A New Day

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

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 – M-10 Matte Black – this 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 – I 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 – 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.

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 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.

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 – 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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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 – she 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 – sigh. 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 – I 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’Oréal 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 – WOW. This is such a bright, clean scent – hints 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 – I 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’Oréal 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. 🙂 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 Lancôme 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 – these are fantastic – individual 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

 – PARFUMS DE NICOLAI – Sample: Fig Tea – Eau de Toilette

 – Slumberhouse – Sample: Kiste – Parfum 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! 🙂

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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My Solitary November 2016 Favorite

Hello again!

I have gone back and forth about my November favorites – mostly I was feeling a bit lazy about writing this post. There is not a good reason why – I obviously had a new favorite thing to share. Just… lazy.

The last thing I needed was yet another perfume. However during the Sephora VIB sale I caved and bought the Maison Margiela Replica Perfume in Jazz Club. This is one sexy scent. Martin Margiela designed the Replica scents to be a “reproduction of familiar scents and moments of varying locations and periods.” I feel like this is exactly what a 1920’s jazz club would smell like.

When first applied, it is warm and sweet with a hint of vanilla and rum. As it dries down, I catch whiffs of whiskey, leather and tobacco. This is a very masculine scent that works incredibly well with my chemistry, similar to the effect of the Tom Ford Noir Pour Femme mentioned in last months favorites. I cannot stop sniffing my wrists and clothing when I wear this. A couple sprays last 8-10 hours without needing to reapply.

Jazz Club and Noir Pour Femme will likely be my go-to scents this winter – they are everything I have been looking for. Prior to purchasing this, I tested out the Elizabeth and James Bourbon and Sarah Jessica Parker’s Stash. Both just missed the mark on what I was looking for – the Bourbon dried down to just vanilla and the Stash was just a bit too spicy.

I purchased Jazz Club in the 0.34oz spray, but I have a feeling that I will make the splurge on the 3.4oz bottle before long.

Have you tried this or any of the other Replica scents? What are your thoughts?

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This Week’s Lips #12

Happy Sunday!

It’s a chilly one here as winter is really starting to settle in. I have been seeking hot coffee, hot tea, blankets and extra layers for days. We’ve had snow and sleet and little sun… It is probably time to up my vitamin D.

This last week included all repeats in my weekly lip posts, so I will keep this short and sweet:

 

 

MondayUrban Decay Revolution Lipstick in Naked – reviewed here.

Tuesday Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche in Thistle – reviewed here.

WednesdayBite Beauty Amuse Bouche in Pepper – reviewed here

ThursdayBite Beauty BB for Lips in Tawnyon its own for once! Reviewed here.

FridayNYX Chunky Dunk in Hibiscus Tea Punch – still the worst name ever. Reviewed here.

 

 

Last week was a little MAC heavy, this week obviously included a whole lot of Bite. It is seriously one of my favorite brands – they make amazing lip products that are totally worth the sticker price.

Hope you have a wonderful week!

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October 2016 Favorites

Happy November!

October finally cooled down and I was able to break out some fall sweaters and more importantly, fall colors and scents! While I love crisp, clean and bright scents, I also love dark, rich and almost masculine scents.

The first scent I broke out as it cooled down was my Diptyque L’Ombre dans l’Eau perfume oil. This is a beautiful mix of black currant and Bulgarian rose without an alcohol base. The rose is definitely the more subtle scent, as the currant notes take the lead. A little goes a really long way and lasts several hours. I use a couple drops on pulse points and frequently catch myself smelling it throughout the day. I just love this unique, complicated scent.

As the temperature dropped a bit more, I broke out the Tom Ford Noir Pour Femme. I bought this months ago, but it just didn’t feel like the right season to wear it. It finally felt like October was finally the right time. This is a complex blend, but I feel that the amber and sandalwood notes are what stand out the most. TF calls this is a floral-oriental, but I have to disagree as it wears more of a masculine oriental scent on me. I get zero floral. This scent lasts all day and into the evening. If it wasn’t so damned expensive I would use it in my hair too.

