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SwatchFest 2016 – Little Nail Girl

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So after painting my nails nonstop for about nine months, I figured maybe it was time I share my new-honed talents with the world.  I’m quite proud of how far I’ve come.  Remember the good ol’ days when someone had to literally force me to buy a bottle of nail polish?  You might as well have asked me would I rather stab hot toothpicks in my eyeball.  Fiiiiiiiiine.  I choose nail polish.  Pfffft.

But then something super weird happened.  I watched a YouTube video of someone taking a horribly polished hand and transforming it into something magical and model-y with just a tiny brush and some acetone.  That spoke to me, people.  My OCD was soothed like someone poured a warm Butterscotch Schnapps coffee with whipped cream all over it.  Like, who just wrapped me up in a toasty blanket and handed me a whole bunch of baby kitties?  For real, y’all.

Fast forward to today where I am the proud (and obsessive, but only slight) owner of roughly 600 bottles of nail polish.  Paid for and lovingly stored as if they were my own children.  I have grown my Instagram by thousands and made tons of new nailie friends.  I’ve learned how to polish properly, the joys of nail vinyls and how fast watermarbling can turn a good day into a bad one (verrrrry fast, if you’re curious).

Now that we’ve covered that, you know where I am in life.  Sitting at the nail table (i.e., former kitchen table) most likely.  Surrounded by everything that makes me happy.  Doing swatches of nail polish and posting on Instagram like someone is paying me for it.  They’re not, although I’m completely open to that as a career if anyone is interested.  Also, I take gift cards.

But let’s get down to business, shall we?  I received a couple of polishes from this cute online boutique called Little Nail Girl.  Currently they have about 32 polishes in their line in a variety of finishes.  Here’s what I received:

If your first reaction was a speechless jaw-drop, we can be best friends and soul mates for life.  They’re glorious!  I couldn’t wait to get them on my nails.  About 2.5 seconds later, this happened:


This first one is called Kimmie.  It’s a classic red cream, ultra smooth and super shiny.  I couldn’t believe how fabulous this went on and how pretty my hands looked after.  Seriously, why isn’t someone paying me?  These nails are heartbreakers, I swear.

Swatch shows two coats, but some could get away with one.  It had excellent coverage.  Other less picky people could probably do one coat, even.  I did two out of habit.  And please tell me you noticed that glassy shine.  I didn’t even need to do top coat really, other than the fact I wanted my nails to dry quicker.  Cuz nothing says I suddenly got ten billion things to do like ten freshly polished (and still wet) nails.  Quick dry top coat literally saves me.

Then I decided to dress the whole thing up a bit:

Are you dying?!  I love the look of this gray and red together. I used a floral watermarble stencil from Twinkled T, which I highly recommend.  If actual watermarble gives you hives, try the stencil instead.  Yes, it’s cheating but of the best kind. It’s watermarble for lazy people. And it usually turns out better anyway.

Next is this bright ocean blue called Korinna:

  

Okay now I’m really dying. This blue is everything.  So pretty and the formula was every bit as good as the red one.  Two coats and an unnecessary layer of top coat cuz the shine on this is ridiculous.  It’s a blue dream, a pool of deliciousness.  I want to stick my fingers in everyone’s face and say look at it.  Except society says that is not allowed.

More nail art:

Were you thinking daisies would be perfect? Cuz that’s where my mind immediately went. I stamped a single daisy image all over my nails with one of my Uber Chic plates and added some bright yellow dots. And there you have an epitome of springtime right at your fingertips. Literally what more could you want in life – food, water and a daisy mani. All set.  Give me a pair of pajamas and I’m seriously never leaving my nail table again.

Thank you, Little Nail Girl, for sending these lovely polishes for review. I’m telling all my friends to buy your stuff – cuz it’s pretty and wonderful, vegan and eco-friendly. And who doesn’t love all that? (Crazy people.)

Ipsy | January 2015

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Things I did over the weekend that kept me from blogging the very last review for the month of January:  watched 3 episodes of Intervention, drank two frozen cocktails in a Stella Artois glass which may or may not be illegal, went to Ulta for a “minute” and returned about 1.45 hours later, wore an excessive amount of pajamas, went out to brunch (surprisingly while not in pajamas), transcribed a 17-year-old list of books I’ve read into the spreadsheet app on my iPad (possible evidence of nerd tendencies), and “watched” the Superbowl while thumbing through two old issues of US Weekly.

Sorry about my charmed life.  But without further ado, here’s my Ipsy:

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Wish I could say this review is worth waiting for, but it’s kind of a non-event.  I don’t hate the box, but I’m not beside myself with excitement either.  The best thing about the box was right before I opened it.  That feeling is what keeps me subscribed.  Let’s begin!

