A New Day

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

Use It – January 2016

Hello again!

We made it through the first month of 2016 – and so quickly! I hope you had a wonderful January and are staying warm wherever you are!

This month was a bit light on product use, but managed to get through a few big things. Even my sample use was a bit light – if want mini reviews of my samples, check out my Instagram (@lvp8779).

So here we go:

Amore Pacific Time Response Skin Renewal Cream – this was a lovely night cream. This generous sample lasted for 2+ months and was crazy indulgent, hydrating and smelled amazing. Worth it? I don’t think so. I did not notice any major skincare benefits that other things in my current night time rotation doesn’t offer. It was a perfectly fine moisturizer. Full size available at Neiman Marcus for $450 for 1.7oz.

Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion  – this came to me through the giant Allure box last year. I’m pretty loyal to the Olay Quench when it comes to drugstore lotions. But this was a really nice, hydrating lotion. It is unscented, which is nice to be able to pair any perfume without worrying about clashing scents. I liked it just fine and would have no reason not to repurchase. Available at Target or drugstore.com for $6-$7 for 8oz.

GLAMGLOW Flashmud (PR sample) – I received a 3-day sample pack from GlamGlow and was so excited to try this out. The instructions state to use this 3 days in a row to increase skin brightness. Wellll… I could only use this 1-2 times per week. It was way too harsh for my skin – it did sting a bit while I was wearing it and it left my skin overly sensitive for a couple days. I did not notice any brightening effects. I’m not sure I get this one so will stick with my other GlamGlow favorites. Full size available at Sephora for $69 for 1.7oz.

Kiehl’s Midnight Concentrate – I LOVE this. Originally shared here in it’s own dedicated post. This adds just a bit of much needed hydration and essential oils that help battle the daily elements. I’ve already repurchased! Available at any Kiehl’s counter or website for $46 for 1oz. *eligible to be part of the Kielh’s recycling program*

Peter Thomas Roth Kojnac Sponge – this little guy came with the PTR cleansing balm. I decided not to use it with the balm, as it would get pretty gross in a short amount of time and used it with my morning cleanser instead. This was really nice and gentle and worked well with a mild cleanser. Most of my EcoTools kojnac sponges last around 2 months, but this one only lasted about 3-4 weeks. It randomly got really hard and resisting water. So strange. I don’t think these are available for purchase, so I bought the Boscia kojnac sponge to take its place.

Urban Decay Perversion Mascara – I featured this in one of my favorites posts a while back. Where have I been?? This is great – thickens and thoroughly coats lashes with just one pass. I’d had this for a while – it came in my UD On the Run palette but I never used it. If it hadn’t hit the 3 month mark, I would have continued to use it. I’m pretty diligent about switching out my mascara as suggested. Would definitely repurchase. This is a mini version – full size is $22 for 0.4oz.

Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara – nice, but overhyped and I hate the name. I picked this up on a trip to take the place of my mascara that I forgot at home. Oops. It was great at first – separated, but thickened lashes. I found the formula to be very wet and take forever to dry and then it tended to clump while it was drying. I did use this off and on for a couple months but had to say good bye due to an eye infection. Repurchase? Nope. Mini version available for $12.

Make Up For Ever Smoky Extravagant Mascara – this wand is GIANT. And it scared me a bit. Honestly, there was nothing exceptional about this mascara. The formula didn’t blow me away – it could be easily duped out by a much more reasonably priced product. I pretty much just used this on my lower lashes. Full size is $24 for 0.23oz.


Victoria’s Secret Hydrating Body Lotion in Amber Romance – I sort of forgot about this… and now it separated and changed color. It was a gift from my sister-in-law a couple Christmases ago – she has great taste! I ran out of the body wash quite a while ago and meant to use up the lotion. It’s a warm vanilla scent that is incredibly long lasting. I’m not sure if VS makes this scent anymore.

There you have it – another month in the books. What did you use up this month?

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Current Winter Rotation

Hello again!

