Monday, September 25, 2017

September Allure Beauty Box

Allure Beauty Box…  How do I love thee?  Let me count the ways.  One:  Full-size Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush.  Two:  Drunk Elephant Skin Care.  Soooo many products of theirs are on my Wish List.   Three:  Promo codes for 20% purchases at both these brand’s websites.    Four:
I could continue but it’s already well documented that Allure is my favorite subscription box so I’ll keep the rest of my gushing to myself.

This month’s box –

  • Drunk Elephant Lala Retro Whipped Cream
  • Living Proof Full Dry Volume Blast
  • Beautyblender Micro Mini
  • Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Eye
  • Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-hour blush in “Dazzled”

  • The Tarte Blush in “Dazzled” will be a nice addition to my blush wardrobe!  At first I was a little bummed that I didn’t receive “Captivating” which is a warm peach shade and typically what I lean towards, but then I realized, “Really Kristina?  Do you need another peach blush?”  Honestly, need is subjective where makeup is concerned but now I can say I’m expanding my horizons with a pretty dusty rose shade!

    As I mentioned earlier, I have quite a few Drunk Elephant items on my Wish List.  This Whipped Cream moisturizer sounds absolutely delightful for my already dry skin that’s about to get even drier as the weather cools.  I’m also looking forward to trying the volumizing spray from Living Proof.  I love their dry shampoo so we’ll see if this Dry Volume Blast gives my hair when it’s freshly washed the oomph and grip I need.

    Can’t wait for next month’s!

    Tuesday, September 12, 2017

    September Birchbox

    The September edition of my Birchbox arrived yesterday.  I feel like I've been waiting for forever for this thing!  The enclosed card stated this box is "all about you - and making your routine easier, faster, and more fun."  I think I'm going to have to check my profile because I received two products for oily or acne-prone skin whereas my skin is definitively dry and I rarely breakout.  Oh well, the mattifying toner at least can go to my daughter!

    The contents:

    • Avene Cleanance MAT Mattifying Toner
    • Briogeo Rosarco Milk Reparative Leave-In Conditioning Spray
    • Evologie Intensive Blemish Serum
    • Pixi by Petra LipLift Max in "Honey Sheen"
    • Wilma Schumann Skin Care Mouth & Lips Age-Defying Masque
    The "Honey Sheen" shade of the gloss I received looks to be a peachy-nude which is absolutely one of my favorite lip colors, and I already know I like the Briogeo Leave-In conditioner.  My lips don't need any plumping as of yet but I'll never turn down testing a new mask lol! While the mattifying toner is definitely going to my teenage daughter, I'll have to look into the ingredients of the blemish serum before I decide what to do with that one.

    Tuesday, August 22, 2017

    Sephora Haul 08.21.17

    Over the weekend I received two packages from Sephora!  One was an order that I placed for 4x points and a GWP, and the other was a Rewards Bazaar point redemption.

    I had the Burberry Beauty Box hanging out in my cart just waiting for a worthwhile promo, and I’m such a sucker for sample bags that I decided to go for it as soon as one was available . This beauty bag promo had a $40 minimum purchase, and since I was intrigued by the flavors of Coco Floss I added the Coconut to my order to get me just over.

    I was fairly annoyed when I opened the Burberry Beauty Box to find a blush inside instead of the Pale Barley eyeshadow that was advertised when I ordered.  It looks like it might work for contouring though so we’ll see.  I’m very happy with the samples I received in the beauty promo and am especially looking forward to trying the GlamGlow Illuminating Moisturizer and Purity Made Simple Clay Mask!

    Onto the Point Redemption!  Every time Sephora previews the Point Perks and I see something I actually want to spend my points on I end up missing out.  I’ll check in the morning and it won’t be available yet and so I’ll check a couple hours later and it’ll be sold out!  This has been going on for over year so I’m pretty excited I managed to snag one!

    This point redemption from Tarte came with:
    • Beach Towel
    • Canvas Tote Bag
    • Blue Tooth Speaker
    • Water Bottle
    • Hair Goals Dry Shampoo (full-size)
    • Rainforest of the Sea Lipstick in “Colada” (full-size)
    • Park Avenue Princess Bronzer (deluxe sample)
    • Ready Set Radiant Mist (deluxe sample)
    • Lights, Camera, Lashes (deluxe sample)
    Have you gotten your hands on any good promotions or point redemptions lately?  And, most importantly, is it still available for me to get in on lol?!

    Thursday, August 17, 2017

    Target Beauty Box - August

    Target's August's Beauty Box is full of products to make the most of your daily routine.  I don't grab one of these every month, but with 2 full-size products and every item being something either my daughter or I use, it was a great value!

