Play by Sephora: August 2016

I was so, so close to finishing up my August reviews, and then..bam….I caught like the plague or something and I finally find a house I both love and can afford.  So in between the stacks of paperwork and endless phone calls, I’ve been trying not to hack up a lung, all the while missing my retail therapy and fun chats with all of you.    But today I’m hopped up on DayQuil and back to talk about one of my favorite budget subs: Play by Sephora.  This box is Birchbox’s direct competition in the $10 beauty box slot.
August’s theme was “The Eye Openers” – If Looks Could Thrill.  Sephora described this as “There’s more than meets the eye with this month’s selection of skincare and makeup.  After a long summer, refresh and recharge your beauty routine with the mascara for standout lashes, an energizing moisturizer, and striking looks that will put all eyes on you.”

Make Up For Ever Artist Shadow in I-544
(Full Size: $21.00)
Description: “Highly saturated, iridescent pink granite eyeshadow made with a unique gel-powder formula and ultrafine pigments for smooth color.
Verdict: Love!
Make Up Forever (MUFE) is one of my go to brands. Their eyeshadows are amazing and go on so smoothly.  I love this color.  It’s such a pretty neutral and gives this kind of candlelit look.  I own it already in a MUFE palette I purchased back in Spring.  I use this shade a ton already and I can’t recommend this brand enough.  Click here for my review of their Artist Palette Volume 3 which includes this pink granite shade.

Urban Decay Perversion Mascara
(Full Size: $20.00)
Description: “Lengthening and volumizing mascara coats eyelashes with triple-black pigment and a buildable, creamy formula.
Verdict: Like!
Mascara isn’t exciting, but it’s the product I probably use up the fastest.  Urban Decay is a great brand and I’m pretty sure I’ve used this before.  I think I liked it, but didn’t quite love it so I’m happy to try it again and see how it works.

Lancome Energie De Vie Smoothing & Glowing Liquid Care Moisturizer
(1.69 oz: $55.00)
Description: “Concentrated energizing liquid lotion visually relieves dullness, diminishes signs of fatigue, and promotes a healthy-looking glow.”
Verdict: Like
There are a lot of words in the name of this product.  They all sound good and it never hurts to throw some French in there for good measure.  This product appears to be similar to the Korean equivalent of an “essence” which I find intriguing.  This should be fun to experiment with.

Caudalie Resveratrol Eye lifting Balm
(.5 oz: $62.00)
Description: “Innovative eye cream visibly lifts and smooths the eye area with a breakthrough patented formula while reducing the look of dark circles and puffiness.”
Verdict: Love!
You probably know by now that I am always a sucker for eye creams in box.  Eye creams tend to be super spendy, and to me they are an integral part of a beauty regimen.  If you do nothing else but get yourself a good anti-aging eye cream and apply it religiously you will do wonders for your skin.  This cream feels lovely going on and moisturizes without being heavy.  I’m really enjoying trying this out.

eyeliner liner-swatch
Sephora Colelction Contour Eye Pencil 12hr Wear
Waterproof in Flirting Game
(Full Size: $10.00)
Description: “Creamy-easy-to-apply pencil with long-lasting, 12 hour waterproof formula in a shimmery taupe shade that was handpicked for you.”
Verdict: Like
This pencil definitely had staying power.  This shade pairs really nicely with the shadow they included and I feel like this gives a nice subtle shimmer.

This Month’s Perfume Pick:
Clean Reserve Blonde Rose (3.4 oz $90.00)
Description: “Classic yet edgy bouquet of rose, jasmine, and peony above a sandalwood base evokes feminine sophistication and allure.”
Verdict: Evokes headaches
As usual, this scent doesn’t work for me, but I really don’t expect most perfumes to.  This is an extra item so it doesn’t really impact my appreciation of the box.

With tax, I paid $10.70 for this box and except for the perfume extra I will use everything in it.  Eye products tend to be where I use a wide variety of brands and items so I really love that I got to try a few new things.  I do think the products and colors in here would work for a wide variety of women so kudos to Sephora on an excellent curation.

Do you use a lot of eye products?
Which ones do you consider your holy grail items?

Each month Play by Sephora, will send you 5 deluxe samples handpicked from their shelves (plus a fragrance bonus) – all in a collectible bag.

Cost: $10 per month (plus any applicable tax)
Bonus:  Each month you’ll get an included card that you can bring to Sephora for an extra 50 bonus points for any Purchase.  These points are part of Sephora’s VIB program and can be traded in for an assortment of samples.

Play by Sephora: July 2016

Okay, so I haven’t been dead or on some awesome vacation or anything.  My day job has been insanely busy and as glamorous as filling out government forms and doing word problems in a windowless basement is, I’d much rather be chatting with all of you.  So I’m glad to be back with some overdue reviews plus fun new boxes.  I now post sneak peeks of all my boxes on Instagram so you can follow suscriptiontherapy to see box spoilers in advance.

