A New Day

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

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. ūüôā

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.

SKINCARE

Avène Gentle Gel Cleanser Рthis 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 Рas I mentioned in my summer favorites post, I really love facial mists Рtoner, spring water.. you name it, I want it. This has been my overall favorite РI 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 M√©tier de Beaut√© Rejuvenating Anti-Aging Night Cr√®me¬† – 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 cr√®me 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.

MAKEUP

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 Рanother one bites the dust. Available at Ulta for $5.99 for 100 sheets.

Urban Decay All Nighter Makeup Setting Spray Рlook, 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.

BODY

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.

HAIR

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‚Äôt 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.

LIFESTYLE/OTHER

Bath and Body Works PocketBac in Perfect Beach Day Рcan 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 Рthis is another crème polish that lasts 4-5 days. This was a beautiful color Рthe 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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ÔĽŅRecent 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 Av√®ne 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 Souffl√© 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. ūüėČ

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

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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 Рthis 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 M√©tier de Beaut√©¬†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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Use It: May 2017 Empties

Hello again, everyone!

Can you believe it is almost summer? It has been cool and rainy for the last couple weeks – very deceiving!

While it was a longer month, I actually used up fewer items that April. Perhaps last month was also atypical product use?

Due to the lower number of products, we’ll keep this alphabetical. As always, sample reviews are posted to my Instagram (@lvp8779) as they are used.

Beautyblender PRO – I have to be honest… I don’t get it. I have tried this with 3-4 different foundations, concealer, baking, etc. This left my foundation feeling thinner and like it broke down during the day… which, let’s be honest is what will happen when you use a water-dampened sponge to apply your makeup. I never tried using with Fix+ or a setting spray because that is a damn waste of product. I will stick with brushes or even my fingers for foundation application. Available at Sephora for $20.

Bliss Body Butter in Vanilla + Bergamot – I don’t typically go for vanilla scents, but the crispness of the bergamot really won me over. Bliss consistently makes lovely body butters in a number of scents. While I love many of them, I will not likely repurchase this scent in particular. Available at bliss.com for $29 (6.7oz)

Bliss Body Wash in Vanilla + Bergamot – oh hey… look.. a set! I finished the body butter at the beginning of the month and this at the very end. The timing was just a bit off. Much like the body butter, the scent is not really for me. I like it, but I don’t love it. Available at bliss.com for $20 (16oz).

Kiehl’s Micro-Blur Skin Perfector – there was something odd about this. For the first couple months of using this, the product separated. I would squeeze the tube and just get oil. After that initial phase, it came out of the tube smooth and¬†creamy. This helped to even out my skin tone and made my foundation just glide on. I can’t say that it actually minimized the appearance of pores or did any long-term refining. There are a lot of great primers out there so I probably would not repurchase this one again. Available at Kiehl’s for $35 (1oz).

Make Up For Ever Aqua Eyes Waterproof Pencil РM-10 Matte Black Рthis is just an okay black eyeliner.. Whenever I used this, I always felt that I needed to do finish work with a black liquid liner. This has a fairly opaque finish РI really prefer bold, deep pigmentation to stand out behind my glasses. I have a few other shades that perform much better. Available at Sephora for $21.

NYX Fresh Face Blotting Paper – this contains salicylic acid and is supposed to help with breakouts. I don’t have many breakouts, but I have been feeling super greasy. This does help, but I can’t say it is any more or less than any other blotting paper. I really like the NYX blotting papers, so will probably repurchase at some point. Available at Ulta for $5.99 for 100 sheets.

Ole Henriksen Pure Truth Youth Activating Oil – I really loved this. It is great for cooler weather, but once the humidity and heat start creeping up, this starts to make my skin a bit too greasy. This absorbs quickly and works very well with other hydrating products. Ole Henriksen has changed up all of their packaging over the last few months – you can still get this, but it looks a bit different. Full size available at Sephora for $45 (1oz), this was part of a 500 point set at 0.5 oz – still very generous!

Oribe Gold Lust Dry Shampoo – a lot of people really love this… I’m not sure why. This was mediocre at best. I didn’t feel that this absorbed much oil or extended time between washing. I also have a mini of the texturizing spray that I do like, but this was a disappointment. Purse size spray available at Birchbox.com for $22… get out of here.

