February 2014 Purchase Round-Up

Here we are at the end of another month — and I swear it’s colder at the end of this month than it was at the end of January! With no end in sight to winter, I’m still buying winter-type clothes. I seriously think that by this time last year I was wearing capris!

 

 

OS Whetherly Top from Target. I bought this in a size small because I was looking for a more generous fit. It looks really good over skinny pants and leggings — I’m really liking the flowy top over very fitted pants look in general.

 

 

Lauren Conrad star chiffon blouse. I really liked this. The star pattern is cute but not overly in your face. It also comes in off white with black stars. The fabric is lightweight and slightly sheer so it might need a tank or cami underneath it.

 

 

Apt. 9 Striped Maxi Dress. I liked the fit on this, although the size Small definitely fit on the looser side. But they didn’t have the color that I wanted in the XS so whatever, I knew it would work well enough. The Small is workable but it is somewhat large around the waist. The fabric is stretchy enough that it doesn’t make a huge difference so I would say if you’re between sizes it’s OK to size up or size down, depending on your fit preference or just what they have in stock in your size.

 

I picked up these earrings at Target but haven’t worn them yet. I liked them for the pastel colors for Spring. You know, whenever Winter decides to give up the ghost …

 

Ulta had their 20% off coupon at the beginning of the month so I stocked up on some basics — Seche Vite, dry shampoo, a new hairbrush … nothing too exciting. The only interesting thing that I bought was a nail polish, OPI Polka.com, which is a cool-toned blue, purple, and pink multi-color glitter from the Euro Centrale collection which was released I think last year, maybe. I layered it over a dark blue, and the glitter didn’t really show up too well. It’s a very thick formula, but the glitter doesn’t necessarily spread evenly across the nail without some serious help. I think it will work better over a silver, pink, or another lighter color, so I’ll try it again next month.

 

I think that mostly covers everything, except one thing I have to review in another post 😉 Next month’s purchase plan is kind of already set — I’ve ordered some boots and a nail polish from Haute Look so they will arrive … well, whenever they arrive, Haute Look’s shipping is not the most reliable, LOL. In addition, I have a $25 gift card to Sephora burning a hole in my pocket! I’m thinking I want to try one of their new nail polishes — the Formula X Liquid Crystals.

 

I hope that by the end of March I can be out of the winter rut of sweaters and flats/boots, and into dresses, heels, etc. at work. But it looks like we’re going to get yet another storm to start the month of March, and then cold temps for days and days afterward … so I’m not optimistic …

 

What did you guys haul this month? Anything good? Are you looking forward to Spring, or are you still a fan of Winter?

 

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

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Butter London Jack the Lad

Time for a nail polish post!

 

Today I tested out Butter London’s Jack the Lad which I picked up on the cheap from HauteLook. In the past, I’ve been impressed by BL’s shades (glitters! duochromes! holos!) but not necessarily by their application. I’ve found that they tend to take 3 or even 4 coats for full opacity, and at $15.00 a pop at full price, I just think they should be 1-2 coaters, rather than 3+.

 

 

Jack the Lad is described as “Opaque, moss green shimmer with gold, turquoise, and green microglitter.” Overall, I would say this description is accurate as it comes to the microglitter. It’s mostly green, but you definitely have turquoise/blue and gold in there as well. However, I would say the color is more forest green than moss green. When I think of moss green I think of something lighter and this is fairly deep. In fact, in dimmer lighting, it looks almost black.

 

As for opacity, this was definitely a three-coater. But I felt that it looked better after 3 coats than some of my other Butter London shades.

 

 

Ignore my short middle nail, I had a nail breakage problem mid-week! Ugh!

 

The finish is glittery, but not in your face — it’s more of a fine shimmer. There isn’t a duochrome or shift to this polish, but as I mentioned the glitters are blue and gold in addition to the dominant color of green.

 

Butter London Jack the Lad nail lacquer can be purchased at beauty.com and each shade retails for $15. However, as I’ve said I picked these up on Hautelook a few months back, and Ulta will occasionally have them as buy one get one, I believe in the spring. So if you find a shade you like keep a look out for sales because they are out there!

 

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

LORAC cosmetics on sale at Sephora

Just a heads-up — It looks like LORAC is getting discontinued from Sephora. When this happens (as it did with Tarina Tarantino in 2012 or 2013, and with the old Sephora for OPI nail polishes last year as well) they will sell what’s left of their stock at a pretty steep discount.

 

Here’s what’s left of LORAC at Sephora. I’ve been pleased with their lip gloss in the past (the Lip Lustre lip gloss) but haven’t tried the shades they have left as of this point.

