Mini Sephora Haul!

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SephoraHaulMarch2016

Over the course of the holidays and my birthday back in January, some of my friends and family were generous and thoughtful enough to pass along a few Sephora gift cards since I am an admitted and shameless addict when it comes to that store. If I go in to buy a moisturizer- I come out with several other products I may not have even needed. If I go in to pick out a new shade of lipstick, I’m leaving with a blush, bronzer, and eyeshadow palette that compliments the aforementioned lipstick color. If there is a Sephora Addicts Anonymous group out there somewhere, I need to know so that I can attend any and all meetings in the future (where I will proceed to ask other attendees what eyeliner or mascara they’re wearing and then promptly go out and purchase it.)

I digress- this past weekend, having run out of a bottle of backup Cover Girl foundation I had picked out at the drug store a while back and desperately scraping along the bottom of my usual tube of under eye concealer- I swung by my local Sephora to replenish some of my products…

… And pick up a couple of other non-necessity things, too…

It’s been a while since I’ve done any type of haul post- so I thought I’d share this mini one!

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1. TARTE Cosmetics Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Full-Coverage Foundation with SPF 15: I love Tarte. They are, hands down, one of my all-time favorite brands. When it comes to foundation, only two things matter to me: the coverage and the longevity. In the hotter months, I tend to lean more towards tinted moisturizers and BB creams- but I like something with a little more staying power in the Winter/Early Spring and Fall since my skin tends to get a little patchy and dry in certain areas and I like to be able to cover it up without having to worry about it. I’m really loving this full coverage foundation so far (which doesn’t feel heavy on my skin at all!) since it covers my dry patches and any other imperfections, matches my fair skin tone perfectly- and stays in place all day long and well into the evening.

2. TARTE Cosmetics Maracuja Creaseless Concealer: For as long as I can remember, I have used the lightest shade possible in Clinique’s ‘Line Smoothing’ Concealer- even though fine lines and/or wrinkles were not and are not a concern for me right now. I’m not even sure why I started using it in the first place, except that maybe it was one of the few affordable concealers available and it actually matched my skin tone pretty closely. Well, for whatever reason- be it my getting older and my skin changing or Clinique being the one to do the changing (to their formula)– the concealer has been appearing more and more orange under my eyes and has NOT been lasting long at all lately. I knew it was time for a change- and I turned to this creamy formula for those nights I don’t get enough sleep and need to look bright eyed for work. This product blends really well, covers pretty much anything and everything, and does not budge at all throughout the day. I think this is is the perfect partner to my new foundation. I’ve been using them both religiously!

3. TARTE Cosmetics ‘Smooth Operator’ Amazonian Clay Finishing Powder: Finally (and my last TARTE product- I promise!), I picked up this invisible sealing powder to set my makeup for the day.  This powder brightens my face, keeps my makeup in place, and prevents shine and excess oil buildup in more oily or problematic areas like my T-Zone. I like that the formula is non-drying and doesn’t accentuate any dry skin or blemishes, too. It makes everything look very natural!

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4. Dr. Jart+ Clearing Solution Sheet Mask: Way back when, I used to use a Dr. Jart+ BB cream that I had really liked very much. Overall, the brand continues to churn out some quality products- and given my love for sheet masks- I thought I’d pick up one of these acne-fighting ones for those pre-PMS days when my skin goes absolutely crazy and I need a little extra help dealing with the blemishes that spring up seemingly out of nowhere. I’m about ready for one of those breakouts to show itself in the coming days- so at least I’ll have a head start!

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5. Urban Decay’s Eyeshadow Primer Potion: One product I will never stray away from or switch (as long as UD never changes the formula, anyway!) is this Primer Potion for eyes. I’m down to my last couple of drops in my current bottle and desperately needed a new one. I swear by this stuff. It’s lightweight, not sticky/greasy- and it holds my shadow in place without creasing, crumbling, or flaking off- for HOURS. I’m talking long-term, like “all night party followed by a late brunch the next day” sort of longevity. I can only ever remove any shadow/liner from my lids after using this stuff with a pretty strong makeup remover. Other than that? This doesn’t go anywhere. It doesn’t budge!

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6. Sephora’s Formula X Nail Polish in ‘Lucky Starrr’ and ‘Sci-Fi’: Finally, the two products I didn’t need but just happened to pick up anyway because I loved their colors were these two long-lasting and ultra sparkly nail polishes in Sephora’s wildly popular Formula X brand. The first (and the one I’m currently wearing now), ‘Lucky Starrr’- is a super glittery and glitzy hot pink/reddish shade created/curated by Vlogger Patrick Starrr, and the second- ‘Sci-Fi’- is a pretty unique looking and also very glittery mint shade that I think will be making it’s debut on my digits this coming St. Patrick’s Day! I think these two polishes are going to be enough to carry me into the Summer, where I will undoubtedly be looking for more colors to add to my collection.

So with a face of fresh makeup and new colors on my nails- that wraps up my mini-haul from Sephora! I’m quite pleased each of the products I selected so far, and I am still so appreciative of everyone who gave me gift cards that I used towards this purchase! You all saved me a ton of cash and I love you for it!

If you have any suggestions for my next trip- probably sometime in the early Summer- feel free to share ’em! I always love hearing about new products/colors/collections!

xx

GLOSSYBOX: February 2016 Review.

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Even though Valentine’s Day was last week, I’ve still been still loving the last bits of romance-inspired products and subscription services I’ve been receiving in recent days. My POPSUGAR ‘Must Have’ Box was just the tip of the iceberg. In actuality, it was GlossyBox’s heart-covered container- loaded with indulgent products- that provided a fitting finale for the month of February (try saying that five times fast.)

Although I’ve been on the fence lately about sticking with GlossyBox or finally canceling my subscription after all this time, I love when they do things like this and switch up not only their box designs- but the products contained within- to keep people on their toes. It’s a breath of fresh air when the brands and the variety start to feel a little stale.

Let’s take a look at what I got!

WHAT I RECEIVED:

Teeez Cosmetics Oasis Gem Lipstick in ‘Heat Wave Ruby’ (*Full Size!*)

être belle Cosmetics Golden Skin Caviar Eye Roll-On

GLAMGLOW ‘THIRSTYCLEANSE’ Daily Hydrating Cleanser

Benefit Cosmetics ‘The POREfessional’ Face Primer

BioRepublic SkinCare’s Green Tea Detox Sheet Mask (*Full Size!*)

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Product # 1: Teeez Cosmetics Oasis Gem Lipstick in ‘Heat Wave Ruby’ ($22)

I have to hand it to GlossyBox for introducing me to brands I otherwise may have never heard of. Case in point? Teeez Cosmetics- who first piqued my interest with a clear nail top coat/lacquer (and their bright and funky packaging) I received in a separate GlossyBox last Spring. While the top coat wasn’t necessarily mind-blowing- this lipstick was. This product, highly pigmented and non-drying, applies more like a lip stain- and it stays in place for twice as long. I loved the texture of this formula, the matte finish, the rich ruby shade (which made my teeth look dazzling and complimented my complexion perfectly!) and the longevity. I made it through my morning coffee and well into my lunch break at work without needing a touch-up. Fabulous!

Would I Purchase?: Yes! This was an unexpected and new-favorite find in February’s GlossyBox- and a shade/product I would definitely re-purchase in the future (although I believe this color is limited edition!) I know Teeez frequently switches up their collections and colors on their website, and I’m hoping they release a coral/peach version of this formula for the impending warmer months. I’d happily scoop up a bunch of those, too.

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Product # 2: être belle Cosmetics Golden Skin Caviar Eye Roll-On ($22)

It feels like a lifetime ago, but it’s really only been a couple of short years since I was last subscribed to the pick-your-own-samples subscription service, Beauty Army. The beginning of the end of my interest in the service- leading up to my eventual cancellation of my account- came not only when each month offered cheaper and more repetitive products, but also when I received a sample of eye cream that caused entirely more damage than good when it unexpectedly burned me after application. The skin around and under my eyes was dry, flaking, red and itchy for days after use- and I was left VERY cautious of what I use for eye creams/gels.

Although my experience with this roll-on eye gel didn’t cause any visible or permanent damage (at least none that I can notice, anyway)– this product still stung like crazy after the first couple of initial applications. So much, in fact- that I caught myself trying to dab it off with my fingertips when it got to be too much for me to take. Even after I’d spread it out a little more- I didn’t notice any significant results around my eyes’ in terms of brightness, smoothness, or softness come the next morning. The skin around my eyes looked and felt the same- so the irritation was all for nothing.

Would I Purchase?: No. This eye cream just wasn’t for me at all. It burned, it made me tear up- and I didn’t notice any difference after the few times I gave this roll-on my best shot and tried to persevere through the pain. It was disappointing, to say the least- although I guess I shouldn’t be surprised since caviar doesn’t sound like something that should be anywhere near my eyes, anyway.

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Product # 3: GLAMGLOW ‘THIRSTYCLEANSE’ Daily Hydrating Cleanser ($39)

Last month, I had raved about my favorite cleanser of the moment- GLAMGLOW’s ‘YOUTHCLEANSE’ exfoliating cleanser- which was a sort of mud-to-foam formula once I added water. Since I always follow up that cleanser with a moisturizer- I never took into consideration that I might need something a little more hydrating for these final, cold Winter weeks as Spring struggles to reach (and stay!) in New England. Thankfully, GlossyBox had me covered with a sample of this more moisturizing formula of my daily cleanser- and I’m hooked. Not only does this cleanser make my skin feel just as squeaky clean as my YOUTHCLEASE one- but my skin is also left super soft and very smooth. I still moisturize after each use (of course!) but I feel like I don’t have to use as much of my moisturizer when I pair it with this cleanser.

