Friday, November 21, 2014

Holiday Gifting 2014 - Bathtime Bliss from LUSH

If there's one thing LUSH does right, it's bath products. It's probably been a good ten years since I first heard about their miraculous bath bombs, which totally redefined my standards for what I consider good enough to throw in my tub. They also have amazing seasonal collections, of which Christmas time is certainly no exception. Here's a closer look at all of the wonderous, limited edition holiday bath products LUSH has created for is this year. It's hard to not want them all!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Holiday Gifting 2014 - Limited Edition Vanity Affair Birchbox

There was a time when I would get really excited for the sets of minis that I'd find around the holidays at stores like Sephora and ULTA. In my early days of delving into high end beauty products these sets were often a great way to get to try new products without having to dole out a ton of cash. Over the years I've noticed, though, that there isn't a whole ton of variation in brands or products with these sets. Yes, everyone loves NARS Orgasm blush. Stila Kitten is a classic. These things have hype for good reason, but when you've been around the beauty block more than once, it kind of gets boring.

And then, there was Birchbox. I could go on and on about all the reasons why I love this company (amazing customer service, a fabulous rewards program...) but one of my most favorite things they do is curate Limited Edition boxes that I can get excited over. They're always an incredible value, and never fail to introduce me to trendy, up-and-coming and super luxe brands. There are quite a few wonderful looking LE boxes in the Birchbox Holiday shop this year, but I absolutely had to get my hands on Vanity Affair. With over $300 of amazing things tucked inside, this box makes one incredible gift to yourself or a special someone.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Holiday Gifting 2014 - Real Techniques Nic's Picks

No girl should be without a decent set of basic makeup brushes. Sure, some products are easy to slap on with your fingers, but that's no excuse to not to make the investment. And if you're one of those people who uses the cheap brushes and applicators that come in palettes or compacts and are wondering why your smokey eye doesn't look as awesome as it does in magazines, it's because you're fighting a losing battle. A good quality makeup brush will make a world of difference in your finished look, allowing for infinitely more precision and seamless blending. And while there are certainly a lot of luxurious options to choose from, you don't have to spend a fortune to get your collection started.

Real Techniques is one of my favorite brands for affordable, quality makeup brushes. When I spotted this new Limited Edition Nic's Picks set I got understandably excited. It contains 5 brushes for face and eyes that cover all of the basics necessary for starting out your brush collection!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Holiday Gifting 2014 - Stocking Stuffers

When it comes to Christmas morning, I think I honestly get more excited about opening my stocking than anything else. Little trinkets, candy and other goodies all wrapped up inside, each waiting to be carefully opened and treasured. Some practical, some frivolous, but almost always fun. Now that I'm older, the big ticket items under the tree are much less of a surprise, which I think makes me appreciate the small, and often totally random things my mom puts into my stocking even more. In honor of my favorite Christmas tradition, here are my personal picks for stocking stuffers, all under $15!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Holiday Gifting 2014 - NEST Fragrances Eau de Parfum Collection

As much as it may seem cliché to gift a bottle of perfume or cologne for a special occasion, it's still one of my favorite things to give and receive. Fragrances are beautiful, with bottles we display proudly on our vanities and dressers. They're expensive and luxurious. They become a little piece of our identities - a familiar scent that friends and lovers remember us by. Understandably, fragrance can also be a tricky thing to gift when someone hasn't requested something specific. Personal taste can vary incredibly from one person to another, and the last thing you want is to buy an $80 bottle of perfume for someone that you aren't sure they'll love. My personal solution? Opt for a gift set with a variety of fragrances to choose from. Not only do they offer variety, but they can be a great way to introduce someone to a specific brand and help them find a new favorite scent.

