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Power Play… BIRCHBOX: July 2013

Hi loves!

Ohhhh Birchbox… trying to seduce my inner control freak? Well, at least that was the apparent goal of July’s box of goods that were selected to “help you take control” of any situation. Meh. Sort of.

ArtsyArchitette July 2013 Birchbox Review

I was initially excited about the July box because they were partnered with SUITS!! And I love that show, BUT…

I may be a tad harsh on Birchbox in this moment considering they forgot to include my “Suits Pick!” I should have received theBalm cosmetics InStain Long-Wearing Powder Staining Blush, but it was missing! Being a fan of Suits and theBalm brand I was a bit peeved to not receive my product.

Granted, Birchbox did give me 100 Birchbox points for the mishap, but that only equals to $10 and the product retails for $22 – so not enough to buy one. I guess something is better than nothing though.

Onto what I did receive…

1//

My favorite product of the bunch was the Number 4 Super Comb Prep & Protect Leave-in Conditioner! LOVED THIS STUFF! Seriously. No seriously loved it. With my very long, quite curly hair, hydration/ conditioning and all that are high on my list of hair needs, and this made a noticeable difference after the first use. Not something that happens very often. Total hair ends transformation, at least for me. It also has UV (and color protection) – to me that’s a great bonus benefit!

Though in thinking about it, I have also tried the Number 4 Reconstructing Masque and it was amazing as well. The only reason I don’t buy the masque is the price tag, but the leave-in conditioner is definitely more wallet friendly!

The only downfall is the smell. It is supposed to be floral, but comes across more artificial blueberry-clay-ish to me (sorry, bad scent description). Though the scent doesn’t linger.  Full Size Value: $32 USD (200 ml).

2//

The extra in the July box were a set of Birchbox Bobby Pins. Heavy duty (needs a little extra effort to open and slide onto hair), strong, extra wide bobby pins with a cute print. You can get a set of six (6) pins for $5.

3//

The next product I can’t really judge on because, thankfully I haven’t had much of a need for it as my skin has been behaving quite well. It is the DDF Acne Control Treatment. Technically a night treatment with Salicylic Acid that you can apply up to 3 times a day. It is non-comedogenic and paraben-free, though again, I can’t judge on its effectiveness considering I haven’t had a need to test it yet.  Here’s a little more info:

Formulated with three powerhouse acne-fighters, this high-tech nightly treatment quickly brings clarity to your complexion. First, salicylic gently purges pores of dirt and oil. Second, DDF™’s Clarifying Neutralizing Complex strengthens and protects skin from inflammation and free radical damage. Rounding out the winning formula, supermoisturizing glycerin soothes away irritation and quells dryness.

Full Size Value: $44 USD (1.7 oz). It has some good reviews, so I’m happy to have the product to try the next time I need a little skin savior.

4//

Finally, I received a little sample pot of the Benefit it’s potent! eye cream. I was a little wary of this one at first, considering I tried the face cream from the same line and had a bad reaction, but luckily that was not the case with the eye cream. It is a good eye cream, hydrating, but not greasy and sinks into skin quickly. It has a “peptide complex known to help restore elasticity & firmness, a blend of hydrating botanical extracts and loquat extract, known to help protect the skin from free radical damage.” It is supposed to help lighten dark circles and help with fine lines, but I haven’t witnessed anything along those lines yet, not that I have too much to correct (plus I use a different night cream – one I will not give up).  Full Size Value: $34 USD (0.5 oz).

…more soon loves 😉

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Beauty Confessions – “This Or That” Tag

It’s Friday!! And since I can’t go shopping today 😦 (major bummer) I thought I would tackle this beauty confessions tag from Tianna @StorybookApothecary 🙂

Beauty Confessions Tag Cover

It was fun reading through these by other bloggers (links below!), but grrrr…. this tag is a tough one for me.

