A New Day

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

Use It: June and July 2018 Empties

Hello everyone!

How on earth has it been 2 months since my last empties post? I’ve witnessed them piling up, but failed to realize so much time has gone by. It has gone from my usual small box to half a shopping bag. The worst part is that when this happens, it takes forever to type up… go figure.

No delay – let’s go.

Since there are so many items, I’ll be breaking everything down by type: skin care, makeup, body, hair and lifestyle/other. Sample reviews are posted to my Instagram (@lvp8779) as they are used.

SKINCARE

Le Métier de Beauté Instant Line Perfecting Serum – this product has loosely been in rotation from when I had my LMdB subscription. This is a heat-activated serum with hyaluronic acid, vitamin E, citric acid and caffeine. I really enjoyed this serum, but definitely didn’t feel as though it was as effective toward the end of its life. I always felt the tightening effect almost immediately after applying. I probably would not repurchase just due to price. There is a Vichy serum that works just as well at less than 1/4 of the price. Available at Dermstore for $150 for 1oz.

Lush Don’t Look at Me Fresh Face Mask – this is a really nice, cooling mask. There is a bit of grit and it provides light exfoliation. I love using this on a hot day to help refresh my skin. It also smells amazing. Available in store only for $13.95 for 2.1oz.

Tarte Rainforest of the Sea Deep Dive Cleansing Gel – this is probably one of the most unimpressive skincare items I have ever used. Biggest problem? It didn’t remove the makeup from my face. No thanks. Full size available at Sephora for $25 for 5oz.

Vichy Calming Cleansing Micellar Solution – speaking of Vichy… this is a repeat from about a year ago or so. I really like this formula – it easily removes all traces of makeup and helps get rid of stubborn mascara. It is also so gentle. I would repurchase again and again. Available at Target for $14.50 for 6.76oz.

MAKEUP

Hourglass Extreme Sheen High Shine Lip Gloss in Child – I am really sad to see this go! Child is just a perfect, pretty neutral gloss. It is incredibly lightweight and wears well on top of other shades, but just as well alone. I would totally repurchase this if I didn’t already have 25 lip colors open right now. Full size available at Sephora for $28.

NYX Matte Blotting Papers – no surprise… I use these every day. Available at Ulta for $5.99 for 50 sheets.

BODY

Bath and Body Works Shower Gel in Peach and Honey Almond – this is such a great scent – it just feels like summer. There is something a bit unnatural about the actual scent, but it is easily forgotten after a minute. I love the honey and peach combo. I have a few backups of this and the body lotion. This isn’t a regular scent, but can be found at some of the semi-annual sales. Buy it when you can! Cost $13.50 for 10oz.

Kiehl’s Ultimate Strength Hand Salve – I have been through so many of these that I have lost track. There are at least 1-2 more somewhere in my house. Repurchase? Always. Available at Kiehl’s counters and stores for $23.

Laura Mercier Tarte Au Citron Crème Body Wash – this is the second or third of these that I have gone through now and I have to say that I am a really big fan of this formula. I’m also on a very big citrus kick right now, so this just really hit a home run in every possible way. I would definitely purchase a full size of this! 4-pack available at Nordstrom for $34 (1oz each).

HAIR

One ‘N Only Brazilian Tech Keratin De-Frizz Wand – I just posted about this in my most recent favorites. This is great. I just bought a 3-pack on Amazon for $20.

Parlor Moisturizing and Repairing Shampoo – I never felt like this shampoo really cleaned my hair… but I think that is my general feeling with sulfate-free shampoo. I loved the scent but it just didn’t work for me. Full size available at Birchbox.com for $22 for 8oz.

Tarte Hair Goals Dry Shampoo – I hate this. It smells terrible and doesn’t absorb oil. I bought this as a FabFitFun add on and so glad I didn’t pay full price. Used twice and planning to rehome. Full price is $19 for 4oz.

LIFESTYLE/OTHER

Essie Nail Color in Penny Talk – I used this down to the very last drop I could scrape out of the bottle. This is an amazing, metallic copper that goes well with everything. I would repurchase for sure. Available at Ulta for $9 for 0.46oz.

Julep Nail Color in Caitlin – this seems like such a fun summer color, but I have never been able to make this work for me. This shade is really sheer and I could never get an even application. It finally started to get clumpy, as all Julep polishes inevitably do. Available at Julep.com for $14 for 0.27oz.

Lauren B Nail Couture in Polo Lounge Punch – I really loved this polish. The color was a beautiful blue-toned pink. It applied fairly well and lasted 4-5 days without chipping. I would definitely consider repurchasing this color or any other from this brand again – definitely a fan! I received this in an Allure box a couple years ago and can’t seem to find it other than the Lauren B website for $18 for 0.5oz.

