Tuesday, September 16, 2014

New Chapstick Hydration Lock Collection



Earlier this week Birchbox and Chapstick/Pfizer sent me two Chapsticks from the new Hydration Lock collection for free to test and review for you, my fantastic readers!

Everyone has his or her own recurring beauty woe. Mine would definitely be dry, chapped lips - especially in the winter time. I'm always on the prowl for the latest and greatest long lasting moisturizing products for lips.  So, I was thrilled to get this new product. 


The first one I tried was the "Advanced Anti-Aging Formulas" stick.  The awesome thing about all the Chapsticks in this collection is that they are double sided (whoa, mind blown!). That's 2 formulas in 1 - and less to carry around in your purse. 

Each side serves a different purpose. This one has a "moisturize" side and a "renew" side. The moisturize side aims to create fuller, smoother, and younger looking lips and is lightly scented with Soft Vanilla. The renew side revitalizes lips with natural butters and is lightly scented with Botanic Medley. To be honest, both sides didn't really have a strong scent. I really noticed the instant impact of the moisturize side. It didn't go on as smoothly as the other side but felt like it packed a powerful punch of hydration. So, in that sense it felt more like a medicated lip balm than a silky luxurious one.  However, the other side complemented it really well by topping my lips off with that buttery smooth finish.  You may wish to use each side at different times for different purposes, but I actually liked combining the two.


The "24 Hour Care" one was even more practical.  The "day" side is a skin protectant with SPF 12 sunscreen that is ultra-conditioning and unflavored. This one's especially great because it is actually pretty hard to find a nice lip balm with SPF that doesn't give off an awful sunscreen taste. Protecting your lips from the sun is SO important. Not only do you avoid the sun's harmful rays, but you also avoid exacerbating common problems like chapped lips, fever blisters, and cold sores. The "night" side replenishes lips overnight with tamanu oil, natural butters, and antioxidants. It's got a Calming Chamomile scent. I like that it has a relaxing scent for bedtime and that it actively helps moisturize and soothe your lips while you sleep.

It's hard to say which of the two I like best. The first one is a very powerful moisturizer and the second one is extremely practical. At $2.99 each, these are a bargain. Which would you like to try? Let me know in the comments below!


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Sunday, September 14, 2014

Birchbox "Fresh Paint" September 2014 Review



This month Birchbox again gave several options to choose from - pick 1 of various samples or go with the Birchbox x Fashionista box.  Although the Birchbox x Fashionista collab had a number of items I really like, I decided to go with the pick 1 option since I was pretty disappointed with my choice to pick the Birchbox x The Everygirl collab last month when other subscribers seemed to have gotten much better samples going the other route.

I'm afraid that again I may have made a blunder. I'm very impressed with what others received in the Birchbox x Fashionista box and extremely underwhelmed by everything in my box aside from the 1 sample I selected (Davines Conditioner). To note, the Fashionista box included a travel size Macadamia Oil Conditioner worth $15 (would love to try anything by this brand), a Dr. Brandt Pores No More Vacuum Cleaner Mask (like this brand!), Cynthia Rowley Silver Eyeliner (already have & love), Laura Mercier Mascara (like I was supposed to receive too), and  Naobay Radiance Lotion. The only item I wouldn't have been overly excited about was the Naobay.


My box contained: Acure Organics Day Cream (Full-size, $18.99), Davines OI Conditioner (Full-size, $32), Harvey Prince Ageless Liquid Loofah (Full-size, $22), Real Chemistry  Luminous 3-Minute Peel (Full-size, $48), Temptu S/B Highlighter in Champagne Shimmer (Full-size, $27.50), and 2 bonus items with my selected Davines sample - Davines OI Shampoo (Full-size, $26) and Davines OI Oil (Full-size, $41).


I received another Acure product just last month - the Brightening Facial Scrub. It was alright the first time I tried it but nothing extraordinary - at least for my skin type.  I was so underwhelmed by it that I actually ended up deciding to swap it before trying it a second time. This brand just doesn't seem to be my cup of tea, so I was surprised to get products from them 2 months in a row. Honestly speaking, I already have enough day creams so I think this one will be gifted or swapped. It doesn't seem like anything particularly unique. It's advertised as an anti-aging firming moisturizer made with gotu kola stem cells and seems to have a bit of a citrus scent.


