Lotsa New Stuff & Mini Reviews: Sephora, Birchbox, Influenster, Ulta & Target

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I had recently gone on a bit of a shopping rampage in Target, Sephora, Birchbox, Ulta and then came my Influenster box in the mail. Here’s small mini-reviews on the products I’ve been testing out for a few weeks!

1. Benefit The Porefessional: Everyone knows this product and I am also loving it for filling in the pores on my cheeks. I tap it in before any foundation. I’ve tried applying it over foundation like the packaging says you can during those instances I forget to do it first but I don’t like the result as much or how my foundation seems to have moved. I’ll just try to remember to apply it first.

2. OCC Nail Polish in Vapid: I saw this color everywhere after IMATS this year and fell in love. The color is amazing and unique, the formula creamy and opaque. Love it!!!

3. Anastasia Dipbrow Pomade in Blonde: I feel like everyone & their mother have been getting this new product. I love it because it’s waterproof and easy to apply for a more dramatic OR every day brow, provided you use a lighter touch. I will definitely be using this during vacation and pool days.

4. Boscia Oil-Free Nightly Hydration Moisturizer: I love that this is lightweight for the summer and it also has antibacterial properties, great for humid and hot temperatures as well as my congested, oily skin. I’m almost at a HG status with this little tube of wonder.

5. Caldrea Essentials Collection lotion in Apple Mint: I got this body lotion as a sample in my May Birchbox and fell in love. Serious love. The light lotion is perfect for summer and it leaves a unique smoothness to the skin that made me hunt it down. I found mine at Target which also carried wonderful scents like this Apple Mint, one that I never would have purchased otherwise. I love unique smelling things and this is perfect.

6. Bite Beauty Luminous Creme Lipstick in Fig: I got this on recommendation of Makeup By TiffanyD. Let me say that everything people say about Bite Beauty formulation…. is true. It’s smooth, pigmented, and doesn’t feel heavy on the lips. I love how moisturized my lips feel when I wear it and if not for the price, I’d already have more in my possession.

 

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Next up is the stuff Influenster graciously provided me with to try out (Again, no, I’m not paid to post this nor do they know I am posting this. I did explain the whole program in another post you can read here). I received my Surf’s Up VoxBox and as the name suggests, it includes lots of summer products which is great as I’m preparing to go away.

1. Sinful Colors Nail Polish in Aqua: I normally do not like this brand of polish as it’s chipped more than too easily in my experience but I’m always willing to give it another shot. Oh, and it’s like $2. I have heard the Sinful Shine version is actually really great and lasts better, but it’s hard to find near me. This duo-chromey blue color reminds me of a mermaid 🙂

2. First Aid Shot Therapy: This is marketed as a hangover cure in liquid form. It has a painkiller and replenishing vitamins and minerals your body is lacking the morning after. I’m honestly really skeptical this product will last very long on the market as it’s kind of strange. If your stomach is already upset, why would you want to drink a liquid pain reliever? However… as much as I don’t like feeling gross, this product will be rather interesting to test out regardless of how gimmicky it comes off.

3. Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration After Sun Lotion: I already have and love this stuff. It’s aloe + lotion so it’s not going to leave you utterly sticky like pure aloe tends to (hate that feeling). It’s only miiiildy sticky and I can deal with that. I do love that I now have a travel size for my trip since I’m sure it will come in handy.

4. Not Your Mother’s Beach Babe Sulfate Free Texturizing shampoo + conditioner: I actually never tried anything by this brand but I hear a lot about it. I’m going to try this out on my vacation since I’ll already be in the beach vibe and they’re the perfect size. If I like these, I may branch out in the line and try some more. If there’s anyone reading this who has a favorite product by them, please let me know!

 

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Finally, here’s some stuff I got at Target, Birchbox & Ulta. I wish I could move into Target’s dressing rooms. Anyway.

1. Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge: I somehow “lost” both my Beauty Blenders a while ago and can’t find it in me to spend another $20 on one when I’m sure I’ll find them. In the meantime, I’ve been reading up on the dupe sponges which have all gotten terrible reviews… except this one. I tried it a few times and I do love the finish it gives. My makeup looked flawless and lasted forever each time I used it. While it may not be *as soft* as the BB, I’m ok with that. It’s $6 and honestly, you can’t beat that. (P.S. I linked the best BB deal I found and was considering buying… 2 for $23 on Amazon!)

2. Jouer Matte Moisture Tint in Linen: I got a sample of this product in my Birchbox but in the illuminating/regular variety. It was really nice but just didn’t seem to be a match made in heaven with the dewey finish plus my oily skin. In between my pale and tan self, I’ve been mixing this with the IT Cosmetics CC+ Cream in Fair for a perfect match. It has light to medium coverage and I could certainly build it up in the areas I need.

3. Tangle Teezer brush: I heard so so so much about this goofy little brush for months. I have super long hair and have used a pick to comb it out for just about as long as I can remember. Let’s just say… I immediately felt like I should tell everyone I know about this thing. My first experience with it was taking my hair down from a knotty little bun it had been in all day and the Tangle Teezer breezed through the hair, making it super soft without as much as a tug. I was amazed. It’s a little more noticeably tugging on your hair when it’s wet, but still just as good. I am in love.

4. IT Cosmetics Celebration Foundation Illumination in Fair: I heard Grav3yardGirl/Bunny talking about this product and since I already love so many of their items, I figured I needed to try this. It’s simply a pressed powder foundation with medium to full coverage.  It was a little cakey a few hours after the very first application using a powder brush. I don’t know if it is user error or the brush I used… or even using a primer would help, but I’m not giving up yet. I have an upcoming review of a bunch of IT Cosmetics products so while I’m not in love with this illuminating version right now, I do like it and have to continue to play with it. It may be excellent to use to set a light coverage foundation for an extra boost where you need it.

 

Phew. If you’re still reading this, I owe you a drink. Thank you 🙂

– SF

Note: Beauty Organizer Drawers in photographs purchased from HomeDecorators.com 

Julep – a nail polish subscription


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I recently signed up for Julep Maven Nail Polish box and received my (FREE! – code is FREEBOX) Welcome Box this morning. If you’re not familiar with Julep, they are a nail polish subscription service, similar to that of a Birchbox or Ipsy however they focus on nail products. It is $24.99/mo, unless you pay in advance and you get a slight discount. You can choose to get other body care products in the box like cuticle oils, blushes and lip glosses as they also have an entire line of beauty products outside their trademark nail polish line. Personally, I’ve never tried any Julep products but have been interested in their polishes for some time so I bought a few more than just the three in the welcome box.

I first took the quiz to determine my “style profile” and got the It Girl, which is what I ended up ordering (you can change your box to one of the 5 other choices if you wanted to but this one has all nail polish, i.e. if you prefer the colors or products in another “style profile,” you may choose to receive that one instead). I received a very pretty muted blue called Margaret (at first glance seems very similar to Essie’s Bikini So Teeny but without shimmer), a soft green called Kam, and a muted orange polish called Princess Grace.  Bonus: Customers rate each color separately online so you have a pretty good idea if you’ll like something before you buy it based on reviews! Love that.

During the ordering process, you also have the option of including an ‘Extra’ which is simply adding one of their selected add on products, but for a discounted price. I chose the bright purple polish shade for $5 (usually $11-15 each, depending if you’re a member or not) that’s called Flora. It has a subtle blue sparkly shimmer which is barely visible in the bottle but very pretty. Julep describes it as an “…Exotic dragonfruit with blue shimmer.” How sub-equator of them.

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The last polish I got was called Abigail. I mean, it’s my name and I’m a sucker for those kinds of things as most girls probably are. They had an “Abbie” yellow shade but my name isn’t spelled that way so I passed on it. 😛  Not to mention yellow isn’t exactly a color I wear often. Abigail, though, is the most gorgeous highly shimmery champagne shade which Julep describes as “Light peony pink silk.” So since peonies are my favorite flower, this was literally made for me.

