March purchase round-up

I can’t believe we’re at the end of March already! I really did not buy that much stuff this month (but April is already looking good because of the Sephora 15% off sale!) but let’s take a look anyway.

 

This top from Macy’s. The brand is INC and I bought it in a bright pink color that looks like it’s not available online, but it is available in blue, black, gray, and white. I haven’t worn it yet because our weather has been atrocious and the fabric is pretty thin. Soon!

 

 

Camomile Cleansing Oil from The Body Shop. This is my first cleansing oil and I have to say, I really like it! It gets the makeup off your skin and doesn’t feel drying at all. This last month my skin has been feeling very dry and I notice a difference when I use this vs. using a regular cleanser.

 

(I also picked up a regular moisturizer and Tea Tree Oil when I was there, but those are not so exciting, right? But if you’ve never used tea tree oil, and you have acne, I would highly recommend trying it. I’m at the age where I have both acne and dryness [seriously how is that possible?!] and so it’s a challenge finding acne products that actually work yet aren’t too drying and tea tree oil definitely fits the bill.)

 

And like 5 nail polishes!

 

From Sephora:

 

Formula X Solar Flare

 

Formula X Light My Fire

 

Solar Flare was good, but Light My Fire chipped within a day. However, I tried using it alone so maybe that was the problem. I think it would look better as a top coat over another nail polish.

 

Zoya nail polishes in Perrie (a purple shade very close to the color of the year), Laurie (light pink), and Josie (green creme). This was when they were doing their Buy 2, Get 1 Green shade free + free shipping for St. Patrick’s Day so all 3 came to $18 total, not bad 🙂

 

 

Bucco “Tonkis” boots in Cognac. I actually bought these from HauteLook. I ordered them at the end of February and they arrived at the end of March! I like HauteLook’s prices but I don’t love their shipping …

 

 

Adrienne Vittadini “Pansy” pump. I wore these in an OOTD and they are really comfortable and cute.

 

Unfortunately I don’t think I”ll be wearing a ton of heels this week because I stubbed my toe big time on our coffee table, and it’s completely red and swollen. (The 4th toe, not the big toe, so I don’t think it’s that serious.) Fortunately we’re in for some nicer weather this week so I think I will stick to mostly open toed shoes and sandals for a few days.

 

What about you guys? What did you haul this month? And what are you looking forward to next month?

 

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

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A cherry blossom nail top coat? Don’t mind if I do!

Wow! How great is this Formula X Cherry Blossom Top Coat?

 

 

I think we’re coming up on one of Sephora’s 15% off sales for VIB’s — so I’m going to have to pick this up! It looks gorgeous over red in this photo. Given the fact that the blossom-shaped glitters look pretty opaque, I think this would layer well not just over red but also over black, or any other deeper shade!

 

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

Sephora Formula X Liquid Crystals Solar Flare Review

This past weekend at Sephora I picked up two of the new Formula X nail polishes. These retail at a higher price point ($10.50 to $12.50) than the regular Sephora brand nail polishes, but they’re also available in different colors and finishes.

 

Formula X Liquid Crystals Solar Flare

 

Sephora Formula X Liquid Crystal Nail Polish in Solar Flare

I was very intrigued by the Formula X Liquid Crystals formula, which is very shimmery but does not have large glitter particles. Solar Flare is described as “pink micro glitter in sheer strawberry.” First of all, this is NOT sheer. Which is great! But it’s so not sheer, so the description is a little off. I’ve heard that some of other shades are actually sheer though, so your best bet is to swatch it in store or read some reviews before purchasing.

 

Solar Flare was opaque in two coats. It applied smoothly and the formula is not overly thick. It’s a very pretty and bright color in person, and depending on the lighting it can look more pink or more red. I applied this on Sunday and now that it’s Wednesday I’m noticing significant tip wear, which is honestly par for the course with me — I’m very hard on nail polish because I type so much! But it definitely hasn’t chipped from the base/cuticles of the nail at all.

 

 

 

The Formula X Liquid Crystals polishes retail for $12.50 each at Sephora and are available in 14 shades.

 

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

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.

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.

Butter London nail post

Trying to take a photo of my nails was an exercise in frustration. I take pretty much all my pictures with my iPhone because I am too lazy to use my actual camera – not that my actual camera is all that great anyway. But I just couldn’t seem to focus up close and so all my pictures are kind of blurry. Boo. I think I’ll just have to use my actual camera from now on.

This is Butter London Fishwife. It’s described as a holographic turquoise and sage nail lacquer.

