November 30, 2011

Swatch Posts Catch Up: November 2011 -- plus: Blog Sale Update & Skincare Challenge!

Hello, Beautiful!

Before I get to the Swatch Posts Catch Up, I want to let you know that I just lowered some prices in my blog sale. To shop the blog sale click here or click on the blog sale tab at the top of my blog. Shipping only to those in the United States; shipping via USPS Priority Mail (which begins at $5), and PayPal as the only payment method.

Additionally, I've started a Skincare Challenge! You'll notice the new tab at the top of my blog. Please click on it to check it out, then join me!

And one more thing to mention... I'll be selecting the winner of my Thanksgiving, Thank YOU Giveaway at some point Thursday night or Friday morning. I'll announce the winner after I contact them.

Now onto the Swatch Posts Catch Up....

This is the November 2011 Swatch Posts Catch Up! If you missed anything from November click on a topic below to check it out.

NOTE: The purpose of a Swatch Posts Catch Up is for easy reference and for readers who may have missed some posts. The links to the posts are sorted by product type (nail polish, foundation, eyeshadow, etc.).

Swatch Posts Catch Up: November 2011
* Click on any subject/product name below to view that post on this blog. If that product is on you can also click on that link to view that product on my website. *






November 2011 Favorites & Not-So-Favorites

Hello, Beautiful!

This is my November 2011 Favorites & Not-So-Favorites post. I know I haven't made a Favorites & Not-So-Favorites post in awhile (since June), but I've been meaning to make one every month and then time runs out. Below are just a few of my favorites that I've been loving; I actually have a long list of products I've recently fallen in love with from my holiday purchases but I won't list them all because it would be a mile long list! I will, however, be swatching and reviewing a lot of those great products on my blog in the near future. Let me know if you have any questions on any of the products on my lists below! Enjoy!

Favorites - November 2011

Mally Evercolor Poreless Face Defender
This has been my stand-out product for November! I honestly did not think this was going to work. I was one of those people who thought it would for sure take off my makeup, especially after several reviews on QVC's website stated that it did in fact take off their makeup. However, after trying it for myself, I was shocked at how well it worked. Since I've had this item I haven't touched a setting powder. This is the only product I use to set my makeup and help it look great all day. It's truly clear and undetectable on your skin. Your skin will feel so smooth and silky soft, and it will NOT disturb your makeup if you apply it correctly. I have oily skin and this works great for me! I've used it to set my liquid foundation, pressed powder foundation, and even my loose powder foundation (Bare Minerals) and it works great with them all. I did notice some slight color transfer when I used this with my Bare Minerals foundation. This as my last step and never have any transfer onto the sponge with any of my liquid foundations. Overall, this is one product that will be re-purchased time and time again.

For a complete review, including more pics, click here to view my blog post on the Mally Evercolor Poreless Face Defender.

Maybelline Baby Lips
My lips are always chapped, no matter if it's winter, summer, spring or fall. I always have a problem because of the pain medication I have to take for my leg injury. It dries them out terribly and a good lip balm is always needed. Maybelline Baby Lips is a super affordable (less than $3) lip balm that hydrates and conditions my lips perfectly. I keep one in my purse at all times, as well as one on my desk, and I have one in my bathroom. My son also uses this (the clear, Peppermint) because his lips get really badly chapped in the winter. Even though I love my Fresh Sugar Rose Tinted Lip Treatment, my Mally Perfect Prep Lip Treatment System, and the my new Pacifica Color Quench Natural Moisture Lip Tint, I really love Maybelline's Baby Lips for the price.

For a complete review, including pics and swatches of three shades, click here to view my blog post on Maybelline Baby Lips.

Beauty Blender Pure Kit
This little sponge has changed the way I apply my liquid foundation and some of my skincare. Just like the hot pink original sponge, Beauty Blender Pure is a white sponge designed for skincare application - such as for applying serums to really get into each and every spot. However, you can use it for makeup application too - which is just what I've been doing. Along with the sponge you also get a great solid cleanser -- which works amazing and keeps the sponge perfectly white, just like new. I've been using the cleanser to clean my Mally sponges and even some brushes. Plus, you also get a great little bag to keep the sponge to keep air flow moving. This is a major rave of mine this month!

For a complete review, including lots of pics and a photo tutorial on how to clean the sponge, click here to view my blog post on the Beauty Blender Pure Kit.

Smashbox Photo Op Mega Palette

I've been using the Smashbox Photo Op Mega Palette every single day! This amazing palette has so many eyeshadows, plus the cream liners, brow tech, blushes, soft lights and lip glosses. I've used the eyeshadows from this kit almost exclusively, or with other shadows, since buying this palette. I've also gone back to using Smashbox Brow Tech in Brunette for my brows. I remember why I loved using that and why it was my only brow product for years before switching to Tarte's Amazonian Clay Brow Mousse and Tarte's Amazonian Clay Brow Pencil. I've also been using some of the lip glosses from this palette; Guava is a great juicy pop of sheer color to your lips, although I don't like to take this palette with me so it's not really practical for re-application. I have taken the palette with me once, just so I could re-apply the Guava lip gloss, but it's not something I want to take with me. Overall, this is an amazing palette at an amazing value!