This was the crown jewel of the box. The Davines OI Conditioner was the only sample that I personally selected. I picked it instead of the other options (many of which were very appealing!) because I absolutely loved the Davines LOVE Shampoo & Conditioner, and OI All-in-One Milk I received in a previous box. The OI Conditioner sample size (a 2.53 oz tub) looked very generous and this option came with 2 bonus samples, the OI Shampoo and OI Oil. So, it definitely seemed like the most bang for your buck.  The full size products are all pretty expensive so it was important to me to try out the samples before deciding to commit. The Davines LOVE Conditioner sample I'd received before was in a foil packet like the Shampoo & Oil ones this time, so I didn't have the chance to make sure I loved it equally after multiple uses. This deluxe sample will give me the chance!


I really liked the Harvey Prince "Hello" perfume sample that I received a while back, so I hate to say that I was disappointed by this sample. There's nothing wrong with it really. It's just that Birchbox sent out an email letting everyone know they could preview online what they were going to receive this month before it shipped. So, I took a sneak peek and was really excited to see that I would be receiving the Laura Mercier Mascara that those who selected the Birchbox x Fashionista box were also receiving. 

I wasn't super excited about the other randomly selected samples so that was going to be the big win that made this box worth it this time around (+ the Davines samples I selected). To my surprise, I opened the box and found out that I received this shower gel instead. Very disappointing. I'd never received an item in a box that was different than what was listed under my "Box History". I've contacted Birchbox Customer Service to let them know and hopefully I will be able to get the Laura Mercier product I was supposed to receive. That being said, the shower gel has a very nice grapefruit scent. I'm just more of a luxury bar soap person than shower gel person. This would be great for travel though!



I'd seen some other subscribers get this 3 Minute Peel a few months back and was intrigued.  However, my skin is extremely dry and can be quite sensitive. So, I'm a little bit wary about products that could be too harsh. This product is supposed to help with: controlling acne breakouts, diminishing dark spots, reducing ingrown hair, evening skin tone, brightening complexion, and smoothing & resurfacing skin texture. The box does say it is gentle unlike chemical or abrasive peels so I think it will be fine for me and I definitely plan to try it soon. This is probably the randomly selected sample I'm most excited about in this box.


The Temptu Highlighter is another disappointing sample.  It's hard to give you an exact idea about the size of this sample (.1 oz) but it is tiny.  For reference, the photo above shows it on top of the Birchbox lid. It's not even as large as the rectangular logo on the lid. The other odd thing about this sample is that most Temptu products are sold in pods and are supposed to be applied with the Temptu airbrush machine. This particular version of the highlighter doesn't have to be, but it is also sold in pod form. I think because Temptu is really known for its airbrush products, this won't really give me a good idea of what I think of them.  Additionally, it probably goes best with other Temptu products - which would not only cost me $30-45 per pod, but would also require the purchase of the airbrush applicator machine which is sold in a $170 kit. That's a pretty massive investment! My advice: if you're thinking of investing in Temptu products, go try them out at the Birchbox Soho store. I don't think this one itty bitty sample will give you an idea. On the plus side, this sample looks like it would work on all skin tones. It creates a sheer dewy look that glows but doesn't really adjust pigmentation at all. 


My overall verdict? Quite disappointed this month. It's so difficult to judge what's the right move to take, now that Birchbox gives you some choices.  The Davines samples alone probably did justify the cost of the box, which I got at a discount since I have an annual subscription.  I am seriously considering investing in a full size Davines product so that's really useful. However, I really could have done without all of the other samples. None of them were really for me this time. They were mostly skincare related and I was hoping for makeup, nail polish, or haircare products this time. It seems like the majority of products I get in my boxes (2/5?) are skincare which is the 1 category I said I was NOT interested in when filling out my beauty profile.


I hope Birchbox sticks to our preferences in the beauty profile a little more closely in the future and/or I get more opportunities to select products for my box that fall outside of that category. I don't mind some but 2 out of 5 products is not at all what I would like. Still hopeful for next time and over the whole subscription period have been generally very pleased with my Birchboxes.

Addendum 9/14: Birchbox customer service got back to me very quickly and kindly offered to send an extra Laura Mercier Mascara sample to replace the one I should have received. They really could not have been nicer about it. Just another reason to love Birchbox!

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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Kendra Scott Girls' Night Out - 15% OFF!




Girls' Night Out with Kendra Scott

For tonight only - Kendra Scott is celebrating Girls' Night Out with a very special offer.  You can get 15% OFF your purchase of a fantastic assortment of "fall colors" (black, slate, and turquoise). Simply use the code "FALLCOLORS" at checkout.

