9/7/14

Birchbox Review: August

Hello everyone! Today I wanted to share with your my first experience with Birchbox! I've heard so much about this particular subscription service that I felt it was finally time to give them a go. August was my first month and I was so excited to see for myself what all the fuss is about!




If you don't know what Birchbox is, it is a monthly subscription service that delivers health & beauty samples to your door every month. The cost is pretty reasonable as subscription boxes go - only $10.00!! I feel that for this price, it is certainly worth the risk to try it out!










I received five samples in my August box and felt that the samples were fairly well-rounded. It wasn't all skin care, or makeup but a bit of everything which I enjoyed.



First up is this Noir Cosmetics long-wear eyeliner. Pencil eyeliners can be a bit tricky for me. I personally have yet to find the perfect one that doesn't wear off my eyes. I have been using this eyeliner since my birchbox came and I can say that I am fairly impressed by this eyeliner! When I wear it over primer & shadow, it stays for hours with no smudging! However, I can say that when I opted for a simple look and just wanted some liner and mascara, it did NOT last even an hour. So if you are looking for a liner for your water line/tight light or to wear on its own, I would not recommend this one. Though, if you are looking for a liner that works well over other products then I would definitely give this a go. I think that since it is so creamy, it just doesn't work well on its own.

The full size of this liner is $15.00, and I believe we were given full size which makes the box already worth it!!




This K6 Skincare Clean Antioxidant Facial Cleanser had a few pros & cons...first off, I was happy to see that it did not have salicylic acid, as I am allergic to it. Additionally, I have pretty sensitive, cranky, combination skin and did not notice any irritation from this product. Now as for cons, I just didn't care for the smell or texture of this product. I felt it was very liquidy which made it difficult to control how much you were using and since it was such a small sample size, I didn't get a lot of use from it before it was all gone. My skin also didn't feel as clean after using this as it did from my traditional skin care products. I can't say that I would repurchase this product.

The full size of this product retails for $25.00 for 4 oz. I received .25 oz, so the sample size was worth about $1.50.



This Whish Shave Cream was a product I was very excited to try. Shaving creams and gels often leave something to be desired and I'm still looking for my holy grail product. I have used this sample size nearly all up and can say that I don't hate it, but I don't absolutely love it either. I liked that while it was a cream, it didn't clog up my razor like other creams have. However I could not get into the scent (and now that I see they have others, I really wish I had received something else like lavender, coconut or almond!!). To me it honestly smelled a bit too old and perfumed. I also cannot say that this left my legs astoundingly soft. I would consider trying this again though, if I could try another scent out. For me that was the clincher!

The full size of this product retails for $20.00 and my sample was worth about $3.00.




Now this next product is a perfume sample of Style de Paris from Catherine Malandrino and let me just say that perfume is tricky - everyone has different tastes so I won't go into this one too much. First off, despite being in a plastic pouch, my sample had still leaked so the scent was on everything within my box. Personally, this was not a scent I enjoyed. It was incredibly strong in my opinion and I prefer a scent I can smell but that isn't overpowering.

The full size bottle (3.4 oz) retails for $110.00 (!!) and my sample size might have cost about $2.00?





Last we have this lip lube from LAQA & Co in the shade bees knees. Ok, I really wanted to like this. It has a minty smell and when I swatched it on my hand it felt moisturizing and non-sticky. However this was wrong for me for two reasons - the color just looked odd on me and the formula was not very forgiving if your lips are even remotely chapped or have some imperfections. It sunk into every line on my lips and looked horrible. I tried to work with it, but it was definitely a no-go.

The full size of this product retails for $18.00 and the sample size was worth about $12.00.

Overall, for the $10.00 cost I can say that my Birchbox was worth it. I am excited to see what comes in my September box and am hoping there is a bit more success as far as products I really enjoy. Out of my samples for August, I only really enjoyed one product enough to repurchase (the eyeliner). However, the total worth of my box was  around $33.00 so I don't feel that is too bad considering the cost.

