A New Gym Hack

Ok, I thought I was a pro at getting ready quickly at the gym , but this new trick has been a game changer.

I previously wrinkled my nose at 2-in-1 shampoo/conditioner products, mostly because it seems like something that would not really do a good job at either task.

I recently read about using both of those products in tandem, which is something a bit different.

Basically you wet hair and lather it up with shampoo, focusing on the sweatiest parts at the roots. Once frothed, you add conditioner to the ends, then rinse everything in one fell swoop.

I’ve recently been working out in the morning quite often, necessitating getting ready for work at the gym. I’ve tried this technique about a dozen times over the past few weeks and it works really well. I can still use the products I like – no weird combo brands – but the all-in-one rinse saves at least a minute or two in the shower. When time is of the essence, this hack helps a lot.

Cheap and Cute, #3

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This headband has proven to be a really useful item.

Technically described as a “beauty band,” it’s meant to hold your hair back and keep it gunk-free as you apply makeup or skin care products.

On Sundays I often use face masks – sometimes several in a row – and this keeps all the weird bits out of my hair as the masks dry.

This is a slightly different concept. It’s an absorbent hair wrap that is supposed to help dry your hair after washing it.

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I saw this on another blog last fall and was excited to order it, since it suddenly seemed like something I needed in my life.

Turns out I haven’t quite gotten the knack of twisting it into place, so while I still like this in theory, I haven’t been reaching for it that much. For people with really longest hick hair, though, I think it could be a game changer.



Beauty Pie Review #2

I ordered another round of products from Beauty Pie over the weekend and was surprised when they showed up a few days later.

This time I included a mix of skin care products and cosmetics.


The skin care products are yet to be proven, but on first glance they all seem nice. I ordered an eye cream, face serum and night moisturizer. The texture is light, almost gel-like. I couldn’t detect any scent. Application was smooth and they were not sticky. All are from their Super Retinol line. While there was a retinol set on the website (advertised as “Coming Soon” here), it is inexplicably more expensive to buy the set than the individual products. The set includes a clear bag to hold the products, so that may account for the price difference (about $34 to buy the individual products versus $41.12 for all of them). The set isn’t currently available and while it includes four products (not just the three I ordered), the fourth is a retinol hand cream that didn’t seem appealing. That made it easy to save a bit and just order what I liked and as a plus, those items were already in stock.

On the cosmetics side, I ordered a set of five gel eyeliners, another cream eyeshadow stick (Wild Violet), and a Futurelipstick Luxe Shine lipstick (Naked Pink).

Here they are swatched on my arm:


Ok, a couple of things here. This is my right arm and I am right handed, hence the wavy lines with the gel eyeliners that were applied by my left hand. From top to bottom, the colors are Stargazer (metallic gray), Turkish coffee, Envy, Deep Blue Sea, Very Pretty Plum, Wild Violet (the shadow stick), and Naked Pink.

The gel eyeliner set is a huge bargain. The colors are creamy and even when applied by a non-dominant hand, they swatched with zero tug. I like all of the colors. Trixie picked Deep Blue Sea as her favorite.

The Wild Violet shadow stick is also quite pretty and manages to straddle the line between purple and copper. This is very appealing.


The Futurelipstick was also a winner. Not only is the color right up my alley, the texture is creamy and there is perhaps a very faint vanilla taste. I am definitely going to order more of these.

The prices stacked up as follows (listed as suggested retail/member cost):

  • Gel eyeliner set: $35/$11.79
  • Cream eyeshadow stick: $26/$2.88
  • Lipstick: $25/$3.56
  • Face serum: $100/$11.09
  • Night renewal moisturizer: $95/$9.28
  • Eye cream: $85/$7.17

All told, this was about $47 for the products (member cost here) and $8 for shipping, so for bought $55 I was able to get a lot.

Beauty Pie continues to win me over.

Beauty Pie Review

Beauty Pie launched a year ago to great fanfare.

Founded by Marcia Kilgore – of Bliss Spa fame – the ostensible goal of Beauty Pie is for members to buy luxury grade beauty products at cost, which means that a lipstick that would normally retail for $25 is only $3.10 at Beauty Pie.

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Of course there is a catch.

For one, membership will cost you a minimum of $10 per month. Memberships are typically a minimum of 3 months and automatically renew.

The basic membership gives you the opportunity to buy $100 worth of products per month, but the next catch is that when you tally up the cost of your selections, you have to use the “suggested retail price” and not the member price, meaning that the above lipstick will eat up 25% of your monthly budget.

On top of this, you still need to pay $3.10 for the lipstick (member price here), plus shipping. Doing the math, that means that if you bought 4 lipsticks to utilize all of your $100 monthly budget, you would pay $10 (membership) + 4 x $3.10 + roughly $8 for shipping = over $30 for 4 lipsticks. While this is still cheaper than, say, four Chanel lipsticks, the extra costs add up.

