Empties & Favorites — Vol 2!

products cinco de mayoI decided to forgo doing my April favorites since my bag of empties was literally overflowing and I wanted to review these products before someone went on a cleaning spree and chucked them all on accident (if we’re being honest, between myself and my hubs there is only one of us who ever goes on a cleaning spree…and it is not me). We’ve got quite a few hits, a couple misses, and everything in between–Let’s get to it!

Lush Brazened Honey Fresh Face Mask ($6.95/2.1 oz; Disclaimer: they are preservative free and only last ~1 month) This mask, so far, is my favorite of Lush’s Fresh Face masks. It has a nice fragrance due to the honey in the product. I have oily/acne-prone skin and this mask did a great job of taming the oiliness, without overdoing it and creating dryness.  I don’t think I had a single breakout while I used this! It’s a hit!

Lush Ayesha Fresh Face Mask ($6.95/2.1 oz; Disclaimer: these are preservative free and only last ~1 month) I bought and used this mask after my skin was angry, red, and broken out all over from another product during the winter. It is marketed for mature and tired skin, and even though I’m only 29, I would say I noticed a great difference in my skin after using this. It calmed my redness, my breakout resolved, and my skin just looked healthy and fresh. The only downside I would mention: It does not smell great, I think it’s because of the asparagus in the mask (for real). It’s a hit!

Not Your Mother’s Clean Freak Dry Shampoo ($6.19/7 oz) This dry shampoo does a great job of absorbing oiliness and extending time in between regular shampoos (I only wash ~3x per week, so a good dry shampoo is always needed). Using it pretty much daily, it lasted 3 months. It does have a pretty severe white-cast, but I actually tend to use my dry shampoos at night, so by the morning all the oil has been absorbed and any white-cast is no more. That being said, I don’t think it’s a great option if you’re using dry shampoo to help create texture. The smell is alright. Considering the very low cost and how long the product lasts, I will definitely repurchase. It’s a hit!

miss manga brushL’Oreal Voluminous Miss Manga Mascara ($7.99) I was really excited about this mascara because everyone on YouTube was raving about it. Anytime people are getting excited about an affordable product, I’m on board! I was so disappointed though…it was so clumpy it was unusable. Spider lashes are not my thing. I think it had more to do with the brush than the mascara formula. I was looking through reviews on Ulta, and I wouldn’t say my complaint is isolated. Definitely a fail.


Lancome Genifique Yeux Light Pearl Eye Illuminating Youth Activating Concentrate ($69/0.67 oz) Besides legitimately having the longest name of any product I’ve ever used, this is a great eye serum. It was great for my puffy bags under the eyes and dark circles when I maybe didn’t get enough sleep or was feeling sick. The metal teardrop applicator also feels great on tired or puffy eyes because it stays nice and cool. For the price, I would actually say it’s a pretty good value–it lasted 6 months of twice daily use. It’s a hit!

Juicy Couture Juicy Couture Perfume ($72/1.7 oz) There is a little part of me that was embarrassed to buy this…but I actually loved the fragrance after I had received a sample and tried it on vacation. I could see it being a little heavy for some, but I love it and as long as you’re judicious with how much you use, it’s perfect. It has musk, vanilla, and floral notes. It’s romantic & sexy–definitely a more night-time fragrance. It’s a hit!

Ole Henriksen Grease Relief Cleansing Cloths: Oil Free Pore Refining ($15/30 cloths) I am fully aware it is nutty to spend $15 on face wipes. Nonetheless, these are my favorite. My makeup artist used them when we did our trial run for my wedding makeup and I knew I had to pick them up. They are refreshing and dry up any oiliness you have. My skin felt fantastic afterwards! They also did a great job removing makeup. My husband would steal them too and really loved how they made his skin feel too. When I go to grad school, this will probably be the first “luxury” purchase that goes away, but if you can afford them, they’re fantastic. It’s a hit!

products ive used up elnett

L’Oreal Elnett Satin Extra Strong Hold Hairspray ($14.99/11oz) This is a holy grail for many blogger and YouTubers and is for me as well. The hold is fabulous without being crunchy. The scent is great. You don’t need much either, so although it is definitely more expensive than some drugstore hairsprays, it will last you ages. It’s a hit!

The Body Shop Spa Wisdom Afrique Ximenia & Salt Scrub ($28/13.5oz)  There must have been a deal on this, because there is no way in God’s green earth that anyone should spend so much on a body scrub. For me, this was not something I’ll repurchase. I like my scrubs pretty rough and I felt this scrub was too gentle. The salt in it was very fine, so I didn’t actually feel exfoliated. It is very moisturizing, however. The fragrance is very mild. I wouldn’t say the product is a fail–it’s just not for me. If you are need a very mild exfoliant, this might be a good option!

