September 27, 2015

Visiting the Birchbox Store

Recently, when I was in New York, I made it a goal to visit the Birchbox store. I was way too in the moment to remember to take pictures of the store itself, so thank you Google and for the picture above. The store is logically set up, with a large selection and variety of products.

I took the opportunity to build my own box, which happens in the section toward the back of the picture, for $15. Building your own box means mixing and matching samples from different categories (Birchbox also offers a build your own men's boxes).

The first thing I picked up is the Masqueology Brightening Sheet Mask. I love getting brightening masks in my monthly boxes, so why wouldn't I pick up one for my own box.

I doubled on products in the face category, because nothing in the makeup section really attracted my attention, but I was excited to see the Jouer Daily Repair Treatment Oil. I love everything I have tried from Jouer and I also like trying samples of face oils, so this was the perfect sample for me to pick.

I am always happy when Birchbox sends me hair products, so I chose the Miss Jessie's Super Sweetback Treatment. This deep conditioner comes in quite a generous size and is made for curly hair.

Even though I am not always the biggest fan of perfume samples, this Comptoir Sud Pacifique Vanilla Extreme sample basically smells like expensive, strong, vanilla. A distinct vanilla, that doesn't smell like straight candy, is sometimes hard to find in a perfume.

Finishing off my box, I chose the Whish Exfoliating Body Wash in Coconut Milk. I love all of the Whish products that I have tried from Birchbox and this one smells super light and fresh, so this product seemed like a logical addition.

September 8, 2015

Deva Curl NoPoo Cleansing Conditioner

I have heard about the Deva Curl products from others with curly hair and decided to pick up the NoPoo Cleansing Conditioner. For some reason I assumed that this was a clarifying shampoo, but after getting home I was pleasantly surprised to learn that it is a cleansing conditioner.

The product comes out with the same texture as a conditioner. It doesn't lather and just absorbs into the hair and then completely washes out. Using this cleansing conditioner leaves my hair looking healthier, feeling softer, and styling better. When my hair is extra dry, I follow it up with the Deva Curl One Condition and it transforms my locks. 

At first, it smelled kind of like rose, but with more use it smells more more like a light, floral mint. it doesn't leave much scent in my hair and leaves it smelling simply clean.

Basically if you have curly hair, you should try this. It revamped my curls and I love it so much I've bought it twice, in a bigger size. 

September 1, 2015

Bath and Body Works Fall Candles-- Autumn and Leaves

Now that it is September, I feel like I can officially use the word "Fall." Fall is the only time of year when I don't mind stepping foot into Bath and Body Works. I went in the other day expecting to purchase my favorite fall candle, Leave. I came out, taking full advantage of their 2 for $24 deal, with my old favorite and a new scent to try, Autumn.

Leaves is the cult classic as far as fall candles go. It is basically the fall version of any summer fruity scent. Bath and Body Works describes it as being a blend of golden nectar, red apple, and spiced berries.

The lady at the store told me that if I like Leaves, I will probably also like Autumn. In simple terms, Autumn is the manlier, more butch if you will, version of Leaves. It still has a spiced fruit feel, but with less spice and more tree. It's described as a blend of red apple, cedarwood, and fir balsam.

I think I like Leaves better than most other scents, but Autumn is a nice change.

August 27, 2015

Francesca's Necklace Purchases

I tend to wear basic and simple outfits and then use necklaces to add dimension and interest. It's a really easy way to make a comfortable outfit look a little bit more put together. I also tend to wear the same 4 necklaces consistently. Needless to say, I can always use necklaces to add to the rotation. I stopped by Francesca's and bought 6 necklaces, all around $20 (they were also all buy 1 get 1 50% off).

I tend to like triangles on necklaces and I like the placement of these triangles. The fact that there is more interest than just a pendant on the end of a chain makes this neckalce more interesting, even though it is still relatively simple.

