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

Monday, November 11, 2013

November Birchbox (2013)

I received my November Birchbox (referral link) early and I'm pretty darn pleased with it! Inside, I found 6 products ($6 worth of points back - yay!), mascara and a chocolate covered pretzel (yum). The mascara is just about half of the full sized, making it worth $12 and covering the cost of the box. It's been quite awhile since I've been excited about trying all of the products in a Birchbox - hopefully this one delivers!

Eyeko Black Magic Mascara
Ayres Body Butter
Wei Golden Root Purifying Mud Mask
Wei Pomegranate Buffing Beads
Folle de Joie eau de parfum

Fatty Sundays Chocolate Covered Pretzel

Saturday, November 2, 2013

October Empties (2013) (and August and September)

So I'll admit, I've been lacking in the empties department. At the beginning of September I was hospitalized so that accounts for the lack of posting and in the beginning of October I was on vacation. Excuses aside, I haven't finished a lot of stuff, though I am nearing the end of several products. Maybe these will make an appearance in the future November Empties post? Anyway, onward.
Without a fail, I definitely use up face wipes. Here we have the 60-wipe cucumber pack from Epielle, a 30 pack green tea pack from Epielle and various sample sizes (psst the Green Tea smells exactly like Elizabeth Arden's and even though it's fragranced, it doesn't burn my eyes). The La Fresh wipes came in an ipsy bag I think - they were decent enough but I don't think I'd purchase. Yes to Cucumbers is not my favorite but it was a free sample and convenient on our cruise. And the Kaia ones are nice but are super expensive.
The Wen Cleansing Conditioners are great for travel as you can lock the pump after opening. The only fail is the tube doesn't reach the bottom of the bottle so it takes herculean efforts to get the final drops of product out. Philosophy Snow Angel was a decent shower gel and I truly enjoy the Philosophy gels over some other brands. I wouldn't repurchase this particular scent but it reminds me of an old one from Bath & Body Works. The Joico K-Pak Revitaluxe was nice but not nice enough to repurchase given the price and the amount of product it takes for all my hair.
Woo! One lone makeup product. This actually got to the point of empty that I had trouble getting the product onto the wand so it was truly done. Maybelline Define-A-Lash Waterproof is a great mascara. It is very lengthening and holds a curl and the "brush" is thin enough so that it doesn't cause much spotting on my upper lid. Definite repurchase with a sale and when I get through some other mascaras.
The two Caldrea lotion samples came in a Birchbox. They were quite nice and light and perfect for the cruise but I don't think I'd repurchase either scent. Also, I am horrible with remembering to apply body lotion even when I need it. The Jack Black Double-Duty Face Moisturizer was really quite nice and I could see using this even though it is a product geared towards men. Light yet moisturizer, not uber scented. Quite nice, actually!

So that was a rather paltry round up of empties given the time frame. What have you used up recently?

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Review: Albolene Moisturizing Cleanser

The weather has gone from pleasant to freezing overnight (a couple mornings ago, the temperature was actually in the low 30s!). This means two things: 1) my skin is even more dry than normal and 2) I get even more tired than normal. I purchased Albolene at my Rite Aid a few months ago right before their store overhaul when it was 50% off. Not that the stuff isn't ridiculously low priced anyways. The big 12oz tub will run you $10-$12 at most drugstores.The ingredients are not what you'd call "good" but there aren't many and the major one, mineral oil, is not something I react badly to.

I know I needed a bit of a skincare overhaul when my skin was feeling dry and tight during the day with no makeup. While my skin is on the drier side, if I don't apply makeup, it can get a little oily (far from you oily skin folks) but it happens. So when my skin was feeling tight and uncomfortable, when makeup wipes were literally hurting, I knew something had to change. Enter Albolene. What's interesting is when I first started trying it, I was using it similar to a balm cleanser (which you can totally do) but the directions actually tell you to apply and wipe off without water.

Well, guess what made a reappearance for this method? The Shiseido Facial Cottons are actually perfect to remove this when my skin is feeling extra parched. Not as though I would purchase the cottons specifically for this product but since I have 2 bags of them (yes still), I figured why not.

This stuff does actually remove everything and it's very gentle. I haven't broken out from using it (even with the no water method). If you're dry skinned and want a no-fuss inexpensive cleanser, this is a great one.

