August Favorites

August 2014 Favorites

Even though summer has officially come to an end, it’s certainly not leaving without a fight here in the Midwest, giving us a few last heat waves before fall settles in. To beat the heat my August beauty routine has been all about finding products that are easy to use and won’t leave me felling sticky and gross. I discovered a few new favorites that I wanted to share with you today.

The Julep Bare Body Milk (6.8 fl oz, $24) from the July box was on my list of things to use up during Operation ‘Every Last Drop’ and I was really surprised how much I enjoyed it. It had a great texture that didn’t feel heavy or sticky over the hot summer months and a light scent to match. The scent was the right mix between fruity and floral without being overpowering. I just wish it was a bit cheaper but I will keep my eyes peeled for whenever Julep has it on sale.

While I love the feeling of a refreshing toner with essential oils during the summer months, they usually end up irritating my skin so I’m always on the hunt for one that is moisturizing and soothing. I think I’ve found a winner with the Michael Todd True Organics Cranberry Antiox Toner (8.4 fl oz, $18). It also contains a good dose of antioxidants and it smells very nice so it ticks all the boxes for me.

I’m sorry Pureology Hydrate Light Conditioner, but I think I might’ve found a new holy grail: the Hempz Pomegranate Daily Herbal Moisturizing Conditioner (33.8 fl oz). It makes my hair super soft without weighing it down and it smells simply amazing if you’re into fruity scents like I am. Try as I might but I haven’t been able to find an online listing for this product. I bought it at BeautyBrands after my stylist used it on my hair and I fell in love with the scent. BeautyBrands were having their annual liter sale at that time so I got this huge bottle for $12.99 but I believe it retails for $29.99 at full price.

I recently decided to splurge and use some of my Sephora points to get a sample of the tarte Cheek Stain in Flush (0.5 oz, $30) and I’m so happy I did. As a blush aficionado I was really intrigued by the concept of a blush in stick form especially since I’m always having a difficult time getting both cheeks to look symmetrical using your standard powder and brush. The stick form makes application of this blush quick, precise, and effortless. It just takes a few dabs on each cheek and a bit of blending around the edges and voilà, done. The color might look a bit intimidating in the tube but the result is a natural, rosy tint, especially when only using a dabbing motion instead of swiping it on. Love it!

Lastly and surprisingly, there are also two eye products on my list this month. I usually don’t bother with creating a full eye makeup look each morning because I just don’t have the time for it. Over the past couple of months I discovered two products that I’ve been using on an everyday basis. My usual go-to is the Sumita Beauty Eye Shadow Pencil in Champagne (0.084 oz, $18) from my June Glossybox. I love the medium taupe color for everyday use. It definitely has cool undertones but it also has some warmth to it, which is a good mix for me since I’m not a fan of warm brown tones in eye shadows. It has a nice amount of shimmer that’s still work appropriate. I just swipe it all over my lid up to the crease and blend it out using my finger tips.

On days where I’m looking for a cooler shade, I’ve been reaching for the Laura Geller Beauty Cool Lids Cream Eyeshadow in Silver Sands (0.26 fl oz, $19) that I received in my August Birchbox. It’s just as effortless and easy to use as the Sumita eye shadow pencil but the color is a lighter taupe with cool undertones. I apply a small dab on the tip of my finger, swipe it all over my lid, and blend it toward the crease. Done.

Which beauty products have you been loving this August?

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Glossybox – August 2014

Glossybox - August 2014

Glossybox - August 2014 - contents

August marks Glossybox’s birthday and this year the company is turning three. Happy Birthday, Glossybox! Let’s have a look at the products in this birthday edition.

Überliss Hydrating Shampoo & Conditioner

Full Size: 12 fl oz each, $23.90 (shampoo), $25.90 (conditioner)
Sample Size: 2 fl oz each, $3.98 value (shampoo), $4.32 value (conditioner)

Glossybox - August 2014 - Überliss Hydrating Shampoo & Conditioner

Finally a shampoo without sulfates! And this set is supposed to be moisturizing, too. These also smell great and are the prefect size for traveling. They will definitely be put to good use next time I’m going to Germany this winter.

Eslor Firming Collagen Day Cream

Full Size: 1.7 fl oz, $85
Sample Size: 0.34 fl oz, $17 value

Glossybox - August 2014 - Eslor Firming Collagen Day Cream

I’m always up for trying out new skin care so this moisturizer is right up my alley. It seems a bit heavier than my preferred day creams but I might just use this in the evenings.The ingredients list is pretty short and all of them check out ok. No nasties, just the good stuff.