Personally I had my eye on the NEST Fragrances Eau de Parfum Collection ($38.00) for quite a while. With unique scents and absolutely beautiful packaging I was definitely intrigued by everything I saw on the NEST website. Since I'd never owned (or smelled, for that matter) any of NEST's perfumes it would certainly be difficult to try and choose one at random. But with this set of five adorable minis I don't have to!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Holiday Gifting 2014 - Tarte Pin Up Girl Blush Palette

When it comes to making a beauty junkie's face light up like a Christmas tree, a beautiful palette is definitely one of your most full-proof gift options. Last month I wrote about ten of the palettes I was coveting most, and after much swatching and deliberating while perusing the aisles of Ulta and Sephora, I decided this tarte Pin Up Girl Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush Palette was the perfect addition to my personal collection. From the gorgeous packaging, to the quality of the blushes, to the value of what you're getting, this Limited Edition holiday palette is one of the best you can pick up this season.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Holiday Gifting Week Preview

The holidays. They always seem to come and go much quicker than I anticipate. It feels like I've just put away the Halloween decorations and bam, it's time to carve the turkey. With Thanksgiving and Christmas only being four short weeks apart, the time for baking, crafting, and gift shopping is particularly sparse this year. I don't know about you, but I hate that frantic, down-to-the-wire feeling of trying to figure out what to give people at the last minute, so I'm determined to get my presents wrapped and under the tree with time to spare.

If you're also planning on getting a jump start on holiday preparations, you're in luck! Tomorrow begins my first ever Holiday Gifting week! I'll be sharing some of my favorite picks for beauty, home and fashion gifts with a new post every day. From stocking stuffer ideas, to swatches of one of this season's hottest holiday palettes, to a look at Birchbox's latest and super luxe limited edition box, there will be plenty of gift-giving inspiration to be had. Be sure to check in every day to see what new and fun things I've got to show you!

Prefer to put a handmade touch on your holiday presents? I've got you covered! Stay tuned for DIY week later in December for my fellow craft-a-holics. I've got so many amazing ideas for homemade goodies that I can't wait to share with you!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Julep Maven Box November 2014

For the longest time I had thought of November as being my least favorite month of the year. The temperature here in New England evens out to a constant, generally unpleasant level of cold. The trees are left looking particularly disheveled, holding on to the last of their leaves. My evening commute through the heavily trafficked darkness confuses my body into think it's 9 pm by the time I arrive home. It's a month of constant tired, cold, and crankiness. And yet somehow, despite the impending doom of winter, I've come to find many a thing to appreciate and look forward to. Cozy nights snuggled up with hot chocolate. Starting my Christmas shopping and crafting. Seeing friends and family while stuffing ourselves full of delicious Thanksgiving feasts. There's a buzz, an energy about everyone and everything, full of holiday excitement and festivity.

When my November Julep Maven Box arrived on my doorstep, I was immediately reminded of why my feelings of the 11th month of the year have done a complete 180. This month's theme is Friendsgiving, a word that has a special place in my heart. For about 8 years I was a competitive ballroom dancer at the University of Connecticut, and made many a lifelong friend doing so. We've made it a bit of a tradition to host our own Thanksgiving celebration, post the ones we have with our families, and dubbed it our annual Friendsgiving dinner. There is usually an abundance of delicious food (which may or may not include a turkey), wine, and good company. Its one of the things I look forward to most in the year, and now I'll be able to sport a super festive manicure for the occasion!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

October 2014 Ipsy Glambag

I am THE WORST when it comes to posting my Glambag reviews in any kind of timely manner. Or, at least, it certainly feels that way. I tend to get my Glambags toward the end of the month, which always makes it harder to properly try things and get my post up before the month it's for is over. And this month in particular I had an extra hang up that delayed things even further. One of my products (the Nicole by OPI nail polish) was mysteriously missing from my pink bubble wrap package, and I had to be shipped a replacement (which Ipsy was actually pretty prompt about).

Moreso, I confess I just don't find myself as excited to get my Glambags as I used to, which probably also contributes to my writing apathy. I feel so guilty saying that, because a year ago I was totally smitten with all things Ipsy. But now I feel like it's that friend I've grown apart from and see once in a while out of a weird sense of obligation.

Why the change of heart? I suppose there are a few things that, in over a year of being a subscriber, have slowly started to disappoint me. First off, there is a TON of brand repetition. Starlooks, Be a Bombshell, Cailyn Cosmetics, Zoya, J.Cat Beauty - if you've been a subscriber for 6 months, I'd be hard pressed to see you haven't received at least one product from these brands. Now, don't get me wrong, if I love a brand I'm all for trying more than one product from the line. But part of what makes a beauty subscription so fun is the element of discovery, and when I've gotten many products from the same 5 or 6 brands in a year, I start to get a little bored. And when I get 3 or 4 products from a brand I don't care from, I start to get irritated.

