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 😛

Top Nail Polishes of All Time

Herro!

Ok. NO secret here: I am a nail polish-aholic. In the hoarding type of way. It’s probably the most girly thing I publicly admit to doing. It’s also probably the prettiest “problem” to have.

I thought it would be helpful to post my HG nail polish colors/formulas and get others opinions on their favorites. Maybe you are here because you were all like, “Hey I need new nail colors but have no idea what are the good ones.” I am here to save the day!! Maybe not. Maybe I just try to pretend I’m a superhero. We all want to be one. I can be Mystique! Anyway…


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(Pictured are listed below, L-R)

1. Essie – Set in Stones. This gawgeous silver/gold glitter goes well and livens up any boring manicure. Sometimes I lust after nail art but my brain is waaay more ambitious than my body is willing to put up with. This nail polish somehow satisfies my nail art craving by just doing an accent nail. Crisis averted.

2. Essie – Mint Candy Apple. This cult fave is seriously the most beautiful shade of mint that it makes every Pinterest pinner like, die. Like, they can’t even. It’s what I’m currently wearing and what more testimony could you possibly need? P.S. It is definitely brighter than it seems in the bottle.

3. Essie – Bikini So Teeny. When this periwinkle blue shade came out about 2ish years ago, I wore it for 3 months straight – NO LIE. Anyone and everyone I knew had gotten addicted to this color (I like to think I had something to do with it). It’s my favorite to wear in the Summer. and Winter. and Spring. and on the beach. and at the park. and dog walking. I’ll stop.

4. Sally Hansen, Xtreme Wear – Pacific Blue. Let’s talk about my favorite shade of blue. Then make it a nail polish. Ok, here you go. ::grins::    The brush on this wittle baby is wide so you can coat the nail faster and the formula is creamy and opaque (which is apparently the adjectives that are going to seemingly apply to every single polish I mention in this post. Sorry but I’m not). Anyway, SH Pacific Blue is kind of a dupe for Essie’s Butler Please but I think Sally’s is a touch more pastel. I love it. ::cue singing “I don’t care, I love it” by Icona Pop::

5. Essie – Fiji. Easily my absolute favorite. It’s creamy, opaque, and an almost white-pink shade. It makes you look extra tan in the summer which is great because I’m see-through and it also looks good on absolutely everyone, even if you’re dark as the night. And therefore you make me jealous.

6. OPI – My Chihuahua Bites. This is an intense red-orange that is deep enough for the cold months and bright enough for the warm ones. It works on all skin tones and I was happily swayed at first to buy it due to the name. 🙂  If they marketed anything to me with Chihuahua in the name, I can’t say I wouldn’t buy it. I’m a marketer’s dream. I know.

7. Essie – Wicked. (not pictured) A deep, blood dripping down the neck red. Black-red. It’s sexy. Like you. You are the vampire with this color on your nails. Be the vampire. Add some Essie Set in Stones and you’ll be a sparkly vampire. [See wut I did thur?] Note: A color dupe for this color is L’Oreal Haute Couture Red which I blogged about here.

Honorable Mention: Essie – Dive Bar. This polish is a dark, black blue-green shade that looks freakin’ COOL on your nails. If you don’t like wearing black nail polish but like the look of dark nails, try this guy out. It reminds me of a mermaid or ocean. Mah brayn haz probz.

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Set in Stones, Mint Candy Apple, & Bikini So Teeny

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My Chihuahua Bites & Dive Bar

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Ok. I swear I’m not sponsored by anyone and especially not Essie although you really may be questioning me by all these mentions. I honestly just love Essie stuff/formulas/colors. I’m actually heading out to buy some of their Summer Neon line today. 😉

Also, my shopping tip! I usually order Essie & China Glaze nail polishes from Amazon. The prices are about $2+ cheaper than the stores and I love getting packages in the mail! 🙂

Thanks for reading/hanging out/bein’ a pal.

-SF

Bad Beauty Habits!

We all have them. Sometimes I don’t admit them to myself either. So let’s get real for a hot minute.

There are a bunch of beauty ‘habits’ we shouldn’t nevar evar do; here are my top 5.

1. Touching thy face.

This means putting your hand on your chin or cheek, picking and prodding at blemishes, etc. I am guilty, 100%. I can’t not touch my face. My hands gravitate there when I’m not even looking. Sometimes I think it’s a learned habit and sometimes I think it’s almost like a nervous tick. It’s so annoying to me too, since I know I shouldn’t do it since hands are the most bacteria-laden things on your entire body!! I have to remind myself daily (hourly?), NO TOUCHY. It’s like I’m scolding the child inside of me. It helps if my nails are painted since I don’t want to mess them up or if I had just put on hand lotion. Those are my little tricks that sometimes work. It’s the most hated thing about myself but hey, it’s a work in progress.

