Monday, December 12, 2016

Exuviance Purifying Cleansing Gel Review

Winter weather can be tough on your skin, but dermatologist developed Exuviance has some great products to help you beat the winter blues and look absolutely radiant at all of the events on your holiday calendar. The Exuviance brand was created by Dr. Eugene Van Scott and Dr. Ruey Yu, leaders in the field of cosmetic dermatology. They were the doctors who discovered the anti-aging benefits of Glycolic Acid and patented the first glycolic peel. 

The Purifying Cleansing Gel is intended for normal/combination skin and is formulated with AHA/PHA (Alpha and Polyhydroxy Acids) to exfoliate and clarify your skin. It is a gentle, soap-free cleanser, safe product for sensitive skin, that washes away make-up, surface oils, and impurities without altering skin's natural moisture balance. 

What I first noticed about this product when I opened the tube and applied it to my skin was the great texture. It feels very rich and luxurious, like a premium face mask. It doesn't seep into your skin to quickly, which I consider a big plus because it's easy to tell where you've already applied it on your face and where you haven't yet. 

It's very easy to apply. Simple massage it on to wet skin, after you've given your face a quick rinse. As you massage it, it lathers up really nicely. Once you've lathered up your whole face, it's ready to rinse off - no need to let it sit! The gel has a very nice cooling effectm which is really soothing on irritated skin. Since my skin often suffers from a little redness, I really appreciate this component of the product. It definitely makes it feel safe to use twice daily.

The product has a really nice, refreshing clean scent. It makes me think of sweet summer peaches and fresh laundry! The fragrance does initially stay on your skin after you wash off the cleanser; however, it isn't as strong as it is when first applied. 

Not only does this gel help keep your skin looking and feeling healthy, but it is also very effective at removing make-up. I've tested it with some of my toughest make-up including waterproof mascara and gel eyeliner. While I would normally hesitate to use a product like this anywhere around my eyes, this one was very gentle and didn't make my eyes tear up or sting. 

My skin felt as deeply cleansed as it does when I use an exfoliator. Since I find most exfoliators to be a bit too harsh for my skin, I was very pleased to find an alternative. It was a real bonus as well that this left my skin feeling cleansed but not dry, as a lot of comparable products dry out your skin a bit. 

Interested in trying this product yourself? The Exuviance Purifying Cleansing Gel ($34), as well as Exuviance's other fine products, are all available at:

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This product was provided to me for free for review purposes by Exuviance via Brandbacker.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Cyber Monday: The Extended Cut

Here's a list of the 10 best extended Cyber Monday deals - hurry, most expire at Midnight ET tonight!

Lots of preppy clothes, home decor, and jewelry bargains still to be found -

  • May Designs - 40% off notebooks & stationery 
  • Julep - 50% off everything w/ code "CYBERWIN"
  • Furbish Studio - 20% off everything w/ code "HOLIDAY20" 
  • Draper James - 15% off  under $200, 20% off $200+, 25% off $300+, 30% off $400+ 
  •  Jack Rogers - Buy 1, Get 1 at 50% off w/ code "CYBER2016" 
  • Marley Lilly - Up to 50% off select items and 2 pairs of free earrings (tassels with $50+, studs with code "ML3925")
  • GILT City - 20% off w/ code "CYBER"
  • Country Club Prep - 20% off sitewide + free shipping w/ code "CYBER20"
  • Tuckernuck - 20% off everything w/ code "GIVE20", 25% off $500+ w/ code "GIVE25", 30% off $1000+ w/ code "GIVE30"
  •  Jack Wills - 30% off everything
  • One King's Lane - extra 20% off everything, prices as marked

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Friday, November 25, 2016

Black Friday Deal Round-up

Here are my 10 favorite deals this Black Friday week (so far!):
  1. Draper James - extra 30% off all sale items & free shipping 
  2. Design Darling - 20% off everything w/ code "HOLIDAY" (through Monday)
  3. The Organic Pharmacy - 20% off everything (Friday-Monday)
  4. Peach & Lily - 30% off everything w/ code "GiveThanks30" (ends 11:59pm ET on Monday)
  5. One King's Lane - extra 20% off select merchandise
  6. Bath & Unwind - 20% off $37.50+ & free shipping w/ code "BLACK20" (through Monday)
  7. GUMP's - 25% off $100+ & free shipping w/ code "FRIENDS25" (ends Tuesday), plus an extra deal you can load to your card if you have American Express for $15 off $75
  8. GILT City - extra 25% off all deals, plus a $10 gift card to Postmates for orders placed 1-4pm on Friday
  9. Charlotte Tilbury - buy one Nocturnal Cat Eyes to Hypnotize Set for $39, get one free
  10. - extra 15% off everything & free shipping
Honorable Mentions:
  • Kendra Scott - extra 20% off everything including sale w/ code "SALE20" (ends Midnight on Monday)
  • May Designs - 40% off notebooks and stationery
  • Furbish Studio - 20% off all orders w/ code "HOLIDAY20"
  • Joules - 25% off everything w/ code "FRIYAY" (ends Midnight on Monday)
  • Boden - 30% off everything & free shipping $49+ (ends Monday)
  • Jack Wills - 30% off everything (ends Monday)