First item is the La Fresh Eco-Beauty Good Day moisturizer.  It comes in a Capri Sun package.  Isn’t that nifty?  Better than one of those horrid one-time-use packets, though.  I’m thinking there’s enough in here to last a couple weeks probably.  And since it’s a day moisturizer, I’ll have to wait to use it until I’m finished with my current day moisturizer.  Should be soon, although nearing the bottom of the jar isn’t always as close as it seems.

There are a lot of conflicting reviews on the Ipsy site.  Some people said it does not smell very good, which should be the number one concern of any skincare company.  Not efficacy, but smell.  Because it’s really hard to continue using a product no matter how much of a miracle it is if the dang thing stinks.  Although I suppose I’m the least credible source for this assumption – I used an entire bottle of exfoliator made out of salmon eggs on purpose.

And then there are those who says it’s not very moisturizing and that it’s greasy, while others declare the opposite.  I guess it’s up to me to settle this debate.  So stay tuned for a future Empties post and I’ll let you know.

Well who doesn’t love getting a new makeup brush? (Crazy people.)  So while I didn’t necessarily need one, receiving this Elizabeth Mott All Over Shadow brush suited me just fine.  It’s got a pretty pink handle with lovely white and pink bristles.  Applies eyeshadow just like any standard brush, though.  I’ve had denser brushes for this purpose, but can’t say I prefer it one way or the other.  I just threw it in my brush cup and moved on with my life.  I’ll use it; what more can you expect?

Y’all know I struggle with an acute case of the Straggly Lip Skin.  I don’t know why I’m constantly picking flakes off, even though I exfoliate and lube up every evening.  Perhaps I’m using the wrong products.  My friend has used mentholatum for over 20 years and she’s never had this issue.  But then again, her husband hugs his edge of the bed for dear life because she smells like a medicine cabinet.  And while I’m not opposed to owning my 2/3 of the bed, I just haven’t went the mentholatum route yet.  Instead, I buy a lot of hocus pocus from Sephora and Ulta and just know one day I’m gonna hit the lip lottery.  Enter the Jouer Essential Lip Enhancer. Annnnd … it’s just okay.

This stuff is like a thick oil that coats and shines up your lips.  It doesn’t have the most amazing smell, but it’s not gross either.  I only use this right before bed, so I don’t know how it performs during the day, but it feels like it would protect my lips from the fan that blows straight on me for at least 8 hours straight.  In the morning, the oil has worn away and there’s minimal straggly bits, but they are not completely gone.  So for me it’s just a middle of the road product.  However, it does claim to increase the size of your lips and decrease fine lines.  Not even sure that’s an actual, possible thing in the $16 price range.  However, if you wanna pay like $600, you can achieve these results with Juvederm*.  (*Not a sponsored statement – no company gives a shit about my blog.)

Least favorite thing in the box is this BellaPierre Shimmer Powder in Whesek.  First of all, what kind of name is Whesek?  Is that a thing I don’t know about – like a new species of animal or an exotic food?  Is it a town in the English countryside?  Regardless, I didn’t even use it because how many times do I enjoy a loose eyeshadow?  If you guessed ZERO, you’d be right.  It’s just messy and annoying.  Could be the most beautiful color in the world, but I’ll never know.  Passing this along to my daughter who probably doesn’t enjoy loose eyeshadow either but does enjoy free things.  Cuz free trumps practical about 97.906764% of the time.

Last product is this Pacifica Coconut Eye Shadow in Ethereal.  Looks like a boring champagne colored eyeshadow, right?  Welll, it is.  Except I liked it a lot.  I thought it had a nice brightening effect on my eyelid, even though that could be psychological brain trickery of which I am highly susceptible.  I used it with a primer (via MAC Paint Pot in Painterly), and eyeshadow always looks better when paired with this.  It went on smooth and stayed vibrant all day.  I’ve decided to keep it, which is a pretty big deal for a basic color like this.  However, if you’re looking to buy this single, you can’t.  Pacifica only sells the Coconut eye shadow in palettes.  Luckily, they’re available and Target and therefore not super expensive.  Some good news for your Monday.

We’re done.  I have the most annoyingly ginormous Empties post to write, and I’m almost certain it’s going to take eons to finish.  I’m gonna start now so you can read it somewhere around 2017.  Laters.

Buying Stuff: Foundation Edition

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Not too long ago, about a year to be accurate, I barely gave two blinks about my makeup. And foundation was only worn on special occasions. Fast forward to today and the following bullshit has happened:

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I have no idea how this has came to pass. I didn’t even think I cared about foundation. But now I’m obsessed like a proper crazy person. Should I be worried?

The newest babies of the family are these below. Let’s discuss, shall we?