 

 

I’ve heard that it’s going to be exclusive at Kohl’s, as they are really trying to increase their beauty branding, but as of right now it looks like Ulta still has quite a range of LORAC products so who really knows.

OOTD, still not warm edition

BRRR! We’re in for another deep freeze in the DC area — with highs barely above freezing which is way below normal for this time of year. We could get snow this week, and snow next week too, which will be absolutely awful for the cherry blossoms. Canada needs to take their polar vortex back any time now!

 

So it’s been a bunch of sweaters and cords, when I’d rather be breaking out the capris. But that’s ok. Maybe we’ll get a long spring/summer to make up for it.

 

 

 

Shirt: Express (no longer available in leopard — these are fairly similar and affordable: Forever 21, Lord & Taylor (on sale!) | Skinny cords: Banana Republic (these are very similar and on sale – $29.99!) | Silver and gold sequin flats: Old from Kohl’s

 

 

I can’t remember any of my makeup — how sad is that? But I do know my eyeliner is Make Up Forever Aqua Eyes in 2L, which is a really great color if you have green eyes — this shade of brown will really make them pop.

 

I’m so bored of sweaters and pants — but there’s no end to winter in sight so it’s too soon to start thinking spring!

 

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

Not So Fascinating …

I recently came upon a reference to a book called Fascinating Womanhood that was supposed to change your marriage and make your life so much better. All that good self-help stuff.

But I looked into it a bit, and, well, it’s pretty fundie and weird. Sooooo what better to do than to make fun of it, right?

The story of Fascinating Womanhood begins with a woman named Angela, who’s going through a rough time with her husband, Ted. They fight all the time, to the point where Ted has moved out and left Angela all alone with their two school aged kids, David and Tiphony.

So Angela meets an old friend at church and —

*record scratch*

Wait a minute. TIPHONY? What the what?!

 

(Timpani. Hah.)

Anyhow, this old friend ropes Angela into going to this Fascinating Womanhood class at her church, where the women will learn “10 SECRATS” to the perfect marriage. That all takes up most of the introductory chapters.

In chapter 4, we begin learning the ~secrets. But first, we’re treated to wonderful descriptions of clothing that sound right out of a Baby-Sitters Club book circa 1990. “Harmony, the Fascinating Womanhood teacher looked even more striking than last week as she welcomed Angela warmly at the door. She wore a shiny turquoise blue, ankle length dress that contrasted vividly with her silver hair, swirled elegantly on top of her head and held in place with a large turquoise blue butterfly hair clip.”

 

 

That sounds exactly like something Claudia would have worn if she wanted to look adult and professional yet ~artistic.~

Of course, Angela isn’t the only one in the ~fascinating womanhood~ class. We’re treated to lots of disparaging comments about women — they’re frumpy, businesslike, overweight (not just overweight, “large and obese” was used as a descriptor), and plump. Someone is described as “Mediterranean descent.” Lolol.

In between the descriptions of women, there’s a sidebar: “If you could look through a man’s eyes you would find his view of a woman is very different from your own. Men DO NOT see and think as women do.”

Are you saying men are like cats?

Just substitute the cat for a man, I guess!

So men NEEEEED different things than women do! Like, maybe women can survive on air and water and food, and men can survive on beer and SportsCenter reruns?

And suddenly, oh boy, here’s secret number one: Accept him as he is. Look to his good side.

That’s great and all, but Angela’s husband was revealed to be a domestic abuser. Literally, he punched her during an argument. So he’s totally a guy worth accepting. Yyyyyyep.

Basically, TEH MENZ are sensative, especially the alcoholic men. And stubborn. And dumb. Kinda like an old dog, or an old mule.

~Fascinating woman~ Harmony says that if your husband has a problem with drinking and spends his money on gambling, or wastes all his time in front of the TV or computer, you totally can’t say anything about it if you also like to watch TV or if you eat too much chocolate or something.

Can you imagine if that was our legal system?

“Officer, this man ran through a stop light and hit me as I was crossing through the crosswalk, and I broke both my legs!”

“Well, you once let your dog crap in your neighbor’s yard and didn’t pick it up … so therefore we’re both not entirely innocent!”

“Yes, I agree with this man, just hug it out guys!”

 

The word “niggly” is used at one point.

If your husband cheats on you, it’s probably your fault somehow. Please make sure to think on your wrongs and the reason you got cheated on.

Some crazy ass crap is said about your pets, like “you love your pets more because they are free spirits! So you too must also be a free spirit!”

Hey … have you ever had a cat? Cats are totally free spirits. In fact, sometimes I go up to my cat and pet him when he doesn’t want to be petted and he swats at me or bites my hand. Or he just walks away. But something tells me when this book gets to the inevitable section about sexy times, if you’re not in the mood, the option will NOT be to walk away “because I’m a free spirit, bitch.”

