A New Day

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

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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Use It: September and October 2017 Empties

Hello everyone!

Just as I promised to write a bit more regularly, life happened again… There is no getting around that!

I have been trying to use up some older products and go through a bunch of deluxe samples and clean out my ridiculous product stash. Considering this was over 2 months, I’m really surprised that there wasn’t more to review.

Here we go:

Algenist REVEAL Color Correcting Eye Serum Brightener – I received this through the Pink Panel before the final Algenist launch, hence the odd packaging. This brightened and firmed my under-eye area. It lasted several hours and creased minimally. I’m still not sure if I would purchase, as I think there are similar products that are a bit cheaper. Available at Sephora for $31 for 0.27oz.

Benefit Stay Flawless 15-Hour Primer – this is the second stick I have gone through over the last few years. It is a finicky product… it doesn’t like to work with all foundations. I really struggled to use this up as it was not working well with either of my foundations at all. I may purchase this again some day, but I have soooo many primers to use up. Available at Ulta for $32 for 0.54oz.

Davines MOMO Shampoo – this is meant for dry and dehydrated hair, however it actually left my color treated hair feeling even more dry. Even with deep conditioning, I had to use extra leave in conditioner afterwards. While I really like the Love shampoo, I will not be seeking this out. I think you can still find this on Birchbox, but definitely on Amazon for $11 for 2.5oz.

Eyeko Fat Liquid Eyeliner in Black – this was a pain in the ass. Maybe I’m used to a more fine-tip liner? This was like trying to use a Sharpie on my eyelids. I hated this. If you like Sharpies for your eyes, you can find this on Birchbox.com for $18 for 0.12oz.

First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser – this is one of the most gentle cleansers I have ever used. Maybe a bit too gentle? I found this worked best as part of a double cleanse process. It is a very thick and has a somewhat oily texture. I have a bunch of these from Sephora sets over time… I will use them up, but it is unlikely I will purchase. Available at Sephora for $10 for 2 oz.

Kerastase Bain Satin 2 – Thermo-reactive Intensive Nutrition Shampoo – unlike the Davines, this was a very hydrating shampoo. My scalp and hair felt amazing after using this – super squeaky clean but not stripped of moisture. And it smells soooo good! I would definitely purchase if I didn’t already have a ton of hair products and it wasn’t so crazy expensive. Available at select salons and Kerastase.com for $20 for 2.71oz.

Kiehl’s Gently Exfoliating Body Scrub – this was an excellent gritty, mild exfoliator. Free of microbeads, this scrub is made out of ground apricot seeds and full of nourishing oils to hydrate the skin. This left my skin feeling clean and fresh. I also loved the clean grapefruit scent that when paired with the whipped grapefruit crème de corps, stuck with me the rest of the day. I would definitely purchase again. Available in limited edition size during the holidays at Kiehl’s stores – $24 for the set (2oz. each).

Laura Mercier Full Blown Volume Lash Building Mascara in Black – such a long name… but this is a great mascara. I really appreciate that this is not a lengthening mascara. So many times, volume = length. My lashes already hit my glasses, so I don’t need that. But thickening? Yes. Absolutely. This adds depth, while separating each lash. It creates a really soft eye look. I would totally purchase this. Full size available at Nordstrom for $26.

Murad Clarifying Cleanser – this is my go to cleanser when my skin starts acting up. Whether it is a breakout or just the humidity causing me to get really oily, this does an amazing job of deep cleaning without stripping the moisture from my skin. I typically just buy the travel size since it seems to take forever to get through, however I got a ridiculously good deal on the full size as a FabFitFun add on. Available at Ulta for $9 for 2oz.

Rimmel Scandaleyes Eye Shadow Stick in Black Betrayal – this was such a great eye liner/shadow stick. I was able to create smudgy looks that did not budge. This was perfect in the summer! Sadly it started drying out and breaking off. I would definitely buy this again! Available at CVS (maybe?) for $3-5.

