A New Day

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

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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: 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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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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Use It: April 2017 Empties

Hello again, everyone!

What a crazy, crazy month! I know – it is so boring to say that… but this month flew by.  We are nearing the end of construction in our bathroom FINALLY. Throughout the construction, I have been using really minimal version of my daily routine… for what seems like forever at this point. But it has really helped me focus on using up a few things – deluxe samples, full size.. the whole deal.

So here we goooo! This was a fairly productive month, 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.


Balance Me Tinted Wonder Eye Cream – in theory, this is great. It is a hydrating, light reflecting moisturizer that diminishes under eye circles. It’s an all-natural product, chock full of hyaluronic acid and light reflecting particles… Ok – what is the down side?? It actually did nothing for my skin – it was all smoke and mirrors. The tint was just a bit too dark for my skin tone and it didn’t actually have any long-term brightening effect. I didn’t finish all of this and wasn’t really interested in purchasing. Available on Birchbox.com for 0.34oz.

Kate Somerville Hydrating Firming Mist – did not firm, was not overly hydrating. I didn’t really enjoy this. Bummer. But for those KS die-hards, you can purchase the full-size at Sephora for $48 for 4oz.

Murad Renewing Cleansing Cream – this was a very dense, creamy cleanser. It was a bit harsh for my eyes, so had to use a different cleanser. I would recommend as a follow up to an oil or balm cleanser, but did not find it thorough enough to remove everything on the first try. This would be much better for mature or dry skin. This was not my favorite Murad product and I would probably not purchase. Full-size available at Ulta or Sephora for $38 for 6.75oz.



Perricone MD Photo Plasma Broad Spectrum SPF 30 – this was a great moisturizer – it was hydrating during the cold months and light enough for the summer months. I loved the high SPF and found it really took great care of my skin. I would definitely repurchase. Available at Sephora for $75 for 2 oz.

Vichy Liftactiv Supreme – this was received through an Influenster box a while back – I received this and a serum, which I ultimately went and purchased a full-size of! This was an excellent moisturizer and a great introduction into the brand. I definitely want to explore more and would definitely consider purchasing. Full size is available at Ulta for $42 for 1.7oz.

Vichy 3 in 1 One Step Cleansing Micellar Solution – another Vichy freebie! This one was a gift from the company through an Instagram contest. Seriously – I was thrilled! This is a really great formula – very gentle and removes makeup so quickly and easily. I actually have a backup of this, but down the road I would definitely repurchase. Full-size available at Ulta for $14.50 for 6.8oz.




Buxom Vanity Lash Mascara – this is a really flimsy wand. I get that Buxom wants to offer options as far as the wand, but I cannot get behind this one. This bent so much during application that I cannot actually speak to the formula of the mascara because I cannot apply it well. I think Buxom has a lot of great products – this is just not one of them. Full-size available at Sephora for $20 for 0.37oz.




Aveda Hand Relief Night Renewal Serum – this was a great addition to my daily hand treatment. I used this day and night and liked the additional boost it gave with my regular hand cream. This was really great during the winter months. Would definitely repurchase. Available at Aveda for $35 for 1oz.

Kiehl’s Crème de Corps – still not a fan. Am I the only one who does not love this? I think I’m in the minority. I used this at night on my hands.. whatever. Available at Kiehl’s for $11 for 2.5oz.


Aloxxi Firm Hold Hairpray – this is a very firm hold at first, but then starts to break down after a couple hours. I’m not a big hairspray user so… I received this through Birchbox and I can’t find this version on the website anymore. It’s not worth hunting down.



Cricket Static Free Fast Flo Brush (1.5in) – I’ve had this brush for like 6 years and it is completely falling apart. It no longer eliminates static and the brush tips have started falling off. But I love it and have already replaced it! Available at Ulta for $7.49

Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk (x2) – I’m pretty sure I reviewed this before and I was not impressed. It says it’s for normal hair, but I think this is more for fine hair – I have lots of hair and this just gets lost. I don’t feel like this works beyond a few hours for me. Full size available on Birchbox for $20 for 3.2oz.