    The contents:

    • Dove Clear Finish Dry Spray Deodorant (full-size)
    • Up&Up 25-ct Facial Wipes (full-size)
    • Biore Deep Cleansing Pore Strips (1 count)
    • SpaLife Nourishing Facial Mask
    • Herbal Essences Argan Oil Shampoo
    • Garnier Clearly Brighter Daily Scrub
    Did you grab one this month?  Which product were you most excited about?

    Friday, August 11, 2017

    August Birchbox

    Easy Does It - "Effortless days call for an effortless routine."

    My August Birchbox contained the following:

    • Acure Organics Day Cream
    • Benefit Gimme Brown Volumizing Fiber Gel in “3 Medium”
    • Glamglow Thirstymud Hydrating Treatment
    • Marcelle City Multi-Protection Tinted Cream SPF 25 in “Fair”
    • Oribe Gold Lust Dry Shampoo
    I already know and love Thirstymud, Gimme Brow, and Oribe Dry Shampoo, so a big “Yay!” for travel-size versions to take on my next trip.  Acure Organics is one of my favorite brands for argan oil so I have no doubt I’ll love their Day Cream, and while Marcelle’s products have been hit or miss for me in the past, I have my fingers crossed on this Tinted Cream!

    Saturday, August 5, 2017

    Cherry and Cream Cheese Overnight French Toast

    The other day while having breakfast at Panera I decided to take home a French baguette to have with dinner.  The intention was to make a cheese board and wash it down with the obligatory bottle of red wine but for some reason this did not happen.  I don’t recall why but two days later I found myself with a stale baguette.

    I took to Pinterest for inspiration on what to do with it and came across a recipe I’d pinned ages ago.  I had all the required ingredients on hand (with some minor modifications) including the leftover cherries I had frozen after finding them for such a great deal a couple of weeks ago!

    First, tear your bread into chunks and place half of them in the bottom of a greased pan.  Normally I would cram more bread in there, but I had a small-ish loaf and was worried I wouldn’t have enough.

    Next scatter some chunks of cream cheese and fresh or frozen cherry halves across the top.   Cover the cream cheese and cherries with the remaining bread chunks, whip up your French Toast mixture (eggs, 1/2 and 1/2, brown sugar, vanilla, and spices) and pour it over the top, thoroughly soaking the bread.  Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.  (If you’re blogging, forget to take pictures of those last 3 steps.  It keeps things interesting.)

    The next morning, set your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and allow the covered casserole to sit at room temperature while the oven preheats.  Bake covered for 20 minutes.  Remove the foil and bake another 20 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the bottom isn’t a soupy eggy mess.

    Cut a generous square for yourself and drizzle with maple syrup.  Unfortunately, what landed on my plate wasn’t exactly photogenic but it sure did taste good!  My husband commented that it was “absolutely delicious” and suggested that I use even more cherries next time.

    Cherry and Cream Cheese Overnight French Toast
    1 French baguette (day old or stale)
    1 8oz block of cream cheese, cubed
    1c fresh or frozen cherry halves
    6 eggs
    2c 1/2 and 1/2
    1/2c brown sugar
    2t vanilla extract
    1t cinnamon
    1/2t nutmeg
    dash cloves
    Maple syrup for serving

    1 – Butter or grease a 9×13″ baking pan.  Tear the baguette into pieces and place half in the bottom of the prepared pan.   Scatter the chunks of cream cheese and fresh or frozen cherry halves across the top.   Cover the cream cheese and cherries with the remaining bread pieces.

    2 – Mix together the eggs, 1/2 and 1/2, brown sugar, vanilla, and spices.  Whisk well and pour the mixture over the top,  thoroughly soaking the bread.  Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.

    3 – Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.   Remove the casserole from the fridge and allow to sit at room temperature while the oven warms.  Bake covered for 20 minutes.  Remove foil and bake an additional 20 minutes or until the top is golden brown and most of the egg mixture has been absorbed.

    4 – Remove from the oven and allow to cool briefly.  Cut into squares and serve with maple syrup.  Refrigerate leftovers.

    Adapted from Manila Spoon

    Thursday, July 20, 2017

    Cherry Almond Crisp

    Yesterday while out grocery shopping I came across cherries for the practically unheard of price of $.99/lb!  I didn't have a plan in mind for what to do with them but figured I'd be able to whip up something with the basics in my pantry.  A simple crisp or cobbler crossed my mind and then I remembered making a Cherry Crisp from Iowa Girl Eats a couple years back, so I decided to go that route again!

    The ingredients:

    First things first - pit the cherries.  If you don't have a cherry pitter an empty beer or soda bottle and plastic straw works wonderfully!  Next, slice them in half and toss them with some sugar, flour, cinnamon, and vanilla.

