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!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Tombox/Swaagbox Review

Hi, everyone! 
I received a free Tombox to review for my blog. I'm so happy I was chosen as this box is a fantastic deal! Get your first box for $8 when you click here.. To begin, subscribers take an in-depth quiz to determine the best products to be sent. Here are the payment options for Tombox.  

Let me take you through what I received in my box! First, I love the packaging. The box labeled "beautiful" contained all of the products. Nice touch, Tombox.
 My first item was this delicate lip brush. The bristles are so soft. I couldn't find the brand name, but I do appreciate getting the brush.
 This is why I love subscription services like Tombox. I get to try items I would normally never buy for myself. The ring came packaged in a bag to keep it safe. This silver ring is fashionable and goes with many outfits. I like that the ring itself is flexible so most ladies will be able to wear it.
 For me, the ring fits best on my middle finger. Please excuse the grown out nail polish.
 The next item is an ankle bracelet with summer-inspired charms. Again, this is a piece I normally would not choose for myself, but it is a perfect accent to a summer outfit.
 I chose these because they are my favorite brand of tampons. Subscribers may choose to get tampons or pads when they subscribe.

This Cargo shadow retails for $16; that's the cost of one box! The shadow is silky and blends easily.  This full size is quite a large size for an eye shadow. I blended out the shadow, but you can see how pigmented it is.

 The next item is a liquid liner from Skone in black. The retail value is $15. I love the way it glides on and stays in place.

The Real Chemistry Peel is a fabulous product. I love getting samples of this because the full size retails for $48 on their website. The peel is interesting because you apply it, leave it on for 20 seconds, then rub your face. The product will ball up, essentially taking off dead skin and impurities. My skin is soft and not irritated after this peel.
This Be a Bombshell lip crayon is in the color Shameless. The retail value is $16. I did not swatch this because I already have one. The color lasts a long time without drying out my lips. 

Styled by Hayadi Pure Happy Smooth Smoothing Keratin is the next product in my box. According to the Styled by Hayadi website, this product Weightless smoothing Keratin infused styling lotion. Seals the cuticle and controls frizz, visibly improving the appearance of hair immediately. When used with heat, shine and smoothing are intensified. "
The last item is a Maybelline New York Color Show nail polish in Urban Utopia ($2.99). I am a sucker for limited edition items, and this one is no different! The color is unique and beautiful for summer. I do not have any other color like this one. Again, thank you, Tombox for breaking me out of my everyday routine!
Overall, Tombox is an excellent value! Not only will subscribers get feminine products, they also get an assortment of jewelry, skincare, haircare, and makeup products that well surpass the subscription price! Thanks for reading! Please comment below with what you think of Tombox!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Bite Beauty's got a hold on me!

Hi. I'm Jenn and I'm a Bite Beauty addict. Buckle in because this post is a longer review of various Bite Beauty products. This company took a chunk out of my wallet and my heart! These are my new holy grail lip products. They are pricey, but the most pigmented lip product I've tried. I decided to get the holiday gift sets so I could try as many colors as possible.

My addiction started with the first two pictures. I wanted to find a new nude color so the $12 double-ended Luminous Creme lip set was perfect. Restina and Musk are perfect nude colors for my skin tone. In the same visit to Sephora I purchased the $25 Best Bite Remix set. The colors range from nude to red in a durable travel case.  The last item I purchased was the Cinnamon Plumping Oil. Sephora states, "A 99%-natural cinnamon- and Resveratrol-infused lip oil that naturally hydrates, shines, and plumps the appearance of lips in one spicy swipe." I LOVE lip plumpers and cinnamon so this is a definite win for me. I like to wear this over any of the colors below.  

 I have swatches on my hand of the four colors (with and without flash). From the bottom up: Sable, Rhubarb, Winterberry, Pomegranate.

The bottom two colors are Musk and Restina from the $12 Mix n Mingle mini. 
This is Sable, a my-lips-but-better color. I hate when I look in the camera so I'll be looking off into space in the others lol.
 Rhubarb is beautiful for a little more color on the lips.

 Winterberry busts me out of my comfort zone. I love this berry color for winter.
Pomegranate is a bright, but wearable red. I've tried to tone this down by layering a nude color by Bite and it's still beautiful, but wearable.

The is the actual size of each pencil. I know it may not look like a lot of product, but a little goes a VERY long way. 
After I tried and feel madly in love with the two sets, I had to get more. I went back to Sephora to get two lip crayons. Again, I wanted to try the minis before committing to the full size. Glace and Augburgine chanted my name from their containers. I heard awesome reviews from Youtubers so I got Glace because I can never have enough nude lip colors in my life. I wanted to try a vampy purple since I don't have any in my lip collection. Augburgine proved to be a perfect fit in my lip wardrobe. 


Swatches of both

I like variety when it comes to my lip products.  My lip collection is complete with nudes, berries, red, and wine colors. With how pigmented these are, the minis will last for quite some time. I'm now saving up for more Bite Beauty products like the Agave lip mask and the BB for lips. I assure you, my love affair will continue. Let me know what other Bite colors and/or products I should try!