I hope this helped anyone who was on the fence about a Birchbox subscription. I would definitely suggest giving it a go! I would love to hear your thoughts, and to hear what others received in their August box in the comments! Stay tuned for a review of my September box in a few weeks!!


9/4/14

Bath & Body Works Fall Favorites

I hope that everyone is having a wonderful first week of September! While fall doesn't officially start until the 21st, I feel that the beginning of the month, the start of school and the release of Pumpkin Spice Lattes (I don't even drink them but I get excited! I'm a carmel macchiato gal) justifies the talk of fall! It's actually dreadfully hot here right now - warmer than it has been ALL SUMMER but that won't stop me - I thought today I would share with you all some of my favorite Bath & Body Works candle scents for fall. Nothing beats burning some candles, wrapping yourself in a cozy blanket, enjoying a hot drink and relaxing with a good book during this time of year!



So let's start off by saying that I caught a glimpse of the Sea Salt & Maple Popcorn candle on Instagram and was instantly intrigued. So intrigued that the next day after dinner out, I popped into a Bath & Body Works store JUST TO SMELL IT. I always like to wait until I can take advantage of a candle sale, so I didn't buy it just then but let me tell you, I was checking the Bath & Body website perhaps more than daily waiting for my chance! Now these aren't exclusively the only scents I enjoy during the fall, I have a few others from Bath & Body that are stockpiled in a cabinet that may or may not be entirely dedicated to their candles (there also may be a drawer for wallflowers and a drawer for soaps but I don't know who told you that!). However I'm fairly certain that most of these candles are new for this year so I figured it was a great time to share them with you!


We might as well start off with Sea Salt Maple Popcorn. I think the funniest thing is that I can't even eat popcorn really (it KILLS my teeth). However, the scent really gets me and generally suckers me into eating some if its around. The great thing about this candle is that I can enjoy the smell without the temptation. This isn't any ol' popcorn scent though - this is popcorn all grown up! The saltiness, the sweet from the maple and the popcorn combine to create an amazingly cozy and delicious scent. Seriously, popcorn lover or not - go smell this!! You may be surprised. I was! 



This is another scent that I was very intrigued by. I'm really loving the new food based scents that Bath and Body Works has been releasing. This Vanilla Chai is amazing!! Chai is one of my favorite teas and I love getting Chai tea lattes. So to be able to have this scent in candle form is perfect for me. The only downside is that burning it makes me really want to run to Starbucks for a Chai latte! 



This Pumpkin Cinnamon Bun candle is one I picked up on a complete whim, without smelling beforehand. While I do feel that it doesn't have the strongest scent that I would like, I do really enjoy it. I find that you can smell it better when you're in a different room than where it is burning. (unlike the sea salt maple popcorn which I can smell like CRAZY even when it isn't burning!) If this had a bit more cinnamon scent to it, it would be even better. All the same, it's definitely one of my favorites and may or may not have forced me to make some Immaculate Cinnamon Rolls a few times (if you haven't tried these - you MUST! They are the best!!). 



This is another candle that I purchased sight unsmelled (see what I did there?! ;)). This Pumpkin Pecan Waffle candle makes me instantly crave waffles which honestly, isn't even something I really enjoy to begin with. The scent of this one is sweet, without being too sweet (I generally don't go for overly sweet scents). It's a comfort scent for sure and perfect for those cooler fall mornings! 



Okay so I saved the best for last: Pumpkin Sugared Doughnut! I have heard/seen all the hype surrounding their regular sugared doughnut candle but never smelled it. I honestly figured it was a scent that I wouldn't like. However, I purchased this Pumpkin Sugared Doughnut on a complete whim and I am SO GLAD that I did! It is amazing!! It smells like the best kind of doughnuts (honestly the only kind I will eat) - the cake kind and it literally makes you feel like you are in a bakery where fresh, delicious, sugary doughnuts are being made. I definitely can see this being a stock-up candle for sure. Everyone should run (don't walk) to their nearest Bath & Body works and pick this one up!! 
 

