Friday, December 23, 2016

Sephora PLAY! December 2016

December is almost over! Christmas is days away! Can you believe it?

My blog break is coming to an end, so I really need to put in some work and plan some weekly themes and posts. I know I'll continue to post my Sephora PLAY! box, press samples (and I am going to work on connecting with some product and makeup companies, in addition to polish), and my monthly likes/dislikes and empties. I've been checking out blogs that post daily and ones that post completely randomly - I think I like the consistency of knowing I can check back on a certain date and expect new content, so I think I will try to get back into a pretty consistent schedule of certain types of posts on certain days. Geez! Got me thinkin! Also look for a new look coming for the new year!

Anyway! Time to check out December's Sephora PLAY! box. It seems that there are now a few different versions of the boxes, instead of being one universal box that everyone received. If you receive the box, you can check your account for your orders to see the last few digits of your order number. Those correspond with the spoilers that float around about a week before the boxes are received. I like the surprise so I never check the spoilers, personally! :)  Do you?

Here is what I received this month:


Let's take a step back and see the bag itself, too. For the holiday season, they dressed up the bag, too. It's a formal pouch! This month's theme is Partygoers, because, of course it is.


Formal pouch!


I still long for a more multi-use and functional box, but these little sacks are perfect for bringing a few items to my nieces when I go visit.


First up, this is Step 1 Skin Equalizer Primer by Makeup Forever. Primer is one of my favorite products. I love the silky texture of a primer and how it locks your foundation in place. I've also heard to use a primer at night, after your other skincare, to lock in the moisture to your skin. I am always 100% pumped when I spy a primer in a sub box.


Sigh. Dry shampoo just doesn't work for me. I feel like I've tried every brand - except this one! I refuse to purchase dry shampoos any longer, but this is another product that I love to get in Sub boxes.


Bobbi Brown Smokey Eye Mascara is described as a "Jet-black, kohl-pigmented mascara delivers high-impact volume with a smudge-free formula." I have been committed to Benefit's Roller Lash for over a year now. I recently tried Clinique's High Impact and Too Faced's much loved Better Than Sex mascara and hated BOTH of them, so I might just skip this one and swap it. Sorry, Bobbi.


Each month Sephora includes a product from it's own brand, and so far, I have liked each one!


This is the Cream Lip Stain, which I have tried before. It is matte-ish but goes on like a regular liquid lipstick. I don't find this formula drying at all.

And how freakin' adorable is this sample?


Here it is swatched on my hand:


And on me! I am working on making my hair blonder, so I think red lippies are looking better on me lately.


Last but not least, this month's PLAY! box contains a holy grail, much loved item in the beauty community. This is the All Nighter Makeup Setting Spray by Urban Decay. Other brands have attempted to duplicate this legendary setting spray, but none hold a candle to this one.


For your information...


And there we have it! As usual, I am loving everything in my PLAY! box. I cancelled everything except my PLAY! sub box but Sephora makes it worth it each month.


Do you subscribe to the PLAY! box? Did you get something different in yours? Leave me messages in the comments!


Wednesday, December 21, 2016

November 2016 Empties Report!

I have thoroughly enjoyed creating the Empties Report for you each month, even if it is super late this month! It is good for me, as a consumer and (often) an overspender, to reflect on each product and see if it is something that has truly benefited my skin - and wallet. In my Likes post, I mentioned wanting to create an epic end of the year beauty product post, and to truly streamline my 2017 routine. These posts have helped - I can use them as a glossary of things I have tried and liked, or not, when I go shopping.

Let's start with hair products!


  • Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Night Cap Overnight Perfector: I received this hair mask in a Sephora PLAY! box. It is a thick creme that you apply to hair overnight and then leave it in or wash it out. My hair loves this stuff!
  • Would I repurchase? Yes, I already did!


  • Shea Moisture Moisture Retention Shampoo and Restorative Conditioner: I received a free sample of this product via a form on their website. Both smell amazing and left my hair smooth and soft. I cannot judge the product fully from a one time use packet sample but I did enjoy it.
  • Would I repurchase? I would consider it!

Now for body products!


  • LUSH Cosmetics Avoshower Shower Gel: Lemongrass paradise! This is a LUSH Kitchen item, meaning it is only made in very limited quantities and at various, unannounced times, sold only from the UK. I regretted using the last of it!
  • Would I repurchase? Yes!


