A New Day

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

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…

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.


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.



- 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!


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.


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! :)




samples, samples everywhere!

If you are like me, which if you are still reading this little blog o’ mine, you might have a product problem and a ridiculous stockpile of samples tucked in drawers, travel bags, random boxes in your dining room… Anywho, I was inspired by Canadian blogger Kalyn Lord to participate in a little project this month that she refers to as the Sample Killah – an incentive to stop hoarding and get using the tons of foil packets all over your house. Check out her challenge overview here.

So I have a goal of killing off 50 samples and I feel like this might be a bit ambitious, however I’m ready for the challenge! I didn’t technically start until July 2, but I will still put forth a good July 1 effort!

Keep an eye out for updates on the blog and my Instagram (lvp8779) on the following days:

  • July 10th
  • July 17th
  • July 24th
  • July 31st

Are you with me? :)


Memebox Scentbox #3

Hey everyone!  Hope you all had a wonderful holiday weekend!

Just before the weekend, I received my first Memebox in the mail and I couldn’t wait to open it! Since this was sent compliments of the nice folks over at Memebox, there were no spoilers and I had no idea what I was in for… but I love surprises!

20140707-184811-67691771.jpgFor everyone who is not familiar with this company:

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.


So… back to the box. I opened it up and took out the card and discovered that it is Scentbox #3 Grapefruit – I love grapefruit!! Seriously, Memebox, how did you know that I was in the mood for citrus?

This card is your complete cheat sheet for the products in the box… all of the writing on the individual product packaging is in Korean.

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This box includes:

 – Evas Mimi Lauryne’s Dress Perfume Mist de Grapefruit (full size included – $18 for 150ml)


Mimi Lauryne’s Dress Perfume Mist is an all-round scented mist for refreshing and ridding any stances from your clothes, bedding, curtains, sofa, and even inside your car. A quick spritz of this citrus juiciness infused with grapefruit, lilac, orange flower, violet and musk fragrances will lift up your mood and spirit!

How to use:

Spray on the perfume mist whenever and wherever you wish to freshen up.

Feedback: So, I’m definitely going to use this as a linen spray, perfume, everything. This is such a light, lovely scent! 150ml is a LOT of product, but I have a feeling that I will go through this quickly!


 – Kael28 Sun Killing Grapefruit Gel (full size included – $30 for 270ml) 20140707-184820-67700627.jpg
With more than 16,000mg of real grapefruit extracts packed inside, this all-in-one ultra-hydrating soothing gel combines the functions of a toner, an emulsion, an essence, a cream, a soothing and a sleeping pack. Deliver deep hydration and treat signs of aging with this multi-player!

How to use:

Generously apply the product to cool and soothe irritated or sun-burnt skin. It is suitable for both facial and body use.

Feedback: this is very interesting. It is smooth and hydrating and leaves little to no finish. And this smells AMAZING. I disagree with the facial use, but that’s just my preference. This would be perfect after a trip to the beach!

 – Sun Smile Hydro Gel Choosy Fruit (full size included – $2 for 3ml x2)

Enriched with collagen, vitamin E , and jojoba oil, Hydro Gel Choosy Smile is an easy-to-apply, gel-type lip pack for delivering moisture and vitamin nutrition into your dry, chapped lips.

How to use:

Take out the lip patch from its packaging and place it over your lips. Remove the patch after 15-30 minutes and pat in the remaining essence for full absorbence.

Feedback: I didn’t get a chance to try these yet. I was a little nervous because I have a work trip this week and didn’t want any strange reactions!

 – Happy Fam Deo Fresh Grapefruit (full size included – $2 for 20 sheets)

Happy Fam Deo Fresh tissue with its powder formula allows you to quickly and easily refresh your sweaty, smelly underarms throughout the daytime.

How to use:

Take out a Deo Fresh tissue from its packaging and gently wipe it under arms.