This offer is only available until 1am on the East Coast. Hurry and grab your faves at a fantastic discount.

Here are a few sale gems I've had my eye on:





Now, go get glam!


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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Best Of: Labor Day Sales 2014



Amrita Singh: 50% OFF sitewide w/ code "LABORDAY14"
Ann Taylor: 50% OFF select full-price and all sale styles. 
ASOS: Extra 15% OFF all items in the 75% OFF sale with code "SUMMERDONTGO"
Ayres Beauty: $10 OFF $40+ w/ code "AYRES40", $15 OFF $50+ w/ code "AYRES50", or $20 OFF $60+ w/ code "AYRES60"
Baublebar: Select items 50% OFF or more here.
Birchbox: $10 OFF $50+ w/ code "TAKEOFF10"
C.Wonder: 30% OFF sitewide and extra 50% OFF sale. No code required.
Ciate London: 50% OFF a large variety of items here
Elizabeth McKay: 65% OFF everything w/ code "FINALSALE14". No returns.
Furbish Studio: 15% OFF sitewide w/ code "ENDOFSUMMER"
Gigi New York: Free personalization and free shipping on orders $75+
Glossybox: 20% OFF any fixed-term subscription w/ code "GLOSSYBDAY"
Gorjana: 25% OFF sitewide w/ code "LABORDAY25"
Ideel (formerly Ideeli): FREE shipping all weekend. No code required.
Illume: 10% OFF $50+ w/ code "LD10", 20% OFF $100+ w/ code "LD20", 30% OFF $300+ w/ code "LD30"
iomoi: Extra 40% OFF final sale items w/ code "extra40" here
J.Crew: 25% OFF 300+ fall styles and extra 40% OFF final sale items w/ code "WEEKEND" 
J.Crew Factory: 40-60% OFF sitewide. Prices as marked.
Kendra Scott: 15% OFF site wide + free shipping w/ code "LDW2014"
L'Occitane: FREE Provencal travel pouch filled with 10 samples with ANY purchase. Use code "SAMPLES".
LOFT: 50% OFF select full-price styles
Lulu's: 20% OFF everything white w/ code "SAVE20WHITE" + Extra 40% OFF sale items w/ code "40OFFSALE"
Malabar Bay: 40% OFF sitewide w/ code "LD40"
May Designs: 30% OFF School Spirit and Sorority Row collections. No code required.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art Store: 20% OFF sitewide w/ code "LABORDAY14"
Need Supply Co: Extra 20% OFF sale items w/ code "SUMMERSUN20"
Net-a-Porter: Free next-day shipping on all orders + free returns.
Rent the Runway: 30% OFF orders of $100+ with delivery dates before September 14th with code "LDW2014"
Rifle Paper Co: 10% OFF site wide w/ code "LABOR10"
Saturday.com: Extra 25% OFF sale items w/ code "WHYNOT"
Smashbox Cosmetics: Free shipping on all orders + $10 OFF $50+, $15 OFF $75+, $25 OFF $100+, $50 OFF $150+. No code required.
Sole Society: Select styles up to 70% OFF here
Swoozie's: 20% OFF site wide with code "FALL20"
Tarte Cosmetics: $10 OFF $50+, $20 OFF $75+, $30 OFF $100+ w/ code "LDAY"
Ted Baker: Free ground shipping. No code required.
Tory Burch: 20% OFF $300+, 25% OFF $500+, 30% OFF $750+ w/ code "LABORDAY14"
Tuckernuck: Extra 20% OFF sale items + free shipping site wide. Use code "LABOROFLOVE" at checkout.


Here's my edit of the best of sale this weekend:




Now, go soak up the summer sun!


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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Hey Hey They Say It's Your Birthday!