Would I Purchase?: Yes! GLAMGLOW got me again. I love this cleanser. It cleans out my pores without drying me out and conditions my skin at the same time- which is something I desperately need this time of year. I have a feeling I’ll be picking up a full-sized bottle of this in the coming weeks since I’m nearly out of my YOUTHCLEANSE.

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Product # 4: Benefit Cosmetics ‘The POREfessional’ Face Primer ($31)

I’ve never really had much luck with primers. Either they don’t work, period- and my makeup doesn’t stay in place at all, or worse- I have an allergic reaction or break out like crazy. For that reason, I’ve focused more on setting my makeup properly and less on selecting one of the myriads of primers available at Sephora. Even still- my friends and colleagues rave about this primer from Benefit (a brand I otherwise like very much!) and having received a sample in February’s GlossyBox- I didn’t see the harm in giving it a try.

First things first, I like the texture of this primer. It’s sort of this light, fluffy consistency that sinks right into/onto my skin- and at first glance it really did do a good job at giving otherwise troublesome areas around my T-Zone a fresh, flawless appearance. My makeup glided over this primer without creasing or looking caked on, which was a plus- and even after a full day at work and post-office dinner (and a cocktail)- my foundation and concealer still looked natural and even. And pores? What pores? I couldn’t see them. I think I’ve finally found “the one”!

Would I Purchase?: Yes! A little goes a long way with this sample, especially if you only concentrate on problem areas like I do- so this tube should last me a few more weeks before I’m due to restock and replenish- but I’ll be turning to this primer in the future since it worked wonders on my T-Zone and helped give me one less thing to worry about when it comes to getting my face on.

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Product # 5: BioRepublic SkinCare’s Green Tea Detox Sheet Mask ($4.99)

I will never, ever, EVER say no to sheet masks. I love this craze- particularly the convenience and the results I usually get when I use them. I’m a big fan of green tea, and I enjoy a good detox from time to time- so naturally I was all about trying this mask as soon as possible. Like pretty much every other sheet mask, you have to be patient when getting it out of the packaging (and not mind getting whatever gel/cream it’s saturated in all over your fingers) and getting it to sit just right on your face to give you that nice Leatherface from ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ look. You have to be even more patient while you let it sit, cool, and tingle on your skin for 15 minutes (I usually just lay down in the quiet for a while and pretend I’m getting a spa treatment somewhere remote outside the city.)

After I peeled this mask off- my skin did look brighter, felt softer- and I noticed a couple of small blemishes I had by my chin were significantly less red and painful. I wouldn’t mind using this type of mask again!

Would I Purchase?: Yes! I thought this brand/mask worked really well with my sensitive and often overworked skin. At $4.99 per mask, I’d happily stock up on a few in the future to use throughout the week after a long day at work and braving New England climates.

With the exception of the eye cream, February’s GlossyBox was a hit for me. I really enjoyed the lipstick and the sheet mask, and found new products to covet from GLAMGLOW and Benefit all at once. It also goes without saying that I adored the festive coloring/theme of the box itself- and plan to use it for the next time I need to package a gift or store products around my home.

I believe we’ll be back to the usual pink & black boxes from GlossyBox next month- but I’m looking forward to seeing the products!

xx

Review: Valentia Skin Care

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In fun blogging news, I’ve recently signed onto BrandBacker to deliver new content, collaborations and reviews for my followers and casual readers. For those who aren’t familiar with BrandBacker or other influencer programs similar to it- it’s a way for bloggers (and those who are active on numerous social media outlets) to team up with different brands/companies to discover new products or services and provide honest reviews of said products/services in exchange for free items, promotion- and sometimes paid posts. It’s a win/win for everyone- and something I highly encourage those who are looking to broaden their blogging horizons and expand their audience to check out!

The first company that approached me via BrandBacker was the USA-based skin care line, Valentia, who asked me if I wanted to test their new ‘True Glow’ eye cream and Ultra Plumping Hydration Mask. Since I’m always eager to try something new and experiment with different products to see what works with my skin/complexion and what doesn’t, I jumped at the chance to give these two samples a shot- and received two full-sized containers, one of the eye cream and one of the mask- to play around with as compensation (a $50+ value!) 

The company’s mission, per their website:

“To provide you a greater level of overall happiness with your appearance without the harsh chemicals that dry out, stretch, burn and prematurely age the skin. Our strategic formulations include powerful natural ingredients that have been scientifically proven to succeed in giving skin a natural and radiant glow that contributes to a youthful look.”

Any brand that expresses confidence that their their products will have me feeling like a goddess is a brand worth paying attention to- but would their products really stand up to their assertions? There was only one way to tell.

I had to try them for a few days to decide for myself.

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‘True Glow’ Eye Cream ($25): 

From Valentia:

“Say goodbye to tired eyes. This nourishing formula works fast to repair and refresh the eye area while protecting skin from the usual suspects of aging. Our natural and organic ingredients work to calm and reduce puffiness in the eye area revealing softer, more refreshed looking eyes. With continued use of this antioxidant treatment, you will start noticing a more rejuvenated, radiant, and brighter under eye area.”

Up until now, I’d been using a thicker, heavier eye cream before bed each night- and as much as I like it- it doesn’t exactly absorb easily enough for me to be able to wear it under my makeup in the morning. When I first felt the lightweight consistency of this peach-tinted and gel-like cream (that smells strongly of flowers)– it gave me a little hope that this would be a suitable day cream and primer for my concealer, too. Sure enough, the formula sank into my skin in no time at all, and I noticed that my under-eye area appeared brighter and smoother in the mere minutes following application- even before I’d gotten around to applying my makeup!

In regards to wearing this under eye makeup and concealer during the day- this cream thankfully didn’t cause any sort of discoloration, creasing, or act as a barrier that prevented my makeup from setting properly the way other creams tend to do. It was barely noticeable after it had dried.

At night, I gently tapped a little more of this cream around my eyes to wear to bed- and woke up with softer, more hydrated, tighter and less-puffy skin. I was more than impressed- and now that I’ve been using this cream night and day for a little while- I’m happy to report that the results have stayed consistently good! There’s been no negative changes and no weird reactions or anything. Just a softer, smoother, and brighter eye area across the board.

VERDICT: I really like this eye cream! It was an unexpected hit for me- and was my favorite of the two products I received from Valentia for this collaboration! A little goes a long way with this gel/cream, so $25 per bottle is actually very reasonable- and I can see myself purchasing this in the future once I’m out of my complimentary one. Loaded with Vitamin C and Organic Rosehip Oil- it’s nice to see more natural ingredients put into something comes so dangerously close to my eyes- as opposed to the product being 100% full of complex and potentially harmful chemicals and/or artificial coloring.

BUY HERE / AMAZON

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From Valentia:

“The perfect answer to your dry skin problems. This hydration mask features a unique blend of amino acids and potent antioxidants, like Japanese Green tea and Aloe Vera, to reduce fine lines, increase collagen production, and fight environmental irritants. Botanical Hyaluronic  Acid, Vitamin E, and Sea Buckthorn Oil flood skin with vital moisture, creating softer more supple skin. Treat your delicate facial skin with nature’s most nourishing ingredients, and instantly restore radiance.”

Despite the bright orange coloring of this mask, it does not smell like any type of citrus whatsoever. Like the ‘True Glow’ Eye Cream, this mask has a gel-like consistency and smells more floral than fruity (at least to me, anyway!) Unlike the eye cream, however- this mask is meant to be left on the skin for approximately 15-30 minutes before it’s gently dabbed off with a warm, damp cloth- and is supposed to leave the skin feeling extra hydrated, smooth, nourished and looking radiant.

As is the case with most masks, you don’t want to overdo it by applying them too frequently- so I limited myself to two applications per week to better monitor my results. The mask tingles a bit as it dries on your face- so if you have sensitive skin, it might feel a little weird at first- but it goes away after a few minutes and then you barely notice you have a mask on at all. I promise!

In regards to the results, my skin did, indeed, feel softer to the touch and appear smoother at first glance- but I didn’t notice much of a difference in the overall brightness or ‘plumpness’ to my skin. I just looked and felt a little more dewy, really- which is fabulous this time of year but might not be so desirable come Spring/Summer when the temperatures and humidity begin to rise again.

VERDICT: I didn’t dislike this mask by any means, but I don’t feel it exactly blew me away, either. The ingredients are recognizable and able to be understood, and it’s nice if your skin needs an extra boost of hydration the way mine does throughout Winter- but if you’re looking for something to address any type of dullness or lifelessness to your skin- you may want to check out one of the scrubs Valentia has available, instead- and save this mask for a colder day when your usual moisturizers and serums just aren’t doing the trick.

 BUY HERE / AMAZON

Overall, I was really pleased with Valentia’s products (especially the eye cream!) and the natural, quality ingredients, lovely results, and swift shipment time for my samples has inspired me to check out some of the other products the company has to offer (particularly their aforementioned scrubs since it’s well-documented by now that I’m an exfoliation nut.)

I truly appreciate the company reaching out to me, and their generosity with the two full-sized items they shipped to me. It was very kind and I intend to continue using them regularly!

Valentia’s main site, as well as the Amazon links to purchase their products have been linked above for anyone looking to learn more about the brand or try these items for themselves.

xx

*NOTE: I was not paid in exchange for my review by Valentia or any of it’s employees or associates. All opinions stated in this post are purely my own and were no way altered by the brand or their affiliates. Questions about the company or the products featured here should be directed to Valentia via the “CONTACT US” section on their website. Thank you!*

February Hits List!

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Good Morning and Happy 50%-Off-Valentine’s-Day-Candy-Day, everyone!