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Awww, the beautiful star of the show. Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk. The Holy Grail of millions (an estimation, but probably). How could I not buy this? Literally, HOW. COULD. I. NOT. You try watching countless YouTube videos singing the praises of this foundation and then somehow not shell out $60 willingly and carefreeingly to own a bottle of your very own. Spoiler alert: it’s impossible.

My color is 5.5 which is a pretty good match for my NW20 cool-toned skin. I had the lady on the Armani phone do a cross reference with some of my other matching foundations in order to settle on a color for me. I was taking a chance as there is no local Armani counter nor have I ever swatched them much less seem them in person. Not that I couldn’t have exchanged it if it was the wrong color, but who has time for that? I much prefer doing it right the first time.

It took a couple tries to figure out I really liked this foundation. This has a beautiful luminous finish (aptly named), but when you use a mattifying primer underneath it, you kind of ruin it. So don’t do that unless you’re okay with being WRONG. I used just a normal primer and then most recently a brightening primer from NP Set and now our love affair is confirmed. Approved! Put it in your basket.

Next is the Rimmel Stay Matte mousse foundation:

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My color is #200 Soft Beige. I say it’s my color but really there’s only like 8 shades to pick from. Soft Beige is the best I could do. As long as I don’t put too much on, it seems to do okay.

The texture of this foundation is very mousse-y. I like mousse. It makes me think of dessert, which I also happen to like. So things are starting out rather good at this point. It applies very smoothly, does not give you cake-face, and evens out the skin very well.

Throughout the day I kept checking my face in the mirror for signs of shine, and happily things looked good. Was matte but not a one-dimensional kind of matte. It reflected the tiniest bit of light but in a positive non-greasy sort of way.

This tube was on sale at Ulta when I bought it so I parted with a mere $4 of my money. And honestly I like this foundation just as much as my high end brands. I do recommend you give this a try especially if you have oily skin. I mean, for the investment you’ll have to make, it’s totally worth it.

Now here’s two cuties all snuggled up – the Ellis Faas Skin Veil and the new Laura Mercier Smooth Operator:

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So presh. Let’s start with the Ellis Faas first. This is the most expensive foundation I’ve ever worn. If someone hadn’t given me a very large gift card I never would have bought it. Cuz $90 for foundation is insanity. Unless you perform magic tricks upon the face, I draw the line at $60. And even that hurts a bit. However, I was very curious and it was practically free so I went for it.

My shade according to the Sephora Color IQ system is S103L. It matches pretty good when I’m applying it. It’s rather thick, but not sticky. Like it’ll blend out easily. However, and maybe it’s my fault for having high expectations, or maybe it’s their fault for charging almost $100 for their foundation, but at that price I was hoping it would glide on like silk and I would look like myself but only a wax figurine (i.e., perfect) version. Maybe “wax” isn’t proper, but have you been to Madame Tussauds? Those “people” in there are flawless.

I did not really like the finish of this foundation. It did not have as much coverage as the others. When I got in the car to drive to work (where I do my most constructive critiquing), I did not enjoy what I saw. The hyperpigmentation on my cheek seemed pronounced instead of concealed and my skin looked flat. What a bummer. I mean a real big o boo. I figured $90 would replace my old face with a new one; instead, I just looked old.

Later on in the day, the color seemed to settle into my skin and the finish did transform a bit to the good. I don’t know if it needs time to set or if the lighting in the afternoon is just more flattering. Either way, I will not gravitate towards this foundation as much as the others. Mom said she’d buy it off me for $20. I laugh in a guffawing unladylike fashion. Just cuz I don’t like it doesn’t mean I don’t want it. Have we learned nothing about me during this process?

Now let’s discuss the Laura Mercier one. My shade is Ecru. And the second I applied this foundation, I knew I wanted the full size. I love it when that happens don’t you? Being on the fence is no place for a lady, lemme tell you.

This is an extremely liquidy foundation. You have to shake it up real good prior to using it. It’s similar to the new Bare Minerals serum foundation if you’ve tried that. Super watery consistency so be careful or it’ll roll right off your fingers.

I’ve applied this a few times and I’ve discovered you get the best finish by using your fingers. Also it’s nice and buildable if you don’t get enough coverage the first go round. I don’t know about you, but if sheer coverage foundations didn’t exist I’d be perfectly fine with that. Otherwise, you must have the skin of a 14-year-old and we don’t like you anyway.

I got a smooth, almost airbrushed look with one layer and I stayed that way all day. I most definitely will replace my sample when it runs out because I just loved it. It’s one of those foundations that makes a noticeable difference on your face. Like, BAM!, instant supermodel. I ain’t even gonna pretend otherwise.

