Sunday, August 7, 2016

Birchbox - July 2016

I’ve been debating about whether to keep getting Birchbox or not lately, but this box was one of the better recent ones.  Like my recent Ipsy posts, I’m posting this for completeness and comparison purposes, especially because my August box came early this month.  Look for more coming soon!

Catherine Malandrino Style de Paris – This fragrance overwhelmed me from when I first opened the box, and not in a good way.  I tend to like sweeter scents, and this one has none of that.  Not for me.

Dr. Brandt PoreDermabrasion Pore Perfecting Exfoliator – I’m not a huge fan of these types products, preferring face scrubs that I can use in the shower.  I also haven’t been a huge fan of Dr. Brandt exfoliation products in the past, but I will give this a shot since I’ve never tried it before.  What type of exfoliator do you prefer?  Do you have a favorite brand or do you switch things up?

LOC Ultra Gloss Lip Pencil in Punch Line – I’ve really liked everything I’ve tried from LOC so far.  I was a little wary when I first saw this color since I don’t usually go for this type of pink, but being sheer I think I can make this work.  I will need to see how it wears because I can have problems with feathering.

Marcelle Xtension Plus Curl Curling & Lengthening Mascara – I’ve said before and I’ll say it again, I like getting mascara samples.  I know I’ll be trying this, I just don’t know when I’ll get to it, because it seems like everyone sent mascara this month.  What type of mascara do you prefer: lengthening, thickening, or some other kind?  Shout out below!

Coola Makeup Setting Spray – I don’t necessarily use setting spray every day, but I use it enough to be interested in this.  I also really appreciate that this has sunscreen in it.  While I haven’t been a huge fan of Coola sunscreens in the past because I’ve still gotten sunburns through them, but I wouldn’t use this as my sole sunscreen so I’m thinking it should work out ok.  Are you a fan of setting sprays?

So looking at this month’s box, there’s 3 things I’m really looking forward to using and two that I either definitely won’t use (perfume) or is only a try-and-see for me.

How was your box this month?  

Note: Birchbox link is my referral link.

Birchbox - June 2016

I know this Birchbox post is WAY late, but I’m going to put it up anyway so we can compare the boxes month to month.  I’d rather have as complete a set as possible for now, even if things get posted late because I can’t stay on top of the pictures.

Avene Thermal Spring Water – I haven’t been using my moisturizing sprays lately, but this may be much more useful as the weather turns cooler.

Lavanila The Healthy Sunscreen Sport Luxe Face & Body Cream SPF 30 – I didn’t know that Lavanila carried sunscreen, so this was a surprise.  I’ve been trying out all of the sunscreen samples I’ve been receiving, but it will take a lot to surpass my favorites.

Kiehl’s Precision Lifting & Pore-Tightening Concentrate – I look forward to trying out this face serum once I get through the ones I’m using now.  What’s your favorite face serum?

The Beauty Crop PBJ Smoothie Stick Creamy Lip Crayon in Raisin the Roof – This lip crayon has a slippery feel and fruity scent, but the color was not that great on me.

Benefit Gimme Brow in Light – I love Gimme Brow.  I am really glad they didn't get rid of it and, as far as I can tell, didn't change the formula when Benefit re-released their brow line.  This will get used as soon as I finish the one I already have open.  What brow products are you currently using?

I haven’t been overly thrilled with my Birchboxes lately, but this one wasn’t too bad.  I think part of it is that Ipsy has just been far surpassing them month to month this year.  Are you still satisfied with Birchbox?

Note: Birchbox link is my referral link.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Ipsy - June 2016

I want to try to get this Ipsy post up more for completeness and comparison purposes, even though it’s late.  As usual, my problem was getting the pictures taken and processed.  Better late than never, I guess.  J

Marc Anthony Dream Waves Beach Spray – I’m a fan of salt sprays and use them every day.  This is a really handy travel size, so it will definitely get used.

Japonesque Solid Brush Cleaner – I’ve heard really good things about solid brush cleaner in general, and am starting to run low on my usual brush cleaner, so this will come in handy soon.  What do you use to clean your brushes?

Seraphine Botanicals Natural Blush in Happy Hibiscus – I’ve already used this, and it’s a really pretty natural flush color.  I really like it, and it now has a home in my daily makeup bag.

Formula X Nail Color in Wingwoman (Sephora) – This is a gorgeous nail polish in a great formula.

Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Fireball – I was a little disappointed when I first saw this because I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with this color pink.  However, I found that it worked great as a fading color above the crease when doing a deep or complex purple eye look.  Now that I figured this out, and since it’s the classic wonderful UD eyeshadow formula, it should get more use than I originally anticipated.  What would you do with a rich pink eyeshadow?

I have been really happy with my recent Ipsy bags, and this is no exception.  I do prefer when it contains a lot of makeup, but what makeup junkie wouldn’t?  In fact, lately it’s been my favorite subscription service by far.  How was your Ipsy bag this month?  How does it compare to other subscription services you’ve received lately?

Note: Ipsy link is my referral link.

Ipsy - July 2016

Ipsy continues to rock it out!  There isn’t a single thing in this month’s box that I’m not excited to try.

Luxie Small Angle Brush – I love using a small angle brush to apply cream eye liner, so this will get used.  I’ve also really liked the other Luxie brushes I’ve received from Ipsy.

Organic Surge Daily Care Reviving Eye Gel – I’m a big fan of eye creams and gels.  I use them twice a day and am always looking for new ones.

The Balm Meet Matt(e) Trimony Matte Eyeshadow Palette in Matt Moskowitz – This, of all things, is probably the item I’m least excited about.  I’m not a huge matte eyeshadow fan, and on swatching this was kind of dry and patchy.  I usually really love The Balm products, especially their eyeshadows, so I will give it a shot, but so far I’m not overwhelmed.  Are you a matte eyeshadow fan or do you prefer a little shimmer?

Model Co Power Lash Black Mascara – I love receiving mascara samples, so I’m excited to see this.  I am, however, overflowing in mascara, so I don’t quite know when I’ll get to try it.  What mascara do you think I should try?

Trestique Mini Highlight Stick in Maldives Luminescent – I’ve had mixed luck with Trestique products, so I didn’t know what to expect when I swatched this.  Then I tried it.  OMG!  It is so smooth and the color is beautiful.  I look forward to using this soon.  How has your luck been with Trestique?  Do you have a favorite product?

This month may be one of Ipsy’s best!  How was your bag this month?

Note: Ipsy link is my referral link.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Favorites - July 2016

I’ve been all about simplicity this month, with very minimal makeup most days.  So this month, instead of specific products, I’m going to discuss general makeup ideas I’ve been using.

Simple Lipstick

I have been all about using lipstick that I didn’t really have to think about this month.  I could just put it on and go, and sometimes I didn’t even need a mirror to apply.  Some of my favorites have been the Burt’s Bees Lipstick in Lily Lake and MAC Viva Glam VI.  These are just so simple and go with every look I put together.

Gold Cream Eyeshadow

I use this as a base just about every day, even if I use powder or other creams on top.  My favorites recently have been LOC One & Done Shadow Stick in On Point and Maybelline Color Tattoo Crayon in Gold Rush.  I even made sure to add the Color Tattoo to my travel makeup bag before my trip.

Purple Eyeliner

The only times I don’t wear eyeliner are when I’m sick or absolutely sure I’m not leaving the house that day.  Black is almost always too harsh for my coloring, although I can rock most other medium and dark colors pretty well.  I use brown quite a bit, but lately purple has been my go-to.  I talked about my favorite Urban Decay one last month, but the one I traveled with was Mally Evercolor Starlight Waterproof Liner in Dusky Plum.

No Base Makeup

My skin has been doing pretty well this month, so I’ve been giving both it and myself a break.  I throw on a little bit of concealer where needed over my sunscreen and go on with the rest of my makeup.  I’ve also been using up my Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Dark Circle Concealer and Maybelline Fit Me Concealer.


You might be thinking, just brows?  Well, here’s the thing: I was never really that into doing my brows.  I know, I know, with today’s focus on brows, how could I not care?  Well, mine have always been decently full and never needed much grooming aside from an occasional waxing.  But recently I’ve noticed they are a bit unruly if I don’t at least take a spoolie to them.  So most mornings I usually toss some Benefit Gimme Brow into them and go on my way.  I’ve also been enjoying the Anastasia Perfect Brow Pencil for days when they need a little more.  On the other hand, I have been really disappointed with the NYX Micro Brow Pencil; the pencil is really hard and it feels like I have to go over the same area many times before anything shows up.  I’ve just ordered some new Benefit brow products, so I’m looking forward to trying them out over the next few months.