Ingredients: Mineral Oil (Paraffinum Liquidum) , Petrolatum , Beeswax (Apis Mellifera) , Ceresin , Beta Carotene (Vitamin A)

Monday, October 21, 2013

NOTD: Zoya Nyx

It was a rare opportunity when I discovered all of my nails were the same length. I snagged one on the cruise and hadn't worn polish for weeks. Tonight I decided to try out one of the Zoya Pixie Dust polishes, Nyx. Nyx is a gorgeous lavender-grey with silver sparkle and it looks like gumdrops on your nails. These Pixie Dusts dry quickly and have amazing lasting power. This is a bit much for the office, but with nails on the shorter side, I think I can pull it off.

Monday, October 14, 2013

October Birchbox 2013

So one of the not so great things about the internet is that for these sample boxes, you see what everyone else received and while my box is a good one, some people received Liz Earle's Cleanse and Polish which Birchbox (referral link) is now carrying (!) and I have been dying to try but never wanted to pay to ship it from the UK. Now, it's a bit more accessible for us US folk, which is awesome, but I would have preferred some of that in lieu of pretty much any of the items I received, though they are nice.

Inside my (Liz Earle free) Birchbox was:

* Karuna Hydrating Sheet Mask, 1 mask (4 masks|$28) worth $7
* POP Beauty Aqua Lacquer in Flowering Fuschia, full size $14
* 12 Benefits Instant Healthy Hair Treatment, 1.5oz/45ml (6 oz|$19) worth $4.75
* Supergoop! City Sunscreen Serum 5ml/.17oz (1.6oz|$42) worth $4.50
* Chapstick Hydrating Lock, full size $2.99

The 12 Benefits seems to be similar to It's a 10 which surprisingly, I've never tried. Although the Chapstick is considered a "Birchbox Find Alert" and not a "real" sample, to be honest, I've received samples that were worth less than the $2.99 and much less useful. As I said, I'm pleased with this box but I would have loved to receive the Liz Earle. Maybe next time.

Disclosure: Referred link

Friday, October 11, 2013

Miss Me?/Random Favorites

I know, world's worst blogger, awful maintainer of blog website, lazy you-tube-watcher and tea drinker who doesn't make time for blogging...

Anyway, my parents took my husband and I and my brother and his girlfriend on a cruise vacation to New England and Canada. I stepped inside a Shoppers Drug Mart for the first time ever which was uber exciting. I bought 1 makeup item, the Annabelle Smoothliner in Black, which not only did I find for CAD$4.99 on sale, but happens to stay amazingly on the waterline and tightline. I scrounged the two story Halifax store for Bioderma but they were out of the pink version. Major disappointed ensued until I found Aero mint balls. Yum.
I managed to pack a smallish makeup arsenal and rediscovered some past loves from my makeup collection, including Bare Minerals Foundation in Fair which I wore just about everyday on the trip. For evening meals I used the Revlon Colorstay Whipped Foundation in Ivory which I applied with my trusty Beauty Blender. I rediscovered my love for MAC Lustre Lipstick in Rubia which is quite old but has retained the vanilla scent (thank goodness since it's a gorgeous nude). For fragrance I wore Bath & Body Works Forever Red Eau de Parfum roller ball which I picked up for a mere $2 at the last semi-annual sale. It's lovely and my husband likes it (win win).

I'm not going to go through everything right now, but I used eve lom cleansing balm and a muslin cloth to cleanse my skin every night. I used First Aid Beauty Daily Face Cream as a day moisturizer and Skindinavia Makeup Setting Spray to set.

I'll leave you with some beautiful places I saw on my trip:
Bar Harbor, Maine
Cathedral, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
 Botanical Gardens, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

I hope everyone has had a great beginning to their October!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Review: Julep Bare Face Cleansing Oil

Julep Bare Face Cleansing Oil (referral link) came in the most recent Julep box. It promises to "[remove] makeup, dirt, and excess oil without over-drying skin". I'm going to come right out and say that this has been my favorite Julep non-polish Maven item to date! It smells citrusy, it removes my makeup, it comes in a sleek bottle and it doesn't dry out to my skin! I've found that unlike cleansing balms (which I love), the oils can have a tendency of drying out my skin. Not this! The only thing I'm not a fan of is that the dispenser is a little short which means I have to hold the bottle to squirt out a few pumps (I usually use around 3-4 for my whole face) and you can't pump it while it's sitting flush on the countertop. Otherwise, I'm a big fan though I might not pay the $28 retail price for the 3.4floz ($22.40 for Mavens). We'll see.