Up and Up Nail Polish Remover – I’ve said many times that I don’t really see the point of spending a ton of money on polish remover. Obviously, I spent $1.04 on this one and it was perfectly fine. It removed polish and didn’t strip my nails… I’d buy it again!

Urban Decay Perversion Mascara – I think I have reviewed this before. I love this mascara. It is incredibly pigmented, layers easily and doesn’t clump or flake. The more I revisit this, the more I like it. If I ever got to a point in my life where I need to actually purchase mascara, this would be at the top of the list! Available at Ulta for $10 (mini).

Total products used 2017:

Skincare: 16

Body: 9

Hair: 12

Makeup/face: 7

other: 6

Nails: 6

Samples: 11

Sheet masks: 1

Month total: $186.53   (approximately)

Year total: $766.72

I made it all the way to the last day of the month without purchasing anything and then fell off the wagon… It was a rough month. I didn’t have coupons or¬†gift cards.. I just needed a little retail therapy.

Kiehl’s:

Sun-Free Self-Tanning Formula – $22.50 for 5oz.

Super Fluid UV Defense Sunscreen SPF 50 – $38 for 1.7oz

Nordstrom:

Jo Malone Cologne in Nectarine and Honey Blossom – $65 for 1oz.

Samples on samples on samples… GWP

 

Hopefully I can get back on blogging track in June. I’ve had a lot of personal stuff going on the last couple months – blogging has definitely taken a back seat. Stay tuned…

Happy June!

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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.

SKIN CARE

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.

MAKEUP

 

 

Buxom Vanity Lash Mascara Рthis 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 Рthis is just not one of them. Full-size available at Sephora for $20 for 0.37oz.

BODY

 

 

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 Cr√®me 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.

HAIR

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.

LIFESTYLE/Other

 

 

Deborah Lippmann Nail Color in Lady is a Tramp Рcan 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 Рthis formula is fantastic! Available at Nordstrom for $18.

Julep Cr√®me 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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This Week’s Lips #14

Happy Sunday everyone!

I’m sitting here enjoying some leftover rose¬†and watching¬†the tail end of hockey season and editing photos. Today was a beautiful day – the dogs and I enjoyed the sun and while I hung out in the shade, they worked on their sun tans.

I love that there has been so much sunshine lately – it is such a mood lifter. That and it really helps get some great swatch photos!!

I think I was feeling pretty sassy this week… maybe that explains all of the red?

 

 

MondayGuerlain Rouge G in Gina Рshe is no stranger to this blog. Monday was rough, high end lipstick made it tolerable.

TuesdayMAC Lipgelee in¬†Moon-something – remember this from my Project Pan? I still have this… I really should de-stash at this point. It still looks great though.

Wednesday – Tom Ford Ultra Shine Lip Gloss in Lost Cherry – the swatch is a bit deceiving – it wears much more opaque. It also leaves a great stain as it wears throughout the day. I want more of these.

Thursday – LORAC Couture Shine Lip Gloss in Glam – originally posted in my Top 5 favorites as an honorable mention. This wears so well. I will be so sad when I run out of this some day.

Friday – MAC Cremesheen Lipstick in Among the Fireflies – still has a short wear time, but I loooove the color.

There you have it – another week in the books!

Have a great week!

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Use It: March 2017 Empties

Hi there!

Another month has flown by! As I mentioned briefly in my previous empties post, we started a major bathroom renovation at the end of February/beginning of March. This completely consumed my time – blogging has not even been on the radar. The project is mostly finished… it has been just the absolute worst. Remind me never to do another home improvement project!

This was a very productive month as far as using up things in my stash – I was living pretty minimally which helped me focus on using some things up also. Due to the volume, I’m going back to 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.

SKIN CARE

 

 

Guerlain Orchidée Impériale The Toner Рsigh. I still love this so much. This leaves my skin feeling so amazing. Full size available at Saks for $135 for 4.2oz.

Lush Breath of Fresh Air Toner РI purchased this originally for a face mist, but found it to work so much better as the first step of my morning skin care. After using a gentle cleanser or scrub, I used several pumps to spray evenly over my face. I found this gentle and refreshing without being too drying or creating more oil. I would definitely repurchase this again! Available at Lush for $10.95 for 3.3oz.

