A New Day

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

Weekly Favorites – part 1

Happy September, everyone!

I don’t know about wherever it is that you are, but all of  a sudden, this Midwestern end of summer just turned… well.. like summer. The temperature has been in the 90’s and the humidity is through the roof. It’s definitely been an odd couple weeks!

With that in mind, I started thinking about things that were on heavy rotation this last week to combat shine and such. It occurred to me that maybe I should start looking more critically at how I have been trying to tackle some of my skincare challenges, as well as things that have been in high rotation in my constant effort to de-stash. But let’s be honest, that’s probably never going to happen… de-stash? Ha! My goal will be to feature a few favorites each week with a mini-review/explanation.

Here are this week’s favorites:

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Left to right (clockwise): MAC Fix+, Murad Oil-Control Mattifier, Real Techniques Expert Face Brush, Brazilian Tech Keratin De-Frizz Wand, MAC Mineralize Blush in New Romance, MAC Extra Dimension Eye Shadow in A Natural Flirt and Sweet Heat, Vogue September 2014

 – MAC Fix+ – excuse the old packaging of this particular bottle. I’m a little embarrassed about that… I talked about this in my Summer Favorites post a few weeks back – and it has been a daily life saver the last few days! I’ve actually been layering this and using after foundation and setting powder and then again after applying blush and eye products. Its really helped keep everything in place with the high humidity.

 – Murad Oil-Control Mattifier – I know I’ve mentioned other things from the Oil-Control line before, as well as many other Murad products. I just love their skin care. It’s been a go-to brand for over 10 years. I decided to forgo primer for a few days and revisit this old favorite. Apply a thin layer to the T-zone and chin and it really keeps the oil away.

 – Real Techniques Expert Face Brush – I’ve been going back and forth between foundations this week and this brush has been very forgiving throughout my experimenting… it smooths out the foundation and provides consistent coverage. It is so gentle and never pulls at the skin. This is one of the best value brushes – high quality and only $9. I took advantage of some sales at Ulta and Kohl’s a while back and pretty much doubled my brush collection. This is by far my favorite!

- Brazilian Tech Keratin De-Frizz Wand - this came in the Winter Allure box and has been an absolutely amazing addition to my hair arsenal. It looks just like a tube of mascara – the wand comes out coated in product and a couple swipes at the roots calms even the smallest flyaways. You can use this on day one or three after shampooing and does not weigh down hair or make it greasy. It is getting to the end of the tube and I’ve been panicking a bit because I’ve never seen it in a store – turns out this little magic wand is about $8 at Sally Beauty and available on Amazon. CRISIS AVERTED!

 - MAC Mineralize Blush in New Romance – I picked this up the other day at the MAC launch party (post coming soon!) last week – I just love the color and shimmer to this peachy blush. It is so sheer that I have been using as a highlighter with The Balm Hot Mama and alone layered a bit heavier for a pretty flush. And I love the new magnetic Mineralize packaging! This is available now at all MAC locations for $27.

 – MAC Extra Dimension Eye Shadow in A Natural Flirt and Sweet Heat – these were limited edition shadows from the Magnetic Nudes collection that I reviewed here. I probably used these shadows 3-4 times this week and am just as in love as the first time I swatched them. Keep an eye out for similar shades in future Extra Dimension releases.. I have a feeling something similar may come back around based on the Alluring Aquatic line that came out a few months back.

And do I need to explain the September issue? :)

I hope you enjoy this new weekly feature!

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Product Review – Peter Thomas Roth Rose Stem Cell Bio-Repair Gel Mask

In looking back through the archives, I realized that aside from the Use It posts, content in general recently has been awfully subscription heavy. It’s been way too long since I dedicated a post just to an individual product review. My apologies, readers!

