A Year of Samples

Doy! When I posted the reviews for the contents of my February box I think I forgot to mention that it was my one year anniversary of being a Birchbox member! I wanted to do a post of my favorite samples I’ve received in the past twelve months. {For any of you out there wondering how on earth I’ve managed to keep track of a year’s worth of samples–I haven’t. Log into your account on birchbox.com and click on “Box” > “Women’s Box”, then scroll down and click view all to see what samples you received for each month. Easy peasy!}

1 yr-page-0

{1} Klorane Gentle Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk {2} Model Co Party Proof Lipstick {3} Paula’s Choice RESIST BHA 9 for Stubborn Imperfections {4} Jasmine Seven Wipes {5} Egyptian Magic Skin Cream {6} Hail Merry Macaroons {7} Evologie Intensive Blemish Serum {8} amika Bombshell Blowout Spray {9} Atelier Cologne Mistral Patchouli {10} COOLA Classic SPF 30 Cucumber Moisturizer for Face

* all images come from birchbox.com, and are of the full-size products. not sample sizes.

Enjoy your weekends, everyone! I’m off to Cincinnati to visit my boyfriend for the weekend. Lots of traveling coming up in the next few months.. yipes!


February Birchbox: Step, Pose, Repeat

Hello hello! I’m so very late in posting a review of my Birchbox finds for the month of February; it just took me so long to get around to using them! This is an oddity. I usually tear through my box and try everything out in like, a day. Perhaps the reason I lagged this time was because it wasn’t my favorite box I’ve ever received. Oh well–that’s the risk of subscribing. It was still some good stuff, but nothing really gave me that excited feeling I’ve grown to expect while opening my box.



{1} Ruby Wing Color Changing Nail Polish in Ride ‘Em Cowgirl: Nail polish that changes color in the sunlight! I really am starting to love the color gold–in jewelry, makeup shades, and nail polish. I wish this glitter was a little chunkier; the sparkles are a little sparse and require several coats to fully cover the nail. When I took it outside to test the changing color, it turned more of a coppery color than red. Still pretty! I wore this over bare nails, but it would be cool to experiment and see how the two shades look over different polish colors.

baindeterre shampoo

{2 & 3} Bain de Terre Color Preserving Shampoo & Conditioner: Just a typical shampoo/conditioner combo. It smelled really nice, and I do like anything color preserving because I {obviously} color my hair. Other than that…it didn’t exactly knock my socks off. It isn’t too expensive {$12 a bottle} so I would maybe repurchase. Just because it made my hair smell really good. Always important.

joanvass_leaudeamethyste_900x900{4} Joan Vass L’eau de Améthyste: Meh. Again, smelled good, but didn’t blow me away. And for some reason the full-size bottle is really turning me off. It’s so ugly! I’ll stick to my Daisy by Marc Jacobs–the only perfume I’ve ever loved for so long without getting sick of the way it smells. Seriously. I smelled it for the first time in high school and was infatuated. I owned the solid perfume ring, I’ve had the rollerball, I’ve sweet talked many a Sephora employee into giving me samples, and finally broke down and asked for the full size for the Christmas this year. I don’t know what took me so long, but I’m finally happy. Sorry this turned into a review of Daisy instead of L’eau de Améthyste, but oh well. It is what it is.

previse_hydromilk_exclusive_900x900{5} Previse HydroMilk: A Birchbox exclusive, as you can see! I actually really liked this product. I’m always open to trying new moisturizers, and this came at a good time. I’m in the process of revamping my skin care routine with the help of my friend Tiff, and a new moisturizer is on the list. I used this at night, post cleansing and application of acne gel {gross, I know}, and after a thin layer of my Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin Liquid. I put it on my dry areas, and my skin drank it right up! It felt nice in the morning; hydrated, but not greasy. Ultimately, I probably won’t be buying this product though. I liked the sample, but I’d rather buy something completely different.

So there you have it! February samples. Not the best, but not the worst. The good thing about the month of February is that it’s SHORT–which means my March box will be on its way in just a few weeks!

Thanks for reading! xoxo

A Little Makeup Wish List

Hello there! Hope everyone has had a good week, and if you’re in the Chicago area–stayed dry! The snow was bad enough, but the slightly warmer temperatures and downpour of rain has resulted in some pretty grungy-looking hair that I am NOT a fan of; as well as discovering a hole in one of my rain boots which has caused one wet sock and major discomfort. Can spring just get here already?

