Sunday, May 22, 2016

Is SK-II worth the hype? Influenster's SK-II campaign

Hello, friends! I am beyond excited to tell you about the SK-II Influenster campaign. These products were sent to me for free to review. I got the Facial Essence and a sheet mask to try (approx value of $56.50). If you are into Asian skincare and/or watch Youtube videos, you probably know how expensive SK-II is. It is for this reason I have never tried the products. The pictures below show the products and my skin before the products. Don't mind the tired look on my face, I was finishing my thesis. 

started using the essence daily. According to, "Facial Treatment Essence is enriched with more than 90 percent pitera—the main ingredient used to support the skin's renewal process—plus nourishing vitamins, amino acids, minerals, and organic acids to promote a healthy, natural skin cell renewal cycle. With daily application, this essence moisturizes, improves texture and clarity, and contributes to a more beautiful, balanced, and glowing complexion." I do not wholeheartedly agree with these claims. I have uneven, oily skin, but this made my face soft and smooth after cleansing. While this worked well on my face, I broke out horribly around my neck as I tried to use this product.  This was the only change in my skincare so I know unfortunately it was from the essence. While I liked the texture of my skin, I did not notice a new glowing complexion.

I decided to try the mask after I finished my thesis. Needless to say, my skin needed some hydration and comfort after the immense stress. Sephora's webstite states, "This 100 percent cotton mask drenches the skin with pitera’s fusion of vitamin, amino acids, minerals, and organic acids, while working to revitalize, comfort, and provide intense hydration. It immediately replenishes dehydrated skin, leaving it refreshed and cool." These claims are absolutely true. You can tell from the picture above I was ready for some relaxation! I cleansed my skin, then applied the sheet mask. As you can tell from the pictures below, the mask was too big for my face so I couldn't get the fit I wanted (not a big deal). I feel comfortable saying that this mask would fit almost any face shape. The mask itself was drenched with the pitera essence. I left the mask on while I painted my nails and read  some magazines.   I included the picture with the flash on so you can see how saturated the mask is. The packet itself had enough essence for me to moisturize my legs and arms. I'm a horrible blogger and forgot to take a picture of my "after" skin. Please forgive me. My skin felt cool, hydrated, and replenished! 

My overall grade for this Voxbox would be a B-. The essence lasted a long time and made my skin feel soft, but didn't live up to all of the claims. The mask was amazing! If my skin needed extra hydration in the future I would definitely spend $17 on another SK-II mask. Thanks for reading! #myessence #skii

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Influenster and Loreal Revitalift #AskSkinExpert

I was lucky enough to try these products for FREE from Influenster and Loreal. This line is supposed to moisturize, fill in lines, and plump the skin. The first picture shows everything I received. The prices and products below are from


Visibly improve skin's volume with L'Oreal's Revitalift Volume Filler Serum and Cream. This advanced formula with a concentrated dose of Hyaluronic Acid and Fibroxyl works to help stabilize volume, improving skin's cushion, fullness and resilience. Lift away the appearance of lines and wrinkles, day after day. Volume Filler revolumizes facial zones to restore youthful skin fullness, regain smooth, lifted appearance and fill out wrinkles and expression lines.

I liked this product. It moisturized while making my skin feel full and plump. For my oily skin this was a perfect amount of moisture.



Triple Action Skincare:
  • 1. Repair Wrinkles: Revitalift Triple Power with Hyaluronic Acid rapidly penetrates skin to fight each wrinkle.
    2. Reduce Under eye bags: Revitalift Triple Power with instantly cooling applicator and stimulating caffeine helps reduce dark circles and under eye bags.
  • 3. Lift the Eye Area: Revitalift Triple Power with concentrated Pro-Xylane, which has been shown to enhance collagen production, lifts and firms sagging skin around the eye area. I did NOT like this product! My eyes were stinging, irritated, and red every time I used it. I could only use it twice due to these issues.