Laura Mercier Translucent Setting Powder ($37/1 oz) Another holy grail product for many, myself included. This powder blends and absorbs seamlessly. It photographs well (some white powders can really reflect the light in flash photos, which looks really weird). This one container lasted me for-ev-ver. I have had it for at least 2 years. It’s a hit!


Favorites!! Since I’m not doing a “monthly favorites” this month for beauty,  I wanted to include a few other great products that made my day this month!

Favorite Gluten-Free Product: Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 Baking Flour Gluten Free I have Celiac Disease, and while I do my best to really not make this blog about that, I do feel like I need to look out for my Celiac homies when I find a good product. This flour is a great substitute. I have used it both in specifically GF recipes and subbed it into non-GF recipes without any problems. It’s also very affordable. I have found a 5 lb bag for $15 at my local grocer’s, which is MUCH cheaper than anything else out there.

Favorite Song: Rachel Platten “Fight Song” This song recently came through on my Pandora while I was out on a long run and it is the perfect workout song. I am always adding to my marathon playlist and this song is definitely on it!


That’s it for my empties/favorites! What products have you used up that you loved?

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March Favorites!

I have finally settled on my favorite products for the month of March. I didn’t want this to be too long, so I settled for one product from a set of categories. Most of these products are new to me…some are not, but all are well loved!

beauty faves

Makeup: NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Pop Life

I am absolutely in love with this lip pencil. I went into Sephora looking for a lip color a la Margot Robbie at the Oscars this year. margotWe settled on this color from NARS and it is really flattering. I can already tell I’m going to reach for it all summer. Plus, I just love a good lip pencil–no need for a liner? Yes, please! The formula is also not overly drying for being matte. It is not super longwear, but its so easy to reapply after a meal that I don’t care!

IMG_3183

Unsurprisingly, I did not resemble Margot once I had it on. But it’s still a winner.

Skincare: Algenist Genius Ultimate Anti-Aging Melting Cleanser

This item was my second go at an oil-based cleanser, but far more successful than the first debacle. This cleanser is marketed as a gel-to-oil, but it’s more of a gel-to-oil-to-cream cleanser. It comes out in gel form, melts to an oil consistency as it removes your makeup, then transforms to a creamy consistency as you wash it away with water. It does a great job removing the day’s makeup and hasn’t caused any extra oiliness (my baseline skin type: oily/combo and acne prone) or breakouts. Definitely satisfied with this purchase!

Fragrance: Elizabeth & James Nirvana White

I have a million of those deluxe sample perfumes laying around and for some reason, this one kept calling to me this month. The scent is really fresh, light, and feminine. Definitely a floral perfume, which I don’t always care for, but I was channeling Spring hardcore last month. Maybe if we all smell like Spring, Spring will come!

Bath & Body: Tree Hut Body Scrub, Almond & Honey

Funnily enough, this was actually a gag gift to me from my husband for my bridal shower (it’s a shower gift…get it?! #dadjokes). But this stuff is great! I like a good, rough exfoliation. This definitely gets the job done and leaves my skin well-hydrated afterwards. Plus, it’s 7 dollars. It’s a pretty good steal!

Nails: CND Stickey Base Coat

I used this a few times this month, and I was impressed by how smoothly my polish applied. My nails, especially my toenails, are prone the breakage as well, but I haven’t had any this month!

Hair: Aveda Madder Root Conditioner

My hairstylist recommended this for me and I am so glad I got it. I color my hair maybe….4 times a year? The color we dye it is not dramatically different from my natural brown, just darker and with some red. You can hardly notice roots when my hair grows in, but they do start to peep out about maybe a month or so before I am ready to dye it again. This conditioner adds red back in and tones the roots with a little red so they are barely noticeable. You only need to use it once a week or so. Leave it on a few minutes, rinse, and voila!  Note: It will stain your hands if you don’t scrub it off.

april fave clothes

Clothes: Old Navy Rock Star Jeans in White

So besides the fact that I have to hold my breath all day while wearing these because I’m always sure that today will be the day I stain them horribly, these jeans are really cute and flattering. The cut is very comfortable and white denim is definitely making the rounds in the blogosphere. Plus, you can always find a sale at Old Navy and get these for a really great price! Just…carry a tide to go with you, if you’re a klutz like me.

Jewelry: House of Harlow Ring (old, sorry I can’t find it for sale anywhere)

My husband calls this the Kryptonite ring because of the 2 blue stones. His approval aside, this is such a modern and interesting design. I always get compliments when I wear it. House of Harlow has really adorable jewelry. I was a little shocked to find out it is designed by Nichole Richie. If you’re around my age, you probably still think of this when you think of her.

sorry nicole

Sorry for judging, girlfriend. You design some sweet jewelry.

Song: Sugar by Maroon 5

I cannot lie, I’ve been a bit down lately. I have been injured for about a month now and it’s just a frustrating time for me. This song makes me smile and sing along every time.