I am a bit taken aback about Elsor’s use of the term “active ingredients” for the ingredients list provided on their website. It makes me wonder whether there are any inactive ingredients Eslor isn’t telling us about. The term is used incorrectly anyway since none of the ‘active’ ingredients listed are considered a pharmaceutical drug by the FDA. It never sits quite right with me when a company does that because they usually use this as a marketing trick to make the consumer believe that their products work better (are “more active”) than other, similar products on the market. Anyway, I’m giving Elsor the benefit of the doubt here and will test this cream to decide how well it really works.

Kryolan Highlighter

Shade: Cashmere
Size: 0.15 fl oz, $18.95

Glossybox - August 2014 - Kryolan Highlighter

Although this is marketed as an exclusive release for Glossybox, it seems to be identical to Kryolan’s Illusion highlighter albeit with a slightly prettier lid design. I don’t use highlighter very often but as a newly converted cream blush addict, I’m excited to give this cream highlighter a try. The color looks light enough for my skin tone and it has a nice sheen to it without being glittery. I also think it’s the perfect size for those of use that don’t use highlighter on an everyday basis and it’s compact enough to also work well for traveling, which is always a plus for me.

Sparitual Nail Laquer

Shade: Magnify
Size: 0.5 fl oz, $12

Glossybox - August 2014 - Sparitual Nail Laquer

This bubblegum pink nail polish is so not my color. This will get traded.

Eyeko Skinny Liquid Eyeliner

Shade: Black
Full Size: 0.07 oz, $16
Sample Size: 0.035 oz, $8 value

Glossybox - August 2014 - Eyeko Skinny Liquid Eyeliner

I received this eyeliner before in one of my Birchboxes and I really liked it. It’s super easy to use so I’m happy to have another one.

Overall I found this box to be a bit anticlimactic. It’s a really good box with a very nice mix of products but none of them knocked me off my feet. For Glossybox’s birthday edition I was expecting a bit more, perhaps. More bells and whistles, if you will. Maybe a box with a special design to mark the occasion. Product-wise, they were definitely on the right track with the moisturizer and highlighter but they could’ve included some more high-end products instead of the shampoo, conditioner and nail polish. But that’s just me. I’m still really happy with what I received, aside from the nail polish, and at a total value of almost $65 I definitely got my money’s worth.

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The Top Ten Tag

The Top Ten Tag

I saw this tag a couple of weeks ago over at English Rose from Manchester and it looked like a lot of fun. This tag was originally created by Jessica Vannan at Pretty Chit Chat and consists of your top beauty product for each of the ten main makeup categories. If all my makeup disappeared overnight, these are the products that I would repurchase in a heartbeat.

1. Foundation

I don’t even have to think twice about this one. My clear winner in this category is the Estée Lauder – Double Wear Light Stay-in-Place Makeup (1 fl oz, $37). It ticks all the boxes: natural finish, medium coverage, long-lasting. Check, check, and check. I reviewed this foundation previously here.

2. Powder

Another clear winner: the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Dim Light (0.35 oz, $45). It’s so finely milled that it never looks powdery and it just gives my skin a healthy glow.

3. Concealer

I really enjoy the Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay-In-Place Flawless Wear Concealer (0.24 fl oz, $24) for use on the dark circles under my eyes. I’m still on the hunt for the perfect concealer to cover those acne scars on my cheeks. If you have any recommendations please feel free to leave them in the comments.

4. Blush

Up until a few weeks ago I would’ve nominated the NARS blush in Deep Throat for this category but lately I’ve been loving the tarte Cheek Stain in Flush (0.5 oz, $30). It’s just so effortless. Just a few quick dabs on each check, a little bit of blending with my fingers and done.

5. Bronzer

I don’t really use bronzer. I don’t even think I own one so I have to pass on this category.

6. Highlighter

Another beauty product I don’t really use on an everyday basis. I do like to use a bit of highlighter on top of my cheek bones when I go for a night out and for that my product of choice is theBalm Mary-Lou Manizer (0.3 oz, $24).

7. Mascara

I’m pretty easy to please when it comes to mascara and I like to try news ones all the time. The Eyeko Black Magic (0.29 fl oz, $24) mascara is one of my staples, though. I reviewed it previously here.