Deborah Lippmann Nail Color in Lady is a Tramp – can I just point out that I used a whole bottle of Deborah Lippman polish? These are 0.5oz bottles so this is quite a feat! This is a crème pink-toned red that was semi-opaque. I needed 2-3 coats to assure there was no streaking or thinner spots. I would definitely like to try out more shades – this formula is fantastic! Available at Nordstrom for $18.

Julep Crème Color in Vicki – hot, hot pink! Whoa! This is an obnoxious, but great spring/summer color. Sadly, this bottle broke down and got really clumpy. I couldn’t salvage it! I couldn’t find this on the website, but there are some other really similar colors and sooo many others available for $14 at Julep.com.

Saint Augustine and Suds Tonka Whiskey Leather Candle – this is so good. Oh man. Can I bottle this and wear it? I love this combination – it is amazing. I bought several of these so there will be no running out! More scents available seasonally at Saintaugustineandsuds.com for $12.

Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat – this dries super fast and makes any shade look super glossy. I’ve gone through a few of these now and I think it’s definitely reached permanent status in my stash. Available at Ulta for $9.95.

Total products used 2017:

Skincare: 15

Body: 7

Hair: 11

Makeup/face: 5

other: 5

Nails: 5

Samples: 5

Sheet masks: 1

Month total: $242.44   (approximately)

Year total: $580.19

In keeping with the past few months of tracking my low-buy behavior, I will sadly share my inevitable derailment. Thanks Sephora VIB sale… Also, there is so much amazing new stuff out that I threw up my hands and totally caved:

VIB Sale:

Drybar Detox Dry Shampoo – FULL SIZE! $23 for 3.5oz

Tom Ford Neroli Portofino EDP 1oz – $145

Deduct 15% and a $10 Shopkick gift card… I also used a $100 gift card from work. This ended up costing about $40 total out of pocket.

Ulta trip… not with 20% off… oops…

Monthly Brow Bar visit – $21 -but I don’t count this in my monthly low-buy tracking!

Benefit Cheek Parade – $58.00 for 5 full size cheek colors!

Cotton balls – $1.99 I don’t count this either!

Cricket Static Free Fast Flo Brush – $5.39 on sale!

NYX Blotting Tissue – buy one get one 50% – $3.99 each

Seche Vite Fast Dry Top Coat – $9.95

Tony Moly Fresh Cleansing Tissue – $8.50 (5x points!)

Ulta Nail Polish Remover – $2.49

Total – $120 (ish) – minus $3.50 coupon and $35 gift card. Actual out of pocket expense $87. Subtract Brow Bar visit= about $62

Total spent in April – just over $100 out of pocket. Not bad! My wine spending however… yikes! Good thing this is a beauty blog and not a wine blog, right?

There you have another month of empties. What did you use up this month? Any favorites?

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Use It: February 2017 Empties

Hello again, everyone!

I’ve been on a bit of a blog break – I’m in the final stages of planning a big event next weekend and we started a major bathroom renovation. I’ve just not had time to sit down and type anything.

As I was moving all of the stuff out of the bathroom,  I contemplated just tossing my empties box… and then I thought about waiting until March… and then I just tossed the box  into my guest room. Since there were so few items in this box, I figured I could sit down and type out a few notes.

As always, sample reviews are posted to my Instagram (@lvp8779) as they are used. I used up a handful of some deluxe samples. If I was able to get a good sense of the product, it is included in this post. I am going to keep a tally again this year and track the total amount of products used with a final total in December (or whenever I actually write the December empties post…)

As an added bonus, my low-buy purchases will be tacked on to the end of the post. Hopefully this will help keep me accountable for spending as little as possible this year.

Here we go:

Amika Perk Up Dry Shampoo – this is definitely one of my favorite high-end dry shampoos. It absorbs oil quickly and keeps working throughout the day. I love this! Available at Sephora or birchbox.com for $10 for 1oz.

Guerlain Orchidee Imperiale The Eye and Lip Cream – I wasn’t going to include this because it was a sample, but it lasted for a month and was so damn good. This smoothed out my under eye area and decreased the dark circles. If it wasn’t so crazy expensive, I would definitely purchase. Full size is available at Saks for $200 for 0.5oz (no joke).

Not Your Mother’s Clean Freak Refreshing Dry Shampoo – this can of dry shampoo is huge and seemed to last forever. I was really impressed – this worked better than most of the drugstore dry shampoos I have tried. I will definitely repurchase! Available at Ulta for $5.99 for 7oz.