Ruffian Nail Lacquer in Fox Hunt – if you are a long-time Birchbox subscriber, this should look oddly familiar. Known for it’s famous manicure style, Ruffian launched their own nail color a few years back. For some strange reason the shades were very odd, bold choices. I received this strange orange color that I only ever used on my toes. It’s finally to the end of its life and I’m not particularly sad. Birchbox only carries the top and base coats now and they run about $10.

Here’s the 2018 total:

Skincare: 13

Body: 11

Hair: 7

Makeup/face: 12

other: 5

Nails: 6

Samples: 5

Sheet masks: 2

Total Products used: 61

2-month total: $324.19

2018 total: $1,089.80  (approximately)

As I mentioned in my last empties post, I’ve been really focusing on using up a ton of open and half-used products. I’m finally making progress! 

I’m thinking of doing an Instagram project pan.. anyone want to join me? Follow along at @lvp8779

Have a great week!

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Current Summer Favorites

Hello again!

Summer is my least favorite season. Between the heat and humidity, it has been just miserable. My summer goal is always to find products that are going to help me battle said heat and humidity. This feels like a never ending search for things that eliminate shine, breakouts, frizzy hair, etc. However, every year, I feel like I find one or two things that make the hot months a bit more tolerable.

The most recent find is the Murad MattEffect Blotting Perfector. I purchased this on a whim as a FabFitFun add-on and have been using it religiously over the last few weeks. This cushion product comes with a small applicator and mirror to use on the go. The packaging suggests using any time to break up any shine, but I prefer to use blotting papers and then the product over top. Using the applicator, I pick up a small amount of the liquid and pat onto shiny spots. This helps my makeup (or what is left of it on a hot day) stay put and eliminate oil while blurring my pores. I don’t know what this magic is, but I love it.

Face mists have been no stranger on this blog. As I’ve mentioned in other hot weather posts, I love reaching for the Avene Thermal Spring Water spray. This sprays an incredibly fine mist of cooling water and has been such a treat on hot days. I’ve been foregoing toners the last few days and replacing them with this as part of my evening routine.

My hair go-to has been the One ‘N Only Brazilian Tech Keratin De-Frizz Wand. This is one mighty product. Using the mascara-like wand, you lightly brush through flyaways to smooth back into place. It leaves my hair feeling smooth and looking super shiny without disrupting the style. Too much can leave your hair feeling a bit crunchy. This is very strongly scented, but it will disappear after a couple minutes. I was so sad to discover that this is no longer carried in stores, but it does come in multi-packs on Amazon!

What are some of the things that are helping you get through summer? Please share in the comments below!

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Use It: April and May 2018 Empties

Hello everyone!

Long time, no blog. May was a downright crazy month at our house, so blogging definitely went to the back burner. I was sick for a couple weeks and then went on a quick trip… and just like that it is June. And then the Capitals went to the Stanley Cup finals… I spent a couple weekends going back and forth to DC to go to a game and watch parties with some friends. Unfortunately it created a backlog of empty products to review. So now that I’m finally home, it’s time to play catch up!

This was a fairly productive couple months, so I’ll be breaking everything down by type: skin care, makeup, body, hair and lifestyle/other. The last couple months were pretty heavy on the deluxe samples because my drawers were OVERFLOWING! Smaller sample reviews are posted to my Instagram (@lvp8779) as they are used.

SKIN CARE

AmorePacific Treatment Cleansing Foam – a lot of people dislike this face wash because of the scent. I am not one of those people. Yes, it has a strong scent, but it is an incredibly gentle and thorough cleanser. I used this day and night for a couple months and my skin absolutely loved it. Would I repurchase? I totally would. Available at Sephora for $50 for 4.1oz.

Belif The True Cream Moisturizing Bomb – I liked this. A very gentle moisturizer that worked best for me at night. I do love that this K-beauty product has become very mainstream. I’m currently using a deluxe sample of the Aqua Bomb – we’ll see how they compare! Available at Sephora for $22 for 0.84oz.

Laura Mercier Flawless Skin Moisture Crème – sadly, this was the most average moisturizer I’ve ever used. I’ve been pretty happy with other LM skincare, this unfortunately does not compare. Full size is available at Nordstrom for $53 for 1.7oz.

L’Oréal Revitalift Volume Filler Serum – this had very interesting packaging. I still don’t quite know how I feel about it. That aside, this was a really great, hydrating serum. This lightweight serum is full of nourishing hyaluronic acid. It absorbs quickly and doesn’t leave skin sticky or oily. I would definitely consider repurchasing – it is high quality for the price! This was gifted from the nice folks at Influenster. Available on Amazon for $12.97 for 0.5oz.