So it’s time to discuss one of my newest monthly subs: Play by Sephora.  This box is Birchbox’s direct competition in the $10 beauty box slot.
Let’s check out what showed up in July.
open-box bag
July’s theme was “Effortless” – Some Like it Haute.  Sephora described this as “Calling all warm-weather essentials and sunny standouts: this month we’re taking on the long days and haute nights with a sultry selection that will keep you chic all summer long.  Soak up the best of the season with an innovative blotting sponge, a shine-boosting hair treatment, and more beach-worthy finds.”
OUAI Wave Spray (5 oz: $12.00)
Description: “Weightless texture mist gives hair an effortless, undone look while adding volume and shine.
Verdict: Hello Old Friend!
This product may look familiar because it popped up in my Summer 2016 Rachel Zoe Box of Style.  My go to style is to air dry my hair and let it be wavy so I really love this product.  Even though I got this in another box, I’m still quite happy to have another.
Beautyblender Blotterazzi
(Full Size: $20.00)
Description: “Washable and reusable, this revolutionary cushion blotter is designed to fit into facial controls to remove shine and absorb oil without disturbing makeup.
Verdict: Confusing
I don’t really get this product.  It sounds like it replaces facial blotting sheets except you carry it around and reuse it and wash it.  Is that right?  I don’t really see how this is an improvement over the regular old oil blotting sheets that don’t require much effort.  I just can’t see myself using this.

First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser
(2 oz $10.00)
Description: “Rich in botanicals and antioxidants, this gentle cleanser transforms from a light, whipped texture to a lush, creamy lather.”
Verdict: Like/Gift
First Aid Beauty is a wonderful brand and I am a huge fan of their moisturizer.  Their products are great for folks with sensitive skin and are fragrance free.  I have a friend who adores their stuff and since I’ve got a cabinet full of cleansers, I’m going to past this along to her.

Smashbox Photo Finish Primer
(1 oz: $36.00)
Description: “Silky and lightweight, this iconic primer for normal to dry skin keeps makeup in place while helping to create a flawless finish..”
Verdict: Have we met before?
I swear over the years I’ve gotten like 50 samples of this.  It just pops up everywhere.  It’s a solid brand and a popular item, but I would have liked to see a new brand or product take this slot instead.

Benefit Cosmetics Dew the Hoola Soft Matte Liquid Bronzer
(1 oz: $28.00)
Description: “Lightweight and shimmer-free, this soft-matte liquid bronzer creates a warm, radiant look that is sheer and seamless..”
Verdict: Enough with the bronzers
Look, I’m pale–like ghostly, blood drinking, powder pale.  And I’m totally cool with that.  All these bronzers in boxes are so warm and orange they don’t make me look “radiant” or “seamless”.  They make me look like a reject from the Willy Wonka set.

This Month’s Perfume Pick:
Nest Fragrances Citrine (1.7 oz Size: $68.00)
Description: “Layers of fresh lotus flower and freesia mingle with birth citrus and a base of previous woods.”
Verdict: Disappointing
Even though perfume is my beauty box nemesis, I had high hopes for this product because it highlighted citrus and I’ve had some luck with Nest perfumes in the past.  Sadly this was too strong for me, and the citrus wasn’t really as prominent as I would have expected.  I’ll have to pass it along to a friend.


Verdict: Not for me
With tax, I paid $10.70 for this box and while I think it had good products they weren’t quite the right fit for me.  The only item I will really use out of this grouping is the wave spray, so this box was a bit of a miss.  Hopefully the next will have more items that appeal to pale redheads with aversions to strong perfume.

What did you think of the July box?
Would you have liked these products or found them to be disappointing like I did?

Each month Play by Sephora, will send you 5 deluxe samples handpicked from their shelves (plus a fragrance bonus) – all in a collectible bag.

Cost: $10 per month (plus any applicable tax)
Bonus:  Each month you’ll get an included card that you can bring to Sephora for an extra 50 bonus points for any Purchase.  These points are part of Sephora’s VIB program and can be traded in for an assortment of samples.

Play by Sephora: June 2016

Since I reviewed Birchbox’s June box yesterday, I thought it would be apropos to review the June Play by Sephora today.  This box is Julep’s direct competition in the $10 beauty subscription slot.
My first Sephora box was a great hit, so I was excited to see what subsequent months would bring.
Open Box
June’s theme was “The Minimalists” – Effortless is More.  Sephora described this as “Next-level nude and no-maintenance naturals: this month, we’re paring it down for understated style that prove sometimes less really is more.  Get a low-key look for summer with a  game-changing hair cream, refreshingly lightweight sunscreen and more must-haves for creating an easy-going appeal.”
Play Bag

Bumble and bumble Don’t Blow It
(5 oz: $31.00)
Description: “Innovative crème adds body and enhances fine-to-medium hair textures for a laid-back, air dried style.
Verdict: Love!
As someone who only blow dries her hair for special occasions, air dry products in subs make me so so happy.  I’d probably not risk buying this on my own since it’s spendy, so I’m super excited to get a chance to try it out before committing.

Benefit Cosmetics They’re Real! Mascara
(Full Size: $24.00)
Description: “Bestselling mascara lengthens, volumizes, coats even the smallest lashes, and features a specially designed brush.
Verdict: Like
Benefit mascara is one of my go to mascara options so I’m very familiar with it.  It’s made the rounds in tons of beauty boxes, but it’s a fabulous product, so I’m happy to have another one for my stash.

Tarteguard 30 Sunscreen Lotion Broad Spectrum SPF 30
(1.7 oz $32.00)
Description: “Antioxidant-infused, non-chemical SPF 30 sunscreen moisturizes and protects without leaving a stick feel.”
Verdict: Miss
SPF 30 is not nearly enough for a vampire like me.  I had to give this one to a friend.