1. Blush Or Bronzer? Hmmm… if I had to only choose one, it would be BLUSH. Blush can be extremely versatile and having a bit of a flush to your skin just helps to achieve that healthy look. When applied correctly to specific areas of your face, you can draw out your bone structure and naturals contours without having to turn to a bronzer. Though I do love my bronzers!

2. Lipstick or Lipgloss? LIPSTICK! You can wear it matte, satin, or even glossy. I also love “staining” with lipsticks and you can create a longer lasting illusion of fuller lips with lipstick. I do love lipgloss for certain looks or occasions, but I have strict lipgloss requirements, which are rarely met. I have to say that 98% of the glosses I own are MAC Cremesheen Glass – they are non-sticky, don’t become tacky, smell yummy and have quality pigment.

3. Chapstick or Lip Butter? LIP BUTTERS!! I don’t think I even own a “chapstick” – the closet thing would be my Neutrogena Lip Moisturizer, which comes in a chapstick type packaing, but I would never actually call it a chapstick formula. Lip butters are amazing, come in so many shades and keep your lips soft/smooth for longer.

4. Matte or Sparkle Eyeshadow? Gahhhh… this is a tough one, but first off I dislike the word “sparkle” that sounds cheap. They both have their place, matte are more versatile and you can create more polished and sophisticated looks with matte shadows, plus they are great for crease and liner work. “Sparkle” shadows are great for highlighting, fun looks and brightening the eye area up, and can be more forgiving on youthful skin, BUT the level of “sparkle” can create a mess and can draw attention to fine lines and wrinkles. So I guess, if forced to choose between the two, it would be matte.

5. Gel, Liquid, Cream or Pencil Liner? This is impossible to really answer! Gel, cream and pencil are tied for me. Liquid is great, especially for those not as skilled with liner, but once you have the hang of a liner brush and a quality gel/cream liner, the possibilities are endless! So liquid liner, I do like it, great for a quick look or a quick fix, and easy to use. Gel and cream liners are awesome, but you have use a quality gel/cream pot and store it properly – and yes, it might take a bit of practice to get it right, but they can be used in so many ways and I love them!! Pencil liners are classic and as long as you have a quality pencil, you really can’t go wrong with a pencil. They are quick and easy to use, but if you are looking for a long-lasting look (and you don’t have a long-lasting pencil) – topping with an eye shadow is best!

6. Foundation or Concealer? Foundation can be wonderful, especially for long-busy days and certain occasions, but I would have to go with concealer!! My skin is fairly clear, with the only odd spot here and there, and I often use only concealer to cover the under eye area, slight redness around the nose and brighten the center of my face (center of forehead, nose, chin). Concealer is great because you can add a lighter concealer in the places you want to highlight, like the tops of the cheekbones and brow bone, creating a natural highlight and illusion of contour without adding your bronzer. After setting my concealer and finishing up the rest of my make-up, I realize I don’t actually need foundation, and my skin has a very natural look/feel since I did use any foundation at all.

7. Liquid or Powder Foundation? I like both, but I lean towards liquid nowadays (if I wear it at all, usually I opt for concealer and tinted moisturizer, or concealer only). I used to use bareMinerals for 2 years, a couple years ago when my skin was a bit more oily, but my skin had normalized and stopped reacting as well to the bareMinerals, so I moved onto liquids. You can also get gorgeous finishes with liquids!

8. Neutral or Statement Eye? This question is mean! I can’t choose. I LOVE both! Same goes for lips!!

9. Pressed or Loose Shadows? I dislike this question… they both have their uses, but pressed are a bit easier to use and less of a mess. While loose shadows can be very vibrant and fun to use wet!

10. Waterproof or Non-Waterproof? Non-waterproof! I only buy a waterproof mascara if I have a specific need for it, then I use it and it sits there until I have to throw it away – being mostly a waste of money. Eyelashes are very delicate and waterproof is just a no go for me, I already wear mascara practically everyday, so the added resistance and need for a waterproof remover is no fun for me. Side note: I do use the Clinique Bottom Lash mascara, which is water-resistant.