    Then, mix up the topping ingredients using a fork and knife or your fingers until it's all nice and crumbly, and pour it over the fruit.

    Bake until golden brown and crispy! Allow to cool a little bit and serve with sweetened whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

    Cherry Almond Crisp
    1 to 1 1/2lbs cherries, pitted and halved
    1T sugar
    2t flour
    1t vanilla extract
    1/4t cinnamon

    Crisp Topping
    1/2c old-fashioned oats
    1/2c brown sugar
    1/4c flour
    1/4c cold butter, cubed
    1/4c sliced almonds

    Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  Combine cherries, sugar, flour, vanilla, and cinnamon and spread into greased baking dish or pie pan.

    Recipe lightly adapted from Iowa Girl Eats

    Wednesday, July 12, 2017

    July Allure Beauty Box and Gift

    This month the editors at Allure put together the summer essentials they use to look amazing despite the heat and humidity.  With it being 95 outside today the timing on this couldn’t be more perfect!  And…  I received an amazing surprise in the mail!

    What I got:

  • Briogeo Rosarco Blow Dry Perfection & Heat Protectant Crème
  • Feel Brilliant Bamboo Charcoal Facial Sheet Mask
  • Redken Fashion Waves 07 Sea Salt Spray
  • Burt’s Bees Complete Nourishment Facial Oil
  • Wander Beauty Lipstick in “Barely There”
  • Cargo Swimmables Water Resistant Blush in “Bali”
  • Beauty for Real Lip Revival Exfoliating + Hydrating Lip Scrub

  • All products I haven’t tried previously and I’m not even sure which one I’m most excited to test first.  Maybe the facial oil.  I love argan oil and am interested to see if Burt’s Bee’s blend of rose hip and primrose oils is even better!  (Or if it will make me break out.)

    And the surprise?  Two full-size Marc Jacobs lip glosses that I received for being a long-standing subscriber!  The colors they sent me are “Hey You” which is a bright pink/cherry shade, and “Moonglow” which is a pale pink/nude.

    I’ve said many times that Allure’s Beauty Box is my favorite out of all the boxes I’ve subscribed to (both past and present).  It’s good to know they love me back!

    Friday, July 7, 2017

    Rhubarb Streusel Cake with Vanilla Sauce

    The rhubarb abundance continues and therefore so do the rhubarb recipes!  This is actually the third rhubarb recipe I've made in the last couple of weeks but only the second I'm posting about.  (The other recipe was a Strawberry Rhubarb Pie, which while delicious, was not very pretty.  I'll try again on that one!)

    This is one of those recipes that sounds kind of fancy but is actually fairly simple to throw together! First, fold 3 cups of chopped rhubarb into a buttermilk batter.

    Next, spread the batter into a greased pan and sprinkle a simple streusel topping over the top.

    Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes and until the top is golden brown.  (Mental note to self:  use Windex on glass cooktop prior to taking and uploading photos for blog post.)

    It will look golden and beautiful and you will want to dig right in, but for the love of baking powder, please allow it to cool a bit!  Make the vanilla sauce while you wait.

    Once the cake (and sauce) have cooled to a not mouth-scorching temperature, pour over a generous amount of the vanilla sauce and serve!

    Rhubarb Streusel Cake with Vanilla Sauce
    2T salted butter, softened
    1c sugar
    1 egg
    2c all-purpose flour
    1t baking powder
    1/2t baking soda
    1c buttermilk
    3c fresh rhubarb, chopped

    In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar.  Beat in egg.  In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and baking soda.  Stir flour mixture into creamed mixture, alternating with buttermilk.  Beat just until moistened - do not overmix.  Fold in the rhubarb and pour into a greased 9" square baking dish.

    Streusel Topping
    1/4c all-purpose flour
    1/4c sugar
    2T butter, melted
    Combine all ingredients.  Sprinkle over prepared rhubarb batter.  Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Allow to cool.  Top with Vanilla Sauce and serve.

    Vanilla Sauce
    1/2c salted butter
    3/4c sugar
    1/2 evaporate milk
    1/2 vanilla bean, scraped

    Melt the butter in a saucepan.  Add sugar, evaporated milk, and scraped vanilla bean.  Bring to a boil, stirring constantly for 2-3 minutes or until thickened.  Remove from heat.  Allow to cool slightly and transfer to a storage container.  Refrigerate leftovers.

    Lightly adapted from My Baking Addiction

    Thursday, June 29, 2017

    Wal-Mart Summer Beauty Boxes

    Both of my seasonal Wal-Mart Beauty Boxes arrived earlier this week!  Is it silly that I'm most excited about a sponge?  (Maybe a little bit lol!)  Though to be fair, I do use a lot of masks so anything that makes them easier (and less messy) to remove is golden in my book!