BronzerBronzer Swatch
BAREMINERALS bareSkin Bronzer
(1 oz: $28.00)
Description: “Blendable, lightweight liquid bronzer may be worn alone or over foundation to give skin a sheer, natural-looking touch of sun.”
Verdict: A little too Michael Kors for me
Sadly, unless I am an Oompa Loompa or Michael Kors this is just not going to be “natural” for me.  With my pale, cool undertoned skin it’s just way more orange than it should be, so I’ve passed it along to a friend.  If you’ve got skin tone like mine and are looking for a natural bronzer, I highly recommend Laura Mercier’s Bonne Mine palette.  It’s easy to apply (it even includes direction cards), lasts forever and actually looks natural.  When I wore it someone actually said to me, “Oh you’re one of those rare redheads who can get sun.” No, I can’t, but I what I can do is shop.

BECCA Backlight Priming Filter
(1 oz: $38.00)
Description: “Shimmering makeup primer acts as a soft-focus filter to blur imperfection sand give skin an effortless, luminous look.”
Verdict: Hit!
I’ve only really started experimenting with primers in the past year, but they can really make a huge difference in your skin.  I haven’t tried a “shimmer” version, so I’m psyched to see how this one works with my skin.

This Month’s Perfume Pick:
Tocca Beauty Florence (1.7 oz Size: $68.00)
Description: “Timeless and romantic, this fragrance conjures long-ogo Paris with a sophisticated blend of bergamot, violet petals, and blonde wood.”
Verdict: Not as terrible as I thought it would be
I thought this might be incredibly overpowering, but it wasn’t too bad, although stil to strong for me.  Unlike Birchbox, Sephora offers the perfume sample every month, but it is an extra.  You get five items PLUS the perfume.

Sephora Play June 2016
With tax, I paid $10.70 for this box and while not everything worked for me, I thought the theme, variety of products and size of the samples was great.  Sephora also includes a bonus card for extra points on your next purchase, which is another nice perk. I really liked 3 of the items, and I think that most women (who aren’t as pale as me) would probably like even more of them.   I also don’t find an issue with the fragrance inclusion since it’s an extra.  I find the box definitely worth the $10.70 pricetag.

How do you think Play by Sephora compares to Birchbox?
Which sub would you rather receive?

Each month Play by Sephora, will send you 5 deluxe samples handpicked from their shelves (plus a fragrance bonus) – all in a collectible bag.

Cost: $10 per month (plus any applicable tax)
Bonus:  Each month you’ll get an included card that you can bring to Sephora for an extra 50 bonus points for any Purchase.  These points are part of Sephora’s VIB program and can be traded in for an assortment of samples.

Play by Sephora: May 2016

It’s been pretty insane over here at Subscription Therapy, as I’ve been going through the hell, er, the process of trying to buy a new home, so of course I’m behind on reviews.  But I’ve got tons of boxes and pictures and fun things for you, so stick with me and I promise you’ll find something fun.

Today, in particular, I’ve got something extra special.  A bargain beauty sub to upset Birchbox as the standard: Play by Sephora.  That’s right, Sephora has a sub box!  Sephora rolled this out in stages, so a lot of us had to languish endlessly on the waiting list until we could finally try it out.  But in May, FINALLY, I was able to snag one for myself, so prepare yourself for a new box in the rotation.

Sephora sends 5 deluxe samples, plus a fragrance bonus, and packages it all in a little collectible bag for just $10 a month (plus tax).  They also include a bonus card that you can bring to any Sephora location.  The expiration is the end of month and it will give you 50 bonus points on any purchase you make.  If you’re a regular Sephora shopper, you know that this is part of their VIB beauty program, where you accumulate points from your purchases and can trade those in for featured deluxe samples. The only trick with this box is to get yourself on the waitlist and keep trying if you don’t immediately get signed up.  Sephora will periodically send you an email if you’re on the waiting list – but sometimes they won’t, so just keep checking back to their site to see if any spots open up.

Now let’s see what my very first Play by Sephora Box!

A cute well packed box with Sephora’s signature striped packaging:
Box Open Box
Bag Booklet
May’s theme was “The Forces of Nature” – Earth to Beauty.  Sephora described it as follows: “This month, discover products that are high performing and good for you, too.  Take your beauty back to its roots with hardworking formulas like a brightening facial treatment for petal-soft skin, an antioxidant-rich lipstick made with organic ingredients, and more products that prove that looking beautiful is only natural.”

Perfume Packet 2Perfume Packet 1Perfume
Atelier Cologne Orange Sanguine
(1 oz: $70.00)
Description: “A refreshing burst of sweet blood orange and bitter orange peel paired with notes of geranium.
Did you know: “Orange Sanguine is part of Atelier Cologne’s Collection Originale, which is made using high concentrations of essential oils to create fresh citrus scents.”
Verdict: Love!
This is one of my favorite perfumes ever and it came in such adorable packaging.  I love citrus scents and the Atelier line is wonderful and magically doesn’t trigger any of my allergies.  I’m adding this sample to my travel stash, so I can bring this along during my next trip.

