Saturday, June 30, 2012

Saturday Haul - The Body Shop and ULTA

The heat can make you do strange things; even more strange when you may be one of only a handful of people that have electricity in the area. Still, I had coupons expiring. Who else holds on to things like Groupons and coupons till the very last minute? Because, I totally do. The ULTA 20% off expired today and my The Body Shop Groupon also expired today. It was obviously rational to leave my air conditioned house and make my way into the 100 degree heat and then into shopping malls packed with people that were there because they didn't have the luxury of electricity and air conditioning at home. I'm a freaking genius, I know.

Even more rational were my purchases. I was hot and apparently felt the need to buy every face spritzer I saw.
H2O was on sale at ULTA Buy 1 Get 1 free (sale ends today) in addition to the 20% coupon, so I bought two of the mini Oasis Mist facial sprays which seem to be similar to Fix+ over some of the more invigorating options. These 1.7oz bottles retail for $10, I paid about $8 for both of them. Then of course, my $20 The Body Shop Groupon. Oh yes, since I'd bought 2 facial sprays already today, obviously I needed 2 others. The Vitamin E Face Mist and the Vitamin C Energizing Face Spray quickly went in my bag.
I spotted the Maybelline BB 6-in-1 Beauty Balm Skin Perfector at ULTA. Maybelline was Buy 1 face product get 1 50% off and while I didn't have any luck with the Instant Age Rewind Dark Circle Eraser in Fair, I've heard this shade (Brightener 160) is more suited for pale girls. I swatched the "BB Cream" in store and the lightest one seems like it will be a good color match but it seemed more like a tinted moisturizer so we'll see.

Apologies for my semi-absence by the way. I've recently started a new book series which I am shamefully addicted to (the full trilogy is on its way to me - I'm sure you can guess by now). Also, my Little Black Bag for July is going to start tomorrow so I'd promise more posts but somehow I know my old 7 days a week posting isn't going to happen, at least not this week!

Disclosure: Referral link

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Review: Booty Parlor Flirty Little Secret Bronze Edition - Firming Bronzer with Phermones

I'd like to preface this review but saying that I am not into bronzers, bronzing, fake-tan or anything related to being other than my pasty-white self.

I was recently sent the Booty Parlor Flirty Little Secret Bronze Edition - Firming Bronzer with Phermones to try as part of the Bloom Ambassador's program. The product promises to "Create instant attraction and glow getting curve appeal" and contains pheromones to "make you irresistible". This is not a fake tan, but more of a tinted lotion and is easily removed with soap and water. When I squeezed the lotion out, I was convinced I was going to look like a slightly vampiric Oompa Loompa. It's orange and shimmery.
I'm Edward Cullen's Jersey Shore cousin, coming to suck your blood!

To be fair, after you rub it in, assuming you use a reasonable amount and keep streaking to a minimum, it isn't that bad. I actually used my hands to apply most of it and then used a cotton round to rub it in and get rid of any streaks.
In the end, you get a fairly subtle natural bronze. I asked my husband how I looked and he took me into a romantic embrace - he said that it didn't look bad or orangy but wanted to know why I decided to change the color of my legs. "It's for the blog", I replied. He nodded, rolled his eyes and went downstairs to play more video games. Obviously, I didn't get the pheromone effects.

The color lasted for several hours, even through errand running and sweating. It did start to go a little blotchy around my drier areas though I'll admit, I didn't fully prepare my skin in the way you might for this type of product. Still, it was fun to try.

I'd say that this would be great for a night out but I don't go on night outs. I'll keep it around in case I get the desire to not look like a ghost. I didn't get any of the firming claims but I wasn't expecting them. Booty Parlor Flirty Little Secret Bronze Edition - Firming Bronzer with Phermones retails for $32 and can be purchased on the Booty Parlor website or at Bloom. I wouldn't repurchase.

Disclosure: This was received for review as part of the Bloom Ambassador's Program. Referral link also utilized.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Beauty Fix Coupon Code

With tons of different sample programs out there, it can be hard to chose. However, I just found an awesome deal and I wanted to share it with you all. I haven't been posting as many deals lately because I seem to catch them late due to work. Anyway, Beauty Fix is another subscription service except it is quarterly. Right now, they have a pretty impressive array of products to chose from. You have 20+ options and you get to pick 8 products, many of which are full sized for $49.99 a quarter. I've been wanting to try the Stila Set & Correct for some time now but wasn't thrilled with the price tag ($34 for those wondering). Out of curiosity, I went to the Beauty Fix website and found it listed as one of the options for the Summer 2012 bag and then I found a code for $30 your first bag (code is BFBLOG). The other benefit for the Beauty Fix program is once you review 2 products from your bag/box you receive a $25 coupon off a $50 purchase to use on Dermstore which carries an array of products including some high end boutique brands.