MAKEUP

L’Or√©al Voluminous Mascara in Black¬†– this arrived in an Allure box a while back and I kept stalling on using this. Shame on me – this is fantastic. I already have very long lashes that constantly hit my glasses, so I am always looking for a mascara that can add volume over length. My lashes are very light so I really like a pure black mascara to help my lashes pop behind my glasses. This added a lot of definition without feeling heavy. I would absolutely buy this! Available at Ulta for $7.99.

Marc Jacobs Beauty Enamored Hi-Shine Gloss Lip Lacquer Lipgloss – originally featured and swatched here. I like the minty aspect, but there is nothing spectacular about this. Full size available at Sephora for $28 for 0.16 oz.

 

 

Perricone MD No Lipgloss Lipgloss – it’s a balm. It’s a gloss… it’s… neither? It’s an anti-aging lip serum. I wore this so often on its own, as it had a lovely natural shade and was very lightweight, but¬†I would also layer with another deeper gloss shade or lipstick. I didn’t notice any significant change in my lips while using this, so probably would not repurchase. Available at Sephora for $30 of 0.11oz.

Urban Decay 24/7 Velvet Glide-On Eye Pencil in Black Velvet – I typically love the 24/7 liners, however this one¬†let me down. It completely dried out. I’ve never had this happen to the UD liners – I tried sharpening it several times and warming it up before applying… nope it’s done. This was a very, very deep matte black. I would give it another chance, but I have so many black liners.. I don’t need to rush out and buy it any time soon. Available at Urban Decay counters for $20 for 0.04oz.

BODY

Julep Bare Body Milk – this was a really nice, lightweight lotion. It is a fun, beachy fragrance, but there is nothing spectacular about it. I probably would not purchase unless I rejoin the Julep Maven subscription. I can’t currently find on the Julep website, but their items change frequently. I’m going to assume that this was about $20 for 6.8oz.

Maison Francis Kurkdjian Aqua Universalis EDT РWOW. This is such a bright, clean scent Рhints of citrus and bergamot stick with me 8+ hours. It also paired really well with the Body Milk. I would totally buy this. Available at Luckyscent.com for $195 for 70ml.

 

 

Skinfix Ultra Rich Hand Cream – this was fabulous – incredibly hydrating without leaving behind a greasy feeling. You can just feel all of the nourishing oils working their way into your skin. This reminded me quite a bit of the Kiehl’s Ultimate Strength Hand Salve. I would definitely purchase. Full size available at Ulta for $9.99 for 3oz.

Tony Moly Changing U Magic Foot – this is the second time I have used this. I had a different experience this time around – maybe my feet were reallllly bad? This was really effective in removing some really serious callouses. I would definitely repurchase. Available at Ulta for $6.50.

HAIR

 

 

Alterna Caviar RepairX Multi-Vitamin Heat Protection Spray – another long name, another useless hair product. I really don’t see the results from the Alterna products.¬†I have stopped using my straight iron so my hair is exposed to less heat in general. But there is nothing that justifies that cost of this for me. Available at Ulta for $30 for 4.2oz.

Drybar Detox Dry Shampoo – I’m totally going to eat my words about this. Last time I used this I despised it. I decided to give this mini another chance and I have a completely different feeling about it. This experience was soooo much better – smell, texture, everything. If I used this on day 2 or 3, I would be able to skip using dry shampoo the next day. This worked so incredibly well. I actually went to look for the full size the other day but they were sold out. Available at Sephora for $13 for 0.8oz.

Sally Hershberger 24K Voluminous Dry Shampoo – this was terrible. I’m wondering if it wasn’t mislabeled hairspray? This did not cleanse my hair at all. My hair felt crunchy and stiff after using this. No thanks. I don’t know where it is available and am not bothering to look it up.

LIFESTYLE/OTHER

Illume Soy Candle in Noble Currant РI love currant scents! This little candle packed a big scent and burned at least 20 hours. Originally purchased on Birchbox.com for $10.

 

 

Julep Nail Color in Devon and Lori – one is great, the other is not. Devon is a slightly shimmery gunmetal that lasts 4-5 days without budging. I used this until there was no more. Lori is a thin, Jelly formula that NEVER DRIES. I have tried pairing this with other shades and using with the quick dry drops… nothing works. I gave up on this one. I would totally purchase Devon again.¬†Available through Julep for $14 for 0.27oz.