I’ve been intrigued by Beauty Pie for a while and finally gave it a shot last month. I signed up for the basic membership and then quickly figured out that I would run out of my monthly allotment with just a few products. In theory, if you don’t spend it all in a month the allotment will roll over to the next month, meaning if you spend only $75 one month you would have $125 the next. When I signed up Beauty Pie was offering a special for new members to get $150 worth of products for the first month, and I also opted for a “top up” allowance (supposedly a one time thing, but I am suspicious that this offer will come around again) of $500 extra spending power for $50 real dollars.

With that in hand, I started by making a wishlist of what I wanted. It was quickly over my $150 budget (the $500 extra didn’t kick in until the following month since I hadn’t paid yet). In the end, I ordered four products: two lip glosses (Hello Petal and Brown Sugar), a cream eyeshadow stick in a metallic taupe called “Brazillionaire” and something called Fruitizyme Five Minute Facial. 

The retail/member prices for these were as follows:

  • Lip gloss – $25/$2.78 (x 2)
  • Eyeshadow stick- $26/$2.88
  • Fruitizyme – $70/$8.37

These four products used up almost all of my $150 allowance for the first month. By the time I paid shipping, membership, member prices for the product and then had the $50 top up, I was about $85 poorer.

Shipping was surprisingly quick, even during the holiday rush. I’ve read other reviews complaining about the packaging, but I didn’t mind it.



Here are swatches:


In order they are the Brazillionaire shadow stick, Brown Sugar gloss and Hello Petal gloss.

I was really happy with all of these. The Brazillionaire stick reminded me of a metallic taupe limited edition Bobbi Brown shadow stick that I used until it was a nub and have been searching for ever since. It hits the right mark between gray and brown and would be flattering for any eye color.

The glosses have a great feel (not too sticky, not too thin) and a subtle, pleasant vanilla taste. I am definitely going to order more.

Full disclosure, I did not try the Fruitizyme facial yet. The same week that I ordered these, I did a prescription strength chemical peel (this one) and my whole face peeled off for days. Spouse said it looked like a snake had been sleeping in our bed. 

Current verdict on Beauty Pie: I’m still intrigued. There are enough products on my wishlist to use up my $500 top up allowance plus three months (minimum membership length) of buying. I’ll keep posting what I get.



Madewell Candles & A Beauty Launch

Argh! I’m a bit late to post on this, seeing that one of the lovely candles I recently discovered now appears to be sold out.

Madewell launched a line of candles a few months ago, and I picked up a set of these as a gift, and then immediately purchased a second set for myself:

These are slightly larger than a votive and they’re hand poured here in Minnesota. The ceramic containers are supposedly re-usable once the candles are done.

The two pictured above are Fig Cassis and Cedar Vetiver, respectively, but the sold out one – which, sadly, was my favorite – came in a lovely millennial pink hue and is scented with Bergamot and Amber. Together, the three made a pretty trio and the palette is spot on for 2017. 

Even though millennial pink candle #1 may no longer be available, this new Bergamot and Amber edition is:

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Same tone, same scent. Millennial Pink #2.

The new candle release also includes this cute number:

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One more thing: Madewell also just launched Beauty Cabinet, an edited collection of  cosmetics that include French Girl Lip Tints.

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Lip Review

Lipgloss. How I love you.

Ever since I was a three year old eating Lipsmackers, I’ve had an ongoing relationship with all things lip and glossy.

Lipstick tends to get all over my teeth and since I’m not used to seeing myself in it, I always feel awkward when I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror as I try to rock a bright lip.

Gloss is my friend, and historically has been one of my favored pick-me-up treats to buy.

Recently I ordered three new-to-me lip products from Sephora.

Pop star Rihanna just launched her new Fenty Beauty line, and it basically broke the beauty internet. The collection (more than 90 items) is being praised for its extensive shades of foundation, but curiously, it only has one lip gloss.

This is called the Universal Lip Lumizer and is described as shiny, rose nude shade. The packaging is nice, the gloss is not too sticky, and the color is as billed. This is going to be a long, long reach, but this gloss reminds me – in both color and formula – of a Calvin Klein gloss that I had sometime in the 1990s. I think it was called Apricot.

Sidenote: Did you even know that Calvin Klein had a makeup line in the 90s? It was very minimalist in the packaging, and I recall liking their eye and lip glosses. The lipgloss came in a glass tube with a silver cap and the color I had was a near dupe of the Fenty one above. I used it until it dropped and broke. Sigh.

Eye Glosses

[In researching this post, it looks like cK had a revival of their cosmetics line about five years ago, but it seems to have suffered a similar fate as in the 90s since it no longer is available except on eBay and closeout/discount sites].

Back to the Fenty gloss: I would rate it as an 8/10 when considering color, consistency (not sticky but a bit thin, requiring re-application more than I would like), scent/taste (not sure if there is one, if so it is very subtle), and packaging (solid plastic body and cap that closes with a satisfying click twist at the end).

The second product I ordered was billed as a creamy argan lip butter with plumping ability. That is a lot to promise, but Josie Maran does it.

