A New Day

Taking a look at all of the things I've been missing

August Julep Maven Box

Happy August everyone!
So I’m still working on maximizing and ending my Julep subscription. This is how Julep makes it tough on the subscriber who has figured out a specific use of points:

“Hi Maven,

We’re so sorry – your box shipped a few days behind schedule and is now on its way. We’re working hard to make sure this doesn’t happen again.

To thank you for your patience, we’ve put 1,900 bonus Jules into your account – enough to cover two new polish add-ons with your next box!

Thanks for bearing with us,
The Julep Maven Team”

Thanks, Julep. The enabling continues. Sigh.

My default is Classic With a Twist and the feature colors for August showcased another shimmery fuchsia and metallic purple. No.. Just… no. Since the new featured product was the Gel Eye Glider, I went ahead and went straight for the All Eyes on You box. Another neutral eye palette? Yes, please! To compliment these shades, I went with the Smokey Taupe Shimmer. Since I have 30 black eyeliners, didn’t like the plum option and just got a new LMdB Tamarack (red-brown) liner, I went for the shade that would work best with some products already in rotation. I also added on a mystery shade and received Kyla, a bright, sparkly orange. It looks like something I would like to eat!

Le box:

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Julep explains the Sweep Eyeshadow Palette as such:

What it is:
A palette of five universally flattering eyeshadows with reparative benefits.

Tiramisu (nude satin)
Glow (golden shimmer)
Dusk (mauve satin)
Toffee (bronze shimmer)
Cocoa (chocolate brown with gold shimmer)

What it does:

  • Layers and blends to create a variety of gorgeous eye looks
  • Treats your eyelids to the smoothing, nourishing benefits of Power Cell Complex™, a Julep-exclusive blend of age-defying, skin-boosting, ultra-hydrating ingredients:

Rosehip seed oil delivers essential nutrients to soothe and repair.

Malvaceae Lipid Extract™ improves barrier function so skin retains moisture.

Green coffee bean oil invigorates skin & promotes cell turnover.

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Indoor light, no flash. It arrived very smudgy! :(

IMG_2401.JPGOutdoors, direct sunlight.

 

Feedback: These colors are so soft and at first, seemingly easy to blend. I had a really hard time blending once the product was on my skin. The look I created ended up using a lot of the Tiramisu shadow to take it down a notch. After eight hours, it looks like I barely applied anything. Hmm. Not sure what to think about that…

The Gel Eye Glider in Smokey Taupe Shimmer is beautiful.

The Julep claim:

“Clinically proven to last for 10+ hours, this easy-to-use eye pencil delivers the creamy formula & intense color payoff of a gel eyeliner. The waterproof formula glides on, sets in 30 seconds, and then stays put. Because eyeliner shouldn’t stand in the way of adventures.”

Feedback: This pencil goes on so smooth – no tugging or spotty color. It goes on and stays on! It absolutely sets in 30 seconds!

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Left – indoor with flash; right – outside in direct sun.

Top to bottom: Gel Eye Glider in Smokey Taupe Shimmer, Tiramisu, Glow, Dusk, Toffee, Cocoa

This month’s breakdown: the Gel Eye Glider is $16 ($12.80 for Mavens – currently OUT OF STOCK), eye palette is $24 ($19.20 for Mavens), and additional polish is $14 ($11.20 for Mavens). The All Eyes on You box was $24.99 ($19.99 plus the additional $4.99 for one add on) for products valued at $54.

If you are interested in subscribing to Julep,  please feel free to use my referral code and don’t forget the FREE BOX code to get your first subscription box free. Month to month pay as you go Maven boxes will run $24.99, or you can make a three-month commitment and get a reduced price of $19.99/month. For joining at the three-month rate, you can get the five piece Summer Brights box for free with the code FREESIZZLE. That is a great deal – 3 nail colors, a lip gloss and the Gel Eye Glider!

What did you get this month?

 

What is Julep?

From the beginning, Julep has been powered by girlfriends. Our girlfriends believed in us when we were just an idea, encouraged us through the challenges and connected us to amazing designers, architects, web developers, lawyers, editors and so many more inspiring professionals who, in turn, also became our beloved girlfriends.

To celebrate these unique roots and to continue to pay it forward, we are proud to donate a percentage of proceeds from the sale of every Julep Nail Polish to organizations that empower women. We also encourage all of you in our Julep community to like us on Facebook so you can keep posted on opportunities to help us support specific charities throughout the year.

At Julep, our mission is to ignite the spirit of engagement in women everywhere, and our Powered by Girlfriends initiative is an important part of bringing this mission to life.”

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Summer Favorites

A few months back, I dedicated a post to some of my spring favorites. I thought it might be time to do the same for summer.
When I think about the things I love during the summer, I immediately go to crisp, cool scents and feelings. I despise being hot, dirty or greasy, so as you can imagine, this can be a bit of a challenge living in the Midwest with tons of humidity. It can probably go without saying that I shower frequently and I tend to drink more water than wine – GASP!