Ole Henriksen Truth Crème Advanced Hydration – this was nothing spectacular. It absorbed quickly and wasn’t greasy. It would be a good summer moisturizer, but definitely not meant for colder weather. Since they recently, rebranded I think they renamed this as the Truth Advanced™ Moisturizing Crème. Full size available at Sephora for $48 for 1.7oz.

Spa Sister Detoxifying Bamboo Charcoal Konjac Sponge – I found this for a steal at T.J. Maxx! I really liked how well it cleaned and exfoliated my face, but the sponge size was too  big. After a while, I switched this to a body sponge and it worked so much better! I loved using this this my Julep body cleansing oil. I would definitely repurchase. Available at T.J. Maxx for $4.99.

Total products used 2017:

Skincare: 7

Body: 1

Hair: 4

Makeup/face: 0

other: 3

Nails: 0

Samples: 4

Sheet masks: 1

Month total: $45.98   (approximately)

Year total: $158.98

Things I purchased:

About 4 candles from Saint Augustine  and Suds. Sadly, my friend Denise had to close her storefront. However she is going to continue events, local events and her website is open 24/7 (www.saintaugustineandsuds.com). I am in love with the Tonka Whiskey Leather candles. I also managed to find another Campfire and Coffee Candle… so good.

Amount spent in February: about $50.

Have a wonderful March! I look forward to sharing final renovation photos with you soon!

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2016 Subscription Favorites and Year in Review

Hello everyone!

Here is the one you’ve been waiting for… lots of friends ask my opinion on subscription boxes – best value, variety, quality and overall fun. Because at the end of the day, subscription boxes are like little surprises every months. Gifts from you to you! 🙂

I love writing year end reviews – it gives me a chance to take a good look at the obscene amount of products I received in my subscription boxes and determine if they are worth it and what I really loved. After sitting down and going through all of my subscriptions this year, I determined there was very little I actually really enjoyed. Maybe I’m overwhelmed with products? Or disenchanted with everything? I think it is somewhere between overabundance and not loving what I have received. I also made some big switches this year in my subscriptions, so enjoy:

How to Be a Redhead Box – April -July 2016 – what a great box! For under $20 per month, you get a mixture of body, hair, skin and makeup products specific to redheads – those by choice and by nature. So why did I quit this box after so few months? Volume, folks. This came with so many products every month that I simply couldn’t keep up… we’re talking full-size shampoo, lotions, skin treatments.. you name it. This is a small subscription service with a constant waitlist. Since I couldn’t keep up with the amount of products, I decided to hit pause and let someone else take advantage. There were a lot of mainstream brands, but they also highlighted a lot of fun indie brands.

There were 2 winners for me – Pravana Color Enhancer in Brilliant Copper and the Chella Eyebrow Pencil in Awesome Auburn. The color enhancer is pretty serious – you apply to your hair and then have to immediately scrub it off your hands to avoid staining. I’ve dyed my scalp red more than once with this.. oops. This is perfect for when my color starts to fade and my roots are starting to creep up. After leaving on for a few minutes, my color is refreshed and more vibrant. I find that I can extend my color treatments 3-4 extra weeks with this. On the flip side, the Chella brow pencil is an easy way to add more depth to my brows after a color treatment. I usually blend it with the IT Cosmetics Brow Power Universal Eyebrow Pencil for a deeper auburn hue.

Allure Beauty Boxended June 2016. I have been through a few iterations of this since joining a couple years ago. The most recent version completely changed the billing structure, which was fine since I had no idea who was actually charging my credit card… For $15 per month, I received a really solid mix of mid to high-end products that included skin care, perfume, hair and makeup. Towards the end, the brands tended to be a bit repetitive (Bulgari, Pur-Lisse), but at least they weren’t repetitive drugstore brands like Ipsy tends to include. They were kind enough to send me a box back in December and it was awfully tempting to resubscribe!

The standout for me in 2016, was the DHC Deep Cleansing Oil. I’ve heard a lot of hype about this and was very excited to receive and try. A couple drops really go a long way. I use this in the first step of a double cleanse and it breaks down makeup and primer, lifting it away from the skin. I do not use this on or around my eyes.. too scary!