So basically I couldn't resist considering the deal I found. And now to decide which other box to cancel because this is getting ridiculous.

Review: Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stains

The blogosphere has been a buzz regarding the Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stains. To be honest, I've had mixed thoughts regarding the two that I purchased; one I absolutely detest and the other I'm liking a little more but don't think is nearly worth the hype.

I purchased two shades: Charm, which in the tube looks like a peachy nude shade and Honey, which is a more my lips but better shade. Prices vary on these items, I think I paid about $5 per stain (including coupons and sales) for mine and I believe the retail price is somewhere between $8-$10 depending.

The idea of a balm stain is a great idea and sounds amazing in theory, but I'm not sure it really works. My lips are very dry and prone to peeling. Lip balm is a major staple in my makeup arsenal. I consider a lip balm something that I can put on my lips when they are dry and peeling and it will heal them and make them look better. These I don't consider lip balms as they don't cure dry lips. Charm accentuates my dry lips and looks patchy and uneven; although it doesn't feel uncomfortable on the lips after the initial application and Honey is a tad bit better in terms of application and looks better but again, doesn't add much moisture. The sticks are a drier consistency upon first application but with the heat of my lips they become a bit thinner though they still retain a somewhat tacky consistency. Honey becomes more emollient than Charm and feels much more comfortable and looks better.

As far as the staining properties, both transfer on me; Charm very obviously onto the can I was drinking from and Honey a bit less. Honey also leaves more color behind which I'd imagine is due to the darker color so the stain abilities of the product might be better with the darker colors in the range. I actually prefer the color of the stain Honey leaves behind a bit more than the color full on as it leaves your lips looking like you had some red popsicles, add some "real" lip balm and my lips look great and supple.
Charm is my least favorite of the two. As I previously mentioned, it really accentuates the dryness of my lips (a la Illamasqua) and it does a peculiar transformation as you wear it. You can begin to see that there is a variance of color. The peachy nude turns into a much brighter color than it initially appears though perhaps in the most unflattering way possible.
As you can see, Honey is much more forgiving and doesn't settle nearly as bad as Charm around the cracks and dry bits on my lips. Still, I don't find it as moisturizing as my other lip balms although it does feel more comfortable and creamy on the lips than Charm!

One thing I do want to note is as someone that generally dislikes minty lip products, these are very lightly scents and don't bother me nearly as much as some of the more mintier options out there. I don't find that the mint burns though it does tingle a little.

So the general consensus for me is I hate Charm and like Honey but like Honey more worn off a bit topped with lip balm which somewhat defeats the purpose of an all-in-one sort of product.

Have you tried these yet? What were your thoughts? If you are tempted but haven't yet, I would definitely wait for a sale as I don't think they are worth their full retail price.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Review: Pacifica Island Vanilla Perfume Roll On

As part of the Bloom Ambassador program, I was sent an offering of Pacifica products for review. The item that I was most excited about was the Pacifica Island Vanilla Perfume Roll On. I'm a huge fan of vanilla-based scents and own quite a few. The Pacifica roll-ons are very reasonably priced at $12 for 10ml/.33oz and come in an array of different scents.

Island Vanilla is a fairly new addition to the Pacifica line up and is "Inspired by the unique magic of Tahitian vanilla, this sensual blend sets sweet and sultry vanilla absolute, with honey-jasmine notes and a touch of fruitiness, against a deep and beautiful base of tea." To me, this smells very similar to Lolita Lempicka's L which has similar notes. Sometimes these natural fragrances have poor lasting power but this held up through a work day and it's a roller ball so you can carry it with you for mid-day touch ups.

I'm quite happy that this has become a part of my perfume collection and recommend it if you like slightly smokey vanillas.

Disclosure: This was received for review as part of the Bloom Ambassador program. Also, referral link used.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Review: Kaia 100% Biodegradable Bamboo Facial Cleansing Cloths

I was recently sent a couple individually wrapped packets of the Kaia 100% Biodegradable Bamboo Facial Cleansing Cloths to review as part of the Bloom Ambassadors program. I'm a big fan of cleansing wipes and have a few go-to brands ranging in price points. These wipes are by far the most expensive wipes I have come across as a package of 30 wipes clocks in at $17.99 on Bloom's website.
Still, even with the high price, I was curious to see how they performed. The makeup that was removed with the wipe included Smashbox BB Cream, Physicians Formula Healthy Wear Powder and Rimmel Lash Accelerator mascara. Even though the mascara isn't a waterproof version, it sticks around and I was wearing several coats. I was actually happy by how much makeup the wipe removed. It is super soft, as promised and is well-saturated with remover. The only issue that I had with the wipe is it did cause my eyes to water a tad which I'll attribute to the various citrus-based ingredients, though they did make the wipes smell lovely (pink grapefruit).