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Monday, November 14, 2016

L'REVE 24K "60 Second Instant Facial Lift" Review

The impending winter weather can often add to your skincare woes.  So, I'm excited to share with you today a great product I received from Miami-based L'Reve Cosmetics. Old or young, nobody wants to get wrinkles. The "60 Second Instant Face Lift Serum" by L'Reve helps address fine lines, expression lines, and early signs of wrinkles by tightening and firming skin almost instantly.

The product is really easy to apply. Simply use the pump bottle to put a small amount of product on your finger, tap - don't rub - the product in target areas, and wait for it to dry for about 60 seconds.
Check out my tutorial video here:

The results last 6-8 hours and I was absolutely amazed with how quickly it worked! I applied the product around my eyes, both to hide any signs of crow's feet at the corners and to hide signs of fatigue or puffiness underneath. I also applied a little bit on the skin around my lips, since I know it's common to develop fine lines in that area. I was really impressed with the results around my eyes especially. I felt like the product really reduced the dark circles and made my face look more energized.

The serum is Made in the USA and includes ingredients like seaweed, purified water, and hyaluronic acid. Interested in trying it for yourself? You can learn more and purchase the product here.

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This product was provided to me for free for review purposes by
L'REVE Cosmetics via Brandbacker.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Pumpkin Patch Perfection with Tobi

Happy Halloween, guys and ghouls! I hope right now you're admiring some finely carved jack-o-lanterns while binging on some of that leftover candy. 

One of my favorite things about Halloween is visiting a local farm. It's so much fun to shop for fresh autumn fruits and vegetables like acorn squash, apples, and of course...pumpkins! My go-to place the last couple of years has been Stults Farm in Cranbury, NJ near Princeton. One thing that always makes it extra special is that you can actually walk out into the pumpkin patch, find your perfect Halloween pumpkin (or two), and carve it right off of the vine.

This year I found a beautiful pumpkin on the vine and also made sure to pick up some smaller decorative sugar pumpkins to display on my mantle. I love the white sugar pumpkins because they match with any interior decor. They're also super easy to decorate, especially if you like to paint your pumpkins rather than carve them.

I was definitely in the holiday spirit when I went to the farm this year. I decided to get decked out in black and white in anticipation of Halloween - everything from my sweatshirt and skinny jeans to my statement earrings, scarf, and embroidered suede cowboy boots.

As you'll have seen from my previous post, TOBI has become one of my favorite new online shopping destinations. Their clothes are so on-trend and very affordable. Since the weather was still relatively warm last week - with just a slight breeze - I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to wear my new Georgia Cold Shoulder Fleece Sweater from TOBI. I paired it with some Madewell skinny jeans, Jack Rogers boots, vintage Tacori earrings, and a Snoozer Loser scarf (originally from one of my favorite sites, MadeClose, now available on Etsy).
Top: c/o TOBI / Jeans: Madewell / Scarf: Snoozer Loser / Boots: Jack Rogers

I wasn't sure how a shoulder-less style top was going to look on me, but I've noticed that a lot of brands are including this new trend in their lines this season. It actually made the outfit really comfortable and provided some good ventilation in the heavy fleece sweatshirt. This sweatshirt has a sort of high collar (kind of like a double-sided halter neck) that could definitely hide some bra straps. However, I decided to take the safe route and wear it with a strapless bra.

It's an extremely comfortable sweater that is definitely very versatile. You can dress it up or down. I wouldn't recommend it for a night of dancing because it is a heavyweight fleece sweatshirt, but it is perfect for autumn/winter activities like ice skating, football games, or brunch. I'll definitely be getting a lot of wear out of this over the next few months! The Georgia Sweater is just $58 and comes in Black, White, and Heather Grey.