Winter is a beautiful time of year – cold, crisp air and fresh snow can be so invigorating… unless it is the 30th snow of the year. I love being able to throw on a few layers and build a fire. However, I despise the feeling of dry skin and static-fueled hair. Ah, winter glamour.

So I wanted to share some of my current winter saviors – its been a couple years since I’ve done this and have added a couple different elements. I am always looking for the best way to battle the winter and feel like I have a pretty good routine this year!

Julep Hydrating Body Cleanser ($38/10oz)

The amazing folks at Julep developed this as part of their Korean skincare line and as a compliment to the top selling cleansing face oil. Created with grape seed oil, coconut oil, kukui nut oil and grapefruit peel oil, this is a fantastic deep cleanser that offers immediate hydration. I pair it with the Julep konjac charcoal body sponge to help exfoliate away dry skin to help the oils get to work.

Aveda Massage Formula (8.7oz)

I scoured the Aveda website for more info or cost for this, but no luck… I received this as a gift through their rewards program this year – customized with the Aveda Chakra 7 scent. It is a fabulous lightweight almond and jojoba oil blend that I use all over a couple days a week after showering. It absorbs quickly and doesn’t leave marks on clothes. This is the first time I have ever used body oil and definitely realize what I’ve been missing!

Julep Elixir (1oz)

This is just pure organic Moroccan argan oil – no specific reason for this particular product. The key is that it is a pure and unscented oil. I have 2 very dry spots on my face after a weird breakout and this has been calming and healing these spots incredibly well. I use this every night before bed and apply any extra oil from the dropper on my dry cuticles.

Kiehl’s Ultimate Strength Hand Salve ($22/5oz)

If you have read my blog for a while, you know I go through a tube of this pretty regularly. This is just the best hand cream – incredibly hydrating without leaving my hands a greasy mess. It is chock full of avocado and sesame oil with a light eucalyptus scent. A small amount really goes a long way!

What are some of your current winter favorites?

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Project Pan Round 2 – December 2015 Finale

Well friends, this was a big project pan fail.

Not only did I not finish the three items, I feel like I barely even made a dent. While that is not true, I know I did… Perhaps this is because this second project pan was definitely not as successful as the first? The lack of progress definitely was not worth documenting, so there were only 2 previous posts including the launch post and mid-point update in November.

Once again, here are the 3 items selected for this round:

BareMinerals Touch Up Veil SPF15 in Translucent

LORAC Multidimensional Eye Shadow in 3D-Luxe

MAC PowerPoint Eye Pencil in Stubborn Brown

The Touch Up Veil has some definite signs of wear, but looks similar to the November photo. I did end up repressing the shadow because it was so messy – it now seems as though there is about half a pan left. And the pencil… well… 

So while I will continue to work on the progress of these 3, I won’t be boring you with the tedious, microscopic signs of progress. I am going to focus on a few items in the upcoming months and will likely document the use on my Instagram (@lvp8779) so feel free to follow along over there!

Do you have any project pan goals for 2016? Please share below!

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2015 Favorites and Year in Review

Ah, another  year has come to an end. How on earth did that happen so quickly?!?

I love going back through the year on the blog, Instagram and subscription histories to put together this content. It gives me an interesting perspective on the amount of things I’ve sampled, purchased (dear God…), loved and hated. This year only provided a couple of regretful purchases (which were promptly returned) and pushed me to try a few new things. I think if there was a overall theme for 2015, it would be The Year of Luxury Products.. I fell hard for some really pricy stuff. Oops.

This post will be much like my 2014 post and share some of my Birchbox and Allure Box finds, move on to a couple brands and then my standout products.

Birchbox Discoveries:

Dr. Jart+ Dermaclear Micro Water – it really took me a while to figure out the whole micellar water deal. Some people can just use this to remove makeup and be done with it. No. Sorry. Not me. This probably sounds odd, but I love using this to remove my residual eye makeup in the morning. You know, when the eyeliner migrates to your crows feet over night? Hot. But I prefer this over an oily, bi-facil remover or harsher cleanser.