With temperatures staying consistently in the negatives since Friday night, and wind chill statistics causing a statewide safety alert- even in the afternoons when the sun has been shining brightly- I’ve been in a bit of a hibernation mode over this past weekend- only stepping outdoors if it was absolutely necessary (I’ve even forgone my usual coffee/tea runs at my local cafe!) Poor Oliver, who loves rolling around in the snow unlike any dog I’ve ever known in my life- has refused to go anywhere near the door when it comes time for him to take his daily walk. He wants no part of it.

Of course, a couple of days spent mostly confined to hot baths and warm blankets isn’t all bad. It’s given me a chance to catch up on my e-mails, update and re-organize my makeup collection- and prepare my monthly “Hits List” post for February!

This month I admittedly got a little swept up in ‘Valentine’s Day Fever’. I’m not talking about not-so-subtlety hinting to the guy I’ve been seeing for a romantic, candle-lit three-course dinner or six dozen roses or anything like that, since that’s never really been my thing- but I’ve picked up a couple of holiday-inspired finds in recent days and my current, mostly-neutral makeup and wardrobe color palette has been flushed with touches of romantic pinks, ravishing reds, and bold purples throughout February so far.

Like I did in my first ‘Hits List’ post last month, I’m going to start with my products and pieces, first- and then move onto the other stuff that couldn’t quite be photographed properly for this month’s collection!

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Starting in the bottom, left-hand corner of my laid out spread for February are my Valentine’s-inspired products from Lush Cosmetics. Not too long ago, I ran out of my absolute favorite lip scrub of all time, Lush’s ‘Popcorn’ scrub- and I was looking to replenish my little tub by re-ordering online. Instead, I saw this limited edition mandarin/cherry infused version, ‘The Kiss’ (with edible hearts mixed in it!) and knew I had to have it. It works incredible, tastes delicious, and the hearts are pretty fun. I’m not even going to deny it.

To pair with the scrub, I also purchased it’s matching lip gloss of the same name- which applies like and has the same moisturizing texture of a lip balm. I like that it doesn’t feel sticky/tacky on my lips and that the light pink color is really, really faint- since I tend to apply this a lot in the car or at work and don’t want to have it all over my face.

Finally, nothing says Valentine’s Day quite like Lush’s ‘Sex Bomb’ bath bomb! The last time I used this floral-scented moisturizing bomb was when I was in Las Vegas last October and wanted to unwind after a long day in the desert on the strip in the gigantic bathtub inside my hotel room. It’s been really nice having a couple of these on hand- especially when it’s been so frigid outside! I leave my bath feeling relaxed, refreshed, and with touchable soft skin.

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Moving upwards are two pieces from my wardrobe I’ve been adoring lately. The first is a knitted and embellished headband that I’ve been using to keep my ears and scalp warm when I’ve been in need of a break from my Winter hat collection. This thing definitely comes in handy in-between stylist appointments since it covers up my roots really well, but it’s also versatile since I can wear it indoors, too (just as long as I push it back behind my ears!)

Next up is my new favorite pair of leggings, the ‘King of Hearts’ printed stretchy design from Black Milk Clothing! It’s been a while since I’ve made a BMC purchase, but I saw these leggings and couldn’t resist. I love a good statement piece- something that is unique, comfortable, and really stands out- and these met all the requirements. I’ve been pairing these with my favorite slouchy black sweater and my black leather ankle boots in recent weeks and I get stopped wherever I go so people can take a look at them! I posted a photo of me sporting these over on my Instagram, if anyone wants to see how the print looks when it’s on!

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Moving a little to the right on the spread-out of this month’s favorites are these three crystals (rose quartz, amethyst, and obsidian) I recently obtained from a spirituality-centered store in Western Massachusetts. Now, I’m not an expert when it comes to crystals, their uses or meanings- but I like to keep an open mind- and I’ve been placing these around my home and my work space (or holding them in my hand when I’m being absent-minded or driving since they’re smooth and cool to the touch) and they’ve just been nice to have within reach. I’d like to pick up some larger ones for decorative purposes in the future, but these pocket-sized ones are good for now.

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Next up are my three “go-to” beauty products for the month of February. While January was all about nudes, light browns, and grays- I’ve been infusing my lids, lips and cheeks with more pink/red shades. My favorite shadow palette to create the perfect “romantic” inspired look has got to be my Urban Decay ‘Naked3;’ mirrored compact. I love blending the shimmer and matte rose and gold tones with my neutral shadows. It just gives my eyes such a beautiful sparkle that will be a nice way to transition into Spring (if it ever arrives!)

One of my all-time favorite drug store finds that I keep re-purchasing are these Color Sensational Creamy Matte lipsticks from Maybelline. They’re long-lasting, highly pigmented, non-drying, and affordable. While a nice bold red lip has become my trademark of sorts- I’ve changed it up a bit for this month and have been wearing a more subtle rose shade that works well with my ‘Naked3’ palette and my overall fair complexion.

Of course, I wanted to have a fun pop of color somewhere in my everyday look, and I turned to my longtime favorite ‘Hypnotic’ nail polish from Sephora’s Formula X line to give my digits a burst of beautiful, prismatic purple to brighten things up. I swear, I don’t have any kind of endorsement deal with Sephora or Formula X for constantly plugging the polish. I just absolutely love the longevity, range of shades and overall quality of the line.

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I was fortunate to have more than one Valentine this year in the form of friends and family- and in true V-Day tradition- those friends and family made sure I had plenty of chocolate to get me through the end of the month. This box (and bear!) was a gift from my aunt, uncle, and cousins- and I managed to hold off on eating each piece until I knew I had a decent photo of the not-destroyed box. Talk about willpower!

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I’ve been making my own juices and smoothies lately (anything with mango is an automatic favorite for me!) but on those mornings when I don’t have the time or the ingredients- I’ve been turning to Naked Juice to keep me going. My favorite is the ‘Green Machine’ beverage– a mix of fruits and vegetables (but thankfully tastes more fruity and sweet) but I’m also quite fond of the banana-chocolate smoothie and the orange-mango juice. I stock up on these weekly to bring with me to work or when I’m on the run. They’re delicious!

And last, but certainly not least- ‘THE WALKING DEAD’ IS BACK, YOU GUYS! Can we talk about last night’s mid-season premiere? I need to talk about it. At length. In detail. With lots of flailing and unintentionally raising my voice in excitement. I’M SO HAPPY.

But I digress- this past Christmas, my best friend Sean not only bought me a real Samurai sword designed to look just like Michonne’s (and there haven’t been any injuries or extensive property damage when I’ve swung it around for fun, by the way)– but he also picked up this “Mrs. Daryl Dixon” wallet for me, too! My current wallet, which I’ve had for roughly seven or eight years now- is in it’s final stages of falling apart- so I’ll be switching over my IDs, cards, and cash over to this hard-cover clutch-style one this week! It’s quite fitting, after all.

My friends know me so well.

And now, onto the other things I’ve been loving this month!

– MUSIC/MOVIES –

  • ‘Deadpool’, ‘Zoolander 2’, ‘The Witch’ and ‘Triple 9’ February has proven to be the month filled with movies that I really want to see. Although ‘Triple 9’ isn’t out for a couple of weeks and ‘The Witch’ is out later this week- that gives me plenty of time to get caught up on ‘Deadpool’ (I might go see it today since I have the day off!) and ‘Zoolander 2’- which is surely the guiltiest pleasure out of the four. Sean and I re-watched the first ‘Zoolander’ over the weekend to refresh our memories, and it stands up to the test of time. I’m really excited to see how ridiculous the sequel is.
  • #TeamIronMan and #TeamCap – While Marvel fans are flying high on ‘Deadpool’s record breaking success at the box office so far, I’m still reeling from the most recent trailer for ‘Captain America: Civil War’ that aired during the Super Bowl and the resulting hashtags that took off on social media afterwards (I’m Team Cap all the way, for the record.) Tickets for San Diego Comic-Con go on sale this coming weekend, and if I can get in- I have a feeling I’ll be creating a Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier costume for the occasion…

I’ll probably make a Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier costume anyway, but that’s besides the point…

  • ‘Off The Wall’ – I’m a huge Michael Jackson fan, so it goes without saying that I thoroughly enjoyed Spike Lee’s documentary that premiered on Showtime earlier this month which details the making of Michael’s pre-‘Thriller’ album and broke down it’s brilliance and catchy-ness track by track. With commentary from fellow musicians, producers, choreographers, celebrities and Michael’s friends & family- it was a really interesting look inside the mind of a late, great genius during a tumultuous era and one of my favorite records to put on when I’m having a glum day and/or want to dance.

– TECH/APPS –

  • The Oculus Rift Virtual Reality Headset – Sean had received an Oculus Rift headset from his parents for Christmas last year, and whenever I get the chance- you best believe I have a ball playing with it. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been having way too much fun blowing my mind with horror games and short animations/films. Maybe I’m just showing my age here, but the technology is seriously incredible- unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. I’ve been recording my friends playing the game ‘Sisters’ (it involves creepy dolls and a power outage- need I say more?) and their terrified reactions are always priceless. I’m thinking of getting my own headset eventually- but only in the hopes that there will be an influx of zombie-themed games by the time I do. I want to really feel like I’m in that post-apocalypse setting, you know?
  • CLUE – Ladies, this one is for you. If you’re on a funky form of birth control (that isn’t the pill) or if you’re off birth control and you’re trying to monitor your cycle- you’re gonna’ love this app- which is completely free for the iPhone and Android. CLUE allows you to enter daily stats on your body’s behavior- from your mood to your complexion to your food cravings and your amount of sleep per night/energy levels- to make it 110% easier to be prepared for your impending period or ovulation. It takes a few weeks of daily data entry to get an accurate calendar established, but once you do- you’re golden. You’ll never be caught off guard again! I’ve been using this for a couple of months now and it’s been really, really helpful to me to better understand my body.