8. Eye Shadow

I never used to use eye shadow very much but the Sumita Beauty Eye Shadow Pencil (0.084 oz, $18) has quickly become a staple in my routine ever since I received it in my June Glossybox. It’s so easy to use: just a few swipes on the lid and a bit of blending with my fingertips. It’s a beautiful taupe color with just the right amount of shimmer that makes it perfect for everyday use.

9. Brows

I have naturally very thick and dense eyebrows so I don’t use any brow products aside from a pair of tweezers to plug them into shape and a pair of short scissors to trim them. Done.

10. Lip Product

I really like the Clinique Chubby Stick Moisturizing Lip Colour Balms (0.1 oz, $17) for everyday use. My favorite color is Super Strawberry because it’s a great my-lips-but-better shade. It gives my lips a nice flush of color and shine without being over-the-top.

Now, here comes the fun part: I tag YOU. Yes, you! I would love to read about your top ten beauty products. Just leave a link in the comments.

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The Memebox Special #12 Vitamin Care

Memebox Special #12 Vitamin Care - contents

Judging by the weather, summer seems to already be coming to an end here in the Midwest. It’s been really rainy and overcast and just all around unpleasant. As a result, I’ve not been able to take any decent pictures and have totally been falling behind in my posting schedule. 😦

Today I want to get back into the swing of things by reviewing the lovely Memebox Special #12 Vitamin Care. You might remember me mentioning this one in my last Memebox review as being on my wish list. It didn’t really take much convincing to actually order it and about two weeks ago I finally had that pink envelop in my mailbox. Due to the weather I’ve only now been able to take some pictures of it. Better late than never, right?

This box is all about products containing antioxidants and since I’m a bit of a skin care junkie, it sounded right up my alley. Let’s have a look at the goodies.

Elizavecca Real White Vita-Sauce 30 (50 ml, $48)

This is a vitamin C serum that claims to moisturize and fight wrinkles. It also advertises whitening properties but as far as I understand it that only means that it’s designed to lighten dark spots and discolorations and brighten your complexion. I’m already using a vitamin C serum in my routine and I’m excited to give this one a try once I run out of my current one.

Memebox Special #12 Vitamin Care - Elizavecca Real White Vita-Sauce 30

Amini Vitamin Shower Body Soap Bar (120 g, $10)

I absolutely hate using bar soap so while this might be a nice product, it’s going straight into my trade pile.

Memebox Special #12 Vitamin Care - Amini Vitamin Shower Body Soap Bar

Pure Smile Hand Gel Citrus Crash (30 ml, $2)

I kinda have the feeling that this antibacterial gel was only included because it has the word ‘citrus’ in its title and, therefore, sounds like it fits the theme. I don’t think it contains any antioxidants so I would have rather received a different product altogether but I guess it might come in handy.

Memebox Special #12 Vitamin Care - Pure Smile Hand Gel Citrus Crash

Pure Smile Gelee Labo Marmalade (12 g, $1)

Yay, a skin mask! This one looks like those little jelly packages that you get at restaurants, only in bear shape. This one claims to moisturize and soften the skin with orange extracts, hyaluronic acid, centella asiatica (Asiatic pennywort), and licorice root extracts.

Memebox Special #12 Vitamin Care - Pure Smile Gelee Labo Marmalade

Pure Smile Snail Lip Treatment Mix Fruits (10 g, $5)

I knew that ordering from a Korean beauty subscription service I would inevitably receive some sort of product containing snail mucus extract. I’m actually not quite as grossed out as maybe I should be. I figure that there must be something to the hype so I’m pretty excited to give this lip balm a try. In addition to snail mucus extract it also contains vitamin E, hyaluronic acid, shea butter, and macademic seed extract to hydrate and nourish chapped lips. It has a wonderful fruity scent but doesn’t really taste like much. There is a bit of a cooling and tingling sensation after application but that goes away after a few minutes. It’s a bit stickier than I would like but it’s a nice product overall.

Memebox Special #12 Vitamin Care - Pure Smile Snail Lip Treatment Mix Fruits

Evas Vitamin Sun Cream SPF38 PA++ (50 ml, $11)

Sunscreen is a must for me and I’m always on the lookout for one with antioxidants and a decent SPF rating so I’m really happy Memebox included this product.

Memebox Special #12 Vitamin Care - Evas Vitamin Sun Cream SPF38 PA++

Pure Smile Juicy Point Pads Lemon & Orange (10 sheets, $2 each)

These gel mask spot treatments are so quirky. I love it. They will be perfect for the winter when my cheeks tend to get really dry.