  • LUSH Cosmetics Rose Jam Shower Gel: This is another limited edition LUSH product, but it is seasonal, not just from the Kitchen. This smells like roses dripping in lemon juice, with a slight hint of vanilla. I think this is a scent that you either LOVE and want to smear all over every square inch of your body (me) or hate.
  • Would I repurchase? YES! I have a few small backup bottles, a Shower Jelly in the same scent, and I plan to snag a couple huge bottles during the after Christmas sales.


  • LUSH Cosmetics Dream Wash Shower Smoothie: I must have received this sample from the UK Kitchen, because it is a regularly sold product in the US. Dream Wash has the same scent as Dream Cream, their best selling body lotion, and the Shower Smoothie has a thick but malleable texture, like a whipped soap.
  • Would I repurchase? Yes! It smells great and is so soothing and gentle on sensitive skin.


  • Laneige Water Bank Serum: This is a gentle gel serum for the face. It smells great! Serums like this are meant to be a step after cleaning and before moisturizing. I love serums! I receive them in sub boxes all the time and look for them in swaps in my beauty groups.
  • Would I repurchase? Probably not, just because I enjoy trying new ones and receive them in the mail often. 


  • Sunday Riley Good Genes All-in-One Lactic Acid Treatment: UGH - just read that description. This product does everything, albeit with a slightly uncomfortable tingling. I noticed a remarkable improvement in my skin after using this daily, even for a week.
  • Would I repurchase? I wish! This line is out of my price range. 


  • Christine Brinkley Complete Clarity Daily Facial Exfoliating Polish: I received this in a swap. After using it, I have decided my skin is not a fan of anything with 'daily' and 'exfoliating' in the same set of directions. I just don't need the daily harshness.
  • Would I repurchase? No, this is not for me.


  • Formula 10.0.6 Wipe Your Face Off Make-up Removing Facial Wipes: I used to enjoy trying different brand's face wipes...until I tried these. These are the most gentle, fresh smelling, non-irritant, effective wipes I have ever used.
  • Would I repurchase? Yes! I already have and always will! I know that sounds slightly dramatic but I am not even kidding. Ulta sells these and I have seen a Buy 1, Get 1 50% off a few times. They are $6 for 30 wipes so they are comparable with many drugstore brands, but with the sale, that makes them quite reasonable. I also have an Ulta Credit Card, so I get extra points from my purchase which translate into dollars off my purchase later.
That is it for this month! I have discovered some products that remain with me constantly, like the Wipes, Living Proof, and LUSH Cosmetics shower gels. I also added Sunday Riley to my wishlist for the future.


Monday, December 19, 2016

November Favorites: Likes!

Yes, the dates are correct - I am posting my November Likes (and I totally forgot dislikes, or maybe didn't have any?!) on December 19th. The past few weeks have been insane! Once it hit the middle of the month, I was toying with the idea of skipping the Nov. post altogether, but instead, I will do a short November, then an epic December/End of the Year Favorites of 2016 post. What do you think?

Here are the items that I loved in November:


Mr. Sandman, from LUSH, is a lavender and heaven (my description, not LUSH's, LOL) powder. It suggests sprinkling it on yourself before going to bed, but I put it directly on my sheets and pillows. Smells SO good and is instantly relaxing. Necessity? No. Luxury? Oh, yeah. Will I repurchase as long as LUSH offers it? You betcha.


Benefit's recently launched line of brow products are 100% on my radar. Ka-Brow! is a pomade/gel like product in a little pot. The brush is attached to the pot as well. I am not a total fan of the short brush as I think it is harder to control, but the concept is fantastic.


Since I am an avid collector (read: hoarder) of lip balms, I rotate new products in and out of my purse (and desk drawers at work, nightstand, and coffee table at home) regularly. I recently grabbed my Australis Lip Treatment Trio and remembered how much I loved it. My AU pal, Leeanne, gifted this to me. The green is a gentle but effective exfoliator, the white is a thick cream balm with a cool frosting-like consistency, and the pink is a lip gloss with the lightest hint of color. This replaced 3 other items I usually schlep around, so bonus points for sleekness.


Too Faced's Melted Liquid lipstick line is all over every beauty blog lately, and for good reason. I picked up Queen B and could instantly tell the difference between this brand and a much less expensive brand (that I love and will continue to buy from, I'm just sayin!!) that is quite popular right now. Queen B is a purple toned neutral on me - but it looks JUST like the color you see here. It does not change over time on me...


Here is Ka-Brow #3 (there are no names, just numbers 1-5 with one being lightest and 5 being darkest) and Queen B:


That's it for this month...well, 6 weeks, LOL. I will make it up to you in December! I have been taking notes for my end of the year post for weeks now, and I really hope to set the tone and step it up for 2017 (in all aspects of my life!) for you.