BITE BITE swatch
Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche in Kimchi
(Full Size: $26.00)
Description: “Handcrafted, high-pigment lipstick delivers intense hydration using twelve edible oils.
Did you know: “Bite Beauty creates all its lipstick suing food-grade ingredients that are antioxidant-rich and made in small batches
Verdict: Like
I’ve got some Bite Beauty lipsticks that I made in their lab, so I’m familiar with the brand.  This product feels great going on, but the pink is definitely on the bright side.  I do like it though, and it definitely gets me out of my comfort zone. It has a fun, almost 80s type vibe that I think fits summer really well, so I’ll be a bit brave and give it a shot during my next girls night out.

Origins Maskimizer + Drink Up & Clear Improvement Masks

(Maskimizer: 3.2 oz $22.00; Drink Up: 3.4 oz $26.00; Clear Improvement: 3.4 oz $26.00)
Description: “Innovative priming mist optimizes skins condition, while the charcoal mask cleanses and the overnight mask deeply moisturizes.”
Did you know: “In partnership with the American Forests’ Global ReLeaf project, Origins has planted over 500,000 trees around the the globe.”
Verdict: Hit!
I love trying out masks, and Origins charcoal mask is one of my old favorites.  I’ll use this little set on my next home spa day.

Tarte 1TarteTarte Swatch
Tarte Tarteist Lip Crayon in Latergram
(Full Size $18.00)
Description: “Prime and line this lip crayon that nurtures with vitamin E and antioxidants.”
Did you know: “The mineral pigments in tarte’s products are made by crushing actual earth minerals into fine powders and contain no synthetic counterparts, so they’re perfect for sensitive skin.”
Verdict: Miss
This color is a bit dark for me, but the miss is mostly for the texture.  This was oddly crumbly and hard to apply.  It just didn’t feel good on my skin and I think I managed to break the entire sample just trying to swatch it.  Sorry Tarte, this one wasn’t a winner.

KORRES Wild Rose Sleeping Facial
(1.35 oz: $48.00)
Description: “Lightweight overnight facial treatment melts into skin to brighten and moisturize with wild rose oil.”
Did you know: “Based in Athens, Korres works with local farmers to produce botanicals and other natural ingredients that are unique to Greece’s climate.”
Verdict: Hit!
I love sleeping masks, and Korres is a great brand that offers natural products.  This cream wasn’t too heavy and absorbed into skin very easily.

Conditioning Mask
BRIOGEO Don’t Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Mask
(8 oz Size: $36.00)
Description: “Intensely hydrating hair treatment made with naturally drevied ingredients to restore and replenish.”
Did you know: “Briogeo’s founder was inspired to start a cosmetics company by her grandmother who harvested raw ingredients from her own farm to make hair care products..”
Verdict: Hit!
I love deep conditioners that you apply in the shower and rinse off. Once a week, I like to use a clarifying shampoo and then follow up with a deep conditioner – sort of like a mini spa day for my hair.  I’m glad to have this new one to try out.

Sephora Play May 2016

Verdict: Love!
With tax, I paid $10.70 for this box and I think it had a wonderful variety of products and really great sizes for samples.  The natural beauty theme was a great fit for the season, as we leave Spring and head toward summer.  I also appreciated the detail included on the card.  It included: descriptions of the products, info about the ingredients, fun facts about the brand, and helpful hints on how to use the products.  It was very thoughtfully put together and I felt like I actually learned quite a bit from reading it.  The extra bonus card for additional points is a nice tough as is the cute little bag included.  At only $10 a box, it’s a great way to get a chance to try some spendy products without spending too much.

Have you been one of the lucky folks to nab a Sephora subscription?
If so, what did you think of the box?
If not, are you considering signing up?

Each month Play by Sephora, will send you 5 deluxe samples handpicked from their shelves (plus a fragrance bonus) – all in a collectible bag.
Cost: $10 per month (plus any applicable tax)
Bonus:  Each month you’ll get an included card that you can bring to Sephora for an extra 50 bonus points for any Purchase.  These points are part of Sephora’s VIB program and can be traded in for an assortment of samples.

December Blog Hop: Holiday Wish List

Growing up I didn’t really get to make a long Christmas Wish List, so I was excited when my fabulous Facebook beauty and fashion bloggers group chose a Holiday Wish List for our December Blog Hop. So I’m going to channel my inner child and give you my Christmas Wish List (forgive me if it’s a bit long..).

We’ll start with some Stocking Stuffers…


Lens Case
Kikkerland Chevron Contact Lens Kit

(Photo from
(Retail: $12.00)
Description: “You may not think of contact lens holders as being particularly eye-catching (pardon the pun), but the design masterminds at Kikkerland beg to differ. This little kit provides a safe—and chic—home for your lenses while you travel, thanks to the colorful chevron pattern.”
I wear contacts and I’m in love with this cute little travel kit. It’s compact and with the refillable little bottle, I won’t have to run out to the store for those travel sized bottles of contact solution.

Lip Primer
(Photo from
(Retail: $23.00)
Description: “A universal lip balm that protects and primes lips..”
I’m super intrigued by this green lip primer. I think this will be great for prolonging the lifespan of my red lipsticks.