Ok.. so out of all of my Birchbox samples, this was the real standout. I received a lot of things I liked, but just weren’t game changers I guess.

Allure Beauty Box Finds:

I was really happy with this subscription overall. There was a much better range than Birchbox as well as a detailed product booklet that gives so much great information!

Butter London Nail Lacquer in The Sweet Spot (Allure LE) – while I have 2 other polishes from this line, this was the first one I actually sampled. The color is a lovely, sort of neutral pink. Two coats provide full coverage that lasts a solid 5 days before chipping (with topcoat). I find myself using this regularly.

Erno Laszlo Sea Mud Deep Cleansing Bar – this has been my go-to T-zone deep cleanser for months. I use this with a regular foaming cleanser and kojnac sponge in the morning. It is heavy duty and helps unclog pores and minimize oil. Months after getting this, this little bar has shown zero signs of use.


Becca – 2015 was the year of the highlighter and Becca consistently nailed it. Unlike most people, I didn’t start with Opal or Moonstone. I picked up Blushed Copper and went all in from there and picked up some of the sample sets with Opal and Rose Gold. In addition to the highlighter, I really loved the Beach Tint Shimmer Souffle and featured it in one of my weekly favorites. I did cave and pick up Champagne Pop, which is the only other full size highlighter in my collection. There are now enough highlighters in my collection for the next decade.

Guerlain – one of my favorite things this year was discovering this brand. Since my first visit, I have purchased and tested out a number of other products. The color is fabulous and the skincare is ridiculously good. If I could afford it, I would be using the entire Orchidée Impériale skin care line. The stand out products were the Météorites Baby Glow in Clair (in a favorites here) and the Abeille Royale – Gold Eyetech Eye Sculpt Serum, featured in my December Favorites.

Omorovicza – this was by far, the most dangerous brand discovery of 2015. Everything I have tried is amazing and soooo dangerous for my wallet. I reviewed the Thermal Cleansing Balm here and while I love it, I did resist temptation to repurchase. In addition, I splurged on the Complexion Perfector BB SPF20 in Light and it also was featured in one of my weekly favorites posts. Last time I visited the counter, I was gifted a ton of samples, so I have had an opportunity to test out many of the other products. If price was not an issue, I would own it all.

Real Techniques – I can’t believe I was so late to the party. These brushes are fantastic! I have purchased several and each one impresses me more than the last. They are great for blending and building color, easy to clean and don’t shed. I also cannot get over the price point of $5-$12 per brush!

Individual Products

Amika Perk Up Dry Shampoo – SO GOOD! I haven’t had a dry shampoo really impress me in a very long time and this one blew me away. This was featured in my November Favorites.

Benefit Dallas – again, not a new product, but certainly an amazing one! I used this while doing a family member’s wedding makeup and fell in love.  It was so versatile and looked great on a variety of skin tones. I loved building it up for a warm glow as well as using with a light hand as a subtle bronzer.  I immediately went out and bought this and it is a staple in my daily look. This was also featured in a weekly favorites in April.

Maybelline Master Conceal in 10 Fair – I picked this up on a whim after leaving my concealer at home on one of my work trips. I liked it so much that when I forgot my concealer on another trip, I picked up another (hence the “1” on the tube). This is a serious, stay all day, dark circle minimizing beast! I also discussed this previously here.


I don’t typically like to do negative reviews, but these are really worth mentioning:

Boscia Luminizing Black Mask – I used this several times in hopes of my experience improving. It did not. In addition to cleaning out pores, it also ripped off every tiny hair on my face. It also left my skin irritated and rashy.

Kiehl’s Iris Extract Activating Essence Treatment – this caused painful cystic acne after just a couple days of use. I stopped using it, treated the outbreak and then tried it again  couple weeks later. Again, within a couple days, the cystic acne returned… so it was returned. I’ve never had a reaction like this to any Kiehl’s product and hope to never again.

So there you have it. What were some of your 2015 favorites?

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December 2015 Favorites

Hello again!