Ingredients: Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, PEG-30 Sorbitan Tetraoleate, Rosa Canina (Rosehip) Fruit Oil, Citris Grandis (Grapefruit) Peel, Tocopherol, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Coffea Arabica (Coffee) Seed Oil, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Hibiscus Abelmoschus Extract, Squalane, Phenoxyethanol.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

September Birchbox (2013)

I kind of knew that even though I wasn't really satisfied with my last Birchbox, that it would get better. That's how Birchbox (referral link) tends to be. Well, this box turned out to be awesome!


*Ruffian Nail Lacquer in Hedge Fund, full size $10
*Mally Beauty Volumizing Mascara, full size $20
*Davines This is a Sea Salt Spray 100ml (full size $27|250ml) worth $10.80
*Dr. Lipp Original Nipple Balm for Lips 3ml (full size $14.50|15ml) worth $2.90
*Malin+Goetz Vitamin E Face moisturizer sachets, 2 packets .08floz (full size $45|4oz) worth $1

I already have the Dr. Lipp but I'm happy to have a spare. The green nail polish looks gorgeous and I'm excited to try it and a full size mascara? Yes please!

What did you get in your September Birchbox?

They also included a 30% off coupon for the Customer Favorites Shop on the Birchbox site. Don't mind if I do.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Review: Kiss-Off Stain Remover

Let me share a short story about my weekend and the magical-ness that is Kiss-Off Stain Remover. My husband and I were traveling to see his parents at their home in Georgia. We left extremely early for our 6:40am flight. I decided to skip the makeup for the first part of our journey and apply it later on during a connecting flight. Application was perfect but I didn't realize that my hand still had some on it and I got it all over my blouse. I forgot about it and the stain stayed on my blouse until we returned home Monday evening. My husband used the Kiss-Off that my father-in-law gave us. It promises to take off :
  • Wet and Dry Oil Paint
  • Acrylic Paint
  • Tempera Paint
  • Pencil Marks
  • Lipstick
  • Make-Up
  • Baby Spots
  • Wine
  • Grass Stains
  • Blood
  • Coffee
  • Pet Stains
  • Grease
And it did. It removed the days old stain on my blouse. It is freaking awesome.

So for all of us clumsy makeup applicators, here's my new go-to stain remover.

*Not affiliated. Generous gift from my father-in-law!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

August Birchbox (2013)

Guys, I almost wasn't going to post about this Birchbox (referral link) since it was so disappointing, but a) I've posted about my Birchbox as long as I've received it and b) I want to give fair/honest reviews of anything I regularly post about. I also get varying levels of box!

Why I was disappointed: The majority of the products received are free samples given by the company when placing an order (the Coastal Scents mini quads are free when placing an order there), or you can order the Miss Jessie's samples directly through their website (you can order 2 free sample sachets for a $1 shipping charge).

Inside my box:

Arcona Cranberry Gommage 10ml (full size 100ml|$42) worth $4.20
Coastal Scents mini eyeshadow quad (full size $34-$39) worth ?
Miss Jessie's Rapid Recovery Treatment and Sweetback Treatment (13g each) worth $1 due to above
Benefit Hello Flawless Oxygen Wow! Foundation in 5ml (full size 30 ml|$36) worth $6 (Though I already know this is too dark for me).
2 Ahmad Tea sachet (box of 40|$7) worth $.35

The only thing I was really excited about was the Arcona product.

Sad sad face.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

I've Been Cheating

... on makeup

So, aside from the a relapse of my back, bronchitis and a trip to my in-laws, I've been cheating on makeup with tea! I know, it's a horrible thing. It all started (officially) with an order from Teavana in May. Then a bit later, I found tea blogs and then just after the tea blogs, I found Steepster which is like the makeupalley of tea. And I'm thoroughly addicted. I do have some posts coming up, including a review of the Stila Beauty Blender dupe, my August Birchbox (I know it's September, but I finally settled down and got over my brief disappointment/anger and will review it), mini-reviews/items I took on vacation and of course my August empties. No fear, I am still using makeup and have a ton of reviews in my head that need to get down on paper. I thank you for your support and staying with me during my multitude of distractions this summer.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Review: Simple Kind To Eyes Eye Makeup Remover Pads

I believe the Simple Eye Make-Up Remover Pads came in one of the recent Allure Beauty Boxes and I was definitely curious about them but it's taken me awhile to try them. Simple promises that these remove waterproof mascara yet are "kind to eyes". The packet comes with 30 circle sized wipes and retails for $5.99. I'm a broken record, but I compare everything to my Makeup Forever Sens'eyes Remover. So, how did these perform?