Lush Breath of Fresh Air Toner Water – not this product’s first rodeo here. This is probably my favorite toner – it’s light on the herbs and heavier on the sea water. My skin looks and feels great when I use this. I will pick up another on my next trip to Lush! Available at all Lush stores for $10.50 for 3.3oz.

Philosophy Purity Cleanser – now this is one where I don’t get the hype. It’s fine. Not repurchasing. Full size available at Ulta for $24 for 8oz.

MAKEUP

Benefit Roller Lash – another repeat visitor to the blog. I really like this mascara – my preference is They’re Real, but I will never hesitate to pick this up. This lifts and curls my lashes, while giving them more volume. Benefit’s black mascaras are some of the most pigmented around – love them. Available at Ulta for $10 for 0.1oz.

Make Up For Ever High Definition Microfinish Powder – this is a solid translucent setting powder. I kept this in my travel bag forever – it comes with a screw top and does not spill. This is a versatile powder that can be used on any skin tone. I have another mini but might purchase down the road. Available at Sephora for $20 for 0.14oz.

Sephora Lashcraft Length and Volume Mascara – I hate this wand. It is rectangular and the mascara gets clumped on the angle and will not apply evenly as hard as you might try. The formula was fine, but the wand made it so difficult to apply.

Smashbox Be Legendary Lipgloss in Pout – this is a destash, unfortunately. I got this in one of the Sephora lip kits a while back and I haven’t really reached for it often. It started to separate and get a bit funky. To the trash you go. I don’t think they make the Be Legendary Lipgloss anymore either… too bad. The formula was really nice! Approximate value $20.

BODY

AHAVA Mineral Botanic Velvet Cream Wash in Hibiscus and Fig – I’ve raved about this brand probably 100 times on here. This is no exception. This is an incredibly hydrating body wash that seems to have lasted forever! I love this especially during the colder months. The scent is not overwhelmingly fig, but a warm floral. I would definitely repurchase. Available at Ulta for $24 for 17oz.

Olay Quench Body Lotion – I’ve gone through so many of these. I love it so much – repurchase forever! Available on Amazon for $11.95 for 20.2oz.

HAIR

Drybar Detox Dry Shampoo – another product that has made multiple appearances. I have already repurchased this in the formula for brunettes. Stay tuned to see if they compare. Available at Sephora for $23 for 3.5oz.

L’Oréal Extraordinary Clay Dry Shampoo – this was an interesting dry shampoo. This worked really well on day 2-3 between washes, but could not go much beyond that. I think this was meant for oily hair – I don’t have oily hair and it still didn’t go the distance. The scent was incredibly strong and I felt like it really overpowered other scents I wore on those days. I will probably not repurchase. Available on Amazon for $5.97 for 4oz.

Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray – Oribe is a brand that kind of confuses me. Most people love their products. I have yet to find one that really works well for me. I think this came in a Birchbox a while back.. they carry Oribe on their website – $22 for 2.2oz.

LIFESTYLE/OTHER

Bath and Body Works PocketBac Anti-Bacterial Hand Gel in Winter Cranberry – I love everything cranberry. If it were holiday season, I would repurchase in a heartbeat! Similar products available at Bath and Body Works for $1.75 for 1oz.

WHEW!

Since this empties post has 2 mascara empties, I’m going to do my part and clean them up and send the wands to the Appalachian Wildlife Refuge. They use these wands to help clean the fur of some of the small critters in their care. You can read more about the program and how to donate here.

Let’s break it down for the month.

Here’s the 2018 total:

Skincare: 9

Body: 8

Hair: 4

Makeup/face: 10

other: 5

Nails: 2

Samples: 5

Sheet masks: 2

Total Products used: 45

2-month total: $180.44

2018 total: $765.61  (approximately)

June empties are already piling up! Hopefully I finish reviewing them before Christmas! 🙂

Have a great week!

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Use It: March 2018 Empties

Hello everyone!

Since my February empties were so late in the month, I probably should have just waited and combined them. Oh well… I can’t win sometimes.

This was another low-use, but high-value month. As I mentioned previously, I’m really trying to focus on using up a lot of  things that I’ve opened and tested or are half-used. I don’t need 20 open body washes or 4 foundations at once. It’s ridiculous and wasteful. I feel like I have definitely made some progress, but still have a long way to go!

Going to do this run down in alphabetical order again for March:

Algenist Genius Ultimate Anti-Aging Cream – this moisturizer has an interesting bouncy texture. This is a nice, light moisturizer that doesn’t leave my skin feeling oily and a little goes a very long way. If it had SPF, I would consider purchasing. Full size available at Sephora for $75 for 1oz.

