Friday, May 27, 2011

May Birchbox

I wish I could say I was excited about this months Birchbox.  I could barely generate enough enthusiasm to tell you about it.  So I'll keep it short and sweet (yeah right!).

Inside the box I found...
  • Jouer Mini Tinted Lip Enhancer-described as, "a satiny moisturizer loaded with healing vitamin E and shea butter, plus plumping peptides" its basically a super sheer lip jelly.  The color I got was Bellini and in the tube it was really promising, on the lips it essentially disappeared.  It certainly doesn't plump in the way that LipFusion or Buxom lip glosses do.  Still, it was a nice sized color sample from a high end line.  I did notice on You Tube that a lot of people got full sized Stila eyeshadows in lieu of the Lip Enhancer-lucky them.
  • Bulgari Mon Jamin Noir- the latest fragrance from Bulgari.   I've heard it described as smelling like an "old lady", but I think it's quite nice, if not a bit heavy.  What does that say about me?  Has as a nice scent of jasmine and its not overly fruity like a lot of the newer scents. I love the ads, think they are super sexy and Kirsten Dunst looks amazing. The sample was the mini spray kind, which I do like. 
  • Erno Laszlo Transphuse Night Serum-this line has been around forever.  Erno Laszlo was Audrey Hepburn's favorite skincare line and anyone who knows me, knows I LOVE Ms Hepburn.  However the Erno Laszlo line is obnoxiously priced and I don't believe it lives up to the hype or its price.  A one oz. bottle of the serum retails for $190.  Trust me, there is nothing in that serum that makes it worth that price.  The sample was nice at a tenth of an ounce.  It more then paid for this months box.
  • Archipelago Pomegranate Soap- a triple milled soap that is loaded with antioxidant rich pomegranate, white tea, cranberry and chamomile extracts.  It's a nice size travel bar (think hotel sample).  I have heard a lot of people hate the scent, but I think it smells refreshing. 
This months Birchbox Treat was a cute little blank card from a company called Tiny Prints.  It's a cute little card and will make a nice Thank You note.  Overall it's not anything special.

There wasn't anything bad in this box.  In fact this months box was a value, I just was not excited about any of the products.  I hadn't been wanting to try any of them, and after using them, am quite sure I won't be purchasing any of them.

If you are interested in learning more about Birchbox click here.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

5 Must Haves For Your Travel Makeup Bag (and 3 nice to haves)

I just got back from Vegas and boy did I learn a lesson; I seriously over pack.  Clothes were not the issue, but makeup was (oh and shoes too, but that's another story).  I had visions of doing all kinds of looks that I never have time for at home.  Looks that you can't get away with anywhere other then Vegas (think glitter liner and false lashes). 

I did not take into account that I simply wouldn't have the time to spend on my makeup.  Sure, I could of, if I really wanted to push it, but something had to give and my desire to shop wasn't going to budge.  Day and night I kept my look simple and it worked.

The MUST haves... 
  1. Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua Foundation-This product was new for me and am I ever glad I discovered it.  On the day I flew to Las Vegas I applied it at 6am and 18 hours later it was still going strong.  I'm not exaggerating it looked as great in the morning as it did when I stumbled into my hotel room at midnight. Yeah, I know, early by Vegas standards
  2. Laura Mercier Invisible Loose Setting Powder-Supposedly this is the stuff Oprah uses.  Considering I'm quite a bit pastier then her, I can confidently say this powder will work for everyone.  I buff it into my skin in the morning and it keeps oil at bay all day.  Lightly dusted under my eyes, my eyeliner doesn't smudge.
  3. Urban Decay Naked Palette-I've talked about this before, so I won't beat a dead horse, but it provided me with every look I used in Vegas.  Day or night this palette holds it's own.
  4. Fusion Beauty LipFusion Color Shine-Dream  -Love Fusion Beauty lip glosses, just wish they didn't cost so much.  Buxom lip glosses are a great alternative, but they don't have a color that can compete with DreamDream is the color of my lips only intensified.  It was dark enough to pull off a night look, but because it was the same tone as my lips, it still worked during the day.
  5. Buxom Buxom Mascara-By now you all know I love this mascara.  When you have something that works this perfectly, why would you need anything else (including falsies)?
In addition to those 5 items I had 3 items I used everyday, but in all honesty they were luxuries and I easily could of gotten away without having them.

The Nice to haves...
  1. Stila One Step Correct- A great moisturizer, primer and color corrector in one.  I'm on my third bottle of this and love it. 
  2. Becca Shimmering Skin Perfecter- The perfect liquid highlighter.  The only highlighter I have ever used that doesn't look like glitter or disco gone bad on my face. 
  3. Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion-The first and only eyeshadow primer I have ever used.  It provides an amazing base for your shadows and never creases or fades.
Just in time for summer vacations, I hope you find my list helpful.  Of course I haven't mentioned skincare...

Friday, May 6, 2011

Great Online Stores to Get Your Beauty Fix

More and more I find myself ordering beauty products online.  Even color products are easy to buy online.  I rely on the  incredible  color swatching done by Christine over at and have never been disappointed. Ordering online saves you time and money.  I also find that buying online limits my impulse purchases( I am Queen of the Impulse Purchase).