 Starfish Cream
Returning Starfish Eye Cream

(Photo from
(Retail: $34.00)
Description: “Mizon’s Returning Starfish Eye Cream is the hit eye cream sister to the bestselling Returning Starfish Face Cream. This innovative, multi-functional eye cream is formulated with 60% starfish extract, peptides and adenosine to smooth fine lines and wrinkles. It also contains hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, and a plethora of skin-healthy botanical extracts for a brighter, plumper, renewed eye area. Ideal for all skin types..”
I love trying out new eye creams, and I’m so intrigued with this one that uses Starfish

Accessories are probably my favorite things to buy…

Talon’s Three Opal Signet Ring

(Photo from
(Retail: $214.00)
Description: “Inspired by a family heirloom wedding band bought in Italy in the 1970’s, three Australian opals line this ring created from an original wax carving..”
I love pretty much all of Talon’s designs so it was super hard to narrow it down to one item, but Opal’s are my birthstone and this three stone Opal ring is both classic and mysterious. I’d love to add it to my collection.

Kindness & Mischief Enamel Bracelet
by Bullfinch & Barbury Enamelists
(Photo from
(Retail: $40.00)
Description: “This hand-enameled bangle is bedecked with an important message — “I believe in kindnes” and upside-down “also in mischief”. These wise words from Mary Oliver are just as relevant today. They’re stamped into the copper bangle, which is then enameled by hand, making it good and good-lookin’.
I’m obsessed by the hand enameled bracelets made by Bullfinch & Barbury. I love jewelry with quotes on it and the enamel on these gives an ethereal quality. Along with their pieces on, they also have an Etsy store with even more options.

During the winter I love holing up at home and lounging around. My favorite gear are comfy pajama pants and cute tshirts and sweatshirts. Here are a few cuties I’d love to see in my wardrobe.

Anchor Sweatshirt
Look, Line, and Sinker Sweatshirt

(Photo from
(Retail: $39.99)

Wildflower Tshirt
Take the Scenic Root Tee

(Photo from
(Retail: $39.99)

 Pond Tshirt
Pond Nouveau
(Photo from
(Retail: $14.00)

I have a ton of hobbies, besides writing, I like crafting and cooking and I’m a musician so there’s always a ton of stuff that I’d love to get my greedy little hands on.

Mastering My Mistakes in the Kitchen: Learning to Cook with 65 Great Chefs and Over 100 Delicious Recipes by Dana Cowin
(Photo from
(Retail: $25.15)
Description: “For years, Dana Cowin kept a dark secret: From meat to vegetables, broiling to baking, breakfast to dinner, she ruined literally every kind of dish she attempted to make. Now, in this cookbook confessional, the vaunted first lady of food and exceptional entertainer finally comes clean about her many meal mishaps. With the help of friends—all-star chefs, including Mario Batali, Alex Guarnaschelli, and Tom Colicchio, among many others—Cowin takes on 100 recipes dear to her heart. Ideal dishes for the home cook, each recipe has a high “yum” factor, a few key ingredients, and a simple trick that makes it special. With every dish, she acquires a critical new skill, learning invaluable lessons along the way from the hero chefs who help her discover exactly where she goes wrong…”
I collect cookbooks and this one seems both accessible and fancy pants at the same time, my favorite combination.

Beauty Station
Beauty Station
by iSkelter
(Photo from
(Retail: $109.99)
Description: “The Beauty Station is a complete makeup organizer, display center, and universal docking station for iPhone, iPad & most phones & tablets. The open and modern design provides display and viewing space for over 20 to 30 makeup products, including the hand mirror and multiple mobile devices. The Beauty Station is chiseled and handcrafted from natural, eco friendly bamboo. The product’s smooth surface is glazed with a protective, stain-resistant sealant…”
This is a perfect organizer for a beauty blogger. I’d have to rearrange my desk a bit, but it would totally be worth it for this guy.

And of course there are about a million more things I could choose, but these were pretty awesome.

So what’s on your Christmas Wish List?

If you enjoyed my post, please check out these other fabulous blogs posting their own Holiday Wish Lists..

Sammi from College Beauty Buff

Vivienne from Jolie Pagaille

Bethany from Twenty Something Plus

November Blog Hop: 5 Products I’m Thankful for

So it’s time again for my monthly Blog Hop with the fabulous bloggers from my Facebook Beauty and Fashion Bloggers group. For November our topic is “5 Products I’m Thankful For”. I decided to focus on items that really make a difference in my life – be that saving me time or effort or helping me feel better when I’m down. Some of these you’ve seen in other posts and a couple are brand new.

#1 Julep’s Bare Face Cleansing Oil
(Photo from
(Retail: $28.00)
Description: “A lightweight, antioxidant-rich cleanser for all skin types”
The only thing that takes longer than applying the perfect winged liner is getting it off. Oil cleansers break down tough makeup better than any other type and Julep’s is hands down my favorite. It’s light and not sticky and has a perfect citrus scent. No matter how heavy I go with mascara or liner, this stuff gets it off easily and with no tugging. It’s by far my favorite Julep product.

#2 Harney & Sons Hot Cinnamon Sunset Black Tea
(Photo from
(Retail: $5.99)
Description: “This is one of our oldest flavored tea blends. John Harney developed it in the beginning of the 1980s. Over the decades its popularity has only grown, and now it is our most popular tea. People love its combination of strong spices and sweetness. And since there are no sugars (we tested it), it is safe for everyone to enjoy.”
Because my work is a giant petri dish, and I travel every weekday via at least 5 different types of public transportation, I am constantly fighting off a cold. This tea is amazing. It’s like a cinnamon red hot candy mixed with oranges and you can taste it even when your nose is completely stuffed up. It feels like Autumn in a cup and I’ve now gotten everyone at my work addicted to it. Harney and Sons teas are also available on Birchbox if you want to use points for it (but it’s a little pricier than if you purchase from Target).