Then we have the Chantecaille Future Skin:

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I’ll admit I got this foundation cuz I enjoy saying the name Chantecaille. But on the other hand, the jar packaging just spoke luxury to me and I wanted a little luxury in my life. And also cuz it’s my month-long birthday extravaganza. If you can’t turn 40 in a proper manner, then what is the point of life? I ask you, WHAT. IS. THE. POINT.

I did a little research and prayed to the little baby Jesus that Vanilla would be my shade. Turns out, it’s a pretty good match. Even I am amazed at my own skills sometimes.

Opening the jar, your first thought is Pudding!, then you calm down and behave accordingly. It’s a wonderful consistency though. Just a very creamy foundation that blends out so beautifully. It’s about a medium coverage but on the lightest side of medium – at least on my face that is. I have a splotchy complexion so maybe it takes something industrial to make me look flawless.

The finish is pretty natural. Not too matte but certainly not dewy. I liked it very much. However I wasn’t blinded by my own beauty or anything so it doesn’t compare to my beloved Giorgio or even the matte gorgeousness of the Rimmel. But I don’t regret purchasing it even though it was pretty pricey.

Last newbie is this tube of L’Oreal Visible Lift blur foundation.

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I got the shade Creamy Natural #204 which was determined by holding the tube up against another foundation I know matched me. It’s not a science or anything but it worked.

I freaking love this foundation. It’s stunning. I can’t even quite put my finger on it but it makes you take a second look at yourself like Oh, hi there. My complexion was even, pores barely noticeable, color was a great match. It spread over the face like it was made of satin. It was pure pleasure to apply and insanely beautiful to wear. And even after a sweaty walk after lunch one day, it held up perfectly.

What is even more ridiculous is the fact this cost like $15. It does what the Ellis Faas (at $90) should be doing. Is that not crazy? If you have to consider this question then you may want to consult your physician about your broken brain.

In short, I very highly recommend this one. Two thumbs up and all that jazz. It’s approved. Put it in your basket like yesterday.

Okay y’all … I’m outta here. Got some birthday plans this weekend and lots of makeup to buy. Obviously I’ll be var var busy. See ya in September!

Blush Mystery Beauty Box | May 2014

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I’ve been getting beauty boxes so long, I’m starting to get repeats more often.  Sometimes it’s fine if it’s a really nice moisturizer or a serum that I loved.  But other times when it’s gray nail polish or beige lipgloss, I immediately want to take a nap.  If we’re doing repeats, don’t send boring stuff.  Please.

Here’s my Blush box, repeats and all:

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The first item isn’t technically a repeat, although I’ve gotten three of these things in different versions.  It’s a Bioxidea hand treatment.  At first I was kind of okay with it – it contains a pair of gloves filled with serum that you wear for 30 minutes that’s supposed to transform your hands into miracles of nature.  Sounds alright.  But then I don’t really have bad or damaged hands at this point in my life.  I mean, I have crepey knuckle skin but that’s not a skin condition.  So I’ve decided I’ll give it to mom instead.  Not that she has a skin condition, but she is older and will probably appreciate it more than me.  Or at least she better, cuz it’s valued at $18.

Next repeat is a true repeat.  It’s the Miracle Skin Transformer Face which is like a tinted moisturizer.  I got a sample of this back in the fall – from Blush, oddly enough, so not only is it a repeat, but it’s from the same box.  Who’s in charge of the spreadsheet cuz we need to talk.

Having said all that, I do like the product.  A little goes a very long way, so the sample tube lasted me eons.  The texture is a cream to powder finish and feels very nice on the skin.  But I’ve moved on to other things, and I don’t want to sample this again.

But then!  A girl on my Instagram told me there several of her friends that got expired tubes.  I checked mine, and it expired two months ago.  Ew.  No thank you.  I’m not sure what Blush is going to do; I have a ticket open with them as we speak.  I’m thinking a gift card would be nice but I’m almost 97.8967576% certain I’ll get another (fresh) tube of Miracle Skin Transformer.  Here’s my face:  -__-

The featured product in the box this month is a blush duo by Glo Minerals.  The shade I got was Terra Cotta which had a pinkish peach shade on one side and a nudey shade on the other.  I swirled them together and created a custom color, and it turned out pretty nice.  That’s probably how I’ll do it from now on because each side of the duo is small and getting a blush brush in there might be kind of hard.  Unless you apply blush with a tiny brush, and if you do, I question your motives.

And now for another repeat – the pur-lisse Hydra Balance moisturizer.  I just got this from Boxycharm like last month, and I am currently, actively using it.  Plus, Blush had sent me the pur-lisse moisturizer with sunscreen back in the fall as well.  So not only is this a repeat, but it’s a current repeat AND a semi box repeat.  It’s a trifecta repeat.  How rare is that?  Hopefully very rare because I can’t take much more of these shenanigans.