Le Métier de Beauté Peau Vierge Anti-Aging Complexe SPF 18 in Shade 1 – this is considered a Tinted Luminizer, but I use as a sheer foundation when my skin isn’t acting crazy. Shade 1 is peach-toned, which gives me an extra boost of color. Being so fair, I really have to blend in at the neckline. I tried using under foundation as well as mixing with some foundation, but I found that this worked much better on its own. I am not sure if I will repurchase. I am currently using the 2oz tube in shade 2, which is even warmer. I will decide what to do when I finish that one. Available at lemetierdebeaute.com for $125 for 1oz. Yes. ONE OUNCE.

L’Oréal Root Cover Up in Red – this is definitely a frequent flier on the empties list. I use this regularly as my roots grow out between color treatments. I have at least 2-3 backups of this. Available at Ulta for $10.99 for 2oz.

Matrix Biologe Moisturizing Hand Cream – I don’t know if this was a test product or a permanent release… obviously the packaging is a little odd, so I’m thinking a test product? I haven’t seen this on the shelves anywhere yet. This was fine. Nothing spectacular aside from it smelling like my favorite Biolage shampoo. I found this a while back at the L’Oréal Company Store for $3.

NYX Matte Blotting Papers – shocker… I use these every day. Available at Ulta for $5.99 for 100 sheets.

Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Cream – this sample is deceiving – I started using in February and lasted well into March. It certainly gave a good amount to test! I really liked this – it absorbed so quickly and left nothing on my skin. No oily feeling, no dampness to the touch… just wonderfully hydrated skin. I would consider despite not having SPF. Full size available at Sephora for $22 for 0.67oz.

Philosophy Candy Cane Shower Gel – this is a great, crisp peppermint cleanser. You can use all of their products as a shampoo also, but I tend to just stick with a shower gel. I particularly love using this after going to the gym or on a hot summer day. There is just something about it that feels so cooling. If I don’t have another one in my stash, I will probably purchase again when it becomes available around the holidays. Available at Ulta for $18 for 16oz.

Saint Augustine and Suds Cedar Mint Bath Bomb – I found some more stashed away! What a fun surprise! I know I have mentioned before – they have a 5-8 minute fizz time and leave my skin feeling so soft. Rumor has it that she might start making these regularly again. Please?? Available by request for $6 or $7.

Saint Augustine and Suds Orange Peppermint Lip Balm – this was so nice. Crisp and refreshing with a bit of citrus zest. And it lasted forever. I would definitely repurchase! This was around $6 I think?

Short and sweet!

Here’s the 2018 total:

Skincare: 3

Body: 6

Hair: 1

Makeup/face: 6

other: 4

Nails: 2

Samples: 3

Sheet masks: 1

Total Products used: 26

Month total: $204.73

2018 total: $585.17  (approximately)

WOW! I know this is partially due to my interest in insanely priced foundations… But I promise that I have dialed it back!!

What did you use up this month? Anything that is a must on your repurchase list?

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Use It: February 2018 Empties

Happy March, everyone!

Just when I thought it was about to get warm and sunny, we’ve been forced back inside by cold, angry, snowy weather. I’m about done with this. On a positive note, I did a little bit of traveling. I spent a several days in my favorite city, Washington, DC. There was some work travel that allowed me the opportunity to visit the National Portrait Gallery to check out the new Obama paintings (amazing) and have a some great meals after hours. We went back the following weekend to visit some friends and family. While my husband went off to drink whiskey for a couple days in the mountains with his buddies, I bundled up and went to the Bridgestone Stadium Series game at the Naval Academy to see my beloved Washington Capitals destroy the Maple Leafs. We can definitely say that March has been off to a chilly, but wonderful start! This is also why I’m getting a late start on these February empties. 🙂

Since this was a lower-use month, I will go alphabetically again rather than split the products by type. Here we go:

Bath and Body Works Stress Relief Lip Balm – I really like the Stress Relief line and had really high expectations for this product. But I don’t really feel like this stood up to the rest of the line. It wasn’t overly hydrating, smelled like vanilla and tasted very sweet, which seems really counterintuitive before going to bed. I am not sad to see this go. This is no longer on their website, so I’m guessing I wasn’t the only one who was disappointed.

Bite Whipped Cherry Fruit Scrub – I am a huge fan of Bite products – this is no secret. This is a really wonderful, gentle lip scrub. I feel like this was a very effective exfoliator that also left my lips well hydrated. It also helps that it smells amazing. The only down side is that the oil is really hard to remove, so I only use this in the shower before I wash my face. Will I repurchase? Maybe. I have a couple other products to test out, so maybe down the road. Full size available at Sephora for $18 for .26oz.

IT Cosmetics Superhero Mascara – I do not love this. This applies well and does a nice job thickening my lashes but it does not stay on well. After a couple hours, it starts flaking and smudging under my eyes. It refuses to come off with eye makeup remover or micellar water, but then proceeds to flake off all night in my sleep. This is so frustrating! I know some people really love this, I’m sorry but I am not one of them. Available at Ulta for $12 for .17oz.