#3 Benefit’s Fakeup
(Photo from
(Retail: $24.00)
Description: “The creamy formula provides heavy-duty coverage and instantly brightens tired-looking eyes with light-reflecting pigments. Moisturizing vitamin E and apple seed extract give the concealer its silky-smooth texture and soften fine lines.”
Lots of eye makeup tends to flake on me and dry out the sensitive skin under my eyes. This product is great at keeping that area hydrated while also covering any dark areas. I also feel like the extra moisture helps keep wrinkles at bay. This is a staple in my makeup case.


#4 Sephora Instant Nail Polish Remover
(Photo from
(Retail: $9.50)
Description: “For even the most hard-to-remove nail polish, this nail polish remover effortlessly takes off lacquers. Inside the bottle, pre-moistened pleated foam eliminates the need for cotton balls. Perfect for travel. Its convenient size is perfect for travel and can be used without cotton pads.”
I love polish and I particularly love jelly finishes full of glitter. These are not quite so fun to remove. That’s where Sephora’s instant polish remover comes in. You just dip your finger in the jar, leave it for a couple seconds and voila even the toughest glitter comes right off. I reserve this for my polishes with a tougher finish  since it contains acetone.

Redhead Shampoo
#5 Everything for Redheads Red Shampoo and Conditioner Bundle
(Photo from
(Retail: $31.44 US)
Description: “This luxurious every-day red shampoo and conditioner for Red Hair contains a colourant to enhance natural and dyed red hair by depositing colour gradually for a natural looking enhanced colour. Ideal for natural and dyed red hair that needs to be revived with an extra boost of red colour..”
I’m a natural redhead and I can tell you that the US beauty industry likes to forget we exist. There are tons of specialty products for blondes and brunettes, but the redhead offerings are slim. And what is actually available is typically for dyed redheads and not natural ones. I was super excited to discover this line from the UK that is designed specifically for red hair and works on both natural and dyed hair.   In the long ago, I used to have a fiery red shade, but since I’ve been banished to work every day in a windowless basement with no sunshine to lighten it, my hair has lost much of its flame. So I picked up this bundle along with another shade (Chili pepper) to experiment. As a shampoo and conditioner these work well and smell amazing (like cherries!) and I do notice that they give my hair more richness. It’s not super dramatic, but it’s definitely a nice color boost. These are totally worth paying the international shipping costs.

So those are my 5, what are yours?

If you enjoyed my post, please check out these other fabulous blogs posting their own list of products they are thankful for.

   Sammi from College Beauty Buff

   Chelsea from Chelsea Go Brightly

   Julie from Collective Beauty

   Kristina from The Feminine Files

   Megan from Polished Portland

   Vivienne from Jolie Pagaille

   Cheryl from Skinny On Beauty

   Bethany from Twenty Something Plus

   Angela from Your Beauty Whisperer

October Blog Hop: A Spooktacular Beauty Blog Hop!

Last month my beauty & fashion bloggers group took a brief hiatus from our monthly blog hops. We’re back this month for a Spooktacular Beauty Blog Hop with an obviously Halloween theme. Halloween has always held a unique place in my heart because my birthday is just a few days before. I can’t tell you how many Halloween themed birthday celebrations I’ve had over the years.

Halloween is one day a year where you can let your inner monster (or princess, for that matter) run around unfettered. But why limit yourself to just one day a year? Why not keep a little bit of Halloween with you all the time? This October 13th, I thought I’d pick 13 Halloween inspired items to help you keep that vibe going for more than one day in October.

#1 For the Ghost Hunter:
Ouija Dress

Modcloth’s: Spell Me a Story Dress
(Photo from
(Retail: $89.99)
Description: “Channel your most spellbinding style in this playful tank dress! Skulls, scrolls, and stars frame a Ouija board graphic on this soft, knit frock. Accentuated by a caged cutout back and sweetheart neckline, this mystifying dress tells a tale of enchantment!”

#2 For the Vampire Slayer:
Picture Polish’s Vampire
(Photo from
(Retail: $12.50)
Description: “Deep vampy red jelly polish”

#3 For Bat Girl:
Bat Heels
Jeffrey Campbell’s All Bat and More Heel

(Photo from
(Retail: $179.99)
Description: “Swoop! There it is! You glide into the room and all eyes are drawn to your Batgirl heels from Jeffrey Campbell – and for good reason. How could anyone not adore the wing-shaped closure on these black pumps? Feeling magnificent in these suede, pointed-toe shoes, you’re destined to ‘stiletto’ the spotlight!”

#4 For a Steampunk Princess:
Butter London’s Gears & Gadgets Ultimate Lacquer Trunk
(Photo from
(Retail: $150.00)
Description: “All hail the ultimate gift for the beauty obsessed! Discover your signature look with 20 gorgeous Fashion Size Shades, 4 best-selling treatments and our favourite tools of the trade. Mix, match and play with all the essentials, and never wear the same look twice.”


#5 To visit a Galaxy Far, Far Away:
Leia Tshirt
Thinkgeek’s Star Wars I Know V-Neck Ladies’ Tee
(Photo from
(Retail: $24.99)
Description: “Han and Leia kiss on the front of this grey, 100% cotton shirt. Features a v-neck and delicate spirals with the words “I know” subtly integrated.”