Feedback: ok this description is funny… This smells great! After a long day, I used one and can say that yes, my sweaty underarms felt refreshed. These wipes were very nice. :)


Overall, I really liked this box. I am intrigued by the variety of skin, body and makeup products and combination of products on the website. I will likely be buying a Memebox soon! If you want to find out more about the products and type 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. It seemed to take less than 2 weeks from initial contact to having the box delivered though.

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 H43UM1. Valid only through the end of July, 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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Vow VoxBox from Influenster

Hey there! I have been testing out several items from my recent Influenster VoxBox.

What is this?

From the website:

Influenster is a community of trendsetters, social media masterminds, and educated consumers who live to give opinions of products and experiences. Influensters meet here to learn about new products from our favorite brands as well as review the products they already use in their day-to-day lives. Influenster invites its most active members to participate in exclusive VoxBox programs where members receive complimentary products to test and review. In exchange, we ask our members to do what they already love to do: share their opinions with their friends & followers on social media.”


“VoxBoxes are boxes filled with complimentary products from your favorite (or soon-to-be-favorite) brands. Not all Voxboxes are created equal: some programs feature an assortment of products while others will spotlight one awesome brand. But make no mistake: All VoxBoxes are created awesome.”

The current theme is Vows – a box of fantastic items for brides, bridesmaids, mothers-of-the-bride, wedding guests and wedding crashers. Included in this box:


- Olay Regenerist Tone Perfect Cream (full size included; value – $30.99) – “Olay Regenerist Luminous Tone Perfecting Cream is a lightly-scented, fast-absorbing moisturizer that hydrates your skin. Over 8 weeks, its formula with a brightening complex fades the look of dark spots, age spots, sun spots and discoloration – evening your overall skin tone. Simply massage the moisturizing cream into your skin each morning before applying make-up and at night after cleansing.

Experience bright, beautiful, healthy-looking skin every day with Olay Regenerist Luminous Tone Perfecting Cream.20140702-233244-84764363.jpg

  • Hydrates skin quickly and, over time, evens overall skin tone appearance as a part of your daily routine.
  • Reveals bright, beautiful and healthy-looking skin.
  • Fades the look of dark spots, age spots, sun spots and discoloration in just 8 weeks.
  • Lightly-scented, fast-absorbing and non-greasy.
  • Formulated with advanced ingredients that penetrate deep into your skin’s surface to help re-energize skin’s appearance.”

Feedback: I’ve actually been looking for a new lightweight, nighttime moisturizer and this arrived at the perfect time. This is a nice, non-greasy moisturizer. It absorbs quickly and hydrates incredibly well. This is definitely not my grandmother’s Olay!


- EcoTools Pure Complexion Facial Sponge (full size included; value – $5.99)- “The new, unique Pure Complexion Facial Sponge is handmade with 100 percent natural ingredients, including Konjac* vegetable fiber, for a better clean that reveals smooth, refreshed skin. It is dermatologist tested for use both morning and night to wash away dirt, oil and makeup, leaving skin glowing without over-drying or causing redness.

Simply add water to soften the sponge and use with your favorite facial cleaner. After each use, rinse with water and lay flat to dry. Replace every 1 to 3 months.”


Feedback: I’m so leery of stuff like this… probably due to the traumatic over-loofah-ing in the late 90’s. It was a thing… a very horrible thing that we all went through… Now, I tend to exfoliate very infrequently and never use any scrubby devices on my face. I’ll admit it – I’m terrified. This cute little guy, however, has kind of changed my mind. It is an incredibly gentle natural fiber sponge. I’ve been using this 1-2 times a day with a mild cleanser and I love the way my skin feels! It is not abrasive or harsh in any way. I’ve been using it for almost 2 weeks and really am enjoying having it as part of my daily routine. I will probably buy replacements down the road.

- Pure Silk Shave Cream ($1.49 5 oz.; $2.19 8 oz) – “Pure Silk moisturizing Shave Cream is available in a variety of deliciously scented fragrances. It’s rich lather contains added aloe and moisturizers that help give you the smoothest most touchable legs without irritation. Pure Silk Shave cream, for legs like Pure Silk.”