Saint Augustine and Suds Bath Bomb in Cedar Mint – oh man… Denise made bath bombs, ya’ll! These are so good. This smelled so good and fizzed for about 5-8 minutes. My skin felt amazing afterwards and the mint made me feel so refreshed. I think these are $6 each. Get some!

Total products used 2017:

Skincare: 24

Body: 13

Hair: 16

Makeup/face: 23

other: 7

Nails: 8

Samples: 16

Sheet masks: 1

Month total: $161   (approximately)

Year total: $1,636.48

There you go!

There isn’t much else to say… especially because I need to get cracking on November empties. Yikes!

Have a great week!

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This Week’s Lips #15

Oh hey… look what’s back!

I finally started tracking my weekly lip shades again. It has been a crazy summer and I feel like I can get back to what really matters…. LIPSTICK. Right? Right!

I have been changing it up a lot lately – high and low, bold and subtle, matte and sheer… it’s been all over the place! This week, I feel like I should title this “a variation on the color mauve.” But, as we all know, just because the colors are similar doesn’t mean they are anything alike!

Monday – Benefit Ultra Plush Lip Gloss in Fauxmance – I believe this has been discontinued… what a shame. These Benefit glosses are lightweight, and really well pigmented. Fauxmance is a pretty peach shade with just a hint of shimmer.

Tuesday – Bite Amuse Bouche Liquified Lip in Chutney – I wasn’t so sure if Bite could pull of a long-lasting liquid lipstick. The regular Amuse Bouche shades are lovely, but don’t have an exceptionally long wear time. I don’t mind being wrong! Chutney lasted several hours with only touch ups needed throughout the day. Now this transfers a LOT, but not so much that it wears down on your lips.

Wednesday – Pat McGrath MatteTrance Lipstick in 1995 – I felt as though I was immune to Pat McGrath’s seductive marketing ploys. Nope. My cousin purchased a couple and after I made one swatch, I was on the board the mothership. Damn her! This is the best matte lipstick I have ever worn – it applies evenly and is so smooth. This formula is so comfortable and long wearing.

Thursday – Tom Ford Lips and Boys in Guillermo – this is no stranger to my regular routine. Just a lovely pink-brown shade!

Friday – Bite High Pigment Pencil in Rhubarb – this might be the perfect Friday shade. High shine, well pigmented, medium wear time and goes with pretty much everything. I need easy by the end of the week.


Left – outdoors; right – outdoors, direct sunlight


I hope you enjoy the rest of your Sunday and have an amazing week!



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Use It: July and August 2017 Empties

Happy September!

I hope everyone had a wonderful late summer! I finally caught a break in my personal life – we took a much needed vacation to Iceland and then I spent a few days in my second home of Washington, D.C. I am really bad about using my PTO, but made it an absolute priority lately. I finally feel that I have reclaimed some control in my life. I also just booked my next vacation. 🙂

So here we goooo! This was a fairly productive couple months, so 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.


Avène Gentle Gel Cleanser – this might be the most perfect, gentle cleanser out there. This has no scent and removes dirt and oil without stripping moisture from my skin. I love using this with a konjac sponge first thing in the morning. One of my friends brought this back from Europe for me and I have yet to find it in the US. She is headed back in September and it is definitely on my wish list. Available at Boots for approximately $12-$15 (US) for 6.76oz.

Avène Thermal Spring Water – as I mentioned in my summer favorites post, I really love facial mists – toner, spring water.. you name it, I want it. This has been my overall favorite – I like to use after the gym or on really warm mornings. It is a hydrating mist that calms my angry skin. I have already repurchased the giant size of this! Available at Blue Mercury for $9 for 1.76oz.