Revitalift Volume Filler Cream

Visibly improve skin's volume with L'Oreal's Revitalift Volume Filler Serum and Cream. This advanced formula with a concentrated dose of Hyaluronic Acid and Fibroxyl works to help stabilize volume, improving skin's cushion, fullness and resilience. Lift away the appearance of lines and wrinkles, day after day. Volume Filler revolumizes facial zones to restore youthful skin fullness, regain smooth, lifted appearance and fill out wrinkles and expression lines.
 I LOVE this product! I thought it would be too moisturizing for my oily skin, but it wasn't. With that said, my skin is drier during these winter months. I used this every morning after cleansing my skin. This worked like a moisturizer and primer in one! My makeup went on smoother and laster longer. Although the moisturizer was great, I hated the strong, floral fragrance. I wish companies did away with unnecessary fragrances.


 As you can see from the picture below, this was much thicker than the day cream. This was too moisturizing for my skin. I broke out after using this for three nights. Similar to the day cream, this was too fragrant for my liking. If you have normal to dry skin, you will like this product. My skin always felt plump and moisturized in the morning after using this product.
Overall, I am happy with the day cream and the serum. I am thankful I continue to try products from Influenster. What voxbox did you get? Thank you so much for reading!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

YSL Touche Eclat Primer and Blur Perfector review

Hello, readers! I have an interesting post today regarding the NEW YSL Touche Eclat products. I got this free to review courtesy of Influenster. The first pictures show the beautiful packaging. I got the full size Blur Perfector ($55 at Sephora) and a deluxe sample of the primer (full size $52).  
Can we talk about the packaging?! The Blur Perfector is stunning! The outside box is the signature YSL gold with black writing. The compact is a feminine pink with the signature logo. It also comes with a black velvet purse to keep the compact safe. It's to the right of the compact. I. Was. Sold. 
This is the inside of the compact. The silicone/gel texture is a pale pink to help minimize imperfections. I do think the product follows through on the promises. I did see a difference in my pores on my nose when I applied the product. Unfortunately, the product also made me oily. Another downside is applicator. The compact does NOT have a space for the applicator. I assume this was an oversight/mistake that is inexcusable.

 The star for me was the primer. I like the doe foot applicator because I get just enough for my skin. It is a silicone based primer, which does not typically work for my skin. The gold glitter did not show up on my skin as glitter. Instead I got a decent glow from the gold and silicone. I used this just on my cheeks and forehead to fill in my fine lines and imperfections. I saw a different in my makeup application in both areas. I thought this gave me a strobing effect that is a trend right now. Both areas were luminous after applying the rest of my makeup.

The downside, I did not see my makeup lasting longer than normal. In fact, my makeup wore off sooner on my cheeks and forehead; the two areas where I used the YSL primer. However, I do not just fault the primer. It was 110 degrees when I tried the primer.

I have to say, I am still getting used to the strobing trend. It is not ideal for hot weather, as in 110 degrees, which was when I took this picture below. I took this after using both products and running errands for two hours. Again, I think this dewy look would be better for me in the fall/winter when I'm not as oily. I can't wait to report back when I revisit these products.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Birchbox July 2015 review

 I absolutely love everything about this box design! I enjoyed using most of the products in this box for July. I found I got a great mix of fragrance, skincare, haircare, and makeup. First, I tried the Stila Liquid Lipstick in Venezia. This bright coral made me try something new for summer. I love the scent and I am getting used to the bright color. Unfortunately, I am having a hard time with the formula. While it is long lasting and smells like vanilla, the formula is patchy and drying on my lips. I am still experimenting since most people love this formula. Don't mind the full face of makeup. I was piling on makeup for my next post. Can you guess what it is?

The Bumble and Bumble cream is hydrating without weighing my hair down. I like using this to blow dry OR air dry my hair.

The Cartier sample is a beautiful fragrance for summer with notes of rose.

The Supergoop serum ties the Clarisea as my favorite sample. I love the lightweight feeling of the serum/moisturizer/sunscreen.

Last, the Clarisea Charcoal Exfoliant left my skin soft and smooth. I tried the powder with my First Aid Beauty cleanser and charcoal face soap. The product worked well with both cleansers.  I appreciate the large sample size since I got at least six uses out of the product.

Now I need your help. What Birchbox products should I try from the shop? Recommend your favorites please!