Horribly. I took two (one for each eye) held them up to my closed eye for a good 10 seconds and waited. I wiggled them a bit to ensure they had access to all of my waterproof mascara and pulled off. All I could see were speckles of mascara and an eye lash. Rubbing netted similar results. So I then applied my Sens'eyes and it was kind of frightening how much mascara was missed by these wipes.

They are textured so I found them great for foundation, but not really cost effective since they are just large enough for one eye.  Not a fan and won't purchase.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

July Empties (2013)

I may be the worst blogger ever, but that doesn't mean that I haven't been wearing makeup, using skincare, buying things. I have a whole bunch of posts that need to go up but for now, I bring you my July empties. July was the end of my much beloved Elemental Herbology Purify and Sooth Facial Cleansing Balm and as you can see, I cut open the tube to get every last drop. I also finished another tin of Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Cream which is great on both lips and extra dry flaky bits. This month also saw the passing of my Sephora Brand Waterproof Jumbo Pencil 12hr in Taupe which was a makeup bag staple. I realized I had finished it when I felt something hard tugging at my eyelid. I thought the pencil had gone bad but realized the bottom of the pencil has plastic to help shape it (the point you see above).

Anyway, I'm sorry I've lost my blogging mojo a bit, but I have no plans to stop blogging. Hopefully, I'll be able to pick up when I'm more at ease in my new job. Until then, I appreciate your patience with my slightly random posting.

Monday, July 22, 2013

NOTD: Zoya Godiva

I literally just painted my nails so I really should call this Nail of the Night and not Nail of the Day. It's 10pm on a Monday and I am exhausted but my Zoya order came in recently and I have been dying to try these Pixie Dusts, primarily because they are quick drying. Well, they are, indeed! Godiva is gorgeous. It's a pale yellow gold beige grey color. It's super sparkly and reminds me of gum drops. It feels like you coated your nails in sand paper but it is worth it so far. We'll see how it lasts!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

July Birchbox (2013)

I have been the world's worst blogger recently. Between my new obsession with all things tea and my husband's introduction of a new show that we are both addicted to (Castle), I haven't been posting as much as I would like. I figured I would at least show what came in my July Birchbox (referral link).

I received:
* Curly Hair Solutions Curl Keeper 1oz sachet (full size 3.38oz|$10) worth $3
* DDF Acne Control Treatment .5oz/14g (full size 1.7oz/48g|$44) worth $12.80
* Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin Cream no size (full size 50ml|$48) worth ?
* thebalm instain blush in swiss dot " fresh tangerine" .5grams/.018oz (full size .09oz|$22) worth $4.40
* 1 set of bobby pins (full size 6 pins|$5) worth $1.66

A few things, I really wish the curly hair solutions product was in a small pot or bottle, I hate these multi-use sachets. I'm a bit scared of the Ceramidin Cream as there are no ingredients listed anywhere that I can find. I'll have to do more digging. I'm actually pretty interested in the acne control treatment since I've been breaking out a lot with the weather changing and female time of month fun. I'm interested in the blush but the pan is so tiny, I'm a bit worried about streaking.

What did you get in your July Birchbox?

Friday, July 5, 2013

May and June Empties (2013)