So here are a few of my favorites:

Arbonne SeaSource Detox Spa Detoxifying Rescue Wash 7320.Lg
From the website:
The sea algae extracts in this sulfate-free cleanser provide antioxidant benefits to help neutralize the toxicity of heavy metals (e.g. lead, mercury, chromium and cadmium). This unique formula lifts away impurities and environmental toxins and provides a moisture barrier on the skin’s surface to provide a relaxed, comfortable feel.”

I have been using this now for a couple years. It’s great for after the gym or on a really hot day. This line also has a really nice salt scrub and a gel moisturizer. Its all very concentrated, so a little goes a long way. But this is the only body wash that I’ve used that makes me feel super squeaky clean.

AHAVA Mineral Body Lotion (affiliate link)water-min-body-lotion-3x-more

Are you tired of reading about my undying devotion to all things AHAVA? The Mineral Body Lotion is one of my favorite things.. When I can find it, I buy the extra-large 750ml size. Yes, that is the same size as a bottle of wine. This is the most pure, wonderful scent around and the light-weight lotion pairs incredibly well with the scent of the Rescue Wash. I use this year-round, but it is always at hand when the weather is warm.

 

Lush Stimulating Ginger and Fennel Sugar Scrub

 

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From the Lush website:

Our solid Sugar Scrub is tough on cellulite and unwanted bumps, but kind on your skin. It’s no nonsense attitude doesn’t waste any time getting down to business; sweetly exfoliating with Fair Trade sugar and stimulating circulation with fennel and ginger. It’s not all rough stuff though; calming lavender has a balancing effect and encourages healthier skin. Get yourself wet in the bath or shower (but don’t let the bar get under the running water). Scrub, scrub, scrub and rinse away! You’ll be left with smoother, cleaner and radiant skin. Water you waiting for? Get scrubbing!”

I recently fell back in love with Lush after an unplanned visit… it was crazy, I magically found myself right in front of the store and had no idea how I got there. True story. I’ve derailed… These scrubby green clusters provide such a refreshing, clean scent and I’ve found myself using this nearly every day for the last month. I’m currently buying into the whole line about being tough on cellulite – there is a more noticeable firmness. This does crumble, making it a bit challenging to use. The nice folks at Lush suggested breaking it in half before getting it wet. It also has dyed my shower a lovely shade of green… all of that aside, I love this scrub and have already repurchased spares.

Bobbi Brown Almost Bare Eau de Parfum

This is a clean, freesia and bergamot based scent that is so unique. I know not everyone is a fan of freesia and this isn’t a scent for all. I originally bought this when I ran out of the MAC Turquoise a few years ago. It has some similarities to the new Turquatic, but nowhere near as sweet. I like this much more than Beach. Don’t hate me for saying that, folks!!

 MAC Spray Fix (affiliate link) _5819753

From the Nordstrom website

“An aqua-spritz of vitamin and minerals, infused with a calm-the-skin blend of green tea, chamomile, and cucumber, topped off with the fresh, natural, energizing scent of sugi. Adds radiance, finishes makeup. Spray it on. Skin drinks it up!”

A couple spritzes of this and your makeup will not move for 12 hours. WILL. NOT. MOVE. Another great trick is to spray on brushes with loose pigments to help set and prevent fallout or to create a more dramatic “wet” look with a multidimensional shadow. It also has a really nice scent, but it doesn’t linger. It dries quickly and really helps minimize grease.

 

What are some of your summer must haves?

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Use it – July

Believe it or not, I managed to use up a few full size products in the midst of participating in Sample Killah… because not everything comes in a mini version, right?

In case you have no idea what I’m talking about, you can read my previous posts from the last four weeks here:

So here are the mighty three:

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- AHAVA Mineral Body Lotion (affiliate link) – The Mineral Body Lotion is one of my favorite things. And I almost want to apologize for talking about it over and over and over. But if it wasn’t so amazing, I wouldn’t keep talking about it, right? This was the 750ml (wine bottle) size and I plowed through it. And yes, I already have more.

- Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealer in Porcelain (affiliate link) – this is part of the old style stacked concealer and loose powder, which I really prefer over the new side-by-side version with the pressed powder. When I found out that the style was changing, I stocked up. I think I have 2-3 more stashed away. This concealer is so creamy and blends easily with any foundation. It’s also super hydrating, so my under-eye area never feels cakey or heavy.