What were some of your favorite makeup tricks or techniques this month?  How about favorite products that I should try?  Shout out in the comments below!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Empties - May and June 2016

Late as usual, to the point that I wound up combining two months!  What else can you expect at this point when it comes to my empties posts?  

This time was heavy on gender-neutral scents and hair products!  Not only did we do a lot of traveling recently, but I worked on using up more samples that had already been started, and the easiest pickings were hotel samples.  

One other big difference you'll notice if you've ready any of my past empties posts (here and here) is that I spread out my love this month on hand sanitizers.  I did use up several, but this time there's 3 different brands.


  • Benefit They’re Real! Beyond Mascara in Jet Black – Sample size.  I had used this before and hadn’t been overly thrilled, but this time I really liked it.  The only reason I stopped using it is because it started drying out on me, especially for the second coat.  Purchase: Maybe.  Most people either love or hate this mascra.  How do you feel?  What's your favorite Benefit mascara?
  • CoverGirl Intensify Me! Liquid Liner in Intense Black – Full size.  I had received this in one of my subscription boxes, and since I don’t use black liner often, I haven’t played with this much.  Unfortunately, the cap on this liner doesn’t close well and fell off without me knowing it, causing the liner to dry out before I could properly test it.  Because I don’t use a lot of black liner I probably won’t repurchase unless they have other colors.  Purchase: No.  Are you a black liquid liner person, or do you go another way?
  • Elf Lip Exfoliator in Mint Maniac - Full size.  This was so much better than the original!  It worked great, had enough exfoliant power, and stayed soft enough that it didn't kill my lips while maintaining effectiveness.  The minty-ness was just enough; you could definitely tell it was mint, but it wasn't overpowering.  Repurchase: Yes.

Face Care

  • 100% Pure Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream - Sample from Birchbox.  This worked really well reducing my eye bags, which I have definitely noticed became more prominent since I've stopped using it.  This sample was huge!  This size lasted me forever even with twice a day use.  Purchase: Yes.
  • Beekman 1802 Makeup Remover Wipe – Hotel sample rippy packet.  Kind of rough on the skin.  Purchase: No.
  • Burt’s Bees Renewal Intensive Firming Serum – Rippy packet from Walmart Beauty Box.  I've used this before, and it's actually not too bad, but it's not my favorite serum.  If you want a natural serum from the drugstore, this might be one to try.  Purchase: No.
  • CeraVe Skin Renewing Night Cream – Full Size.  This COMPLETELY broke me out!  I wound up using it as a foot cream since it is so thick, and it did an OK job at that, but nothing to write home about.  (I spent my own money on a full size, so I wanted to use it up!)  Repurchase: No.
  • Darphin Intral Redness Relief Soothing Serum – Sample from Birchbox.  I was really surprised how well this worked taking away my permanent redness in my cheeks and nose.  And to top it off, it had the lovely faint scent of root beer!  Purchase: Maybe (depending on cost).
  • Dr. Denese HydroShield Ultra Moisturizing Face SerumSample from QVC.  I was really surprised by just how much I liked this.  It did amazing things for my skin!  A little bit goes a long way, and it blends in to an amazing finish.  Depending on the price, I may have to own this.  Purchase: Yes.
  • Key West Aloe Gentle Aloe Facial Cleanser (not pictured) - Sample from Birchbox.  The kiddo really likes this cleanser for camp because it's gentle and soothing if she gets a sunburn in the summer.  She doesn't ask me for many skincare or beauty items, and actually gets on my case for getting too much for myself, so when she asked me to get her more of this, I said Absolutely.  Purchase: Yes (already have).
  • Mary Kay Timewise Day Solution – Fullsize.  I like the serum consistency of this under my daily moisturizer and makeup.  It doesn’t feel heavy while still providing great protection.  I haven’t found anything that compares yet.  Once I finish some other samples, I’ll be adding this staple back to my collection, because it’s worth every penny.  Repurchase: Yes.  Have you tried anything from Mary Kay?  (If you need a representative, let me know and I'll send you the info for mine!)
  • Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes – Full size. HG item.  Repurchase: Yes (already have).
  • Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream Moisturizer – Rippy packet from Walmart Beauty Box.  I fell in love with this when using another sample, and take advantage of every new one I get.  Purchase: Yes (already have).  How do you feel about samples in rippy packets?
  • Simple Smoothing Facial Scrub – Full size.  This was an OK scrub, but it has microbeads, which I am now avoiding.  Repurchase: No.
  • The Skin Lounge Firming Lift Facial Mask – Full size (from a set of 3).  This was part of a gift set which I have been enjoying spreading out by not using all at once.  Not bad, but not sure if it actually did anything.  Purchase: No.  Do you like using sheet masks or do you prefer more traditional ones?  What's your current favorite mask?
  • TiZO Photoceutical Replenish - Full size.  Check out my full review here.  Re/Purchase: Yes.


