Shameless Indulgence in Makeup and Beauty Products

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Playing Catch Up with Birchbox

I’m well aware of the fact that I’ve been lagging a little bit on the Birchbox hauls since it’s almost time for February’s Birchbox. My apologies! But hopefully this double dose of Birchbox-ness will make up for it!

My December 2011 Birchbox

My Birchbox arrived in the mail just in time for Christmas! The pink box is covered with printed snowflakes which have me pining for snow outside my window. I open my box to find a lovely Christmas card labeled, “frolic & fancy,” this month’s theme. So onto the haul:

December 2011 Birchbox
Benefit POREfessional- To me, this is the best thing in the box this month. POREfessional is popular Benefit product that can be used under and over makeup promising to minimize pores. I’m set in the primer department so I’ll just throw it into the pile of primers I already own. Nevertheless I’m still excited to try it whenever I get around to it.

Harvey Prince Yogini – I smiled when I saw Yogini perfume in my box. Birchbox must be Big Brother because how did they know I recently started going to yoga? The lady in the picture is doing a tree pose.  Sandalwood and myrrh give it an earthy smell and the grapefruit gives it a sweet note. Yogini is my fourth perfume sample from Birchbox and while I appreciate the exposure to different brands of perfumes my excitement for perfume is kind of dying down.

Jouer Lip Gloss in Birchbox Pink – Finally a makeup product! It’s a cute little tube of lipgloss with a doe foot applicator. It is a sheer but pigmented pink with no glitter. The formula is not sticky and you are able to build up the color.   

Olie Biologique – This leaked a little bit in my box because it was screwed in all way. It’s funny because this is the third oil product I’ve received from Birchbox. I must have said I have dry hair and skin in my quiz because I keep getting these kinds of products. I recently used up the last of the Orofluido, a hair oil, but this one is multiuse for the face, skin, and hair.

ShowStoppers – Double-sided fashion tape in a nude color. I’m a little concerned about the color because nude is usually too light for my skin tone. I would much rather have a clear tape but I’ll see how this works out.

EBOOST – This little orange package reminds me of EmergenC. It's only 5 calories and provides 1667% of the daily requirement of vitamin C. I will tear this open at the first sign of a cold, sickness, or if I need a little more energy. 

My January 2012 Birchbox

How are those New Year’s resolutions holding up? January’s Birchbox theme was “clarity.”

January 2012 Birchbox

Juicy Couture Viva La Juicy – I already own Viva La Juicy and it’s my favorite of the four perfumes from Juicy Couture. The perfect mix of girly, fruity, and sweet scents. 

ORIGINS Checks and Balances Frothy Face Wash – I’m no stranger to Origins thanks to its overwhelming presence at the mall. I have tried a few different products - Plantscription a new anti-aging serum and A Perfect World moisturizer with white tea. I'm so thankful for Birchbox because I get the opportunity to  wash my face with higher-end and organic face products. The best part is I don't have to commit because after a few weeks I can try something else.  

Stila Smudge Stick Waterproof Eye liner in Peacock – First full-sized product in quite awhile! A bright teal water proof eye liner .01 oz $20 value. Twist up. Jazz up your everyday look by adding a pop of color. I would keep the eyelid neutral and line my bottom lash line in this teal.  After I swatched it on my hand it glided as if it was a liquid liner there was no tugging or pulling. I forcefully tried to rub off the eye liner but not even a speck of glitter rubbed off nor did it fade.   

VMV Hypoallergenics Re-Everything: Face-Hand-Body Lotion - I'm really excited to test drive this all-in-one product. The lotion is hypoallergenic, fragrance free, paraben free, preservative free, phthalate free, non-comedogenic. This is appropriate for all skin types and males and females. Although I have dry skin it never occurred to me to invest too much money in a body lotion because I have the tendency to stick to drug store body lotions. 

LARABAR in Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough– A gluten free, non GMO, and kosher snack. I've never had anything made with Fair Trade chocolate. The sample was a delicious few bites, really soft and chewy. I immediately tasted the cashews and chocolate and could see chunks of dates. Pretty Yummy!

A pink Birchbox logo magnet for my fridge. Kind of speaks for itself!

I just got my February Birchbox in the mail today so I will review it and post my haul tomorrow! Don't miss out on my posts, please follow my blog! 

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Tinted Moisturizers and Reviewing My Favorite One

Let’s be real. Some days I don’t have the time to fuss with brushes and blending in and working with foundation. How I accomplish a quick and polished face in a hurry (which usually happens on a daily basis) is by using tinted moisturizer. With this wonderful invention you get a 2 for 1 deal- moisturize while adding color to your face and evening out skin tone.     