With the end of one subscription, began another…

Sephora PLAY! – after several months on the waitlist, I finally received my first box in July! I love the monthly mix of skincare, color, hair and perfume. I think the real selling point, however is the extra 50 points you get if you shop in store that month. That’s pretty great. At $10 a month, this is an absolute winner.

The winners: hands down, is the Ouai Wave Spray which I actually featured in a favorites post a few months ago. I ended up buying the full size and use it all the time. Another favorite was the Smashbox Always On Liquid Lipstick in Driver’s Seat that appeared here in a weekly lip post (which will return when I get some sunlight back). And while some people might complain, I really like receiving an assortment of products from the Sephora brand line. I haven’t tried a lot of things from their line and this has really given a great look into their own products.

And a final farewell…

Birchbox – After more than 4 years, I said goodbye to my beloved Birchbox. I was really on the fence about renewing last year and I bit the bullet and renewed in December. I wish I could say that there were some amazing, stand out, new to me products… but there weren’t. The things I loved the most, were Sample Choice items that I had received previously. I’m not going to lie, the shift from reviewing for points to only points for purchase was also a deciding factor. I’m sure this hurt their bottom line, but it was a huge incentive for having the subscription.

So there you have it. Whew. That took much longer than I remember from last year! The 2017 plan is to maintain one (yes, ONE) subscription. For now, it is going to be just the Sephora PLAY! box. I have so many products that I truly do not need anything else. This box fulfills my curiosity for new releases and quality brands, while not overwhelming me with stuff I will never use.

What did you discover in 2016? What subscriptions will you keep in 2017?

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Use It: August 2016 Empties

Hello again!
August always seems like the longest month, but this one just flew! I survived my birthday month – I actually didn’t age this year… it was amazing. I don’t foresee aging any upcoming birthdays either. 🙂

I had zero empties the first couple weeks of the month and just assumed I would be waiting until the end of September to write this post. But mid-month, I started finishing up a bunch of products and all of a sudden I had a massive pile… I don’t see this as a bad thing. I have a ton of products open, not open and backups of many. After tossing a few things and getting their replacements, I actually made a significant dent in one of my drawers. Little victories!

As usual, everything is broken down into one of the following categories: skincare, makeup, body, hair and lifestyle. Sample reviews are posted frequently to my Instagram (@lvp8779) as they are used.


Boscia Konjac Cleansing Sponge – I bought this one in a pinch. It’s great, but I know there are so many cleansing sponges that do the same job for 1/4 of the price. Available at Sephora for $15.


MAC Prep + Prime Highlighter in Radiant Rose – if you read my blog regularly, you know that I just love, love, love this. This is just a perfect pink highlighter that works so well under your eyes and just as well on cheeks or forehead. I will definitely repurchase! Available online or at MAC counters or freestanding stores for $27 for 0.12oz.

Stila Lip Glaze in Mango Berry – this was a beautiful, sheer coral shade. It wasn’t until half way through this when I remembered that I despise the applicator – it is so messy and you can never dispense enough so then you get too much and it gets all over the lid. Loved the color, but will not repurchase any of these again! Mango Berry is no longer available, but a similar shade called Tangerine is available at Sephora for $222 for 0.08oz.

W3ll People Expressionist Mascara – Birchbox just looooves this brand. The applicator is one of the best I’ve ever used – short and coated the whole lash. The formula, however is a bit of a miss. It coated the lashes, but it didn’t thicken or lengthen… it was a very natural look. I do tend to prefer a bit more drama in a mascara. Available on Birchbox.com for $22 at 0.23oz.


Kamill Aloe Hand and Nail Cream – this was a nice, lightweight lotion. It was good for spring and summer months, but just wasn’t hydrating enough for cold weather months. The aloe scent was a bit strong, but faded after a while. I would love to test out some of the other scents! Available at smallflower.com for $4.95 for 100ml.

Kiehl’s Superbly Efficient Antiperspirant and Deodorant Cream – yet another one… this is just the absolute best deodorant. It is unscented, dries quickly and lasts 24 hours – so great! I have gone through so many of these and am about to stock up on more. Available on kiehls.com for $19.50 for 2.5oz.