Over the last few months, I’ve started watching a lot of YouTube product review and empties videos. I think you can learn so much about a product by reading or watching feedback on empties! One of my favorite YouTubers, Compacts and Cupcakes, talked about the Peter Thomas Roth Rose Stem Cell Bio-Repair Gel Mask in her May 2014 Favorites video and I rushed out to Sephora for a sample. I mentioned the sample very, very briefly in my Sample Killah Finale post – it was in my Sephora shopping bag before I even ran out of the multi-use sample.

I really love everything about this product. After washing my face with a gentle cleanser, I leave this on for 10-15 minutes and rinse with warm water. It leaves my skin feeling so smooth and hydrated and the smell is just amazing.

This has inspired a full on Sunday night skincare regime that is so uncharacteristic and… good for me!

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Sephora says:

“What it is:
A cooling, soothing gel to help counteract visible signs of aging for younger-looking skin.

What it is formulated to do:
With state-of-the-art breakthrough stem cell technology, rose stem cells are blended with rose extracts to help counteract visible signs of aging, including the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, dehydration, dullness, and sagging. This powerful Gel Mask strengthens and tones, revealing silky soft, radiant, beautiful, and youthful-looking skin.

What it is formulated WITHOUT:
– Parabens
– Sulfates
– Phthalates

What else you need to know:
Cutting-edge plant biotechnology isolates and replicates the perfect rose stem cells for maximum antiage benefit.

Suggested Usage:
-Apply a generous coat on clean skin.
-Allow mask to remain on for 10 minutes.
-Rinse with cool water.
-For an intensive treatment, refrigerate and apply as a mask or apply a thin layer as the last layer of skincare and leave on overnight.
-Use two to three times a week or daily for intensive repair.

Ingredients:

-Desert Rose: Helps support natural surface cell regeneration, supports skin barrier, and helps restore suppleness.
-Damask Rose: Helps to tighten pores, purify, smooth, and fight the signs of aging.
-Rose Commiphora: Possesses anti-redness properties.
-Pale Rose: Helps to rebuild the moisture barrier; provides skin suppleness and softness for the appearance of newer, softer skin.

Water, Butylene Glycol, Propanediol, Peg-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Trideceth-9, Triethanolmine, Carbomer, Rosa Centifolia Leaf Cell Extract, Rosa Alba Leaf Cell Extract, Rosa Damascena Leaf Cell Extract, Rosa Canina Fruit Extract, Rosa Damascena Flower Oil, Rosa Canina Fruit Oil, Rose Centifolia Flower Water, Commiphora Myrrha Leaf Cell Extract, Adenium Obesum Leaf Cell Extract, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Glycerin, Allantoin, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Bht, Sodium Pca, Propylene Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Ppg-26 Buteth-26, Ethylhexyl Salicylate, Butyl Methoxydibenzoylimethane, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Disodium Edta, Potassium Sorbate, Red 33 (Ci 17200).”

 

Have you tried the Rose Stem Cell Bio-Repair Gel Mask or any of the other products in this line? What are your thoughts?

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Use It – August

It doesn’t feel like August – its been so incredibly mild the last few weeks. It is so unusual for it not to be 90F plus with humidity… well the humidity hasn’t changed… hooray for consistency!

Sometimes it feels like I plow through products and other times, it feels like I’m slogging through the same old stuff and will never see the bottom of a jar, bottle or tube. While this wasn’t the most productive month as far as big products, I realized I amassed a nice little collection of small things. Such a nice surprise!

So here we go:

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- Apothoderm Firming Serum – this was a Birchbox sample from forever ago that I started using during Sample Killah. This provided 3-4 weeks of use, one time per day. This was a great daytime serum – it absorbed quickly and hydrated without feeling oily. I can’t say that I notice differences between a lot of serums, but I do like the way that my skin looks and feels since I started using them about a year ago. I probably wouldn’t buy this again, only because I have other serums hoarded away.