On a completely different note, I’m really overdue to get my hair dyed. There is a clear division of color about an inch and a half from my scalp. It is no secret that my hair is not red, however thanks to my long-time colorist I am a redhead by choice. Since I haven’t had time to get my hair color refreshed, I have been using the L’Oréal Root Cover Up Temporary Gray Concealer Spray in Red. It magically covers my roots (that are only partially gray..btw) and blends in to the rest of my colored hair. It lasts until washed out so there is no fear of having the color fall out on clothing, smear on to pillows or anything like that. It holds up incredibly well after applying dry shampoo also.

The final favorite was featured in another weekly lipstick post. The Tom Ford and Boys in Guillermo is a beautiful, creamy plum-brown. In addition to being maybe the most perfect fall shade ever, it lasts for hours without needing reapplication. I have been wearing this pretty frequently as well as it’s less expensive (and a touch more brown) dupe, MAC Verve. The plum in Guillermo really makes this shade unique – it brightens my overall look and goes so well with pinks, browns and more neutral shades. I will be wearing this a ton in the upcoming months!

So there you have it. What were some of your October favorites?

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This Week’s Lips #7

Happy Sunday!

I took a hiatus last week due to some personal stuff. I usually write down the first few days on Wednesday and finish the post Saturday or Sunday. By Wednesday, I was already swamped and completely overwhelmed so the post never even was drafted. This past week was a bit better so I’m going to try and stay on top of it going forward.

Monday – MAC Lipglass in Seducing Sound – this was released a couple summers ago as part of the Alluring Aquatic collection, which was maybe one of my favorites from the last decade. This is a beautiful, shimmery brown/copper/plum sheer nude shade. That sounds loaded, I know but it is the best way to describe it. This doesn’t have enough shimmer for it to be considered to be a Dazzleglass, but more than a typical Cremesheen. I always snag a spare at a CCO if I find it!

Tuesday – Lancôme Le Rouge Absolu in Crème de Marron – I’m really surprised to see that this is the first time this has been mentioned in this series. This is yet another brown-nude shade in my collection. Are you noticing a trend? I love the formula of the Le Rouge Absolu – very hydrating and lasts for several hours. I want more of these in my life!

Wednesday – Tarte Lippie Lingerie in Revealed and L’Oréal Colour Riche Lipstick in Eva’s Nude – ok I have to start this by saying that Lippie Lingerie is a really terrible name.. however, this color is phenomenal. It’s a beautiful red-hued brown shade that has applies like a dream and stays put for hours. I chickened out a bit as I walked out the door for work and applied a layer of Eva’s Nude over it to mute the shade a bit. The combination of the two worked very well together, the combined shades made it look quite similar to Tuesday’s Lancôme shade.

 

 

ThursdayLe Métier de Beauté Hydra Crème Lipstick in MoroccoI was really dragging by Thursday and decided to punch it up a bit with a great daytime red. This leans a bit pink/blue, but it is very subtle. This is quite different from the Guerlain Rouge G in Gina, which leans more orange. What I love about this shade is that while it is sheer, it can be built up to a full-coverage, bold shade.

Friday – NYX Chunky Dunk in Hibiscus Tea Punch – ok if Lippie Lingerie was terrible, Chunky Dunk is just the worst. Seriously, NYX? WTF. I think they changed the name after the release of this because it was so awful. Names aside, this is a fantastic product. This is a sheer pink-beige shade with decent pigmentation. This is not as long lasting as some of the other NYX formulas, but this feels more like a balm and is easy to reapply. I love how hydrating this is and I should be wearing this much more often!!

 

Saturday – MAC Matte Lip Color in Eugenie and Burberry Lip Mist in No. 206 Blueberry Eugenie on its own is tough… It’s a beautiful shade but really difficult to wear as a matte – it clumps, pulls and settles in every small line. It feels really dry and no amount of exfoliation makes it feel comfortable. When it is layered with Blueberry, it becomes a beautiful, deep cranberry shade that wears perfectly. Blueberry alone is a sheer, hydrating lip color that lasts for hours. The color in the tube is quite deceiving – it truly looks like the shade of smashed blueberries on your lips.

As I was writing this post, I realized that I am becoming less and less loyal to any specific brand. While my color preferences deviate very little, my expectation for performance is still high. I don’t particularly care if a product is $5 or $45, as long as it is a quality product, I’m content.

How have your preferences changed over the years? Do you find yourself becoming more open to different brands or are you becoming more loyal to just a couple of companies?

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