LUSH Rose Jam – this is my all-time favorite Lush product. Why isn’t this a lotion? Or a perfume? It is just SO GOOD. Not only does it smell amazing, it is hydrating as well as gentle on your skin. This is only available at certain times of the year. When you see it, grab it! Available at Lush for $9.95 for 3.3oz.


Alterna Bamboo Style Cleanse Extend in Mango Coconut – this claims to be free of parabens, sulfates, phthalates and synthetic color.. ok so I want to know what chemical it smells like because this stinks. It might be a “natural” dry shampoo but it smells like mangoes and chemicals and I had to leave the room that I would spray it in. I originally got this in a Sephora dry shampoo kit but can no longer find it on the website… guess I wasn’t the only one who felt this way.

Davines LOVE Shampoo – I just love this shampoo. It’s deep cleansing, smoothing and smells amazing. It I actually needed to buy shampoo, this would be it. available at Birchbox.com for $25 for 5oz.

Kiehl’s Olive Fruit Oil Nourishing Shampoo – this is awful. I only used this a couple times because it left my hair feeling really heavy and oily. By the end of the day it would look horrible – super greasy and unwashed. I don’t know what hair this is meant for, but definitely not mine. Available at kiehls.com for $7 for 2.5oz.

Not Your Mother’s Knotty to Nice Conditioning Detangler – such a long name… This came in an Allure box a while ago – it was perfectly fine. I don’t frequently find much difference between detanglers – either they work or they don’t, right? I would repurchase I guess. Available at Ulta and Amazon for $6.99 for 6oz.


Julep Clean Slate Polish Remover Pads – I know I reviewed these at some point a long time ago. I feel like I really have to work to get the polish off with these pads. The liquid evaporates very quickly so you can only really use 1 per hand. Given the cost, I can’t see how people use these all the time. Available at Julep.com and now Ulta for $14 for 10.

Ruffian Nail Color in Rosary – this is a lovely warm, rose gold shade with a lot of shimmer. I did not like the applicator brush because it collected very little polish to apply… however, you really didn’t need much to fully cover the nail. I usually use 2 coats but 1 would be sufficient. I wouldn’t repurchase because I have a ton of nail polish and it is actually crazy expensive.. like more than twice as much as Chanel ($28 for 0.40z). I got this in a Birchbox, definitely wouldn’t shell out this much. Available on Birchbox.com for $24 for 0.17oz.

Total products used 2016 year to date:

Skincare: 10

Body: 16

Hair: 13

Makeup/face: 20

other: 4

Nails: 8

Samples: 27

Sheet masks: 9

Month total: $184.39

Year total: $1,026.11 WHOA!

What did you finish up this month? Any favorites? Non-favorites?

Have a great September!

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Use It: July 2016 Empties

Hello again!

How on earth is it already August? What the heck… I swear I just got caught up on June.. I’ve been working on a few drafts, so will hopefully have those complete in the next few days. There has been a lot of travel and then I got sick… ugh. Excuses.

This month did not yield a ton of empties, so I will just list everything alphabetically rather than my usual categories. I contemplated just waiting until next month, but I really hate having all of these empty containers sitting around.

Aveeno Nourish + Dandruff Control – so this did nourish, but it did not control dandruff. I feel like it was actually worse after using this shampoo. It wasn’t deep cleansing or anything spectacular for that matter. Thumbs down. Available at Target for $6-$7 for 10.5oz.

Avene Hydrance Light Hydrating Cream – this was great for colder weather. But once the weather turned and the humidity went up, this left my face feeling really greasy. I did finish this up on my neck and décolletage and it was fine. I would consider repurchasing for the fall/winter months if I can find the version with SPF. Available at Birchbox for $32 for 1.35oz.

drybar Detox Dry Shampoo – this stuff stinks…. but it works so well! This mini version lasted almost 2 months – a little bit really went a long way. A couple sprays distributed enough dry shampoo to eliminate all of the oil from my hair and helped extend time between washing. I don’t think I could repurchase though because the smell bothers me that much – I might be one of the few people that actually dislikes all of the drybar products. Available at Sephora for $13 for 1.4oz.

e.l.f. Shine Eraser – yes… another. I think I am finally using my last pack. Again, they are fine and were being sold at closeout at Target for $0.85.