  • Asira Body Wash – Hotel sample.  Just OK and very gender neutral.  Purchase: No.
  • BBW Body Lotion in Rainkissed Leaves – Hotel sample.  Standard BBW lotion in a decent scent.  Purchase: Product: Yes (already have); Scent: Maybe.  What's our favorite BBW scent?
  • BeeKind Shower Gel – Sample from Build Your Own Birchbox.  This shower gel has a nice feel to it, and I love waking up to a refreshing citrus scent in the morning.  Purchase: Maybe.
  • CardinalHealth Fragrance Free Baby Wipes - Full size.  Hospital sample.  Purchase: No.
  • Coloplast Sensitive Skin Moisturizing Body Wash, Shampoo & Hand Wash – Hospital product.  I think I've said this before, but for being a product used in hospitals, this is really drying.  Purchase: No.
  • LUSH Blackberry Bath Bomb (not pictured) – Full size.  The kiddo seemed to like this better than some others she’s tried.  I’m not a fan of baths in general, so if she wants it again we’ll repurchase.  Repurchase: Maybe.  Which LUSH bath bomb should the kiddo check out next?
  • LUSH Charity Pot Hand and Body Lotion – Full size.  Charity = Toxic Free NC.  I found that this left my hands feeling greasy for a long time after applying, even being able to see it where I placed my hands on my desk or computer.  In a pinch, I might pick this up again, especially because I thinks it's for a decent cause, and I'll use up the other one I have, but I don't have to rush out and get more.  Repurchase: No.
  • LUSH Mmm Bath Melt (not pictured) – Full size.  This smelled like cotton candy, and wasn't exactly like a bath bomb, nor like a bubble bath bar.  This was basically bath oil in a solid bar.  According to the kiddo, she prefers the bath bombs.
  • Marlowe Body Butter – Sample from Target Beauty Box.  Nothing super special, but not a bad product overall.  Purchase: No.
  • Soap & Glory The Righteous Butter Body Butter - Rippy packet from Ulta.  I love this moisturizer and use every sample I get.  It has a nice fresh scent and is a powerful moisturizer.  I do have to be careful using it around my husband's sensitive nose, though.  Purchase: Yes.
  • Temple Spa La La Lagoon Aromatic Bath & Shower Gel – Sample from Birchbox.  This is OK, but I haven’t been overwhelmed by Temple Spa products in general.  Purchase: No.
  • Temple Spa Peace Be Still Calming Face & Body Balm – Sample from Birchbox.  I've used this before, and it's OK.  I'll use it if I get it again, but I won't go seeking it out.  Purchase: No.


  • Harvey Prince Hello – Sample from Birchbox.  I used to really like this scent, but now it's a bit overpowering for me.  Purchase: No.