Memebox Special #12 Vitamin Care - Pure Smile Juicy Point Pads

Overall, this was a pretty good box. I received over $80 worth of products and I will use almost all of them. I would have preferred to receive a few more skin care items instead of the bar soap and the antibacterial gel. Another serum, mask, or a moisturizer would have made this box more exiting. I also wish this box would have contained a wider variety of brands. Four of the seven products in this box are by Pure Smile and while that is a good brand it would have been great to get introduced to some different Korean skin care companies. Overall, though, I liked the mix of products in this box.

The Memebox Special #12 Vitamin Care retails for $29 and is still available for sale on the Memebox website.

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One Year Blogiversary

One Year Blogiversary

Happy blogiversary to me! I can’t believe it’s already been a year since I clicked ‘publish’ on my first post (don’t go looking for it, it was pretty bad). A big thanks to all of my readers. Without you this whole blogging thing wouldn’t be nearly as much fun. I’m thankful for every click, view, comment, and like and grateful for all the wonderful fellow bloggers I’ve met this past year. Thank you!

I thought it would be fun to reflect on this past year of blogging by having a look at what’s been going on here at All the Lovely Things in Life.

My Blog Stats

  • Total number of posts: 185
  • Average number of posts a week: 3.6
  • Month with most posts: October 2013 (24 posts)
  • Most used category: Beauty (175 posts)
  • Most used tag: Subscription Boxes (40 posts)
  • Total number of comments: 381
  • Top commenter: PrettyTrippy

Top Posts (by views)

  1. Smashbox – Try It Kit – Halo + BB
  2. NARS ‘Final Cut’ Collection – Love and New Attitude Blushes
  3. Estée Lauder – Double Wear Light Stay-in-Place Makeup
  4. Jouer – Matte Moisture Tint
  5. Murad – Blackhead & Pore Clearing Duo

What an exciting year. It’s been a great journey so far and I’m looking forward to what’s ahead!

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Five Easy Lifestyle Changes for Clear Skin

Five Easy Lifestyle Changes for Clear Skin

We all have seen those lists before: paragraph upon paragraph of rules and restrictions to finally get the clear, blemish-free skin we all desire. Exercise, eat healthy, drink enough water, get a lot of sleep, remove your makeup every night and on and on it goes. Of course, those are all important points and not to be discounted but usually those steps take a lot of time, effort, and hard work to actually implement.

I’ve struggled with blemishes ever since puberty and I have the scars to prove it. Only recently have I gotten into a good skin care routine that finally cleared up my skin. During this process I’ve also made a few changes in my lifestyle that have had a profound effect on the condition of my skin. Nothing radical like exercising five times a week (I hate working out) or drastically changing my diet (who wants to live without chocolate?). These changes were actually pretty easy to implement, don’t take up a lot of time, and don’t cost a ton of money. Today I want to share them with you.

1. Remove your makeup as soon as you get home

I usually get home from work around 5pm and go to bed at 10 and most 8-4 folks probably have a similar routine. If you remove your makeup as soon as you get home instead of waiting until bed time, that’s five extra hours of makeup-free time. Think about it! That’s five additional hours where your pores aren’t clogged by the grease and grime of the day. I try to remove my makeup as soon as I get home unless I have some other commitment later on in the evening. I usually also go through my whole skin care routine at this point, which means that my products have more time to work their magic. Sometimes I even go in with another round of moisturizers or facial oils right before bed time to give my skin some extra pampering.

2. Wash off your cleanser properly

We all have seen commercials for facial cleansers where the actress happily splashes her face with water to remove the product and her skin looks radiant and glowing afterward. Unfortunately, a lot of cleansers don’t budge as easily especially when it comes to heavy-duty balms and oils. They can leave residue on your skin that might clog pores and lead to breakouts. I remove all my cleansers using a washcloth and haven’t had any problems with them leaving any stickiness behind. Of course you have to launder your washcloths regularly so that they don’t become a breading ground for bacteria. I have about 20 washcloths on rotation and use a new one every day. You can find an 8-pack for less than $5 at Target so it’s a pretty inexpensive investment.

3. Give your exfoliating toner time to work

This is the change in my routine that has probably had the biggest impact on the condition of my skin. I’m usually in a hurry and don’t take my time doing my skin care routine so I tend to apply one product right after the other. But exfoliating toners especially need some time to do their magic. Now I try to wait at least ten minutes before applying any subsequent products and it has made a world of a difference. I use this time to brush my teeth, apply body lotion, do my stretches, and fix my hair. By rearranging my routine I’m not wasting any valuable time but I give my products sufficient room to do their job.