Essie Grow Stronger Base Coat – I have been using this for a while and haven’t noticed much change… I started using this when my hair and nails were all messed up after some surgery a couple years ago. I don’t know that I can say it did that much repair – I think it just needed time… not this base coat. On that note, this is a decent base coat. It is a bit tacky and helps the color really adhere to the nail. I have a couple other base coats so I probably won’t repurchase right now. Available at CVS and Target for about $8.

Julep Nail Color in Farrah – this is a really interesting cool toned, purple-grey shade. This is the Silk Finish formulas – in the bottle it looks super shimmery, but dries sort of matte. With a good top coat, it has a lot of depth and shimmer. I have no idea why anyone would want to wear this as a matte! This wore for 4-5 days. I would not repurchase only because I have a ton of nail polish. Available at julep.com for $14.

Kiehl’s Close Shavers Squadron Blue Eagle Shave Cream – this is the sensitive skin version, and yes it’s for men. My skin reacts so poorly to most shaving products, so I get really excited when I find something that doesn’t cause horrible razor burn. I’ve been using this for a while and just keep coming back. Dear Kiehl’s, don’t ever stop making this. I have backups of this. 🙂  Available at Kiehls.com for $16 for 5oz.

Kiehl’s Crème de Corps – I have to be honest… I don’t get the hype. It’s a perfectly fine lotion. I think there are a lot of other lotions out there at a lower price point. Kiehl’s makes a lot of really great products, but this is just ok. Much like the drybar products, I’m sure I’m in the minority on this. Available at Kiehls.com for $11 for 2.5oz.

One ‘n Only Brazilian Tech De-Frizz Wand – this is an absolute life saver in this humid weather. A couple quick swipes tames flyaways and keeps my curls from frizzing. I originally received this in an Allure box and I repurchased a couple at Sally Beauty – they are not currently on the website. I’m going to stalk these down in my local store and hoard them away! If you can find them, get them… buy one for me too. I think they ran around $6-$7.

Rusk Dry Finishing Spray – this was a nice, lightweight spray that helped bring my curls back on second day hair. After brushing out my hair, I would dampen it and then spray on a small amount and re-scrunch the curls. Full size is available at Birchbox for $18 for 8oz.

Total products used 2016 year to date:

Skincare: 9

Body: 13

Hair: 9

Makeup/face: 17

other: 4

Nails: 6

Samples: 24

Sheet masks: 9

Month total: $125.85

Year to date: $841.72

All samples and sheet masks have mini reviews on Instagram!

What all did you use up this past month? Any favorites?

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Use It: March and April 2016 Empties

Hello again!

Welcome to another round of empties! This is one of my favorite type of posts to write and read. It makes me really take a good look at my purchases and consider if they were worth it. It also puts in perspective how many other things I have to use up!

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


Lancome Bi-Facil Double Action Eye Makeup Remover – I don’t get the hype. This is a fine eye makeup remover, but it isn’t great. More often than not, I would wake up with leftover mascara and eyeliner caked under my eyes (gross). I expect a lot more for this price point and definitely would not repurchase. Available at any Lancome counter or online for $30 for 4.2oz. Nordstrom does price matching and you can purchase there for $27.


Benefit Gimme Brow in Light/Medium – what a great, easy to use brow tint and filler. Benefit calls this a “volumizing fiber gel.” Just a few swipes fill in sparse areas and the formula holds unruly hairs in place. This little tube lasted 6 months, but I would say its worth it and consider repurchasing. Available at Ulta and all Benefit counters for $24 for 0.1oz.

Bite Beauty Lush Fruit Lip Gloss in Currant – this is a fabulous neutral shade gloss. Bite makes wonderful lightweight glosses that aren’t sticky or clumpy. All of their products are made with natural oils and are scented like fruit. I would definitely repurchase. Available at Sephora for $22.

Fresh Sugar Tinted Lip Treatment in Rose – I’ve gone through so many of these – granted, I have a stockpile of the minis… This balm is lightweight, non-greasy and provides a lovely, sheer wash of color. I will purchase a full size if I ever run out. 🙂 Available at Sephora for $24 for 0.15oz.