Speaking of brands, I'm generally less impressed with the brands frequented in my Glambags than I've been with other subscriptions. I understand that with a $10 price tag it's reasonable to see a lot more drugstore quality cosmetics (which don't get me wrong, I also am a fan of), but I think the specific products I've been receiving lately just haven't brought the wow factor the way they have in the past.

Needless to say, I have a lot of thoughts on being an Ipsy subscriber, and for the sake of getting on with my actual review, I will cut myself off here. However, I am considering cancelling my subscription by the end of the year, and should that be the case, I'm sure there will be more ranting to be had.


Monday, November 10, 2014

Revlon Ultra HD Lipstick Review

Call me lame, but I totally get excited whenever I stumble across a new beauty launch. I was perusing the aisles of ULTA a few weeks ago when a Revlon display caught my eye and totally ended up sucking me in (I even ended up taking a pic and instagraming it because, once again, I am a beauty nerd). These Ultra HD Lipsticks and Lacquers are apparently going to be part of the permanent Revlon line, although they have yet to appear anywhere on their website. The lipstick collection includes 12 shades, each named after a flower (which I think is oh-so-pretty), while the lacquer collection contains 15 (not 100% sure) shades named after gemstones (also very pretty). Since I personally am on a lipstick kick lately I decided to try them out first, and picked up three shades to swatch and play with.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

On-the-Go Handbag Must Haves

If you read my previous handbag post you'll know that I'm a regular Mary Poppins when it comes to my purse preferences. I like to be able to carry my whole life around with me (although a floor lamp might be a little bit much), and my Kate Spade tote is THE perfect bag to do so. Not only is it gorgeously stylish, it's also the first bag that I've ever owned which is both roomy and easy to keep organized. As much as I often feel like I could never need another handbag in my life, I've come to realize that it's not the most practical thing to carry while running around. Since I pack so much in there, it can get a bit heavy, and I often tie up an arm keeping it tucked under my shoulder. So, when I saw this beautiful cross body last week during Kate Spade's surprise sale, I knew I had found the perfect lightweight cousin to my beloved tote.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Blemish Busters

Whether you encounter the occasional monster zit, or you're facing the daily struggle with acne, breakouts are a thing that pretty much all of us have to face at one point or another. Of course they come at the most inopportune times (the morning of your class pictures, the day of that wedding you're a bridesmaid in, the day of YOUR wedding), often leaving us in a pimple-induced panic. While there are tons of ways to conceal those pesky blemishes when they come about, what we really want is for them to not even be there are all. Not only are breakouts an eyesore, but they can also be painful and downright annoying. So what can you do to help calm and heal those pesky pimples? Enter, this trio.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014


When you write a beauty blog, there is ALWAYS something out there you can't wait to get your hands on. Whether it's that cult favorite eyeshadow everyone's been raving about for years, or a brand new product launch, you've just got to find out for yourself how it measures up. Of course, us bloggers do have budgets, so we're always on the lookout for coupons, discounts, and other ways to get the most bang for our buck. Between a 20% off coupon at ULTA, an in-store sale on Rimmel, CVS Extrabucks and manufacturer's coupons, I was able to get this stash of beauty goodies for less than half the price. Here's a closer look at what I bought for testing and reviewing!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Influenster Moda Vox Box*

Sometimes I feel like I'm always late to the party. There is so much out there in the world of the blogosphere, and I wonder how I don't stumble upon things sooner than I do! One of my more recent discoveries was influenster - a company that utilizes the power of social media to help brands promote and get feedback on their new launches. It's free for anyone to join, and individuals are chosen for different campaigns based on their demographics, interests, and social media presence. Influensters who are chosen for a specific campaign are sent Vox Boxes, which contain free products for them to test, try, and review. Apparently I joined at just the right time, because I was able to qualify for this awesome Moda Vox Box! Let me show you a closer look at what I got.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Julep Trick or Treat Mystery Box

Happy Halloween, friends! I'm feeling all kinds of festive and happy today. I took the day off from work to give myself some much needed R&R and blogging catch up time (complete with an AMAZING bubble bath with my Sparkly Pumpkin Bubble Bar, of course). One of the things on my to-do list was to share with all of you the Julep Trick or Treat Mystery box I ordered at the beginning of the month. As you may have seen, I signed up for Julep's Maven subscription, and I decided to add this fun surprise on to my first order. It cost $24.99 and promised over $125 worth of products. Even though I had heard mixed reviews about the quality of Julep's last mystery box, I decided I would take a risk and hit the "order" button. With that type of value, and my not having a ton of Julep products at home I figured...why not?

