I have a confession to make!! I love gift sets, not only because there are so many goodies in one package, but because you get to test out so many products!! These are some of my favorite gift sets to give and to receive, perfect for the make-up lover or product hoarder in your life!!
Good Morning! I hope you’ve been loving my new contributors and their amazing posts so far because today I have Biana, from BLovedBoston, who is our newest Beauty Contributor! I honestly don’t remember how I met B (Ugh, damn you preggo brain!!) but I know it was shortly after I began blogging. She had just recently started blogging as well and would – without fail – read every one of my posts and leave me the sweetest and most supportive comments. She still does. Even when I get caught up with mom life and am lucky to leave her a single comment in a month, she is ALWAYS there, reading my posts, and being such an incredible friend and supporter of mine. I love her to pieces and I’m so happy that she’s agreed to donate her time to share some of her fab beauty tips, reviews, and tricks with all of you. You can also find her on Instagram, and if you’ve never checked out her blog, you definitely need to! Read more about her, and all the other contributors, here.
While I realize that the harshness of winter weather is relative to where you live, I think we can all agree that there is a point in the season that our make-up routine just isn’t cutting it and doesn’t quite look as good as it did in the spring and summer. My skin starts to look a bit colorless and needs some life put back in, so I’m a firm believer in changing up the routine and adding in a few products that might be a bit too “heavy” for the summer but are perfect for Fall/Winter weather!
I have had my eyes on a the Midnight Recovery line by Kiehl’s for months, and was lucky enough to come across a Kiehl’s store in the Boston airport over Mothers Day weekend and snagged both the eye “serum” (which is the consistency of a cream) as well as the face serum. I was in need of a new overnight eye cream that packed a moisture-punch, and had heard nothing but rave reviews about the creamy eye treatment with avocado, so of course I picked one of those up too. When in rome, am I right ladies? Plus, it was Mothers Day weekend, so it’s not like my husband was saying no.
I’ve talked about my skin a few times in the past, but let me tell you a bit more about my pregnancy skin…it’s hell, in a nutshell. My skin becomes even more dehydrated than usual, and I get acne like a pizza eating 14 year old boy going through puberty. I get, what is so fondly called, the pregnancy mask. Basically that means I get dark, and often red, discoloration/patches all over my skin. It’s kind of like when you go on a long flight and find that for about a week afterwards your skin is super dry from the recycled airplane air, but then it also breaks out…win-win! Oh, and BONUS, I can’t use topical acne treatments or washes. My best friend these days is my clarisonic, and a few masks and products that I’ll go into more detail about another time.
In the last few years (pretty much when I had my daughter) I started noticing fine lines and dark circles around my under eye area, specifically near my tear duct, causing my concealer to crease. I had been testing a million and one products that claim to reduce fine lines, and prevent further aging, but few have been worth repurchasing. Then my sweet friend Bethann (who is such a babe, so I’d use anything she does) told me she used the Midnight Recovery Eye Cream and was seeing results, and I was onboard immediately. Both the midnight recovery products have been amazing, and definitely worth repurchasing in the future. The combination of the M.R. eye cream + the creamy avocado eye cream have completely rehydrated my under eye area and plumped the skin, reducing the visible signs of aging. I noticed a change in the texture of my under eye area after just a few days, and really saw a decrease in my concealer creasing, and dark circles after a few weeks. I use the avocado eye cream day and night, but I wouldn’t recommend that for everyone, especially if you have oily skin as it is very rich and creamy.
The M.R. facial serum has the best spa-like smell, and the oil absorbs into my skin almost instantly without leaving an oily residue. What I love most about this serum is that it has dramatically reduces the time that acne and post-acne blemishes/scars linger. It’s also helping to even out the red and dark patchy areas on my face from my crazy raging hormones. I use this immediately after cleansing my face in the evening using my clarisonic, and if my skin feels like it could use even more moisture I’ll apply a night cream over the top after the serum soaks in.