11. Brushes, Sponges or Fingers? I am a brush fiend! I have dozens for every application possible! Sponges are rare for me, with the only few times I really use them is when applying other peoples make-up. I only have one that I use often enough, or well kind of two now, my MAC Pro Performance Sponge and the beautyblender (comparison review coming soon)! Fingers are easy and quick, great for warming up products and working them into the skin when needed.

12. Powder, Cream or Liquid Highlighters? LOVE them all! They all have their purpose, occasion and weather. Tip: I tend to add a bit of liquid/gel highlighter (Favorites: Benefit High Beam, Sun Beam or Moon Beam) into foundation for a little glow.

♥ Spill your beauty secrets! (Additional Q for you by D (Sweetjellybean.com)♥

Can’t Live Without Skincare Product?

This one is kind of easy for me. I only have a few skin care products and I stick to a strict rountine, so I would say my Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate!! Love it, won’t go a night without it – and it is a bit pricey at $70 a bottle, but the bottle lasts me a good 9 months – so worth it!!

Favorite Makeup Blusher?

Too many to choose! From MAC, to NARS, to Tarte and Maybelline… powder and creams…. I love a lot of them.

Take-it-with-me-always beauty product?

I’m going to cheat here and name a few… MAC Fix +, Laura Mericer Tinter Moisturizer Oil Free, Dream Lumi Touch Highlighting Concealer and Korres Lip Butter!

Bonus Question from Tianna @StorybookApothecary!

What Is One Beauty Item You’re Willing To Splurge On Even Though It’s Expensive?

I will probably have to agree with Tianna here and say my Clarisonic, as I think its the only thing I would consider a splurge that I use daily/regularly. I justify most of my beauty purchases very well hehehe…

There you have it! I know, I didn’t exactly follow the rules, but for a beauty junkie this was hard!

Checkout the tag chain and send a little love to these ladies:

Beauty Confessions – “This Or That” Tag

Something Fun: This or That, Beauty Tag – You’re It!

TAG: THIS OR THAT

This was fun to do, albeit a little frustrating, but overall so much fun! Oh, and of course, I TAG ALL OF YOU!!!!  


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My (sometimes) Everyday Make-up

I have been asked quite a few times now to share some make-up looks, so I thought I’d share an everyday make-up look of mine. I’ll usually spend 20 to 30 minutes on my morning skin care and make-up routine, but I always do other things like getting dressed or combing my hair in between certain steps (example: combing my hair while letting my skin soak up my moisturizer for 5 minutes).

Here’s a look I’ll wear quite frequently, with cosmetic products from this particular day written below:

Make-up products used:

  • Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer Light
  • MAC Pro Longwear SPF 10 Foundation in NC25
  • MAC Select Cover-Up Concealer in NW25 (under eyes only)
  • Maybelline Dream Lumi Touch Highlighting Concealer in 330 Nude
  • MAC Studio Finish SPF 35 Concealer in NW45 (for contouring)
  • Benefit Sun Beam
  • MAC Extra Dimension Skinfinish in Whisper of Gilt
  • Maybelline Dream Mousse Blush in 25 Rose Petal (Discontinued 😦 )
  • NARS Laguna Bronzer
  • Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette Eyeshadow in Foxy
  • MAC Eyeshadow in Woodwinked
  • Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner in Black Ink
  • NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil in 630 Cashmere
  • CoverGirl LashBlast Fusion Mascara in Very Black
  • Clinique Bottom Lash Mascara in Black
  • Maybelline MasterShape Brow Pencil in Deep Brown
  • MAC Invisible Set Powder
  • Korres Lip Butter in Mango

It may seem like quite a few products, but each product has its purpose. Make-up lovers will understand that 😀

So I may be sharing some make-up looks from time to time.