Feedback: this smells exactly like the Sun Ripened Raspberry scent from Bath and Body Works! Ohhh this is nostalgia!! It is a very pleasant shave cream, however I just can’t do the scent. The formula is very nice, but I will probably stick with my Kiehl’s Blue Eagle Close Shavers Squadron – yes, a men’s product.

- Tide-to-go (full size included; value – approx. $2.70) – “Save the moment with the #1 instant stain remover.* Save the moment with Tide to Go, the instant stain remover that helps eliminate some of your toughest fresh food and drink stains. Best of all, Tide to Go travels easily to stop stains on the spot. (*Based on sales.)

  • Helps eliminate fresh food & drink stains.
  • Helps eliminate many fresh food and drink stains on the spot.
  • Tide to Go is not a pretreater.”

Feedback: I haven’t used this yet, but I will. I’m a big fan of the Tide pen… because I’m usually a mess.

- Riley & Grey – “Custom, luxury, limited-edition wedding websites.

  • Custom domain name
  • Limited-edition designs
  • Change designs at any time
  • Mobile & Table & Desktop
  • Organize guests’ addresses
  • Collect RSVPS
  • Amazing customer service”

Feedback: Thanks, but I’m already married.. I can pass this along to a friend!

- Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in Barracuda (full size included; value – $7.99)- “Skip the salon, get the results. Don’t settle for just color when you can get a base coat, strengthener, growth treatment, salon-inspired color, top coat, chip-resistance and a gel finish all in 1 bottle. Featuring the unique precision brush for a flawless finish and patented Vita Care technology for advanced 10 day wear, more shine and nourishing care. Choose from 56 gorgeous shades.” 20140702-233320-84800196.jpg

Feedback: this is the second shade of this I’ve tested out recently. This is a very nice formula, but I disagree with the topcoat.. I still use a base and topcoat with this. Without a topcoat, this will chip in a day or two… with a topcoat, I can go 4-5 days without having to touch up the tips. This color is kind of fun – very summery and great for the toes. I probably wouldn’t have worn this shade for my wedding though.


Overall, I really liked this box – there were some fun and practical products that I will incorporate into daily use. Thank you, Influenster!



All products were received complimentary for testing purposes from Influenster.

This does not guarantee a favorable review by the blogger.










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Use it – June

June is gone zzzzoooooooommmmmmm!! Wow!

Happy Summer everyone! I hope you all are having a lovely season so far! Around here, the heat and humidity has been a little overwhelming… oh and the storms…. those have been a bit intense also! Between work and some unintended adventures with physical therapy, I’ve been a little preoccupied as well as trapped indoors.

So let’s get to it, shall we?


- Beauty Protector – Protect and Detangle Leave-In Conditioner – this arrived in a Birchbox several months back. I started using this when I was trying to find a cure for my super static-y hair and ended up loving it and using it beyond winter. It not only helped with the static, but really helped fly-aways and breakage. This has a lovely scent and light finish. I would definitely consider purchasing this in the full-size version, but am in no rush, as I’m using another leave-in conditioner right now.

- Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser – this was listed before as a favorite thing, however, I was recently reprimanded by an aesthetician because they felt that this is too harsh for my skin. While I feel a bit differently, I’m also open to change (sometimes). After a long chat with one of the nice folks at Sephora this weekend, I’m trying out something a bit more gentle for my sensitive skin… I’ll let you know how it goes. :)

- Clinique Clarifying Lotion #2 - many months ago, I talked about this in a My Favorite Things post. I’m still obviously using this regularly!

- Crystal Rock – I know I don’t typically post stuff like this… it’s a bit more personal than I care to be… however, I just want to share that I really like using the deodorant rock in the summer. It eliminates the white mess from other deodorants on my seemingly never ending collection of sheath dresses for work and I like that this is a completely natural product – it seems like a good idea to take the natural route on body products from time to time. I have already repurchased this in the liquid version and I actually like that better – much less mess. A couple people have asked me about a more natural product and I always recommend this!

