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.