#6 For the Mother of Dragons:
SerpentsDance on Etsy: Dragon Necklace on Leather Cord Copper and Silver
(Photo from Serpentsdance Etsy Shop)
(Retail: $80.00)
Description: “This intricate pendant shows a dragon curled up on his back, nose buried in a book. The book has sterling silver covers, and inside are four tiny copper pages. A 6mm rose cut Labradorite cabochon is bezel set above the dragon.”

#7 To Curse A Princess:
MAC’s Maleficent Pro Longwear Lipglass
(Photo from
(Retail: $22.00)
Description: “The bright, crimson gleam of Pro Longwear Lipglass in Anthurium. Goes on smooth and lasts for up to six hours. Envelops lips with shine and colour and prolongs the hours between reapplication.”

#8 For A Pixie:
Zoya’s: Bar Magical PixieDust
(Photo from
(Retail: $10.00)
Description: “A glittery nude topaz in the best-selling ultra textured, matte, holographic Magical Pixie formula.”


#9 To Rule Them All:
One Ring
Thinkgeek’s Gold-Plated Tungsten Carbide One Ring
(Photo from
(Retail: $99.99)
Description: “This Tungsten Carbide One Ring replica has the highest melting point of all non-alloyed metals and tough enough to go with you on your daily adventures. You’ll need the volcanic lava of Mount Doom to destroy it… or you could just wear it and see if you can withstand its evil powers.  The ring features an inscription in Elvish letters of the Black Speech devised by Sauron when he crafted the all powerful ring: ‘One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.’”


#10 For a Black Widow:
Elizavecca Milky Piggy Elastic Pore Cleansing Foam
(Photo from
(Retail: $25.00)
Description: “Suck out dirt out of your pores with charcoal while collagen extract from pig skin firms and hydrates skin. Spider extract makes this cleansing foam extra refreshing and suitable for sensitive skin.”

#11 For Wonder Woman:
Fancy’s Goddess Gold Cuff
(Photo from
(Retail: $28.00)
Description: “Rock the ultimate wrist party with this oversized gold cuff.”


#12 For a Good Witch (Or a Bad Witch):

Skipnwhistle’s Witch on Broom Scarf
(Photo from skipnwhistle’s Etsy Shop)
(Retail: $20.00)
Description: “This super comfy American Apparel SUGAR SKULL SCARF is printed by Skip N’ Whistle with eco friendly ink.”

#13 For Catwoman:
Too Faced Cat Eyes Palette
(Photo from
(Retail: $36.00)
Description: “This set features the Too Faced signature Glamour Guide, with three iconic cat-eye beauty looks to get you started. From sheer washes of color to highly-pigmented shadows, it includes nine shades in warm and cool tones. Three vivid, wet-and-dry formulas provide intense precision lining and a perfect wing tip for foolproof, dramatic eyes in minutes.”

If you enjoyed my post, please check out these other fabulous blogs who are posting their own take on Spooktacular Beauty:

Kristina from The Feminine Files

Megan from Polished Portland

Sammi from College Beauty Buff

Angela from Your Beauty Whisperer


July Blog Hop: Red, White & Blue!

I swear I blinked and June was over. (Please be prepared to be inundated with box reviews as I catch up on all the ones I’ve been hoarding. ) In any case, it’s now July 1st which means Blog Hop Time! I’m part of an awesome Facebook group of beauty bloggers and each month (on the 1st) we all post about the same theme. For July we’re going patriotic with our red, white and blue picks.

For my post I decided to choose a few things in the beauty, fashion and accessory categories. Some are favorites I bought and loved, some are items I plan to pick up soon and there are a couple I’m lusting over from afar. Last month I went with a nautical vibe, and this time I feel like my picks have a touch of wanderlust to them. So let’s get shopping and you can tell me what you think.


Liner Swatch
Vasanti Kajal Extreme Eye Pencil
in Electric Navy
(Retail: $18.00)
Description: “This kohl pencil glides on easily, adding instant drama to your look, while the waterproof formula stays put for up to eight hours. Plus, each pencil has a handy built-in smudger and sharpener, so you can create well-defined or sultry looks.”
This eyeliner came in my Birchbox Limited Edition Mermaid box (which I will be posting about soon!). I don’t usually like pencil liners but this one went on smooth and I adore the color. It’s this oceany, super-saturated navy that’s not too dark. If you’ve got some Birchbox points to spend, this is a great choice for the summer.

Lip Pencil
NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil
in Cruella (Scarlet Red)
(Photo from
(Retail: $25.00)
Description: “Combining the convenience of a pencil with the application of a lipstick in a jumbo-sized crayon design, these pigment-rich sticks provide a matte, creamy finish that will not dry the lips. Enriched with emollients, vitamin E, and silicone, each gorgeous shade glides on and stays put.”
While I love lip glosses and sheer shades, when I want to go red I prefer matte. The NARS velvet matte lip pencils are my go-to for matte colors and I love this scarlet red pencil.   I pair this with a cat eye liner and a light golden shadow for a classic pinup look for evening. The pencil goes on smoothly and holds up to hanging out in your purse in the summer heat. If you’re looking for a bombshell red, this is for you.