Monday, October 27, 2014

Almay Smart Shade CC Cream & Shadow Softies

This year has been all about exploring aisles of my local drugstores for new and interesting products to try. Sometimes I stumble upon amazing and affordable dupes for some of my favorite high end products. Other times I'm underwhelmed with what I try. While Almay is brand that I've known about for over a decade, this the first time I'm adding their products to my beauty stash. Geared toward sensitive skin I was curious to see how these gentle formulas performed.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Julep Maven Welcome Box

As a self proclaimed nail polish junkie, it's kind of surprising that it's taken me this long to become a Julep Maven. Prior to now I've owned approximately 1 Julep polish (compliments of this Limited Edition Birchbox from last year) in a bright cherry red color. I loved the formula, but I never ended up biting the bullet and splurging on other shades. I did, however, subscribe to emails from the website, just to keep myself in the loop with sales and other discounts that might be going on.

Of course, when the word was spread about the Julep Trick or Treat Mystery box, my interest was piqued. I love all things Halloween, and I had just recently purged my nail polish collection. While I was hemming and hawing over whether or not to splurge and buy it, I decided to revisit the whole Maven subscription idea. With a code to get your first box free, and free shipping on my order (since I did, in fact, order the mystery box after all) I decided to take a chance and give Maven a try.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Holiday 2014 Wish List - Eye & Cheek Palettes

With October coming to a close, the holiday season seems to be right around the corner. Maybe it's just me, but it's never too early to start making those Christmas lists, or to stash away gifts for friends and family. If you or someone you know is a makeup junkie, you should check out these 10 amazing palettes for eyes and cheeks. They'll surely be some of the showstoppers for the holidays! And with many of them being limited edition, you'll want to make sure you grab them quick before they're gone forever!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Goulishly Good Bath Time Treats From LUSH

It's hard to believe that Halloween is only a week away! Aside from stockpiling candy and practicing my favorite spooky makeup looks, one of my favorite ways to get in the holiday spirit is by jumping in the tub with a Halloween themed LUSH bath bomb or bubble bar. Every year brings a new collection of seasonal goodies that I can't wait to get my hands on. Let me show you what treats (and hopefully not tricks) I took home with me!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Tea Time - Harney & Sons Paris

It is a gross, gray, miserable kind of day. The wind is howling outside, and I am curled up on the couch in my pjs, fighting off a nasty cold. To help put my sniffles and aches at ease, I made myself a nice big old pot of Harney & Sons Paris tea. I actually came across this tea back in the springtime when my mom and I had gone on a weekend retreat to The Emerson Resort and Spa. In between spa treatments, I found myself wrapped up in a fluffy bathrobe, admiring the mountain scenery, and sipping a cup of this delicious tea. By the end of our stay I was so addicted that I couldn't resist buying a tin from the gift shop to take home with me. Now it's my special treat for those times where I need a little mental reminder to relax.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Birchbox October 2014

It's only Tuesday, but it's already been one of those weeks.

Yesterday was the Monday of all Mondays. I overslept. The woman in front of me at Dunkin' Donuts ordered a million things, and after a cash versus card miscommunication at the register, had to be rung up twice. I hit construction on the way to work (because I wasn't late enough, apparently). Work itself was crazy, and with my hormones being all in flux a la that time of the month I had zero emotional resources to deal with people and their general unpleasantness. I tried to relax when I got home - spent some time catching up on my Bloglovin' feed, had a bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch (because I'm an adult), took a nice soak in the tub, and slipped into some comfy pjs. But all the stress must have gotten to me, because my throat became increasingly angry throughout the night, and lo and behold I woke up this morning in full-on cold mode.