4. Wash your pillow case at least once a week

Every time I suffer from a sudden burst of breakouts and congested pores I know it’s time to wash my pillow case. Once I sleep in a fresh set of sheets those blemishes will magically disappear. It isn’t really surprising considering that your pillow case will collect all kinds of gross stuff: dead skin cells, sebum, oil, hair, makeup residue, and the list goes on. You really don’t want your face touching that all night, do you? I now try to remember to wash my pillow case once a week. More often would be even better but ain’t nobody got time for that.

5. Sleep on your back

In addition to changing your pillow case more often you might also want to consider trying to sleep on your back. That way your face won’t even come into contact with all the ickiness that is hiding in your pillow. It’s generally a better posture to sleep in anyway and another added side benefit is that you won’t wake up with wrinkly sheet impressions on your face. Bonus!

And that’s it. Pretty easy, huh?

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Birchbox – August 2014

Birchbox - August 2014

To find out more about what Birchbox is, click here.

Can you believe it’s not even sample reveal day yet and I already had my Birchbox in my mailbox? Mine got shipped out super fast and it only took a record four days to get to me!

This month Birchbox expanded their sample choices even further. Every subscriber was able to pick one of four different makeup products or a special box that was curated in collaboration with Everyday Girl. I really like to be able to chose one of my samples. It ensures that I’m at least partially happy with what I receive in my Birchbox while still keeping the surprise of what the rest of the products will be. As a skin care junkie, I hope that Birchbox will expand this program even more in the future to also include other product types aside from makeup in the choices.

The theme for this month’s box was “Lighten Up” and not take yourself too seriously. Birchbox did a couple little tweaks to their packaging to go with the theme. Each box’s address label had a fun little adjective added to the recipient’s name. Apparently, I’m ‘excellent.’ Why thank you, Birchbox! Secondly, each box contained different cards with little sayings that fit the theme perfectly.  Mine read “August – the month when ice cream is totally a food group” which made me laugh because it’s so me. The little carton pouch that some samples come in also had laughing sounds printed on it. I really love these little details.

Here’s what came in my Birchbox this month!

Laura Geller Beauty Cool Lids Cream Eyeshadow

Shade: Silver Sands
Full Size: 0.26 fl oz, $19.00
Sample Size: 0.17 fl oz, $12.42 value

Birchbox - August 2014 - Laura Geller Beauty Cool Lids Cream Eyeshadow

This is the sample that I picked this month. Silver Sands is a light taupe color that is very frosty. I like this color but it might be a bit too shimmery for everyday use.

Harvey Prince Ageless Body Cream

Full Size: 12 fl oz, $26.00
Sample Size: 0.5 fl oz, $1.08 value

Birchbox - August 2014 - Harvey Prince Ageless Body Cream

I really like the scent of this body lotion. I just wish the sample was larger. I’ll be surprised if this lasts for more than two applications.

nügg Beauty Revitalizing Face Mask

Full Size: 5 ct, $14.99
Sample Size: 1 ct, $3.00 value

Birchbox - August 2014 - nügg Beauty Revitalizing Face Mask

“Powerful blend of precious oils & extracts help rejuvenate, protect & plump skin & helps provide a dewy glow. Natural oil dispersion technology eliminates damaging emulsifiers that can break down the natural skin barrier. 95% natural or naturally derived ingredients.”

I have had great success using facial oils to combat my dry winter skin but I’ve never used an oil-based face mask. I’m very excited to give this a try once the weather gets colder.

Neil George Shampoo & Conditioner

Full Size: 3.38 fl oz, $9.00 each
Sample Size: 1.69 fl oz, $4.50 value each

Birchbox - August 2014 - Neil George Shampoo & Conditioner

Whenever Birchbox sends out shampoo and conditioner samples, I can count on receiving them. Sometimes this is a good thing; other times, not so much. This month fell in the latter category. The shampoo contains sulfates which are too drying for my color-treated hair and the conditioner seems thin and runny. I will probably end up trading this set.

This box kinda confirms my suspicion that the Birchboxes that ship later in the month are the better ones. Even though I was able to pick the eyeshadow sample and I’m really excited about the face mask, the box overall is pretty boring. At least the value was quite good at $25.50 so no complaints there.

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