    The contents of my "Trendsetter" box

    • Schwarzkopf Got 2b Ultra Glued Invincible Styling Gel
    • imPress Press-On Manicure
    • Ecotools Mask Remover Sponges
    • Simple Cleansing Facial Wipes
    • Pantene Dream Care Shampoo and Conditioner
    • Real Techniques Brush Cleansing Gel (sample packet)

    My "Classic" box was full of daily necessities as always.  The dry shampoo was inexplicably missing it's cap upon arrival...

    The contents:

    • Banana Boat Dry Balance Sunscreen
    • Dove Volume & Fullness Dry Shampoo
    • Ponds Original Fresh Towelettes
    • Pantene Dream Care Shampoo and Conditioner
    • ROC Multi Correxion 5 in 1 Chest, Neck, and Face Cream
    • Burt's Bees Skin Nourishment Night Cream (sample packet)
    As always these are a super steal at $5 each!  If you haven't signed up for yours yet you can do so here.

    Tuesday, June 20, 2017

    June Allure Beauty Box

    This month's box is themed "Glow Getters" and contains the following summer-worthy products:
    • Deco Miami Nail Lacquer in "Feeling Fuego"
    • John Frieda Frizz Ease Keraflex Hairspray
    • Yves Saint Laurent Touche Éclat Blur Primer
    • Juice Beauty Stem Cellular Anti-Wrinkle Booster Serum
    • St. Tropez Self Tan Express Bronzing Face Sheet Mask
    • Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask
    I'm very happy with the samples in this box although I'm most excited about the YSL Primer and Tata Harper Mask! The only item I won't use is the bronzing sheet mask, and that's only because I'm not quite dumb (or brave) enough to try self-tanner on my face when I haven't even mastered using it on my legs yet LOL!

    Thursday, June 15, 2017

    Rhubarb Pudding Cake

    An abundance of rhubarb in my and one of my good friends backyards meant it was time to get baking.  (It's good to have friends with gardens - she gave me a lot of rhubarb!)  First on my baking list is the super easy Rhubarb Pudding Cake.  With an ooey gooey not-to-sweet center and a crispy sugary crust, this recipe is sure to be a hit with kids and grown ups alike!

    Here we have about 2 cups of chopped rhubarb spread across the bottom of a 9" square pan.

    Next you'll spread the prepared batter evenly over the top of the fruit and follow that with a healthy (ok, not "healthy" per se...) sprinkling of sugar and cornstarch.

    Now for the part that made me do a double-take the first time I saw this recipe:  Pour boiling water over the top.

    "Did I read that correctly?"   Yes you did.  Yes it's very soupy looking.  Yes it will be ok.

    Bake at 375 for 45 minutes and you'll have this golden brown dessert that is both gooey and crispy.  It's best served hot straight out of the oven with some sweetened whipped cream, but isn't too shabby eaten cold straight out of the pan the next day either.  Not that I would know that personally. *cough*

    Rhubarb Pudding Cake
    2c rhubarb, chopped
    1 3/4c sugar, divided
    3T salted butter, melted and cooled
    1t baking powder
    1/2c milk
    1t vanilla extract
    1c all-purpose flour
    1T cornstarch
    2/3c boiling water

    Preheat oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit. 

    Spread chopped rhubarb over the bottom of a 9" baking pan.

    In a bowl, mix together 3/4c sugar, butter, baking powder, vanilla, milk, and flour.  Spread batter evenly over rhubarb.

    Combine remaining 1c sugar and cornstarch and dprinkle over the batter.  Pour boiling water over the top.

    Bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown and bubbling.

    Tuesday, June 13, 2017

    Target Beauty Box - June

    Hello Sunshine!

    Target's June Beauty Box is all about products that will keep you looking summer ready all month long!

    • John Frieda Beach Blonde Sea Salt Spray
    • Masque Bar Soothing Sheet Mask
    • NYX Gotcha Covered Concealer in "Medium"
    • Aussie 3-Minute Miracle Mask Treatment
    • Hawaiian Tropic Island Sport Sunscreen
    • Schick Hydro Silk Women's Razor
    • Sinful Colors Nail Polish in "Island Coral"
    Every single thing in this box is something I will use almost immediately - the NYX Concealer is definitely too dark for me to use as a concealer, but I think I will try a drop or two mixed with moisturizer and see if that works for some sheer coverage.  Other than that, every thing else is spot on!