10 very long hours later I am more than thankful to be snuggled up at home on my couch. I'm definitely a homebody even on a good day, but when I'm sick there is nothing I want more than sweatpants, a cup of tea, and a big fluffy blanket. Even though I'm a bit under the weather, my current state of cold induced coziness is perfectly fitting for talking about my October Birchbox. This month's theme is Fanfare, paying homage to the Netflix binge watcher in all of us, and encouraging subscribers to share their favorite books, shows, and movies. And what better time to catch up on your favorite forms of entertainment than on a sick day (or night)? There might be some catch-up happening with my DVR later this evening, but for now it's time to show you what products I'll be playing with this month!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Everyday Autumn Makeup and a Few Thoughts on the Season

I had a bit of a revelation the other day. It's been a good 5 years since I've graduated from college, and all this time I've spent in the real world has made me realize how much of my life previously revolved around the school schedule. The passing of seasons was always about semesters, exams, vacations and the like. But now time flows on from January to October with very little changing in my day to day routine. Without my normal academic calendar to anchor my life to I think the first couple of years post college were a bit of a blur. It's a bit weird to think about, but in that time I think I stopped noticing the seasons. Or well, perhaps notice isn't the right word. Appreciating might be more fitting. In the past two years, though, since I've bought my condo and started blogging, I've finally started to redefine the special nuances of each season that comes and goes.

Now that fall is well underway I find myself appreciating all sorts of little things - wearing my boots at every opportunity, going apple picking, sipping pumpkin coffee in the morning, watching the leaves turn and change from week to week. It's not that any of these things are new to me, but I guess, with everything else in life moving along in a constant, predictable way, I look forward to things like putting out my Halloween decorations.

It should be no surprise then, to hear that I've totally revamped my makeup routine for autumn. The BB and CC creams of summertime are back in storage, along with an assortment of coral lipsticks and blushes to make room for berries, neutrals, and all things matte.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Caudalie - A First Look and Review

After over a year of beauty blogging, I've come to realize that there is just SO MUCH out there to try. And of course you want to get your hands on all of it, but money and time tend to be pretty heavy limiting factors. Caudalie is one of those brands that I've known about for ages, but has always been a little too far out of my price range for me to splurge on. As with other prestige brands, I always keep an eye out for sales, coupons, and other deals so that I can maybe snag a luxe product on my drugstore budget. And sure enough, my patience and persistence paid off. I was able to snag this set of three full-sized Caudalie products at a crazy discount during Sephora's End of Summer Sale. I was excited, to say the very least. Sadly, it looks like that set was on sale because they were discontinuing it, so it's no longer available for purchase. However, each of these products is still available individually as part of their regular skincare lineup.

Regardless, I can finally say that I've been able to experience Caudalie skincare. What did I think about this long raved about beauty brand? Were any of these products amazing enough to re-purchase? Here's  an in-depth look at my first impression.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

9 Natural Beauty Brands You Should Be Trying

As a self-proclaimed beauty junkie I've tried A LOT of different products over the years. While there are a lot of things I consider when writing a review (packaging, performance, and cost, to name a few) I've been more conscious than ever about what is on the ingredients list. So many companies opt to use potentially harmful chemicals and substances in their products to lower their manufacturing costs. As someone who cares about what I'm putting on and into my body I've started to gravitate toward natural and organic beauty brands that offer quality products that I can feel good about using. Here's a quick look at 9 of my favorite companies and some of the products I've tried.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Fall 2014 Drugstore Beauty Haul

Retail therapy. It's most certainly my favorite form.

It seems I've done quite a bit of it in the past month. Arguably I needed it (or at least that's what I'm telling myself). After several doctor's appointments and a round of allergy testing (57 needle pokes…was not pleasant) I treated myself to a few new goodies. On a related side note, I was able to score all of this stuff for ridiculous prices, thanks to some shopping know-how. I've had plans to write a post about all of my money saving secrets for what seems like a good six months now. This is my public promise to all of you that it will happen.

ANYWAY. Fall. Beauty products. Back to that! I've hit up a little bit of everything in my rounds at Target and CVS, from haircare, to skincare, and makeup. Let me show you a closer look.

Birchbox Book Club September 2014 - Big Little Lies

I don't know about you, but I love curling up with a good book. Sometimes you just need to escape from your own life and problems and get caught up in someone else's. When Birchbox started a book club earlier this year I was understandably excited. While everyone seems to be addicted to binge watching TV on Netflix (and yeah, I'm guilty of that too) I think it's awesome that the company is supporting the idea that people should disconnect from the world of technology for a while and pick up a book. While I had been on a bit of a blog hiatus over the spring and summer I had missed out on their first few selections. Once I made my return, though, I was all in. I was even fortunate enough to be one of the lucky Birchbloggers who won a copy of their September Book Club pick, Liane Moriarty's Big Little Lies. It's been quite a while since I've read something other than a classic (or even that's been written in this century), so I couldn't wait to delve into something a little more fun and a little less serious.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

September 2014 Glambag

Good morning, friends! I know I've been quiet in the past couple of weeks, but mainly it's because I've been spending the majority of my free time lately with my nose in a book. As much as I love blogging, I also love reading, and every once in a while I need some time away from my laptop and to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of internet life. You can also blame the Birchbox Book Club, because their September book, Big Little Lies, was particularly enthralling. My hope is to write up a review this weekend!