May was a bit of a slow month empties wise, but in June it picked up quite a bit and I already have some products nearing their end for July! Hooray for progress. It's been exceptionally hot in the DC area which has sucked even more of my energy than normal. My interests lately have involved sleeping and iced tea. Too bad my husband has refused a move north of the Mason Dixon line (he's from Georgia). Anyway... onward!
Joico K-Pak Deep Penetrating Reconstructor - This smells just like banana laffy taffy and is free of silicones. This is a protein treatment that I used once per week. I liked it but don't think I'd repurchase. It's rather expensive and my hair usually needs moisture over protein. Although, I'm tempted to try other products from Joico if they all have this smell. It's delicious!
Philosophy Raspberry Sorbet 3in1 - As I've gotten more into body washes, I've found myself enjoying the Philosophy ones over some of the other brands. They are on the thicker side and they seem to produce more lather. Plus, this Raspberry Sorbet scent is the perfect refreshing scent for summer. Between this and the K-Pak, I smelt like fruit salad!
Natural Hand Soap Crimson Berry - This is a hand soap that I picked up at TJmaxx for $2. It smells like cranberry and lasted me for several months. For $2 it wasn't bad and it didn't dry my hands out. Quite pleasant actually. My only complaint is the packaging was uncovered paper and it got quite warped as you can tell from the picture.
Yes to Blueberries Cleansing Facial Towelettes - I've really enjoyed using these Yes to Blueberries wipes. They smell tart and fresh and do a decent job of removing makeup. I'd definitely repurchase with a sale.
Makeup Forever Sens'Eyes - Waterproof Sensitive Eye Cleanser - You are probably tired of me talking about this makeup remover, but it truly is awesome. It seemed to take forever to finish this full sized bottle and I have one that I just cracked open since it is awesome and I won't be without it.
Aveeno Smart Essentials Daily Detoxifying Scrub - I believe I received this in the now defunct free Target beauty bags. This was a pretty decent scrub and it was very gentle. I used it in the shower and it was a nice bright citrus. Even though it was soap free, I feel that it dried my skin out just a bit but not too bad for a free sample. I would not repurchase.
Avene Thermal Spring Water - A must have in the warmer months! I tend to get over heated and love to spritz myself with this after I've walked in the door from the heat. I have another one ready to be used!
Sircuit Skin Fixzit Blemish Drying Serum - Ever since I first tried and saw the miraculous results back in 2011, I always have a bottle of this in my cabinet. I've had a few breakouts recently, and this cuts down on the time frame and tends to heal them overnight. Love love love this stuff and won't be without it.
MAC Studio Fix Powder - Yes, it is a makeup product! I hit pan on this back in December. I figured I maybe had a month left, try 6! This stuff is really a workhorse. I know people tend to deter us dry skinned folk away from powder foundation but it can look really nice if you are well moisturized and it's super easy and no fuss. I'll repurchase and I'm dying to try some of the lighter shades they came out with. This was sometimes a bit too dark in the winter (NW15).
La Roche Posay Nutritic Lip Balm - La Roche Posay was a bit naughty with this product. You think you are getting more than your standard lip balm stick, but it is exactly the same size! It's just the plastic tubing that is bigger! I wound up getting this on clearance at CVS and it was only ok. I felt like it only felt moisturizing right after application; after it quickly wore off, my lips were dry again. I kept this stick at work and finally whittled it down after many trying months. Not worth the higher price tag.
Shu Uemura Cleansing Oil Shampoo - This wasn't bad but it is not worth it's normal retail price and as with most shampoos. I found this pretty drying, even though it claims to remove build up without drying hair. Meh. Wouldn't purchase.
Essie Apricot Cuticle Oil - Apricots are some of my favorite fruits, but I found the scent of this oil a bit overwhelming (and cloying). I wouldn't purchase.

So there you have it! Not too shabby. Would have you finished recently?

Monday, July 1, 2013

Influenster: Sunkissed VoxBox #SunVoxBox

Influenster is a site open to the general public that sends out boxes for review. Anyone can join, not just bloggers. I received this box for free.

I was super psyched to receive the Sunkissed Summer Vox Box from Influenster. It's been so long since I received a box and each one seems to get better and better. Anyway, the Sunkissed Summer Vox Box arrived just a few days ago and I thought I'd share what I received.

Olay Fresh Effects BB Cream 
Dr. Scholl's For Her High Heel Insoles 
Goody Ouchless Ribbon Elastics*
Sinful Colors Shine in My Kryptonite 

I can already tell you how I feel about the Goody elastics as I'm wearing one in my hair right now and had previously purchased them at Target several months ago. They are not quite as springy as the Twistband elastics, BUT they do last a whole lot longer than other "regular" hair ties I have tried in the past. I've been wearing the same one for months without it snapping, and that, my friends, is excellent. We'll see how I get on with the other products.

Disclosure: Received for review.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Review: Dr. Lipp Original Nipple Balm for Lips

In one of my recent Birchbox (referral link) orders, I received a "pick two" which included the Dr. Lipp Original Nipple Balm for Lips. If you purchase $35 or more in the Birchbox (referral link) shop, you can add a "pick two" of sample sized products. Since the full size of this product is about half an ounce, this .1oz sample size is actually pretty generous (full size is $14.50). Dr. Lipp Original Nipple Balm for Lips is medical grade lanolin so it's more cost effective to buy this type of product made for nursing mothers (for example, CVS has a 2oz tube for $7.99 - 4x the amount and half the price). However, the packaging is too cute and it was free with my order so I'm not complaining.
It's a standard squeeze tube but has no applicator so it requires using fingers. I found it was decent in moisturizing my lips but I don't find it as moisturizing long-term as some of my favorite balms (still left me a bit dry in the morning when used at night). It's thick and doesn't spread super easily but becomes a bit thinner with the warmth of the lips. I wouldn't repurchase but I'll definitely use this sample up.