Marc Jacobs Velvet Noir Mascara – I received this through Influenster a few months agoand used it religiously up until a few weeks ago. I read see feedback from another blogger that she knew its time was up when it started flaking throughout the day. and flake it did. This was fantastic until then – this wand separated each lash and the formula coated evenly every time. This lasted easily 10 hours every day. But yes, at the end of its 3-month life cycle, it definitely flaked. Maybe more companies should create a built in reminder when you should toss? Overall I really liked this and would purchase again. Available at Sephora for $26.

Neutrogena Glow Sheer in Ivory to Fair – my friend Laura gave me this forever ago when she was decluttering and I didn’t love or hate it.. perhaps that’s why she passed it along also? The definition of sheer is spot on – it provided little coverage and left a nice dewy finish. It made a great weekend errand-running foundation. Sadly, this has turned and now separates upon application. I have plenty of foundation, I don’t see myself ever repurchasing. Available at Ulta, CVS and many other locations for $12.99 for 1.1 oz.

Stila Smudge Stick Eye Liner in Oscar Fish – I love the Smudge Stick formula so I’m very sad to see this go! This was a great chocolaty brown that I featured in a quick makeup recommendation post last year.  Will not repurchase right now, as I have a few similar shades that I want to finish. Available at Sephora for $22 for 0.01oz.


The Body Shop Body Butter in Cranberry Joy – I’ve reviewed this product, as well as many other things in this scent. I love cranberry! The body butters from TBS are so great – very hydrating and the scents last all day. I will repurchase this again and again – and I probably don’t need to… I think I have backups. This seasonal scent is available starting in September for $21 for 6.7oz.


Saint Augustine & Suds Scrub Down – this is a great coffee scrub from my favorite local gal. They just reformulated this and want to test it out! Its hydrating and exfoliating at the same time. Visit the website to check out when the new scrub is up as well as see her gorgeous soaps!

Soap & Glory The Righteous Butter – this was my first Soap & Glory product and I thought it was so great – definitely makes me want to try more from this brand. This little tub sat on my desk for quite a while – a little bit went a really long way. It was very moisturizing, but not greasy and really helped my hands survive winter! Available at Ulta for $4 for the 1.69 mini or $15 for 10.1 oz.


Biologe Color Care Shampoo – this is my favorite shampoo. I might change from time to time, but I always come back! It gets my hair incredibly clean without harming my color. I will always repurchase. Available at most salons for $13-24 (this older 16.9oz is no longer sold).

Biolage Pro-Keratin Renewal Spray – this is part of a shampoo and conditioner set that I finished a while ago (these sets never finish together..), so I used this in combination with my regular Biologe color treated shampoo. A few sprays left my hair smooth and shiny when used with high heat. I would consider repurchasing after I downsize some of my current products. Available wherever you can buy salon products for $23 for 6.8 oz.

Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk – I think this would be better for fine hair – it does an okay job of absorbing oil.. it is fine for about 4 hours before my hair starts to feel greasy. Will not purchase again. Available on Birchbox.com for $20 for 3.2oz.

Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Dry Shampoo – this was.. fine. It was a perfectly fine dry shampoo. It did fairly decent job of absorbing oil for 5-6 hour, but after that just completely disappeared. I also felt that this was good for like 1-day, but given that I usually only wash my hair twice a week, it did nothing to extend my style or time between regular shampoo. And for such a “clean” line of products, this smelled like chemicals. Would not repurchase. Available at Sephora for $12 for 1.8oz.


Bath and Body Works PocketBac in Vampire Blood and EEK! – yes. These are from Halloween and I love the cheesy names! I have a bunch of different scents hoarded away and will not be repurchasing any for a while. Available at Bath and Body Works for $1.75 for 1oz.

Julep Nail Color in Shari, Claudette and Margot – yes, I finished 3 nail polishes in the last couple months… Julep has so many great shades, however they are very dupable. I love the message behind the brand and like supporting an all-female business, but the Julep formulas frustrate me as a whole. I can get 2-3 days before they chip even with a durable topcoat. They also get really gloopy towards the end, the exception being Margot (gold) and I was able to use every available drop. These colors were beautiful but I will not be repurchasing any of them – especially at $14 each.