- LORAC 3-D Lip Gloss in Ulta Glam – this was a limited edition shade from Ulta forever ago. I loved this formula – it was pigmented well and lasted for hours and it had glitter!! :) Replacing it was never in the cards, but I did manage to score a couple of the Couture Shine Liquid Lipsticks in Glam from Hautelook a while back. The color is close, but not quite the same. Is it weird that I think the reason I liked this gloss so much was because of the amazing scent? Its like some peachy-fruity scent that is fantastic. The Couture Shine has a strong vanilla scent – I’m so bummed!20140802-142614-51974762.jpg

 

There you have it! Short and sweet this month. I hope you had a great July and are enjoying the first couple days of August!

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The Sample Killah Finale!

HERE IT IS! The final installment of Sample Killah 2014. This project took some serious commitment. Aside from using up the daily samples, it also kept me on task with blogging this month… no “I’ll put it off until tomorrow” approach.

If you have been following along for the last month, you have likely been enjoying my insanity. If not, here are the posts from week #1, week #2 and week #3 for your reading enjoyment and to bring you up to speed.

In the last week, I killed off 20 samples. This brings my total to 53, which means I HIT MY GOAL!! I also want to mention that I used all of the products in their original intended purpose. No conditioner in place of shave cream or moisturizer as lotion… played it straight, folks. And let me tell you – I’m exhausted.

So here it goes:

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- AHAVA Extreme Day Cream – much like last week’s experience with the AHAVA moisturizer.
Beauty Protector – Protect and Shampoo – YUCK. This never truly got my hair clean. Maybe I just have a bad attitude about sulfate free shampoos (I do.) or maybe it just isn’t for me.

- Beauty Protector – Protect and Condition – double yuck. Left my hair limp with flyaway.

- bliss triple oxygen instant energizing eye gel – WTF??? The skin under my eyes started flaking and peeling within the first 15 min. I had awful flashbacks to my Caudalie experience and threw it in the box. No way.

- Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair! – I’ve been using this forever… at least it feels like it. Its a decent hair mask, but not my first choice.

- Camille Beckman Midnight Monarch Body Butter – why has this been sitting on my desk for weeks?? See my previous review here.

- La Fresh Vitamin E Makeup Remover Wipe - I adore La Fresh wipes. This did an amazing job taking off some crazy eye makeup. I might have to go for it the next time they are on Hautelook.

- L’Oreal Professional Mythic Oil – I had some really high hopes for this. It left me with a lot of flyaways. The scent and texture were really nice though!

- (MALIN + GOETZ) bergamot body wash – this really nice. I felt really clean and loved the scent. I don’t think I liked it enough to purchase though.

- Marula Oil – I forgot I even had this and it was buried in a cabinet. Oops. I will definitely be using this when winter rolls back around.

- OC8 Professional Mattifying Gel (2) – this has been in my makeup stash for probably close to a year. I have more primer than I know what to do with! But I’m sorry I waited so long to use this, it worked really well! I would consider purchasing once I scale down the amount of primer I still have.

- Ojon Rare Blend Oil – I got this months ago as a 100 point perk and have been trying to find the small size ever since. I might have to just bite the bullet and go for the larger size – hello Ulta 20% off! The rare blend oil is probably the best hair oil I’ve tried yet.

- Ouidad Climate Control Heat and Humidity Gel – this is another product that I’ve been using forever.. a little bit really goes a long way. I would definitely consider purchasing.

- Peter Thomas Roth Rose Stem Cell Bio-Repair Gel Mask – a very generous sample from Sephora that provided 4 uses. Loved it. Bought it!

- Redken Outshine Anti-Frizz Polishing Milk – of all of the polishing milks I’ve tried recently, this is probably my favorite. It doesn’t weigh my hair down and really cuts down the frizz.

- Strivectin-AR Advanced Retinol Eye Treatment – this was a very generous sample… I think I’ve been using it since March? It was great, but I’m ready to go back to my regular eye products.

- Urban Decay Naked Skin Beauty Balm – does this odd peppermint scent bother anyone else? The coverage is very sheer and easy to layer under a light-medium coverage foundation. The drawback is that if you over work it, the formula starts to pill.

- Yes to Grapefruit CC Cream in light - this did a really nice job of evening out my skin tone and eliminated some of my everyday splotchyness. I would consider purchasing this.

- Yu-Be Moisturizing Skin Cream – I don’t get it.. everyone raves about this. It was okay.

 

After all of that, we have the honorable mentions (or close but no cigar) category. These 12 products will get used up in the next few days and will be included in the August Use It post.

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I’m glad this is a one-time project. But I’m also glad I participated and pushed myself to try to many things, and most importantly get all of this stuff out of my drawers! I discovered some really great (and some really horrible) products and found some things I would like to add to my permanent collection, or at least to my wish list (ahem, La Prairie!).

Thanks to Kalyn for motivating us and providing the weekly updates. Congrats to everyone who participated and met their goals!

Thanks for following along!