- Davines Love Smoothing Conditioner and OI / All in One Milk (not pictured) – these were 2 of 3 Davines products in my Birchbox this month. Again, foil packets, but I got 4 uses out of each. It is strange though that the shampoo was in a much larger container… see my review here.

- fresh SUGAR Rose Tinted Lip Treatment – I just love the smell and feel of these balms! The colors are very subtle and the hydration lasts for hours. This particular little one was a gift from Sephora and it turns out I have a whole bunch of them! While I would consider purchasing, I apparently have a stockpile. At this price point (about $20-23), it would be tough to hand over the credit card… I like having spares :)
MAC Lipglass in Nymphette – ok so this is 2nd of the 3 lip products I had hoped to finish in November. Clearly we are past that. This is a lovely light pink with a gold hue. This was a repurchase and while I like it, I’m not sure I will buy again. I don’t know though.. ask me again in a few months… Back 2 MAC it goes!

- Makeup Forever – waterproof liner in navy – this started out great…a soft and smooth-gliding pencil that lasted all day. Unfortunately as it got closer to the end, it became very dry and hard to use. The last time I sharpened it, the little bit of color left actually separated from the actual pencil and fell onto the floor (insert sad face). I think there are a number of other liners out there that I would purchase before investing in this one again.

- Ojon – damage reverse Restorative Hair Treatment + Restorative Hair Treatment Plus – ok, yes, this is a foil packet. BUT, I was able to get 4 uses out of this. I already posted some of my thoughts here in a Birchbox review and I still stand behind my initial thoughts… even though it smells like stale cigarettes. I would consider splurging for the full size.

- Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Top Coat - I think this was included in the fall Allure box. How did I go through a bottle of polish so quickly? As you can tell, there is a tiny bit left in the bottom. It is just no longer spreadable – it comes out and globs on to the nail. Typically, it dries quickly and leaves my nails super shiny. I already repurchased while getting my brows done this weekend at Ulta!

- tarte Brazilliance – this is a hydrating self tanner chock full of the tarte maracuja oil and was included in the Sephora Sun Safety Kit. I will say that it took a couple tries to figure out the knack to using this. I typically only use self tanner or the Nivea Sun-Kissed Radiant Skin Lotion on my legs since they do not get any color… my arms get freckles at least! The first time I used it, my legs ended up very splotchy and they remained so for a couple days. Oops. I did figure out that this needed to be used in sections and spread evenly. You definitely cannot be flakey or have gone a few days without shaving – it clings to everything. Most importantly, you have to rinse your hands OFTEN! This stuff will seriously stain! I probably would not purchase the full size – it’s pricey (like $40) and if I did, I would have to splurge for the mitt to keep from staining my hands… so no.

- The Body Shop Body Scrub in Cranberry Joy – it has been waaayyyy too warm to really use this the last couple months, so I’ve been using it as a foot scrub. I reviewed the body butter a couple months ago here. I didn’t want to waste a perfectly good scrub and figured it would be a bit funky by the time the weather cooled off again. I think I actually have another tucked away in a drawer somewhere.. if not, I’ll repurchase later this year.

Whew! That was a lot of stuff! Have you tried any of these products? What were your thoughts?



June Birchbox Review

Happy June everyone! Ok so it’s almost July, but it’s been a very busy and exciting month. Lots of (good) work craziness and had to start physical therapy. So there has been a lot of extra stuff going on that has really taken me away from blog-land. However, that is not to say that I haven’t been trying out new products – that’s the one thing I’m doing CONSTANTLY!

This month’s Birchbox did not excite me at first – I have zero patience and logged in to see the spoilers and checked the contents of my box before it arrived. However, after I got it in my hands, I realized this was a lovely box!