Hair Care

  • Amika: Perk Up Dry Shampoo – Sample from Birchbox.  This was a really decent dry shampoo, but I don't quite understand all of the hype about this product.  It does smell AMAZING!  But I think you can find others that are just as good or better that are less expensive.  Purchase: No.
  • Beekman 1802 White Water Collection Shampoo and Conditioner – Hotel samples.  Very strong scent, and gender neutral or even "manly".  Purchase: No.
  • Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Mask – Sample from Birchbox.  This worked pretty well.  However, since I often use my regular conditioner like a hair mask anyway, this isn't worth the expense to me.  Purchase: No.
  • Clear Men - Scalp Therapy 2 in 1 Complete Care Anti-Dandruff Daily Shampoo & Conditioner – Sample from Target Beauty Box.  Per Duff: Middle of the road shampoo and conditioner. Had a mild aroma that was pleasant and not overwhelming. Good to my hair and scalp. A little thick so metering a dose was problematic but could be the travel size packaging. Would buy but would not seek it out.  Purchase: Yes (probably).
  • Dove Men + Care Fortifying Shampoo + Conditioner Fresh & Clean 2 in 1 – Sample/Travel size.  Per Duff: Middle of the road shampoo with conditioner. No particular smell/aroma with it which suits me and most men just fine. Didn't react or cause any unwanted hair loss. Cleaned and conditioned just fine. A little thick so not the easiest meter out from bottle. Still, an okay product.  Purchase: Maybe.
  • Garnier Whole Blends Honey Treasures Repairing Shampoo and Conditioner – Rippy packets from a magazine and samples from Amazon Beauty Box.  OMG, I LOVE THIS!  It smells amazing.  The conditioner is super thick and just a little bit goes a long way.  Purchase: Yes.
  • L’Occitane Shampoo and Conditioner – Hotel samples.  Another gender neutral scent.  Not the hugest fan of the formula, and the packaging was somewhat difficult to work with even though they were squeeze bottles.  Purchase: No.
  • LUSH Jason and the Argan Oil Shampoo Bar (not pictured) – Full size.  I love the smell of this shampoo bar, and am glad it was the first I tried.  I did, however, find that it got somewhat gooey and crumbly at the same time (not quite sure how that happens).  It works OK as a shampoo, but I do need to be careful what conditioner I use because of argan oil in it.  I'm trying out a different shampoo bar at the moment, so I'll see if it's just this scent that had issues or the product.  Repurchase: IDK (Maybe?).
  • Pantene Pro-V Classic Clean Daily Shampoo - Hotel sample.  Standard Pantene shampoo.  Purchase: No.
  • Pantene Pro-V Nature Fusion Smooth Vitality Shampoo and Conditioner – Hotel samples.  Standard Pantene shampoo.  Purchase: No.


  • BBW PocketBac in Strawberry and Winter Wonderland – Full size.  HG product: Product: Yes (already have); Scents: Yes (if I can find them).
  • BeautyBlender (the original) – Full size.  I’ve had this for a while now, and I’m seeing some iffy stains, so I think it’s time to retire it.  I have some other beauty sponges to try out, but all will be compared to this.  Repurchase: Yes.  Are you a brush or sponge person?  Or do you prefer using your fingers to apply your foundation?
  • Lucky SuperSoft Instant Hand Sanitizer Advanced Formula – Full/Travel size (though I think this one came in a care package).  Has a baby powder scent that was really off-putting.  Purchase/Repurchase: No.
  • Purell Advanced Hand Sanitizer in Sweet Plum – Full/Travel size.  Purell is a really nice brand for hand sanitizer, and this scent was really nice.  Repurchase: Product: Yes (already have); Scent: Yes.
  • Sensodyne Pronamel Daily Fluoride Toothpaste for Sensitive Teeth in Fresh Breath scent – Full size.  HG product.  Repurchase: Yes.
Did you finish anything good recently?  What are you close to using up?

Monday, July 11, 2016

Favorites - June 2016

I can’t believe it’s July already!  How did that happen?

If you read my update post, you know that I’ve been slacking when it comes to my makeup and skincare in the past month.  Even still, there are a few things I’ve been reaching for on a regular basis even on days when I go super minimal.

MUA Professional Multi Purpose Brush 018 – There are some base products I don’t mind putting on with my hands, and others just turn me off.  The one I carry with me (I usually do my makeup on the run or at my desk at work) used to be one I didn’t mind, but with my most recent purchase It has really bothered me.  Additionally, I’m currently using a radiant primer that, if I use my hands, leaves me sparkly for a good part of the day even after several hand washings.  Anyway… I stopped by CVS to see if I could find a reasonably-priced liquid foundation brush that I could at least leave at my desk and found this little one that is actually the perfect size for my makeup bag.  This has been great!  It reminds me quite a bit of the Real Techniques Expert Face Brush, which I know a lot of people swear by.  What's your favorite brush for liquid foundation?

Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in Delirious – I never go anywhere without eye liner, and purple is one of my go-to colors.  This is a fantastic medium to royal purple with a purple metallic shimmer.  It has the great staying power typical of Urban Decay eyeliners, though I can’t really comment on the staying power of this color in the waterline because I generally use a nude liner with this.  My only complaint, and this is with the entire line, is that you have to sharpen these liners, whereas I prefer twist-up ones.  Unfortunately, I picked this up in the Delirious Set (set of 5), and it looks like the color isn't available on it's own on the UD website.

When I was originally thinking about what I was going to put in this post, I had a whole list.  Of course, I was somewhere I couldn't jot them down or record them in any way, and now I can only remember these two.

What should I be using?  What really stood out for you this month?