But anyway, it's about time that I get back to business (the most fun kind of business, of course) and round up the last of my unfinished September posts. First on my list is to give you the run down on my Glambag from last month. Take a look!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Fall 2014 Walmart Beauty Box

There's a new beauty box in town, being delivered by none other than your neighborhood Walmart. As much as I love my usual subscription boxes (and the prestige products they often introduce me to), it's definitely a nice change to see what's new and interesting in the drugstore. You also can't beat the price tag (which is $5 for shipping, the box itself is free). Once you sign up, the Walmart Beauty Box will appear on your doorstep at the beginning of each season, giving you an opportunity to refresh your beauty stash every couple of months. My fall beauty box just arrived this weekend, and I was definitely pleasantly surprised with all the goodies I got.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

September 2014 Birchbox

September is a special month in the Birchbox world, marking the company's four year anniversary. These past couple of weeks have been full of surprises (including the first ever Customer Appreciation Day) in celebration of the company, its subscribers, and all the awesome brands they partner with. Our monthly boxes were even dressed for the occasion, sporting a fashionable geometric pattern. Check out what goodies Birchbox picked for me in this month's "Fresh Paint" themed box.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Fall 2014 Wish List

I don't care what the calendar says, fall has hit New England and it has hit it hard. The temperatures around these parts have gone from 85 to 65 in literally a matter of days. As much as I hate the cold, I'm trying to embrace the coming season by thinking about all the wonderful things autumn has to offer. Scarves, boots, the return of my beloved Pumpkin coffee at Dunkin' Donuts. I could probably make a list a mile long. Instead, here's a more practical list of 10 things I'm lusting after for the fall season.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Handbag Essentials

It's official. I've finally splurged and bought my first designer handbag.

So I bought it from the outlets at less than half the retail price. STILL COUNTS.

While I'm all about purses, shoes, scarves and the like, I've never been one to shell out insane amounts of money on accessories. Actually, I've never been one to shell out insane amounts of money on anything. I think there is something to be said for spending a little extra on a quality piece, but if I can avoid paying full price, you can bet that I will find a way.

Up until this point, the majority of my purse collection has been a mishmosh of Kohl's clearance rack purchases and retired Vera Bradley pieces. And while I do still love them all, with their various shapes, sizes, and funky patterns, they don't always scream "professional adult". I decided it was about time that I bit the bullet and bought myself a beautiful, classic leather handbag that I could rock through any season.

The outlets offered me many a choice in designer labels - Michael Kors, Coach, Tory Burch, Cole Haan, Fossil, Guess. In the end, though, I found my calling with Kate Spade, whose playful yet sophisticated style is right up my alley.

Of course, with a new handbag in my possession, I've got to show you some of my favorite essential items that I'll be packing in to it. Take a peek!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Revlon CustomEyes Shadow & Liner Palette Review

Since I've started beauty blogging, I've found myself being quite a bit more adventurous with trying new products at random, especially in the drugstore. I'll arrive at CVS one Sunday morning with an arsenal of coupons and carefully explore the displays of various makeup brands looking for interesting and affordable products that I want to try. I never end up spending a ton of money, and if I can find even one awesome products out of a few that I try I consider the trip a success.

Once in a while I'll come across a product that I'm really excited about. I'll be ripping off the packaging once I've barely made it back home and almost immediately after I try it I realize how incredibly disappointed I'm about to be. Such was the case with this Revlon CustomEyes Shadow & Liner Palette. I want to like it so badly, but the more I try the sadder I become.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

100th Post Special - Why I Love Blogging

100 posts.

It seems a bit surreal.