- Basil Limon Cleansing Bath Gel – why am I sharing a hotel body wash? This is a product created for the Mirage Hotel and Casino by the amazing Gilchrist and Soames – it is sold in full and travel size at the hotel. I wanted to bring home 20 bottles of this, however I need more body wash like I need another dog… This is such a wonderful clean, crisp, citrus scent. The cleanser is very thick, foams easily and is not drying on the skin. I will probably stockpile this the next time I go to Vegas. This is available for purchase through the Mirage Spa and At Home pages – $12.50 for 8oz.

- Chella eyeliner in Indigo Blue - you can read my initial Ipsy review here. I think the point of this pen is too long. There was more liner to use, but the tip became very soft and I was not able to draw a solid line. It started to bend and smudge, rendering it ineffective. Nice color, bad design. Would not purchase.

- Covergirl Bombshell Volume by Lashblast in Very Black - This was included with the Birchbox Finds earlier this year. I had very mixed feelings on this. The first couple times I used the #1 section, it flaked and smudged, however the more I used it, the more the wear improved. It thickened the lashes and did a great job of keeping them separated and not clumping. I didn’t use the #2 end until recently and.. Have you heard about this product causing massive chunks of lashes to fall out? No? I did, but didn’t believe it until I tried #2. After one use, I lost probably 20 lashes per eye. It was HORRIBLE. Never again.

- Davines Lovely Smoothing Shampoo – a very nice acquisition from my June Birchbox. This was a deceptively large sample at 2.5oz, and lasted quite a while. I love how soft this left my hair and the scent was divine. Having used the entire system, I would repurchase the 3-piece set, not just the shampoo. This can be found at some salons or on Birchbox.com – $28 for 8oz. or the Davines Love Smoothing Shampoo, creamy Davines Love Smoothing Conditioner, and lightweight Davines Oi/Oil Absolute Beautifying Potion for $24 (not full sizes).

- EcoTools Pure Complexion Facial Sponge – original Influenster review can be found here. The more I used it, the more I realized this was a great addition to my daily routine. It is gentle enough to use twice a day with a foam or gel cleanser. I just repurchased this! It is currently on sale at Ulta for $4.49 – normally $5.99.

- Mary Kay® Lash Love® Mascara in I Love Black - original Influenster review here. Hmm. I loved it, then I hated it, but ended up just liking it. I used this for a month and it was great. All of a sudden, I was having a terrible time with my lashes clumping and sticking, so I threw it in the drawer and didn’t touch it for weeks. I finally decided to give it another chance and it worked just as well as day 1 – no clumping, no sticky lashes, just flawless application. This was in rotation for another month and then retired at the 3-4 month mark. I probably would not purchase this. Lash Love Mascara can be purchased for $15 through your Mary Kay representative.

- Mèreadesso All-In-One Moisturizer – this is supposed to be a moisturizer, eye cream and primer in one (hence the name…), but I didn’t find it to be a good fit for all of the above. I think what blew me away was that this is a $120 product… I honestly expect more for that price point. The packaging for this sample was brilliant – it has a snap closure. I’ve only seen this brand on Birchbox – this particular 12ml sample is available for $28, $120 for 50ml.

- Oscar Brandi Pronto Dry Shampoo Spray (affiliate link) – OK – I have hyped up this product so much that it is almost embarrassing… however, if you would like to read my previous reviews here and here, go nuts. I love it and can go through a can in about a month. This runs about $23 for 3.2oz and can be found at the link above, Ulta and some Sephora locations.

- Sumita Beauty Jamun Contrast Eye Pencil – This was in some subscription bag or box.. I don’t know. It dried out and was unusable after just 2 uses. The color is very similar to the MAC Permaplum (which might have been a limited edition). Would not purchase.

- Ulta Strengthening Nail Polish Remover – I’m not really into spending tons of money on polish remover. I would rather spend my hard earned cash on eye shadow or lip gloss. So I feel silly even reviewing it… its $2.99 nail polish remover. I use it often.

I hope you had a wonderful Labor Day Weekend!

