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Beauty Musings & Rogue Ramblings


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Wanderlust… BIRCHBOX: June 2013

 

 

 

 

Wanderlust lovelies… 

Birchbox’s June goodies were all about products, from near and far, to inspire or aid you on summer adventures.ArtsyArchitette Birchbox June 2013 Review

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First up, they included some oh so nifty and cute postcards (4), each with a different city (New York, London, Paris & Barcelona) and a suggested day trip planned out on the back featuring some of each cities well loved hot spots.

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Next, was a FULL SIZE Mirenesse Glossy Kiss Natural Lip & Cheek Stain in the Shade #8 Cheeky Kiss (sorry no swatch). The product itself is lovely, smooth, creamy, non-sticky, non-drying, barely glossy – more of a soft sheen than anything.

The color just wasn’t me at all though. “Cheeky Kiss” is a dusty rose, with slight cool beige/mauve undertones and just not a color I would have chosen lip wise, though I may use it for a cheek stain. Staying power is decent, though I haven’t tested it long enough cheek wise to judge on that. Full Size Value: $26.95 USD.

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Next, a 50 ml sample can of the Klorane Gentle Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk. Okay, this stuff is pretty awesome, definitely one of the best dry shampoos I have ever come across (in the top three for sure).

While I don’t use dry shampoo very often, as I most often style my hair in a natural curly state and often don’t require a dry shampoo, I do still like to keep an eye out for a great product when I see one because dry shampoo does come in handy (for texture, different styles, travel, etc).

It is light, NOT cakey, NOT chalky, its scent it airy and natural, smells expectedly like grain/rice (think Aveeno-like) and brushes through beautifully. Full Size Value: $18 USD.

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Next up is a 7ml sample bottle of another Birchbox + Color Club collaboration for the Wanderlust Nail Lacquer Collection. I received the color “Reign in Spain” which I think is an awesome name and the shade definitely screams spring/summer travel to me – almost too loudly though.

Sorry for the lack of swatch on this one, my day job is hard on my hands and my manicures never survive more than a day or two. In the bottle the shade seems like a bright pink-coral, but once applied and out in the Texas sunshine – it was freaking neon coral! Too neon for a full manicure almost. However, I do like the Color Club formula, applies smoothly and opaque, without need for excessive coats. Full Size Value: $8 USD (four mini bottle collection).

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I also received another Twistband Hair Tie in a fabulous green and teal anchor print! These hair ties really are gentle on your hair and the prints they come in can really add a little touch of flair to my braid.

The only down fall to these Twistband hair ties is that of the 5 I have been sent, 3 have come untied – not good. Full Dize Value (for packs): $5 to $22 USD.

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Lastly, I received a standard sample vial of Oscar de la Renta’s “Something Blue” Eau de Parfum. It is a soft fragrance, but not powdery nor sweet. Citrus and floral, but slightly warm. Definitely a summer – and I don’t know if its the name that pushes my brain this way – but I keep thinking “summer wedding fragrance”. It’s a fragrance that wouldn’t be found too intrusive or abrupt, in my opinion. It could easily be an everyday fragrance. Full Size Value: $85 to $115  USD.

For those interested in the fine details:

Top notes: Italian bergamot, Mandarin, Neroli, Linden blossom
Heart notes: Stephanotis, Fleur de narcisse, Lily of the valley, Kiss of lychee
Base notes: Ambrette seeds, White musk, Ambergris, Cashmere woods, Bourbon vanilla

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There you have it! Overall, I think Birchbox got there Wanderlust message across… postcards, dual-use product, dry shampoo perfect for travel, summer holiday nails, a hair tie that a girl can easily sport as an accessory and an easy-going summer fragrance.

More of me and my thoughts soon…


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Champagne, Macarons and a Jo Malone Haul

Hey gorgeous!

Okay, so I was so wrapped up eating my macarons and sipping my champagne at Saks that I failed to snap some photos of the Jo Malone event they held recently. Complete with free samples, tasty snacks and booze, there was also a Jo Malone representative there explaining the newest collection, Sugar & Spice, along with all that JM offers, and the best blending combinations to pair the new fragrances with.

It was so much fun just indulging at bit with other JM lovers, and of course, splurging a little on a few new fragrances for Spring and Summer.