– MISCELLANEOUS –

  • Hey, New Yorkers – are you familiar with NeXT Stop Project? For those who haven’t heard of it, it’s a MetroCard recycling service of sorts. You can mail in your low balance MetroCards to the address provided on the website, and the service combines the low fares into full fares for subway riders in need. Pretty cool, right? I only recently heard about it after going through some of my own MetroCards I’ve accumulated from weekend stays in NYC over the past few months and didn’t know what to do with them. I’ve since mailed them in- and I hope they can help someone get to where they need to be on time! I don’t know for sure if Boston has a similar program for the T, but if not- they should definitely look into it.
  • The Lush Spas in NYC & Philadelphia have a Beatles-inspired treatment – I know I’ve already talked at length about my recent Lush purchases, but I’ve been meaning to share this for a while and thought I may as well do it now! At my last job, booking any sort of spa treatment always proved to be difficult since I typically only had weekends off and spas were either fully booked or closed on those days. I’ve known about Lush’s ‘Hard Days Night’ treatment since it was launched circa 2014, but until now booking the service was nothing more than an unlikely dream.

But now, with a new work schedule that includes a weekday off, too- I’m actually able to book the service- and much sooner than I expected! I’m working out the appointment details now- but I cannot wait to share the experience with you all once I go!

  • Starbucks’ ‘Molten Chocolate Cake Latte’ – If 50% off Valentine’s Day candy isn’t enough chocolate for you, may I recommend what could very well be one of the most indulgent treats I’ve allowed myself? For a limited time, Starbucks is offering a line of ‘Molten Chocolate Cake’ beverages (cocoa, lattes, and frappuccinos) to get a pretty good sugar rush. With steamed chocolate milk, chocolate whipped cream, and a shot of chocolate syrup- I think I’ve reached my cocoa quota for the month. I might even have to skip my next cheat day in order to fully recovery from this one.

And I think that’s everything I’ve been loving/coveting throughout February so far! Although it doesn’t feel like it right now, Spring is on it’s way- so I’m sure I’ll have some fun, colorful things to share in March’s “Hits List” post!

And as always- if you have anything you’re crushing/loving/obsessing over this month- feel free to share!

xx

GLOSSYBOX: January 2016 Review.

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Before I write about my birthday, the blizzard, or do my wrap-up for the month of January- I wanted to go over my three monthly subscription services, all of which arrived in my postbox within days of each other- starting with GlossyBox. After last month’s red and white holiday-themed assortment of items, this month saw the company return to it’s trademark pink and black packaging and no specific theme laid out in the information card included in each month’s box.

With two full-sized items inside- the products I received in January’s GlossyBox covered makeup, moisturizers, and hair care.

Let’s take a look at what I got!

WHAT I RECEIVED:

MeMeMe Lip Glide in ‘Playful Peach’ (*Full Size!*)

Beautiful Nutrition Lemon Rinse Gentle Clarifying Treatment

Emite Makeup Diamond Heart Base Primer (*Full Size!*)

Royal Apothic Moisturizing Body Cream in ‘Cutting Garden’

-417 Nourishing Foot Cream

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Product # 1: MeMeMe Lip Glide in ‘Playful Peach’ ($12.50)

Ah, yes- we are officially in the season of all things matte. Matte eye shadow, matte lipsticks, matte leggings (it’s a thing that exists!) and while I’ll never shy away from a matte red, wine color, or neutral tone for the Fall/Winter- a matte coral seems a little unusual, if not downright unseasonal for mid-January. Regardless, I still tried this lip pencil from MeMeMe for reviewing purposes.

The color, a bright peach/coral- is very pigmented when applied with 2-3 swipes over the lips- and appears matte as promised on the packaging and in the product’s description. Unfortunately, with my pale skin- the tone almost immediately washed me out completely. While the application of the pencil itself is smooth, the formula does seem to make my lips look a little dry once it sets in. Lines and creases are clearly visible- and the product doesn’t last very long. A few sips of my coffee and the color was all but gone and needed to be re-applied again to keep my lips from looking patchy and uneven.

Thankfully, this pencil doesn’t dry my lips out the way other, similar products tend to do- but even still- I wasn’t all that impressed with this.

Would I Purchase?: No. This pencil was just not for me at all. Between the unflattering color, the dry-looking appearance, and the disappointing longevity- I’m going to have to pass on this product and stick to my usual matte lipsticks for long-lasting, rich texture and tone.

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Product # 2: Beautiful Nutrition Lemon Rinse Gentle Clarifying Treatment ($10)

No, your eyes are not playing tricks on you- the label on this bottle of clarifying hair treatment is indeed a little wonky. So much, in fact- that I had to go online to research and read the instructions before I used this lemon-scented rinse to make sure I was doing it correctly. Thankfully, the directions are pretty simple. After shampooing and conditioning my hair as usual, I combed some of this product through my still damp curls and let it sink in for roughly 30 seconds to a minute or so before rinsing it out and styling as usual.

What I was left with was shiny, soft, healthy-feeling hair that was free from breakage and frizz (and it also smelled like lemonade which was admittedly very nice!) I didn’t think anything that was left on for the bare minimum of time would have such great results- but I was pleasantly surprised by this product- and for $10 for a full-sized bottle you can’t go wrong.

Would I Purchase?: Yes! This rinse was a great find and worked wonders on my hair. I was very impressed with the results I achieved after just a couple of uses, and the fact that it smells nice and is safe for color-treated hair is an added bonus. The price point is ridiculously fair, in my opinion- and I plan on ordering a couple of full-sized bottles to keep in my shower and in my overnight bag the next time I travel to maintain my curls looking clean and vibrant.

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Product # 3: Emite Makeup Diamond Heart Base Primer ($29)

It’s not very often I fall in love with a makeup primer, as many in the past have either caused breakouts, made me look shiner than usual, or just didn’t keep my makeup in place, period- but here we are and here I am- swearing by this primer by Emite Makeup. This lightly-tinted formula that has a faint and familiar scent I couldn’t quite put my finger on- applied easily and felt lightweight on my skin- not greasy or slick. When it dried, my face appeared dewy without looking overly oily- and it helped keep my foundation in place all day without sliding off or creasing anywhere.

I think what I like best about this primer is that it sort of doubles as a skin perfecting and brightening BB cream. You can wear it on it’s own for sheer coverage and not have to worry about it clogging your pores or anything. I like to throw this on (with some mascara and lip gloss) when I’m just running a couple of errands and don’t necessarily want to deal with a full face of makeup- and it still makes my skin look nice!

Would I Purchase?: Yes! This is one of those rare instances when a makeup primer actually worked really well for me. I love this formula, and how it can be worn under foundation or by itself. I loved it’s staying power- and I especially love it’s price since it costs a fraction of what I’ve spent on other primers or BB creams in the past that didn’t work nearly as well for me!

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Product # 4: Royal Apothic Moisturizing Body Cream in ‘Cutting Garden’ ($30)

I’m a pretty big fan of nearly every Royal Apothic product I’ve received in my subscription services to date, so I was excited to see this lovely packaged tube of body cream by the company in January’s GlossyBox. ‘Cutting Garden’, a very pretty floral fragrance, rubbed into my skin quickly and evenly- instantly hydrating any dry spots or patches without making the not-so-dry spots and patches feel slick or greasy (my biggest pet peeve with moisturizers!)

Hours later, my skin was still soft, smooth, and lightly scented. To say I love this cream is an understatement, and although $30 is a little on the steep side for a full-sized tube- I can easily picture myself picking up a couple for friends who appreciate a good hydrating cream as much as I do! (I sense a giveaway coming up soon…)

Would I Purchase?: Yes! Royal Apothic had yet another hit with this body cream. I loved the results, the fragrance, and the beautiful packaging. Although the price-point is a little more on the expensive side- I think this is a great item to splurge on for yourself and an even better item to give as a thoughtful gift for those trying to get through harsh Winters, too! This formula comes in a variety of fragrances, but I’m quite keen on ‘Cutting Garden’ as it is!

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Product # 5: -417 Nourishing Foot Cream ($18)

The other night I was telling a friend how long overdue for a decent pedicure I was. Winter- and my knee-high boots- have been absolute Hell on my heels. They’re dry and cracked- and no amount of lotion or cream seems to do the trick even if I vigorously and religiously apply it. I wasn’t expecting much from this small yellow tube of cream- but I gave it a whirl anyway.

First things first, this cream does not smell like your usual, every day pedi-product. There’s no traces of mint, or lavender. Instead, this lightweight cream has a woodsy fragrance- almost like men’s cologne- but not nearly as strong or potent. I rather liked the smell of it, and didn’t mind that it stayed on my hands well after I applied this all over my heels, soles, and toes.

The cream IS moisturizing- and my skin definitely felt softer as I wrapped my feet in fuzzy slipper socks and went to bed- but by the next morning, my heels still felt a little dry and scratchy. After two more nights of pre-bedtime application, my feet slowly but surely began to feel a little smoother and less dry overall- so this is a product that will work gradually over time. If you’re looking for a quick fix- this isn’t the cream for you.

Would I Purchase?: Maybe. I think this foot cream would be ideal in the Spring/Summer when the air is less dry and cold and I’m not wearing boots at all times- but for this time of year- I don’t think it’s heavy duty enough for me as I battle through Winter. I’m going to need something much stronger to keep my skin from perpetual dryness and cracking- but I could see myself using this product when the weather warms up.