Tuesday, November 22, 2016

16 Items I Just Threw Out: Urge To Purge

2017 will be the year that I condense my beauty stash, find the perfect skin routine, and just throw out products that I've been hanging on to for too long.


Probably not, LOL.

But I did recently get the urge to purge and I literally threw out 16 items that  I thought it might be interesting (and perhaps helpful to you) to see which ones and why.  It'll be brief, I promise!


Face products:

  • Wet n Wild Coverall Medium/Deep: My skin is "medium/deep" maybe in August only. This foundation is correctly named - it does Cover All, but in a yucky, greasy way.
  • Fergie BB Cream in Medium/Deep: see above.
  • BB Cream from Sallys: Sometimes the beauty supply stores don't have the best products. This is a thick and yucky BB cream.
  • L'Oreal Super Stay 24Hr Concealer, e.l.f. Concealer, Maybelline Mineral Power Concealer: I have yet to find an under-eye concealer that doesn't make my under eye issues look more pronounced. These have got to go.


Eye & Eyebrow Products:

  • Bellimisa Masterful Eyes Mascara: I received this free samples from a form on a website. To be blunt, no wonder they are giving it away! This is a dry formula that flaked from the application. The brush is oversized and bushy, which is not helpful for separating lashes.
  • e.l.f. Clear Mascara and Eyebrow Gel: This is an awesome product, super helpful, and at a $1 price point, I can replace it when the wands get yucky. I will re-purchase this!
  • NYX Eyeliner in Green Shimmer: I believe I last wore this for a St. Patrick's Day party in 2012. Buh bye.
  • Rimmel Pencil in Gold: See above, circa Christmas 2013.
  • Salon Perfect Eyebrow Brush: It is hard to see, but this brush, which is meant for your brows, has a SQUARE tip. How is that helpful? I have a difficult enough time trying to make myself not have Frida Kahlo brows - I have no room in my brush arsenal for a tool that isn't going to assist me properly.
  • Chella Clear Eyebrow Gel: Lately I am favoring gel brow products applied with an angled brush. I also have too many eyebrow gels anyway, so this one got the boot.
  • Salon Perfect Light Brown Brow Pomade: I was sent this color, along with a Medium and Dark shade, to try for review. Unfortunately, none of the three colors worked well for me. I have a couple of eyebrow products that are similar and I love (ABH, I mean you), and therefore, this one is getting sacrificed.




  • NYC New York Color Cosmetics Finishing Powder: I truly believe that NYC is the most underrated cheapy brand out there. I do like this powder, but I prefer the yellow or green formulas more. I have had this tub forfreakinever and the cap is broken. It's messy and I can't take it anymore!!
  • Benefit High Beam: Clearly I have had this little sample since 1992. Look how dried it is!  Apparently, with all of the other options for awesome highlighters, I just haven't picked this up. It may now rest with dignity.
  • Prestige Blush: I found this pretty pastel blush with inset highlighter for a whopping $2 at Job Lot. Unfortunately, the formula is stiff and it is near impossible to pick up any product. I am tossing this bad boy (see the scratches? It's not like I haven't tried to work with this!) and asking for a more pigmented and easy to operate pastel pink blush for Christmas.

There you have it! I sorted through my makeup and really thought about the items. I decided to throw away products that were old, that didn't perform well, and that just don't work for me. I feel really great about my descisions and I plan to do another purge after winter's thaw is over (wishful thinking for spring before the first snow!).


Monday, November 21, 2016

Sephora PLAY! November 2016

Hello there! Happy Monday of a short Thanksgiving week. I am excited to show you my Sephora PLAY! box for November. It seems as if Sephora is doing a new thing, where they release a few different versions on the PLAY! box. If you look at the item number in your order que, then match it up to the spoilers being posted by the number, you'll see what you got ahead of time. I must admit, I did peek, but it only got me more excited for this box!

Group shot:


This is the actual bag itself. I say this every month - I wish it was still a box instead. This month's theme, as you can see, is Glow Getters.



Glam Glow is always a welcome inclusion! Does anyone not love their products? I am always looking for New England winter dry skin solutions, so I am really excited about this product.


I am sorry that the photo of Caudalie Vino Source Creme Sorbet is so washed out! It didn't look like that on my phone. I have tried this product before and love it! I actually forgot about it, to be honest, but what a welcome reminder!