Guerlain Orchidee Imperiale Cleansing Foam – this stuff is sooo good. I reviewed another mini before and I still love it. This removes any traces of eye makeup and leaves my skin feeling soft, hydrated and refreshed. I love everything in this skincare line! The full-size is 4.2oz and runs about $105 (YIKES!). I would seriously consider the splurge…

Le Métier de Beauté Rejuvenating Anti-Aging Night Crème  – Oh. Em. Gee. This… Wow. Let me be very clear that I didn’t purchase this – this was sent from the lovely folks at LMDB a while back through a conversation on Instagram. And you know why I didn’t purchase? Because this bad boy is $350. That freaks me out a little.. ok, a lot. This night crème is amazing. This is loaded with retinol and Coenzyme Q10 that repairs and refreshes skin. This was incredibly hydrating and left my skin feeling like I just had a facial. Is it worth it? Yes. Will I purchase? I don’t knowwww… Halp. Available at Neiman’s for $350 for 1oz. Yes. ONE OUNCE.

Skyn Iceland The Antidote Cooling Daily Lotion – I actually started this before we went to Iceland, sorry this was not a travel purchase! This is a really nice gel moisturizer – it worked so well during the summer months. It provided great hydration without leaving my skin greasy. I would definitely consider repurchasing. Full size available at Ulta for $45 for 1.76oz.


bareMinerals Touch Up Veil in Translucent – hey – remember this from my failed project pan? I have forced myself to use this off and on for an eternity. I ended up hating it… I also hate wasting things. So I sucked it up and finished it off. I did not find it to leave a great finish on my skin. Within just a couple hours, I felt really shiny. I’m not even going to look up the cost and where you can find it.

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

Urban Decay All Nighter Makeup Setting Spray – look, I had another little one stashed away! I do like this, but as I mentioned last time, I really prefer the MAC Fix+. I will probably not repurchase. Full size available at Ulta for $15 for 1oz.


Ahava Mineral Body Lotion – I’ve missed having this in my routine! It was nice to find a mini to take on all of my travels the last couple months. I love the way this smells and how my skin feels after using it. I will repurchase and repurchase as long as they continue to make it! Full size available at Blue Mercury for $29 for 8.5oz.

LUSH Whoosh Shower Jelly – I have used several of these – this is such a fun product. Lush makes some great stuff, but this is by far one of my favorites. I love this bright, citrus scent and how can you not love the jello-like texture? I will purchase this over and over again. Available at Lush for $8.95 for 3.5oz.


Amika Perk Up Dry Shampoo – I’ve gone through several of these minis now and every time I can do nothing but rave about it. It absorbs oil quickly, doesn’t leave a white cast and smells so good. I will definitely splurge on the full size at some point! Available at Sephora or birchbox.com for $10 for 1oz.

Fekkai Technician Color Care Shampoo – I’ve said this before and I will say it again..  I love Fekkai products, but I don’t love the price. This is cleanses so well and is incredibly gentle on color treated hair. I do have a full-size of this that I will break into soon! Available at Target for $4.99 for 2oz.


Bath and Body Works PocketBac in Perfect Beach Day – can this be a permanent scent? This smells like sunscreen and pina coladas. Yes, please. Available for $1.75 for 1oz.

Julep Nail Color in Julep – this is another crème polish that lasts 4-5 days. This was a beautiful color – the actual Julep brand shade that was released in 2015. The issue I have with Julep polishes it that there seems to always be quite a bit left in the bottle. It is very difficult to finish based on the design and as it gets down to the bottom portion, it gets really clumpy. There are so many polishes out there, that I will probably not repurchase any of the Julep shades when I finally finish them all off. Available at Julep for $14 for 0.27oz.

Total products used 2017:

Skincare: 22

Body: 12

Hair: 14

Makeup/face: 18

other: 7

Nails: 8

Samples: 16

Sheet masks: 1

Month total: $463.68   (approximately)

Year total: $1,475.48

And can we agree to not talk about my spending? If I went off the rails earlier this year, then I don’t know what you call my Nordstrom sale experience or my adventures at the VIB Rouge holiday preview. Shh.. don’t tell!

So there you have it! I promise to get back to regular blogging soon!

What did you use up the last couple months? Any favorites?

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Recent Summer Favorites

Hello everyone!

