Friday, July 31, 2015

Boldly Go

The theme for the July Birchbox is "Go Bold."  That's just a variation of Star Trek's imperative to "boldly go," right?  That I can do.

Here's what came in my July Birchbox:
  • Jouer Daily Clarifying Treatment Oil: The instructions that came with the Jouer Daily Clarifying Treatment Oil claim that it will hydrate, even, and clarify skin.  I've only used it once, so I can't speak to long-term use, but it did go on smoothly and didn't make my skin greasy (as you can see below).  
  • SuperGoop Daily Correct CC Cream: Check out the itty bitty sample below.  It may not be the smallest sample- the Jouer oil has a smaller volume- but it probably contains fewer uses than any other non-single-use product I've received.  Sample size aside, it is just an ok CC cream.  After the luxurious texture, and high wearibility of last month's Marcelle BB Creme, the SuperGoop just doesn't stand up. It's not worse than a comparable Almay or E.L.F. product, but it's not better either.  
  • Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick: I'm mad for red lipstick.  I have a dozen similar long-wearing products.  That being said, I'm not completely behind the idea of matte lipstick.  The color is great- it's intense and vibrant- but matte lipstick seems to be pretty unforgiving.  Any little mistake really shows, and the texture is quite dry.  I will probably use this lipstick, but I would like it better with a more satin finish.  
  • Amika Un.Done Texture Spray: I wasn't sure what to make of texture spray... What does it do?  How to I use it?  News flash: it's hairspray.  It's nice hairspray.  It smells nice, and enhanced volume without my hair being crunchy, but it's hairspray.  
  • Key West Aloe Save a Tan: I don't have much of a tan right now.  I have spent too much time this summer working on the house, and not enough time lounging poolside.  I can't attest to whether it will really help maintain a tan, but it is a nice summer lotion.  It is 80 percent aloe, but it absorbs into skin much more easily than a pure aloe product.  It also smells lovely- light and fresh and not too much for summer.  

July is another successful Birchbox.  I'm happy with the Jouer Daily Clarifying Treatment Oil, surprised by the Amika Un.Done Texture Spray, and satisfied with the Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick.  There will be samples to keep and samples to share, and I'll have even more to enjoy next month.  

*This post contains referral links.  If you sign up for Birchbox or ipsy through the links I may receive points towards future purchases.  This is not a sponsored post.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Birchbox Bold

Birchbox knows how to make a woman happy.  How could I not be happy when I opened my July box to see this festive design.  Pretty!  The theme for the July box is Go Bold.  Don't mind if I do.

Inside the box continued to impress.

Here's what came in my July Birchbox.
  • Amika Un.Done Texture Spray
  • Key West Aloe Save a Tan
  • Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick
  • Jouer Daily Clarifying Treatment Oil
  • SuperGoop Daily Correct CC Cream
I'm especially excited about trying the Jouer Daily Clarifying Treatment Oil and the Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick.  The oil comes in an itty bitty dropper bottle, and I'm intrigued by it, and I love bold lip color!  

Check back tomorrow (hopefully) for best highs and lows of this box!

*This post contains referral links.  If you sign up for Birchbox or ipsy through the links I may receive points towards future purchases.  This is not a sponsored post.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

That's a (Casual) Wrap

I'm a big fan of this head wrap.  It came from the Urban Outfitters outlet in Augusta (as did my two couches), and I keep checking back to see if they get any other colors or prints in stock.  I'm lazy with my hair, and I love anything that lets my hair be wet or unwashed and still look like I put some thought into my appearance.

Head wrap, Urban Outfitters, Final Cut; cardigan, Chico's, thrifted; tank, Mossimo, Target; jeans, Lucky Brand Women's Brooke Skinny Jean, Amazon*; shoes, Rocket Dog; Amazon; earrings, Walmart.

The various parts combined to make the most casual of casual Friday outfits.  It was comfortable.  It was (a little) colorful.  It was just my style.

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.  If you make a purchase through those links, I will receive a small commission.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Summer Lovin' and Beach Hair

I tried to blog about my July ipsy Glam Bag sooner.  I really did.  Unfortunately I spent the end of last week frantically trying to get my living room ready to have friends over.  I fell into bed every night after 11, after work followed by hours of patching, sanding, and painting.  Now that room is done, and I'm taking a little break.