Swatches left to right: 
Physician's Formula, e.l.f, Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer and hydrating primer  

My journey to find a great tinted moisturizer began with Physician's Formula Organic wear 100% Natural Origin Tinted Moisturizer. It is priced at $11.95 and available in 4 shades. This product is watery so it instructs you to shake it up before using. This is my least favorite tinted moisturizer because I bought the darkest shade they offered, Natural to Tan, and it still wasn’t a perfect match. It totally gives me a white cast or mask-like appearance since it’s too light in color. Just a tad too ashy even after applying bronzer. With SPF 15 this offers the least sun protection compared to the other tinted moisturizers I will review. The thing that bothers me the most is the smell. I’m guessing that smell is the “Organic Fruit Water” that is added. The packaging is terrible because the tube leaks out product into the inside of the cap. It makes a mess! However, I’m sure this would be a great tinted moisturizer for those of you into natural and organic makeup products. It’s made with 80% certified organic products and is free of parabens; GMO’s (Genetically Modified Organisms); and synthetic preservatives, fragrances, and colors. The bottom line is it didn’t work for me but it may be different for you.    
Swatches sheered out     

The next tinted moisturizer I tried was e.l.f. Studio Tinted Moisturizer. I bought mine at Target for $3 (what a bargain!) and there are 7 shades to choose from. It has SPF 20 and is made with aloe, cucumber, and vitamins A, C, and E. I’m in the shade called Almond. I know the swatch looks dark in my picture but the consistency is thin so it sheers out and blends well into the skin. Plus I don’t mind looking a little darker and tan. I genuinely like this product because of the incredibly affordable price. My only complaint is, again, the smell because it distinctly smells like sunscreen lotion. Regardless, I was able to look passed it and continued to use it on a daily basis for the last few months.     

Last but not least, my new favorite tinted moisturizer is... Drum roll, please... Laura Mercier’s Oil-Free Tinted Moisturizer in Caramel! With 10 different shades you can easily find a match to your skin tone. SPF 20 Laura Mercier offers three varieties in this tinted moisturizer line – the original tinted moisturizer, oil-free, and illuminating. I visited my local Sephora to shamelessly test the different shades and varieties to find the perfect tinted moisturizer. It usually costs $42 but I purchased it during Sephora Friends and Family Sale so I saved a little bit of money.

As you can see I’ve encountered watery tinted moisturizers providing the sheerest of sheer coverage.  Granted, the tinted moisturizers I have tried are drug store brands and surely you get what you pay for. I have to say Laura Mercier is popular for a reason and her products are worth every penny. The first thing I noticed about this product was its velvety consistency. It absorbs quickly into the skin and it moisturizes rather than making me feel greasy. I can accomplish sheer coverage or use a little more for extra coverage. It makes it through my eight hour work day but I still need to blot my oily nose a few times during the day. The formula is very lightweight. In fact, I sometimes forget I’m wearing makeup!

The perfect companion to the tinted moisturizer is Laura Mercier’s Hydrating Foundation Primer (priced $30). Her line of primers offers four varieties- the original foundation primer, hydrating, mineral, and oil free. I chose the hydrating formula because I have normal to dry skin and figured I need all the moisture I can get during the cold, brash winter weather. The primer is a gel and it melts into the skin on contact. After application I wait a minute or so for it to dry and set before applying my face makeup. This particular primer helps keep the makeup I put over it stay matte and natural looking all day.  

I have been using this tinted moisturizer and primer for more than two weeks. Here is my routine. First, I prime my face with the Hydrating Foundation Primer. Next take a pea-sized amount and dot tinted moisturizer around my face- I make dots on my cheeks, chin, and forehead - and smooth it out with my fingers.  I then dust MAC Mineralize Natural Skin Finish all over my face to set and matte my face. Add bronzer and blush and I’m out the door! I kid you not, this takes me less than 5 minutes.

Before                                                                                                    After

My favorite part about this product is gives me a natural, fresh face and it stays dewy all day. From my before and after pictures you can tell the tinted moisturizer gave me a healthy dose of color, evened out my skin, cancelled out redness, somewhat covered my faint under eye circles, and above all, removed shininess. I will definitely repurchase both primer and tinted moisturizer and I encourage you to try it for yourself. Do you use tinted moisturizer and what brands have you tried out there?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Urban Decay Naked2 Palette

Happy December 1st! Well what do you know? Just in time for the holidays Urban Decay just announced the release of the Naked2 Palette! 