After I used the wipe, I used a couple of extra products to see what remnants of makeup had been left behind.
I used 1 Q-tip dipped in my old faithful Makeup Forever Sens'eyes to see what remained of the mascara. The ends didn't stay clear but they aren't super black either.
Next I used the Yves Rocher Cleansing Water to see how the wipe battled my foundation. You can see that the cotton pad has a bit of a beige hue; still, the wipe did get the majority of my foundation off.

In my opinion, these are good wipes but at a pretty ridiculous price point. They are 100% biodegradable, Dermatologist Tested, Natural and Organic, not tested on animals, Paraben Free and Sulfate Free so if those are major issues for you and you haven't been able to find suitable wipes, you might give these a try. For me? I'm quite happy with the Salma Hayek Nuance ones for a "pricey" treat and my usual Epielle wipes on a day-to-day basis. However, if Bloom offers the individual packets as a free sample on an order I'd pick them up for traveling.

Essential Oils: Grapefruit Oil, Lemon Oil, Lime Oil, Bergamont, Mandarin Oil, Orange Oil, Spearmint Oil, Tangerine Oil Ingredients: Water/Agua, Acacia Gum, Xantham gum, Canadian organic honey , Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Cetyl Alcohol, Sunflower Seed Oil, Sodium Lauroyl Oat Amino Acids, Panthenol, Benzyl Alcohol, Dehydroacetic Acid, Salicylic Acid, Benzoic Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Benzethonium Chloride

Disclosure: I received these for free to review. I also used my Bloom referral link.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

June Birchbox

My June Birchbox came in the mail today and while I didn't receive one of the boxes with the Stila One Step Bronze, I am very happy with my box (plus, I wouldn't have gotten much use out of it as I don't use bronzer and don't tan). I was happy to see a product by the brand Melvita, which I have heard a lot about on UK blogs but hadn't seen around stateside. It's a spray toner which I have been obsessed with lately!

I received:
Eyeko Skinny Liquid Liner *full size* retail $15
Melvita Rose Floral Water .95floz, full size 6.76oz $22 (worth $3.10)
TheBalm  Stainiac in Beauty Queen .04flox, full size .3floz $17 (worth $2.25)
Yu-Be Moisturizing Skin Cream .1floz, full size 1.25oz $16 (worth $1.30)
Cynthia Rowley Band-Aids *full size box*, the card says $15, but the site is selling 40 for $14 so I'll say it's worth $7
vial of John Varvatos Star USA  (negligible)

The band aids are adorable and I'm excited to try the Melvita. I've previously used Eyeko but not before their rebranding so I'm curious to see if their liquid liner has changed. I've owned the Stainiac before and liked it. I'm quite happy with this box and with a nearly $29 value, it's definitely worth the $10 I paid.

What did you receive in your June Birchbox?

Disclosure: Referral link utilized.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Review: Boscia Clear Complexion Tonic with Botanical Blast

While I started to enjoy the Caudalie Beauty Elixir, the price and the smell put me off from the product and as us product junkies tend to do, I looked for other options. I noticed that the Boscia Clear Complexion Tonic with Botanical Blast had some similar ingredients (without the citronella) and bought it. It's considerably less expensive than the Caudalie, at $24 for 5oz (meanwhile, the Caudalie is $18 for 1oz), comes in a similar spray bottle (though a less luxurious plastic) and doesn't stink. I realize that quite a few people really enjoy the invigorating (to put it mildly) smell of the Caudalie but let's just say it wasn't my favorite thing about the product.

I've really enjoyed using this Boscia spray in a similar way I used the Caudalie, for toning. It produces a fine mist, it smells faintly of lavender and it doesn't dry out my skin (though I might be thinking differently in the winter). The formula contains antiseptic ingredients, but also contains soothing ingredients and glycerin which is a humectant. All in all, I have enjoyed the bottle so far and would likely repurchase. An added plus, no alcohol or added fragrance!

Boscia Clear Compexion Tonic with Botanical Blast ingredients:
Water, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Flower Water, Butylene Glycol, Pentylene Glycol, Salix Nigra (Willow) Bark Extract, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Leaf Extract, Epilobium Angustifolium Flower/Leaf/ Stem Extract (fireweed), Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Sasa Kurilensis Water, Serine, Glycerin, Dipropylene Glycol, Phellodendron Amurense Bark Extract, Peg-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Potassium Phosphate, Dipotassium Phosphate, Dextrin, Lavendula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Hydrolyzed Gardenia Florida Extract.