    Time to go get a pedicure with my new coral polish! :D

    Saturday, June 10, 2017

    Antique Cookbook - White House Cookbook

    I first spotted the White House Cook Book a few years back at my favorite antique store.  Unfortunately it was priced outside of my budget, and in the years since I’d only come across copies that were either in terrible condition or priced unreasonably considering the condition.  Then just a couple of weeks ago I found a 1913 edition with the binding mostly intact, for the absolute steal of $17!  I was so excited to start paging through it that I nearly made myself car sick (people who can read in the car amaze me) and I was forced to wait until I arrived home.

    Old timey recipes can be endlessly entertaining and occasionally even slightly horrifying.  The White House Cookbook, first published in 1887, has more than just a few gems.   Codfish Balls make an appearance alongside other delights such as Spiced Beef Tongue, Squirrel and Green Turtle Soups (with the option for egg balls for the latter), and Calf’s Head three ways (baked, boiled, or as a “cheese”.)

    Fortunately, for every recipe most of couldn’t even imagine preparing yet alone eating, there are dozens of others that pertain to the modern day palate and cook (even if a few tweaks or experimental go-arounds need to made here and there.)  Take for instance that many recipes call for a “teacupful” of rice or raisins, a “coffeecupful” of molasses, or the amount of butter “half the size of an egg”.  How big was the standard teacup back then?  (I would guess ½ a cup with a coffee cup being closer to 1 whole cup.)  And measuring butter by the size of an egg?  That’s tricky because eggs now days are much larger than what chickens produced a century ago.

    Antiques cook books also make one appreciate the modern day conveniences most of us take for granted.  When is the last time you appreciated not having to milk a cow to make butter?  Or not having to make a brine to preserve said butter?   Or that you didn’t have to collect warm rain water to make vinegar?  (That last one was a shock to me.  I had no idea!)

    There are so many recipes in here that I haven’t the slightest idea which I’ll attempt to a make first.  Between musing about egg sizes and where I could find “brimstone the size of a bean” to make strawberry syrup, I’m just enjoying reading the book!

    Friday, June 9, 2017

    What I'm Reading: Back in the Day Bakery Made with Love

    "Cheryl and Griffith Day, authors of the New York Times bestselling Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook, are back with more recipes to make with love. Who needs store-bought when baking things at home is so gratifying? In this follow-up to their smash-hit first book, the Days share ways to lovingly craft not only desserts, but also breakfast pastries, breads, pizza, and condiments."
    I own and love their first cookbook, (reviewed here ), so when their follow-up caught my eye at Barnes & Noble the other day I didn't hesitate to purchase it!  Back in the Day Bakery Made with Love is every bit as wonderful as it's predecessor and contains more than just the dessert recipes you'd expect.
    There are savory dinner and side dishes like Beans and Corn Bread Cobbler, Tomato Pie, and Devilish Eggs.  There are both sweet and savory marmalades along with homemade syrups and butters, and also D.I.Y projects such as party hats and cake toppers.  But don't worry, there are plenty of the traditional recipes you'd expect from a bakery like breads, cakes, and brownies too!
    I think the first recipe on my to-do list from this book will be the Honey White Bread because seriously, does anything smell better than fresh baked bread? Ok, maybe brownies - those smell amazing too!
    (Honey White Bread is pictured below alongside Sweet Potato Pot Pie, Chocolate Honey Fudge, and the Sweet 16 Cake Topper.)

    Monday, May 22, 2017

    Allure and Birchbox - May

    Both of these Beauty Boxes showed up in my mailbox on the same day last week.  I am so far behind on things I want to post about (new cookbook, a major antique cookbook score, and recipes) that I decided to combine both boxes into one post and shorten it up a bit!

    • Drunk Elephant Umbra Sheer Physical Daily Defense SPF 30
    • Skinfix Foaming Clay Cleanser
    • This Works Stress Check Breath In Fragrance
    • Luxie Beauty Rose Gold Tapered Blending Eye Brush 205
    • Doucce Eyeshadow Mono in "Jody"
    • Kneipp Lavender Body Oil
    I'm most excited about the Drunk Elephant sunscreen in this box.  I've been having an issue with facial sunscreen and eye irritation lately.  Even when I'm careful to keep it away from my eyes they will start to burn and water whenever I use SPF on my face. Not sure what's going there, but needless to say, I'm on the search for a new one because I am way too fair to go without sunscreen in the summer!

    • Davines MINU Shampoo and Conditioner
    • Living Proof Perfect Hair Day In-Shower Styler
    • The Beauty Crop Fabulous Flocking Lashes Mascara
    • Tocca Giulietta Eau de Parfum
    • Vita Liberata Fabulous Self Tanning Gradual Lotion
    Am I the only one who thinks it's fun that the Fabulous Flocking Mascara has a flock of flamingos on the package?! I'm going to assume "No"! :) And despite the fact that I have a laundry list of self-tanning fiascos under my belt, I'm still cautiously optimistic that I'll find one that doesn't turn me orange.  I will report back on my success or failure of the Vita Liberata in a future post!