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The Georgia Cold Shoulder Fleece Sweater was provided to me by TOBI.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Anthropologie Sale - 20% Off

Anthropologie is running a sale right now in stores and online that offers 20% off all full-priced items. Right now they have the type of selection we've all come to expect from this creative and whimsical retailer. There are lots of bohemian and delicately feminine fashion, home, beauty, and accessories items. There are also some really great retro and nostalgic Christmas gifts. Everything has such a fine attention detail - the little things like intricate embroidery, gilded edge pottery, and fine ruffles and pleats. You won't want to miss out! Just sign up for their loyalty program and you'll receive 20% off (this weekend only).

Here are a few a few of my fave items:

Happy Shopping!

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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Valentia Night Revive Retinol Serum Review

In case you missed my previous review of the Pure Glow Brightening Moisturizer, this is the second product I'm reviewing from luxe brand Valentia. Like my previous post, this is another brand that is formulated with natural (and organic!) ingredients. Want to learn more about this brand? Be sure to check out their great Instagram and Facebook pages.

Turning 30 this year, I have to admit serums haven't been the #1 items on my beauty checklists up to this point. I'm not yet focused on diminishing wrinkles or stimulating collagen to firm/tighten my skin. However, it's never to early to start! On top of those "older age" concerns this serum also aims to manage breakouts, improve skin tone, and hydrate. So, it's great for anybody really.

Generally, I like to use serums to eliminate redness / calm skin and to keep it ultra-hydrated because it's usually very dry. So, a little trick I like to do when applying serum is to mix it in with whatever hydrating cream I plan to use that night. That way, I can ensure it is applied evenly and enhances the moisturizing effect of my cream treatments. Besides, who doesn't love to wake up with radiant, smooth skin?

Valentia's Night Revive Retinol Serum is a little bit different then some others I've tried. First off, a lot of others come in a teeny tiny bottle for around $30-40. This product costs just $35 on Amazon for a really generous 1.18oz (35mL) bottle which will last you a long time, trust me! So, it is an excellent value. The other immediate difference I noticed is that many other serums have a clear oily consistency. This one is a bit more milky white and I find that it blends in a bit faster than something that feels strictly like an oil, which rests on the surface of your skin for a bit.

So, you might be wondering what is in this serum that makes it so unique. A few of the key ingredients are: Retinol (Vitamin A) which works on reducing wrinkles, managing breakouts, and evening out skin discoloration, Vitamin C which guards skin against environmental free-radicals to prevent premature aging, Vitamin E to provide intense hydration and diminish the drying effects of Retinol, and Squalane, which is derived from pure olive oil to soften and condition delicate skin.

I really enjoyed using this product, which made my skin feel silky smooth and hydrated each morning after I used it. If you want to try it for yourself, use code 985YWOR2 at to receive 20% off your total purchase - a special gift to my readers!

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This product was provided to me for free for review purposes by Valentia via Brandbacker.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Derma E New Packaging and Cream Review

As my regular readers will know, my biggest skincare concern is dry skin - especially as winter time approaches! Derma E was recently kind enough to send me their two best-selling hydrating products to test and review, their Hydrating Day Creme and Hydrating Night Cream.

You may already be familiar with the Derma E brand, which was started back in California in 1984 and is currently available in major retailers nationwide like Whole Foods, CVS, Walgreens, Target, and ULTA. All products are 100% vegan and cruelty-free. They are also free of parabens, sodium lauryl sulfates, petrolatum, mineral oil, artificial colors, gluten, soy, and GMOs. They are still keeping their same eco-ethical formulas, but have recently done a re-brand with some beautiful new packaging!

The first product I have up for review is the Derma E Hydrating Day Creme . The photo below is of the sample I received, which is in their original packaging. This Day Creme is thick enough to make you feel like it is deeply moisturizing, but not so thick that it feels like it's clogging your pores. It applies really nicely to our skin and it doesn't require a lot of product to cover your face and d├ęcolletage.

It does have a noticeable fragrance which I would liken to tropical fruits like mangosteen. This creme did dry a bit firm which I felt overall was probably a good thing, as it felt almost like a mask that was tightening my skin a little bit - but not in an uncomfortable way. The hydration is long-lasting. I applied this when I woke up in the morning and although my skin wasn't moist to the touch by the time I went to bed, it did still feel pretty supple, smooth, and elastic. This product is currently on sale at Ulta for just $19.49!

The second product I have up for review is the Derma E Hydrating Night Cream. The photo below is of the sample I received, which is in their brand new packaging. I definitely prefer the new packaging a lot. I think the clear label on the product is a massive improvement. It gives you a good idea of what to expect from the cream before you open it. It also allows you to see how much of the product you have left! The old packaging, in my opinion, made the product look a bit clinical, kind of like a prescription cream you'd get from your dermatologist. The new packaging is a bit more soothing and makes the product look more like it's from a luxury spa brand. The new packaging also highlight's the brands commitment to the community and the environment.