Rather than photograph each stage of my product trial, I'll just share the final results and my opinions of each product.

Here's what's inside my July ipsy Glam Bag:
  • Pretty chevron makeup bag: I really like this bag.  I'll use it.  I'll enjoy it.  The colorful, festive print just begs to contain something fun.  
  • pūr~delicate gentle soymilk cleanser & makeup remover: I don't have much to say about this cleanser.  It removed my makeup, and my skin was left clean.  It did its job, but it wasn't any better than the Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser** I usually use.  It's gentle.  It works.  It's nothing special.  I'm also less likely to use it to remove my makeup because, as I've said before, I'm too lazy to wash my face with water at the end of the day.
  • Crown Brush Professional Tweezers: These tweezers are very high quality.  I have sensitive skin with coarse hair, but the slanted edge and strong grip of these tweezers allow for plucking with minimal irritation.  
  • Nicka K New York HQ Quad Eyeshadow: I am very pleased with this eyeshadow.  It goes on smoothly with no creasing, and it is highly pigmented, even in the more subtle colors.  
  • Teeez Cosmetics Read My Lips Lipstick: I don't like the lipstick.  I don't like the thick but not creamy texture.  I don't like the wrong-for-me color.  I don't like the matte finish.  I don't like the inadequate coverage.  In spite of all of that, I'm not disappointed.  I am glad to have the opportunity to try new products, even the ones I don't fall in love with.  
Here's the final result of the first four products.  I didn't use the Coolway Beachy Salt Spray.  Instead I planned ahead to use it the next day.  I braided my wet hair and tucked the braid into my head wrap. My hair is naturally frustratingly straight.  Braiding it wet is one of the few ways to easily develop some texture.

  • Coolway Beachy Salt Spray: The next morning I skipped washing my hair and, after my shower, finger-combed the braid out and sprayed my hair with the Coolway Beachy Salt Spray.  I was prepared to be unimpressed, but I actually really liked the messy, tousled waves that developed.  The texture stayed in my hair, which is impressive because my hair doesn't hold texture well.  My hair really looked like I had spent the day on a beach vacation, and it smelled nice, too.  I love a beach vacation.  I was surprised and pleased with this spray.

I'm pleased with four of the six components of my July ipsy Glam Bag, and I'm not disappointed in the other two.  I have some ideas of what to do with the products that aren't right for me, and I'll be sharing those ideas too.

See part 1 of my July ipsy review here.

Check out last month's ipsy reviews here and here.

*This post contains referral links.  If you sign up for Birchbox or ipsy through the links I may receive points towards future purchases.  This is not a sponsored post.

**This post contains Amazon affiliate links.  If you make a purchase through those links, I will receive a small commission.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

July Glam Bag: Lovin' Summer

I finally have time to talk about my July ipsy Glam Bag and Birchbox.  Since I started with Birchbox last month, I'll start with ipsy this month.

I've already made good use of the metallic pink mailing envelope from my July ipsy Glam Bag.  I used it to package my friend Rich's birthday present.

According to ipsy, the July Glam Bag has an approximately $52 value.  I once again feel like I got my $10 worth for the month.  The theme for the bag is "Summer Lovin'."  I love summer, so Summer Lovin' is an appealing theme for me.

Here's what's inside my July ipsy Glam Bag:
  • Pretty chevron makeup bag
  • Nicka K New York HQ Quad Eyeshadow
  • Teeez Cosmetics Read My Lips Lipstick
  • Crown Brush Professional Tweezers
  • pūr~delicate gentle soymilk cleanser & makeup remover
  • Coolway Beachy Salt Spray
I'm especially looking forward to trying the eye shadow and tweezers.  Good tweezers are great to find.

I'll let you know what I think of everything in the July Glam Bag tomorrow!

Check out last month's ipsy reviews here and here.

*This post contains referral links.  If you sign up for Birchbox or ipsy through the links I may receive points towards future purchases.  This is not a sponsored post.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Fave Five: First Impressions of Beauty Subscriptions

My July Birchbox and ipsy Glam Bag have already arrived!  I'll share the details of those in the coming days, but, for now, here are my favorite things about my first month of beauty boxes.
I have so many beauty boxes for July!