    Tuesday, May 16, 2017

    Love It, Like It, or Lose It v.11

    Time for another over due round of LLL!  I found a new love (that I wish was a bit less expensive), a couple of likes, and one product that I'd like to hurl back at the manufacturer on behalf of my youngest daughter.

    Murad Hydro Dynamic Ultimate Moisture - "A luxurious, yet lightweight cream that provides 24-hour hydration to restore suppleness and visibly reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles"

    Thoughts:  I really, really like this moisturizer!  Hydrating enough for my dry skin without being heavy and no breakouts.  No visible reduction in my forehead lines but I don't think those qualify as "fine" at this point.

    MAC Zoom Lash - "A mascara with a three-sided fiber brush that instantly volumizes and separates lashes."

    Thoughts:  I was underwhelmed by this mascara.  Decent volume but not very lengthening.  A bit smudgy also.

    Drybar Prep Rally - "A lightweight pre-styling spray formulated with biotin, vitamin B, and UV blockers to detangle, protect hair against heat, and refresh styles."

    Thoughts:  Strongly scented and not in a nice "I wish they made this in a perfume" kind of way.  Lightly detangling.  Love the UV and heat protection.

    SK-II Facial Treatment Essence - " helps improve the appearance of the five dimensions of beautiful, crystal clear skin—reducing spots and the appearance of wrinkles, improving skin texture and firmness and elevating radiance."

    Thoughts:  I've been hearing good things about this product for ages but the price has always kept me away and sent me in search of dupes instead.  Once I got my hands on a sample though I eagerly tried it. Holy buckets this stuff is amazing!  Makes my skin feel so hydrated and honestly seems to improve the results of my other skincare.

    Eucerin Eczema Relief - "Helps protect and relieve dry skin irritation and itching due to eczema."

    Thoughts:  How this made it out of the lab I will never know.  This caused my daughter's dry itchy skin to to burn and turn bright red.  She looked and felt so much worse.  Definitely do not recommend for sensitive eczema prone skin.

    Tuesday, May 9, 2017

    Target Beauty Box - May

    Target's Beauty Box for this month is focused on renewal and is filled with products to help you feel pampered and refreshed!  Shockingly, this box is still available (at the time of this writing) and you can snag one here.  These typically sell out the same day so I don't know if they stocked more or what!

    • Nexxus Caviar Complex Shampoo & Conditioner
    • Acure Pore Minimizing Red Clay Mask
    • Nubian Heritage Coconut & Papaya Bath Bombs
    • Wet n Wild MegaLast Liquid Lipstick in "Nice to Fuschia"
    • Vichy Pore Purifying Clay Mask
    • Nexxus Vitall 8-in-1 Masque
    • Guess Dare Fragrance for Women
    • Soap & Glory Flake Away Body Polish
    Bath bombs, body scrub, and face and hair masks all in one box!  This is a recipe for a perfect at-home spa night!  If only Target had sent a bottle of Cabernet along as well...  :D

    Wednesday, May 3, 2017

    Wal-Mart Spring 2017 "Me Moment" Beauty Box

    Remember the special edition "Me Moment" beauty box I mentioned that I had opted into in place of my Trendsetter box last month?  It finally arrived late last week!

  • Colgate Optic White Toothpaste
  • Ban Powder Fresh Roll-On Deodorant
  • Soapbox Soothe & Replenish Body Wash
  • Jergens Natural Glow Wet Skin Moisturizer
  • Gliss Ultra Moisture Shampoo and Conditioner
  • John Frieda Frizz Ease Moisturizing Conditioner
  • Sinful Colours Limited Edition Porcelain Matte Nail Color in "Mad Matter"
  • Neutrogena Hydro Boost Lip Shine in "50 Radiant Rose"
  • SOO AE Purifying Black Charcoal Sheet Mask
  • Aveeno Positively Radiant 60 Second In-Shower Facial (sample packet)
  • Aveeno Positively Radiant Overnight Hydrating Facial (sample packet)
  • Rimmel Stay Matte Lightweight Liquid Mousse Foundation in 200 (sample packet)

  • For a measly $5, I will never complain about the contents of Wal-Mart's beauty boxes, but I was a little disappointed to see so many duplicates from the Classic box I received earlier.  5 of them in fact.  The duplicates were the toothpaste, deodorant, body wash, and the splotch inducing* wet skin moisturizer.  I also received another Gliss shampoo and conditioner set albeit in a different formula so I'm not sure than counts entirely or not.