On the plus side, it’s a nice light moisturizer.  I use it in the mornings and it sinks in pretty quick.  It also has a value of $55 which is more than the cost of the beauty box.  Technically, according to etiquette books, I should shut the ef up.

Not big on cream eyeshadows, receiving the Laura Gellar Cool Lids was not a thrill.  And then getting a silver color, albeit not a beige one, was even less exciting.  But I’m going to figure out a way to enjoy it nonetheless.  I was wearing a dark pink eyeshadow over the weekend, and as a random side, about 12 hours later I dabbed a little of this silver in the center of my lid.  It blended pretty well, and highlighted my eyeball in a not-weird way.  So there might be some hope for it.  I’ll play around a bit more before I decide to keep it for life.

Last product, and possibly the best one, is this facial oil from Peter Thomas Roth called Oilless Oil.  It’s 100% purified squalane if that means anything to you rocket scientists out there.  Apparently it’s an oil without the greasy oil feel.  Or maybe it’s not an oil, but acts like an oil?  I dunno.  It’s squalane.  There, is that better?

No.

What I do know is that you apply one drop to your face as your moisturizer because they say it is very rich, and if you need more to only add one drop at a time.  You can also apply it to your hair, cuticles and elbows, which I probably won’t because that’s too much trouble to me.  However, at the rate of one drop at a time, I could be using this bottle for the next 15 years.  I’m actually excited about trying it, so I might get to it pretty soon.

That’s it.  Box is over.  But don’t worry, there’s more boxes upcoming.  I have two others I’ve already gotten, and four have shipped this week.  I’m going out of town for the weekend, so you may not hear from me until Monday.  Just FYI, in case you worry about me.

Have a great day everyone!

Love Lula | April 2014

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Let me tell you a little story about the Love Lula box.  I was laying in bed about two in the morning, and I had just canceled my Beauty Box 5 subscription.  I was a little heartbroken, because even though I never really liked the products I got in my Beauty Box 5, I still enjoyed the process of opening the box.  I could have consoled myself with my normal bowl of ice cream, but instead I found Love Lula.  And just like that, my heart was healed.

If anyone tries to tell me my 11 beauty box subscriptions isn’t emotional therapy, I will karate chop them in the throat, complete with a hiiii-yaaaa! and spitlets.

Anwyay.

Before you rush out and get your own Love Lula box, you must know it comes from England.  They do not have a monthly subscription option for U.S. customers (at this time), only a pre-paid three month one.  And once the currency was converted, the monthly charge came out to be roughly $29 per box.  So it’s not necessarily cheap, but I wanted another damn box and thought one coming from jolly ole England might be super fun.

I can convince myself of anything.  I subscribed in about 2.5 seconds.

My March box is out there floating in the ocean somewhere (probably) but my April box showed up about 11 days after they shipped it.  They are in the process of sending out another March box, just so you know.  Customer Service is top notch.  I didn’t catch one hint of annoyance at my 15 emails inquiring about the whereabouts of March.  What happened in real life could have been one major eye roll and angry typing (verging on all caps), but I’ll never know.  Us OCD types can be quite obnoxious, I won’t lie.

Here’s what I got for April:

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I’m not going to pretend all this was worth the $29 I paid, but just staring at that adorable little lip balm package makes it almost worth it.  But first things first – that blasted one-time-use packet.  It’s a Jane Iredale Glow Time BB Cream one.  The envelope it was stuck to said it comes in 6 shades, but the packet doesn’t have a color listed on it so I have no idea what shade it’s in or if it would even come close to matching my skin.  The website says it color-adjusts, so I’ll just hope for the best.  Apparently the texture is what they lovingly describe as “velvet” and that makes my cat ears perk up instantly.  (Cat people will understand what cat ears are.  If you aren’t a cat person, what is wrong with you?)  I’m super big on texture, so anything that claims to be velvet definitely has my attention.

Got a couple samples of Sante shower gel in the lemon and coconut scents.  I’ve used the lemon one already, and it had a nice smell.  But what else can you say about a shower gel?  It performed like a shower gel.  No scrubby bits, just a shower gel.  Hopefully you’re getting my picture because carpal tunnel is about to set in.

As for that super cute package of lip balm, I just about abandoned my entire box and locked myself in the bedroom with just this lip balm.  I’m such a sucker for packaging.  You could be selling slug trail, but if it comes looking like it stepped out of a 19th century European apothecary, you can put all your money on the fact I’m buying it.  Seriously, all your money.  That’s how much packaging means to me.