Kiehl’s Close Shaver’s Squadron White Eagle Shave Cream – this was my first attempt with the White Eagle and probably my last. I typically use the Blue Eagle for my legs and I ended up purchasing this because it was the only version that came in a travel size at the time. This has camphor and menthol which kind of burned my skin. Maybe that feels nice on a man’s face, but it definitely did not feel nice on my legs. Fortunately, Kiehl’s has expanded the travel options and I was able to find a travel size of the new Smooth Glider that doesn’t irritate my skin. Available at Kiehl’s for $10 for 2.5oz.

Kiehl’s Crème de Corps Grapefruit Whipped Body Butter – I finished up it’s shower scrub counterpart a couple months ago, but this just lasted a bit longer. Generally, I am not impressed with Crème de Corps, however this whipped version is fabulous. It feels like it melts into your skin as you are applying it. The light citrus scent and hydration lasted all day. I am definitely a fan. Available in limited edition size during the holidays at Kiehl’s stores – $24 for the set (2oz. each).

Kiehl’s Superbly Efficient Antiperspirant & Deodorant Cream – I have been through so many of these. It is been a staple in my routine for about 4-5 years now. This is unscented,  doesn’t irritate my skin and keeps me from sweating year round. I have multiple backups! Available at Kiehl’s for $21 for 2.5oz.

NYX Matte Blotting Paper – another one bites the dust. Available at Ulta for $5.99 for 100 sheets.

Omorovicza Complexion Perfector BB SPF 20 – I finally finished a foundation! I have really enjoyed all of the Omorovicza products I have tried and this is no exception. This is a lovely, sheer BB cream that provides a natural, healthy glow. The color match was spot on and easy to build color on top of. However, this worked best with cream blushes and eyeshadows instead of powder based products. I also really liked that when the pump stopped working, I was still able to get an additional month of use. At a $135 price point, can you blame me for scraping the bottom?? Sadly, I think this has been discontinued.

Origins GinZing Refreshing Eye Cream – right after I purchased a full-size GinZing, I received an Origins box from Influenster. What timing! I have been using the full size but also taking this mini on the road for the last few months. I really like this formula – it brightens and de-puffs my under eye circles like a champ. It does exactly what it says. I love this stuff. Full size available at Origins for $31 for 0.5oz.

Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat –  another product that has appeared multiple times. Since this is the February wrap up, you know I already have another one in progress!  Available at Ulta for $9.95 for 0.5oz.

Sunday Riley Tidal Brightening Enzyme Water Cream – what a ridiculously long name. This was fine. I’m not blown away by Sunday Riley – is that allowed to be said? I have some other hyaluronic acid products that are way cheaper and much more effective. Would not repurchase. Available at Sephora for $22 for 0.5oz.

And I finished some candles!!

Bath and Body Works Honeyed Pear – I didn’t get a lot of pear, but I did get this amazing, sweet honey and caramel scent. This candle had a ton of throw – I could smell this on a different floor of my house after burning for a couple hours. I would purchase again in a heartbeat, but I think this was limited edition. Available at Bath and Body Works for $22.50 for all 3-wick candles with an approximate burn time of 30 hours.

Siren Fine Fragrances Moonlit Orchid – I should have known that this was on the sale rack at TJ Maxx for $6 for a reason. It smells lovely…. when you are right next to it. Otherwise, you cannot smell this at all. What a bummer.

Here’s the 2018 total:

Skincare: 6

Body: 3

Hair: 0

Makeup/face: 4

other: 4

Nails: 2

Samples: 1

Sheet masks: 1

Total Products used: 21

Month total: $274.94

2018 total: $380.44  (approximately)

I feel like I’m off to a great start making a dent and using up a bunch of products. March should be another great month!

What did you use up recently? Anything you can’t live without?

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2017 Favorites

Hi again!

Is it too late for my 2017 favorites? Oh well… I’m going for it!

As I reviewed my year-end favorites over the last few years, I realized that I relied really heavily on subscription boxes and those shiny new products for content. As I mentioned at the end of 2016, I no longer had monthly subscriptions. I made the jump to the quarterly Rachel Zoe Box of Style and FabFitFun and didn’t look back. Even after a year of the Box of Style subscription, I ended up cancelling. So FabFitFun has been the winner so far. I love the full-size products and the ability to add on so many great things at a low cost. I’m so inundated with miniature things – I can’t handle it anymore. My goal is to use about half of my mini stash this year.

There were 2 main things that showed up repeatedly in my routine – bergamot/neroli/beachy scents and brown/grey/pink lipsticks. I feel like this is a great mix of old and new, but are really the things I reached for the most.