    Out of the new items I received I'm most excited about the sheet mask and the Aveeno facial packets.  My daughter and I have declared Wednesday and Sunday evenings as "mask nights" so I've really been able to work through my stash of skincare lately!

    I'm also pretty excited about the new LE Porcelain Matte nail polish from Sinful Colours as I don't own any matte finishes and I love neutral shades like "Mad Matter".   As for the last two items, I may pass the Frizz Ease conditioner on to my curly haired daughter since she deals with frizz more than I do, but the lip gloss is going straight into my bag since it's a very wearable rose!

    Once again, a stellar box - few new items I'm excited to try and several staple items for only $5!

    *I received the Jergens Natural Glow Wet Skin Moisturizer in a previous beauty box.  Absolutely no “natural glow” is to be found with this product and I've tested it 3x now.  Varying splotches of yellow, orange, and brown are be found instead.  My legs end up resembling those of a short, splotchy giraffe no matter what I try

    Friday, April 28, 2017

    April Allure Beauty Box

    The theme for this month's box is "Shine On" and fittingly contains products to give you radiant and glowing complexion. According to the editor this box has got you covered whether you're celebrating a happy moment or just figuring out how to get through Tuesday!

    • Ahava Mineral Body Lotion
    • Dr. Brandt PoreDermabrasion Pore Perfecting Exfoliator
    • Skin & Co roma Truffle Therapy Eye Concentrate
    • The BrowGal by Tonya Crooks Highlighter Pencil in O2
    • Laritzy Lip Pencil in Cabernet
    This box was both a hit and (somewhat) of a miss for me which is pretty unusual for my favorite beauty box!  I'm happy with both of the skincare items as well as the body lotion, but unfortunately both of the cosmetics (each are full-size!) were a bit of a miss due to the shades I received.

    As for skincare, Dr. Brandt's Microdermabrasion is one of my favorite exfoliators so I have no doubt that I'll love this PoreDermabrasion also.  I'm always more than happy to test out a new eye cream too.  Even though I'm just starting to see fine lines around my eyes I'd like to keep them from worsening for as long as possible and  Skin&Co Roma Truffle Therapy Eye Concentrate gets great reviews.

    As far as bath and body goes, I have a couple of Ahava products in my shower currently so their Mineral Body Lotion will fit right in with my daily routine.  It is said to have a clean floral scent so it should pair nicely with many of my spring/summer fragrances.
    And onto the makeup... 

    The Highlighter Pencil from The BrowGal by Tonya Crooks is a product that's right up my alley!  One side conceals rogue hairs between appointments while the other side highlights.  Unfortunately, I received shade 02 which is too dark for my fair and pinky-toned skin.  At only $20 and free shipping on their site though, I may go ahead and order the lighter 01 myself!

    Lastly, I received a Laritzy Lip Pencil in "Cabernet".   As the name would imply, it is a deep and rich red.  I love Cabernet in the form of wine but red lip color just never seems to work for me.  Most of the shades on their site are sold-out so I may try and blot this down like I do any other too-dark lip color and wear it as a muted lip stain.

    Wednesday, April 26, 2017

    April Birchbox

    "Pretty beauty packaging might have us at "hello," but in the long run it's what's on the inside that matters the most."

    The above is quoted from the card that accompanied the items in my box and that's the focus this month - what's inside.  Vitamin C, charcoal, salicylic acid... all ingredients inside this month's products because Birchbox knows we all like to look good on the outside too and that's what those ingredients do!
    • Benefit Cosmetics the POREfessional Primer
    • Michael Todd Blue Green Algae Antibacterial Toner
    • Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant
    • R+Co High Dive Moisture & Shine Creme
    • The Beauty Crop GRLPWR Liquid Lipstick in Imma Bawse
    Benefit POREfessional is my daughter's favorite primer so that will be going directly to her along with the Michael Todd Toner.  The Blue Green Algae Antibacterial Toner is described as being gentle but still able to rid skin of oil and impurities.  Sounds perfect for sensitive and acne prone skin!

    The Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant from Paula's Choice has been on my "to-try" list for awhile now.  I've heard great things about it's ability to fight wrinkles and acne while leaving skin baby smooth besides, so I'm excited to try it for sure!  Then, R+Co High Dive is a product that doubles as a leave-in conditioner and a pre-styling frizz fighter, so I'm certainly looking forward to testing that on my long frizzy locks.