It might be in the 80's today, with talks of 90's tomorrow but it won't stop me from savoring anything fall. I feel like fall is the shortest season and its definitely my favorite so I want to enjoy it as much as I can!! 
 

What are your favorite fall candles or scents? Share them with me in the comments!!


9/2/14

Lipstick Queen: A Review.



Hello everyone! I'm pretty excited to share this review with you today! Recently, I've been testing out a few products from a brand I have wanted to try out for quite a while now: Lipstick Queen. I heard the buzz....I saw all the hype...I caved and purchased a few products! So let's get into it!





First off, can we please talk about the packaging?! I have to admit that I kept all the boxes for my lipsticks and honestly, don't want to part with them. The detail in the design is so gorgeous!


I chose to try out two lipsticks: Medieval, and the incredibly intriguing Hello Sailor. I ended up getting Chinatown as a sample as well. I ordered directly from Lipstick Queen and was beyond impressed with both the speed of their shipping, and also the care they put into fulfilling my order. Everything came packaged so nicely! Attention to detail is so important in my opinion and when a company takes the time to make their customer feel appreciated, it really earns them points in my book!


Now lets talk about the products...



I'll start with the sample sized product - which was actually a pretty sizable freebie (.11oz)! I received the Chinatown gloss in the shade chase, which is described as a sheer lush watermelon color. This product is great for a quick application on-the-go, that will not only give you a little pop, but also moisturize your lips at the same time.

One of the appeals of Lipstick Queen in my eyes was the ways that they incorporate ingredients that are going to make your lips not only look great but also feel great too. There are plenty of drying lip products out there...believe me, these are not in that category!



Blue. Lipstick.    .....what the!?!? Yep, you're not seeing things - this lipstick, Hello Sailor, is really blue. However, as intimidating as it may seem, this lipstick is actually sheer and somehow, utilizing its magical powers, gives your lips a slight berry tint and even makes your teeth appear whiter. I brought this to the beach (and mentioned it in my What's in My Beach Bag post), and seriously appreciated the vitamin E that it contains as it was quite the lifesaver during a day of sunshine! I can definitely see myself picking up another tube of this one because it has become one of my favorite lip products to use!



So I saved the best for last I think! Medieval is a sheer red lipstick inspired by the ways women used to achieve a red lip during medieval times. It's meant to look natural and flatter all skin tones, which are both claims I can confirm as true. I personally don't feel I can rock very bright, opaque or intense colors and this lipstick gives me the natural subdued color I prefer, and also pushes me beyond my comfort zone at the same time. I found the color to be slightly buildable and felt that it definitely suited my skin tone.


 (swatches are not edited so you can get a real idea of coloring)

I am very impressed with what I have tried so far from Lipstick Queen and look forward to trying out more from this line! If you've never tried them before, I strongly suggest grabbing Medieval or Hello Sailor as your firsts!

If you have any suggestions of products from Lipstick Queen that I should try out next, I would love to hear them!

8/31/14

These are a few of my favorite things: August

Tomorrow is September 1st....seriously!?! School started back up for me this past week, Pumpkin Spice lattes are out, Halloween candy is in the stores...yet it's still difficult to believe that we're already at this point in the year. Fall is by far my favorite time of year though, so as much as I enjoy summer, I'm really for all things fall!

So let's bid adieu to August and jump into my monthly favorites!




First up is this Kate Spade iPad mini case. I am SO happy that I snagged this when I did. Can we just talk about how gorgeous it is!?! I don't know why, but I've been pretty obsessed with anything rose/rose print lately and this definitely fits the bill. It keeps my iPad nice and snug and is also a smart case, which means that my iPad goes dark when I shut it, preventing the battery from draining too quickly. I also featured this case in my Back to School series here!




This book has not only been one of my favorites of the books I've read this past month, but also a top favorite of the books I've read this summer overall. I absolutely loved the story and cannot wait for the second installment and also, the movie which is set to star Emma Watson! You can read my review of The Queen of the Tearling here! 