  1. Rewards: Both Birchbox and ipsy have easy rewards programs that allow you to earn points for free or reduced cost products.  I like free or reduced cost.  I'm on board.  
  2. Trying new types of products: I don't thing I'd ever tried a facial primer before, but the Smashbox primer in my June ipsy Glam Bag was nearly life-changing.
  3. Trying "fancier" products: This was clear winning reason for subscribing.  The higher-end products are a bonus, and, for some things, I've really been able to tell the difference in product.  It's fun to try new things, and any time I break up my routine, I end up examining what I'm doing and why.  Which leads me to...
  4. Encouraging self care: Having new beauty "treats" encourages me to put the time into myself.  I've needed that lately when the days and weeks of home improvement projects have become all-encompassing.
  5. Sharing: I know that I won't fall in love with every product in my beauty boxes, but that doesn't mean someone won't enjoy them.  I plan on sharing products from the beauty boxes with friends.  
Coming soon: July beauty boxes, more outfit photos, and a very special project!

*This post contains referral links.  If you sign up for Birchbox or ipsy through the links I may receive points towards future purchases.  This is not a sponsored post.  

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Post-Beauty Box Product Changes

After just one month of beauty box subscriptions, I've already made some changes to my beauty routine.

Exfoliant: The Vasanti BrightenUp! Enzymatic Face Scrub from my June Birchbox opened my eyes to how much smoother an more even my skin could be.  Other exfoliants I've used have had bigger grit but less scrubbing power.  I'll be using the remainder of this before looking for a similar product at (hopefully) a lower pricepoint. 
Primer: The Smashbox Cosmetics Photo Finish Foundation Primer from my June ipsy Glam Bag is another skin-smoothing miracle.  I already ordered a (hopefully) similar primer from because it made my makeup stay better and my skin look more even.
Makeup Removing Wipes: Duh, right?  I'm terrible about removing my makeup in the evening.  I've bought baby wipes for this purpose in the past, but they didn't remove makeup well and were somewhat rough.  After trying the La Fresh Eco-Beauty Makeup Removal Towelettes, I purchased makeup removing wipes (also from  I've actually been removing my makeup for the past few days.  Thanks, Birchbox, you're a good influence.
Concealer: You may think "Jeanne, you didn't have concealer in your beauty boxes."  You're right, but seeing how dark my under-eye circles have become made me want to try to cover them up.  It's not a product from the boxes, but it is a product I desired after actually looking in the mirror.  

I'll start tearing into beauty July beauty boxes in the next few days.  Check back!

*This post contains referral links.  If you sign up for Birchbox or ipsy through the links I may receive points towards future purchases.  This is not a sponsored post.  

Monday, July 13, 2015


Today's outfit is all about the necklace.  My friend Amanda gave it to me, and I feel like the high-priestess of cool when I wear it.  It is accented with rough-cut crystals and lengths of chain.

Dress, TJ Maxx; shrug, Dillards; sandals, Mossimo, Target; necklace, gifted (Thanks, Amanda!).
Widget is perplexed.

I have a hard time wearing big necklaces because they can give me a headache.  This one is worth the risk.

Time for a pedicure.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Borrowed Style

I think it's important to have a "signature style," but it's also important to try things outside of that style.  I am most comfortable in dresses, but my friend Natalie rocks the hell out of colored denim.  I was inspired by her style to buy these red jeans.  My friend Kristin is wild for boat neck shirts, and she gave me this one.  It's not my usual getup, but I certainly like it.  I didn't borrow the actual clothes, but I did borrow the style.

Shirt, GAP (Thanks, Kristin!); red jeans, Sam's Club; shoes, Merona, Target; earrings, Walmart; necklace, handmade by me.

I love these giant, spiky hoop earrings.  They make every outfit feel a little tougher.  I'm wearing these red shoes yet again because I only have access to a few pairs until I can finish some more rooms and unpack more boxes.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Fave Five: Things I Love About Ipsy So Far

Many of the things I like about my fist ipsy Glam Bag are the same things I enjoyed about my first Birchbox.  I appreciate the value of trying high-end products that I likely wouldn't have tried otherwise for a low cost.
Image Credit:
This is my ipsy dashboard.  You can see I reviewed (and got points for reviewing) each product.