Long time, no favorites! Blogging has taken a back seat to life the last few months – thing are definitely on the upswing and I’m finally able to sit down and start typing out some of my thoughts. So here we go!

Since the heat and humidity are at their worst, I’ve switched up some of my facial products. Cooling sprays are what I crave! After working outside or when I’m just feeling generally miserable, I reach for the Avène Thermal Spring Water. After spending a few hours in 80+ degree weather with 90% humidity, I came home and showered and followed it with a generous mist before putting on a mask. It was refreshing and cooling after a super hot day. I’ve also added the Lush Breath of Fresh Air back into my morning routine. Serums were making my face feel a bit greasy so I eliminated one in exchange for this under my moisturizer – definitely the right choice. Just a couple spritzes leave my skin hydrated all day without feeling oily.

Speaking of dealing with summer… I’ve shifted away from powder blushes and have been using cream blushes pretty much every day. They have some serious staying power and still look pretty and natural when skin is a bit dewy. Two of my favorites have been the Becca Beach Tint Shimmer Soufflé in Watermelon/Moonstone and the Bite Multistick in Gelato. They are completely different, but really allow me to change up my summer looks throughout the week.

The Becca shade is a bright, punchy coral with a bit of shimmer. The photo was taken in direct sunlight, making it seem super glittery. It is actually quite subtle on my face. Gelato is a somewhat cool toned plummy/mauve shade, similar to Bite Thistle (reviewed here) with less of a taupe finish. The swatch applied pretty heavily, but it is actually quite sheer and buildable. Both shades are easy to blend and incredibly long lasting.

I’ve been on a perfume buying kick… shhhh, don’t tell! I have always loved breezy, beachy scents, but this seems to be at an all time high. My two current favorites are the Tom Ford Neroli Portofino and the Jo Malone Basil & Neroli – notice a trend? The two scents are similar, but the Tom Ford has more citrus notes and a hint of bergamot. Neroli and bergamot are so crisp and clean – I can’t help but be drawn to them. I also just picked up a bergamot scent, but I can’t officially say if it is a favorite yet. 😉

So there you have it – just a few things that are getting me through summer. What are some of your current favorites? Share below!


Use It: June 2017 Empties

Hello again!
How on earth is June over? I cannot believe that half a year is gone at the blink of an eye. My personal has been really stressful the last several weeks – lots of stuff that I don’t feel like sharing with the world (sorry…). On the flip side, work is great and I’m enjoying daily creative work. My animals are geriatric and hate the heat, but are muddling through with wagging tails and smiles. They are just the best.

I’m trying to focus on using up a few key things – older body products, foundations and a few specific makeup things that need to get used or go in the trash. Given the shameful amount I spent on all of this stuff, the option I prefer is to use it up. I’m going to go alphabetically again this month due to the lower volume. As always, sample reviews can be found on my Instagram (@lvp8779).

Here we go:

Ahava Dead Sea Essentials Refreshing Body Spa Towelettes in Hydrating Hibiscus – these had a really lovely, light scent – not overpowering or too floral. I loved using these after a trip to the gym or after work on a really hot day. Sadly, I think these have been discontinued, hence the Target clearance sticker. So sad… I would repurchase. Target – $2.08 for 28 wipes.

Algenist Splash Hydrating Setting Mist – ok so maybe the packaging does not explicitly say this, my beauty sleuthing skills came in handy for this one. I received this and a couple other products from The Pink Panel a while back, this was rediscovered during my bathroom renovation. I remembered I liked it while I was testing it for the study, but then was quickly reminded how much I love face mists in the summer. I used this as a toner – after washing my face in the morning, I sprayed a few pumps over my face before daily serums. This was really cooling and hydrating. I would consider purchasing if it wasn’t for the price – it’s a bit steep and there are some great mists out there. Available at Sephora for $35 for 4oz.

Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealer in Porcelain and Sheer Finish Loose Powder in White – I know I have talked about this before – this is a long-discontinued design from Bobbi Brown. The two products stacked was brilliant, however now they put side by side in a small compact. This makes no sense – you get powder in the concealer and the powder is pressed vs. loose. It is so problematic. I think I have one more old design stashed away… Once that is gone, I will probably not repurchase. As I’m getting older (sigh), I find that the concealer settles in the creases around my eyes throughout the morning. I do love the coverage though… don’t count it out down the road! Side by side kit available at Nordstrom for $37.

Bobbi Brown Smokey Eye Mascara – this was so nice to revisit! I used this a couple years back and discovered I had another mini in my stash. As I mentioned in a previous post, this really separated and provided lots of volume to my lashes. I feel like it coated each lash and provided a ton of definition. Farewell, good friend! I would definitely repurchase! Full size available at Nordstrom for $30.

Julep Nail Color in Kelsey – this was an odd peachy shade. I tried to make this work several times and the last time I wore it I just scowled at my nails all day. I really disliked how it looked with my skin color. Will not repurchase. Available at Julep for $14 for 0.27oz.

Le Métier de Beauté Classic Flawless Finish Foundation in Shade 1 – I finally finished a foundation – it has been ages! This is medium to full coverage foundation that hides blemishes and evens out skin tone. This was great during the fall/winter/early spring months. This does not work well for me in warmer weather. This was a good shade match, however as it aged it did oxidize a bit and left my skin a bit sallow. I think there are a lot of great foundations out there… so I probably won’t revisit this one again. Available at Neiman’s for $68 for 1oz.

MAC PowerPoint Eye Pencil in Stubborn Brown – oh man… remember this from my Project Pan  a while back? Well, I lost it at some point during the project and then found it a few months later. Then I lost it again and recovered it during the infamous bathroom renovation. I tried to make it work and it is just done – it was too dry at this point to really use. This is my favorite style of MAC eyeliner, so I would probably purchase again at some point. Stubborn Brown is a rich, chocolaty shade that works well on any skin tone. Available online and MAC counters for $17 for 0.04oz.

MAC Prep+Prime Transparent Finishing Powder – this is the most versatile setting powder I’ve used in a long time. It is incredibly lightweight and keeps my makeup from creasing and helps keep shine at bay for a few hours. I would definitely repurchase. Available online and MAC counters for $27 for 0.32oz.

Mally Volumizing Mascara – this was terrible. The formula was so dry I couldn’t even get it to coat my lashes. I used it on one eye and then tossed it in the Use It bin. Bummer. Available at Ulta for $20 for 0.39oz.

Urban Decay 24/7 Eye Pencil in Sabbath – I love this pencil. It took an hour of swatching to find the perfect navy liner and this was the winner – a rich, heavily pigmented navy blue that doesn’t lean purple or grey. This really does last all day. After the latest round of work-related pink eye, I am retiring this. I know where to find it and will probably repurchase soon. Available at Ulta for $20 for 0.04oz.

Urban Decay All Nighter Makeup Setting Spray – this is great – a few spritzes and makeup does not budge. I feel like this definitely extends the wear time of my makeup, specifically eye makeup, in the summer. However, I do prefer the MAC Fix+. I would probably circle back around to this again though. Available at Ulta for $15 for 1oz.

Short and sweet. Lots of makeup this month – wow!

Total products used 2017:

Skincare: 17

Body: 10

Hair: 12

Makeup/face: 15

other: 6

Nails: 7

Samples: 13

Sheet masks: 1

Month total: $245.08   (approximately)

Year total: $1,011.80

At the end of December 2016, I used up a total value of $1,570.80. If I keep up this pace, I might hit $2,000… I am shaking my head at that… I can’t believe how much I’ve spent over the years. Ugh.

I’m not even going to talk about what I purchased this month… I did some retail therapy. That’s all I’m saying.

I look forward to hopefully getting a few more posts up soon. I realize I’ve really been slacking. There has been a lot going on personally and I hope to step it up in the second half of the year.

Enjoy the rest of July!

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