Total products used 2017:

Skincare: 9

Body: 5

Hair: 7

Makeup/face: 4

other: 4

Nails: 2

Samples: 5

Sheet masks: 1

Month total: $178.77   (approximately)

Year total: $337.75

Things I purchased:

I took advantage of the MAC Select 20% off and bought a new bottle of Fix+. The 20% basically covered shipping, so I saved $1.

Amount spent in March: $23

There you go – another month, another round of empties! What did you use up this month? What do you plan on repurchasing?

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Use It: January 2017 Empties

Hello everyone!

Happy February to you all! I hope you are having a great start to the new year.

Since I only finished a handful of products this month, I’m not breaking things out by category. Hopefully February will yield a few more. 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:

Bath and Body Works PocketBac in Dancing Waters – my favorite BBW scent. It doesn’t over power – clean, crisp and meshes with my other scents. Available for $1.75 for 1oz.

Bee Kind Body Lotion – thin, non-hydrating, chamomile scented lotion. No. I think this came in a Birchbox forever ago.

dpHUE ACV –¬† this is an apple cider vinegar hair cleanser that really helped balance my scalp oil and remove any product build up. It is incredibly¬†gentle and cleanses thoroughly without stripping any color. I don’t know if I would purchase the full size. I do have another mini and will determine after that. Full size available at Sephora for $35 for 8.5oz.

Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water – this little guy came over from a friend who visited the UK a while ago. This was of course released in the states several month later. As I’ve mentioned before I really only use this for eye makeup. This was great – very gentle and removed my stubborn mascara in a snap. Available in a 13.5oz size for $8.99.

GLAMGLOW Supermud Clearing Treatment – I love this so much. It’s great for a spot treatment or an overall mask when my skin gets crazy. It minimizes pores, decreases oil production and zaps blemishes in a snap. I need this back in my life asap. Full size available at Sephora for $69 for 1.7oz.

L’Or√©al Root Cover Up in Red – this is the second(?) third(?) can that I have used. This stuff is great. This is great for the time in between visits with my stylist. A quick spray covers up grey and hides my scary roots. It blends in so well and disguises the mystery shades underneath. ūüôā Available at Ulta for $10.99 for 2oz.

Marcelle Gentle Eye Makeup Remover – this is another one of the dual-phase eye makeup removers. Unlike the Mary Kay or Lanc√īme version, this one doesn’t leave my face greasy. It does a¬†decent job removing stubborn eye makeup, but it tends to leave¬†makeup smears behind. I purchased a full size with a bunch of Birchbox points, but I wish I hadn’t. Full size available at Birchbox.com for $17 for 150ml.

Patchology FlashPatch Eye Gels Рthese are fantastic Рindividual slices that are cooling and coated in a depuffing serum. I think the price point is a bit high, but they work so well. These were received for testing purposes from The Pink Panel. I would consider purchasing. Available at Neiman Marcus for $50 for 30 pairs.

Skyn Iceland Glacial Face Wash – this was a really nice, cooling cleanser. It did sting a bit and had to be kept away from the eyes. I found it to be incredibly gentle and didn’t strip moisture from my skin. I don’t know if I would rush right out and repurchase… it was fine. Full size available at Ulta for $30 for 5oz.

Saint Augustine and Suds tin in Holiday Kitchen – I love these candles – they have about a 30 hour burn time. This scent was a bit sweet – kind of like maple syrup? I have another that I love burning right now. Candles available on saintaugustineandsuds.com for $12.

Total products used 2017:

Skincare: 5

Body: 1

Hair: 2

Makeup/face: 0

other: 2

Nails: 0

Samples: 3

Sheet masks:

Month total: $113 (approximately)

 

Things purchased:

LuckyScent samples – $4 each + shipping =$16.

4160 Tuesdays – Sample: The Dark Heart of Old Havana – Eau de Parfum

 РPARFUMS DE NICOLAI РSample: Fig Tea РEau de Toilette

 РSlumberhouse РSample: Kiste РParfum Extrait

May Coop Raw Sauce (Sephora) – $43 – $25 gift card = $18

Total – $34

There you go. What did you use up in January? And if you are doing a low-buy, what were your purchases?

Have a wonderful February!

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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! ūüôā

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‚Äôs 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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