As I was working on my favorites of 2015 post, I realized that I hadn’t rounded up my December favorites yet. Oops.

With the end of the year and holidays, it was tough at quick glance to really get a sense of the things I loved this month. There was everyday as well as special event/holiday makeup, gifts still in boxes and then the products in rotation that haven’t been used enough to determine whether they are favorites. I started to make a list and realized I had a few real standout things that were definitely worth mentioning.

Guerlain Abeille Royale Gold Eyetech Eye Sculpt Serum ($130/0.05oz)

There are directions to use this product in 3 ways – each sculpts and defines in a specific way. My preferred method is to lightly press the product on to the under eye area with the gold tip. It cools, depuffs and minimizes fine lines. I love that I can feel the cooling effects for up to a couple hours after application. This was a ridiculous self-indulgent Black Friday splurge, but I definitely don’t regret it!

MAC Sheertone Blush in Breath of Plum ($22/0.21oz)

This has been my go-to blush shade for probably 10 years. I’ve gone through countless containers over the years. It had been several months since my last compact was used up and I was getting the urge to use this again despite the other 20 blushes open in my stash. I did purchase a backup of this a while ago so broke open the new package. After a couple uses, I had to stop using it because the formula and shade were off and it wasn’t performing how I remembered. The great folks at my favorite MAC store swapped it out and I have been using almost daily for the last couple weeks.

Breath of Plum is a beautiful, sheer (yet buildable) blue-toned pink. It leans a bit cool, which should in theory, not look good on my NW10-15 skin. However it looks like a very natural flush.

NARS Lip Pencil ($26 each)

I have been using the Bite pencils for a while and love them so never felt the need to venture out. Sephora kindly rewarded their Beauty Insiders a NARS lip pencil 2-pack during the birthday month. I’ve had these for a few months, but didn’t take them out of the package. I finally tested them out and am kicking myself for not trying sooner! There is a Velvet Matte and a Satin pencil – both formulas are fantastic. Both are hydrating and long-lasting. I’ve been using both regularly all month.

There you have it – stay tuned to see if any of these make it into my year-end favorites!

What were some of your favorites this past month?

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Use It – November and December 2015

Hello again!

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday celebration over the last couple weeks. I’ve been busy celebrating everything with lots of good food and wine.

I’m unsure how exactly this happened, but I didn’t finish any full-size products until the last day of November. There were a handful of samples (see following paragraph…), but little progress on actually de-stashing anything.

If you follow me on Instagram (@lvp8779), you know that I’m participating in the #sampledout challenge. While there is no way I will be sample free by 2016, I hope to make a significant dent. After several months of posting the reviews of samples on here, that unless they are a deluxe sample, the review will exist on Instagram. So be sure to check it out!

As always, everything is broken down into one of the following categories: skincare, makeup, body, hair and lifestyle.



Avène Cleansing Foam Mousse – I am sad to see the end of this, however it lasted much longer than I anticipated. I discussed this a while back as part of my morning skincare routine. Since running out, I’ve been using the Avène gel cleanser and it just is not the same.. I will revisit this again or sure. Available at Birchbox.com for $20 for 5.29oz.

Boscia Luminizing Black Mask – OUCH! This shit hurts! I have tried this several times and it has gotten progressively worse. Last time I used this, I had to apply cooling gel afterwards. It doesn’t clean pores, but it does manage to rip out every tiny hair on my face. I do NOT get the hype.

Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye – this was a very generous deluxe sample that lasted nearly 2 months. This felt more like a gel and really moisturized the skin around my eyes. I might consider purchasing down the road. Available at Macy’s for $58 (size unknown).

Guerlain Orchidée Impériale The Toner – Oh wow. Toner is toner, right? Wrong. This was refreshing and even a bit hydrating. It really changed my feelings on how I’ve been using toner! I have another deluxe sample but would definitely consider purchasing. Available at Saks for $135 for 4.2oz (YIKES!).