Some of the aspects of my June Glam Bag that I particularly enjoyed are:
  1. Bag: The June Glam Bag was not anything particularly special, but I really like having little bags around to store things in.  I'll happily add it to my supply of bags, and it is sturdy and a neutral color for any use.  
  2. Variety: The Glam Bag had products for face, body, and nails.  While I wasn't completely in love with every product (the lotion was just ok), I did enjoy the variety, and I hope next month is more of the same.
  3. Color:  The colors in this bag worked really well for me.  Ipsy asks about subscribers' features and preferences, and I really felt like the colors in this bag were well-matched for my eye, skin, and hair color as well as my taste.  
  4. Rewards & Discounts: Points aren't quite as easy to accumulate from ipsy as they are from Birchbox, but, once you accumulate enough points, you can convert them to a selection of high-end cosmetics.  To balance out the harder to get rewards, ipsy does offer discounts on purchasing full-sized versions of many of the sample products.  The discounts are often 10%, 15% or more, which is pretty good if you really like your Glam Bag products.
  5. Sneak Peeks: For those times when you just can't wait to know what's coming, ipsy lets you get a sneak peek of what's in your next shipment.  All you have to do is share ipsy on Facebook and follow recommended YouTube channels.  I was feeling impatient, so I already know what's coming in my July Glam Bag.  It's going to be great, and I can't wait to share it with you!

*This post contains referral links.  If you sign up for Birchbox or ipsy through the links I may receive points towards future purchases.  This is not a sponsored post.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Lady in Red

Who says monochromatic has to be dull?  Why must a lazy outfit be boring?  I paired my "lady in red" dress with red shoes, jewelry, and lipstick for an outfit that got compliments all day.

Dress, AA Studio AA, thrifted; necklace and earrings, handmade by me; shoes, Mossimo, Target.

I call this my "lady in red" dress because when I wear it at least a dozen people stop to call me a lady in red- including friends, coworkers, and even strangers.

Also, amazingly, this is the same lipstick I applied in the morning.  I lined my lips with elf lip liner in red and filled with Revlon ColorBurst Balm Stain in Romantic .  It stayed all day- through lunch, through coffee- all day.

It feels good to be a lady in red.

*This post contains an affiliate link for a gorgeous color of long-lasting balm/stain from Amazon.  If you make a purchase through that link, I will receive a small commission.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Bonus Birchbox Reivew

I asked my friend Sam to give me a second opinion on my first Birchbox selections.  

Full disclosure:  I threatened Sam with bodily harm if I didn't get the Marcelle Golden Glow BB Cream or Vasanti BrightenUp! back in enough quantity to use again.  

More full disclosure:  I have a thing or two to learn from Sam about beauty reviews.

Tell Us About Yourself:
Hi, I'm Sam, Jeanne's genderbending friend! 
I really have no idea what else to put here, because anonymity in the south!

What Types of Skin/Beauty Product Do You Usually Use?
My usual daily prettification is foundation (I like Cover Girl True Match, N2), powder (Rimmel Stay Matte), and - currently - the insane Manga mascara from L'Oreal, over a base of NYX primer, and finished as well as NYX matte finishing spray. I use Organix Eucalyptus Mint Shampoo/conditioner and Dr. Bronner's castille soap and an endless rotation of moisturizers, depending on what I can find. I haven't found one I really love, though a mix of Dr. Bronner's and coconut oil works nicely. I also use, usually, Organix Surf Paste on my hair (which is in a perpeptual punk pixie), and my wife is intending to color my gray into a lavender/mint/silver via either Ion or Pravana. Yay being married to a cosmetologist!

Kerastase Elixir Ultime:
I was so ready to hate this. My experiences with anything involving a) oil and b) my hair have all ended in tears and long sessions of shampooing. So ready to hate that, even though I completely forgot to style my hair one morning, I preferred to let it be a frumpy mess atop my head than try this until I couldn't stand it any longer. You know what wavy, gray hair does in humidity? It turns into a horror of coarse, uncontrollable strands. You know what the Kerastase did? Made it suddenly become a sleek, soft, shiny, agreeable pixie. Seriously, my hair is soft. It's never soft. I'm putting this on my "may seriously purchase" list.

ADDENDUM: As noted above, my wife's a cosmetologist. I got this out of my satchel and put on the counter and she did a literal spit-take about Kerastase being in her house. Apparently, we areordering this ASAP.