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Julep’s Abigail

I also got those two little square orange nail buffers in my box which definitely look like middle school erasers I’d keep in my Lisa Frank pencil box. They’re a perfect size for my purse though. Isn’t that something you never thought you’d need – a purse nail buffer.

All in all, my order came to a grand total of $19! Your first Maven box is free (value of $24.99) plus just one polish retails for $11-15, like I said, so I am very happy with my purchase overall. I just hope the quality is as good as the deal. If you feel like trying it out for yourself like I did, here’s my invite link; I think I just get “points” of some kind so it’s not like I get paid if you click it 😉    Join Julep via SFB Here


*Duh, a disclaimer: I am in not sponsored by brands in this post or was asked, compensated, or whathaveyous to write this. My opinions are definitely my own because I’m too stubborn to allow anyone to tell me what to say or do anyway.

Brand OCD: Philosophy

Before I get started, here’s a little pic from our recent weekend trip 🙂

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Ever since high school, I’ve been on the endless hunt for the perfect skincare routine to make my easily annoyed skin happy. I recently decided to try more of the Philosophy brand because so many people give their stuff raving reviews.

I’ve used Philosophy’s Purity Made Simple face wash. While I think it’s a nice gentle facial cleanser, I don’t think it’s anything spectacular. It does get eye makeup off rather easily, but none of that really wows me when I still use a eye makeup remover prior to washing anyway. My sister does love it and I’m sure it’s perfect for more drier skin types than my oil spill of a face.

I recently tried their Hope in a Jar Night cream. I have seen tons of hype around the product for years and didn’t think it was suited for my oily skin. I then got tired of all my night skincare moisturizer and decided to see if this product is worth it. In short, it is! The cream is thick and super-hydrating. It doesn’t break me out or make me oilier though I do use this at night, of course. I do feel like my skin is smoother to the touch and will be buying a full-size in the very near future.

When trying a new face or skin product, I usually combine it with my current product and use the new one in a small area to “test” it out before going full-face. I would totally rather break out/get irritated in a small portion (jawline) rather than all over my face. Does anyone else do this?!

I also love their Miracle Worker Retanoid Eye Repair Cream. It’s silicon-y and moisturizing and seemed to help with fine lines around my eyes. I am currently using something else, but will probably eventually re-buy this eye cream.

I have gotten a sample of the Philosophy Take a Deep Breath Energizing Moisturizer w/ SPF 30 (not the oil-free version) but haven’t tried it yet. It says to have caffeine to help detoxify and decongest the skin which is perfect for me to try on our upcoming Bermuda trip. If anyone has used this stuff, please let me know your thoughts on it & what kind of skin type you have! 🙂

 

BONUS PICTURES! I have been painting my nails all sortsa colors lately. Check em out below 🙂

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Essie in Mint Candy Apple

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Sally Hansen Xtreme in Pacific Blue & Sally Hansen Nail Stickers in Check It Out for the accent nail

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Essie DJ Play That Song and Color Club Nail Art Pen in Black (From May Birchbox, a sweet little kit is here) & Butter London glitter in West End Wonderland

My OOTD

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Chambray Shirt: Express (last season)

Tank: Target “Long and Lean” Tanks [*BONUS! They’re on sale for $5.40 right now]

Jeans: Express Extreme Stretch Leggings (not available anymore! wah!)

Shoes: Toms in Camo

*Please ignore my lovely garbage can. I can’t take a picture without that damned thing sneaking in! I need a better full-length mirror 😛

Valentine’s Day + Birchbox!