For a complete review, including over 80 photos of this gorgeous palette, click here to view my blog post on the Smashbox Photo Op Mega Palette.

L'Occitane Cleansing & Soothing Shower Oil With Almond Oil
I picked up a to-go (mini) size of this during the Sephora Friends & Family Sale for $8.00. I had always wanted to try this, but for some reason never did. Well I'm glad I finally took the plunge because I love this!! This oil turns into a really soft lather (although not much of a lather - but enough) when mixed with water, and makes your skin feel silky soft. It's also really wonderful for shaving; something I wasn't expecting but really have taken a liking to. The smell is wonderful too, but then again I love almond scented things.

I was so delighted with this product that I purchased the full-sized version from the L'Occitane website during their Black Friday sale (the shower oil wasn't on sale; but I was able to get a great goodie bag of L'Occitane's best sellers for $14). I'll use the mini for when I travel and keep the full sized in my shower. I'll do a more formal review on my blog soon.

Not-So-Favorites - November 2011

American Apparel Nail Polish in Neon Red
This polish isn't on my Not-So-Favorites list because of the formula, but instead lands on my Not-So-Favorites list because of the color. On American Apparel's website this color looks like a neon red (even in my photo it looks more a little more red than pink), and is called Neon Red, but in person and on the nail it's a neon pink. In fact, it looks almost identical to their shade Poppy - and Poppy may look more red than Neon Red. Now don't get me wrong, it's still a good color, but I was buying it based on the fact it says neon RED. For that fact alone, it lands on my Not-So-Favorites list.

Kiss Nail Dress - the jewel design I tried
I recently tried out the new Kiss Nail Dress, in a jewel design. I had less-than-stellar results. The application was a pain. If you follow the directions there is really no way to get a good edge. You almost need to use little scissors or nail clippers to cut through the "jewels" cleanly. I also had really bad tip wear after just 4 days, and honestly the tip wear started after 1 day. They do come off just by peeling and without damaging the nail, but I don't like to peel things off my nails. My nails were screaming for some kind of polish to top them because they felt sensitive. Even though the design is super pretty, the application and wear just isn't worth it, which is why this product lands on my Not-So-Favorites list. I do plan to try out the non-jeweled designs in the future but I'm in no rush. I'll stick to Sally Hansen Salon Effects and Incoco 100% Real Nail Polish Strips for now.

To see a complete review, along with lots of pics - including those showing tip wear - click here to view my blog post on the Kiss Nail Dress.

Perricone MD No Foundation Foundation
As someone who needs coverage for my skin, I take my foundation shopping pretty seriously. I've seen presentations of Perricone's No Foundation Foundation on QVC many times, and the models always looked great. When Sephora had a half-size bottle for $12 on special I added it to my order (I also used a 20% off coupon). I was really disappointed in this "foundation", if you can even call it that. At best you could call it a tinted moisturizer, but it really isn't moisturizing either. It feels rather sticky, provides zero coverage, made me look shiny, and because there is one shade for everyone it may look too orange on you (which is a common complaint on this product). If I had flawless skin this product may have been okay, but it is a total fail for me and something I would never repurchase or recommend. I love Perricone MD skincare but would never purchase any makeup item from them just based on this one product.

For a complete review, including before & after pics, click here to view my blog post on the Perricone MD No Foundation Foundation.

Now let me know what you think...
What do you think of my Favorites and of my Not-So-Favorites? Discuss in the comments below.

November 29, 2011

Pacifica Color Quench Natural Moisture Lip Tint in Blood Orange -- swatches, pics, review

Hello, Beautiful!

I'm excited to show you an amazing lip balm from Pacifica. It's their Color Quench Natural Moisture Lip Tint in the shade Blood Orange. It's very moisturizing and also adds a gorgeous wash of sheer color with subtle shine -- all for just $9.00!

Check out my pics, swatches, stats and review...

Pacifica Color Quench Natural Moisture Lip Tint
Shade: Blood Orange
Shade Description: A sheer coral pink.


Basic stats for Pacifica Color Quench Natural Moisture Lip Tint:
Formula: hydrating stick balm
Coverage: sheer color
Wear: average for a good balm
Shade Info: 4 sheer shades available
Cost/Availability: $9 each (0.25 oz full size). Available on Pacifica's website, Sephora's website, and everywhere else Pacifica is sold. Also available in a 3-pack for just $18 on Pacifica's website.
Packaging: twist-up stick-style balm; a nice thick tube
My Rating: 5 out of 5 Kisses!