Disclosure: Referral link.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Review: Wet n Wild Coverall Cream Foundation and Pressed Powder

Yesterday, I made the mistake of leaving my makeup bag at home. I tend to do my makeup in my car in the garage when I get to work. Usually, I do a semi-full face but I figured I would at least grab some foundation and powder. I swung by CVS and picked up the Wet n Wild Coverall Cream Foundation and Pressed Powder which have been getting amazing reviews given the extremely reasonable price point. I picked up the lightest shades in each #816 Fair/Light in the cream and #823B Light/Pale in the powder. For reference, the cream foundation cost me $4.19 and the powder was $3.19. I'm pretty sure prices will depend on your region.

I was pleased with the coverage it was giving upon application. It easily spread on my dry face with fingers. It was slightly tacky but it didn't appear to cling to dry bits. All in all, I was pleased, until I walked over into sunlight and noticed a huge orange streak down the side of my cheek.

I had heard of girls that had similar skin tones using this foundation, but they must have been exaggerating their paleness or I got a bad batch or something. Because, this is not pale. Granted, my hand is slightly more pasty than my face, but I saw the line down my jaw and my cheek and I was not thrilled. Thankfully, the powder is actually light and I managed to apply a healthy dose of it to make things look less orange.
Yup, it's that barely visible swatch on my hand. That is what I call light.

Granted, the cream foundation not only had amazing coverage, but lasted all day (aside from the bit on my nose due to constant blowing - allergies!). But I wish this came in a lighter shade. I'll be returning the cream foundation and keeping the powder. It's super slim and the perfect purse size.

Have you tried the Wet n Wild Coverall Cream Foundation or Pressed Powder? 

For reference, I'm about a NW10 in MAC.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Review: Almay Hypo-Allergenic Eye Makeup Remover Pads, Non Oily

Almay is not one of the brands in the drugstore that I go for, but sometimes the deal is too good to pass up. I either paid a minimal price or got these for free at CVS. Almay claims that their eye makeup remover pads "nourish skin as they gently remove eye makeup, even waterproof mascara and longwearing lipcolor, without irritation". I don't know how Almay makes the claims they make about these but I found them ineffective. They managed to remove my long-wearing liner and shadow but they barely made a dent with my waterproof mascara. I also found them drier than I would usually expect for this sort of product. Maybe I got a bad batch? I definitely won't be paying retail price for these in the future!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Mascara for Sensitive Eyes/Contact Wearers

My husband indicated that one of his colleagues asked him to ask me about mascara. She is a contact wearer and indicated she needed a waterproof formula for sensitive eyes. I wrote what my husband called a small essay but I thought it was useful information that anyone could use!

Q: JT help! What mascaras would you recommend for sensitive-eyed contact lens wearers that prefer waterproof formulas?

I'm not sure what price point you are looking at, but you have a few options. First of all, anything that is "waterproof" is going to have not so nice ingredients in it which may cause eye irritation if yours are particularly sensitive. If it's only the contacts you are concerned about, you are likely more worried about flaking (which can occur with any mascara and especially drier formulas or tubes that have dried out).

If your eyes are sensitive, I would recommend Neutrogena Healthy Volume mascara. Fairly inexpensive at the drugstore and the Neutrogena line in general is known for putting out products that aren't nearly as irritating as some of the more standard lines. A few years ago, I had a bad case of tearing eyes and this didn't add extra irritation.

If you have some money to spend, I would recommend tubing mascaras. They coat the lashes in a coil and are easily removed with warm water and gentle pressure. One of the more popular ones is Blinc (which you can get at Sephora). A plus, if it doesn't work for you, you can easily return it (same for the Neutrogena at CVS, Rite Aid and Walgreens).

If you get flaking, you may need to replace your mascara more often. The recommended time frame is generally 3-6 months depending on the formula. Another thing I want to mention is removal. If you aren't removing all of your mascara, it can lead to irritation, especially if specks get in your eyes overnight. I would highly recommend an oil-based cleanser just to ensure you are getting every bit of mascara off. Even the most sensitive eye friendly mascaras will cause irritation if they aren't thoroughly removed.