With only one product I wasn’t a fan of (and one I’m still a little on the fence about)– January’s box was fortunately anything but a bust for me. I loved the hair rinse, the body cream, and especially the makeup primer- which makes this assortment of items a really good way for the service to kick off 2016. It’s a strong start- and I hope GlossyBox can keep up the momentum into the new year.

I was recently sent a spoiler for February’s box- a themed one (my favorite!)– that I’m really looking forward to receiving and reviewing next month!

‘Til then!

xx

January Hits List!

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For 2016, I thought I’d try something a little different and check in every mid-month to share the products, pieces, food, tech-stuff and anything (and everything!) in-between that I’m coveting and craving for a series I dubbed the ‘Hits List’. I still intend to keep my reflective month’s end ‘In A Nutshell’ posts, of course- since those are more about touching on the personal and emotional milestones I went through over the course of the month- but I thought this would be a fun way to offer a glimpse into the more “every day” part of my life every few weeks. The part typically only seen on my Twitter feed or my Instagram photos.

January for me- thus far- has been about long overdue organization, self-care, and keeping cozy in the ever-changing New England climates (one day it’s warm enough to go outside wearing only a sweater. The next day- it’s like snowshoeing through an Alaskan wilderness.) I have a lot of big plans this coming year, but I’m also still adjusting to my new job and work schedule- and with my birthday only a few days away- I’m trying not to overwhelm myself or prematurely burn myself out by taking on too much at once this month.

For that reason, January’s ‘Hits List’ is pretty low key and laid back.

Let’s get into the products and pieces first!

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Starting in the center of my laid-out belongings is one of my most important and valued little pocket-items: my 2016 planner- gifted to me by my Aunt this past Christmas. I think I have a pretty good memory most of the time, but this booklet has become a lifesaver when it comes to jotting down meetings, appointments, deadlines and other to-dos weeks in advance that I may have otherwise overlooked or forgotten about. It’s also been really helpful at work when I’m trying to remember co-workers phone extensions or office numbers! The size is perfect, since it doesn’t take up a lot of room in my purse- which means I can bring it everywhere with me.

Moving upwards is my new knitted cuffed beanie from Love Your Melon. I am a hat lover- but unfortunately I can rarely, if ever- pull off cute Spring/Summer floppy hats or baseball caps. I always end up looking weird. For that reason, I have a wide assortment of berets and beanies to adore throughout Fall and Winter (and they also keep my head warm, duh!) that I never take off from late September – early April. This year, I wanted something a little more durable and a little heavier- and I turned to the good folks over at LYM for a neutral-toned beanie I could wear with pretty much anything.

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I’ve mentioned LYM on here before, but for those who missed the memo- with every purchase of one of their hats, the company donates one to a child battling cancer. If that’s not a good enough reason to make you want to run out and order one in every color- I don’t know what is. The hats themselves are really great quality, too. They will last you a lifetime if you take care of them!

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Moving onto the yearly casualties of cold and unpredictable Massachusetts Winter weather every year- my hair and my hands. I am a lotion fiend. I vigorously apply it all over every morning after my shower, and then again at night before bed- but for some reason, my hands and my cuticles still take a beating. They always feel stiff, dry, and scratchy to me. Enter these fuzzy hand warmers (which I have dubbed my “Chewbacca Gloves”) that I’ve been putting on, post-hand cream application, each and every time I step outside- even if it’s just to check the mail for thirty seconds. They’re super soft, still allow me to use my phone without complications or annoyances, and they keep my hands toasty and protected from the elements.

I’ve also been obsessively using this ncLA peach-scented cuticle oil morning and night (first introduced to me in one of my POPSUGAR “Must Have” Boxes)– and I’ve noticed a significant decrease in hangnails and dry patches along my fingertips. It’s a miracle oil, and for those interested- it’s available other fragrances, too!

If the shade of my hat and gloves weren’t enough indication that I’ve been sporting nothing but neutral tones these past couple of weeks- then let me introduce you to my current favorite Nail Polish, Sephora Formula X’s nail lacquer in ‘Elite’, from their 2015 Fall collection. It’s a long-lasting mocha color that compliments my current wardrobe and makeup choices perfectly. It goes with anything!

Finally, for my hair- I’ve been doubling down on hair mask applications and ultra-hydrating conditioners in recent days to keep my ends from breaking and my roots from frizzing up- but I’ve also integrated this Hawaiian Kukui Nut oil from OGX into the mix pre (and post!)– styling. It strengthens my hair through and through, gives it an incredible shine, keeps frizz and flyaways at bay- and it smells really good, too!

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While my hands and cuticles might require a little more TLC throughout January- my face remains relentlessly oily/combination at all times. In a way, it’s good- because I don’t have to really change my morning and nightly cleansing and moisturizing regiments too much- which means less hassle and more time. These past few weeks, I’ve been relying on two products to ensure a deep clean, enough hydration (without building up excess oil on my skin) and SPF protection- because even though it’s Winter and most of my time is spent indoors- the sun is still a sneaky, tricky devil.

In the morning, after cleansing my face and applying any serums- I like to slap on some of this Cetaphil moisturizer with SPF 15. It just gives my skin a little something extra when I’m braving frigid temperatures for any amount of time- and it keeps my skin soft and smooth. It’s suitable for all skin types and can be found in pretty much any pharmacy around.

At night, after removing my makeup- I apply this two-in-one mask/exfoliating cleanser from GLAMGLOW. The product applies like a mask, quickly drying on my face- and turns to foam after water is added and massaged into the skin. I swear by this stuff. Not only does it leave my skin feeling super clean without drying it out- but it brings any blemishes to the surface so they can be extracted and dealt with then and there!

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Thanks to POPSUGAR, I’ve also been obsessed with these candles from Capri Blue lately. I’ve ordered a few that I’ve been keeping lit around my home- since they smell clean and crisp and that’s just sort of the refreshing vibe I’ve needed and have been going for since New Years. I’ve kept one lit next to my bed- almost nightly- while I catch up on reading or do any stretches or end-of-the-day meditation in the designated section of my bedroom. These are just really great candles (in a beautiful, reusable tin!)

And now, for the stuff that couldn’t be photographed:

– MUSIC/MOVIES –

  • ‘The Revenant’ – Can we please give Leonardo Dicaprio an Oscar before he dies filming his next movie? ‘The Revenant’, although a little on the long side (by the two hour mark I was getting a little fidgety in my seat), the movie is beautifully shot and can get pretty intense at times. Although Dicaprio doesn’t do much more than crawl, grunt, and cry throughout this film- he’s still mesmerizing to watch. The fact that ‘The Revenant’ has been cleaning house at recent award shows gives me hope that the poor guy’s work will FINALLY be recognized and he can go a little easier on himself.
  • The Last Shadow Puppets – As a longtime fan of Arctic Monkeys, I had no problems falling in love with frontman Alex Turner’s side project- The Last Shadow Puppets- with former The Rascals’ singer, Miles Kane. Their debut album, 2008’s ‘The Age of The Understatement’ was pretty incredible from start to finish- but the band disappeared shortly after it’s release and success until a few days ago when they surprised everyone by dropping their first single, ‘Bad Habits’, off their yet-to-be-released second album. It’s awesome to have new music from them, and I’m hoping for a U.S. tour at some point this year.
  • David Bowie tributes – I was just as shocked and saddened as everyone else to hear of David Bowie’s passing last weekend (and the hits just kept on coming when the late, great Alan Rickman also passed away a few short days later,) but it’s been really touching to see the outpouring of love and admiration for such a brilliant and innovative artist in the form of many special tribute events and celebrations of his life and his work around the city. From karaoke nights, to cover bands, to art exhibits- and even to cupcakes– I’ve been having so much fun dancing and singing along to some of my favorite Bowie songs in recent days with friends and strangers alike.
  • ‘Ash Vs. Evil Dead’ – I’ve only recently caught up and finished the first season of this show (I don’t get the Starz Network- so I’ve been relying on a friend to DVR episodes for me that I binge watch whenever I’m over her apartment) but I’m already itching for the second season. This show- just like the ‘Evil Dead’ film- is campy, gory, and very, very funny. My friends and I have already committed on a group costume inspired by the show’s characters (with me as Kelly because OF COURSE)– so I’m just really excited to see more of it. I think it returns in October, making it the perfect companion series to get into alongside ‘The Walking Dead’ during my favorite time of year!

– TECH/APPS –

  • Lose It! – A free app. available for Android and the iPhone. This carb-counting/exercise monitoring application lets you set weekly/monthly goals for yourself, offers tips, tricks, and challenges- and allows you to scan in the bar codes of any packaged foods you’re eating to automatically calculate it’s nutritional value- to help you reach any and all weight loss goals you’ve set for yourself in 2016. I’ve been using this since New Years, and am already down five pounds by following the daily carb allowance I’ve set for myself since punching in my goals. It’s super convenient and helpful- and to make it fun, the app. encourages you to unlock badges and trophies with every goal met or surpassed.
  • Galaxy Tarot – Another free app. for Android and the iPhone- this one is, as you probably guessed- a Tarot Card reading application. Whether or not you believe in Tarot (or horoscopes or anything,) this one is pretty fun to use with your friends. Apart from giving you the ability to perform detailed readings- the app. also has a ‘Card of the Day’ function that teaches you about one of each of the cards every morning. The app itself is designed beautifully and is easy to control and use. My co-workers and I always have a pretty good time with this one on our lunch breaks.