 According to Urban Decay's website,"The most anticipated sequel of the decade. Naked2 has 12 pigment-rich, taupe and greige neutral eyeshadows, including FIVE NEW shades." It is available RIGHT NOW on for $50 with free shipping. I signed up today to receive e-mail updates and newsletters from UD and was sent a code for 10% off my next purchase. 5000 pieces are set to ship in the first shipment so I'm sure those will quickly fly off the shelves!

Foxy, Half Baked, Booty Call, Chopper, Tease, Snake Bite,Suspect, Pistol, Verve, YDK, Busted, and Blackout

The original Naked palette is a go-to product when I put my eyeshadow on in the morning. The Naked palette provides wearable colors perfect for the workplace and I'm sure Naked2 will not disappoint! Although majority are repromoted shades I do not own Chopper, Suspect, YDK. From the new shades I'm most excited about Pistol, Busted, and Snakebite. What are your thoughts on this particular palette? Will you be purchasing Naked2?   

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Get up to $500 Worth of Surprise JewelMint Pieces - for only $29.99!

Hi everyone! I hope each and every one of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I surely feasted! In the shopping spirit of Black Friday/Cyber Monday I had to share a great deal by Jewelmint.

Jewelmint has gain much popularity on Youtube and the blogosphere. Briefly, the concept is each month Jewelmint selects various pieces of jewelry for you based on the answers you give on a style quiz. It is free to register and if you like what's in your showroom you pay $29.99 for a credit and you choose and receive one piece of jewelry in the mail. I signed up and browsed my showroom for a few months and they bombarded me with e-mails with special promotions.  I finally bought my first piece on Black Friday for $9.99!

Today I got an e-mail about a Mystery Bag, appropriately named OrnaMint. For $29.99 you receive two "mystery"/random pieces of jewelry plus a bonus gift which may be an Amazon Kindle Fire ($199), StyleMint Leggings ($29.99), Jewelmint AdornMint Box($59.98), or Stylemint, BeautyMint, or ShoeMint coupons valued at $10-$30.

I love surprises and I love getting things in the mail so you know I purchased this! I promise will do a haul post once I receive my jewelry. If you are interested I would hurry because there are only 10,000 available at this price and the offer ends November 11, 2011 at 11:59pm PST. Here's the link again JewelMint Mystery Bag. Happy shopping! 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sephora Friends and Family Haul 2011

Hello all! It's been a minute since I last blogged. This is going to be a great post because.... I’m very enthusiastic to tell you what I bought during Sephora’s Friends and Family Sale which occurred October 20,2011 through November 2, 2011! If you haven’t heard about this sale then where have you been?! Don’t worry, this is the first year I actually bought makeup goodies during this sale. Anyway, I digress. Sephora Friends and Family sale is a special time of year where Sephora offered 20% off your entire online purchase. The best part is you don’t even have to be a Sephora employee or be their family member or friend to receive this discount. You were simply required to enter your e-mail address on and a special one-time use code was generated. Regularly, Sephora never has a sale this massive so you can only imagine how many of the beauty obsessed took advantage of this opportunity.

For a sale like this I had to have a battle plan. When compiling my shopping list I made it a point to purchase items I’m running low on, trying popular brands I should have tried sooner, and purchasing products from the high end brands- Lancome, Dior, YSL, etc.

A piece of advice, don’t procrastinate and wait until the last few days of the sale to make your purchase. Many of the popular products and gift sets were out of stock by the time I was ready to put everything into my cart. If you’re lucky, the products might come back in stock but I wouldn’t count on it. Oh, Diorskin Shimmer Star in Amber Lights! I was wishing on a star that you would come back in stock but my wish didn’t come true. Oh well, maybe I can ask Santa to bring me more makeup.  

I made a resolution to not touch or use these products until I have completely run out of what I currently have. Hence, no swatches or reviews of products with this post.  Before I get to the bulk of my order, let’s begin with the samples I received.


To my surprise I received a sample of all the shades of Urban Decay Primer Potion in Original, Sin, Eden, and Greed. It was a surprise because they must have run out of the sample of Bliss Triple Oxygen + C Energizing Cream I originally picked. Sephora substitutes so that is understandable. The other two samples I chose were Per-fekt Brow Perfection Gel and Marc Jacobs Oh, Lola Eau de Parfume. The brow gel was appealing to me because I usually apply the powder in my Benefit Brow Zing in Medium to fill in my brows. I’m a sucker for itty bitty perfume samples especially one with a spray already included. Oh, Lola is a sweet floral scent that I’m sure I’ll enjoy spritzing on. 