This super hydrating lip balm has essential fatty acids from avocado and coconut oils, which leave lips luscious and healthy. Gorgeous sheer color -- Blood Orange is divine! 100% vegan and the packaging is even 100% recyclable!

Sheer wash of gorgeous color.

Average wear for a good lip balm; re-apply as necessary/as wanted. I could feel the moisturization long after the balm was gone.

Shade Info:
Currently available in four tinted shade options: Blood Orange, Vanilla Hibiscus, Guava Berry, and Coconut Nectar.

$9 each (0.25 oz full size). Available on Pacifica's websiteSephora's website, and everywhere else Pacifica is sold. Also available in a 3-pack for just $18 on Pacifica's website.

A nice thicker tube of lip balm; twists up, pull-off cap.

Pacifica Color Quench Natural Moisture Lip Tint Review:
Wow, oh wow! I don't really know what I was expecting, but this lip balm really impressed me! Immediately my lips felt hydrated and luscious. The color from the shade Blood Orange is so pretty; a gorgeous coral pink -- which was a surprise considering the balm looks like a deep raspberry red shade in the tube. I love coral pinks, so this is a perfect shade for me.

The taste/scent is delicious too; like fresh oranges with a hint of something else that I can't really put my finger on. Now that I've tried the Blood Orange shade, I really want to try others. The 3-pack sold on Pacifica's website for just $18 is a great deal; you're basically getting one free and get to try out Guava Berry, Coconut Nectar, and the gorgeous/delicious Blood Orange.

For $9 a pop, I highly recommend picking up at least one or two. Keep one in your purse and one by your bed for kissable lips at all times!

Now let me know what you think...
What do you think of this lip balm? Is this something you'd want to try out? Discuss in the comments below.

November 28, 2011

Birchbox Man -- the very first box! Limited Edition - November 2011 -- pics & review!

Hello, Beautiful!

As most of you know by now, I receive two Birchbox shipments each month; one for me and one for my husband. I signed him up for a subscription after realizing he was taking and using some of the products from my Birchbox shipments (the non-makeup items, of course). We basically give and take from each shipment, using the products as needed. I was hoping Birchbox would come out with a man version and found out a few months ago that yes, they were indeed working on one. I was so excited and couldn't wait for it to launch. Birchbox Man finally launched with great success, selling out within an hour or so. For just $45 you received a box full of manly items valued at $240! I actually paid just $35 for it because I redeemed some of my Birchbox points.

The Birchbox Man shipment arrived at my doorstep today, but I waited until my husband came home so he could open it first (even though I was dying to tear that box open and take photos earlier in the day). I'm really happy with what they put together, and so was my husband. I'm excited to see more! Check out my pics of everything included in the very first Birchbox Man!

CLICK HERE to purchase this Birchbox Man shipment! For more information on Birchbox, or to sign-up and start receiving your own Birchbox every month, CLICK HERE to visit Just $10 each month!

Birchbox Man -- the very first box!
Limited Edition - November 2011

  • Value of September's Birchbox Shipment: $240.16 (value is approximate and does not include the value of the gym bag)
  • Total # of Items Received: 13
  • # of skin care items: 2
  • # of body care items: 2 (lip balm and toothpaste)
  • # of hair care items: 2
  • # of fragrance: 1
  • # of other items: 6

Skullcandy Earbuds - Holua Gold
  • MY THOUGHTS: This is the one product both myself and my husband were equally excited about. I was shocked to look this set up on the Skullcandy website and see the price... $69.99! Wow! I can't wait to put these to use.
  • VALUE: $69.99


Jack Black Double-Duty Face Moisturizer SPF 20
  • MY THOUGHTS: Jack Black is a brand my husband already uses, and he just happens to need moisturizer. This will go to good use right away. The size in this shipment is 1.5 fl oz; a full size is 3.3 fl oz @ $27.00, available in the Birchbox store.
  • VALUE: $12.27

Anthony Logistics For Men Shave Cream
  • MY THOUGHTS: Anthony Logistics is another brand my husband already uses. I believe he already has this, but he can always use more. The size included in this shipment is 2 oz; a full size tube is 6 oz @ $16.50. You can pick up a 2 oz size on Sephora's website for $10, or a full size in the Birchbox Store for $16.50.
  • VALUE: $10.00

Kerastase Homme Capital Force Daily Treatment Shampoo
  • MY THOUGHTS: Sometimes my husband only uses shampoo and will skip conditioner all together, so I know he'll use this for sure. It smells manly; definitely not a girly scent. The size in this shipment is 80 ml; a full sized bottle is 250 ml @ $36.00, available in the Birchbox store.
  • VALUE: $11.50