Scent-wise, I opted for clean scents with a more herbal feel. The three that I reached for the most was the Jo Malone Basil & Neroli Cologne, Tom Ford Neroli Portofino and Bobbi Brown Almost Bare. The Jo Malone and Tom Ford are very similar and remind me of the beach, sand and sunscreen from the 1980s. The basil creates a bit more acid at first and it mellows out as it dries down. The Neroli Portofino has a warmer scent with some light citrus in the top notes. Over the course of several hours, the neroli becomes the primary scent as the citrus disappears quickly. Almost Bare is a sweeter, cleaner scent that has hints of freesia and bergamot. As it wears, the freesia becomes more dominant and carries the fragrance through the day. This is an older and very well loved bottle!

My skin tone definitely leans warm, but I managed to find a few brown/grey/pink lipstick shades that work very well for my coloring. Working in a somewhat conservative environment is definitely a determining factor in getting too creative with lipstick colors, but some of these do fit the “work appropriate” shade range. The most recent addition to the lineup is Pat McGrath LuxeTrance Lipstick in Madame Griege (top), Bite Amuse Bouche Lipstick in Thistle, Maybelline ColorSensational in Gone Griege, and Tarte Lip Paint in Rave. Unfortunately, this natural lighting doesn’t seem to pull out the more grey tones in Thistle.

 
From the top: Pat McGrath LuxeTrance Lipstick in Madame Griege, Bite Amuse Bouche Lipstick in Thistle, Maybelline ColorSensational in Gone Griege, and Tarte Lip Paint in Rave

 

Even though I’m tardy for the year-end party, I hope you will indulge me a bit and share some of your 2017 favorites below. I hope to revisit some old favorites from years past and see how they still stack up.

Have a great 2018!

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Use It: January 2018 Empties

Happy February!

It felt as though January slogged on forever – grey skies and cold, snowy weather made it just miserable. And somehow, February is off to a sprint. SLOW DOWN!

This was such a low product month! I really concentrated on a few key items and am working on using up a lot of my deluxe samples. I started several, but didn’t quite finish, so should have much more by the end of February. I decided to try a whole regimen of AmorePacific products, which was such a luxurious way to ring in 2018!

Here we go:

AmorePacific Future Response Age Defense Crème – this is a very thick, emollient moisturizer. I used this both day and night for a few weeks and found that it was really more appropriate for night. It absorbed well, but it was just a bit too much for day use. I really liked this, but the scent is really overpowering. Full size available at Neiman Marcus for $195 for 1.7oz.

AmorePacific Future Response Age Defense Serum – now, this was just lovely. This is a very hydrating, smoothing serum that absorbed quickly. It worked very well in combination with the AP products. This was not heavily scented, thank goodness. I would definitely consider purchasing! Full size available at Neiman Marcus for $160 for oz. 

Bath and Body Works Body Lotion in Peach and Honey Almond – this scent is no stranger to the blog. I bought a ton of this when it came out and even more when it was re-released. The peach is the most prominent scent at first, but as it dies down becomes more floral. This layers beautifully with the Jo Malone Nectarine and Honey Blossom perfume. I would buy this again in a heartbeat if it comes back. Cost: $5 for 3.4 oz.

Benefit They’re Real! Mascara – this continues to be one of my favorite mascaras. It coats each lash with a dark black tint and lasts all day without smudging or flaking. Purchase? I have so many samples that I won’t need to buy mascara again this year… but if I needed any, this would be it! Mini available at Ulta for $12.

Chanel Le Vernis in Vamp – I decided to channel my inner 90’s girl and revisit this gorgeous deep oxblood/black shade. I loved the dark hue with a hint of shimmer. Sadly, the one thing I forgot is that despite a great topcoat, this polish chips in about 3 days. It’s very frustrating. I am happy to report that there is a great dupe for much less. The Smith & Cult shade Dark Like Me is VERY similar and is $18 for 0.5 oz. The biggest difference though, is that Vamp only needs 2 coats vs. the 3 needed for Dark Like Me. So if you are the kind of person who can do that kind of math, then let me know how that works out… I may repurchase this again down the road, but not right now. Available at Chanel counters for $28 for 0.4oz.

Garrett Candle Company Eucalyptus Spearmint – this is a great local candle company that makes wood wick candles. This had about a 15-20 hour burn time and was very similar to the Bath and Body Works Aromatherapy eucalyptus and spearmint scent. I would definitely purchase again. Available at thegarrettcandleco.com for $10 for 8 oz.

Saint Augustine and Suds Verbena Bamboo Candle – another wood wick candle! I loved the clean, green scent of this candle. These candles burn so evenly and need very little maintenance. I love them. Scent not available for purchase… bummer. Cost: $12 for 12 oz.