I like the fringe on this necklace, even though when I wear it,  I tend to constantly be touching it. This necklace comes in silver and gold and it is definitely something different than most of the necklaces I own.
This necklace is also different than most other ones. I like the intricate design and find it really pops against solid shirts. 
This blue and gold beaded, fringe-styled necklace is my immediate favorite. I like how it adds color, but still looks relatively neutral. Though it doesn't seem like it would make much of a difference, the curved shape is quite flattering. 
I own a few statement necklaces and like how they give personality to my normally simple and honestly boring outfits. Purple tends to be one of my favorite colors as well, so naturally I gravitated toward this necklace. 

To spice things up a bit, and not purchase only gold jewelry, I landed on this necklace. I like how the wire wraps around itself and I think the white beads look clean. I've been told this necklace looks a little bit like an ice cream cone. I still like it, but, I do admit, it does look like an ice cream cone.

August 22, 2015

Mac Pigments//Vanilla, Naked

Vanilla, Naked

I recently bought three of the Mac Sized to Go Pigments, $10 each. By buying the smaller versions, I was able to test out two shades for a cheaper price (Full size costs $21, which is too large and I would never be able to use up).

I have stayed away from pigments for a long time, for obvious reasons of mess and my tendencies to drop things. I have been successful thus far and haven't spilled. When using these pigments you need to use a minimal amount of product and a steady hand, although, no matter what you do, they can be a bit very messy.

There are a few options for shades, but I chose to stick to classic neutrals. Vanilla is a warm, soft, white, with a golden shimmer. It is very light but looks really nice on the eyes, especially if you sweep it across the lids with a Mac 217 or any similar brush or pop it in your inner corner. It can sometimes be a little bit harsh as it is a very light, almost ghostly shade. Naked is a neutral, light, frosty, beige. This is the perfect shade for all over the lids. I like using it to blend out any harsh lines and it pairs nicely with Vanilla.

Vanilla, Naked

August 20, 2015

Hair Product Empties

Usually, I buy each item at varying times, but I ran out of a decent bit of my hair products around the same time.

Marshalls and TJ Maxx always have Macadamia hair products for a cheaper price, so I bought the value sized Rejuvenating Shampoo for about half the price. I like this shampoo and will repurchase it again one day, but currently I am in love with another shampoo.  Now the Macadamia line offers more options for shampoo, so I am interested in trying different ones out in the future. 

As you can probably pick up on, I love Macadamia products. Their Control Hair Spray is nice, but there are many other hairsprays from the drugstore that do the same thing for more than half the price. Since revamping their line, Macadamia no longer sells this particular hair spray, but they offer a few other varieties. 

I received the Macadamia Flawless Cleansing Conditioner in a Birchbox. It dispenses the product in a cool foam and works well enough, but Deva Curl makes a cleansing conditioner that just works better. 

I also received the Amika Un.Done Texture Spray from Birchbox. This product may work better for straight or wavy hair, but it doesn't do anything for my hair. 

The It's a 10 Miracle Leave in Product is one of my all time favorite hair products. I use it overtime I wash and brush out my hair. I have always and will continue to repurchase this product. 

August 16, 2015

August 2015 Birchbox- Soak it Up

This month's Birchbox is basically about taking advantage of the last bit of Summer and the campy box, which has a pool printed on it, definitely sends that message. 

This is a basic dry shampoo, with a mediocre clean and fresh scent. The only reason I will probably reach for this over my favorite, the Bumble and Bumble Pret-a-powder, is that it is invisible and doesn't leave any residue in your hair

I have been using almost exclusively DevaCurl products and find they really help make my hair look and feel a lot better. I have had my eyes on this product and almost bought it, hence I am so glad I decided to wait so I can test it out before committing to buying a bottle. This product is definitely a winner. 

I like receiving almost anything from Laqa and Co; however, I find this shade, Humble Bug, is not the most flattering.

I thought the BB fad was over, but apparently Benefit has other plans as they just came out with a BB primer for your eyelids. Honestly, I am not excited about this product, annoyed would be more appropriate because I am, and have been for a long time, over BB anything. 

This moisturizer is a rich, thick, creamy, gel, which is something you can't find in most moisturizers. I really like the way it feels, but I cannot stand the strong scent. 

