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: March 2018 Empties

Hello everyone!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Short and sweet!

Here’s the 2018 total:

Skincare: 3

Body: 6

Hair: 1

Makeup/face: 6

other: 4

Nails: 2

Samples: 3

Sheet masks: 1

Total Products used: 26

Month total: $204.73

2018 total: $585.17  (approximately)

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

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

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Use It: February 2018 Empties

Happy March, everyone!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And I finished some candles!!

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

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

Here’s the 2018 total:

Skincare: 6

Body: 3

Hair: 0

Makeup/face: 4

other: 4

Nails: 2

Samples: 1

Sheet masks: 1

Total Products used: 21

Month total: $274.94

2018 total: $380.44  (approximately)

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

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

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2017 Favorites

Hi again!

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Have a great 2018!

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Use It: December 2017 Empties

Happy January!

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

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

So here we go:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here is the breakdown.

Total products used 2017:

Skincare: 27

Body: 21

Hair: 17

Makeup/face: 27

other: 7

Nails: 10

Samples: 17

Sheet masks: 2

Month total: $144.94  (approximately)

Total products used: 128

Year total: $1,889.66 – WHOA!

For comparison:

Total products used in 2016: 177

Year total: $1,570.80

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

Happy 2018!

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Best of 2017 — Top Posts

Hello everyone!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy 2018!

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Use It: November 2017 Empties

Hello again!

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

Here we go:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Total products used 2017:

Skincare: 26

Body: 16

Hair: 16

Makeup/face: 25

other: 7

Nails: 8

Samples: 16

Sheet masks: 1

Month total: $108.24   (approximately)

Year total: $1,744.72

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

Have a great week!

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Use It: September and October 2017 Empties

Hello everyone!

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

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

Here we go:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Total products used 2017:

Skincare: 24

Body: 13

Hair: 16

Makeup/face: 23

other: 7

Nails: 8

Samples: 16

Sheet masks: 1

Month total: $161   (approximately)

Year total: $1,636.48

There you go!

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

Have a great week!

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This Week’s Lips #15

Oh hey… look what’s back!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Left – outdoors; right – outdoors, direct sunlight


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



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Use It: July and August 2017 Empties

Happy September!

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

So here we goooo! This was a fairly productive couple months, so I’ll be breaking everything down by type: skin care, makeup, body, hair and lifestyle/other. Sample reviews are posted to my Instagram (@lvp8779) as they are used.


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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

Total products used 2017:

Skincare: 22

Body: 12

Hair: 14

Makeup/face: 18

other: 7

Nails: 8

Samples: 16

Sheet masks: 1

Month total: $463.68   (approximately)

Year total: $1,475.48

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

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

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

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