I have tried Butter London polishes in the past and the color range is great and very unique. They have tons of holos, duochromes, metallics, etc. And in the bottle, they look stunning!

But they aren’t necessarily the easiest polishes to use. At $15.00 a pop, I would expect, like, full coverage in one coat, maybe a thin second coat to cover any sparse areas. In these pictures, I used 3 coats, and I can still see nail  underneath. Yikes.

But the color is great, isn’t it? I don’t think the official description does it justice. There is definitely a holo finish to this polish. The base color is a light green, but there is a flash of gold, rose gold, and blue at certain angles.

I do typically get good wear out of Butter London polishes — close to a week, and I’m hard on my nails with typing all day, doing dishes, etc. But again, this polish could have easily used 4 coats. Fortunately, the application was easy as the formula was quite thin, and it didn’t pool or go on all streaky, so layering on multiple coats doesn’t become an issue.

 

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

January 2014 Birchbox reviews

I’m sure you all know what Birchbox is by now, but just in case you don’t, it’s a monthly subscription system where you can get anywhere from 4-6 samples of mid-range to high-end beauty and lifestyle products. The samples range in size from single use pouches to about half the size of a normal product, and in some boxes one of the samples may be a full-size product. If you don’t already have a subscription, you can sign up here.

Here is my haul from this month’s box!

I received Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish starter kit, an Under Armour braided headband, Ruby Wing color-changing nail polish, Nelson J Argan Oil hair mask, and Camille Beckman hand therapy lotion.

Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish: This kit contained the cleanser, which was a decent sized sample and will probably last me a few months with occasional use. It also contained a muslin cloth, which was kind of like a thin washcloth. This is a different kind of cleanser, because you actually apply it to dry skin, and then use the cloth dampened in hot water to rinse off the cleanser. It was pretty good at removing makeup without leaving my skin super dry, but I did feel like I needed to go back over my face with toner or eye makeup remover afterward to get rid of all my makeup. In the mornings that’s obviously not an issue at all!

Under Armour braided headband: It holds hair in place but I felt it was a little tight. Maybe I just have a big head, lol. I think it could work for working out but it did leave a “dent” in my hair.

Ruby Wing color changing nail polish: I have to say, I … didn’t notice a color change? I wonder if that’s because I used my normal Sephora Pro X base coat and Seche Vite top coat. The color change is supposed to be due to exposure to UV rays outdoors and with top coat over it, maybe the UV rays couldn’t reach? Maybe? I’m just making things up here. Anyway, I actually did like the formula. It was on the thin side but I still needed only the standard 2 coats for full color coverage. The color is a fun hot pink/magenta. I would use it again despite not noticing a color change.

Nelson J Argan Oil hair mask: I didn’t try this. OOPS. I just got my hair cut and since it’s much shorter and healthier now, I don’t feel that I need a hair mask. In fact, I just went back into my beauty profile and took “dry hair” out of my profile. I mean, I’ll probably use it eventually but not this month.

Camille Beckman hand therapy: This stuff really works! I have major dry skin in the winter and this lotion is very hydrating without feeling greasy. It absorbs quickly into skin so that’s why there’s no greasy feeling. 🙂 Also, the scent is great. It may be a little too strong for some but I really like the scent and it’s very long-lasting.

All in all, this was one of my better Birchboxes. It seems like every other month is really good and then the off months are kind of … well, off. Hah. But for $10 a month I’m really happy with it. The Camille Beckman hand therapy might be one of the best lotions I’ve ever tried, for real.

Do you subscribe to Birchbox? What was in your box this month and what did you think? I love to hear about all the different options available each month!

Disclosure: This post contains referral links.

Happy end of the weekend!

Hopefully it’s not snowing too bad where you are!

 

Today I did my nails for the first time in what seems like forever. My color choice was a classic taupe (I don’t think it had a name?) from last month’s ipsy Glam Bag. The brand is Nicka K — I’ve never heard of that so it might be made specifically for Glam Bag. Anyway, it turned out OK, but a bit darker than I would ideally like. This is with two coats.

 

 

I just hope it wears well, because there is nothing worse than when your nail polish chips and looks janky midway through the week.

 

In Apartment Therapy January Cure news, I vacuumed all our floors, cleaned the hard floors, and made sure we had enough cleaners to do the rest of the month (which we do!) In vacuuming I discovered some old cat barf. I believe he barfed from the top of his cat tree onto the floor. He’s just lucky he’s cute.