Despite the weather, I had a good week! My aunt and uncle welcomed their first children yesterday–twin boys! Their names are Rowan Dean and Ryan James. They are absolutely darling. I’m dying to go home and meet them, but I’m not sure when I’ll be able to get away. It’s such a strange feeling adding new cousins to the mix at this age. This brings the total of grandkids {on this side of the family} up to 17! I’m the oldest, at 24, and the youngest is 10. When the twins are my age, I’ll be almost fifty. This strikes terror in my heart. Anyways, I digress. I started teaching myself German this week using the DuoLingo app on my iPhone, and so far so good! Since I was born in Germany while my papa was in the Air Force I have dual citizenship until I’m 26, and I’m half German anyways, so it seemed right to start learning!

I’ve got a couple new posts in the pipeline here–I’ve got one more product from my February Birchbox to test out, and then I’ll be posting my reviews. I’ve also got a little experiment in the works, so watch for a full-out, lab report-style post in the next couple weeks. Today, however, is all about the new {to me} beauty products I’ve got my eye on–things I am dying to try ASAP!

beauty wishlist

{1} Dr. Jart+ Water Fuse BB Beauty Balm. For me, BB creams have been a hit or miss. I typically wear foundation to cover up my redness and uneven skin tone, so I shy away from sheer products that let my imperfections show through. But even I have to admit, a full face of makeup doesn’t always feel that great on my skin. I’m ready to try something new and a little healthier. Who knows–maybe that will end up getting rid of the redness!

{2} BECCA The One Perfecting Brush. This brush. This big, luscious brush. Why is it that you can be perfectly satisfied with a tool or product you already own–and then a bigger, better version comes along and blows it out of the water? I was satisfied with my current bronzer brush until I heard about this one. I want so badly. As far as I’m concerned, this brush is the Holy Grail of highlighting-and-contouring, and I won’t rest until it’s in my makeup bag.

{3} Sampar Velvet Cleansing Milk. I’m on the lookout for a new cleanser to pair with my best friend, Mia {that would be my trusty Clarisonic}. My {real} friend Tiffany, who is studying to become the best Aveda-trained esthetician in the fine city of Chicago, recommends steering clear of foaming cleansers, as they can dry skin out. I just might have to add this gentle cleanser to my regime.

{4} GlamGlow Super Mud Clearing Treatment. It wasn’t until I started blogging that I realized how incredibly dramatic I am when it comes to beauty products. Example: just now, I started to describe the GlamGlow Super Mud mask as “an incredible, life-saving little pot of goopy mud that literally sucks the gunk out of your pores as it dries and makes your skin GLOW.” Normally I would tell myself to tone it down a little, but in this case I just can’t. THIS STUFF IS THAT GOOD. It’s also horrifying expensive–$70 for 1.2 fl oz; or a whopping $200 for 8 fl oz {note–the  Clearing treatment only comes in the 1.2 fl oz jar, as far as I can tell. The Tinglexfoliate treatment comes in the 1.2 and 8 fl oz sizes.} It uses some pretty flashy technology that I don’t fully explain to vacuum out your pores and leave your skin sparkly clean and glowing and smooth. I’m not ashamed to admit that I plan on strolling into various Sephoras and asking for samples until I’ve saved up enough Birchbox points to make a dent in the full size.

{5} Mally Beauty Evercolor Poreless Face Defender. Despite my pores being squeaky clean thanks to the product above, they still are visible. And my skin gets pretttaaaay shiny as the day goes on, primer and setting powder be damned. I imagine using this stuff as a touch-up throughout the day to soak up the oily spots and make my face matte, but not too matte. And poreless, obviously.

{6} Benefit Big Easy. It’s hard not to love any product that Benefit comes out with. I’ve used their stuff since I was in high school, where I would save up my paychecks from my crummy minimum wage job and then beg someone to drive to St. Louis with me, where the Galleria housed the only Sephora I knew of. Thankfully times have changed, but I still love Benefit more than ever. This product is not actually on the shelves just yet–but Birchbox is preselling it before it’s release date of March 3rd. Big Easy is essentially a BB cream, but leans more towards the airbrushed, matte-finished foundation look. Hello?… perfect for me!

{7} Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray. Because sometimes I want hair like Serena Van Der Woodsen, and I want it right away.


maybe not like that….


more like this.


or even this. Swoon.

Enjoy your weekends, everybody! It’s going to be warm {relatively speaking–a balmy 33 degrees}, so I’ll be cutting loose and helping a friend celebrate his birthday, belatedly. Thanks for reading! xx

I have a problem + Clinique Review

I have issues with repeat purchases. Case in point: this mascara. It’s my favorite, and I’ve repurchased it three or four times. It truly is amazing, and lives up to the hype. So it’s unclear why I find myself dragging my feet when it comes time to replace it. I walk into Sephora and am immediately assaulted by the million other types of mascara. I don’t stand a chance–I have no self-control when it comes to buying makeup anyways, and there are so many new options that I feel the insane urge to try. Why am I like this?? I often rein myself in by telling me that I’m probably allergic to most of them {sadly true–another case in point: the DiorShow mascara that made my eyelids puff up so badly I could barely see}, and mascara is something I’m uber picky about anyways. Unfortunately for me, this is a time where I find myself running out of several products. First was mascara. Then it was highlighter {I’ve actually been out of this for months, but have been lollygagging and trying new, cheaper options instead of going back to the one I know and love}. Then primer. I tried a drugstore version, and HATED it. I went back to a tried-and-true favorite {how boring}.