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July Julep Maven Box

Remember how I said I was getting rid of Julep? Well I’m still working on it… trying to maximize the most points in the most efficient way possible. I’ve been ordering off and on for the last few months, but haven’t been posting anything about it. I think I just got really bored with the subscription and frustrated with the options. I did officially kick Ipsy to the curb – and so glad I did. July looked awful.

The July Julep theme was so beachy (Poolside, technically…) and fun that I just couldn’t pass it up. Who doesn’t love the beach? The bright colors and super tempting, giant bottle of lotion… yes, please! I went for Classic with a Twist (I’m so predictable) with a couple add ons.

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The star of the box was the Julep Bare Body Milk. The packaging lured me in, but the scent won me over. Julep credits the blend of olive oil, citrus peel oils, milk thistle extract with a hint of the Beach Tonic fragrance that makes it so intoxicating. This might be the perfect summer scent! The lotion itself is lightweight and non-greasy.

- Kelsey – a powder peach crème
This was a really nice neutral. Not sure if it’s right for my skin color though.

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Left: indoor; right: indoor with flash
Vicki – a vibrant pink flamingo crème
I was really nervous at first because it is SO bright, but I received so many compliments on this shade! Too bad it chipped so easily – max wear time was 2-3 days.

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Left: indoor; right: outdoor, direct sun

- Alexandra (add-on) – blonde crème

Blonde? Sometimes it looks green, or khaki or kind of yellow, but I don’t get blonde. The formula was long-lasting and held up for 3+ days.

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Above: outdoor, overcast and horrible paint job
Farrah (add-on) – lilac silk
Haven’t tried this yet, however have had really good luck with the satin finish colors – they seem to last about 5 days.
There were a couple other add-ons but they are gifts for some of my August birthday friends. And since some of them read this little blog, I will not ruin any surprises. Hint: they are sparkly!

This month’s breakdown: each polish is $14 ($11.20 for Mavens) and the Bare Body Milk is listed at $24 ($19.20 for Mavens). The Classic with a Twist box was $27.78 ($19.99 plus the additional $14.97 for three add ons, then used a bunch of Maven points for a discount) for products totaling $94.

If you are interested in subscribing to Julep,  please feel free to use my referral code and don’t forget the FREE BOX code to get your first subscription box free.

 

Fun fact from the Julep website:

“What makes Julep Nail Color so great?

Julep Nail Color is “4-free” and does not contain formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, toluene, or DBP. Our professional chip-resistant formulation is fast drying and highly pigmented. Julep nail color is a fun way to make the season’s latest shades accessible to everyone. And because we’ve tested our trend-setting toxin-free colors and products in over 100,000 manicures and pedicures in our parlors, we have a good idea of what works and what our clients love.”

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Memebox Mask Edition #4

I received a very surprising text message the other day – a message from DHL saying to expect a package the next day and a tracking number. I didn’t recall making a purchase that used DHL, but immediately became excited because I realized it was likely something new from the great folks at Memebox!

For everyone who is not familiar with this company:

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Memebox (pronounced Mi-Mi box) is currently the #1 beauty box provider in Korea, and arrived here in the US and other countries just recently! We strive to bring you only the most trusted, best-loved Korean beauty products at everyday prices. Korean cosmetics are renowned for their high quality and efficacy, and we’re really excited to bring this to you! Memebox carries 4 main types of beauty boxes: Memebox, Memebox Special Editions, Superbox and Luckybox. In addition to the box series, we also carry full-size, Korean beauty products in our Memeshop

The original Memebox comes packed with 4 – 8 full-size products and deluxe samples. Boxes in each Memebox series always contain the same products, and contents vary from hair and body products, to skin-care and makeup products.”

While Memebox is not necessarily a typical subscription service like that of Birchbox or Glossybox, its suggested that people sign up on the website to receive updates when new boxes are available. You can buy the boxes at anytime, but from what I have heard, they sell out VERY quickly.

I came home from work to find this amazing bright pink package waiting for me – the Mask Box #10, Edition 4. This box is PACKED with amazing products – so many different types of face masks!

The Memebox website describes this box:

“Whether you’re a busy career woman, a tired mom of three kids, or a student studying for the finals week, we all have our off days. Wake up in the morning with deeply moisturized skin not having to worry about dryness during the night. Supply your skin with enriched nourishment for more elasticity and suppleness with our new Mask Edition #4.”

We all need some extra nourishment,  right?

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Products included in Mask Box #4:

1 – Sua Young Berristure (full size included – $40 for 100g) OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The name of this moisturizing cream comes from a combination of words “berries” and “moisture”, thus “Berristure”! Basically this facial cream is packed with various berry extracts and the Cos 5 Complex, delivering and instant replenishment to the skin. The collagen capsules included also helps lock in moisture for a more elastic, suppler complexion.