When I order online I have the following expectations.
  • A seamless shopping and check out process
  • Editing my shopping cart should be straightforward
  • Easy movement between shopping cart and store
  • Product reviews from customers
  • Fast shipping at a low price (free is even better!)
  • Great customer service
 It may not be fair, but I DO count weekends into shipping time.  I don't stop wanting something just because it's a weekend.  Here are the online beauty stores I've used recently and my thoughts on them. is a great resource for high end beauty products.  They have an outstanding collection of makeup, skin/hair care and fragrance.  They carry many hard to find brands and often have products/colors within the lines that are exclusive to Sephora.  Some products are exclusive online only.  I recently made a purchase during their Beauty Insider 15% off promotion. 
  • Free shipping over $50
  • Several items I wanted were out of stock
  • Easy site navigation
  • Great search engine
  • Large number of product reviews
  • 3 free foil product samples with order
  • Shipping is not fast.  Last order took 10 days is another online resource.  I became aware of them through a promotion on  For $20 you received a $40 gift card, basically 50% of your purchase.
  • Free 1-2 day shipping on order over $39. Ordered on Saturday and received on Monday
  • Add coupon code BBGIFT15 and get $15 off your first $50 purchase
  • Limited product selection
  • Several items I wanted were out of stock
  • Decent site navigation
  • Few to no product reviews
  • Awkward search engine
  • 3 foil product samples with order
  • Package arrived in 2 days, but was missing a product
  • Great customer service with missing item delivered in less then 24 hours is my favorite online store.  The website is easy to navigate, they are almost never out of an item I've needed and you have the option of either home delivery or in store pick up.  Since I HATE shopping at the crowded MAC counter, I usually order my items online and pick up at customer service in my local store.  My local Nordstrom doesn't carry some of the higher end lines like Giorgio Armani and YSL so those items I have shipped.  .
  • $5 shipping on purchases of $50 or more BUT must use offer code BEAUTY, discounted shipping is not automatically applied at checkout.
  • Great selection and rarely out of stock
  • Option for home delivery or in store pick up.  In store pick up is free
  • Fair number of customer reviews
  • Extremely easy site navigation
  • Good search function.
  • Quick at home delivery is a great online resource.  In addition to the monthly boxes they send out, they have a very nice albeit small online store.
  • A large number of items ship for free
  • Limited selection
  • Very quick delivery
  • Efficient search engine
  • You have to be a member to product access reviews
  • Amazing customer service and it's sister site are great resources for both high end products and drugstore lines. 
  • Free shipping for orders $25 and more
  • Very speedy delivery
  • They have never been out of stock of an item I need
  • Top of the line selection on drugstore lines
  • Decent selection of high end lines
  • Great search engine and easy site to navigate.
  • Lots of customer reviews is an online company I have recently discovered.  Dermstore has it's own online store, but I purchased directly through  I ordered on Friday and the package was in my mailbox on Monday morning. The shipping was $4.99, but I discovered after the fact if I bought directly from their web site all U.S. shipping is free.  Next time I need to place an order I will go through the Dermstore site.  I have browsed their site and find it easy to navigate with lots of great lines and articles.  It's an online store that focuses on Dermatologist recommended makeup, beauty and skin care products.  Many of the products they offer are only available through a doctors office.

Do you shop for beauty products online?  What have your experiences been?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

When HD Powders Go Wrong

is why I NEVER recommend HD powders.  HD powders were designed for film not photography, and they create horrible flashback.  In person I'm sure Ashley looked beautiful, but once the flash bounced off that HD powder under her eyes, it aged her horribly.  Keep in mind that products with sunscreen can also have this effect .  Brides take note.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

April Favorites

Ah April!  That lovely month when taxes are due.  What that meant to me this month, was a serious crimp in my beauty budget.  I have to admit I rather resent Uncle Sam right now.  This month I wasn't able to make any big beauty purchases (not entirely true, but that purchase is being shipped and won't be here till May, so it doesn't count).  I've been rather fickle this month and haven't had a lot of favorites, but there are a few things I found myself reaching for over and over again.

Origins, VitaZing has become my go to daytime moisturizer.  It has an SPF of 15 and hydrates my skin well.  As an added benefit it acts like a tinted moisturizer, evening out my skin tone.  It does such a good job of evening out my skin that I only wore foundation once this month.  It takes a bit of trial and error to get this just right, as too much will make you look like an oil slick. 

I'm fascinated by the fact it only comes in one color, but self adjusts to most skin tones.  Origins does not promote VitaZing as a tinted moisturizer and I'm rather baffled by that.  The web site describes it as a moisturizer that "adds a healthy hit of radiance that mimics the glow you get from a week's vacation. All in 10 seconds max". However it is marketed, I really like it.  Towards the end of the day I do find my skin looking a bit shiny, but nothing that blotting paper doesn't fix.

For years I have used ENJOY, Shine and Smooth to keep my hair manageable.  I had no reason to try something new other then I was getting bored.  My husbands stylist recommended Its a 10,  Miracle Leave-In PLUS Keratin.   From what I understand this product was formulated specifically for maintenance of keratin straightning  treatments.  Since I religiously have a keratin treatment done at least every 12 weeks, it seemed just what I was looking for.  It didn't hurt that it costs less then the Shine and SmoothMiracle Leave-In PLUS Keratin is designed to be sprayed directly onto your hair, but I prefer to squirt it onto my hand and smooth it into my hair. It keeps the frizz in check, minimizes the need to use the flat iron and makes my hair super soft.  Best of all it's not greasy or heavy on my fine hair.

Every night before bed I always smooth a layer of Fusion Beauty LipFusion XL.  Unlike most lip plumpers it actually works not by using irritants, but by using hyaluronic acid (HA).  HA works like little sponges on your lips.  The HA settles into your lines and then absorbs water, plumping up your lips for a smoother look. I've discovered this month, that by applying it before starting my make up, most of the creases in my lips are plumped up by the time I put on lipstick/lipgloss.  LipFusion XL is insanely pricey at $50, but it is worth it.  I've been using my tube for over a year now.

Did you have any favorites this month?  Was there one item that you found yourself reaching for over and over?  Tell me about them.