Oh me, oh my! Why have I not tried this chocolate before!?! While it definitely took me far too long to grab a bar of this, I'm so glad that I did. Sensitive teeth be damned! Can I get this by the case please?! It's the perfect compliment to reading, studying...pretty much anything.



Alright so next up is this miracle product from Kiehl's. I bought this Intensive Treatment and Moisturizer specifically for my feet which, unfortunately are pretty dry and have a tendency to get cracked. It's something I'm pretty self-conscious about and for which, I have purchased a mountain of products. Let me say that NOTHING I have tried could ever compete with this moisturizer!! This is definitely a holy grail product that seriously does the job! I could see this being a great product to have on hand in colder months as well. Seriously - if you have any dry skin issues, go out and buy this now!!



Let's continue with the apparent trend of TMI and talk about this deodorant from Dove. This is the Advanced Care skin renew deodorant and I have to say that not only does it smell lovely and do the job as far as deodorant goes, it also achieves the claim of restoring your skin tone. I can be pretty picky when it comes to deodorants, and purchased this to replace a natural product I was using that did NOT do the job. Besides this deodorant, I haven't used a Dove product in years and am wondering if there are more winners that I've been missing out on? Let me know!





So this next product is one I'm pretty excited about. I'm sure it's been around for ages, but I'm late to the party! I recently picked up this Clinique bottom lash mascara from Sephora on a whim and it was worth it for sure! This makes applying mascara to your bottom lashes a breeze. No more dealing with huge wands on those pesky tiny lashes! The wear is great and I haven't noticed any fallout. When I'm out of this, I will definitely re-purchase!





Last but not least is this Dior lip glow color reviver balm. I picked this up from Nordstrom when I was actually intending on purchasing a different Dior lip balm. Let's call this a happy accident because I am so pleased with this product. First off, the packaging is gorgeous! The balm itself is super moisturizing without being greasy or heavy, isn't too shiny, and gives your lips a wonderful dose of color. This is definitely one of those products that you can throw in your bag and go! It's a "your lips but better" color!


That's it for August! Now we move onto my favorite time of the year: Fall! What were your favorites for August? I'd love to hear them in the comments! Feel free to share your blogs & videos as well! :)


8/28/14

Product Empties #1

So even before I started blogging here or anywhere else, I was always interested in trying out new/different products. There are so many options out there that it can be pretty overwhelming! I've been trying to save all empties that I acquire for doing a product empties post. I went to add to my pile recently and realized that I had quite the build up and figured that it was definitely time for a post!






Almond Butter from The Body Shop - I went through this surprisingly fast. I really loved the scent and used it in lieu of my normal lotion after taking a shower. I did find that it was a bit greasy but it left my skin feeling super soft! I would definitely repurchase and have been considering trying out their new Argan line as well.





First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream - I purchased the small size of this initially and fell in love instantly! I have plenty of lotions, but this one was the ONLY one to make my skin calm down when I was breaking out thanks to the case on my old computer (I know, a very creative allergy!). It smells great and is super moisturizing. I have already repurchased this in the larger side and keep it on my bedside table. It's happily become part of my evening routine! 



OPI polish remover - This is the nail polish remover that I currently am using. I've repurchased it a few times now because it is (so far) the best remover I have found. However, I'm still in the market for something that works even better - specifically something that tackles glitter/texture polishes better! If you know of anything PLEASE let me know!! 



Victoria Secret Pure Daydream Body Wash  - I LOVED the scent of this body wash!! It just had a nice, cozy, not too perfumed scent to it. The lather that you get was also pretty fantastic. I have a few other scents of VS body wash in my stash so I want to use those up first but I would definitely repurchase this!