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Memebox Dermocosmetics #2 – Superbox #34

Okay, Memebox… now you are just spoiling me! I ordered the Tea Cosmetics box a few weeks back and when I received a text message from DHL, assumed that was what was to be delivered. When the box arrived, I realized it was a complimentary Superbox for review. Thanks, 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.

The Superbox is specially designed to cater to beauty box fanatics looking for full-sized products that will target their specific beauty needs. Each Superbox is designed with its own theme and purpose, and contents in the box are carefully selected to fit the box’s theme. Our Superboxes are loved by daring beauty enthusiasts and beautyholics that are open to trying new products and have a specific beauty need in mind. Also, we UNBOX our Superboxes on the product page one week after the scheduled shipping date so that you can find out which goodies are in your box!”

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 they sell out VERY quickly.

I was so surprised to find this box incredibly heavy and when I opened it, was even more surprised to see all full-size products! At quick glance of the info card, the first two products are listed at $72 each. Whoa. This is a serious skin care box!

This box is the Dermocosmetics #2, part of the Memebox Superbox collection:

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“Dermatologist tested and proven to be effective for all skin types, our Dermo-Cosmetics Box #2 is back with a bigger punch!

Approved for effectiveness and sensitivity, our Dermo-Cosmetics Box #2 is packed with dermatologist favorites that are meant to pamper, restore and rejuvenate your skin! It contains everything you need to illuminate the skin and repair damaged skin by the sun and other environmental stressor to improve the appearance of dull, uneven skintone and dark spots, giving you a naturally healthy looking glow.

Take the Dermo-Cosmetics #2 challenge and experience the difference in your skin!”

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Products included:

1 – KANG SKIN Rejuvenating Cream (full size included – $72 for 50ml) OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Enriched with adenosine, ceramide and snail mucus extracts, this Rejuvenating Cream is highly effective wrinkle care product. By deeply hydrating and nourishing the skin, it improves the skin elasticity and minimize stress-instigated aging of the skin.

HOW TO USE
Apply the cream at the end of your skincare routine.

2 – KANG SKIN Aqua Essence  (full size included – $72 for 50ml)

Kang Skin’s Aqua Essence bases its formula on hyaluronic acid which is widely known for its intensively moisturizing and soothing properties. It maintains the skin soft and supple by treating excessive dead skin cells and delivering abundant nutrition deep into the skin.

HOW TO USE
Apply the essence over dry areas of your face and pat it in for full absorbance. Suitable to be used both day and night.

3 - COTTERANG Bubble Peeling Pad (full size included – $7 for 16ml)

This is an exfoliating pad enriched with natural AHA components, various plant extracts, and fermented extracts which work to easily yet very effectively remove dead skin cells and excess sebum off your face. This Bubble Peeling Pad was made so that you could experience the same peeling effects at home as you would with expensive treatments at dermatology.

HOW TO USE
Moisten the peeling pad with water, create enough foam, and place your fingers on the band. Gently and evenly rub onto your face (be careful the foam doesn’t go into your eyes) and then rinse off with warm water. After use, apply a soothing, moisturizing product.

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4 – COTTERANG Acne Killer Kit (full size included – $20 for 16ml+5ml) OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A 7-days bio peeling product which consists of the Killer Peeling Pad & the Killer Tok Tok Sol, this anti-trouble Killer Kit works to remove stubborn acne and excess dead skin cells piled up on your skin. You’ll be able to experience real dermatology-like results after 7 days of using this kit!

HOW TO USE
First rub the pad to create enough bubbles, place your fingers on the band, and apply it all over your face. Then, squeeze out the Tok Tok Sol on the black cotton tip and apply it on acne on your face. *A Killer Pad can be stored in a zipper bag for reuse.

5 – REBOM Calming Skin (full size included – $30 for 200ml)

Rebom’s Calming Skin contains ceramide, niacinamide, and various oriental medicinal extracts beneficial for soothing and moisturizing dry, sensitive skin. Its gentle formula also helps maintain the skin soft and supple. In addition, all of reBom’s therapy products are researched and made through a joint research of CNU Laboratory Co., Daejeon University Department of Oriental Medicine, and OBM Lab.

