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.

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

 

 

A Great Deal at L’Occitane

Yesterday Trixie (8) and I were out running errands, which basically meant I went shopping and took her with me.

I’ve got it in my head that I need a few new things to wear to an upcoming conference, and I wanted to hit up a nearby boutique where I’ve had good luck in the past.

I grabbed a mountain of clothes to take to the dressing room, with Trixie providing a running commentary on my choices, their fit and my overall physical flaws.

I may re-think taking her with me next time.

After a dozen possibilities, I ended up with only two things: a pair of black pants (yawn, I know) and a black dress.

This is the dress:

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I love the gold zipper in the back:Screen Shot 2017-10-08 at 2.01.53 PM

Mission accomplished at the boutique, we wandered through the rest of the mall to get to our car.

Until a divine smell emanating from L’Occitane pulled us in.

L’Occitane is a brand that I genuinely like, but to which I never remain loyal.

Their product line is fairly wide but they tend not to introduce new items often. They’ve been selling the same candied fruits candle, lavender sachets and shea butter tins for nearly two decades, but that’s ok with me.

A sign in the shop indicated that there was a pretty posh Gift With Purchase for a $125 spend.

I’d heard about L’Occitane’s advent calendars but this was the first time I got to see them up close. This year there is a Signature version that retails for $69 and a Luxury one for $124.

Here is the Luxury model:

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Inside are travel sized L’Occitane favorites, 24 total. While I wanted this for myself, I decided to purchase one to give as a gift.

Even with the Luxury calendar, I was still $1 short of the Gift With Purchase, so I opted to add this:

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This Aromachologie Pillow Mist smells heavenly.

From L’Occitane:

The relaxing pillow mist contains the essential oils of lavender, bergamot, mandarin, sweet orange and geranium.

Since the pillow mist is $24, that put me squarely in Gift With Purchase territory.

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The gift contains more-than-expected quantities of lotions, potions and elixirs, and the free tote bag that comes with it is also quite cute.

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It’s denim and canvas, very lightweight but still something that will I carry now while I tackle even more endless errands. 

This particular deal from L’Occitane runs through tomorrow, but if you miss out, there will be another.

Pro tip: L’Occitane also has great outlet stores where they will frequently sell past Gifts With Purchase at bargain prices. I will be doing some premium outlet shopping next month and I will be sure to swing by L’Occitane.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Bobbi Brown Face Palette

Ok, I lost my mind a little bit when I saw that Bobbi Brown had introduced a new version of my beloved face palette, the one that I thought had gone away forever.

This one is currently available at Nordstrom in eight shades, and it retails for $65.

This one may even be better than the last one since it contains everything in the prior kit (corrector, concealer, foundation and powder) PLUS bronzer.

Given how the old palette fell off the face of the Earth, I kind of panicked when I discovered this one and immediately ordered two, lest I have a travel make up emergency.

I should be set for quite a while.

 

 

Aveda Skin Care Review

Aveda is a brand I’ve circled around for more than two decades.

Every five years or so, I come back to Aveda, but I never stay loyal.

There are just too many other good beauty brands out there for my fickle heart.

Two weeks ago I had some time to kill before a work dinner and stopped into the Aveda Experience Center, which is conveniently located across the street from my new office.

Did I mention my new office is in a dangerous location, one that is perilously close to fine retail offerings?

To be honest, I’ve never been particularly impressed by Aveda’s skin care line. While I generally love how Aveda products smell, when it comes to efficacy, I don’t want flower extracts, I want ALL THE CHEMICALS that science can deliver to magically make me look ten years younger. 

But there was something appealing about Aveda’s new Tulasara line that captured my attention.

This brush first caught my eye:

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This soft brush exfoliates dead skin cells at the surface and preps skin for further treatments. It’s meant to dry brush clean skin and then be followed by this pleasant smelling oil.

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It’s a bit complicated, but Aveda describes using these two products together to create a “Radiant Awakening Ritual” (see the video here) that makes skin glow.

The brush is first swept across the face, neck and upper chest in upward circular motions for a minute, then downward strokes are done to cover the same surfaces. This is followed by application of the above oil, which is massaged into the skin for a minute and then allowed to soak in for four minutes before the skin is cleansed with your regular cleanser.