Kiss My Face 4-in-1 moisture shave in Peaceful Patchouli - Alrighty, so this is a product that I just did not love. I really wanted to, but it just didn't work for me. I'm always trying to find eco-friendly/natural options for body and makeup products but unfortunately this one just didn't do it for me. The scent was alright but not my favorite. The real clincher though was how it clogged my razor when I was trying to shave, which resulted in a far less smooth shave. I'm not even sure why it's called a 4-in-1 product! Needless to say, I will not be repurchasing this one!



Toms Naturally Dry Antiperspirant Deodorant - Unfortunately this was another bust for me. I do not agree with their claim that it provides 24 hour wetness protection...I didn't feel it did so for even half of that time. I also did not care for the texture of it. I felt it didn't absorb as well as other products out there. This one is another that I will not be repurchasing.




Soap & Glory Clean on Me Creamy Moisture Shower Gel - Say hello to one of my all-time loves! This is definitely a holy grail product to me. I am so in love with the scent of this shower gel! I have yet to be let down by any of the Soap & Glory products that I have tried and sincerely wish that I could purchase their makeup products in the states as well! (I'd be first in line for them!!) I will definitely keep repurchasing this - in fact, I already have some backup and this is definitely not something I'd want to go without!



Victoria Secret Sensual Blush Lotion - I liked the scent of this lotion, but unfortunately, I found that it was extremely greasy!! I mean I would at times have difficulties getting it to absorb adequately and I just did not enjoy the formulation of this lotion. I would not repurchase this.



Imperialis Facial Moisturizer from Lush - Lush is such a fun brand and one that I sincerely enjoy. However, this product is not one of my favorites. Personally it did not work for my skin, so it might just have been me and not the product. I will say that I feel that it is fairly affordable as you get more than an ounce for $25.00 - not bad! I will not be repurchasing this though.



Cupcake Fresh Face Mask from Lush - Now on to a product I really enjoyed - this face mask. First of all, it has cocoa powder, which means that it smells A-MA-ZING! It also made my face feel very calm and soft. It was perfect for a nice Sunday pamper evening! I would definitely repurchase this in the future. I would like to note however, that if you are interested in this mask that you can only purchase it in stores as it needs to be refrigerated.



King of Skin from Lush - Alright so since this product comes in bar form, all I have to show for it is the empty tin. This bar is one that you use in the shower and leaves your skin super smooth. It was recommended to me by a Lush employee, as an alternative to shaving cream. I tried it for that purpose and was not happy with the results. However, I did enjoy using it for its intended purpose. I would consider repurchasing it in the future, but it isn't a product I need to rush out and replace either.



Colgate Sensitive Pro-Relief (Whitening) Toothpaste - Yep - I'm gonna review a toothpaste! It might be weird, but I feel everyone has opinions about this stuff and we all need to use it so I'm going to put in my two cents. I liked this toothpaste, but I don't feel that it did much for my sensitivity. When I ran out I picked one that was slightly different and am loving it so I don't see myself going back to this one in the future.



Turkish Delight Shower Smoothie from Lush - This was another product recommendation from an employee and I have to say that I just wasn't a super fan of it. I enjoyed the smell - a lot actually. However, I can't see myself purchasing it just for the scent alone, and I also didn't find that the scent had much staying power for me. Personally I felt that instead of hydrating, this product actually made my skin feel dryer. Unfortunately, I would not be purchasing this one in the future.






Almond & Coconut Shower Smoothie - I don't know if this product is being discontinued or if they changed the name but I had a difficult time finding it on the Lush website. This is again a Lush product that just drew me in by its scent. This one smells so yummy! I found that it made my skin feel far better than the Turkish Delight did, perhaps thanks to the coconut. I would consider purchasing this one in the future. 





Ocean Salt Scrub from Lush - I really wanted to like this face scrub after all the great reviews it has received. However this just ravaged my skin and made me break out madly. It might have been too abrasive, it might have been some of the ingredients, or perhaps a combo of both. I also didn't care for the scent as much as others have. I will not be purchasing this in the future.


Well that's it for my first products empties post! Stay tuned for more in the future after I built up some empties again! :)