Kerastase Homme Capital Force Densifying Modelling Paste
  • MY THOUGHTS: My husband always says he needs a paste/wax like product, but do I ever see him use it? No. This will come in handy, should he decide to style his hair or tame down some fly-aways. This also smells manly, just like the Kerastase shampoo. The size included in this shipment is 75 ml/2.55 fl oz - which is full sized and available for $30 in the Birchbox store.
  • VALUE: $30.00

Kerastase Homme Gym Bag
  • MY THOUGHTS: My husband doesn't go to the gym, but he still uses smaller bags (instead of luggage) when we travel, especially on trips out of state to visit family. With an upcoming trip he has planned to visit his parents, this will be a great way for him to pack everything he needs for an overnight trip. Not sure of the value; just seems to be a gift-with-purchase type of item.
  • VALUE: ?

Field Notes Mixed Three-Pack
  • MY THOUGHTS: Not something my husband would use, but I like to keep little notebooks in my purse. I may keep one (the one with lined paper) and give the other two to my son, who will love to use them. A set of 3 is available in the Birchbox store for $9.95.
  • VALUE: $9.95

 EBOOST Super Berry Shots
  • MY THOUGHTS: My husband was really excited to receive this. With our schedule, and his early work hours, coffee is his form of energy and Red Bull is mine (I hate to drink coffee, but love how it smells and prefer coffee scented candles, body scrubs, etc.). However, these little energy shots are always something worth trying. You can pick up a box of 12 shots on the EBOOST website for $39.00.
  • VALUE: $3.25


Anthony Logistics For Men Advanced Formula Lip Balm SPF 25
  • MY THOUGHTS: This is a lip balm I purchased for my husband a year or so ago and he never used. Yet he complains when he has dry lips and will then go and use something I have lying around. That's why I wanted him to have his own. Well now he has two, and I know how cheap he is so he won't be able to look at two tubes and let them go to waste. Hopefully he will begin to use it. This is a full sized tube, available for $7.50 in the Birchbox store.
  • VALUE: $7.50

Supersmile Professional Whitening Toothpaste - Original Mint
  • MY THOUGHTS: I have to admit that my husband didn't even have a chance of claiming this item. I was a long-time Supersmile user years ago, then switched to a cheaper toothpaste (Aquafresh) when we were looking for ways to cut back. Then last month, in October, I received Supersmile toothpaste in my QVC New Beauty Test Tube. I totally fell back in love with it -- it tastes great and does an excellent job at whitening -- so that's the toothpaste I'm back to using. I even purchased a full sized tube of it using my Birchbox points (making it just $1), so this is my third tube in 2 months. I won't need to purchase toothpaste for awhile! The size included in this shipment is 1.75 oz; a full sized tube is 4.2 oz @ $21.00, available in the Birchbox store.
  • VALUE: $8.75


BVLGARI Man Eau de Toilette
  • MY THOUGHTS: I'm not a fragrance person... or should I say, I'm an extremely picky person when it comes to fragrances. I usually like men's fragrances way more than a women's fragrance -- although, I absolutely fell in love with the Atelier Cologne Vanille Insensee Cologne Absolue from my November Birchbox shipment; and I asked my husband to purchase it for me as a Christmas gift. Anyhow, back to this fragrance... I actually didn't get a chance to get a good smell. I'm sick again, and my nose just doesn't have much smell-ability left. Regardless, my husband rarely wears cologne. He has one that we both picked up nearly 7 years ago, but I think he's worn it three times. He's just not into all that. The size included in this shipment is 5 ml; a full sized bottle is 100 ml @ $79.00, available in the Birchbox store.
  • VALUE: $3.95


Bonobos Pocket Square
  • MY THOUGHTS: My husband doesn't own any suits, so he really doesn't have a use for this. It's one of those things that will remain in his closet just because we have it and maybe one day it will get used. Don't get me wrong, my husband has a great job where he has to dress nice but he doesn't have to go all out with a suit jacket and pocket square. On the Bonobos website, this pocket square sells for $48.00.
  • VALUE: $48.00

Bonobos $25 Gift Card
  • MY THOUGHTS: I honestly thought this would be one of those "minimum purchase of $100 required", but it's not. It's simply $25 to spend at the Bonobos website. Now don't get too excited because Bonobos is not cheap. Their clothes look nice but definitely not a place we shop regularly. We're really cheap; or should I say, we're smart about our money. We buy sales, clearances and use coupons whenever possible. Buying a pair of pants for over $100... yeah, not our style. We still dress nice; my husband has a lot of great designer name dress pants, but we get them during incredible sale events -- usually paying less than $50 per pair. Regardless, I'm sure we'll put this gift card to good use. If not for my husband, for someone else.
  • VALUE: $25.00

Now let me know what you think...
What do you think of Birchbox Man? Would you purchase this for a guy in your life? Discuss in the comments below.