Agree or disagree? If you have any additional tips for my husband's coworker, I can always follow up!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

June Birchbox (2013)

Birchbox (referral link) has really been hitting it out of the park for me recently. This month's theme is about travel, or wanderlust as they put it. Aside from the perfume sample, I think this box was awesome (though the cap to my glossy kiss came off mid transit and made quite a mess - Birchbox is sending another - awesome CS!). I received the following:

* Klorane Extra-Gentle Dry Shampoo with oatmilk 50ml (full size 150ml|$18) worth $6
* Color Club Reign in Spain nail lacquer .25floz (full size .50floz|$8) worth $4
* Mirenesse Glossy Kiss .15oz/4g (full size 3g|$26.55) worth $26.55
* Oscar De La Renta Something Blue EDP ~$0
* adorable anchor nautical twistband hair tie (6 ties|$14) worth ~$2.30

The Glossy Kiss received looks to be old packaging, as the image on the Birchbox site is different but still definitely a full size product. You'll recall that while I was dubious about the twistband hair ties, especially due to the high price, I wound up loving them! And they also included 4 adorable post cards from their different offices. Certainly worth the $10 this month. What did you get in your June Birchbox?

Monday, June 3, 2013

Review: Kiss My Face Moisture Shave Lavender and Shea

I was recently on the look out for a new shaving cream and although I wasn't looking to spend a lot of dough, it seemed like I was gravitating towards some of the more pricey ones. Well, I happened upon the Kiss My Face Moisture Shave in Lavender Shea when I was checking out at Vitacost (referral link - please read below) and it was on sale for all of $4.58 - score (it's now $5.39) so I thought what the heck. Well, I am happy to report that it is quite nice. It is slightly more liquidy - it reminds me of hand soap - than the etsy shea version I was using previously and it is definitely thinner than the whish which didn't impress me at the price (and clogged my razor).

The scent reminds me a bit of Philosophy Purity which is honestly something I disliked at first sniff but really grew on me. It is a nice relaxing type of scent and doesn't smell artificial to me (though they also have an unscented version). The shaving gel/cream is light but provides a nice slick surface for shaving and it doesn't clog my razor! My legs didn't feel dry afterwards which is great since they are prone to sensitivity especially after shaving. I like the pump bottle as well as it reduces mess and waste. All in all, I am quite happy I found this though I'm probably late to the bandwagon!

Disclosure: The referral link gets you $10 off a $30 or more purchase (I used one from a youtuber to buy this and tea, yummy chips and organic fruit snacks) and I get $10 too.

Also, I apologize for my semi-absence. No good excuse!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Review: Dr. Sebagh Purifying Mask Anti-Pollution

First a disclaimer:
I'm not even going to pretend that I did or would ever pay $80 for a face mask. I would absolutely pay $80 for a facial (I've actually paid more than $80) but with the facial, you get the whole experience and with this face mask, I slapped it on in old pajamas and crawled into my non-spa bed with my pink head wrap thing and an iced tea and watched You Tube videos - not quite the same. I got this for a steal off of SpaceNK and since I'm stuck in bed recovering from a surgical procedure (and my face has been a hot mess), I thought I'd give it a whirl.

I don't know much about Dr. Sebagh - I'll give you that. I know he's a Dermatologist and I believe he is a Dermatologist to the stars, which gives him the ability to charge $80 for face masks among other things. His line is sold at exclusive high end retailers like Barneys New York and SpaceNK London. I actually really like the slightly clinical looking packaging but I know that would annoy others due to the price point.

The Dr. Sebagh Purifying Mask Anti-Pollution promises to "refine and refresh the skin whilst providing deep cleansing to the skin" [verbatim except I changed the tense]. Whilst may be my favourite word ever (see what I did there? I'm a bit delirious, sue me).

Anyway, the mask comes out a whitish cream and I liberally put it all over my face and relaxed for 10 minutes per the instructions. When the mask was first applied, I felt a slight tightening sensation, likely due to the kaolin clay. It was your standard clay mask hardening effect and not unpleasant. The mask doesn't burn or tingle which is great since I didn't do a spot test and my skin can be quite sensitive. It easily removed with warm water and a muslin cloth.

Afterwards, my skin felt soft and smooth but not dried out which is unusual with these types of masks. I'm going to have to thank Dr. Sebagh for adding oils to the mask and not causing my skin to dry out like the Sahara. All in all, very pleasant. Fairly quick for a mask and low key but very expensive.

Would I ever tell you to part with $80 of your hard earned money and buy this mask? No. I'm not a mask person but I couldn't resist the bargain myself.

For a mask, it's pretty darn good.

Disclosure: Don't hate me, but I got this for $12, yup.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Review: Tatcha Pure One Step Camellia Cleansing Oil

On with the "need to try something new bug." I recently placed an order at Tatcha for some blotting papers and also received an adorable 15ml sample of their cleansing oil. The Tatcha Pure One Step Camellia Cleansing Oil generally retails for $48 and comes with 5.5oz of product.