Soraphine Swatch
from Julep
(Retail: $10.00 on sale)
Description: “Classic sheer white crème”
I received this polish in my March Maven box and fell in love. It’s a super sheer white polish with buildable coverage. The more opaque you want it, the more layers you use. It’s classic on its own or beautiful for jelly sandwich manicures (a glitter layer between two sheer layers). If you enjoy Julep polishes, I recommend this one as a must have.


Jeans Regular Jeans Plus
Skate Night Jeans by Modcloth
(Photos from
(Regular Sizes: $59.99 Plus Sizes: $64.99 )
Description: “Sure, the movies are romantic, but so is a day spent at the skatepark with your special someone. Clad in these high-waisted stretch jeans – a ModCloth-exclusive design – you try out new tricks that wow your cute companion.”
I am short-waisted with long legs and carry most of my weight in my stomach. For me, pants shopping is like the seventh circle of hell. Then, I found these “jeans” by Modcloth. They come in regular and plus size, and they are amazing. They are stretchy, but smooth you out without showing any lumps and bumps. They aren’t denim, but a a cotton twill so they are perfect for wearing to work and dressing up or down and the dark navy is the perfect neutral for year round wear. They are incredibly comfortable and perfect for vacation sightseeing. I loved them so much I bought a second pair. These pants run long so just be aware you’ll probably need to hem them or wear heels/wedges.

Maxi Dress
Sunfade Maxi Dress
from Anthropologie
(Photo from
(Retail: $298.00)
Description: “Sunny tones mix with cool blues to make a one-of-a-kind maxi that can transition from desk to dinner with a simple tousle of the hair..”
So this dress is firmly in the lust from afar category, since it’s well out of my budget. But I swear I’m so in love with it. The ethereal print reminds me of far off places you visit in dreams.
Just a few tips for the budget conscious when shopping at Anthro:
Save everything to your wishlist! Things can disappear from the site but still come back in stock. I have scored some amazing deals that way.
Stalk their sale page! I’ve gotten awesome purses at a fraction of the cost.
Call their customer service if something is sold out online! They can often give you a store location where you can pick up that fabulous sale item.

Kimchi Blue Margarita Lace Maxi Skirt
from Urban Outffitters
(Photo from
(Retail: $89.00)
Description: “Lace maxi skirt from Kimchi Blue in a full, paneled design with contrasting floral patterns.  Trimmed with a stretchy crochet waistband. “
Is there really anything to say but white, lace maxi skirt? I adore the boho vibe this has and it’s just so romantic. It will go with anything and you can dress it up or down. This is another one I’ll be stalking for sales.


Maine Backpack
Maine Character Backpack from Modcloth
(Photo from
(Retail: $54.99 on sale!)
Description: “Take yourself on a solo writer’s retreat, packing what you need into this blue backpack from Jesslyn Blake.”
I saw this bag and fell in love, but at the original price it was over my budget. It went on sale and I snagged it. I didn’t have any type of bookbag and the rustic feel of this one just made me imagine grabbing it and running off for a weekend in a Maine cabin. I love mine and I think it’s a steal at the sale price.

Nysa Shawl
from Anthropologie
(Photo from
(Retail: $88.00)
Description: “Spring’s first breezes deserve layers that are just as lovely, such as this light-as-air shawl from Angel of the North.”
Shawls are a highly under-utilized accessory. They are perfect to combat summer ocean breezes and when paired with a maxi dress they give a much more romantic look than a typical cardigan. I really love this one and am stalking it until it goes on sale.

Good Fortune Pomegranate Locket
from Gypsy
(Photo from
(Retail: $330.00)
Description: “This oxidized and gold-plated pomegranate locket opens to reveal an abundant trove of red dyed jade seeds. A symbol of abundance and good-fortune, this festive fruit is sweet inside and out.”
Long, long ago they featured this necklace on Anthropologie and I fell in love. The adorable pomegranate locket opens up and there are beautiful red stones inside to mimic the seeds. It, like so many things, is way outside my budget but if I win the lottery or finally sell a novel, then I’ll be making this beauty mine.


Blue & White Ombre Linen Summer Scarf from Scoutmob
(Photo from
(Retail: $67.00 on sale)
Description: “This ombré linen scarf features Mediterranean blue ends that play on the transparency of the open weave linen. Whether tied tightly or hanging loosely around the neck, this style transcends seasons. The rich linen texture softens with every wear.”
I love the ethereal quality to this fabric. It makes me think of far off fishing villages and stories about sea monsters.


Walk of the Town Flat in Floral from Modcloth
(Photo from

(Retail: $39.99 on sale)
Description: “If it weren’t for a stylish cutie like you taking lots of strolls through town in these navy, floral-print shoes, what would your neighbors have to talk about? The sporty laces and refreshing pattern of this canvas-like pair are conversation points that seemingly never tire!”
I actually picked these up in red before I saw that the blue print ones were available. I just adore the floral on this and I think the colors in it will pair really well with denim. My red pair are super comfy and I grab them whenever I’m running errands. I may just pick up these as well.


I’d love to hear what you thought of my picks and what you’d choose in the red, white and blue motif.

If you enjoyed this post, please stop by and visit some of my other blog-hoppers and read their take on beach and pool bag must haves.


Kristina from The Feminine Files

Anna from The Anna Belle Blog 

Angela from Your Beauty Whisperer

Tess from Plastic Bows