Caudalie Beauty Elixir ingredients (note the red "baddies"):
Aqua (Water), Alcohol*, Citrus Aurantium Amara (Bitter Orange) Flower Water*, Parfum (Fragrance)*, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Oil*, Potassium Alum, Glycerin*, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Oil*, Styrax Tonkinensis Resin Extract* (Benzoin), Commiphora Myrrha Resin Extract*, Melissa Officinalis (Balm Mint) Leaf Oil*, Rosa Damascena Flower Oil*, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Fruit Extract*, Tocopherol*, Citral*, Limonene*, Linalool*, Citronellol*, Geraniol*, Farnesol*, Benzyl Benzoate*, Eugenol*.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

NOTD: Julep Charlotte

Apologies for my semi-absence. Sinus infections are no fun. Today I decided to paint my nails with Julep Charlotte, a slightly murky purple color. This is one coat (plus base coat). I really love the Julep formula as they apply smoothly, dry quickly and last fairly well on my nails.

If you are curious about Julep, the maven program gives you the best bang for your buck (2 polishes plus extras for $19.99 a month). I've been a member for quite a few months now and I love it. You can get your first box for a penny with codes COLORS4ONE or PENNY.

Disclosure: Referral link utilized.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

May Favorites

This is a bit of a departure for me. I almost never do favorite posts, but since I only used up 1 full sized item in May, I thought I'd talk about some of the items I've been loving lately. I am going to combine my May and June empties into one post coming your way early July.
I found myself reaching for easy options this month. My allergies have been bothering me and my skin has been a bit of a mess but the weather has made heavy foundation uncomfortable.
I went back to using my Missha Perfect Cover BB Cream in No #13. I was absolutely thrilled when Missha introduced this pale neutral shade. I covers better than a tinted moisturizer and somehow stays put even when I sweat. The SPF 42+++ is also a great for sunny days. Missha almost always runs deals on their website, so you should be able to get this for far less than the retail price if you're interested in trying it.
The Body Shop Born Lippy Stick in Strawberry has been my lip balm of choice at nighttime. The slightly waxier consistency means that it stays on my lips through till morning and doesn't slide around during the night. My lips feel soft and moisturized when I wake up and a plus, it smells like strawberry Bubble Yum.
This L'Oreal Infallible Eyeshadow in Eternal Sunshine has been a great swipe and go color. It instantly brightens the eye area and remains subtle for day time. It can be applied with either a finger or a big fluffy brush. Even if I don't put on a base, you barely notice the creasing unless you look at it up close due to the light color (as an aside, I do get creasing with these).
I've had mixed thoughts about the Real Techniques brushes but this one is great. It's the Real Techniques Setting Brush and is a fairly new edition to the brush line up. This little brush is absolutely perfect for highlighter. I've also used it for setting my under eye concealer, cream blushes and even putting on an all over eyeshadow color. I believe this brush retails for $7.99 and it is definitely worth it. I'm thinking of picking up another one the next time the line goes on sale at ULTA.
If you have sensitive skin like I do that tends to be drier, I highly recommend using a men's facial shaving balm for shaving your legs. I've been using one from a small Etsy seller Ophelia's Apothecary. I don't know why I even mention the name of the shop as the customer service I received was absolutely horrible. I ordered in November and only after opening a complaint via Etsy did I finally get my package in January. Seriously, don't order and I'm not linking them. This is more of a general favorite anyway. Using a thick balmy product for shaving has really helped on cutting down the irritation on my legs. This one has shea butter but there are a ton on the market at different price points. If the constant shaving for shorts/skirts weather has your legs in agony, try a mens shaving balm.
I know this isn't a makeup favorite, but I have absolutely loved this little necklace I received in a previous Little Black Bag. It's by the brand Gorjana which I have been absolutely obsessed with and due to the price point of their store, getting things at a fraction of the retail price through Little Black Bag has been amazing. This piece is simple and is on a longer chain and looks awesome with practically everything. I wear it at least once a week and I get a ton of compliments on it.
Um yeah, another non makeup favorite but I am obsessed with my new toy. I was contemplating buying one of these and was deciding between different brands and models when a box wound up on my doorstep. Apparently, my dad got tired of me talking about this whenever I came over and oo-ed and ah-ed over theirs so he bought me one out of the blue. I love my Keurig. I now know what all the hype is over and it has cut down my coffee expenses tremendously. I used to buy a coffee practically every morning at Starbucks, which at the minimum was $3 if I bought a regular iced coffee, now my daily coffee tab is more like a buck.

So those were my May favorites. What did you love in May?

Disclosure: Referral link utilized.