“Making a list of masculine virtues” is also mentioned as a homework assignment. What in fresh hell are masculine virtues? Is sensitivity masculine? How about being able to cook well, or being organized? Hard worker is probably a masculine virtue, but if you’re a woman who works hard, is that masculine and therefore not OK? Damn, this gender essentialism is some straight-up BS.

Oh look, here’s a convenient list of “masculine virtues.” And wouldn’t you know it, I think pretty much every good point of  a person’s personality, REGARDLESS OF GENDER, is listed. Even the ones they mention as being “fascinatingly womanly” like cheerful, lively, and supportive. And yes, sensitive.

Also: TIPHONY.

OOTD – weather changing edition

We had some actually warmer temps here today after being  below freezing for what seemed like ages! (OK, we definitely had some days above freezing there … like getting dumped on with 8-10″ of snow one day and 50 the next day … crazy …) I wanted to wear a sweater I bought from Banana Republic that I wasn’t sure about, but decided to keep. It ended up being warm enough today (high near 60) that I didn’t even need to wear a jacket!

 

 

Here’s an up-close of the sweater and shirt, and my jewelry. This is a Banana Republic sweater worn with a tie-front tee underneath. I mentioned in my original post about this sweater that it’s somewhat sheer so the tee underneath is a nice way to deflect from the sheer while being more interesting than a regular tank.

 

 

Nothing special on the makeup today. I wore my glasses so it’s really hard for me to do eye makeup beyond basic eyeliner/mascara. I basically can’t see at all if I’m not wearing glasses/contacts so doing eye makeup with glasses is like … an exercise in muscle memory, basically.

 

In this pic you can also see my new necklace from Target!

 

 

Sweater: Banana Republic | Tie-neck tee: Forever 21 (old)  — this one from ModCloth may be similar | Pants: Express — they don’t seem to make the wider-leg pants anymore, but I own these from Kohl’s and I would say the fit is similar | Shoes: AK Anne Klein, purchased at DSW — these are similar and a similar price | Necklace: Target | Bracelets: Originally from Forever 21 and from Groupon Goods — These two from Forever 21 are similar (1), (2)

 

Hope everyone has a great rest of the week!

 

February 2014 Birchbox Reviews and Round-Up

As a follow-up to my February 2014 Birchbox Preview Post, I’ve now had a chance to try out all my products so I’m ready to give my thumbs-up or thumbs-down! Or thumbs-sideways!

 

Agave Oil Healing Treatment: I’ve had this in a sample from Sephora before and I’ve always liked it, but not loved it. Now that I have shorter hair, I do feel that it weighs it down a little bit more than I would like. But if you have longer, dry, or curly hair, I would recommend it.

 

Dr. Brandt Pores no More: Didn’t work for me. I didn’t notice any difference in my skin texture, pores, the longevity of my makeup, oiliness level, etc. I’m sticking to my regular primer (Hourglass primer, or Smashbox Photo Finish Light which is a lot less money!)

 

Benefit Fakeup: On the plus side, this concealer glides on easily and feels very moisturizing. It’s easy to use in its little tube, because you don’t have to use a brush or anything extra to apply it. But the coverage was just not enough for someone like me who has very dark circles. Seriously, I layered it on again and again and my dark circles were still very visible. This would be an ideal under-eye concealer for someone who doesn’t need too much coverage. But it was not enough for me.

 

Benefit Big Easy: I don’t feel that I can even review this because the sample size was so small. It came on a little card and the amount under the sticker was enough to cover maybe half your face, if you didn’t use much. So pointless. It seemed like a good product in theory but I won’t be purchasing this simply because I couldn’t tell how much it would cover.

 

OPI Sheer Tints: So this was the product I was most interested in. I received the teal shade, and there is also a magenta/pink, a light purple, and a … yellowish one. Which doesn’t look appealing. Anyway, I applied two coats of a light-medium bright blue — Elle Cosmetics Surfer Babe, available at Kohl’s, and then over the top halfway down the nail, I used the OPI Sheer Tints. The result was a two-toned look.

 

 

 

The OPI Sheer Tints dried quickly but applied somewhat patchy, and yes, it was DEFINITELY sheer. I think the blue shade could work well over red, pink, green, or blue, so long as it wasn’t too dark of a color. For fun, I tried a layer of it over Zoya Ki (a dark purple-green duochrome) and it didn’t change or transform the color at all.

 

So overall I would say this Birchbox was kind of a bust, between the tiny sample size of the Big Easy and the fact that some of the products just didn’t work for me. Hopefully next month will be better!