So, I thought I’d share my haul of JM goodies…

ArtsyArchitette Jo Malone Haul5

JM Haul + Free Bag with Saks Beauty Samples + Free JM goodies

ArtsyArchitette Jo Malone Haul3

Blue Agava & Cacao, Nectarine Blossom & Honey 

ArtsyArchitette Jo Malone Haul2

Redcurrant & Cream, Lemon Tart

ArtsyArchitette Jo Malone Haul4

Free JM goodies that came with my JM Haul

ArtsyArchitette Jo Malone Haul

Samples of every JM fragrance Saks offers

Oh and if you haven’t discovered Jo Malone yet, I’d definitely stop into the closest store/counter and give the brand a try. JM fragrances are unique and made to be layered, so you can really make the brand your own.

x Sam


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Overdue Review – BIRCHBOX: December 2012

Hi loves!

So, I had been wavering on whether or not to post these latest two monthly subscription reviews, considering they are about a month and a half later than I would have normally posted them (sorry!) due to my whole January/February semi-hiatus state, but I said what the hell, product reviews are product reviews and they might still help someone out.

December: Overall B-.

ArtsyArchitette Birchbox December 2012

THE GOODS

Rent the Runway Discount Card – $50

One of the bonus items in the December box, which I had no use for. Sure it was worth $50, but if I remember correctly – as I have apparently lost the card someone in my bedroom – it was $50 off of $125 or $175 purchase. I don’t have that kind of money to spend on, admittedly gorgeous, clothing and accessories that I don’t even get to keep.

I can see this site being handy for special occasions, occasions worth the money to look like you just walked off the red carpet, but otherwise its just not practical for someone on my budget to rent.

Fresh Citron de Vigne Eau de Parfum – 7.5 ml Sample Vile

Fresh is definitely the word with this fragrance. It is lovely and fairly light, perfect for Spring in my mind.

Being inspired by France’s Champagne region, it has top notes of: Neroli, Bitter Orange, and Pink Grapefruit, with heart notes of: Jasmine, Pinot Noir, and Lemongrass, and base notes of: Cedarwood, White Sandalwood, and Birch Tree Leaves.

I would say the notes that hit me the most are the Pinot Noir and Lemongrass, followed by the woods.

Full Size Value: $80.00 (100 ml), $38.00 (30 ml)

Sampar Ultra Hydrating Fluid – 15 ml Sample

This is a beautiful moisturizer! Sampar, a Parisian brand – and the French are known for their skin care, is a new one to me, but I was seriously happy getting this sample.

It actually feels like a moisturizer-serum hybrid on your skin and it performs well under make-up. It sinks into your skin beautifully, leaving it gorgeous and plumped up with moisture, and not greasy whatsoever. It smells like floral water.

The only downfalls I could see are that it does not contain an SPF and the high price tag. Considering it is a moisturizer, and I usually apply two layers – once, let it sink in well, then apply a second layer and let that sink in (then possibly followed by make-up), and based on the sample size I received, I would probably guess I would go through the $71 full size in about a month to a month and a half. That’s a lot of money on moisturizer!

I’m a little bummed that I fell in love with this pricey product.

Full Size Value: $71.00 (50 ml/ 1.7 fl oz)

12 Benefits Instant Healthy Hair Treatment – 45 ml Sample

Okay, I need to be completely fair to this sample. I did try it, and still have some left, but honestly didn’t notice much of a difference, but maybe I wasn’t the best person to judge.

I don’t use heat on my hair 98% of the year, don’t color my hair, don’t do any other chemical treatments, and haven’t exposed my hair to chlorine in many many months.

What I can say is that my hair is very long, curly, and because of those two things and everyday exposure it does have some natural occurring damage and some frizziness. The 12 Benefits treatment felt like a liquid leave-in conditioner type product and does smell quite nice.

Here is what they say it helps with:  Seal hair color + Smooth frizz + Repair damage + Prevent split ends + Moisturize dry hair + Strengthen fragile hair + Prevent flat iron damage + Prevent chlorine, wind & sun damage + Add shine, softness and a silky finish + Protect hair from blow-drying + Improve detangling & manageability + Keep hair youthful 

Full Size Value: $19.00 (6 oz)

theBalm cosmetics Hot Mama Shadow & Blush All-in-One– 1 g Sample Tin

I am definitely becoming a fan of theBalm powder products and this one doesn’t disappoint.

I would describe it as a multidimensional blush, with three color layers, a golden highlighter layer, a pink layer, and a peach layer, and when they combine on your skin it creates a flattering flush of color.

Full Size Value: $20.00 (7 g)

Emily’s Chocolates Chocolate Covered Fortune Cookie – Single 

It was chocolate! It was a peppermint dark chocolate covered fortune cookie, complete with Santa fortune inside.

Full Size Value: $5.99 (6 pack)

ArtsyArchitette Birchbox December 20122


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Influenster Cosmo VoxBox 2012

Happy Monday and Yay for another Influenster VoxBox!!