There were definitely distinct differences between the Night Cream and the Day Creme. I know with some brands that can be a concern and it can sometimes feel like they are trying to pitch you to buy two different products when really they are practically the same thing. I found the Night Cream to be a bit more thick and rich. I think that makes sense because you don't want to walk around all day with a thick cream on your face. However, you also don't want to clog your pores at night. I imagine because of the natural ingredients in this, that is probably not a concern. I certainly didn't notice any negative effect. The scent of this cream is also more subtle than the other one. It's bit more floral than fruity, and I actually find it a bit more relaxing and perfect for application right before bed.

Because the cream is thicker, it does require a bit more product for each application. However, I found this one noticeably hydrating. In the morning, my skin practically felt like I'd just put it on!  I saw especially great results when I used this cream to apply some of my favorite night serums. Just scoop out a dollop or two of the cream and place in the palm of your hand, use the serum's pipette and add 3-4 drops to the cream, and blend with your finger. It's really easy and will amplify the moisturizing and anti-aging effects overnight! This product is also currently on sale at Ulta for just $19.49, in the old packaging. The new packaging is due in stores very soon, rolling out between now and March 2017.

Here's a look at the complete hydrating line, available at stores nationwide:

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These products were provided to me for free for review purposes from Derma E via Brandbacker.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

The Bloomingdales Friends & Family Sale is On!

The Bloomingdales Friends & Family Sale opened to the general public this week, offering 25% off a large selection of items, $15 off a beauty purchase of $150+, and a $25 reward certificate for every $100 spent on almost everything else. The sale goes on until October 10th, so you still have some time to shop the site and our local store to pick up some great deals.

Here are a few of my picks, including some essentials for Fall / Winter weather!


Tops & Knitwear

Dresses - Formal

Dresses & Jumpsuits - Casual

Winter Boots

Home & Accessories

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Saturday, October 1, 2016

Vibrance Pure Hair Vitamins Review

I think this is the first time I've done a post solely devoted to a hair product - and this is a pretty unique one! Eu Natural has created the Vibrance Pure Hair Vitamins which are intended to support thicker, longer, and more healthy hair.

This product is especially great if your beauty concerns include: hair loss, thinning hair, split ends, or hard-to-manage short hair. Admittedly, I have quite a lot of hair and it is pretty strong, but I thought I would try out this product myself to see if it made it look more shiny and healthy.

I was a bit wary at first about taking an unfamiliar vitamin. However, my fears were quickly put aside once I learned more about this product's contents. Each capsule is packed 23 vitamins, minerals, and herbs. These include: OptiMSM® (a natural compound rich in Sulfur), BioPerine® (black pepper extract from India), Biotin, Bamboo Extract, Vitamins A/C/D/E/B Complex, and Zinc, Copper, and Selenium. 

The capsules do not container any "fillers" or artificial ingredients, which can be a bit of a concern when you take a supplement. They are gluten, wheat, and dairy free. They are also never tested on animals and are CGMP Certified and made in the USA. So, I was pretty satisfied from that information that they were safe to take and during my time using them I experienced no negative side effects.

Before (July)

This product is really easy to use. It doesn't particularly matter what time of day you use it. I tend to use it late at night, shortly before bed, because it's easy for me to remember. You just take 2 of these capsules each day and it is recommended you taking them with a meal and 8oz of water.

The suggested length of time to take this product is 8 weeks. Admittedly, I have only used it for 3 weeks. Regardless, I have already noticed a difference. This summer my hair looked a little dried out and lackluster. I knew it was likely a combination of the sun and my color treatments because I use some really great shampoos, conditioners, and leave-in products that keep it looking pretty healthy most of the time.

After (September)

After three weeks of using this product, I think my hair has become more shiny, soft, and billowy. it was definitely a lot more stiff (straw-like) earlier in the summer. Now, it bounces and is much easier to style. When I went to the salon to get my hair colored in early September, I expected to need a haircut too. My hair professional actually told me that I didn't have any split ends this time and that I should wait until the next time I get my hair colored to get it cut. So, I thought that was a pretty clear indication that my hair was becoming stronger and more healthy.

If you are interested in trying out this product, it is available via Amazon and the Eu Natural website for $29.99 (60 capsules, 1 month supply). Eu Natural has actually extended a special discount to my readers. If you are interested in trying out this product and seeing what you think, but the $29.99 price tag sounds a bit high, they are offering an introductory $5 rate on their website. 