Looking back over 99 different reviews, tutorials, and general ramblings I've got to say that I feel a certain sense of accomplishment. Blogging has become quite the beloved hobby of mine, that despite life being…well…life, I always enjoy coming back to. I thought, in honor of such a special occasion, I would share the 5 things I've most enjoyed about my blogging experience so far.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

2014 Birchbox for CEW Limited Edition Boxes

There are lots of things that I've learned about the beauty world since becoming a Birchbox subscriber. From handy tips and tricks, to discovering Holy Grail products, to meeting new and awesome bloggers, I owe them a lot of credit for expanding my beauty brain. And when it comes to the Cosmetic Executive Women Insider's Beauty Choice awards they were the ones who lifted the rock I'd been living under.

Every year the CEW Insider's Beauty Choice Awards award the best products in an array of categories, with separate competitions for prestige and drugstore beauty. Each year Birchbox teams up with the CEW to create two amazing Limited Edition Birchboxes filled with the products that were finalists and winners in their respective categories, giving us a little taste of the best of the best in beauty that year. One box is full of affordable drugstore finds, while the other samples luxury and high end beauty. I reviewed these boxes last year, and they were pretty amazing, which of course meant I couldn't pass up this year's boxes. Here's a closer look at what you get.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Glambag August 2014

The summer is drawing to a close, and for several of you out there that means school is back in session. For a working girl like myself not much changes in my life from August to September, with the exception that my commute is made longer by many a school bus. Still, that doesn't mean that I can't appreciate Ipsy's latest Glambag and feel nostalgic for the days of lockers and dorm rooms. Here's a breakdown of what I got in this month's "Beauty Schooled" bag.

Monday, August 25, 2014

A Little Birdie Told Me…Vol. 3

There are so many amazing blogs out there on the internet, it's hard to keep up with them all! Here are just a few of my favorite posts from the last month.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Coastal Scents Revealed 2 Palette

A recent impulse purchase of mine (after hoarding Birchbox points) was the Coastal Scents Revealed 2 Palette. It debuted a while ago, but as per the usual I was a bit late to the party. This gorgeous palette features 20 different neutral shadows that lean toward the rose and pink-toned end of the spectrum. I couldn't remember ever having tried any Coastal Scents products before, but with amazing reviews I thought this palette might be a good place to start. Needless to say, I was not disappointed.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Birdie Bites - Brown Sugar Salmon

Salmon is one of my absolute favorite dishes to bring to the dinner table. It's easy to prepare, cooks in a flash, and tastes pretty flippin' delicious. It's also extremely versatile as far as fish goes, jiving with a number of different flavor combinations. In particular, I think salmon lends itself really well to savory-sweet preparations, which is where I got the inspiration to come up with this recipe. Brown sugar, with it's rich molasses notes, seemed like the perfect complement to my favorite fish.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Getting Organized - The Look-Ahead Pink Poppin Planner

Last week was a stressful one, and toward the end of it I felt like I needed a little pick-me-up. Naturally this translated to walking to Staples on my lunch break and browsing through the back-to-school displays. I don't know what it is about brightly colored office supplies, but they make me happy. I then realized that the perfect thing to get me back into a motivated mood would be a new planner. As much as my phone does an awesome job at helping me keep track of my life, I've always been a sucker for the paper kind.

That being said, at the end of 2013 I couldn't find one that I really liked, and I couldn't bring myself to buy an Erin Condren Life Planner (although they are flippin beautiful). It is surprisingly difficult to find a planner that is reasonably priced, utilizes space well, and is also pretty. I've perused the isles of Target, Wal-Mart, Staples and the like many a time without success. This time, I also thought I was going to leave empty handed, but the stars finally aligned. I noticed this guy on one of the island displays. It's The Look-Ahead Pink Poppin Planner and it is everything that I was looking for.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Budget Beauty Alternatives

Beauty splurges - we all have them from time to time. Sometimes it's worth spending the extra dollar for that super-smudge-proof eyeliner, or foundation that perfectly matches your skin tone. But let's be practical. A lot of us out there have the kind of budget that is much more suited for shopping at the drugstore. That's not to say that our cosmetic bags need to be lacking in quality products. More than ever, drugstores are carrying affordable alternatives to popular prestige products. Need some proof? Here are a few of my latest budget-conscious finds that will make you think twice about dropping tons of cash on their high-end counterparts.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Birchbox August 2014

I've been waiting eagerly for this pretty pink package to arrive in my mailbox this month. Of course there is the usual excitement of getting some awesome new products to try and review. But this month in particular I've had a little something special going on in the Birchbox department that I couldn't wait to share.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Hair Confessions

I love my hair.