Quality skincare is always an investment, but I feel like all 3 products have lived up to what they claim to do, and will last me quite a long time.
Have any of you tried these products? Are there other Kiehl’s products that you recommend?
XO – Samantha
Happy New Years!! Wow, 2014…It’s so cliche to say, but the last year came and went in a blink…a beautiful, memorable, fun, and adventurous, blink.
I posted a photo collage of my favorite moments in 2013 over on my instagram, so check those out if you want to see what my life (pre-blog) looked like.
I wanted to share all my favorite beauty products from the last year with you; the items I repurchase over and over again, and would hate to ever live without. I broke things into sections, and linked to everything that I could. What are your must-have products?
DermOrganics Hair Oil - This is what keeps my hair healthy & glossy…for those of you who ask me constantly. Shhh…top secret info!
It’s a 10 Leave-In Conditioner + Keratin
The Sultra Bombshell Curling Wand 1″
Origins GinZing Eye Cream
Cosmedix Pure C - antioxidant rich crystals (dot powder over blemishes or discolored areas and be AMAZED when they begin disappearing. Great for adding to your everyday moisturizer.)
Ren Glycolactic Exfoliating Mask
Embryolisse Moisturizer (Discovered in Paris, and hooked ever since. This stuff is so hydrating, and feels beautiful on the skin.)
Blistex Deep Renewal
St. Tropez Self Tanning Mouse
Laura Mercier Body Souffle
Organic Coconut Oil - I love using coconut oil around my eyes when they’re extra dry, and all over my body after I’ve shaved and exfoliated.
Aquaphor - I literally could NOT live without this. I put it on dry lips, my feet when they’re dry from wearing flip-flops all summer, my daughters diaper rashes, and on any other dry or irritated skin.
Guerlain Lingerie De Peau
YSL Touche Eclat OR L’Oreal Magic Lumi
Bobbi Brown Under Eye Corrector
Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage
Chanel Bronze Universal
Nars Orgasm Blush
MUFE HD Microfinish Powder
Dior Shimmer Star Highlighting Powder – Amber Diamonds
Stilla Stay All Day Liquid Eyeliner
Shiseido Eyelash Curler
The Falsies Mascara - I curl my lashes and then apply 1 coat of this mascara in the WATERPROOF formula, which helps keep my lashes curled. I then apply a coat of Chanel’s Volume de Chanel mascara over this for big, long, dramatic lashes. (Skip the chanel mascara for everyday looks)
Le Volume de Chanel Mascara
Anastasia Brow Wiz
Chanel Glissimer Lip Gloss
Those are all the products I love, and have been using for the last year+, and will continue using throughout the new year. I always love trying new products, and will undoubtedly discover new loves to share with all of you in 2014.
On a side note, I just want you all to know how amazing the past few months have been for me, and what an incredible impact this blog and all of you reading it have had on me. I’ve met some of the sweetest ladies, blogged on some pretty awesome blogs, and worked with companies that put out the coolest products. All of the comments, tweets, and interactions on facebook and instagram mean so very much to me, and I just love getting to know all of you. I started blogging to create a happy place where people with similar interests as me could get together, chat, and support each other, and I’m SO in awe of all of you who are making that dream come true for me. I’ve always been a little shy in large crowds, and never really put myself “out there”, so starting this blog was a big leap for me but I’m so glad I jumped! You guys are constantly building each other up, supporting one anothers goals, and just making this little corner of the internet a happier place. For all of you, I am grateful. 2014 is going to be a really, really good year.
Happy New Years Friends!
XO – Samantha
Let’s kick off the day with my Second Day of Christmas Giveaway! Keep reading for Cyber Monday links, and product info, as well as a little chit-chat.