My birthday is at the end of this month and in celebration I am sharing with you the best birthday rewards from some of my favorite retailers. As long as you sign up for their e-mail lists and/or rewards programs, your fave stores will often spoil you with discounts and freebies throughout the month of your birthday. Here are a few of the lovely surprises I've received this year to celebrate my August birthday:

AMC Theatres: Email list subscribers receive a coupon for a free large fountain drink. Valid for 30 days after your birthday.
ASOS.com: Email list subscribers receive a code for 10% off full-priced merchandise valid 2 weeks before and 1 week after your birthday.
Bare Minerals: Friends And Benefits members receive a FREE Marvelous Moxie Lip Gloss in Rule Breaker. No purchase necessary if redeemed in stores (no minimum purchase if redeemed online). Valid for 1 month after your birthday. (x)
Baublebar: Email list subscribers receive a code for 20% off your next purchase for the entire month of your birthday. (x)
BeautyBar.com: Email list subscribers receive a code for 20% off your next purchase (discount up to $100) for the entire month of your birthday.
Ben & Jerry's: Email list subscribers receive a coupon for a free scoop of ice cream and $3 off an ice cream cake.
Benefit: Email list subscribers receive a "Hello Gorgeous" trio of beauty samples with their next order during the entire month of your birthday + a free brow service at participating Benefit Brow Bars during the calendar week of your birthday. (x)
Benihana: Email list subscribers receive a $30 gift certificate. Valid for dinner Monday-Thursday with purchase of another adult entree. (x)
Casa.comEmail list subscribers receive a code for 20% off one full-priced item (discount up to $25) for the entire month of your birthday.
Charming Charlie: Charm Club members receive a code for $5 off their next purchase. Valid in stores and online for the entire month of your birthday.
Coldstone Creamery: My Coldstone Club members receive a Buy 1 Get 1 Free coupon for their local store. Valid until a week after your birthday. (x)
e.l.f.: Email list subscribers receive a code for a free Studio Endless Eyes Pro Eyeshadow Palette with purchase of $15+. Valid for 48 hours after the email is received.
Henri BendelEmail list subscribers receive a code for 20% off any full-priced purchase for the entire month of your birthday. Valid in stores and online.
IHOP: Email list subscribers receive a coupon for a free "Rooty Tooty Fresh n' Fruity Pancakes" at your local restaurant. Valid 1 week before and 1 week after your birthday.
Jamba Juice: Insider Rewards members receive one free 12 oz. juice or small smoothie. Valid for the week before and couple weeks after your birthday.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art Store: Email list subscribers receive a code for 10% off your next online purchase for the entire month of your birthday.
Modcloth: Email list subscribers receive a code for $5 off your next order. Valid for 1 week after your birthday.
Old Navy: Email list subscribers receive at coupon for $10 off your next purchase of $50 or more. Valid for 2 weeks after your birthday.
Outback Steakhouse: Email list subscribers receive a coupon for a free dessert with purchase of any adult entree for dine-in or curbside take-away. Valid two weeks before and two weeks after your birthday.
Piperlime: Email list subscribers receive a coupon code for $25 off your next purchase of $100 or more. Valid for 1 week.
Red Lobster: Email list subscribers receive a coupon for $5 off the purchase of 2 entrees. 
Rent the Runway: Email list subscribers receive a code for $25 off your birthday rental of $100+. Valid for orders placed up to 30 days after your birthday.
Sephora: Beauty insiders receive a sample size gift. This year's gift is a mascara and lipstick set by Make Up Forever. (x)
Starbucks: Starbucks Rewards members receive a free drink or food item of their choice or a free drink or 1 oz. of loose-leaf tea at Teavana plus a code for 15% off your next purchase at Starbucks.com
StubHub: Fan Rewards members receive a code for free electronic delivery. Valid for the entire month of your birthday.
Southwest Airlines: Email list subscribers receive $50 off your next 3+ night vacation booked through Southwest Vacations for travel during the following 5 months. Valid for the entire month of your birthday. 
Sugarpova: Email list subscribers receive free ground shipping on any purchase that includes a "Flirty Gift Box". Valid for the entire month of your birthday. 
Tarte Cosmetics: Email list subscribers receive a code for 20% off your next purchase. Valid for 30 days after your birthday.
Ted Baker: Email list subscribers receive a code for 10% off your next purchase. Valid for 1 week before and 1 week after your birthday.
Ulta: Ultra Rewards members receive 2x rewards points during the entire month of your birthday + a coupon for a free CK One mascara.
Victoria's Secret: E-mail list subscribers receive a code for $10 off a purchase of $10 or more. Valid for online or phone orders only + for the entire month of your birthday. 

(x) = Offer I used this year. Ask me about it!


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Monday, August 18, 2014

Best of the Lilly Pulitzer After Party Sale



As you may know, the Lilly Pulitzer After Party Sale started at 8am ET today with some deep discounts. Products are known to sell out extremely fast (some already have in the 1st hour). So, to save you time and heartache, I've picked out some of the best items from the sale. Click through the slideshows below and when you find an item you love it will take you directly to the product page.