Monday, July 27, 2015

The House on Sunset Street

According to Domestic Violence Statistic, "Every 9 seconds in the US a woman is assaulted or beaten." Most of us will experience or know someone who experienced domestic violence. This book provides a realistic, and often scary, portrayal of domestic violence that engulfs readers from page one. Fischer wastes no time by detailing the last brutal attack that almost took her life. After the initial pages my stomach knotted and threatened to throw up my dinner. I was uncertain if I could finish the book due to the vivid, graphic details. This upset me. How could I even think of not reading this book? This is based on experiences someone lived through and survived. I owe it to Lindsay Fischer to read this story of survival. Also, I knew I had to read on to educate myself on a subject I knew very little about. Once my stomach settled, I naively and harshly I wondered how the relationship got to that point. 

Fischer's narrative weaves details of Sarafina's personal life including her story of being torn between two careers she loves-teaching and writing. In the midst of her professional turmoil, Sarafina begins a budding relationship with Mike. My skepticism in the beginning of the book turned into understanding as Sarafina falls for Mike. Fischer eloquently deceives readers by making Mike seem like the perfect gentleman for Sarafina. He possesses confidence, charm, and charisma with a beautiful physique. Before I knew it, I was falling for Mike along with Sarafina. He even supports her when she leaves her teaching career to pursue writing. The first verbal and physical lashings from Mike shock readers just as much as the protaganist. How can this be the same Mike from earlier in the book?! The nightmare continues for pages as readers grapple with the downward spiral that becomes Sarafina's life. 

I cherish the perspective Fischer provides on what it is like being in an abusive relationship. Fischer's writing corrected my misconceptions about domestic violence, but without admonishment. As one that has not experienced domestic abuse personally, I will be forever grateful for the raw, emotionally-charged narrative that taught me the many facets of abuse. Fischer's narrative educates by simply explicating her experiences. What I love most about the story is that it is one of survival. I learned that leaving the abuser is just the first step on the long journey of healing. Again, naively, I believed Sarafina would heal relatively quickly after leaving the abuse. Fischer unabashedly kills my false hope as she details the internal war that wreaks havoc on survivors. The invisible, internal struggle is one that often cannot be conquered alone. I thank Fischer for the plethora of resources she provides readers. Above all else, readers learn to speak boldly and act swiftly in life. Fisher ends profoundly by stating, "My hope for my readers is simple: that you find yourself in a place to speak out about the injustices you face. Our stories don’t define us, but they shape where we head. Sometimes that’s a good thing. Sometimes it’s the worst. It’s not about how you got here or why you stayed, it’s about why it shouldn’t have happened."

Thursday, July 16, 2015

#Lemonoil review

I got to try a HUGE 4 oz. bottle of lemon oil for free to review from Lift Care and Tomoson. Here are some facts and uses provided by Lift Care on Amazon. 
  • (5X FOLD) EXTRA STRENGTH Lemon Essential Oil is the most powerful and fresh traditional lemon fragrance that is quite energizing and uplifting. You can diffuse Lemon Oil when trying to clear a room of the smell of the cigarette smoke and other unpleasant aroma. The HIGHEST QUALITY AVAILABLE, premium concentrate taken from the peel of ripe fruit via cold expression.
  • HUGE 4 OZ BOTTLE-lasts for up to 60 days of daily use. More potent concentration means less drops per use.
  • INTRODUCTORY LOW PRICE-Refreshing feelings of purity and cleanliness describe the savory fragrance of lemon oil. STRONGER AROMATHERAPY AND LONGER LASTING FRAGRANCE. Fights illness and fatigue.
  • NATURAL DISINFECTANT-Lemon oil deploys antiseptic effects on fresh minor infections of the skin, including acne. 30 DAY MONEY BACK GUARANTEE!
  • Lemon Oil is a potent skin lightening agent. Freckles and age spots etc. ALL NATURAL, NO CHEMICAL DILUTION!     
  • *According to the University of Minnesota, "Application Method. An essential oil that is safe when applied in one way may not be safe when used in another way. Some oils are considered safe if inhaled, and yet may be irritating if applied to the skin in concentrations as low as 3-5%. Thyme, oregano, clove, and cinnamon bark essential oils are examples of this. Several of the citrus oils, such as bergamot, lemon, lime, orange, and angelica, can cause phototoxicity (severe burns or skin cancer) if there is exposure to natural sunlight or sun-bed radiation following skin applications, whereas this would not result from inhalation." Bottom line, if you plan on using these oils topically, always dilute them!