– MISCELLANEOUS –

  • theSkimm – As I begin the grueling process of the yearly unsubscribing from 99.9% of the e-mailing lists I never wanted to be apart of in the first place (those in-store clerks are ruthless and online shopping has turned my inbox into a nightmare of promotions, sales, special codes, and spam)– I can never unsubscribe from the daily news round-up e-mail, theSkimm. Every morning, before work- this service sends me an e-mail containing quick and witty recaps of news stories from around the world: from politics, entertainment, music, etc. It’s a quick and fun read to stay informed- and I love their occasional book and wine recommendations, too!
  • PureWow.com – Another daily e-mail list I could never shake (and wouldn’t want to) are the fun reads I get from PureWow every day. With recipes I try ALL THE TIME, round-ups of happenings and hot-spots in and around NYC (where I frequent as much as I can) beauty recommendations, gift ideas, and contests- these e-mails make for good reading during my lunch hour or throughout my evening wind-down.
  • Last Message ReceivedThis fascinating Tumblr account is pretty self-explanatory. People anonymously submit the last messages they ever received from friends/family members/ex-boyfriends or ex-girlfriends/etc. either through text or screencaps. Some of the messages are heartbreaking, others can be downright cruel- but each one comes with a story from a real person somewhere in the world. It’s an intimate and sometimes shocking read- but it has really made me think about the people in my life and how I end each of the conversations I have with them. This site just makes me want to reach out and hug some of these people who are hurting so much.

And I think that’s everything for January right now! I’m sure whatever didn’t make this month’s list will be featured in February.

If you have anything you’re crushing/loving/obsessing over this month- feel free to share!

xx

GLOSSYBOX: December 2015 Review.

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With the end of December swiftly approaching, the final subscription boxes of the year have been arriving right on schedule. The expectations I have for end-of-the-year assortments might seem a little unfair to some- but I want to be dazzled! It’s the holidays, after all. It’s almost 2016- go big or go home, right? Give me glitz, and give me glamour- but please just put some effort into ending the year on a special high note!

So when December’s GlossyBox, the first to arrive, showed up in my postbox early last week week and I saw the lovely and festive red & white packaging- I had a feeling I was going to be impressed. Sure enough, once I’d actually opened the box and took a peek inside- I was greeted with four full-sized items and a deluxe sample.

Merry Christmas to me!

WHAT I RECEIVED:

colorpHlex Leave-In Treatment & Detangler

MTJ Cosmetics High Definition Mascara (*Full Size!*)

GlossyBox Brand Eye Shadow in ‘GlossyBox Muave’ (*Full Size!*)

OROGOLD Cosmetics 24K Hand Cream (*Full Size!*)

Color Club Nail Polish in ‘Feverish’ (*Full Size!*)

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Product # 1: colorpHlex Leave-In Treatment & Detangler ($22)

I’m very appreciative that GlossyBox takes color-treated hair into consideration when sending out their samples/products. In the nearly three years I’ve been a subscriber, I’ve only ever received 1 or 2 hair care or hair styling items that were potentially harmful to my reds and my violet highlights. This colorPHlex leave-in treatment is not only designed to keep my color vibrant and protect it from fading- but it also softens and untangles my thick and unruly curly hair, too.

I liked the way this spray smelled- like a greenhouse (weird, I know- but it reminded me of being in a room filled with plants and not in a bad way) and how it didn’t make my scalp or my ends feel sticky, crunchy or greasy after I’d spritzed some on post-cleansing my curls in the shower. It sank in quickly and my hair was instantly shinier and easier to comb through. After I styled as usual, I noticed my hair also stayed remarkably frizz-free despite recent humid conditions here in Massachusetts (El Niño Winter over here so far!) and to date- there has been no fading or discoloration of my hair color. My reds are just as bright and vibrant as ever.

Would I Purchase?: Yes! I was really pleased with how easy to use and effective this spray was. It protected my color, detangled my tricky ends like the bottle promised it would, and kept my hair soft and smooth all day long. I have a feeling I’ll be picking up a couple more bottles of this once I’m out of the sample I received- one for home and one to take with me when I travel!

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Product # 2: MTJ Cosmetics High Definition Mascara ($21)

I’ve been running low on my current mascara over the course of the past week or so, so receiving a brand new, full-sized tube was definitely a treat that saved me a little bit of time and money. I had figured that even if I hadn’t liked this black MTJ formula- it would at least hold me over until I could find the time to hit the shops and pick up a replacement for my nearly-empty Tarte tube. Fortunately, this mascara completely exceeded my expectations and blew me away.

The photo above was snapped after two quick coats- and look how long and feathery my lashes look! With no clumping or flaking whatsoever, this Hi-Def formula lasted all day and well into the evening- and the unique shape of the brush made it super easy to reach those difficult and smaller lashes near the inner corners of my eyes without discomfort. I’m in love!

Would I Purchase?: Yes! I adored the way this mascara made my lashes look and feel. The formula was easy to apply, stayed in place without giving me the dreaded “spider leg eye” look- and the price point is similar to other mascaras I’ve purchased in the past that weren’t nearly half as nice as this one. I’m really glad I gave this one a chance- because I think I’ve found a keeper!

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Product # 3: GlossyBox Brand Eye Shadow in ‘GlossyBox Muave’ ($11)

Although my lids have been covered with sparkling golds and matte nude tones as of late, I’ll never say no to trying a shimmery mauve shadow- especially when the color tends to make my blue eyes pop when worn correctly. This powder shadow, a GlossyBox original formula, was well-pigmented and easy to wear by itself as a subtle solo-shade or blended with other colors for a more dramatic look- and the longevity was pretty impressive, too. There was no creasing or flaking down along my cheeks- even as day turned to night. It stayed in place- and a reapplication or touch-up wasn’t necessary. I do love the color, a beautiful purple/silver tone- and I think I’ll be incorporating it more and more with my holiday and Winter wardrobe and makeup selections.

Would I Purchase?: Yes! This single shadow was a really nice and unexpected find. I don’t know if GlossyBox sells their own brand of makeup through their website (I can’t seem to locate it anywhere) or if it’s just limited to their subscription boxes only- but if they were to make this available for purchase online- I’d pick up a replacement for when I ran out of the full-sized tub I received in this month’s box.

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Product # 4: OROGOLD Cosmetics 24K Hand Cream ($18)

If anyone is looking for a last minute Christmas present for me- let me help you out: hand cream. Just a ton of hand cream. Through Fall and Winter, my skin dries out like crazy, and sometimes it seems like there’s not enough lotion in the world to make me feel moisturized and comfortable. For that reason, I was ecstatic when I saw this tube of OROGOLD cream in December’s GlossyBox- and it’s since found a home in my purse until I run out.

The formula is lightweight, non-greasy, and lightly scented (a bit like a musky/woodsy fragrance, not bad at all)– and once it was applied- my hands felt soft and smooth for hours. Although I tend to compulsively reapply creams throughout the day- it wasn’t necessary with this product- which is always a welcomed treat since I won’t have to hurry to replace it so soon.

Would I Purchase?: Yes! When it comes to hand creams- all they have to do is hydrate my skin without making it feel slick or drying them out even more than they were pre-application- and I’ll be pretty content. This cream hit the mark, had a pleasant and long-lasting scent- and although $18 might be a little steep compared to other brands that sell hand creams at a fraction of that price (Bath & Body Works’ $5-$10 shea butter hand cream tubes, for example)– this was a quality product I’d splurge on in the future to treat myself.

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Product # 5: Color Club Nail Polish in ‘Feverish’ ($8.50)

First and foremost, I want to give a shout-out to my manicurist, Cindy, who applied this color to my fingernails and then went on to decorate my thumbs and ring fingers with lovely and festive-looking bows for the holidays. She’s magnificent and wonderful at what she does.

Now, onto the polish. Although I’m a fan of the rich burgundy tone of ‘Feverish’, the lacquer itself was a bit of a pain to apply. Instead of simply gliding on with one or two sweeps- my manicurist had to almost dab/tap it onto my nails to get it to stay in place without streaking unevenly- which proved to be slightly more time consuming. After two coats (and a top coat to seal everything)– the polish dried quickly enough- and has yet to chip, peel, or become discolored. I love the shade for the Winter months- but I’m weary about it’s odd application.

Would I Purchase?: No. Although I don’t think I’d repurchase ‘Feverish’ again (solely because it took longer than I would have liked to get it on my nails easily), I’d like to try some of Color Club’s other available shades. After browsing their website- they have some really neat prism-style lacquers that caught my attention. It’d be interesting to see if the streaking problem was solely limited to this one shade, or if it’s an issue across the board with all of the brand’s polishes.

Overall, I was thrilled with the quality of December’s GlossyBox. The amount of full-sized products I received was definitely impressive- and I loved nearly every item with the exception of one. On top of that, the design of the box was beautiful! I enjoy getting the occasional decorated or designed box from time to time. It’s such a nice surprise.

This was a wonderful assortment of products/samples to round out GlossyBox’s 2015- a year that saw the service speed up it’s formerly sluggish delivery time and branch out to include more bold products and collaborations- and I am looking forward to seeing what the service has in store for next year. I hope they keep up the great work!

xx

Adventures in Sunless Tanning!

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Having entered my teens in the early 2000’s- I’ve experienced my fair share of mortifying makeup and fashion choices as I grew up and matured. Tube tops? G-string straps sticking up over my ultra low-rise flared jeans? Frosted pink lipstick? Bleached blonde hair with untamed roots? Oh yeah- guilty as charged. I did it ALL– but perhaps one of the most cringe-worthy things I used to do in my early teens (and even in my early twenties when I was feeling optimistic and a little daring) were my foray with self-tanners.

Look, I’m pale. I’ve come to terms with my paleness. I’ve embraced it- and the last tan I pulled off, courtesy of falling asleep on the beach while unknowingly wearing expired sunscreen- came at the expense of severe sun poisoning and a week’s worth of agonizing pain as my burnt skin split and eventually healed.