Ulta Strengthening Nail Polish Remover – I’ve written about this several times. I’m not super picky about polish remover. This works fine and is cheap. I have backups. 🙂 Available at Ulta for $2.99 for 6 oz.


Rimmel Scandal Eyes Waterproof Kohl Kajal in Black – when makeup artist extraordinaire Lisa Eldridge (bow down!) recommends a product, I take that pretty seriously. Unfortunately this was an absolute fail for me. This constantly smudged onto my brow bone and under my eyes with and without primer. After a week of trying to make this work, I GIVE UP! Ugh!

Total products used 2016 year to date:

Skincare: 4

Body: 9

Hair: 5

Makeup/face: 12

other: 3

Nails: 4

Samples: 13

Sheet masks: 4

March/April total: $274.74

Year total: $593.58

All of my sample and sheet mask reviews are posted regularly on my Instagram (@lvp8779) as well as random other beauty things.. stop by and say hi!

I hope you have a wonderful May!


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Use It – February 2016

Hello and Happy March!

Welcome back to another installment of talking about my trash or reviewing a bunch of products – you choose how to look at it. 😉 I love reading these posts on many other blogs because you are getting so much more than a first impression.

Obviously February was a short month and I feel like this post kind of reflects that – especially since I’ve already started collecting some March empties!

Here we go:

e.l.f Shine Eraser – these are very basic blotting papers that I think have been discontinued. There is nothing special about these sheets – they absorb oil. I snagged a bunch of these at Target for $0.85 (you read that correctly) for 50 sheets. If I find them again, I will repurchase.

Kiehl’s Soy Milk & Honey Body Polish – this smells AMAZING! It is full of Shea butter, jojoba butter an almond oil, creating a clean, soft scent with a serious exfoliant that leaves skin super soft. BUT the exfoliant is micro-beads, which is really disappointing coming from Kiehl’s. If they adhere to the new regulations on micro-beads I would repurchase in a heartbeat. Available at any Kiehl’s counter or online for $11 (2.5oz).

Henri Bendel EDT in Wild Fig – many moons ago, Henri Bendel carried an exquisite line of body products that mirrored some of their most popular candle scents. I have been nursing this little bottle along for years in hopes that they would return with this product. I’ve begged and pleaded with HB, but no luck. I decided to purchase the similar Jo Malone Wild Fig & Cassis. It isn’t exact, but it will do. I think the Diptyque Figuier is actually a bit closer but I am going to work with the Jo Malone for now. Given my love for fig, I might cave on the Diptyque when fall comes around.

NYX Blemish Control Blotting Papers – these claim to have salicylic acid, but I’m not sure. I also don’t have major acne problems so… there was nothing exceptional about these – I would rather pay $0.85 for the e.l.f. Shine Eraser. These are $5.99 for 100 sheets.

Philosophy Hope in a Jar for Body – what an unimpressive lotion. I used this on my hands at night and I did not find it to be over moisturizing and can’t imagine how dry the rest of my body would have felt. Thumbs down. This doesn’t seem to be available any longer – shocker.

R+Co Death Valley Dry Shampoo – I liked this dry shampoo, however I think it would be better for thinner hair. It doesn’t level a white mess and has a decent scent. This would keep the oil at bay for a few hours, but would lose it’s effectiveness mid-day. The Birchbox crew seems to love this and constantly raves about it, but I disagree and will not repurchase. Available at Birchbox.com for $29 (6.3oz).

Saint Augustine and Suds Himalayan Salt Scrub – this was a lovely orange and (I think) bergamot salt scrub. It was infused with lots of nourishing oils that left my skin incredibly soft and hydrated. The owner of Saint Augustine and Suds is my favorite local artisan – she makes beautiful soaps and designs her packaging for each product. This isn’t currently on the website but I would definitely repurchase. Check out her fantastic website – saintaugstineandsuds.com and Instagram (@saintaugustineandsuds).

If you want to know what I think of sample size products or sheet masks, check out my Instagram account (@lvp8779).

Total products used 2016 year to date:

Skincare: 3

Body: 6

Hair: 1

Makeup/face: 5

other: 1

Samples: 8

Sheet masks: 2

Month total: $31.84

Year total: $318.84

Have a great March!

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