Now this Figs & Rouge lip balm isn’t from the 19th century, but it is European.  It’s more of a girly chic motif, which also excites me to no end.  Plus, the flavor is Mocha Orange and I’m like whaaaaaaa…??  Let me put this in perspective for you.  You know how at Christmas or Valentines you get a box of assorted chocolates and sometimes there’s a map of flavors but sometimes there’s not.  And when there’s not, you’re eating chocolate all willy nilly, biting into a coconut, a caramel, or one of those truffle things, nodding and making lip-licking noises because you’re so incredibly happy you’re beside yourself with joy (but no manners).  But then you bite into one that’s filled with orange cream and all your daydreams are destroyed in the blink of an eye.  Well, that’s not me, not even close.  I am of the rare minority who would scissor off your pointer finger for a bite of the orange cream ones.

What am I going on about?  I dunno.  I just love the smell of chocolate and orange and this lip balm makes me happy.  The end.

Next item is the black kohl eyeliner from UNE.  They are a French company so instantly I’m interested.  I used this liner the other day, and it is nice and creamy and applied smoothly.  But it is also the third black eyeliner I’d gotten in a beauty box this month so I was kind of like ho hum pigs bum.  I mean, I’ll use it because it came from France and all, but it doesn’t excite me to the point of madness.  That’s all I’m saying.  Moving right along.

Last item in the box is the REN Rosa Centifolia Express Makeup Remover.  At first I was like, yay a new makeup remover because I’m a big fat makeup dork.  I thought it was a liquid; however, instead it’s a cleansing milk.  I don’t like putting lotiony textures on my eyes.  They feel goopy to me, and dangerous.  Because I’ve never wanted to open my eyes and look all around me as if I had never seen any of it before quite like I do when I’m forced to have my eye closed due to a goop/eyeball impending doom scenario.  Why is that exactly?  Am I a 3 year old child?  But for the sake of science I did put this goop on my eyeball.  Did not enjoy, but I survived.

So there you have it, my first Love Lula experience.  One of these days my March box will appear, and then I will have a May box to review as well.  Not sure if I will sign up for another round because $29 and the agony of waiting for my box to sail across the Atlantic Ocean sometimes is just too much to bear.  But we’ll see.  I’m finiky and change my mind a lot (due to the aforementioned 3 year old child disorder).

In the meantime, have a great Thursday.

Empties | January 2014

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I may hoard makeup like I’m preparing for an apocalypse but here is proof that I actually use, and finish, things I buy.

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This is my collection of empties I’ve stored away during the entire month of January. Yes, I kept my trash under the sink in my bathroom all in the name of science. I’m nothing if not dedicated, people.

First, some hair stuff:

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I got the Ouidad Curl Recovery cleansing oil in one of my beauty boxes back in December. And while I don’t have curly hair, and all my poking around on the internet suggested it was quite popular for African-American hair, I used it anyway.

No, just no. This product was not for me. Granted, it cleaned my hair just fine. But my second day hair was way oilier than normal. Even dry shampoo couldn’t help it much. I did a little experiment to make sure it was the Ouidad that was causing the excess oil (by washing my hair with regular shampoo the next time – quite scientific, I know) and it was most definitely the Ouidad. So I stopped using it about halfway through the bottle. It hurt, but it had to be done.

Next are the Paul Mitchell shampoo and conditioner samples in the Strength formula. I had been using some mediocre product that I felt wasn’t really doing anything special to my hair – but I bought it so was trying to use it anyway, as I am apt to do. Then husband and I went on a quick weekend trip, and the hotel had Paul Mitchell amenities. Ooh la la! Just kidding, it was just a Courtyard Marriott. Anyway.

I felt that my hair did so good that weekend. Like way better than it had for quite some time. So next thing you know, I’m in Ulta buying this stuff. They have several formulas, but I picked the Strength one because I shed so much hair it’s ridiculous. Serious, I could make a new head of hair just by collecting my fall out hair for about a week.

Okay, here’s some body stuff:

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I’ll admit I was feeling a little too big for my britches when I decided to spend $22 on shaving cream. But I just wanted something fancy, you know how it goes. After researching terms like luxury, high-end, and vintage, I finally found the Shaveworks Pearl Soufflé. Doesn’t the name just make you want to rub it all over your body? I mean, pearl soufflé. But maybe that’s just me.

I found a trial size on Amazon so I didn’t end up paying as much, and I was never so excited to shave my legs. However, now all I can really say about it is that it’s a beautiful pearl color. Other than that, it wasn’t anything special. The smell was icky. So I won’t buy this again. Besides, I found something better which I will tell you about one day.

This blog is entertaining AND suspenseful!

The other thing is a body lotion by Body Drench. Not much to report here other than the awesome mango smell. I’d repurchase if I cared that much about body lotion. I don’t. I get sucked in by smells and smells alone. Whatever lotioning benefits it might impart gets lost on me.