I believe this makes box number six for me, plus I have two more VoxBoxes of complimentary products to review this month 🙂 If you have not heard of Influenster before, you can read up on it here.

So I received the Cosmo VoxBox in early December full of items a “modern girl needs” and I have to say that this box definitely had some great things!

ArtsyArchitette Influenster Cosmo Voxbox 2012

The Cosmo VoxBox Goods

1. Ghirardelli Sea Salt Escape Chocolates

2. Bath & Body Works “Forever Red” Perfume

3. Venus Embrace Razor & Cartridge

4. Venus & Olay Razor Refill

5. Pilot “FriXion” Pens

ArtsyArchitette Influenster Cosmo Voxbox 20122

Ghirardelli Sea Salt Escape Chocolates

Mmmm… these were sooooo good! Milk chocolate with almond bits and a hint of sea salt. I’m sold! If you are a milk chocolate lover, a fan of Ghirardelli in general, or just needing something a little different for your chocolate fix – definitely check these out.

Final Verdict: A great buy, at $2.79 – $4.35 a pack, to satisfy that sweet tooth.

Bath & Body Works “Forever Red” Eau de Parfume

A slightly sweet fragrance, with a bit of floral and just a tiny hint of vanilla spice. Forever Red is described as B&BW most luxurious fragrance and it definitely is a luxurious (and pricey) one for B&BW, but it is a sweet luxury.  It is a gorgeous scent – in moderation, at least for me.

I apply just a spray or two and I love it; but too much and the fragrance is too overwhelming for me, and ultimately causes a mild headache. The mist, as opposed to the perfume here, may be easier on the senses.

It is a blend of pomegranate, osmanthus (floral) and vanilla rum. So, if you like semi-sweet and floral fragrances, and have no qualms with vanilla, I would say stop by a B&BW and give this one a test – you may fall in love.

Final Verdict: Beautiful in strict moderation.

Venus Embrace Razor & Cartridge

Okay, so I’ll take this one in two parts. First, the actual razor handle is awesome! Fits and feels great in your hand with a gel cushioned handle and it attaches the the razor cartridge at the base – making for a very flexible and easy shaving experience.

Attaching at the base of the razor cartirdge, as opposed to the middle – as many are, lets the razor move over curves, bumps, knees, etc., very easy.

Also, something really awesome is that the handle fits any Venus blade cartridge refills – so if you don’t like the one you originally received with the razor, you can try out another without having to buy the whole thing!

As for the Venus Embrace blade cartridge, it is a very good razor. It has five blades that are extremely close together, making it quite effective on the first pass. It has a “ribbon of moisture” around the blade head, basically that is just a fancy  way of saying the regular moisture strip has just been extended around most of the razor blade head.

Like, most moisture strips, it is really only effective for the first shave.

Final Verdict: One of the best razors I have used and if you are in the market for a new razor, I would recommend trying out a Venus non-disposable razor.

Venus & Olay Razor Refill

Okay, so I was initially quite skeptical about this one, but this Venus & Olay refill really surprised me. I loved it!

It looks a little funny, with the “moisture bars” looking like gummy, floppy tongue tabs hanging off the razor blade head; but once in the shower, they turn to super slick flexible bars that have a really nice sensation on your skin and keep your skin slick throughout the entire shave.

I do think it is important to say that they do not claim or state to not use shave cream/gel, but in my limited experience with it – you can skip the cream/gel with this one, if you want to.

Also, I have read some reviews of people getting angry that the bars didn’t last more than 3 or 4 shaves, but honestly, you really shouldn’t be keeping disposable razor blade refills (or full disposable razors) for an extensive period of time anyway. It can be very unsanitary and poor for your skin. Maybe these were some very hairy ladies, or maybe they were using it everyday or stored it improperly (it should be common sense but, this razor should not be stored in the shower – due to the water activated moisture bars – if you allow it to get wet regularly when not using it – you really are just washing your money down the drain). 

So far I used it once and it hardly made a dent in the moisture bars.

I’m so glad they included a coupon in my VoxBox, because I am definitely wanting to purchase these refills!

Final Verdict: Definitely recommend trying it out, but the refills are a little pricey!

Pilot “FriXion” Pens

For an artist, doodler, and constant note-taker, these are great to have! They have good strong pigments, but are easily erasable if needed.

They have a grey, rubber nub on the end of the pen – not an eraser that dwindles down with every use, that lets you “erase” the ink with a little friction.

Final Verdict: Great for artists, moms, students and anyone in a business that is constantly putting a pen to paper.

Well, that sums up everything for the Cosmo VoxBox 🙂