Tarte for True Blood 

I’m not even going to hide it. I’m addicted to eyeshadow and I know I didn’t need another eyeshadow palette. However, I made an executive decision to treat myself. I’m a huge fan of the show True Blood so when I heard Tarte was coming out with products influenced by the show I must have been glamoured into buying this. The Tarte for True Blood Palette includes 20 shimmery and matte shades with names giving a nod to the show such as Glamour Me (a deep purple), The True Death (a very shimmery silver), and “V” (a shimmery, deep crimson).  If you need inspiration, included is a card with 4 looks created by True Blood’s lead makeup artist, Brigitte Ellis.  

From Left to Right - Top: The Light, Fairy, Dusk
2nd Row: Dawn, Werewolf, Waitress, Nocturnal
3rd Row: Charmer, Glamour Me, Stake
4th Row: Bayou, Telepath, The True Death, Immortal
5th Row: Moss, Legend, "V"

Exclusive Looks created by Brigitte Ellis

Within the “Open After Dark” drawer, lined with a sultry red velvet material, housed a Lifted Natural Eye Primer with Firmitol; a Lights, Camera, Lashes! Mascara; and an emphasEYES aqua-gel eyeliner.  I’m most excited to try the eye primer because I’m very loyal to Urban Decay Primer Potion. The best part about these products are they are cruelty free and formulated without parabens, mineral oil, sulfates, and synthetic fragrances. 

Take a better look inside

For the mornings when I’m in a hurry to get out the door or when I’m in the mood for light foundation coverage I’m going to reach for Laura Mercier Oil Free Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20 in Caramel. This tinted moisturizer is a,”sheer, lightweight, buildable foundation that can be worn by all skin types but especially those with acne prone, sensitive or oily skin.” Laura Mercier’s line of tinted moisturizers is regarded as the best tinted moisturizers by both Allure Best in Beauty and In Style Best Beauty Buy. To accompany my new tinted moisturizer I purchased the Hydrating Foundation Primer to ensure my dry face will hold the makeup throughout the whole day. Now I know some people don’t care for primers citing a good skin regimen ensures even and lasting foundation coverage but I beg to differ. My skin is a sponge and primer gets into those little nooks and crannies on my face to smooth everything out. Primers provide a great barrier between your face and your makeup, preventing the makeup to really sink into or clog your pores. For the same reason you would use a primer on your eye lids, face primer also prevents the foundation and powders from slipping and sliding and fading away. Laura Mercier is a brand I have been meaning to try for awhile so I hope she will help me achieve the flawless face I’ve been looking for.

Left - Oil Free Tinted Moisturizer, Right- Hydrating Foundation Primer

Urban Decay is my favorite brand and the company is based out of Orange County so I feel obligated to show them some love. Urban Decay is another great cruelty free brand and they even carry vegan products. Again, referring back to my loyalty to Urban Decay Primer Potion, I re-purchased this product in its newly re-designed packaging. I look forward to getting my money’s worth with this product because the old genie bottle shaped packaging was a pain in the butt to extract and de-pot the remaining primer. De-potting only made the primer dry out faster after putting it in a new container. I must also mention the doe foot applicator was useless because I rather use my finger to apply the product to my lids. All Nighter Long-Lasting Makeup Setting Spray made it into my cart because my MAC Fix+ is on its last few sprays. SKINDINÄVIA partnered up with Urban Decay for this weightless, fine mist finishing spray that boasts to make your makeup last for 16 hours. I’ve heard SKINDINÄVIA products have a cooling effect on skin so that will be a unique experience for me.    

Left- UD Primer Potion, Right- All Nighter

The NARS Blush/Bronzer Trio with Orgasm, Albatross, and Laguna is going to be a staple in my routine. The sturdy hard case, mirror, and zipper closure makes this convenient for travel- for my suit case or in my purse for touch-ups. I must be the last person on earth to try NARS Laguna Bronzer but better late than never! I hit pan on my Orgasm blush and this is a great excuse to re-purchase it in a trio. Nonetheless, it was a great deal because a full-sized blush is regularly $27 and the bronzer is $33, so to get a trio (2 blushes and one bronzer) for $55 + 20% off = A STEAL! I know, I threw in some math there I hope I impressed you! 

From left to right: Laguna, Albatross,Orgasm

That concludes my haul! I can’t wait until next year’s Friends and Family Sale. I vow to do more research throughout the year and purchase everything when the sale begins so I don’t miss out on the products I really want. If you participated in F&F this year what did you buy? If you missed out, what would you have bought? Leave me your comments below, I love reading them! J

Sunday, November 13, 2011

November 2011 Birchbox

I was away for the weekend and guess what was waiting for me in my mailbox all weekend? If your response was my November 2011 Birchbox, *Ding-ding-ding, you're a winner! Like every month I tore into this box with excitement. This month's theme is "Getting Gifty." Can you believe we're less than two weeks away from Thanksgiving and then it's Christmas?! A holiday theme is very appropriate this month  since I should start making my list and then be checking it twice.