2. Flossing.

I hate to floss. It’s annoyingly tedious and I feel like it rarely does anything that I can “see.” That’s usually the problem with me; if I don’t visually see a difference, I don’t think it’s doing anything regardless of knowing better and years of dental hygiene being drilled into my skull. It’s one of those things I’m working on as well which is also going hand-in-hand with finishing my dental routine with mouthwash. This blog post is already sounding like I am a scuzzy scuzzball. I promise I’m super clean and healthy 😛

3. Peeling Off Nail Polish.

I paint my nails all the time and I love it. I have more nail polish than I can count and am always adding to the collection. My fallback is nervously or absent mindedly peeling off my nail polish. My policy is, once I start don’t stop until it’s all off (although this is not a good policy, haha). This is mostly due to my absolute hatred of massively chipped nails. I can stand a few chips as that’s normal wear, but having half your nail polish missing reminds me of those gross people who smell of old cigarette smoke and daddy issues. However, peeling the polish off really ruins the top layer of your nails and could possibly damage your nail bed! If you do this too, have you ever noticed how dry your nails sometimes look after you peeled off the color? I’m trying to not be as lazy and just grab my nail polish remover but everyone knows how much more fun it is and easier it is to peel it off, especially for glitter nail polish! I have yet to try those “Peel Off” base coats as I hear they don’t make your polish last as long but may give it a shot soon if I hear of a good brand to try.

4. Daily Hair Washing.

I have an oily scalp, oily face, oily everything. How could I possibly go a day without washing my hair? It’s long, fine, and oily. That’s a recipe for disaster.

Well… I recently did it. About 3 months ago, I started washing my hair every other day and I’m still alive and sane. I know, I know – I can barely believe it myself. I do color my hair and that does take some of the natural oils out and my hair tends to be less oily after I’ve just had it done, so I have that working in my favor. However, I began washing my hair twice in the shower and then conditioning (or deep conditioning). I rarely dry my hair or for more than 3 minutes if I absolutely have to. On second day hair, I use the HG-status Batiste dry shampoo which is my sole savior during those off days. I remember watching Casey Holmes’ video (video here) on how she ‘weaned’ her hair off everyday washing (she has similar skin to myself) and it’s working for her that she’s at the point of washing every 3 days or more, I believe, which is amazing as far as I’m concerned. I don’t know if I’ll ever get to that point, but she motivated me to try it and I think my hair is similarly adapting. It’s a rough process but so much better for your hair to wash as least as possible so it’s certainly my bad habit to try and break.

5. Body Moisturizing.

I used to be so good at this, I swear. For years. Now, all of a sudden I never fully moisturize my body after a shower anymore during the cold winter months. I simply can’t bare to be cold for a second longer than necessary and I put as much clothes on as possible as soon as possible, leaving no time to moisturize my skin. Do I even have to say that it’s the worst time to “forget” to moisturize? Winter dries out your skin worse than ever and I literally have the deserts of Nevada spread across my body. I have a space heater in my room now so it’s helping me stay warm enough to slap some body butter on, for now. Spring is not too far away so at least I have warmer weather to help me break this habit!

– SF

Dark Nail Colors – New Polish Thoughts/Review

Happy Sunday!

I actually hate Sundays… they’re so sad. I mean, I like having the day off but it’s just a slow slippery slide into the new work week. Haha yikes, that sounds quite depressing. Sorry about that.

Ya know what makes me happy though? YOU KNOW THIS ANSWER.

… nail polish, duh. I recently bought a few new nail polishes to add to the collection:

China Glaze Purr-fect PlumL’Oreal Haute Couture RedL’Oreal Sexy in SequinsCover Girl Outlast Black DiamondSally Hansen Big Matte TopcoatEssie Apricot Cuticle Oil

First up: China Glaze’s Purr-fect Plum. This color goes on smooth and looks opaque. I realized I didn’t have a plum shade so picked out this one and am very happy with it. The only thing I don’t like is the brush – it’s a thin little brush which I wish all nail polish companies would realize is so outdated and difficult to work with. I currently have this color on my toes and it looks wonderful.

I also bought 2 L’Oreal polishes, Haute Couture Red and Sexy in Sequins, from the Gold Dust collection. The Haute Couture Red is absolutely gorgeous and dark. I feel like I will wear this classic blood red shade forever. The Sexy in Sequins is a nice formula and I love the glitter but it has that strange rough texture that not even a thick top coat like Seche Vite could smooth out. I have a weird thing with textured nail polishes so this one is definitely not a favorite even though the color is very glittery, dark and pretty.

Next up, Cover Girl Outlast in Black Diamond. I had wanted to buy a new black nail polish as all of mine were either streaky (OPI Nicole’s black shade) or thick (old Urban Outfitters noir polish). It was between Essie Licorice or Cover Girl Black Diamond. I always loved the formula of Cover Girl Outlast polishes though so I gave this one a shot. It’s fantastic. One coat isn’t exactly enough but it could be if you wanted it to. It was super shiny although I topped it with the Sally Hansen Big Matte Topcoat. I love the matte finish and it seems to be holding up perfectly, without chips at all (I’ve tried it twice now). I’m very tempted to try the regular topcoat and see how that compares to others like Seche Vite and Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Diamond Strength topcoat. Actually… I will probably buy it later today.

Lastly… I bought the cuticle oil by Essie after realizing this winter that my hands are in dire need of help. Both I and my bf have been using this oil for about a week now. It’s really nice and does smell apricot-y if you put your nose to it but it’s not perfumey or scented otherwise. It seems to be helping so far, so yay!

Here’s some photos of the bottles of nail polish and a few manis with the products mentioned:

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China Glaze Purr-fect Plum

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L’Oreal Haute Couture Red

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L’Oreal Sexy in Sequins

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Cover Girl Outlast Black Diamond

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Sally Hansen Big Matte Topcoat

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Essie Apricot Cuticle Oil

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L’Oreal Sexy in Sequins + Seche Vite Topcoat

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Manicure using CG Black Diamond + SH Big Matte Topcoat