Vasanti BrightenUp! Enzymatic Face Scrub:
After being out in the heat at Pride, chasing my daughter around Target, moving the lawnmower to the shed, and general daily filth, I decided to use this. I'm not sure it was the best decision for being objective, as I could have taken Lava soap and bleach to my face and been happy with the result, but at the time I was impressed with the cleaning. The real decision was the next morning, when my face was still clean, the skin was soft and happy, and even post-shaving it was toned and oh-so-soft. 
Monday, two days after the initial wash, it's still awesome. 
I found the amount of exfoliation to be perfect - not like the sandpaper experience of an apricot scrub, but somewhat more strident than most. Maybe my accurs'd Y chromosome toughens my skin a bit. It went on smoothly, and felt refreshing and very slightly tingly. If there is an objection, it's my standard one to face scrubs that someone needs to formulate them to rinse off more easily.

Marcelle B*B Golden Glow
It goes on smoothly and provides good coverage with only a little used. The instructions say it can be used as a makeup base, so I swapped it for my normal NYX primer. I use neutrals for foundation/powder, and the Marcelle provided warmer undertones to the overall look. That said...I'm not sold on it. Maybe in a different tone, I'd like it more. The formula was great, but the color wasn't for me. However, if you look good in warmer tones, definitely pick this up. The product itself was fantastic.

Laura Geller Baked Blush - Bali:
I've included a side-by-side with my normal blush for contrast. 
Formula and Application: Went on fine, wasn't too "dusty". I like the subtle amount of shimmer to the blush, and was pleasantly shocked that it was not as vivid on the skin as it appeared in the tray. It was definitely more vivid than my normal neutral-pink, and I liked the look - a subtle pink shimmer that really accentuated the cheekbones. It's not an everyday blush for me, but I'd pick it up for special occasions. 

La Fresh Eco-Beauty Makeup Removal Towelette:
Review: The package was easy to open (much like those moist towelettes they have at wing/rib/messy food restaurants). The product itself was your standard facial cleansing wipe with a lovely lavender scent. The feel was fresh and clean, no oily residue, but I'd have preferred to have the liquid itself more than the towelette, as end-of-day stubble turns those into a shredded mess. Again, stupid Y chromosome. It cleaned extremely well, though, and seemed to tone the skin a bit.

Personal pet peeve - La Fresh advertises itself as an eco-friendly company. They place a huge emphasis on water conservation.
I cannot find anywhere on their site or documentation that they are also cruelty-free. They say their products are free of animal byproducts, but that's not the same. While I confess to not being as observant of this as I should be, I do try to stick to cruelty-free products as much as possible, and their overall advertising and packaging actually made me check, because it seemed like this would be an ideal makeup remover if it wasn't tested on animals.
However, that doesn't seem to be the case, so I'll stick with my homebrew of Dr. Bronner's and Coconut Oil.

Individual Products get Stars!:
Kerastase: * * * * *
Vasanti: * * * * 1/2
Marcelle: * * * *
Laura Geller Baked Blush: * * * *
La Fresh Eco-Beauty Makeup Removal Towelette: **** for the product, ** for not bothering to be Cruelty Free while pushing all Eco everything

*This post contains referral links.  If you sign up for Birchbox or ipsy through the links I may receive points towards future purchases.  This is not a sponsored post.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Reviews and Re-Runs

I took these photos at the end of the day yesterday, so the cosmetics reviewed from my June ipsy Glam Bag had been on for about 11 hours.  I was pleased by how the primer kept my foundation looking fresh, and the eye products stayed firmly in place.

Dress,; shrug, It's Our Time, thrifted; shoes, Mossimo, Target; earrings, thrifted; necklace, handmade by me.

I need to get back in practice for posing for photos.  I just feel awkward doing it right now.

You may notice that I'm wearing the same shoes and necklace as I was in my last OOTD photos.  Access to my wardrobe is limited right now because I'm in the midst of home improvement.  The large majority of my shoes and nearly all of my jewelry is inaccessible, and all of my clothes are crammed into a corner of my living room.
You can see my bed in the lower right-hand corner of the frame.
I'm roughing it a bit until my floors are refinished.
Soon my floors will be refinished, my walls will be painted, and all of my duds, kicks, and baubles will be at my fingertips once more.  Until then, I'll dream with my head six inches from my dresses and my toes six feet from my dogs.