- Caudalie Polyphenol C15 Anti-Wrinkle Defense Serum - “We boost our vitamin C intake when we feel a cold coming on to try to block that unwanted visitor. And we can think of its powers in the same way when it comes to our skin. This oil-free, antioxidant-rich concentrate is loaded with vitamin C to shield your face from wrinkle-causing free radicals (UV rays, smog, and the like), while reversing previous damage and improving overall skin quality. The result: a brighter, smoother, more hydrated appearance.

How it Works

Polyphenol and vitamin C ward off pollutants and other harmful environmental factors that age your skin while they stimulate cellular turnover for a fresher complexion. At the same time, hyaluronic acid and olive squalane lock in moisture and plump skin to correct existing fine lines and wrinkles. The formula is hypoallergenic, nonphotosensitizing, and noncomedogenic.

Feedback: After the last Caudalie adventure, I’m in official boycott mode of this brand. Anyone want a sample?

- Davines Love Smoothing Shampoo – “As a last-minute defense against frizz, we’ve been known to sport a topknot and be done with it, but sometimes we just want to let our hair down. Luckily, this gentle shampoo is specially formulated to tame frizzed-out and tangle-prone hair. It leaves our strands smooth for a style that’s more manageable, which helps get us dressed up and out the door faster.

How it Works

The shampoo’s Indian fig extract moisturizes your hair while olive amphoacetate gently cleanses. Also noteworthy: the softening olive oil peg-7 ester and strengthening rice proteins.”

Feedback: I have to admit I was not happy to get another hair care system after the mess that was in last month’s box, but sometimes its nice to be proven wrong. This shampoo left my hair smooth, shiny and clean. It also smells AMAZING!

- Davines Love Smoothing Conditioner – Nip frizzy hair in the bud (and simplify your morning routine) by using a specialized smoothing conditioner in the shower. This creamy concoction from Davines calms frizz and loosens tangles, making your whole hairstyling process a lot simpler. As an added plus, it imbues your strands with a high-shine look, perfect for when you don’t have time to apply product before rushing out the door.

How it Works

A targeted combo of silicone-infused moisturizers works to gently whip your hair into shape. Borage seed oil protects against breakage while rice wax helps prevent parched strands.”

Feedback: This also felt amazing! When I combed my hair after the shower, I noticed how easily the comb glided through my hair and how smooth the hair felt.

- Davines OI / All in One Milk – “We can’t help but have a certain respect for products that look like they’re prescription strength—and Davines has a serious aesthetic with its apothecary-like bottles. But, as we all know, appearances only get you so far. Luckily, this brand goes beyond presentation, backing each of its products with rigorous R&D. This multipurpose leave-in treatment is specifically formulated to moisturize and amplify strands for long-lasting style. Just what the hair doctor ordered.

How it Works

Packed with rich roucou oil, this cream supports hair growth and protects it from harmful UV radiation. Ellagic acid fights off free radicals and cell damage. For added moisture, provitamin B5 and a functional amino complex condition strands and keep them soft and supple during heat styling while preventing unwanted frizz.”

Feedback: As the final step to the system, I could take this or leave it. I felt that this was a lovely smoothing product, but it didn’t eliminate frizz… but let’s be honest, I’m in a losing battle in a Midwest summer… I will have frizz no matter what.

Side note to the 3-step system – while I don’t actually mind foil packets, I don’t understand why BB would send a bottle and 2 foil packets. The bottle is long outlasting the other 2 products. Very strange.

- Egyptian Magic Skin Cream - “Pulling a rabbit out of a hat or making someone disappear is impressive, but it’s got nothing on this cure-all known as Egyptian Magic. This 100 percent natural cream, said to be derived from a formula found in ancient Egyptian tombs, can pretty much do it all. It’s a face cream, an eye gel, a hair masque, a treatment for burns, and has even been know to heal psoriasis and eczema. And that’s just the beginning. It’s no wonder it’s become a cult favorite among doctors and celebs alike.