 

If any of these products look interesting to you, you can sign up for Birchbox and possibly receive them in a future month’s box! They do often repeat products (though never to the same subscriber! Knock on wood, I’ve been a subscriber for almost a year and have not received a duplicate!)

 

What did you receive in this month’s Birchbox? What were you happy with, and what was a disappointment to you?

 

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

Recipe post: Fully loaded baked potatoes

Ross and I made these baked potatoes based off a recipe we found on our crop share’s blog website and I thought they turned out really well! (And by Ross and I made these I mean he did the cooking and I shopped for the ingredients at Safeway, hah.)

 

IMG_1303

 

To prepare these delicious baked potatoes, you can bake the potatoes like you normally would. Wash the skins well, rub lightly with olive oil, and sprinkle liberally with kosher salt. For cooking time and temperature, this will depend a lot on your oven, but I tend to do 400 degrees for about 50-60 minutes for perfectly baked potatoes.

 

For the filling, prepare the following:

 

1 red bell pepper, sliced into thin strips

1 green bell pepper, sliced into thin strips

1-2 zucchini, depending on size, sliced thin

1/2 onion, thinly sliced

1 package of mushrooms, sliced thin

2 cloves minced garlic

1 14 oz can of diced tomatoes

4 links of Italian sausage, sliced into rounds

 

Heat a few tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet, then add sausage and onions, stirring frequently until sausage begins to brown. Add mushrooms and garlic, and cook until mushrooms begin to brown. Add the zucchini and peppers, and cook for a few minutes more (I would say 2-3 minutes over medium-high heat). Add drained tomatoes, and season to taste. We almost always use the hot Italian sausage, but if you like mild sausage make sure to add a bit more salt and pepper to the mixture — and if you’re like me, you’ll want to add a pinch of cayenne pepper for heat.

 

Once everything is done, you can split the potatoes in half, fluff the insides lightly with a fork, and top with the filling you just created!

 

This filling is also great over rice or pasta if that’s more your speed, and it reheats nicely for leftovers during the week.

February 2014 Birchbox preview post

Yay! It’s Birchbox day! Let’s take a look at what’s in this month’s box …

 

 

You can see as soon as you open the box that the outside wrapping is lined with the Birchbox and US Weekly logo.

 

 

The tissue paper is red this month, calling to mind the red carpet, or perhaps Valentine’s Day. And a lot of good stuff inside this month!

 

 

I received an Agave Oil sample, Dr. Brandt Pores no More, Benefit Fake-Up, OPI Sheer Tints (color is I Can Teal You Like Me), and Benefit Big Easy, which is a new product from them. The agave oil looks like it would have more than one use in it, but with the cardboard packaging I doubt it will be possible to keep it around very long. Obviously, the Big Easy is quite a small sample as well which is somewhat disappointing given that it is a new product. It would have been nice to be able to test it more than once. The Pores no More, Fake-Up, and OPI samples are all decent sized and one could imagine getting multiple uses out of them.

 

Overall I think I’ll be pleased with this box. But I haven’t tried any of the products yet, so I will update again when I have a chance to try them. I’m really excited about the Benefit Fake-Up because I was just looking at it at Ulta earlier this month when I had the 20% off your purchase coupon, so I’m really glad I didn’t pull the trigger on it at that time!

 

Don’t forget — take a photo of  your favorite Benefit product and tag it on Instagram or Twitter with #benefitxbirchbox to be entered into a drawing for a full-size Big Easy, or the grand prize, $500 worth of Benefit products!

 

What did you get in your Birchbox this month? Are you happy with it or do you wish you had gotten something else?

 

And if you don’t already subscribe to Birchbox, you can sign up here!

Sparkly flats OOTD

This is an outfit I wore earlier this week and am just now getting around to blogging, but it’s not like it much matters because it’s been just that cold and gray every day that I could have worn this outfit last week, or two weeks ago, or this coming week, and it would be fine every time. Ugh, where are you spring?!

 

 

 

My sweater is from New York & Company, but it’s a few years old and I don’t think they sell it any more. This one from Express is similar in style, and this one from Tommy Hilfiger (at Macy’s) is similar in color but is cable-knit. I have no idea where the shirt is from, but it’s probably H&M. I like the way their button-front shirts fit as they aren’t too big through the waist. Khaki pants and sparkly shoes are both J. Crew. Here’s a similar pair of pants;  and sadly, the shoes are no longer available and I can’t find anything else just like them on their website.

 

Makeup pic:

 

 

I’m obsessed with this eye shadow color — it’s DiorShow Fusion Mono in Hypnotique. It’s such an interesting color because it manages to be both a plummy purple and a brownish-gray taupe. It also wears like iron — seriously, if I had taken a makeup picture at 6 when I got back from work I think it would have looked nearly the same!

 

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.