How to Use:

Apply the Berristure at the last stage of skincare routine both day and night. It can also be used as a wash-off facial pack – after cleansing, spread the cream thickly on your face and rinse off after 15-20 min.

2 – SLCOSMETIC Soo Effect Plus Essence Sheet Mask (Repair, Energizing, Waterdrop) (full size included – $2 for 23mg mask x 3)

Enriched with baobab tree extracts, olive extracts, aloe vera extracts and red ginseng extracts, this mask is full of highly moisturizing and beneficial nutrients for your skin. Its ampoule type formula absorbs quickly and deeply into the skin.

How to Use:

Place the mask evenly on your face and rest for 15-20 minutes. Remove the mask and pat the remaining essence into your skin.

 

3 – WHEN 10:00 PM & Travelmate (full size included – $28 for 23mg mask x 2)OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

WHEN’s famous bio-cellulose sheet masks are environmentally friendly materials made from coconuts. Its ultra-fine 3 dimensional structure can hold up to 10 times more fluid than average fabric or paper sheet mask, transfers fluid effective to skin, and is exceptionally adhesive as well. The 10:00 PM is a skin soothing and nourishing mask for the nighttime (10 pm – 2 am) and the Travelmate mask is for treating tired, UV exposed skin when you’re on the road or after outdoor activities.

How to Use:

Place the mask evenly on your face and rest for 15-20 minutes. Remove the mask and pat in the remaining essence into your skin.

 

4 – Skin Factory 7 Seconds Morning Sheet 7 in 1 (full size included – $39 for 150g mask)

Ready your skin before makeup in the morning with this 7 Seconds Morning Sheet which works as a toner, an emulsion, and an essence all in one! What’s more, a quick 7 second wipe with this dual facial sheet will give you all the effects of a facial massage, an anti-wrinkle serum and a dead skin cell remover.

How to Use:

Put 2 fingers inside the dual sheet and gently massage your face for 7 seconds using the dotted side of the sheet. Then with the other, softer side, pat it on for another seconds for essence absorbance.

5 – Purederm Vitamin C Facial Pads (full size included – $12 for 24 sheets)

The vitamin-rich orange extracts contained in the facial pads work to soothe and revitalize tired, worked out skin and improve the skin elasticity and suppleness. It’s especially refreshing when applied over your eyelids. Enjoy the cooling sensation and the natural aroma of freshly cut orange slices!

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How to Use:

After makeup removal, place pads over cheek, eyelids or any other facial areas and rest for 5-15 minutes. For maximum refreshment, store the product in refrigerator.

 

WHEW! This is so much stuff! This box sells for $23 and contains products with a value of over $150! I haven’t had a chance to test out any of these product yet. I will be breaking out these treatments at the completion of my current Sample Killah project. I did, however want to get this blog up as soon as possible and say a huge thank you to Memebox!

This box is currently SOLD OUT on the Memebox website! There are, however many other great boxes available. If you want to find out more about similar products and other types of boxes, visit the Memebox website. Prices range from $15-23 (on average), up to $60, with an additional $6.99 in shipping. Because the products are shipped directly from Korea, it can take 15-21 days to arrive on your doorstep.

Memebox ships to 45 countries: Austria, Australia, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Israel, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, USA.

If you want to purchase a Memebox for yourself, take advantage of $5 off on any order and use the code XOXYCQ. Valid only during the month of August, limit to one per customer.

 

All products were received complimentary for testing purposes from Memebox and there is no guarantee a favorable review by the blogger. 

 No compensation was received in exchange for product reviews.

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Sample Killah Week 3

Welcome back to the Sample Killah saga of 2014! Whew!

In Kalyn’s recent post that included the week 2 progress reports, I noticed that I wasn’t the only one who was getting overwhelmed by the process of using so many things and getting buried under piles of little foil packets. I knew it couldn’t just be me that felt as though they were being swamped with products!
Here we are in week 3… I didn’t feel like I used as much as the week prior because I stuck with my normal travel stuff on a 3-day work trip. I didn’t have the time or energy to cart around little used up packets. I discovered though that the Holiday Inn Express provides individually wrapped La Fresh face wipes – my favorite!! No, I didn’t try to score extra… but I thought about it! I did toss it in my bag though for future use. Such a hoarder- gah! Anywho, even while not really participating for 3 days, I managed to kill of 11 more samples. This brings the three week total to 33, with a goal of 50. I don’t know if 50 is going to happen, folks…

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Here we go:
AHAVA Time to Smooth Age Control Even Tone Moisturizer – this was my first time using the AHAVA skin care. It was very nice and light, but didn’t blow me away. I will likely just stick with the body products.