Laura Mercier Flawless Skin Repair Eye Serum – first of all, I’m really surprised to get through this so quickly. I picked this up in the spring and used it twice a day for a while and then it became strictly part of my morning skincare routine. I did enjoy this and found it to really help de-puff my under eye area and smooth crow’s feet. While I do like this, I would not repurchase, but only because I have found something I like even more. Available at select Laura Mercier counters for $83 for 0.5oz.

Shiseido Power Infusing Concentrate – this might look small, but this was a 2-3 month deluxe sample. This was a great serum for the transitional months. I felt like it hydrated, but didn’t leave me feeling oily or that I had a lot of products on my face. I have an abundance of full-size serums right now so am not really in the market for another. This would definitely be a contender down the road. Available at Nordstrom and select Sephora for $65 for 1oz.


NARS Concealer in Chantilly – consider me unimpressed. This somewhat covered dark circles and blemishes and regularly creased and settled in fine lines. It doesn’t inspire me to buy any of the other NARS concealers or foundations. Available at Sephora for $25 for 0.07oz.


Bath and Body Works Body Lotion and Shower Gel in Mango Mandarin – I won’t say much about this since it is discontinued… Much like the Dancing Waters in my October Use It post, this is another scent I love and have enough stockpiled for the next 3 years.

Bliss Fat Girl Slim –  let’s just start with the fact that this is the worst product name EVER. That aside, it really does tighten and firm. I am sad to see this go… and it lasted a really long time. If I found this on sale or a great set, I would repurchase. I am not rushing out though… available at Sephora and bliss.com for $36 for 6oz.

LUSH Sultana of Soap – this looks and smells good enough to eat.  This is very hydrating and leaves my skin super soft. I really like this – unfortunately it just doesn’t last and I have to slice it and ration so it doesn’t disintegrate. Probably would not repurchase. Available at LUSH for about $4 per oz.


Batiste Dry Shampoo in Cool and Crisp Fresh – same old. Love it. Will repurchase again and again. Available at Ulta or Drugstore.com for $8-10 for 6.73oz.

Fekkai Argan Intense Fortifying Masque – I had really high expectations for this. I’ve used the color treatment masque before and found it to be nourishing and softening. This however, did not have any noticeable results. After leaving in for 5-8 minutes, I didn’t get the same feeling. This was another disappointing product. Available at Drugstore.com for $7.99 for 1.69oz.


Smile Sciences Teeth Whitening Pen – I’m only getting rid of this because it has expired. This was included in one of last year’s quarterly Allure boxes so I used it a while ago off and on. It was very easy to use and left my teeth whiter and brighter without irritating my gums. Available on the company website for $78. If it were a more reasonable price, I would buy in a heartbeat.


Botanical Nutrients Hair Reconstructor – remember when Bath and Body Works had their own hair care line? No? Well it wasn’t in this decade. And I haven’t used it this decade either…

MAC Softsparkle Eye Pencil in Mint and Olive – SO OLD… this was a limited edition liner from forever ago. I thought I could make it work after the lid broke. I was wrong. I loved the color but the formula was so dry and hard to work with even with the working lid.

So here is the grand total of products used in 2015:

Skincare: 26

Lip products: 6

Foundation: 2

Blush: 1

Eye makeup: 7

Nail products: 7

Hair products: 9

Body products: 27

Other: 14

Home: 5

Total Full-Size: 104

Toss: 22

Samples: 94

Grand Total: 220

There you have it, friends!

I hope you enjoyed my year in empties and made some progress on your own de-stashing journey!

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Top Posts of 2015

Hello everyone!

It is time to start wrapping up 2015… can you believe it? I decided to try and get a jump on the calendar a bit and start working on some reviews.

So there have been a few changes over the last couple months – mainly a big job switch. I’ve gone from traveling 2-3 times a month and a lengthy commute, to a no-travel job with a 3 minute commute. There is lots of great transition so hopefully that will start to show in blog productivity in 2016.