Today I am giving away the Too Faced “Be Merry & Be Bright” face palettes valued at $45. Ulta describes them as ”12 merry and bright shadows, 2 perfect blushes, 2 sexy bronzers and a volumizing Lash Injection mascara - to create a festive face for every Christmas party. Or break apart and give one palette away and keep one for yourself! The two palettes are all in a purse-friendly kit (inspired by celebrity decorator and TV personality Mary McDonald) with a full-size Lash Injection Mascara, so you can create your look morning, noon or night.” These palettes are BEAUTIFUL, and I almost kept them for myself….almost. For a full review and swatches, check out this post. You can enter to win below. Good Luck!
It’s officially December, and WOW, everyone is in the holiday spirit. I on the other hand haven’t even dug my holiday decor out of my closet. We bought Camryn her first Christmas tree, and decorated it, but my own tree is yet to find it’s way home with me. Ba-hum-bug. I blame my husband. Every time I even bring up the subject of getting a tree, or digging out our boxes of holiday decor, he shuts me down. We officially have more stuff than we need, so we’ll be adding very little to our wishlist this year. I guess that’s why it’s taking us longer than usual to get in the spirit and start decorating…usually I live for tree shopping and turning my house into a winter wonderland. We’re going to have a very small, relaxing Christmas this year. Instead we’re putting most of our energy into making an amazing Christmas for a family we’ve “adopted” at the Ronald McDonald House who are very far from their home in Barbados, and have a 13 year old daughter fighting cancer at Dell Children’s Hospital. Shopping for them has been SO MUCH FUN!! I’ll post more on that soon.
Speaking of shopping, today is Cyber Monday. Here are the stores I’ll be shopping:
Tory Burch: 20-30% off (based on spend) with code HOLIDAY
Lulu & Georgia: 30% off with code THANKS30
CWonder: 30% off everything with code GIFTS30. I absolutely love this monogrammed jewelry box.
Ulta: Deals on individual products, including 25% off Body Shop products. They are also offering $10 off all purchases of $50 or more, and a free gift bag worth $100 when making a $40 purchase or more.
JCrew Factory: 50% off everything with code HOLIDAY50
Lands End: 30% off everything with code WONDERLAND
ASOS: 20% (additional) off everything using code EXTRA20
Serena & Lily: 20% off with code THANKS20
And my personal favorite….Freshly Picked Moccs: 25% off your entire purchase with code BESTYEAREVER
Bath & Body Works is also running a bunch of sales, and are offering the VIP bag for $20. I bought this last year and was really happy with the products.
This is NOT a sponsored post, these are just places I’ll be shopping (or have already shopped for Black Friday).
I will update this list with any new information as I recieve it.
XO – Samantha
Today I have rounded up my favorite gifts under $25. So many of you asked for co-worker gift ideas, or gift swap ideas, and I think these are all perfect. Many of these items are MUCH less than $25, so pick your price point and shop my finds.
1.|| Pattern Post Cards
5.|| 2014 Calendar
8.|| Rose Gold Travel Mug
10.|| Tea Lover Set
1.|| Fox Cocktail Shaker
2.|| Navy Anchor Note Set
4.|| Kate Spade Bookmarks
8.|| Burts Bees Skin Care
I hope you all have a Happy Thanksgiving! I’ll be back on Friday, and kicking off the official “12 days to Christmas” countdown with a “Naughty or Nice” inspired giveaway. I will be hosting a giveaway every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday leading up until the 25th. 12 days, 12 prizes, DON’T MISS OUT!
You guys asked (over, and over, and over again) so I’m here to deliver! Wanna know what’s on my wishlist from Sephora? What new products will I be trying, and which products will I be repurchasing because they’re just that good? I hope you’ve been saving your pennies, and men, get ready to take notes because I know exactly what your lady wants under the Christmas tree! Click on any of the images below to purchase them from Sephora.
Let’s start with the items I’m repurchasing, and can vouch for in quality.
His & Hers Fragrance Sampler. I buy these for my husband and I every year, and love them because the sample sizes are perfect for travelling, and we can each redeem the certificate for a full-size of our favorite scent. Getting a man to go to the store and walk around smelling colognes is pretty much never gonna happen, so this is a great gift for every guy. Perk – this year Sephora has included a little bag with each sampler set.