If you’re puzzled, so was I, and if you’re keeping track, this is now adding a whole extra step to skin care, including making the face oily and then washing said oil off.

For the record, I can get behind the idea that the brush may be gently exfoliating, and while the oil smells pleasant, I haven’t noticed any amazing glow. I’ve been trying to use this in the morning, when my skin is basically clean from the night before. After the oil step, I am using one of my regular cleansers (not Aveda) in the shower to wash my face.

I still love my Bliss toner for general use, but since I was in such an Aveda mood, I also picked up this toner-ish product as a post-cleansing step:

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Two more Tulasara products are rounding out this regimen. The first is this concentrate:

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The texture is ok, maybe a touch sticky but I am also probably using too much at any given time. Of all the products, this one smells the most like kitchen spices. The smell reminds me of these cumin roasted carrots I made over the weekend. 

The final step is this rich moisturizing cream:

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Aveda describes this as an overnight masque, but honestly, it’s like a rich moisturizer that could be used for everyday wear if you have dry skin. The smell is more pleasant than the serum above and I’ve been using it as moisturizer. The Aveda employee who helped me at the Experience Center mentioned this was perfectly fine to do, but he cautioned that this doesn’t have SPF in it. Good to know.

Was this the end of my Aveda spree? Unfortunately, no. I also bought a bunch of hair stuff, which I will review at a later time.

However, they did give me a free head massage, two cups of tea, and a deluxe size bottle of Rosemary Mint concentrate for being such a great customer that day at the new Aveda Experience Center!

While I’m still waiting for an amazing glow and transformation, I have pretty low expectations for these products and am enjoying them for what they are, namely great smelling lotions/potions/elixirs that promise a Zen-ish lifestyle to which I aspire.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Surprising Place to Get a Great Deal on Bliss Products

During an early Saturday morning bout of insomnia – really, this is getting to be too, too much, waking up routinely at 2 A.M. and not being able to return to sleep until after 5 A.M. – I discovered the following:

  • There’s nothing good on T.V. during these hours. I ended up mindlessly watching two episodes of a show called “Four Weddings,” where four brides attend and snarkily judge each others’ weddings, points are given and a winner ultimately is selected to receive a free honeymoon “trip to paradise.” It’s not worth your time, even at 4 A.M.
  • I am remarkably thirsty in the middle of the night, and La Croix water really hits the spot.
  • Few of your friends will be active on Facebook, and if they are, that really makes you wonder why they are up in the middle of the night. Of course they are feeling the same way about you.
  • And, drumroll: there is a surprisingly good place to get great deals on Bliss products: Kohl’s.

Kohl’s is not a place where I usually shop. I don’t mind the brands they sell, but there is something about how they display their merchandise that makes me find it hard to browse. Also, I despise the giant mesh tote bags that customers are supposed to use to hold their merchandise (do they even still have these?), and checkout has historically been a nightmare.

So I don’t go there. Ever.

I’m not sure how I even stumbled upon the fact that Kohls.com sells Bliss products, but boy, do they ever.

Right now Bliss products on the Kohl’s site at typically more than half off retail. Because Bliss is considered a prestige brand, the products aren’t eligible for further discounts – and endless sales seems to be another thing Kohl’s does All.The.Time. – but the regular prices are already too good to pass up.

Here’s what I bought:

That’s Incredi-‘Peel’ glycolic resurfacing pads. These are $49 at Bliss and only $22.05 at Kohl’s. I bought two boxes since this was such a steal.

Clog Dissolving Cleansing Milk. $28 at Bliss; $12.60 at Kohl’s. I already have one new one waiting in my bathroom cupboard, so I just ordered one of these.

Daily Detoxifying Facial Toner. Another steal: $11.70 versus $26. Again, I doubled up.

While the range of products is extensive, Kohl’s does not carry my favorite Bliss product, Peeling Groovy Serum. Unfortunately, I think Peeling Groovy’s days are numbered, since this is not readily available at Bliss, either.

Kohl’s even offers Bliss cosmetics, which are hard to find. I tried them last year and wasn’t overly impressed by the quality, but I am pretty loyal to Bobbi Brown in the make-up department.

If you’re curious about Bliss or already loyal, check out these deals ASAP, since I’m not sure how long they’ll last.