Prior to that, I’d tried multiple self-tanners from numerous companies- almost all of which turned me into an orange, streaky mess. High end brands, drug store brands- it didn’t matter. It was always a disaster and I’d since resigned myself to the fact that I would be a pasty redhead for the coming years.

When a representative from the Ireland-based self-tanning brand, Cocoa Brown (by Marissa Carter), contacted me to see if I wanted to give sunless tanning one more try- I eventually relented and agreed. The company was kind enough to send me two full-sized bottles of their ‘1 Hour Tanning Mousse’ and ‘Gentle Bronze Gradual Tan Body Lotion’ to experiment with- as well as one of their soft double-sided tanning mitts (which also act as a skin buffer to ensure an even application all over.)

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After doing the necessary pre-application-all-over-exfoliation routine in the shower using my grittiest sugar scrub- I got to work- starting with the 1-hour tanning mousse.

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What I liked best about the tanning mousse, and what differentiated it from other self-tanners I’ve tried in the past was that it was tinted- which made the application process a little easier since I could keep track of where it was going and what areas needed a little more attention to avoid uneven tan lines. When applied with the tanning mitt, this mousse spread easily enough and didn’t make my skin feel greasy. It also didn’t transfer onto my clothes when I eventually threw on some baggy sweatpants and a t-shirt and waited for the product to work it’s magic.

The directions on the bottle of mousse state that it can be left on for hours, with a minimum of one hour- depending on how dark you want your tan to be- before you rinse it off. I opted to keep the mousse on for approximately ninety minutes before hopping in the shower- and was pleasantly surprised that my skin seemed to have an even, subtle and natural (not orange!) looking glow to it by the time I was done.

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To those who are blessed with the ability to tan and tan well, it may not look like much- but to me- I was a bronzed goddess.

The “Gentle Bronze” body lotion, also tinted for an even application- is to be used between tanning mousse sessions to maintain and continually build color while hydrating the skin (think Jergens’ “Natural Glow” moisturizer.) I wisely chose to use this product for the first time just on my legs as to avoid messing up the subtle tan on my arms in case things went awry (my legs are easier to cover up in the winter in case of such a mishap.)

Unfortunately, the body lotion is where things got a little… orange. Sure, the lotion was pretty effortless to apply and it washed off of my hands without staining them- but my legs went from looking naturally sunkissed to looking a bit more spray-tan- and not in a good way.

As for longevity? Both the tanning mousse and the tanning lotion lasted approximately 2-4 days before the color gradually faded and my practically see-through skin re-emerged in all it’s pasty glory. If you’re looking for something that lasts a little longer- this may not be the self-tanning line for you- but I kind of liked that I had more control over my faux-tan. It was comforting in a way to be able to build it and/or let it fade as I saw fit.

ALSO: I know fragrance is important to a lot of people with products like these, since they tend to stay on your skin for a few days at a time and you don’t want to smell weird. I know for a fact that I’ve remarked in the past that 90% of self-tanners I’ve tried in my life have made my skin smell like cinnamon toast (don’t ask me why or how- it just does) which isn’t necessarily a bad thing but is still pretty unusual, regardless.

Well, Cocoa Brown’s tanning mousse and tanning lotion applies with an almost floral scent. It’s pretty nice, really- BUT– once it dries and your skin begins to tan- that same cinnamon toast fragrance slowly but surely reappears and it doesn’t go away until the product itself starts to fade. If you’re not into that- I recommend spritzing on a little more perfume to mask it.

THE VERDICT:

So enjoying one out of two products isn’t a bad result (or two out of three products if you count the tanning mitt- which I actually really liked!) 

When faced with eventually re-purchasing Cocoa Brown, I would definitely grab another bottle of the tanning mousse- but I’d have to skip over the body lotion. The mousse gave me complete control and a buildable, natural-looking glow without any hassle, whereas the lotion turned my legs a little too orange and “fake” looking for my liking. It might work well for those with naturally darker skin tones- but it just didn’t look right with mine.

If you’re pasty like me and looking for a little color without having to go crazy with your bronzer or subjecting yourself to the sun’s harmful rays- Cocoa Brown is worth checking out. I truly enjoyed my trial (and error) and I’m grateful the company reached out to me to give it a go!

xx

GLOSSYBOX: November 2015 Review.

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So even though my employment situation has changed fairly recently, it’s still business as usual here at ‘Legally Redhead’, which includes my round up of my monthly subscription box reviews. First up was November’s GlossyBox- a follow-up to October’s impressive Parisian-inspired collection and the prelude to the service’s holiday/end of the year box.

Comprised of mostly full-sized or deluxe sample-sized skin care and makeup items (no hair care or nail products this time around)– trying everything was a breeze and only took a matter of days.

WHAT I RECEIVED:

Marsk Cosmetics Mineral Eye Shadow in “You’re Toast” (*Full Size!*)

Florapy “Sweet Dreams” Yarrow Lavender Mask

Crabtree & Evelyn La Source Ultra-Moisturising Hand Therapy

Beauty For Real D-Fine Perfect Lip Pencil (*Full Size!*)

Estée Lauder Revitalizing Supreme Global Anti-Aging Creme

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Product # 1: Marsk Cosmetics Mineral Eye Shadow in “You’re Toast” ($22.50)

Near the end of the year, around the holidays and well into Winter- my every day wardrobe and evolves from light and flowing floral prints and pastels to darker hues of grays, blacks and browns with pops of royal blue, rich violet- and gold. SO much gold. From my makeup to my jewelry- I like to be dripping in it. When I first saw this copper-hued loose powder shadow from Marsk, I wasn’t sure what to expect. It didn’t look like much in it’s little round tub- but I opted to wear it by itself over my usual primer for a couple of days to see how the color held up against other sparkling tones I’ve worn in the past.

First of all, this shadow is REALLY pigmented- which I liked very much. The photo above is after a couple of dustings all over my lid and into my crease- and you can see how rich it is. While it has shimmer to it, “You’re Toast” (love the name, by the way) didn’t look TOO sparkly on me and actually made my blue eyes really stand out in a flattering way. Best of all? This shadow didn’t budge. Not at all. Not even a little bit. It stayed in place all day without creasing, crumbling, or flaking off. To say I’m in love is an understatement- and I’ve been wearing this non-stop since I received it.

Would I Purchase?: Yes! I love the rich color of this shadow, it’s staying power, and how I can wear it by itself with just a swipe of mascara and my eyes still look luminous and festive. A little goes a long way with this shadow, so I don’t anticipate on running out anytime soon- but when I do- I’m picking another one of these up.

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Product # 2: Florapy “Sweet Dreams” Yarrow Lavender Mask ($8)

I’m a big fan of sheet masks- even if they make me look like Leatherface from ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ whenever I wear them. They’re just quick and convenient whenever my skin needs a little pick-me-up after a long day or week. I especially like to pack a couple when I travel, since in-flight cabin pressure and a change of climate can all but suck the life out of my face.

I tried this “Sweet Dreams” mask before bed, getting used to the slick feel of it after I’d removed the packaging and left it on my face for about twenty minutes. I have to say that I wasn’t particularly fond of it’s fragrance- which was kind of overpowering and not very relaxing- but I did like the way my skin looked and felt after I’d peeled the mask off. It was soft and felt replenished and hydrated.

Would I Purchase?: Maybe. I don’t think I’d opt for the “Sweet Dreams” mask again, because like I said- the fragrance was a little too strong for me- but I wouldn’t be opposed to trying some of the other masks Florapy has available. For $8 a package, I could see myself stocking up to get me through the winter.

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Product # 3: Crabtree & Evelyn La Source Ultra-Moisturising Hand Therapy ($9 – $32)

Although my skin is typically combination/oily at all times- my hands get SO dry this time of year. It’s unbearable- and I have to have at least two tubes of moisturizer in my bag at all times for frequent reapplications throughout the day (or else I go nuts.) I was pretty happy to receive a hand cream in November’s GlossyBox for that very reason- and I wasted no time in slathering on this skin therapy from Crabtree & Evelyn almost as soon as I took it out of the box.

I would like to remark on the fragrance, first and foremost- because as soon as I got a whiff of this cream-  I was instantly reminded of my grandmother. I know that sounds weird, and probably off-putting to some- but to me, it was strangely comforting. My grandmother used to put those small, potent-smelling decorative soaps in her bathroom whenever she had company over. I never knew where she got them from- or why she insisted on having them- but they were always there and the scent of them has always reminded me of holidays at her home since. This lotion smells like that. It’s not bad, really.

But most importantly, of course- are the results. This cream instantly soothed my dry hands after I liberally applied it- and it kept my skin soft and smooth for hours. I didn’t have to feverishly reapply over and over- which was a nice change of pace to what I’m used to every November/December.

Would I Purchase?: Yes! I loved this cream- and I would absolutely re-purchase this again in the future. I also like that Crabtree & Evelyn have different gift sets available this time of year- some of which include this product. I think I’ve found a couple of good presents for friends and family who are also in the same “dry skin” boat as me this year.

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Product # 4: Beauty For Real D-Fine Perfect Lip Pencil ($14)

I’ve said in the past that I’ve never really been keen on lip pencils. The drying, the crumbling, the fading of the color- finding one that works well and wins me over is far and few between- so I wasn’t exactly jumping for joy when I saw this twist-up lip liner from Beauty For Real. A review is a review, however- and I gave “D-Fine” a shot for a couple of days to test the color and longevity.

First, the color. The photo above is of just the liner- which I used to outline my lips and fill them in before sealing in the product with a clear gloss. I liked the nude tone, and how easy it was to blend and correct any mistakes (unlike red or plum liners I’ve received in the past that were a nightmare) and how soft the pencil felt. It wasn’t painful or drying on my lips. It just looked nice and natural.