My advice: check out often. Shipping is free on all orders. If you have buyer's regret later, you can always re-sell the items on the Re-Lilly Facebook Group or on eBay.

Dresses:


Rompers, Bottoms, & Swim:


Tops:


Accessories:




Good luck!!!


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The Everygirl for Birchbox August 2014 Review



This month's Birchbox was pretty unique because you had a whole lot of options. One option was to pick the Birchbox x The Everygirl collaboration box. For this option every item was revealed in advance. The other options was to pick one of four different products to be included in a typical monthly box.  As you can see, I went with the former option.  I primarily did this because I've been dying to try the Benefit They're Real Push-up Liner and because I loved the Harvey Prince Hello fragrance I received in a previous box. That sample had just run out so I was excited to replace it.

All of the products in The Everygirl Box have full-size versions that retail at $35 or less. So, this is definitely considered the "affordable beauty essentials collection" vs. some of the more pricey samples I've received in other Birchboxes.




I was really excited to try this product because I've gotten into facial scrubs a lot more lately. I have very dry skin and have learned that exfoliating just 2-3 times each week makes a huge difference. My skin looks more radiant, healthy, and moisturized. I also don't have that awful flaky look you can get when foundation sticks to little spots of dry skin. 

This one is pretty different from others I've tried recently. It's sort of a dark green-charcoal color and has strong ginger smell to it. I found I had to use a lot of the product to cover my face because it didn't really stick to my skin. It's a little messy - a lot of it just fell off into the sink as I applied it. However, it left my skin feeling really firm and fresh. I definitely plan on using this one some more and seeing the long term results.


Because I selected "The Everygirl" Birchbox this month rather than the typical Birchbox, I did receive a couple duplicates from previous boxes. Normally Birchbox ensures that you don't receive the same samples twice but this month was a little different because of the options we had. I received this sample once before in my February Birchbox. This perfume was actually part of the reason why I selected this Birchbox option. I loved the citrus-meets-powdery-floral scent.


I'm not going to go into much detail about this one, since I reviewed it just last month for my July Birchbox. I like the idea of this product but the scent just wasn't for me, so I'll probably be swapping or gifting this one.


As I said above, the Benefit Push-Up Liner was the main reason I selected this box.  I'm a massive fan of Benefit's They're Real Mascara and was really excited to try their latest product in that line. I was a bit wary about paying the $24 up front for the full-size version. So, this seemed like a fantastic way to try it out relatively risk-free. While often times trying out a product through a Birchbox sample is a great way to confirm that the full-size splurge would be worth it, sometimes Birchbox samples are great for determining if the product isn't right for you - and actually saving you money in the long run (or spending it on things that are a better fit).  Unfortunately, in this case this product just wasn't right for me. 

I love the simplicity of it. It combines an eyeliner applicator and a gel eyeliner in one. It has a flexi-tip and the proper shape to "hug" your lash line. However, no matter how hard I tried I just couldn't get this sample to apply properly. The line was lighter in some places than others and straight-up non-existent in some places the first time. I think part of my application failure was because of the difference between the sample vs. the real product. In order to get the gel to reach the applicator tip, you have to squeeze the sides of the tube very very tightly on the sample. On the full-size product I understand that there is a section of the handle that rotates to "push" the liquid up - perhaps like a Stila Lip Glaze? No matter how much I squeezed the sample, I felt like I couldn't get that much of the product out of it. I would say that it was definitely designed for just 1 or maximum 2 applications.  If you mess it up the first time you try to apply it (like I did), you don't really get enough of the product in that tube to really try it again. Maybe I'll get another sample sometime and can give it another go. I also noticed in the samples at Sephora that the product can clump a little bit on the full-size version's tip and probably needs to be wiped/cleaned regularly. That's not really a big deal, but you probably wouldn't notice this on the sample size.


I love the energizing fresh lemon smell of this product. Also, although it's described as a body wash, I immediately noticed on the packaging that it can also be used as "bubbles for bath or shower". I love different products I can use in a long relaxing bath but I seldom go out and buy bubble bath on my own - maybe occasionally bath oils or salts.  I'm looking forward to trying this out sometime soon. I don't normally spend $16 for this kind of product but might consider it if it seems especially luxurious.




Which Birchbox option did YOU pick this month?


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