I got the most incredibly perfect gift for Valentine’s Day – a year of Birchbox! I had been on the fence about subscribing but when my boyfriend subscribed to the men’s edition, I immediately got jealous and wanted one of my own. He smartly purchased me my own subscription as a V-day present and gave me the first 2 boxes to open! The first “Welcome” box was pretty neat but not my favorite. The first one included:

Gilchrist & Soames Shampoo and Conditioner 1.5 fl oz • 100% Pure Fruit Pigmented 100% Natural Mascara in Black Tea • Reviver Dry Deodorant for Clothes in Original Scent
Welcome box thoughts:
Gilchrist & Soames London Shampoo & Conditioner – These are nice little sample sizes of shampoo and conditioner that somehow remind me of a hotel I’ve stayed in. I’m fairly certain I’ve tried their products during an overnight stay somewhere but can’t exactly remember if I liked it or not. I’ll give them props for the packaging but these products have no special scent whatsoever. I suppose if you’re not the type to like floral or fruity smelling shampoos/conditioners, these smell just kind of ‘soapy’ and you might love them for it. Either way, I’m in no rush to try them & I’ll give them a shot once I run out of the plethora of products I have in line for me to use.
[P.S. Upon looking these products up, they are in fact carried by fancy-pants hotels. For once, my memory serves me semi-right!]
100% Pure Fruit Pigmented Mascara in Black Tea – I just purchased a hand lotion by this brand in an Almond-y something or other (Almond Vanilla?) scent that I simply love so I was excited when I realized this was by the same company. I had no idea that they even made cosmetics since Ulta only seems to carry their skin care line. Anyway, the package says this is an ultra lengthening formula which is perfect for my every day use, not to mention I’d love to try something natural that I wear every day instead of the chemically alternatives, should it work just as good. We shall see since it’s an expensive little bugger at $21 for a full size tube!

The January Birchbox was much more impressive than the Welcome box. It included:

Dr. Lipp Original Nipple Balm for Lips • Cynthia Rowley Liquid Eyeliner in Black Ink • Reviver Dry Deodorant for Clothes in Original Scent • Klorane Extra-Gentle Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk • Derma E Evenly Radiant Skincare Sampler

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Here’s my initial thoughts on the January products:

Dr. Lipp Original Nipple Balm for Lips – This stuff is thick like Vaseline but not slick or slimy. It’s thick like a rich butter for your lips and has no taste. I love it after using it all day today so far. I’m sure I’ve mentioned at least 30 times by now that I’m a complete lip balm/Chapstick freak so I was automatically thrilled when I saw this in my box.

Cynthia Rowley Liquid Eyeliner in Black Ink – I never tried any cosmetics by CR but after swatching this on my hand, it is really smooth and wouldn’t rub or smudge off… at all. I had to lick my finger and rub the liner to get it off my hand (gross, I know. Shush.) It dried super fast. I don’t think it’s a black-black, it’s more like a charcoal black… which is fine in my book since I have plenty of black liquid eyeliners to go around. The pen tip is like that of the L’Oreal Infallible Super Slim pen which is my all-time favorite right now. Both of these have super slim flexible felt tips with a sharp point. I can’t wait to try this out for real. BONUS! I just found out on the website that if you newly sub to Birchbox, this liner is a free gift right now!!

Klorane Extra-Gentle Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk – I am excited to try this because I JUST bought the Peony Shampoo by Klorane and tried it for the first time yesterday… to then get this the very next day! Are the hair gods trying to steer me towards the path of righteousness? I love me a dry shampoo and will give it a shot asap. A full size of this wittle baby is only $5-7  on Amazon so if I like it more than Batiste, I’m definitely going to order one.

Derma E Evenly Radiant Skincare Sampler  – I never heard of this brand before so I need to do a little research as I’m really picky with my skin products.  It comes with a Brightening Cleanser, Dark Circle Eye Cream, & Brightening Serum. I already am liking the fact they are vegan and all natural which is a huge plus in my book. Since I’m really liking my skin care regimen right now, I’ll probably hold off trying these until I get in the mood for a change.

Reviver Dry Deodorant for Clothes in Original Scent – This is the weirdest thing ever that I got in my first two Birchboxes so far. It’s basically a reusable pad of deodorant for your clothes that you rub on yourself when you stink. Which is hilarious. I always thought that’s was what a washing machine was for. Or perfume. I mean… I guess it would come in handy if I went to a hibachi restaurant, smoky bar (I avoid those like the plague) or was in front of a campfire but other than that, this is probably going to be one of those products you remember years later that never made sense. Flo-bee anyone?