HOW TO USE
Apply the product at the first stage of your skincare routine.

This Superbox is valued at approximately $200, and currently available for $39 on the Memebox website! Thanks, Memebox!

If you want to find out more about similar products and other types of boxes, visit the Memebox website. Superbox prices range from $19-59, 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.

August Promotion Codes!
New! Get free standard shipping on 1 of your boxes when you buy 2 or more boxes: SHIP4CHEAP3 Ends Aug. 24th!
New! Get 10% off orders above $100: 10%OFF$1004U
Get $5 off on orders when you buy 3 or more Memeboxes: MEMEBUNDLE3
Get $8 off on orders when you buy 4 or more Memeboxes: MEMEBUNDLE4

 

All products were received complimentary for testing purposes from Memebox and does not guarantee a favorable review by the blogger. 

 No compensation was received in exchange for product reviews.

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August Le Métier de Beauté VIP Vault

OHH. EMM. GEE. It’s here!

After missing out on the first round of this subscription last July, I jumped on the chance to be included in the 2014-2015 Le Métier de Beauté VIP Vault. The sign up for the subscription began in June and ran until it was filled (late June/early July?).

Last year, LMdB did the unheard of and launched a high-end monthly subscription program for a one-time cost of $348, and it quickly sold out. After reading posts on Glamorable! and My Subscription Addiction, I wanted in. Last year, subscribers received well over $1,000 of high end makeup and skincare products and yeah, I was jealous.

So what is LMdB? Le Métier de Beauté translates as “the craft of beauty.” There is no established marketing, however the brand relies on bloggers and word of mouth to sell the products. See my first LMdB experience here.

Vault 2014 info:

“It is Here the 2014 VIP Program! Consider yourself a VIP.

Become a member of the LMdB Beauty Vault VIP Program. Gift it to yourself or gift it to a friend. We promise: you won’t be disappointed. Liberate your inner Beauté and share the discovery of something beautiful every month.

How it works:

For a one-time fee of $348 ($29 dollars a month, for 12 months), become a Beauty Vault VIP. At the beginning of each month, our Le Métier de Beauté experts will send you a carefully curated full-sized product or assortment of products shipped right to your door. As an added bonus, Vault VIP Subscription shipping is free. All you have to do is sign up and anticipate 12 exciting months of LMdB surprises. Savor the perks of insider access, and start discovering beauty with us.

  • One full-sized item or an assortment of items shipped to you at the beginning of every month
  • Curated mix of our favorite Color, Skincare, Pre-release Sneak Peaks, Lab Previews, and Vault Exclusives
  • Shipping is free
  • Share your feedback, we want to get to know you better”

 

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And here it is – August 2014! What could it be?

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A kaleidoscope!!

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Valued at $95, the After Dark Total Kaleidoscope!

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From left to right: patina shadow, sapphire shadow, mauve blush and contour powder

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Left – indoor with flash; right – outside, natural light

Included with the product:

The After Dark Total Kaleidoscope… The everything evening kaleidoscope.

This collection was designed as an evening, glamour makeover kit! From eyes-to cheeks-to face; perfect for the woman on the go. This precisely curated portable collection contains two eye shadows, a shimmering patina and a burnished sapphire. A universal evening blush in shimmering mauve, and a face-sculpting contour powder. Flattering, elegant, and universally desirable, you’ll want to keep one handy in every bag for when day turns to evening without warning!”

Color swatches:

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As mentioned above, the After Dark Total Look Kaleidoscope is valued at $95. Early Neiman Marcus press releases have identified this product for a launch in the upcoming weeks. As promised, VIP subscribers have received a pre-release product. I’m already thrilled with this subscription and can’t wait to see what arrives next month!

Did you sign up for this subscription? What are your initial thoughts?

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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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