Overall this was a decent box, but the DevaCurl cream is the one thing that makes the box worthwhile. 

August 3, 2015

Most Used Daily Hair Products

I have gotten into a new routine with my hair and even though I have been switching up shampoo and conditioner, I have kept the same after shower hair products.

After cleansing and conditioning and before brushing, I love using the It's a 10 Miracle Leave In product. It does a lot for your hair, including detangling it and adding a heat protectant on the rare occasion I'm using heat styling tools.

This isn't an everyday thing, but when my hair feels extra dry I add a little bit of oil. My favorite is the Macadamia Professional Nourishing Moisture Oil Treatment. It adds health, moisture, and shine to my hair without weighing it down or making it look greasy.

No matter what the condition of my hair, I always add a little bit of the Deva Curl Ultra Defining Gel. With some twisting and scrunching of my hands, this gel holds my curls together and combats frizz.

For when my hair is dry, it sometimes needs something to add a little bit of life. On the second or third day, mainly if I am wearing my hair up or using styling tools, I love the Bumble and Bumble Pret-a-powder. It is a powder dry shampoo that blends in better than any other aerosol dry shampoo. it doesn't leave a residue and once rubbed in, it doesn't leave a white cast.

July 29, 2015

Keurig K-Cup Favorites

Everyone who drinks coffee has their own way they take it. I take mine with a decent amount of half and half, no sugar, minimal frills. I love trying out different K-cups and on the Keurig website, you can order select brands of coffee in a sample size of 3 or 5. Thanks to these sample sizes, I have tried a lot of different K-cups and have found four favorites.

Possibly one of the most popular K-Cup picks, I love the Original Donut Shop Coffee. It is a pretty basic, but great quality coffee. People seem to either love or hate this coffee, but it's great when you just want a plain cup of coffee.

I also love any of the flavors from Green Mountain Coffee, and currently my favorite is the Nantucket Blend. It's a darker roast with a nutty, non-bitter, sharp flavor.

One of the lesser known brands, but still one of my favorites, is Peets Coffee. The brand originated in Berkely, California. Recently, they put a location closer to my home and it is basically the best coffee shop ever created.  I like the Cafe Domingo Medium Roast, which has a strong flavor with a smooth texture.

The Starbucks Vanilla is a lighter roast and although it claims to have a stronger vanilla flavor, I think the vanilla takes the edge off of any bitterness.

July 27, 2015

Packing for a Longer Trip

Almost everyone can relate to the struggle that is overpacking. This task becomes especially problematic when you're going on a longer trip and feel the need to take everything you own along with you. Recently, I went away for about 2 weeks and luckily I stayed with family and had all of the normal conveniences that I am accustomed to, basically a washing machine and ample closet space. 

Since I can do laundry while away, I only packed a few nights worth of pajamas and a few workout outfits. To save space, I rolled a top and bottom together and stacked them in one section of my suitcase. 

To have lots of options and prepare myself for any weather possible, I packed a few extras and layering pieces, a stylish jacket, a cardigan, a rain jacket, jeans, and a belt. Packing these extras in a different space and/or pile helps to keep my suitcase more organized, since I'm not digging through and shuffling them around each time I go to find clothing. 

 When it comes to putting together basic outfits, I always like to streamline how many pieces of clothing I have to take. To keep my suitcase a little bit lighter, I only packed a few bottoms (this works when you have access to a washing machine). Then to go with each bottom, I packed a few shirt options, meaning I won't have to repeat the same exact outfit for the whole trip.

After I decided which pieces to pack and laid them all out together, I chose jewelry that will complete the outfits. I always lay everything out to make sure I don't pack a bunch of jewelry that won't coordinate with any of my outfits.

After laying out all my jewelry and deciding what to take and what to leave at home, I pack all the jewelry up in separate ziplocs/jewelry bags so I don't have to spend my hole vacation untangling necklaces. I like to put all of my small accessories in one place, which is where the eaglecreek packing cubes come in handy. These small storage pouches keep everything organized and protected.