In looking at my WordPress analytics, I was really surprised to see some of my 2013-2014 posts taking the top spot… maybe I shouldn’t be? I think my favorite thing is looking at my top countries – 1 US, 2 Germany (wie gehts), 3 Canada, 4 U.K. and 5 France (merci!).

Top read blog posts (eliminating Home/About Me):

#5 – October Le Métier de Beauté VIP Vault posted 10/13/14

#4 – MAC Magnetic Nudes Review posted 12/30/13 – seriously? I love that this is still so popular! This was one of my most favorite MAC launches ever!

#3 – August Le Métier de Beauté VIP Vault posted 8/23/14

#2 – Upcoming Beauty Event with Le Métier de Beauté posted 2/15/15


#1 – MAC Prep + Prime CC Review 2/26/14 – yes, February 2014.. you all must love my explanation of color theory!

I can’t than you all enough for sticking with me the last 2 years. I feel like I have found a great network in the blogging community and can’t wait to see where the next year takes us!

Stay tuned in the next couple weeks for my top picks of 2015!


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November Favorites

Welcome to the first installment of my monthly favorites a.k.a my former Weekly Favorites that I only updated once or twice a month. Hopefully this will be a more manageable and interesting regular post!

Amika Perk Up Dry Shampoo ($22/5.3oz)

If you follow me on Instagram (@lvp8779), you know I threw out some pretty powerful words about this. Potential new holy grail product. This dry shampoo is ridiculously good. I found it to be very absorbent without creating lots of buildup. This came in one of my Birchboxes and reappeared in the Sephora Extend Your Style dry shampoo set that came out a month or so ago.

Julep Nail Color in Rayma ($14/.27oz)

This is a gorgeous berry/wine shade from the October (?) Maven box. This is a crème finish, which I find to be the longest lasting of the Julep formulas. With a good base and topcoat, I can get a good 5 days of wear before detecting any chips or fading. I sometimes have a love/hate relationship with Julep, but this is a definite LOVE. I wore this several times throughout November and find myself just staring at the shade time to time… I’m a magpie!

Peter Thomas Roth 24K Gold Pure Luxury Cleansing Butter ($55/5oz)

Last winter I fell in love with an amazing (and super pricey) cleansing balm. As the temperature started to fall this year, I started to feel the post-cleansing dryness come back. After a couple weeks of adding a couple drops of my trusty argan oil into my nighttime routine, I decided I needed to go a step further and add a cleansing oil back into the mix. I decided to take advantage of my VIB 20% and go for a few big skincare items. My favorite skincare guru Jess was working that day, gave me the scoop on new releases and best holiday set deals and showed me this beautiful, buttery, gold cleanser. I tried the 24K mask previously and loved it, so knew I needed this.

As with other PTR skincare products, a little goes a long way. You melt it in your hands and then apply all over your face – it continues to melt once applied. It is gentle enough to be used on eye makeup, yet a small amount removes makeup and oil. Follow with regular cleanser. My skin felt amazing after one use. I have been using it daily and my face is brighter, more hydrated and my skin is so soft! This is a winter game changer!

There you have it – the new and hopefully improved favorites.

What were some of your favorites last month?

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Project Pan Round 2 – November Update

Hello again!

This project pan is TOUGH! Even with daily use of 2/3 products, I have only made moderate progress.

In the above photo:

BareMinerals Touch Up Veil SPF15 in Translucent

LORAC Multidimensional Eye Shadow in 3D-Luxe

MAC PowerPoint Eye Pencil in Stubborn Brown

Do you notice a huge difference? Me neither. There is definitely less shadow, but I feel like that is the only big change. So I will keep plugging away and will keep the December 31 goal for now!

Have a great week!

1 Comment »

Weekly vs. Monthly Favorites

Sigh. This weekly thing just isn’t working for me… I’m going to switch it up and move to a monthly favorites. As it currently stands, my weekly favorites are really only once or twice a month, so this isn’t a huge change. It’s really just semantics I guess. Right?

So stick with me and stay tuned for the first real monthly favorites post!

Have a great week!

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