    While the GRLPWR Liquid Lipstick from The Beauty Crop sounds amazing, (it's supposedly long-wearing, matte, and moisturizing,) I unfortunately received a color I just will not wear.  "Imma Bawse" is a very deep and rich red that is too bold for my taste and not very flattering to my coloring either.  I'm sure one of my friends will love it though, so it'll be set aside for one of them to snag at our next get together.

    Wednesday, April 19, 2017

    Graze Box Review

    I've been subscribing to Graze for a couple of years now.  I have no idea why it took me so long to write a post about it.  I love it!  I've subscribed to a couple of other snack boxes over the years but this is the only one I've stuck with.

    Graze Snack Box allows you to decide how often you want to receive a box, from weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly.  They also allow you to rate the snacks you receive and customize your boxes.  If you tag something as a "Love" you'll receive it fairly frequently.  If you "trash" it you'll never receive it again.  They make it easy to do too.  As you can see from the screenshot below, I "trashed" Banana Cream Pie.  I do not like their chewy banana coins.  At all.  So I sorted the snacks by category on their site, scrolled through all the fruit, and trashed everything with banana coins.

    A booklet with nutritional information is included with every order so it's easy to avoid certain allergens and/or stay on track with calories or carbs.  You can even order boxes specific to diet plans by choosing low-sugar or low-calorie (under 150 calories) snack boxes.
    If a snack subscription box is something you might be interested in you can check it out here -  If you'd like to get your first and fifth box free you can enter my referral code below and help me earn free snacks too!  Happy snacking!


    Tuesday, April 11, 2017

    Target Beauty Box - April

    This month Target again offered 2 different Beauty Boxes, but I chose only the one titled "April Naturals".  This box contains products with all-natural ingredients and has a range of items I can split between myself and my eldest daughter.
  • Juice Organics Volumizing Shampoo and Conditioner
  • Burt's Bees White Tea Extract Facial Cleansing Towelettes
  • Hello Extra Whitening Pure Mint Fluoride Toothpaste
  • Yes to Tomatoes Detoxifying Charcoal Mud Mask
  • ACURE Pore Clarifying Red Clay Scrub
  • Raw Sugar Lemon Sugar Body Wash
  • Shea Moisture Kukui Nut Facial Cream Cleanser and Face & Neck Cream (sample packets)

  • I love having facial cleansing wipes around for nights I'm too tired or lazy to go through my normal PM skincare routine, and I adore lemon anything, so I'd have to say the towelettes and body wash are my favorites so far!  My daughter is dealing with oily and acne prone teenage skin so I'll be passing off the mask and scrub to her, and the remaining items will be going in the travel bag for our next trip!
    Target's Beauty Boxes are always a great value and I love that you get to see the contents before you purchase.  Hopefully I'm quick enough again next month to snag another one!

    Wednesday, April 5, 2017

    Wal-Mart Spring 2017 Beauty Box - Classic

    My Spring "Classic" Beauty Box arrived last week!  Typically I receive both of my Wal-Mart Beauty Boxes within a day or so of each other, but I'm still waiting on the second one so I figured I'd go ahead and post.  A couple of weeks back I received an email from Wal-Mart asking me if I wanted to opt-in to a special edition "Me Moment" Beauty Box in place of my Trendsetter, (I did), and I'm thinking that is why the normal scheduling is off.  Hopefully they won't keep me waiting too long!
    My "Classic" Box contained:
    • Colgate Optic White Toothpaste
    • Ban Roll-On Deodorant
    • Schwarzkopf Gliss Hair Repair Shampoo and Conditioner
    • Soapbox Soothe & Replenish Body Wash
    • Jergens Natural Glow Wet Skin Moisturizer
    • Pure Ice Nail Polish in "Hautumn"
    • SOO AE Vitamin Collagen Essence Mask
    I'm most excited about the sheet mask and toothpaste!  The sheet mask because it's a brightening version (dull and dry skin here), and the toothpaste because well... toothpaste.

    Deodorant is another item I always love receiving.  It's been ages since I've used a roll-on deodorant and I don't have pleasant memories of the last one I tried, but I'm cautiously optimistic about this one.  According to the packaging, Ban protects for a solid 24 hours and glides on clear with no messy white residue.   Hopefully that last part means no more walking around fanning my under arms while pleading with it to go ahead and dry already!

    As always, this Beauty Box is a major steal for $5 and I can't even complain about the Jergens* because of it!  The contents are always a "win" even if one is actually a major miss!

    *Side note - I received the Jergens Natural Glow Wet Skin Moisturizer in a previous beauty box and set about testing it immediately.  Absolutely no "natural glow" was to be found.  Varying splotches of yellow, orange, and brown were to be found instead.  My legs resembled those of a short, splotchy giraffe. Thank goodness it's still cool out and pants are in order!