How it Works

The formula is made of just six ingredients, all of them completely natural (and never tested on animals). Olive oil penetrates deeply, leaving skin soft and supple, while beeswax creates a protective barrier to help retain moisture. Honey and royal jelly team up to rejuvenate skin and support collagen production. Bee pollen absorbs free radicals from skin and propolis extract promotes healing.”

Feedback: I haven’t had a chance to do anything but a test patch, but this feels nice and smooth. I look forward to really putting it to use.

- ElevenSkin Perfection Eye Creme + Concealer – “If we had it our way, we would abandon all things city life-related and head to the beach for a relaxing ocean-side existence. Until our daydreams become reality, we’re turning to ElevenSkin’s unique combination of sea-borne ingredients to give us a brighter, more energized appearance. This hydrating cream fights the signs of aging, tightens skin around the eyes, and, thanks to a built-in tint, conceals dark undereye circles.

How it Works

Laminaria digitata seaweed extract, algisium-C algae extract, and other natural sea botanicals partner with a patented complex delivery system called QuSomes to provide maximum benefits for skin. They work together to minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, boost moisture and elasticity, and even out skin tone—for a fresh, more youthful-looking appearance.”

Feedback: What an interesting concept for a 2-in-1 product. I was very impressed with this – the shade was a bit dark, but could be used under foundation (I used on top for my trial wear). This stuff didn’t budge all day. It definitely tightened the skin and covered up the circles.

- Harvey Prince Hello - “Allow us to introduce you to your new warm weather scent. For their latest fragrance, the brother duo behind Harvey Prince decided to mimic the joy of waking up to a warm day with the sun shining and the flowers blooming. The resulting blend is an energizing mix of citrus and floral notes that will keep you optimistic even when you get up on the wrong side of the bed.

How it Works

Made with eco-friendly ingredients, this scent has all-day staying power. A top note of Meyer lemon captures the scent of fresh-squeezed lemonade, while Satsuma mandarin adds a double fruity note. Next up, summer forsythia and pink plumeria—traditionally found in Hawaiian leis—give the scent its heady floral layer.”

Feedback: This is also lovely! At first, the Meyer lemon top notes are a bit much.. veering towards the likeness of lemon Pledge. After a few minutes, it starts to even out and becomes this clean, citrusy scent that lasted for hours. I don’t know if I will purchase the full size, but I’m definitely enjoying it for now.


Overall, I really liked my box this month. With the pending elimination of Ipsy, I think I might change up my preferences just a bit, so I’ll be curious to see what I get next month!

What did you get in your Birchbox this month?


About Birchbox:
“Birchbox is the leading discovery commerce platform. We are redefining the retail process by offering consumers a unique and personalized way to discover, learn about, and shop the best beauty, grooming, and lifestyle products on the market…
Each month, you’ll receive a selection of samples that we’ve tried (and retried) ourselves. We source our samples from both well-known brands and emerging gems. The women’s subscription includes everything from skincare to makeup, as well as fun non-beauty extras. The men’s subscription delivers top-tier grooming products in addition to lifestyle accessories ranging from hip socks to tech accessories.”
Birchbox is $10 per month. Referrals, purchases and reviews of products will give you points to use in the BB store – 10 points = $1
Click here to use my referral code to get your own subscription!
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Subscription Service Change Up

So as much as it pains me to do so, I’m quitting Ipsy. I’m also quitting Julep (as soon as I max out my Jules). Why? I’m going all in and paid for the year up front for the subscription of Le Métier de Beauté. Julep was $24.99 and Ipsy was $10. The cost breakdown for LMdB is $29 per month, and the products are much higher quality.

I will do my June review for Ipsy for sure. There were some great things, but also some big disappointment. Repeat brands that are low quality… this has been the theme for the last couple months. I think this was the JCat that put me over the edge. For every 1 great bag, there seem to be a couple duds.

What about Birchbox? I prepaid for the year to maximize points. I’m almost at the 2 year anniversary mark… and I love using my feedback points to buy the products I want, not what the company wants me to have.

So long. Farewell. Time for a new adventure!


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