- Biolage Deep Smoothing Conditioner – this was a huge sample and lasted 4 different hair washing sessions. I typically love all things Biolage… this didn’t do a great job at de-frizzing, but it smelled nice.
bliss ingrown hair eliminating peeling pads (2) – I didn’t notice a difference either way – I don’t really get ingrown hairs.
Eve Lom Cleanser – ok, I don’t get the hype. This smelled awful, I don’t know how people use it or why they are in love with it. The texture was a bit grainy and it was a descent cleanser.. I have to admit though, the smell made me nauseous. I would never purchase a product from this brand based on this experience.
jouer luminizing moisture tint sunscreen in glow (2) – this looked super dark when I opened the package and I got really nervous at first. It turned out to spread very thin and provide the slightest, natural color to my super pale skin. It was nice, but I would probably not splurge on this.

- Le Métier de Beauté Revive Eye Concentrate – this was a very generous 3-week sample from Neiman’s and ohhh was it nice! The only thing I would say is that while it made a big difference in fine lines, it didn’t solve the dark eye circle problem. That makes it easier not to fall in love with a $175 eye product.
Make Up For Ever HD Primer – I started using this the week prior and finished right before my trip. My feelings remain the same – its a nice primer.
- RUFFIAN Dressing Room Nail Lacquer Remover Towelettes – meh. See my full review here.
smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream in Light – this formula was really nice, but the coverage a bit too sheer. When I tried to build it, the shade yellowed and became too dark for my skin. Not a fit :(

There you have it! Three weeks down and one to go! The finish line is in sight!

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July Birchbox Review

Happy July everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful July 4, and are enjoying summer! Our summer has been so mild, which for the Midwest is unusual and VERY welcome!

I’m happy to write this Birchbox post – it’s breaking up the Sample Killah posts. This, however only adds to my collection of samples.. sigh.

This month’s theme was “Power Up” and a partnership with Women’s Health magazine to provide samples to “energize your routine.” The box also included a flip book with 12 challenges to encourage taking on new, small challenges every day.

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What’s in the box?

- dr. brandt® pores no more® pore refiner primer – “When our pores start to conjure images of the moon landing, we know it’s time to take action. Fortunately, this pore refiner from Dr. Brandt can be applied on an as-needed basis. A favorite of photo-ready celebs, the sheer formula instantly absorbs oil while minimizing the appearance of enlarged pores. The result is a smooth, shine-free finish—whether you’ve applied it once, or a hundred times.

How it Works

This paraben-free lotion uses tea tree and flaxseed extract to minimize the appearance of pores while microspheres absorb excess oil.

How to Use

Work a thin layer into your face after completing your morning regimen. Pay special attention to cheeks and the tip of your nose.”

Feedback: SO. MUCH. PRIMER. I have more primer samples than I will ever be able to use in 5 years. I’ll save this for some upcoming trips or something.

 

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- LAQA & Co. Sheer Lip Lube Pencil in Menotaur - “LAQA & Co. aims to arm women everywhere with not only the highest quality lip and nail products possible, but also the most convenient lip and nail products possible. From a day of errands to a friend of a friend’s house party to an impromptu selfie, this easy-to-use lip pencil provides high gloss and sheer color, no sharpener required.

How it Works

Unlike some glosses that simply provide a nice shine, this lip lube channels softening shea butter, which moisturizes and fills in any unsightly lines, and is infused with refreshing mint. Available in an array of wearable, softly pigmented shades.”

Feedback: I haven’t had purple lipstick in years! This is a really nice, soft lip pencil/crayon thing. It glides on so easily and is well-pigmented with  lovely mint scent. It maybe isn’t a good color for the workday, but very fun for going out after work or weekends.

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Left – natural light; right – with flash

- Number 4™ Super Comb Prep & Protect – “As self-confessed blow dryer addicts, we put our hair through a lot of stress. To keep our strands from a styling-induced meltdown, we’ve been using this extra hydrating leave-in conditioning mist. It doesn’t just protect hair from heat damage; it also doubles as a color protector and UV shield. The sulfate-free formula sinks in quickly and has a pretty floral scent thanks to white freesia, amber, and musk.

How it Works

Natural conditioners—including black currant, soy yogurt, algae, and yerba mate—combine to restore hydration to dry hair, while the unique UV/Color Polar Shield protects dyed or sun-exposed locks. Soy and vegetable proteins repair damage caused by heat and chemical styling. And don’t forget about the defrizzing factor—anti-static technology tames flyaways, making hair more manageable and easy to style.

How to Use

After shampooing, wring excess moisture from hair and towel dry. Holding the spray bottle upright, spritz product evenly. Using a wide-toothed comb or your fingers, gently work the product through hair from root to tip. Style as usual.”

Feedback: I have tried a couple other Number 4 products before and have liked them. This is a nice, light conditioner. After washing and lightly towel-drying my hair, I sprayed generously and combed through. The comb glided through. I dried with the blowdryer a bit and added my de-frizz products since it is rainy and humid today. It left my hair soft and smooth. I still have a few frizzies on top, but that can be remedied. Great scent!