I couldn't have made this statement my entire life. Actually, for quite a good bit of it I was cursing the universe for giving me what I considered to be flat, lifeless locks that seemed to absolutely refuse to cooperate with any attempts at styling. My roots were always greasy. My ends were always dry. Curls were an impossibility. In a lot of ways I had every right to be unhappy with the way that my hair looked and felt.

What I didn't realize, though, was that I wasn't born with terrible hair. I was just taking care of the hair I was born with in all of the wrong ways.

Here's how I learned (the hard way) to turn things around.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Maybelline - The Nudes Palette

With the success of Urban Decay's Naked series, it seems like everyone wants a piece of the neutral palette action. The hype is understandable. While bright, bold colors are fun and can add some serious punch to a look, neutrals have a certain versatility that makes them the bread and butter of the eyeshadow world. While there are many an offering among prestige brands if you're looking for a do-all palette, affordable options have been lacking.

Until now.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Birdie Bites - The Perfect Margarita

If I could only drink one cocktail for the rest of forever, it would be you, Margarita.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Playing Catch-up

You know that feeling you get when you realize you've neglected to respond to a text, and it's been just long enough that saying something now feels incredibly awkward?

This is what I feel like when I come back from a blogging hiatus.

As my co-worker Gigi has reprimanded me (lovingly, of course), "Lauren, you're slacking!"

It's true. I've been pretty absent for a while now.

There are a good 6 or 7 posts-in-progress crying for my attention. And I've got what feels like a billion other things to write about. But I've been pretty distracted with the happenings of life outside the blogosphere. Between the gentle (or sometimes not so gentle) words of encouragement of my friends and readers, as well as some excellent news that's come my way, I've decided I was way overdue to say hello.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

First Look - Japonesque Color

So, I should start off with a little disclaimer...

I've been going a little crazy with the beauty shopping in the past month or so.

Between amazing sales at ULTA and some ridiculous couponing sessions at CVS I've been able to score some awesome products at prices that are pretty much impossible to pass up. That being said, I have SO much to share with all of you. Rather than try to incorporate everything into giant haul posts, I'm going to break things down into smaller snippets by brand or product type so I can give you a more in-depth look at how everything performs.

To kick things off, I wanted to introduce you to these lovely Japonesque Color goodies that I was able to snag from ULTA at 50% off during their 21 days of beauty sale a few weeks back. I realized that I hadn't heard much about Japonesque Color products before, but they looked awfully pretty, and I thought it might be fun to go out on a limb and give them a try.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Birchbox April 2014

A new month is underway, and it's about time that I get around to reviewing my April Birchbox. This month was a bit hit or miss for me. While I did enjoy pretty much everything in my box, there was nothing that floored me either. Let me give you the scoop.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

China Glaze City Flourish Collection - Peonies & Park Ave Swatches and Review

During my last ULTA shopping spree, I stumbled upon this amazing set of springy China Glaze polishes. Peonies & Park Ave contains one half of the China Glaze City Flourish collection, complete with 6 gorgeous creme colors ranging from coral, to lilac, to mint. At a $30 price point you're also saving $2.50 on each bottle. I mean, really. How could I possibly resist?

Sunday, April 27, 2014

A Little Birdie Told Me... Vol. 2

I don't know how many times I've looked at the clock and had it be way later than I expected. Time just seriously has a way of disappearing! On that note, another month is somehow coming to a close. Here's the rundown of some of my favorite posts from around the blog-o-sphere in April.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Mother's Day 2014 Gift Guide

If I had to pick a holiday that I am most excited to shop for each year, it hands down has to be Mother's Day. The process of shopping for little treats to spoil all of the moms in my life is incredibly fun, and for all a mom does, I think they're most deserving of some special attention and appreciation. Maybe you already have your perfect gift ideas in mind. If not, here's a little inspiration!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Spring 2014 CVS Haul

So...I've been a bit naughty.

I mostly blame CVS for having such ridiculous sales and an amazing customer loyalty program. You could say it would have been more naughty for me to pass up the opportunity to get some of these products at the prices I did.

Whichever way you want to look at it, I've amassed a little collection of new beauty products since my last drugstore haul post. Here's a rundown of these new goodies I'm putting to the test.