I thought this would be a shiny gloss in stick form, but the finish is more matte than I expected. To be fair, it is described as “satin finish” on the Sephora website, so I should have been warned. The plumping effect is minimal and comes from a pepper-y infusion that very mildly causes the lips to sting. It did not give a bee-stung effect as implied, but it also was not stinging to the point of irritation.

The color descriptions on Sephora’s website were not too clear, but I ended up ordering Free It, which is another rose/pink/nude shade. Josie Maran wins here on two accounts: the grapefruit scent (and taste) is really on point, and the packaging is also solid and features a small bump to click and hold the lid in place. I would rate this as a 7/10, with the high score relating to the grapefruit scent and the packaging. Without these, the finish is not my favorite and I would give it a 4 or 5 if the scent was bad and the case was cheap.

The final thing I received in this order was a freebie, but it’s a lip product and I’m going to still review it.

This is a sample of the Tarte Quench Lip Rescue in Buff. It’s described as having a high shine finish and retails for $19. The freebie size was considerably smaller than the retail version:

Here it is up against the Josie Maran lip butter (which is a standard size lipstick) for comparison.

This Tarte sample is what I thought the argan lip butter would be, namely a high shine lipgloss-in-a-stick. The formula is extremely creamy and the color is a subtle your-lips-but-slightly-more shade. The outer packaging is cardboard (i.e. not sturdy), but I can’t complain since this was a freebie. It’s probably not fair to rate it, but I liked the color and formula enough that I’m planning to buy a full sized version. It comes in eight different shades, including clear.









October/November Love Goodly Review

Love Goodly is a bimonthly subscription box that features cruelty and toxin free products.

A regular subscription is $29.95 per box (for which Love Goodly promises at least $80 worth of products). As I was researching this post, I noticed there is also a VIP box that is $47.95 per box but promises at least one full sized item in each shipment. This is a review of the regular October/November box.

I first read about this subscription on another site, specifically reviewing the August/September box. This box included a full sized bottle of citrus scented KINDri face oil. I love anything citrus-y, and when the review described the scent as smelling exactly like the orange grove scent that is piped in during Disneyland’s Soarin’ ride, I knew I wanted it. I love that ride, and I knew *exactly* the scent they were describing. Since the face oil alone retails for $45, it seemed like a no-brainer to at least give this subscription a one-box trial. My first box included some hits (the face oil, a neutral but shimmery eye shadow) and some misses (an all natural cream deodorant that went straight into the trash and an unpalatable protein bar that quickly joined it).

I was happy to see my second box on the doorstep when I arrived home tonight.


The box contained a product information card that included a recipe for vegan corn chowder on the back. The print on the recipe is tiny but honestly, it looks pretty tasty so I might keep this around if I ever get inspired to make soup. There was also a card with information about breast cancer screening and detection, being that October is breast cancer awareness month.

On to the products:

This Bella Pierre loose mineral blush is described as a “universally flattering Autumn Glow,” and the info card suggests using it to extend a summer tan. I swatched it below:


This was extremely sparkly when I first put it on. I was totally offput by that fact and planned to give this to my eight year old daughter for her play makeup kit. To be fair, after about 20 minutes the sparkle seemed to rub off and I was left with something more terra cotta-ish. I still probably won’t use this, and it definitely does not seem worth the listed $35 value.


I’m showing the packaging for the next item, which is Moondani Mystic Mint Breath Spray. The listed value is $8.50 and it is described as an all natural breath spray that incorporates cardamom, fennel and ginger. The size of this is small (maybe 3-5 ml?), but it is the right size to carry in a handbag. My package seemed to leak a bit, which is a bummer because in theory, I love weird breath fresheners (Aveda’s mint drops, those Listerine breath strips that look like stamps). I tested it out and the flavor I got was mostly peppermint. The flavor seemed a bit off, which may have been from the leak or perhaps I didn’t shake it up enough. I thought this item was ok, but better in theory than reality.


This was probably my favorite item in the box, Mr. B’s Calm/Sleep aromatherapy roll on, which contains a blend of lavender, orange and spruce essential oils mixed with jojoba and sweet almond. The listed price is $11.95, which I think is fair. I have good intentions of using this, but there is at least a 50/50 chance that I will forget about it and not use it when I am stressed or want to sleep.


To me, this looks like a travel sized Mindful Skincare Blueberry Mask, which was surprisingly listed as being a $30 value. Careful reading of the information card suggested that this is, in fact, full sized – something I find hard to believe. The color is a fairly unattractive gray, but the scent and texture are pleasant. I haven’t given the mask the full treatment yet, but I will.


This brush was the last item in the box. It’s from 100% Pure and is listed as a $19 value. The brushes are antibacterial, synthetic fibers. Overall this is a nice brush. I have a lot of spare makeup brushes, so this isn’t something I need but I will probably end up stashing it and using at some point.


Overall, I found that this box also had hits and misses. I was disappointed that the breath freshener leaked. The aromatherapy roll on was a nice discovery, and I will at least try the blueberry mask and eventually use the brush. The blush? Probably still going to my eight year old daughter.

What do you think of this month’s Love Goodly box?