Here’s the breakdown:

Skincare: 2

Body: 1

Hair: 0

Makeup/face: 1

other: 2

Nails: 1

Samples: 0

Sheet masks: 0

Total products used: 7

Month total: $105.50  (approximately)

What did you use up this month? Any favorites? Hate its?

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Use It: December 2017 Empties

Happy January!

As I mentioned in my previous post, I can’t believe that I just wrapped up my 4th year blogging. Thank you so much for visiting and reading!

As I mentioned a couple months back, I’m really trying to focus on using up a lot of open products as well as deluxe samples. I need to scale down my drawers full of products! I think I’ve done a pretty good job working to stay focused on open products and not get distracted by shiny new things. It’s not easy, as my magpie tendencies seem to lure me into the shiny new things.

So here we go:

Garnier SkinActive Tissue Mask Moisture Bomb Super Hydrating and Energizing Mask – this is a crazy long name. I used this after a long flight – let it sit for 15 minutes. My skin felt really hydrated and refreshed. I would definitely repurchase. Available at Ulta for $3.99.

Kiehl’s Ultimate Strength Hand Salve – this is my absolute favorite hand cream and I have gone through so many tubes. It is incredibly hydrating and soothing when my skin gets really dry. Since the weather has dipped into the single digits, I have been reaching for this more frequently to calm my angry skin. Will I buy this again? Of course. I have 2 more tubes open already and an unopened one stashed away! Available at Kiehl’s for $15 for 2.5oz.

La Roche-Posay Melt-In Sunscreen Milk Broad Spectrum 60 – this is hands down the best sunscreen I have ever used. This absorbed quickly without leaving my skin greasy. It didn’t leave a film or feel like I had to use a serious exfoliator to remove. I could easily apply 3-4 times throughout the day and it never felt like I had layers upon layers on. I wore this for 7 days in Jamaica and I didn’t burn. This is an absolute winner! Available on Amazon for $35.99 for 5oz.

Laura Mercier Almond Coconut Milk Crème Body Wash – ooh, this is fancy. This is a very silky-feeling body wash. It left my skin soft and clean, not stripped of moisture. I am not typically a coconut fan, but this was so mild and warm. While this was very nice, I will probably not purchase since I have so many products. 4-pack available at Nordstrom for $34 (1oz each).

L’Oréal Revitalift Volume Filler Moisturizer – this is one thick cream. Good grief. This is loaded with hyaluronic acid to reduce and reverse the signs of aging. I received this as part of a 4-piece kit from Influenster a while back and still have 3 other products sort of in rotation. I liked this moisturizer, but I don’t think my skin responds the same way to hyaluronic acid as it does with retinol. I will use up the other products, but will not likely repurchase. Available at CVS for $25.99 for 1.7oz.

Nails Inc. Kensington Caviar Base Coat – I have to be honest… I don’t see a lot of differences in base coats. This one in particular was a bit sticky to help polish adhere. But I can’t say that it worked better or worse than the last base coat I used. I will not repurchase because I don’t see the need to pay this much for a base coat. Available at Sephora for $15 for 0.47oz.

Neutrogena UltraSheer Dry-Touch Sunblock SPF 85+ – this is suuuuch a thick cream. It is really hard to make sure that it is going on evenly. While this is a dry-touch, it does leave my skin a bit greasy. The down side is that this does not reapply well. I will not repurchase. Available at CVS for about $10.

NYX Green Tea Blotting Papers – last time I used these, I loved them… now I don’t. Maybe it is the difference in the seasons? I’m back to using the regular blotting papers again and I will probably just stick with that. Available at Ulta for $5.99 for 100 sheets.

OUAI Wave Spray – this was one of my favorites from my 2016 subscription round up. I received this sample in the Sephora PLAY! box and immediately went out and purchased the full size. This is the best wave spray I’ve tried – it defines my curls and leaves my hair still touchable and not sticky or clumpy. And I think I’m one of the few people who love the scent. I may refill to keep using for travel. Available at Sephora for $12 for 1.7oz.

Revive Beauty Natural Cleansing Sponges – this was a 2-pack – the first was a turmeric sponge that was very gentle and deep cleansing. The second was willow bark – it made me break out along my jawline and I had to stop using after a week. I will not repurchase. Available at TJ Maxx for $3.99

Saint Augustine and Suds Bath Bomb in Citrus Spearmint – so good. I love the way the way my skin feels after using these. I’m running low on my stockpile and may have to get more soon! Approximately $6 each

Ulta Non-Acetone Nail Polish Remover – this is fine. It works and it’s cheap. I have already repurchased another version of this. Available at Ulta for $2.49 for 6 oz.

Here is the breakdown.

Total products used 2017:

Skincare: 27

Body: 21

Hair: 17

Makeup/face: 27

other: 7

Nails: 10

Samples: 17

Sheet masks: 2

Month total: $144.94  (approximately)

Total products used: 128

Year total: $1,889.66 – WHOA!