Cover FX Illuminating Primer is exactly what it sounds like! Use alone before foundation or mix a touch of it with your foundation for a more subtle glow. I do like a matte finish but an illuminating primer is a good start underneath. Another awesome inclusion!


My favorite female celeb, Sarah Jessica Parker, recently did an interview where she mentioned some of her daily makeup faves. One of the items was the Laura Mercier Caviar Stick Eye Colour! I admit it - I was mostly excited for this because of her. I received the color Rose Gold, which is a fall favorite shadow color, so this was another winner for me.


Pin-Up Pink by Sephora is a Gel Gloss with a light pink tint. I have way too many glosses as it is, so I may swap this. I love that Sephora adds something good from it's own brand each month.


Here are swatches of the gloss and the shadow stick. I love the rose gold sheen of the stick. The gloss did have a nice gel feel to it and was pretty opaque.


The 6th item was Lipstick On by Replica. I consider myself a fan of a wide range of fragrances, but that blush/makeup/plastic/artificial scent is one I just cannot do. This baby will be getting swapped, too.

All in all, I am SO happy with this month's Sephora PLAY! box. As I have mentioned before, it is now the only sub box that I receive, so I am quite satisfied so far that I have hung on to it.

Did you get a PLAY! box this month? What did you love most?


Friday, November 11, 2016

China Glaze: Seas and Greetings - Winter 2016!

The holidays are approaching which means even more polish collections are rolling out! Today I have the full 12-piece Seas and Greetings collection from China Glaze to show you. I love MOST of the polishes...but I don't think they are really traditional holiday colors. Is that bad? Is that good? Let me show you and you can decide!

My lightbox is too small to fit all 12, so I grouped them into 2 based on color families:



Ready for some solo pics?? Since there are 12, I am going to post just the full-hand shot unless the color calls for a close-up.

First, this is Eat, Pink, and Be Merry. Not a winter color, not an original color, but still pretty. This is a sheerer pastel formula, so I used 3 coats here. I included a macro because there is a fine shimmer throughout - hard to see, but still there.



Sand In My Mistletoes is a creamy, perfect almond neutral. I love this color and I have it on my nails right now. This is three coats:


Warm Wishes is a happy coral color that leans more summer than winter to me. However! This polish has the most perfect formula and the color is so cheerful. This is two coats. Warm Wishes is currently on my toes, too.


Tis The Sea-Sun is an even more neon color, leaning much more red/orange than Warm Wishes. This is another non-traditional winter color that packs a burst of holiday cheer. Shown here with two coats.


The More The Berrier is the most traditional colored polish in the bunch. And I hate it, LOL. It has a pinkish red shimmer throughout and is opaque in two coats. I feel like China Glaze makes a version of this each year.



Next up, this is Snow Way. This is a gorgeous winter shade, an icy blue with a pinkish, reddish shimmer. This is such a unique polish! This is three coats.



Good Tide-ings is a gorgeous lilac creme. I adore this color!! For spring. LOL. Seriously though, the formula is 2 coats of perfection, but I cannot see wearing this at the Thanksgiving table!


Joy To The Waves is next. You know that streaky, messy, mica-made polish that all indies produce when they first start? This is it and it sucks. Next.



Seas and Greetings is the purple version of Joy, but the purple makes it less streaky and less horrible. This is three coats.



Partridge In A Palm Tree is a fail, fail, fail. I must say, I LOVE the color. The formula is a disaster, streaky, thick, clumpy, and dries SO fast that you don't even have time to fix a single nail. See my ring finger? I tried to go back over a still semi-tacky spot and I got this weird line/crack/ew thing. And it dries MATTE, which would be cool if it wasn't such a bad formula.



Top coated on my (cracked) ring finger and au nautrel on the middle finger:


The last two are meant to be worn over something else, I think.

First, here is Let's Shell-ebrate, shown over Eat, Pink, and Be Merry. LS has a clear base with mostly purple mini glitters and a faint shimmer throughout. It is really pretty! It does have a slightly tinted pinky base, so I used coordinating colors for the undies.



Let's Shell-ebrate, shown over Good Tide-Ings:


Twinkle, Twinkle Little Starfish is a muted green shimmer polish. This is shown over Snow Way in two coats.



TTWLS shown over Partridge in a Palm Tree in two coats:


And here are the two, shown over bare nails so you can see the effect:



What do you think of this collection? My top picks are Snow Way, Warm Wishes, and Sand in My Mistletoe. Are you going to grab any of these?


March 2019: Empties & Tossed Report

I am continuing to try to use up products that have been laying around, including perfumes. So far, so good. Let me show you what I used in ...