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Whoo hoo it’s Friday! HAUL

I shop too much! Eeek… someone save my bank account please! It’s Friday and I went on a mini spree through multiple stores today, but I LOVE everything I picked up. So here we go…

Final day of ChicWeek – SEPHORA:

So, in case you don’t know, I happen to LOVE the Benefit High Beam and Sun Beam liquid enhancer-highlighters, so I decided to pick up the third offering in their “beam” collection- Moon Beam.

Check out the un-blended swatches below:

HIGH BEAM: A luminescent complexion enhancer

SUN BEAM: A golden bronze complexion highlighter

MOON BEAM: An iridescent complexion enhancer

I am a brush fiend and I couldn’t resist picking this set up, especially since the Sephora “Airbrush” brushes are my favorite line of Sephora brushes. Plus this set was a total steal for what you get!

What brushes are included (as numbered in the photo above):

  1. Airbrush Powder
  2. Airbrush Precision Foundation
  3. Airbrush Concealer
  4. Airbrush Crease
  5. Airbrush Shadow

As mentioned in my March Favorites, I am basically obsessed with the Korres Lip Butters and picked up their Wild Rose shade to round off my Korres lip butter collection.

I Love MAC:

So I swung by MAC, as I usually always do when I’m out shopping, and took home quite a few products, some from their newest collections.

From the MAC “In Extra Dimension” Collection:

A little info on the line from MAC:

Introducing a new liquid-powder formula with prismatic reflections that sculpts, highlights and models the face.

Not quite a cream, certainly not a liquid, but unlike any other powder product, plus it has a cooling feeling on the skin. Plus, they look so pretty in the pan – almost don’t want to use them 😀

Extra Dimension Highlighter in “Whisper of Gilt” – a white-gold liquid-powder highlighter that leaves a gorgeous golden sheen.

What MAC says: A liquid-powder highlighter with prismatic reflections that sculpts, highlights and models the face. The cool, creamy near-fluid formula creates a luminous, well-defined finish. Wears 10 hours.

Extra Dimension Eyeshadow in “Sweet Heat” – a pinky peach champagne

What MAC says: A liquid-powder Eye Shadow with prismatic reflections in ten shimmering tints. Impact ranges from sheer crystallized light to a highly polished metallic effect. Lasts up to 6 hours.

From the MAC “Reel Sexy” Collection:

A little info on the line from MAC:

Our main feature – a cinematic drama starring Ms. Kristen McMenamy, supported by an entire cast of limited edition Dynamic Duo Eye Shadows, Nail Lacquers, Cremesheen Glass and Mineralize Skinfinish – sublime! Rave reviews all around!

Cremesheen Glass in “Star Quality” – a bright pink-orange coral

More MAC…

I was also in need of a brighter lip pencil and thanks to the amazing girl at MAC, I came home with the Pro Long Wear Lip Pencil in “What a Blast!” – a bright orange-coral that really does last!

What MAC says: A new generation of longwearing lip pencil technology. Glides on fluidly and adheres instantly. Defines the lips with an instant release of rich, saturated colour. Pro-longs the hours between re-application. Transfer proof.

I also picked up a deep blue-violet paint pot from one of their past collections – Posh Paradise.

Paint Pot in “Imaginary” – from the Posh Paradise collection

Other MAC stuff I picked up…

Some more Fix+ and a couple mascara samples.

Ray-Ban Wayfarers – check!

Now, I must say, these were not an impulse buy whatsoever – I have actually been lusting after these forever and waiting to buy these for the past 6 months plus I got them $70 off! So happy!!

Model: Ray-Ban RB2140 901/58 ORIGINAL WAYFARER (Polarized)

Fun fact: Audrey Hepburn wore 2140 Wayfarers in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

Accessorizing on the cheap -thanks Old Navy:

Three pairs of uber-cute earrings for $14 – and perfect for Spring and Summer!

Oh my… that haul tired me out!  Time to go pass out in my new Ray-Banz…..zzzzzzz