thinking why I would be so excited since that product is even more expensive per ounce. Well, of course you've heard of The Body Shop's sales and promotions. And then you know that you get more than one scent option... and well. The L'Occitane is nice but I foresee getting tired of the scent. What if I want strawberry or mango or satsuma? Tough cookie.

Not so fast - I can get a similar product, pay less (more than likely) and still get a close shave which doesn't leave my legs looking like the sidewalk (and probably a similar result with any body oil on the market - especially for us dry-skinned folk).

So there, hiatus officially broken. What's up, oh beauty world?

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Favorite Flawless Base Combo

This has been one of my absolute favorite foundation combinations as of late. The Revlon Nearly Naked (in 010 Ivory) and the Revlon Colorstay Whipped (in Ivory). I love the finish of the Nearly Naked but it doesn't cover as much as I'd like and I love the coverage of the Colorstay Whipped but I've found that too many passes with my beauty blender causes it to get cakey and a bit drying on my skin. I've found the way both of these products look best is to use both of them. First, I apply a thin layer of the Nearly Naked with my fingers over well moisturized skin all over. Then I take a damp beauty blender and apply the Colorstay Whipped on my problem areas and/or breakouts. I've found that not using it all over and not using too many layers allows it to cover without looking mask like. I then spray generously with a makeup setting spray.

The combo lasts all day* but still looks natural and fresh. In a perfect world, we would want one foundation to do it all, but it's not always possible. At least this duo is fairly inexpensive especially with sales and coupons!

Do you have a magic duo? Share your combos below!

* Most foundations last all day on my dry skin, just for the record

Sunday, January 5, 2014

How To Shave During the Winter and Survive* to Tell the Tale

*over dramatization

If you weren't already aware, I have super dry sensitive skin, especially on my body. In fact, when growing up, my doctor at the time recommended that I not shower everyday and when possible, take colloidal oatmeal baths. As you can imagine, shaving dry sensitive skin does not yield great results. I mean, sure, the hair goes away, but I'm left with irritated skin. Dry, itchy skin that often burns when taking a warm shower.

It got to the point this winter where my husband was making fun of the "forest" I was growing on my legs and I had to take some action.

My regular "moisturizing" shaving cream just wasn't cutting it. In my palm of my hand I added some oil and then mixed in my shaving cream and spread that on my legs. After shaving, I spread on a generous amount of Albolene and then hopped in the shower. Between the moisturizing properties of the Albolene and the steam from the shower, my legs didn't get complete dried out. I showered as normal and exfoliated/cleansed my skin with my exfoliating gloves. After stepping out of the shower, my legs were soft and most importantly, didn't itch or burn.

I know it's normally recommended to moisturize after showering, but using a protective barrier if you are prone to dryness, has saved my legs this winter!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

December Empties (2013)

Happy New Year everyone! I have to admit that I've been a bit of a slacker with the blog in 2013, but I hope to turn things around in 2014 though no promises, of course! This month came to end to several products...
Bath & Body Works Japanese Cherry Blossom Shower Gel - This is one of the small travel sizes (I like to change it up). Isn't it interesting how tastes change? A year ago, I wasn't really a fan of shower gels and now I can't get enough!
Philosophy Purity Made Simple - I use Purity to clean my makeup brushes. I know what you're thinking. That's a pricey product, but this enormous 12oz bottle came free with a Sephora order 2 years ago and I recently repurchased another one with my Birchbox points. Plus, I depend on this to keep my Beauty Blender spotless. It pretty much looks brand new and I owe it all to this!
Missha The Style Nail Polish Remover - I bought a ton of these when they were on clearance and I recently discovered a few leftovers in my stash. This is a nice nail polish remover and I'm trying to use up random brands so I can focus on Zoya Remove+ which is my favorite of them.
Tarte Pure Maracuja Oil - I featured this in my nighttime skincare routine and loved it until I ran out. This is a great oil and left my skin looking great. I'm not sure I'd repurchase right away as it's quite pricey. I'd recommend trying it if you haven't (I prefer this over the Josie Maran for face).
Caudalie Lip Conditioner - I've really come to love this lip balm. I even converted one of my friends at work. Even though it's pricey, I've found this balm very effective. I tend to purchase when Caudalie comes out with holiday sets as I can grab the balm and the hand moisturizer for a reduced price. Love.
Physician's Formula Healthy Wear Healthy Wear™ SPF 50 Powder Foundation - I still really like this, though I've since switched to another brand for the moment for a little change. Great, inexpensive powder, although - if you're dry, make sure you moisturize well prior to using!

So there you have my December empties. What did you use up in December?

Sunday, December 15, 2013

NOTD: Cover Girl Blue Hawaiian #535 Stay Brilliant Glosstinis

I went to see the newish Hunger Games with a work friend on Friday and after we got out, we went to Target to look at some of their clearance. I found this adorable Cover Girl Stay Brilliant Glosstini in Blue Hawaiian for all of $1.48 (and a couple others in that line). This is such a weird one as it takes on more of a sea green appearance in some lighting and a sky blue in others. I had the hardest time finding the green in it when I took photographs, but I swear, it morphs!
Please ignore my cuticles as winter has been harsh on my hands. Thankfully, I'm managed to get my nails the same length which has been a trial.