There is little risk involved in giving it a shot, since they provide a 100% cash-back guarantee for 90-days.  I would definitely recommend this to anyone who has concerns about hair growth and hair loss.

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This product was provided to me for free for review purposes by Eu Natural via Brandbacker.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

The Multistick by Bite Beauty Review

As you may remember from my previous post reviewing the May 2016 Play! by Sephora Box, I recently discovered Bite Beauty and really enjoyed my first experience trying out one of their products. I love the bold, color-rich pigments offered by this prestige beauty brand. So, naturally, when Influenster contacted me about reviewing their latest product - The Multistick - I did not hesitate for a minute!

Susanne Langmuir, Founder & Creator of Bite Beauty noticed that women often use their lipsticks as blush and eyeshadow when they're in a pinch. So, she wanted to create a multi-purpose beauty product that would be blendable and that "performed equally well on lips, eyes, and cheeks". The Multistick is truly versatile. It is designed to apply like a cream but wear like a powder. There's 35% powder in each tube and the products are silicon-free. The product contains squalene, derived from sugarcane, that helps create weightless high performance coverage.

There are 18 shades in the collection. Influenster provided me with 3 of them: Macaroon, Blondie, and Cocoa, which I've reviewed below. The other shades I'm dying to try are: Nectar, Mochi, Mascarpone, Papaya, Praline, Biscotti, and Almond.

The first color I tried was Macaroon, which ended up being my favorite of the three. Since I have a pretty fair complexion, I thought it provided a very classic look. This one was excellent for use on both my lips and cheeks. You can see it on just my lips above and on my lips and cheeks here. It's a delicate pink that's noticeable but not too loud. So, you could definitely wear it in a relatively conservative work environment. 

For cheeks, I found that one really small dot on each cheek would do. It was very easily blendable and not too dramatic. I haven't tried this one on my eyes because I find that bright pink eyeshadows end up looking a bit too bold on my skintone, almost like I have pinkeye. So, I really felt like this one was useful for lips and cheeks only.

When I wear a soft pink like this, I do find that I often prefer a slightly glossy finish. So, I'll note here that with The Multistick you will only get a matte finish, since it's largely powder based (you wouldn't necessarily want shiny cheeks and eyes!). So, to achieve a glossy finish I did need to apply something over this color.  In this picture I'm wearing it with just the matte finish.

Blondie was the second color I tried. I have to admit I was a bit surprised when I opened it because, at least for me, this is such an unusual color. It's a slightly yellowish beige that is, as the name suggests, in fact very similar to the color of a blondie baked treat.

Since I have a relatively fair skin tone, I haven't typically purchased any beige lip colors in the past. I think it sort of washes out my overall look. My go-to colors are more often pinks, light purples/magentas, nude/mauves, reds, and sometimes chestnut/medium browns. I can't say I loved or hated the look I achieved with this color. It's just different from what I'm used to. It reminded me a lot of the look Australian actress Kate Beahan often has. Obscure reference, but am I right? It's definitely mature, work-appropriate, and very subtle. I think it would probably look even better on someone with a slightly darker skin tone.

The color provides a sort of peachy glow if you use it on your cheeks, which reminds me more of a bronzer or highlighter. I think it would look really nice as a blush on darker skin tones because it blends so well. It looks pretty nice on eyes as well because the gold/shimmering undertones come out a bit more, which I think would be flattering for most complexions. So, I suppose this was the one of the three that I really thought would be suitable for all three purposes - lips, cheeks, and eyes - for most people.

The final color I tried was Cocoa. This one was particularly interesting because there's virtually no way someone with my skin tone could use this color as a blush or lipstick. It's just too opaque. When I tried it on my lips, pictured above, I had to dab it very lightly and blend it considerably. What I found is that the pigment did not apply evenly and looked a bit blotchy. An interesting thing about this color is that it blends really well with the other ones. So you can create a "buildable" look by applying a light layer of Cocoa followed by a layer of Macaroon. This created a sort of deep mauve that was pretty nice. 

I didn't even try this one on my cheeks because it's just too dark, even when blended. However, I thought it made a really delightful eyeshadow, which you can see just a bit here, with Macaroon on my cheeks and lips. So, I would definitely carry this one around as a go-to eyeshadow but I think the 3-in-1 convenience factor for this one is lost a little bit on me, since I'm pretty fair.

Intrigued? You can check out the full collection below ($24 each) at Sephora:

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These Bite Beauty products were supplied to me for free for review purposes by Influenster.

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