Here’s some face cleaning stuff:

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That little bottle of The Aloe Source Jojoba Cleansing Polish is awesome. It was delicate, had a lovely smell and made my skin feel super smooth. I will actually buy this again one day. Cuz whatever jojoba is, I’m in love.

On my very first real trip to Ulta, I picked up those Philosophy facial wipes cuz they were on sale. So these hold a special place in my heart, a sweet reminder of how innocent and naive I used to be, how I knew so little about makeup or skin care, and how far I’ve come since that day. Other than that, though, they are just an overpriced facial wipe. They work, but aren’t amazing, and quite frankly, I get better results from my $3 package of e.l.f. wipes.

See that little tiny tube of Brad Ultra Peel? Yeah, celebrities punch each other in the throat over that. It’s also $175 in its regular size. In other words, I felt super duper fancy for using this but I will never own it ever again in my lifetime. It is an at-home chemical peel kind of thingy. Only really liked it cuz famous people use it. I’m a really sad person.

Next thing is a tube of microdermabrasion from Dr. Brandt. I liked it okay. It had very fine scrubber bits in it so it didn’t irritate my skin like you would expect something that feels like sandpaper to do. I approve.

Last one is a super boring face wash from NeoStrata. It cleaned my face, yes. Left my face feeling very soft, yes. But it did not smell that great. And I accidentally got it in my mouth and discovered it doesn’t taste that great either. I forced myself to finish it.

Here’s some body wash stuff:

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If you like the smell of roses, you will love the Anatomicals You Need a Blooming Shower. I do not. I used it cuz technically I paid for it (via beauty box) but I would never purposefully buy this.

And the H2O+ body wash wasn’t that great either. It smells of sea lotus, whatever that is. I dunno. I just prefer fruity scents I guess.

Then there’s this ginormous tube of body cleanser from Lisa Hoffman Beauty in the Madagascar Orchid scent. It smelled better than the rose one and the sea lotus one, but is was still floral so I was sort of blasé about it. However, it doubled as a bath soak and that was quite pleasant. Still wouldn’t buy it, but I’d recommend it to others.

Lord, are we done?!

No. Here’s some moisturizers:

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I absolutely loved that REN day cream. I can only pinpoint this to a texture issue, as the smell wasn’t the best. Didn’t stink, but didn’t smell like fruit either. But putting this on your face was a dream. At first it was like any basic moisturizer, then it finished with this amazing velvetyness. Not sure if that’s on purpose or how it reacted to my skin only, all I know is I have another sample of this in my stash and I’m so excite.

That little bottle with no label is a facial lotion from Be Natural Organics, I promise you. Got it in my December beauty box from Petit Vour. The label is missing because I had only been using it for maybe a week and then the dispenser stopped working. So I peeled off the label to investigate. Turns out the dispenser was just fine; the bottle was flippin empty already. Gah! I was really enjoying it, too. Ripped away from me before I was ready. That rarely happens. A lot of times I just wanna finish a sample so I can move on to the next sample. So if that tells you anything about how much I loved it, then you’re pretty smart and you can continue to read my blog. Congrats!

One product I was wondering if it would ever end is the Naobay oxygenating cream. I’m not sure what oxygenating cream is, but it sounds like you’d want it. And it’s not a bad product, but to me it was just a regular ole moisturizer that did its regular ole moisturizing thing, and that was it. No fanfare here. I was glad to finish it so I could try something new.

Last but not least (we’ve reached the end people; rejoice!) is some makeup stuff:

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That Be a Bombshell eyeliner marker was dumb. At first I’m thinking, heyyyyy nice! But either there’s not much product inside or else it somehow miraculously dried up with the cap stored on it tightly at all times, but it’s dead to the world now. I tried to eke out as much as I could, but it was like rubbing a dry eraser across my eyelid. No likey. So I’ve given up and moved on.

Lemme tell you how much I love the Benefit That Gal primer. Do you have a few days? No? Okay, short and sweet:

Smells like strawberries. Lovely texture and creaminess. Brightens my dull, boring face. Makes me beautiful. Buy it.

The end.

I was so curious about the Clarins Beauty Flash Balm, I could barely stand myself. I almost considered buying the $45 tube sight unseen because Allure magazine gave it an award. I even emailed Clarins and asked if I could get a free sample (they said no). So I turned to my only other option left to me: eBay. Found a two pack trial size for $8; felt like I’d won the Powerball.

Well that feeling was definitely the most exciting thing about this product. I didn’t notice anything particularly different about my face after using this. I didn’t look extra radiant, glowing, happy, thin … nothing. Maybe I’m too critical of myself and can’t see pretty when it’s quite clearly staring me in my face. I dunno. But what I can say is this: I saved $45, and I’m no longer curious. Win.