What's been on your tips lately?

Monday, December 9, 2013

December Birchbox (2013)

Has it really been 4 weeks since my last Birchbox? It's crazy how fast the tail end of this year has been going, especially with the lack of time for blogging. Anyways, here's what I received in my (referral link) December Birchbox!

* Color Club Professional Nail Lacquer in Top Shelf .25oz (full size .5oz|$8) worth $4
* Number 4 High Performance Hair Care Non-Aerosol Hair Spray 1oz/30ml (full size 200ml|$30) worth $4.50
* Skin&Co Roma Truffle Therapy Boosting Anti-Aging Serum 10ml/.3oz (full size 30ml|$75) worth $25
* Supersmile Ultimate Lip Treatment .04oz/1.3g (full size .15oz|$24) worth $6.40
* Greenleaf Candle Co Candle Cube Starlight 2oz - sold individually for $1.92

So aside from the candle being stinky, I'm pretty happy with this box! Although, I sincerely hope I don't fall in love with the serum, it is so pricey! What did you get in your December Birchbox? Anything good?

Sunday, December 1, 2013

November Empties (2013)

Happy December everyone! November was fun, but busy! My birthday (I turned the big 3-0), Hanukkah andThanksgiving. Lots of celebrating and lots of food. Anyway, I managed to finish a few items this month and I have some others on their way out so I think I'll be good for a December post as well. Yay!
Shea Moisture Black Soap Cleansing Shampoo - I am so happy this is done. This was so drying for both my hair and scalp that it didn't really make my scalp feel any better. It might have done some good but it wasn't evident from use and I could only really use it once a week. I will not repurchase!
ULTA Gentle Foaming Hand Soap in Pomegranate Lime - Sometimes I go into ULTA with coupons and can't manage to find anything that interests me. One of those times, I bought a few of these hand soaps. At $6 a bottle, they aren't especially cheap, but a nice Buy X, get X free sale makes the price a little more reasonable and of course, there's ULTA coupons. This was mostly lime with a little pomegranate. It was a bit of a sharp smell but my husband liked it. No complaints but I wouldn't go out of my way to purchase more (though I have a few waiting in the wings).
Caudalie Hand and Nail Cream - I don't think I've ever reviewed this hand cream before, but I adore it! I've tried to make a point of using more hand cream this winter and so I went through this little purse size tube and have another somewhat larger one almost 1/3 done. If you hate hand cream then you should try this one. It sinks it pretty quickly, it has a nice slightly citrus and grape scent and the packaging allows you to get nearly every drop out. A bit of a splurge but totally worth it in my book!
L'Oreal True Match Crayon Correcteur N123 - I love the idea of this pencil and as you can see, I've used the entire stick. But, the color is wrong and as I've gotten paler with the winter months upon us, it got extra tricky to use it. I won't repurchase but I've repurchased another concealer crayon that actually comes in a fairly pale shade (Urban Decay's). L'Oreal, please please please make a lighter shade in this crayon!!!!
Salma Hayek Nuance Beauty Detoxifying Facial Cleansing and Toning Towelettes - I don't recall how many of these I have used up but it's been quite a few. Decent, textured wipes but this pack didn't seem as moist as some of the others I had in the past so maybe it was an old batch.

So there you have it ladies and gents. What did you use up in November?

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Review: the lip slip by sara happ one luxe balm

I don't know what I was thinking when I bought this. I'm not partial to potted balms, though I've grown quite enamored with the nuxe one (I've worn it every night for weeks now and made a significant dip in the pot). But surely a company solely known for their lip exfoliation and balm products would be even superior. And then there's this nagging feeling that I should try new things, even if they are $24 potted balms. The balm smells like what you would imagine rose cake to smell like and it's tastes a bit sweet. It's sheer pink and it has fine shimmers in it which aren't obvious on the lips, nor can you feel them in between your lips as with some shimmery glosses.

As far as the ingredients are concerned, it has your standard mineral oil, beeswax and sweet almond and jojoba oil for moisture. While I found this slightly moisturizing, it's not really balmy in texture, it's more of a gloss and a slightly sticky one at that. It's best for throwing on during the day but since it's potted, it hasn't gotten a lot of use from me and it's not really moisturizing for night time. I'm pretty underwhelmed with this but I wanted to mention it so you fabulous people wouldn't bear the same misfortune I have with my poor purchase.

ingredients: Polybutene, Mineral Oil, Beeswax, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Ethylene/Propylene/Styrene Copolymer, Butylene/Ethylene/Styrene Copolymer, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil, Tocopherol Acetate, Calcium Aluminum Borosilicate, Polydecene, Silica Tin Oxide, Flavor, Saccharin