For this month's post I remembered to give you  pictures of the handy dandy card Birchbox includes in each box. The card has a cute little message from the Birchbox team and a breakdown of the products you received with information about the full size and its price.

Here's what I got...

The Atelier Cologne was packaged in a parchment envelope with a fun postcard as an added bonus. The cologne smells divinely sweet and sugary vanilla. Most vanilla scents remind me of Bath and Body Works Warm Vanilla Sugar. This scent is perfect for cold winter days. It makes me want to cuddle up with a special someone next to a warm fire place.

The Borghese Mud for Face and Body looks promising. From reading the description I can expect this to be a luxe treatment for my dry skin. It is a generous sample at 1 oz. so I'm confident I will be able to throughly test it out on my body and face.

LaROCCA Champagne & Shimmer Supreme Creme smells like applesauce or citrus. I dipped my ring finger into the jar and the product was incredibly soft and creamy. After rubbing it into my hand  I know I won't be bothered by the shimmer in the product because it is very fine, doesn't clump, and disperses over the skin evenly. It hydrates nicely upon first application but I will have to further test its longevity. The description leads you to believe this is best worn at night when you are going out.

The shining star in this box, hands down, is the Zoya Nail Polish in Izzy. This magenta jewel-toned polish is another great product for the winter. I wish I could have Christmas tree decorations in the colors of the new Zoya Gems & Jewels Holiday Collection. Birchbox should have sent me Holly, the bright shimmery green,  from this collection. They could have put two and two together and inferred I like green from my name. I am so excited to receive yet another Zoya polish! I have been gushing over Shay since I got it in my July box.
A little treat included this month were coasters from Two Paper Dolls. Thank you Birchbox for giving me something to put my cup on instead of my naked tabletop.  

Notable Products from Last Month:
- Befine Lip Serum - This is a full sized product but is a half of a lip treatment duo. I used it mainly before bed and when I woke up the next morning my lips felt the same as when I went to bed. Good stuff! 
-blinc Mascara- It is a great mascara for lengthening but not volumizing. It can be kind of a pain to remove the tubules from your lashes. I found that I removed a few lashes in the process.
You've done it again, Birchbox! I'm never let down by the products I get. The nail polish makes it worth it for me. I'm sure December will be a great box with Christmas and New Years coming up. In fact, a Birchbox subscription will make a great holiday gift for any beauty lover in your life. If you want more information or want to sign up follow this link and let them know I referred you! 

I can't wait for next month!!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Jewelry Haul

The perfect cure for a gloomy, cold day is a trip to the (indoor) mall with Mom. I went a little overboard in Charlotte Russe this afternoon, oops! Charlotte Russe was having a sale on their jewelry so I couldn’t resist.  Majority of the pieces I purchased today were 2 for $10 (original price $6-$10.50). On top of that, they were promoting Happy Hour specials between 3pm and 5pm- Spend $30 get $5 off and spend $40 get $10 off.

Due to time constraints and the quickly disappearing daylight, I was able to photograph four out of the six pieces of jewelry I bought. Enjoy!

I had my pretty little eye on this necklace last time I was at Charlotte Russe. It is a gold chain featuring black enamel detailing. The necklace is lightweight, edgy, and will definitely make a statement even when paired with a simple black top. 

Taking inspiration from my nail polish, I chose this cocktail ring. It is comfortable to wear and is a one-size-fits-all kind of deal since the band is made with a stretchy material.

The ring says it all, Bling! Obviously they are not real diamonds, but anything shiny will make your outfit glamorous.  It borders on gaudy but that is what makes it appealing to me. It would look very classy with a French manicure. 

I saved the best for last. The pink bejeweled ring with the pearl in the middle is my favorite out of all the rings.  What drew me in was the sheer size of this baby. It’s probably the largest ring in my collection now. When I placed it on my finger, it gave me the effect of a pink firework that exploded on my hand. 

I have a tendency to gravitate to gold jewelry, as made evident by this haul. The fact is gold complements my warm-toned skin. I’m also a creature of habit. As a little girl I remember my mom always bought me 14K gold jewelry. Especially with earrings, I got allergic reactions to other types of metals. My ears would get unbearably itchy and red. Thankfully I don’t have these issues anymore. Gold, silver, platinum, diamonds- I'll take them all! Anyway, I’m very excited to style outfits with my new pieces of jewelry. I guess I have another reason to make another trip to the mall!