 

 

- Real Chemistry Luminous 3-Minute Peel  – “In less time than it takes to cover up a flawed complexion with caked-on foundation and concealer, you could uncover a new layer of fresh, glowing skin with Real Chemistry’s Luminous 3 Minute Peel. The acid-free peel gently sloughs away dead skin cells, evening tone and smoothing rough patches without irritating sensitive skin.

How it Works

Suitable for all skin types, this pH-neutral protein peel gently exfoliates delicate skin without the use of harsh acids or abrasives. The unique gel binds to dead skin cells on the face, neck, and décolleté, forming solids that can be easily washed away with water. In just three minutes you’ll reveal the luminous, younger-looking skin below. Great for reducing the appearance of acne scars, dark spots, rosacea, and blotchiness (and who doesn’t suffer from at least one of those?).

How to Use

Once a week, apply a thin layer of product to clean, dry skin on face, neck, and décolletage. Let sit for about 30 seconds, then massage skin in a gentle, circular motion to exfoliate. Wash skin with a mild cleanser to completely remove the peel. Test product on the back of your hand or neck before use.”

Feedback: I don’t use peels. My skin is sensitive and I never use that harsh of a product. And come one, we all saw what happened to Samantha in Sex and the City…

 

 

- RUFFIAN Nail Lacquer – Rosary – “We love silver and gold as much as the next gal, but there’s something extra special about the pink-hued shade that’s popping up all over the jewelry scene. This metallic rose gold lacquer from NYC fashion house RUFFIAN (available exclusively through Birchbox) applies like liquid metal, so your nails shine and shimmer as much as the rings and bracelets stacked on your hands and wrists. Shine on.

How it Works

We love how Ruffian’s deco-inspired bottles look on our vanities, but we especially love how the unique bottle shape helps us get a good grip on the cap for controlled, steady application. Ruffian polishes are specifically formulated to hold up for days without chipping, which is a good thing since we’ll be wearing this opulent shade nonstop all season.”

Feedback: this was offered as a free add-on this month. Thanks, Birchbox! This color is so pretty! I was upset on the first use because it chipped on two fingers within 24 hours. Having used this polish before I know it has a great multi-day wear time. It must have been something I did during the application… I fixed the chips and it has been going strong for 3 days with no more chips.

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Left – outdoor/natural light; right – indoor at my desk at work

- RUFFIAN Dressing Room Nail Lacquer Remover Towelettes – “Removing nail polish has never been the most glamorous of tasks, but these perfumed wipes from RUFFIAN—available exclusively through Birchbox—make the process feel like less of a chore. Inspired by the dressing room of a Hollywood starlet, these durable, scented cloths are black in color. Better yet, they’re acetone-free, so they don’t have the acrid odor that’s typical of so many formulas. Throw in the sleek, purse-friendly packaging, and saying “goodbye” to an old lacquer shade is almost as fun as saying “hello” to a new one.

How it Works

These black wipes will brighten up your next polish change. Free of acetone, they have a subtle lily scent that’s fresh and elegantly floral. Bonus: They’re infused with vitamin E to strengthen nails.”

Feedback: this was odd. It took so much work to get the same brand of polish off. I soaked my fingers with the product-soaked wipe and then tried to wipe off the polish. I ended up having to rub each nail repeatedly to get the polish off. Not a fan

 

Overall, I thought this was a great box. I can’t say that it makes me feel “powered up” but it has products that I will definitely use and enjoy.

What did you get this month in your Birchbox?

 

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Sample Killah – Week 2

Welcome to week 2 of Sample Killah!

If you have been joining in for the comedy of chaos that involves me decluttering my house and using tons of little products that have been tucked away for months, then I want to thank you. Bless you for sticking around. If you are just joining me on this adventure, click here for last week’s post. If you have no idea what I’m even rambling about, click here to read the background and rules on Kalyn Lord’s blog.

This is exhausting. I’ve never put so much thought into what I use on a daily basis and then have it change multiple times a day/week. I think part of the challenge for me is that the majority of things in my sample stash are for face and hair. It’s amazing that my face hasn’t completely freaked out – I never abuse it like this! I actually dreamed about products last night…

Kalyn posted some progress reports and I have to say that I don’t know how everyone is going through so much stuff. This is crazy!

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So here we go – week 2:

- Arbonne Makeup Primer – this worked very well. This was a light, non-greasy formula that stood up all day. I’ve had this sample forever and kind of sad that I waited to use it.

- Benefit Hello Flawless Oxygen Wow Foundation in Ivory – I kind of hate this.. and I love most things Benefit. I have used this before and liked it, so I’m not sure what changed. It say oil-free but I have to disagree. This was a 5-day sample and I disliked how it felt every day of it.