Last thing in the batch is this tiny tube of Miracle Skin Transformer Face. It is lovely. Perhaps the best BB cream type of thingy I’ve ever tried. It has this powdery finish, and it truly did smooth out my complexion. And it lasted me such a long time because just the littlest bit of product smeared out so far on your face. Go buy this. Ya know, if you have an extra $48 lying around.

If you have made it down to the very bottom of this ridiculously long post well then you deserve a reward of some kind. Either that or you have had nothing better to do for the past 15 hours. Whichever the case, I thank you. Hope you’ve found this helpful and not annoying in the slightest. I took two days to write this thing, so it was an effort on my part too. I mean, what else was I supposed to do during the Super Bowl?

The things we do for each other. It’s love.

Ipsy | January 2014

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I’m just gonna go ahead and give Ipsy their props.  They are one of the best, cheapest beauty boxes available.  If you don’t believe me … well, then something is wrong with you.  I mean, definitely cheapest – it’s $10 per month.  And the quality of products you get is phenom.  Granted, you don’t always like what’s in your box, but that is typical of every box.  But I like what I get more often than I don’t.  Therefore, (and back to the point) I am right.

But I never doubted myself for one second.

Now.  Having said all that, I’m going to sound like such an oxymoron when I say that this month’s box isn’t my favorite.  Here is what I mean:

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So there is a lovely little pack of makeup removal wipies from Absolute.  I’m not complaining as they are very useful, but just kind of boring.  Here’s an exact reenactment of what happened: saw makeup wipies, said oh thanks for the wipies, then tossed wipies on the bathroom counter and walked away.

Pretty noneventful, wouldn’t you say?  Excitement level: about knee-high.  Later on that evening, I did go back to the bathroom counter and used the wipies.  So take that as you may.  They were like any other wipie.  Was supposed to smell like pomegranate.  I do not know if this is an accurate claim, as I’ve never smelled a real pomegranate before.  But the wipies did smell, and not all that unpleasant, so I’m going to assume this claim is for real.

I hope you’re still reading this, because I just got bored for about 2.5 seconds.

Next up is a soy tri-wheat leave-in conditioner from Sexy Hair.  I do not know what tri-wheat is.  Nobody does, unless you are a scientist, or perhaps a farmer.  But I ran out of my 12 Benefits detangling spray, so it was nice to have something to replacement it with.  I’ve used it twice now, and I will say for me the spray is quite watery.  Does not feel very conditioning.  Although, I’m no expert on detangling spray.  So I could be spouting gibberish for all I know.  I will finish the bottle but won’t repurchase.  I like my 12 Benefits way better.

One of the most intriguing things is this Bright Skin Serum from Apothederm.  I love anything in serum form, as to me, a serum is a promise of better things to come.  Use this serum, and all your problems just go away.  The word “serum” by itself is a magic word.  I mean, don’t witches use serums?  Or maybe those crazy doctors from back in the 1800s who had weird herbs in jars and cured your tummy ache with the elixir of tree bark or something?

Maybe I’m thinking of potions.  I dunno.  Serum is a magic word, and that’s the end of that.

Anyway, the claim on this one is to brighten skin, even out skin tone, etc.  So I’m hopeful.  I just want a face like one of those Madame Tussauds wax people.  Is that too much to ask?

Also got this super skinny eyeshadow pencil from Elizabeth Mott in the shade Pearl.  I haven’t used it as part of my actual makeup look, but I did do a little sample on the inner corner of my eyelid after work one day.  It’s really sparkly.  That may be good for some people (i.e., teenagers) but I am old y’all.  I’m on the precipace of 40 and I don’t feel it’s appropriate to be dressing up my eye wrinkles in glitter.  Trust me, I’ve tried.  Might as well just put a little spotlight right on my crow’s feet for all the world to enjoy.

I say this as if I don’t wear glitter eyeshadow anymore.  And for the most part, I don’t.  But if I buy a palette, and there be something sparkly in there, I feel it’s wasteful if I don’t use it.  So I do so, but sparingly.  Which is how I’ll use this Elizabeth Mott one.

Last product in the batch, and my absolute favorite, is the tinted lip balm from MicaBeauty.  The color I got is called Natural, and it’s a really pretty rose.  The texture is quite dry/matte but in a good way.  The more you apply, the darker the lip balm is.  It can be sheer, but also very pigmented.  Do I make sense?  I hope so because I really love this product.  It is unlike any lip balm I’ve ever used.  I will most likely hit pan on this thing, unlike all the other barely dipped into lip balms I have in my bag.  In fact, I’ve left it out on my bathroom counter for convenience sake instead of locking it up in my train case full of hardly used crap.  That = love, people, trust me on this.

So I know I said Ipsy is one of my favorite bags, but according to this review it looks like it’s not.  But even with the mediocre items, I do find them all useful and well worth the $10 spent.  I am a fan.