For comparison:

Total products used in 2016: 177

Year total: $1,570.80

I used up a ton of products but have a long way to go! I have so much still stockpiled away. New year, new goals. Time to get to it!

Happy 2018!

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Best of 2017 — Top Posts

Hello everyone!

Another year of blogging has come to an end! I can’t believe that I have wrapped up year 4 of this little blog. When I started this, I was looking to just start sharing some of my thoughts with a handful of people. Friends often asked my opinions on products and I thought, hey why not. Well, here we are, still talking about products… this audience has grown from my circle of friends to include new friends all over the world.

In addition to readers in the U.S., many views came from readers in Canada, the UK, Australia, Germany and the Ukraine and Russia tied for the 6th spot. Thank you!!

This year’s top posts surprisingly didn’t vary too much from last year. Having continued some research on perioral dermatitis, there still isn’t a ton of information out there, so I am happy to share my own experience to those who need it.

#5 – 2016 Subscription Favorites and Year in Review – 2016 was the year I quit everything. I tried out a few new boxes and then quit most of them. within months of starting This year I finally quit all monthly subscriptions and moved to quarterly boxes, including FabFitFun and Rachel Zoe’s Box of Style.

#4 – MAC Magnetic Nudes Review– this was originally written in December 2013 – I can’t believe this is still a top post! This MAC collection was huge and was the major relaunch of the Extra Dimension cheek colors and eye shadows.

#3 – MAC Prep + Prime CC Review – another oldie but goodie! Originally posted in February 2014, before every major line came up with their own version of color correction. This includes a very basic lesson in color theory and how to use to solve specific problems.

#2 – A Recent Discovery and a Skincare Challenge – this is the introductory post to my 3-part series on perioral dermatitis.

#1 – Update: Progress with Perioral Dermatitis – the second post 30 days after starting some great treatments. I fell in love with a bunch of products from First Aid Beauty that really helped the healing process.

Thanks again for reading along! Stay tuned for my yearly favorites!

Happy 2018!

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Use It: November 2017 Empties

Hello again!

Are you ready for more empties?? I didn’t have a lot this month, but I refuse to let this stuff pile up! Two months is just ridiculous.

Here we go:

Aveeno Resurfacing Scrub with Vitamin C – I love this! Sadly, Aveeno is confused about what makes a natural product… microbeads are not natural. Fortunately, this is an old bottle and laws have changed. Aveeno has changed the line a little, so I’m not sure what this would compare to in the current options. Approximately $7.99.

Charlotte Tillbury Mini Miracle Eye Wand – one end is an eye cream and the other is an eye brightener, first discussed here. This pen is designed to “lift and illuminate.” The eye cream is… fine. There is nothing magical about it, however. It was very hydrating, but I didn’t find it to be exceptionally lifting. The eye brightener was quite nice – it disguised my dark circles very well. It definitely brightened my under eye area. As nice as the brightening side was, I will not repurchase. I actually repurchased the MAC Radiant Rose Prep + Prime wand which is just as effective and costs much less. Available at Nordstrom for $45.

Make Up For Ever Aqua Eyes Waterproof Pencil – this is a really fun turquoise shade… but I think it is discontinued. Sadly, this dried out and really pulls when I try to apply it. I loved using this on the lower lid for a pop of color. I would consider repurchasing if I could find it again! Similar shades available at Sephora for $21.

Saint Augustine and Suds Bath Bomb in Citrus, Sugar and Shea – another fantastic bath bomb! This was incredibly hydrating and my skin felt amazing afterwards. This has been my favorite so far. I loved the citrus scent – it was really fresh and refreshing. These are approximately $6 each.

StriVectin Intensive Concentrate for Wrinkles and Stretch Marks – I am not sold on this… I used it on my neck and chest. It was hydrating, but I didn’t find it to be repairing in any way.  I also didn’t use consistently… so that’s on me. Full size available at Ulta for $79.

TonyMoly Fresh Cleansing Tissue – these were decent face wipes. They removed most of my makeup, but didn’t touch mascara for some reason. I am not so sure about the scent – very alcohol-y. That can’t be good for your skin. I probably will not repurchase for that reason. Available at Ulta for $8.50 for 30 (maybe?) wipes. I can’t find an actual count.

Total products used 2017:

Skincare: 26

Body: 16

Hair: 16

Makeup/face: 25

other: 7

Nails: 8

Samples: 16

Sheet masks: 1

Month total: $108.24   (approximately)

Year total: $1,744.72

There you go – another round of empties! I’m hoping to get my year end reviews and favorites up in the next couple weeks. This is always the stressful part – trying to narrow it down!

Have a great week!

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