I discovered a couple of different uses that I started loving. First, I like to sprinkle a couple of drops onto cotton and place on top of my humidifier. This gives my room a refreshing scent without an overpowering scent. 

Next, I filled a travel sized bottle with lemon oil and water to carry around for a natural energizer. I like to dab some on my yoga towel before and after my workout to provide an energy boost. I like to keep the mixture in my fridge for an added cooling effect.  
Overall, I would recommend this to anyone that wants an all natural way alternative to products with chemicals.  What other oils should I try?

Emerald Class Matcha Review #Midorispring

I was lucky enough to try the Emerald Class Matcha tea for free. Life and Food on Amazon is an amazing company. I love that they post helpful tips and answer questions consumers may have. I've wanted to try Matcha powder for awhile because of the health benefits. This is a list of FAQs and reasons to buy from the company.
FAQ 1. What is Emerald Class Matcha and how is it different?
Emerald Class is considered our medium grade Ceremonial Matcha. It is ideal for beginner matcha drinkers, and inspired chefs to use in their kitchen creations. Emerald Class is NOT a culinary grade matcha, but is moderately priced, while sustaining great quality tea powder which allows for multiple usage. Perfect for smoothies, pastries, and favorite dishes. 
There are different ranges within the Ceremonial matcha category. For example, Ceremonial grades can range from the most premium (Gold Class) quality to the lowest and most economical. During production the tencha leaves are sorted by colour (darker green to lighter green). Unlike culinary grade matcha, the Emerald Class uses a blend of mid-range quality tencha leaves. All of which is grounded using a traditional Mikage stone grinder.
Emerald Class Matcha comes in 100g size packed in a food grade aluminum pouch inside our premium quality aluminum tin. It is certified Organic, Kosher & Vegan. (GMO, Gluten, Soy, Dairy Free)
FAQ 2. I'm a first time Matcha drinker and I find it bitter.
We understand some people do not like the taste the first few times they try Matcha, but it is similar to the same initial experiences with coffee or tea, after a few shots, you may come to love it. If you still do not like the taste, we suggest adding a bit of raw honey, or turn it into a Matcha inspired latte or smoothie. When brewing traditionally, please adjust water and Matcha amount to your liking.

  • BODILY BENEFITS ✪ Our Emerald Class Organic Matcha is rich in antioxidants, with greater than 137x the EGCG levels that of regular steeped tea. Organic Matcha has been shown to help (1) Increase energy levels (2) Help reduce stress and improve mental alertness (3) Support metabolism and help with weight loss (4) Support immune system and helps reduce inflammation. (5) Help the body cleanse of harmful elements.
  • TRUSTED CERTIFICATIONS ✪ Certified USDA Organic by NOP Via OCIA International Agreement, JAS Organic Certified by OCIA, OU Kosher Certified, VEGAN.ORG Certified. In addition, All Midori Spring Ceremonial Grade Organic Matcha is also GLUTEN FREE, GMO FREE, and contains no pesticides, soy, wheat of any kind.
  • PRACTICAL PACKAGING ✪ Our packaging is formulated to maintain optimal freshness and practical handling. The Matcha is packaged in a food grade pouch inside the storage tin. The size of the pouch and tin have been carefully selected and tested for most practical handling. Matcha should be kept in the pouch (pinch to keep air out) with the lid sealed to maintain freshness once opened. It is highly recommended to store Matcha in a cool, dry place or in the refrigerator.
  • 100% QUALITY SATISFACTION GUARANTEE ✪We at Midori Spring believe in our products 100%. However, our customers are important to us. If you are not 100% satisfied with our product, please contact us immediately for a full refund or exchange. We are here for any questions or concerns.
I decided to try this in a smoothie since I love Green Tea Frappucinos. I paired my powder with almond milk, stevia, and ice for a pre-workout snack/energy boost. I was pressed for time, so I used my shaker cup to mix the ingredients. I have to say, the taste was strong, but I liked it I knew I was getting health benefits with an all natural energy boost. I got through my tough cardio bootcamp class with no problem!  
I especially love the MIdori Spring recipe page. I never would use Matcha powder in chocolate chip cookies, but I can't wait to try them. I imagine the combination of green tea and chocolate would pair well together. Let me know your experiences with Matcha powder. Thanks for reading!