I did try something new, however. Something I’ve heard plenty of rave reviews about, and that I’ve been curious about for months. I’ve heard it described as the ultimate “your lips, but better” hue, and who wouldn’t want that? So without further ado, I present to you: Clinique Almost Lipstick in Black Honey {the only color it comes in}.

almost lipstick
It looks frighteningly dark in the tube. Like, vampy, Lorde-at-the-Grammy’s dark.

This scared me. I am not one for deep berry lips, no matter how desirable some people make it look. But this goes on incredibly sheer, and very smooth–like a balm. The only reason I would ever mistake it for lipstick is because of the way it smells. Not bad, necessarily, but it just smells like a lipstick. Like my grandma’s Revlon or something. Odor aside, I love this stuff. One coat is light and natural; two coats ups the drama a teeny bit. Any more coats than that is more or less unachievable due to the slick nature of the stuff, but you probably wouldn’t want more than two anyways. If you’re looking for a deep berry color, buy actual lipstick or a stain–not something called “Almost Lipstick.” The color looks great for winter, but I’m excited to keep wearing it into the summer; I like to see how different makeup colors translate against tan skin! And who knows–maybe this will be a repeat purchase? It’s only $15, after all 🙂

Okay, I have to add this. I was just on Clinique’s website looking for a picture of what this stuff looks like on actual lips without resorting to taking an awkward selfie of myself, and found myself browsing the reviews. One overzealous reviewer wrote this: “I like this lip gloss because it is never greasy. It
truly is “nearly lipstick.” I put it on all during the day and even sleep in it. It keeps my lips from peeling and getting too dry.” She sleeps in it. SHE SLEEPS IN IT. People, this stuff is moisturizing, but it is a form of lipstick. Don’t sleep in lipstick! Are you crazy? If you must sleep with a product on your lips, I recommend this Aquaphor Lip Repair balm. It’s soothing, has SPF, and heals dry and cracked lips overnight. It’s my favorite. Aquaphor by night, Clinique by day.

Winter Blues

I know I’m not alone when I say that winter depresses me. I always come down with a bad case of the winter blues, and this year is no different. It really just weighs on you and makes things seem so hopeless! I’m already struggling so much with finding a new job, and my financial worries are only getting bigger. Combine that with the single digit temperatures and seemingly-permanent blanket of snow on the ground, and basically all I ever want to do is put on sweatpants and go to sleep. I’ve taken to planning warm weather outfits, browsing for sunscreen and swimsuits, and stalking my street on Google Maps {the streetview images were taken in the heart of summer–so much green!} to try and alleviate my gloomy mood. It works, too–until I have to step outside. I gathered up some images that make me feel warm on the inside {if not the outside} to help me as I count down the days until spring.


{images: retro bikini, aloha, nude beach bound, white one piece, flowered bikini, navy pier, sand, what about summer?, waves}

February Wish List

I may have started this blog in late January, but I’ve had plenty of time to dream up my February wishlist! I’ve actually put myself on a bit of a shopping ban…trying to save up some money so I can afford to buy the items on my wishlist, eventually! It’s torture. I want everything.


{1} I’ve been dying for a pair of silver pumps, and this pair from Nine West is gorgeous and affordable. {2} I love these gold nails! I cannot figure out what polish this might be–the pin just links me to this Tumblr–but I’m going to keep digging around. {3} These teacups are so beautiful. I plan to check out some secondhand and vintage shops and boutiques to see if I can find some! {4} One of my resolutions this year was to drink more water. I’m getting tired of my dingy old CamelBak, and this glass option is so sleek and chic. {5} OBSESSED with this tulle skirt. I wanted one so badly for the Christmas season and couldn’t find one in my price range. This one is still a little too pricy for me, but I can dream. {6} How cute is this greeting card? Another resolution of mine was to write more snail mail, and so I suddenly have found myself spending a little too much time (and money) browsing gorgeous cards to send to my friends. {7} Loving dainty jewelry right now. This teeny necklace from Baublebar will be mine this spring! {8} Another pair of neutral heels on my Zappos list. The cream and black look too perfect together. {9} One more delicate necklace! I saw this one on Pinterest, and the caption said it was Tiffany…hence the reason I found the more inexpensive version at Baublebar! But I love the way it’s styled with the cozy sweater.

That’s it for February! Next month’s list will be all about spring, spring, spring! I’ve already started planning my warm weather beauty routine.