My sample came with a dropper which isn't my favorite since it's very hard to see exactly where I'm dropping without my glasses. Sample packaging aside, I found this oil effectively removed most makeup as it claims. I also found it weightless on the skin, and it doesn't leave any sort of residue. It didn't effortlessly remove waterproof mascara which is fine since I don't mind using and buying the Makeup Forever Sens'eyes remover which does make it effortless!

While this is nice, I'm not sure if I'd purchase as I tend to prefer the balm cleansers. However, if you are sensitive to mineral oils, this might be one to try as that ingredient (among others) is missing from the list.

Actives: Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Oil, Camellia Japonica Seed Oil, Algae Extract, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract.
Formulated without: Mineral Oil, Synthetic Colors, Synthetic Fragrances, Sulfate Detergents, Parabens, PEGs, PPGs, Urea, DEA, TEA or Phthalates.

*For those that don't mind cheaper ingredients and prefer a cheaper price point, check my review on the The Body Shop version here*

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Review: Nuxe Reve De Miel Ultra-Nourishing Lip Balm

Oh Nuxe! I so wanted to love your Reve de Miel. I tried the stick version and just wasn't impressed. Then I ordered the pot and even though I hate pots, I thought - "ok, now it'll wow me". Well, it's good, don't get me wrong. It comes in a frosted glass jar which is very elegant and it makes my lips feel moisturized in the morning, but it's in a pot. And that means I need to stick my finger (or designated non grimy object) into it to apply. And well, that means I only really get to use it at night or on the weekends (since I'm too rushed to do it in the morning - my own fault of course) and I don't get home until late (darn you DC traffic).

So it's good, yes. And you can get it for less expensive on international sites like feel unique ($15.68 btw) but I wish Nuxe would put this formula in the tube. I mean, it can't be that hard, right?
I may re-buy, but not because I enjoy using potted balms!

*tip: Make sure to really rub it in upon application like you would a lip scrub

Review: The Body Shop Moisture White Shisho Make-up Cleansing Oil

You know that bug you sometimes get where you just want to try something new? I am still in love with my balm cleansers. I've loved each one I've tried but I thought I'd mix it up with something different: cleansing oils. Cleansing oils have been a big thing for several years but I just never got into it. Now that I've tried and loved balm cleansers, cleansing oils seemed to be the next logical step. I recently purchased The Body Shop's Moisture White Shisho Make-up Cleansing Oil. At $15 for 4.2oz and often on sale, this cleansing oil is a good one to try and it won't break the bank.

Now, it's not all natural, it has added fragrance (a lighter version of TBS Moonflower - my favorite from their old lineup) and it comes in a standard white plastic bottle, but it's pretty darn good. Like balm cleansers, you apply on dry skin, massage and then add warm water, and most if not all of your makeup dissolves away (it easily removed my eye makeup - even waterproof mascara though it required a bit more effort, concealer and my Studio Fix Powder but ymmv). The flip cap squeeze bottle made it easy to dispense the right amount. It's pretty low frills but I found it quite effective and I'd repurchase, especially with a sale!
Full Ingredients Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride (Emollient), PEG-20 Glyceryl Triisostearate (Skin-Conditioning Agent), Isohexadecane (Emollient/Solvent), Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil (Emollient/Skin Conditioner), Glyceryl Behenate/Eicosadioate (Surfactant - Emulsifying Agent), Water (Solvent/Diluent), Fragrance (Fragrance), Perilla Ocymoides Seed Oil (Skin-Conditioning Agent), Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate (Antioxidant), Butylphenyl Methylpropional (Fragrance Ingredient), Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract (Conditioning Agent, Humectant), Citric Acid (pH Adjuster).

Sunday, May 12, 2013

NOTD: Sally Hansen Diamond Strength Sparkly Rose + Revlon Powder Puff

This Nail of The Day includes Walgreens clearance as you can see from the slightly obnoxious "reduced price" sticker on Sally Hansen Diamond Strength Sparkly Rose. I had a hell of a time trying to photograph this polish. It's so complex with the shifting rose/coral sparkles, though quite beautiful. Since I intended to use it sheer, I layered Revlon Power Puff underneath, perfect since it's a suede and dries quickly. Before you think I'm lying about the Rose, look at the bottle picture below. 
Anyway, as I mentioned actually photographing this was a pain. I took several pictures and none really gave the awesome duochrome flash the polish gives, which is one of the reasons I chose it as just a flash at work is better than full on glitter bomb!

You can kind of see from the pinky that with just a little movement, the pink flash goes away.

Anyway, I think I've bored you enough with my manicure today. I hope everyone in the US has a wonderful Mother's Day!