- BENTA BERRY G-1 Exfoliating Facial Cleanser – I tested this out when it came in a Birchbox forever ago. I quickly realized why it got tossed in the drawer – very unmemorable (is that a word?). I ended up using it as a foot scrub.

- Elizabeth Mott Smooth Shadow Pencil in Pearl – this is one that I’ve been using for a while, but have actively tried to finish the last few days. I really liked the color and the formula. This worked so well on my waterline!

- Jonathan Hydrating Shampoo – yuck. This was a huge sample that could have been used 3 times. The texture and smell was such a turn off that I couldn’t use it even a second time and dumped it.

- kate spade twirl – this was a lovely summery scent that paired well with the Whish body wash. Sadly it didn’t have good wearing power and was gone after a couple hours.

- la prairie Cellular Swiss Ice Crystal Cream – I take back everything I have ever said about not being able to judge a product well enough from a foil packet. I was rationing this because I’m so in love with it… of course I am, it retails for $300 a jar. So my birthday is coming up – if you feel compelled to get this for me, I would not stop you.

- Make Up For Ever HD Primer – this made the Oxygen Wow tolerable. I really did like this primer and there was enough for multiple uses. I have another one that will be used up by next week.

- Ole Henriksen Sheer Transformation Oil-Free Perfecting Cream – this had a nice scent and feel. There really wasn’t enough time to see any real results.

- Retrospect Protein Surge Gel Cleanser (2) – what is a cleanser that doesn’t actually clean? This isn’t riddle, it’s a real question. I really disliked that I suffered through 2 multi-use packets. It didn’t remove makeup or oil.

- Whish Blueberry Shave Cream – I’ve been using this for a long time – it’s been hanging out in my travel bag and I just wanted to be done with it. It is clumpy and not moisturizing. I don’t really like berry scented things, so that didn’t win me over either.

- Whish Exfoliating Body Wash – since I had such distaste for the other Whish product, I shoved this in the back of my sample drawer. Well hello, Sample Killah, time to suck it up and use it. This had a really nice bright scent and was a great every day exfoliator. While I probably wouldn’t purchase the full size, I did enjoy the mini.

This is a total of 13 this week, bringing the total to 22. The overall goal for the month is 50, so that puts me almost at halfway. There are a number of larger sized samples that are “in-progress” and will be used up probably early next week. I have another work trip next week and will pack a few more for use those 3 days.

Keep an eye out for updates on the blog and my Instagram (lvp8779) for what has been used up and the state of my sanity on the final two post days:

  • July 24th
  • July 31st

Have a great week!

 

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Sample Killing – week 1

You may have read yesterday’s post where I vowed to kill off the tons of samples that I’ve been hoarding all over my house. While each participant can choose their own goal, I have assigned myself the goal of 50. Today is progress report day and I’m pleased to report that since July 2, I have officially killed off 9 samples.

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Here are the products and a quick review:

- fresh Brown Sugar Body Cream – I don’t know what this lotion is supposed to be like, but as soon as I opened the packet, it went everywhere. It was thin and runny. Yuck. On the positive, it smelled nice. Not a good first impression though fresh!

- Gilchrist and Soames London Collection Body Lotion – I previously reviewed it here. It ended up growing on me and I cashed in some Birchbox points to get the full size. I’m going to keep the container to portion out and keep as my go-to travel lotion.

- it Cosmetics CC+ Color Correcting Full Coverage Cream – this sample was the Medium shade and way to dark. I lightened it with an lighter tinted moisturizer and wore it for a few days. This is niiiice. The coverage was exactly what I’ve been looking for and you have to love the 50+ SPF! This might be on my wish list!

- Lancome LaBase Pro -supposedly an oil free primer. I call BS. This left me greasy and gross all day. This sample had 2 uses and I thought the first bad day was a fluke… then I used it again. Even worse.

- Le Couvent des Minimes Gardner’s Hand Healer – eh… lotion.

- Le Métier de Beauté Rejuvenating Anti-Aging Night Cream – this was a very generous sample from my adventures at Neiman’s last month. Something must have happened to this – it separated and smells FUNKY. Its a good thing I didn’t fall in love with this – it’s $350 a jar. Yikes!

Peter Thomas Roth Rose Stem Cell Bio-Repair Cleansing Gel – Sephora recently hooked me up with an 8-day sample- whoa! This was very nice during use, but left my skin really dry. I really hoped it would work out.

- Sebastian Drench Moisturizing Shampoo – This smelled AMAZING. I really liked this shampoo but probably wouldn’t splurge for the full size.

- Suki Exfollate Foaming Cleanser – it turned into a rock! I was going to use as a foot scrub and it became absolutely unusable. I tried flooding it with water and banging it on the tub and no go. Well that made this challenge a bit easier…

Ok – 9 down and 41 to go! :)

 

 

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