The longevity, however- left a lot to be desired. While this product made it through morning coffee and typical early a.m. wear and tear- by noon it was all but gone from my lips and had to be reapplied a couple more times throughout the day to keep the color as even and lovely as it looked when I first applied it. No thanks.

Would I Purchase?: No. While the color was very pretty and the product itself was easy enough to apply- this liner simply didn’t last long enough on my lips to keep me interested in re-purchasing it in the future. I think if it had better staying power, I’d consider using it again- since I really did like the nude tone.

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Product # 5: Estée Lauder Revitalizing Supreme Global Anti-Aging Creme ($50 – $90)

Oh, Estée Lauder- what a weird relationship you and I have. Some of your products have been gems, and others have caused me nothing but grief- and don’t even get me started on your price points- which were still too high for me even when I was working full-time. Even still, I’m never opposed to trying one of your laughably small samples whenever I receive one to see if they blow me away or leave me shaking my head in confusion.

I tried to stretch out the dollop of this cream I received for as long as possible to write an accurate and thorough review- and I thankfully made it a few days- which was long enough to not see any significant difference on my skin with the exception of a few blemishes that sprang up shortly after I first applied this lightly-scented cream. Tsk, tsk.

Sure, my skin felt soft- but I didn’t notice any brightening or firming effects- and still hadn’t by the time I ran out of the sample.

Would I Purchase?: No. I think I’ll stick to the brightening nighttime sereums Estée Lauder has made that have worked wonders for me in the past- but I’ll be skipping over this cream entirely. It didn’t do anything for me except give me a couple of pimples on my forehead.

November’s GlossyBox was a mixed bag for me. I liked two of the products I received very much, didn’t like two of them at all- and one I’m still on the fence about. It wasn’t the worst assortment by any means- but I’m really hoping the service goes all in with their December/holiday box. I’ve already seen a sneak peek of the packaging and it looks very cute!

Here’s hoping!

xx

GLOSSYBOX: October 2015 Review.

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As much as I enjoyed last week’s vacation, and have no regrets whatsoever with the time I took off (except for maybe that one night in California where I thought eating half my weight in Mexican food was a brilliant idea)– it did create a teeny, tiny bit of a problem in regards to my subscription services. To be more specific- they all arrived at the same time while I was away- which made going through them and giving what I received a thorough and proper review upon my return quite a project in itself!

I decided to start with October’s “Viva La France” GlossyBox, an assortment of items inspired by the top products found in French pharmacies that came packaged in the cutest box imaginable- covered with drawings by illustrator Jamie Lee Reardin. Now, being from a spectacularly French family, myself- I was eager to dive into everything right away since it all looked just SO nice (and three of the products were full-sized!) but I had to pace myself so this post wouldn’t be a mishmash of exclamation points and all capital letters.

But I mean- the box is SO CUTE, RIGHT?!

What I Received:

NUXE Gentle Exfoliating Gel with Rose Petals (*Full Size!*)

PHYTO Huile Soyeuse- Lightweight Hydrating Oil

De Bruyère ‘Paris Red’ Lip Gloss (*Full Size!*)

LOLLIPOPS Paris Nail Polish in ‘Voyage à Paris’ (*Full Size!*)

Carven Parfums – Carven Le Parfum

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Product # 1: NUXE Gentle Exfoliating Gel with Rose Petals ($26)

I’m always thrilled whenever I receive any type of exfoliating product in a subscription service- but especially during and/or after traveling- where my skin takes a beating in changing climates and conditions. This gentle, lightly-floral scented, coffee-colored facial scrub definitely came in handy while my pores were attempting to rebound after facing in-flight cabin pressure, Vegas-induced heat, San Diego sunshine, and finally bitter cold New England air upon my return home. My skin was dry, flaky, and bumpy in some areas- like it couldn’t quite figure out what to do or how to recover.

This scrub helped even out my skin’s overall texture and sloughed away dry patches and would-be blemishes without further drying out my skin or causing any kind of awful reaction. My face felt softer, smoother, and looked considerably brighter after each use. If I had to nit-pick (and I do sometimes), I would say the only frustrating thing about this product is the cap- which clicks into place a little too tightly and requires a good amount of pressure to re-open again for each use. I know it sounds silly, and not-at-all-important, but try doing it in the shower when your hands are wet. It’s a feat in itself!

Would I Purchase?: Yes! This scrub is such a nice (and kinder) alternative to harsh apricot scrubs that can cause more damage to the skin or not-strong-enough gentle exfoliants/cleansers that don’t quite clean out pores as much as I’d like. It’s a little on the pricier side, sure- but you only have to use a small amount of this scrub once or twice a week- so buying in bulk isn’t necessary. One tube of this stuff should last you for a while- and it really does give great results!

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Product # 2: PHYTO Huile Soyeuse- Lightweight Hydrating Oil ($40)

Like exfoliating products- another post-travel pick-me-up lifesaver that I always appreciate are leave-in conditioners for my hair- which also takes it’s fair share of abuse while I’m away from home. With naturally curly (but color treated) locks, I have to give my hair and scalp some TLC now and then to keep it from looking dry and damaged- but especially after I get back from a cross-country trip.

I liked the consistency of this oil (in a convenient spray pump), which absorbed quickly into my curls and didn’t leave my hair looking or feeling greasy- however I didn’t notice much of a difference in my hair’s overall softness or texture after each use. My strands still looked- and felt- a little on the dry side- and a second product (a hydrating styling cream) was added after and alongside this oil to make my hair look and feel a little more conditioned and glossy. I’m used to using more than one product when styling my hair in the morning anyway, but for a $40 price tag- I was hoping that this oil would give me significantly noticeable results all on it’s own.

Would I Purchase?: No. I think I’ll be sticking with my current collection of tried and true leave-in conditioning sprays and styling creams for the time being. This product- which may be helpful to others with different hair types who try it- was just not a good fit for me. I need something a little stronger- and definitely less expensive!

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Product # 3: De Bruyère ‘Paris Red’ Lip Gloss ($17.50)

I love when GlossyBox takes a bold chance with lip colors- especially reds- which I prefer much, much more than the usual “safe” colors of light nudes or barely-there pinks/rose tones. I like to make a statement with my eye color or my lips, after all. I was really excited to try this shiny gloss- which looked fire engine red in the tube. However, when I applied it- the color appeared to be more of a hot pink hue than red. It was still flattering to my skin tone, and definitely stood out- so I didn’t mind the initial deceit that much- and it helped that the formula wasn’t overtly sticky or thick.

Longevity wise, this gloss really packs a punch. I had applied it early in the morning and it stayed in place throughout most of my work day- gradually fading near the end of the afternoon where it left a subtle stain on my lips (which meant I didn’t have to rush and furiously re-apply it to avoid the dreaded “outline-only” look.) That’s always a plus for someone like me who is typically busy running from place to place and can’t always stop for touch-ups.

Would I Purchase?: Yes! I really liked the pigmentation of this gloss (even though it was more pink than red) and I was especially fond of it’s long-lasting, non-drying, and not-sticky-at-all formula. It has all the qualities I like in a decent lip gloss- although the pricing might be considered a little steep for a “drug store” brand. I’d like to try this product in a different color to see if it’s true to the hue in the tube, as well- or if it’s different as advertised, too.

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Product # 4: LOLLIPOPS Paris Nail Polish in ‘Voyage à Paris’ ($10)

Like my lips, I also like to make bold and bright statements with my nails- so a cherry red shade is perfect for me (and the Fall, and the days leading up to Halloween…) While I’ve heard of LOLLIPOPS polish before, this is the first time I’ve ever been able to try it. The formula applies pretty sheer, so it took about three coats to get the color to look just right- but it’s stayed in place over the course of a few days since I initially applied it. I haven’t noticed any chipping, smudging, or discoloration just yet- which is always nice considering I do a pretty good amount of typing and texting every day.

Would I Purchase?: Maybe. I have quite a few red polishes, and this one didn’t particularly stand out for me. It’s not bad by any means, but it’s not “blow me away/have to have it,” either. The longevity has been great so far and the pricing is fair for the amount of product you get in a container- but I’m in no hurry to buy this in bulk just yet. Also? LOLLIPOPS seems to have a really, really limited selection of other lacquer colors available on their website- which is a bit disappointing. I’d like to see and try more of a variety!

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Product # 5: Carven Parfums – Carven Le Parfum ($86)

While I am always up for trying new things and experimenting with different brands and products- I admit that I can be a bit picky when it comes to two things: hair care and perfumes. In the fragrance spectrum, I typically like things that aren’t too heavy or spicy but don’t smell sickeningly sweet and floral, either. I wasn’t sure what to expect with this Carven perfume (which came in a cute little bottle) but was pleasantly surprised with the floral/earthy combination of ‘Le Parfum.’ With noticeable hints of jasmine and sandalwood- this perfume smelled incredible and stayed in place all day. I got quite a few compliments on this at the office and out with friends when I wore it- so I’m not the only fan!

Would I Purchase?: Yes! This sample came at the perfect time, since I’m running low on my current perfume and was looking to try something new for the colder months. I loved this fragrance, and it’s available at Sephora (so convenient) with a matching body wash, body milk, and deodorant. I think I’ll be splurging on myself- just a little bit- within the coming weeks!

Although there was one product I wasn’t a fan of and one product I’m still on the fence about- October’s GlossyBox might be one of my favorites I’ve received to date. I loved the theme, the selection and value of the products included, and of course- the design of the box- which I’ll be using in the future for cute storage or to package a lovely gift for someone. This was a great box for the service and I know they’ll only get more impressive within the next couple of months with the impending holiday season!

xx