The Kate Somerville goat’s milk cream is one of the most beautiful moisturizers I’ve ever used. It’s so hydrating, and feels luxurious when you apply it, but never leaves that greasy/oily residue. The thing that has me coming back for more is that it never irritates my skin, and is formulated specifically to calm and hydrate sensitive skin.
I have used this foundation for over 2 years, and I am still absolutely head over heels in love with it still. It is so incredibly pigmented, but never looks or feels cakey. It gives the most flawless finish, and is the foundation I reach for when I’m going out and need more coverage, and need my makeup to last. It’s not cheap, so I definitely don’t wear it around town to pick up groceries or take my kiddo to the park. The finish is satin, and is good for most skin types. I would avoid this if you have very dry skin, and oily skin types might prefer the matte velvet version.
I bought last year’s “Give me more lip” box and was so happy I did. Last year’s focus was on nudes, and “your lips but better” colors, so I am smitten with this years berry toned colors. This $59 box has a value of $209, an absolute steal!
I also purchased this box last year, but as a gift for my sister. I regretted only buying one for a very long time. This year, I will not make the same mistake. $45 for $145 value. Again, an absolute bargain, and the perfect way to try out high-end mascaras without the $20+ price tags. The YSL babydoll lashes is my favorite mascara, so if you haven’t tried it already, heres your chance.
This is the all around best gift box for makeup lovers. I purchased this box last year also, and loved every single product. Many of the products are repeats from last year, so I wont be purchasing this again, but I couldn’t leave this off the list. It’s an insanely good value, and I can vouch for 8 of the 13 products. If I didn’t already own most of the items, you can bet I’d be buying this!
If you are like me, and have already purchased the Superstars box from last year, then this might be the box for you this year. I am most excited about the Josie Maran Coconut Watercolor Cheek Gelee, the Urban Decay eyeshadow in Space Cowboy (which looks similar to Stilla’s Kitten, an all time favorite of mine), and the Too Faced multi-function eyeliner which has 3 points on the end….very interesting….
and lastly for products I’ll be repurchasing, my Ren Radiance kit.
You’ve heard me mention this mask before, and you’ll hear about it again I’m sure. It’s a staple in my skincare routine, and I would hate to ever have to be without it.
Now onto items I have never used, but have researched and read great reviews on, and will be purchasing for myself or as gifts.
Anastasia Brow powder (in color medium brown). I have used other items from the Anastasia brow line, and have heard nothing but rave reviews about this brow powder, so I’m jumping on the bandwagon and hoping it’s as good as all her other products.
Nars Creamy concealer in Custard. I prefer moisture rich concealers that set, but don’t look dried out on the skin. I have very fine lines under my eyes, and don’t want a concealer that will crease or settle into those lines. This concealer is a cult favorite, and I can’t wait to try it.
Becca’s Shimmering Skin Perfector in Pearls. I watch Lisa Eldridge, a celebrity makeup artist, on Youtube all the time and she highly recommends this product for a naturally glowing complexion. Watch this video for more highlighter information from her. This is a liquid highlighter than can be applied to the tops of your cheekbones, down the center of your nose, and along your cupids bow to create depth, and a more youthful appearance. I use powder highlighters in the summer because my skin tends to be more combination/oily, but in winter I like to use liquid highlighters and blushes because my skin is more normal to dry. If you want to try this product without purchasing a full-size, use code OPAL to receive a sample when purchasing anything over $25.
These ambient lighting powders may look like your traditional highlighters, but they are so much more. These are finishing powders which “ capture, diffuse, and soften the way light reflects on your skin.” I am so intrigued by these, and am eager to try anything that claims to give me that “candle lit glow”. This palette offers a limited edition shade, Incandescent light.
I mentioned this face mask in this post. I have been patiently waiting to get my hands on this mask, because everytime I mention it to anyone, I get an ear full about how AMAZING it is.
I am always trying new skincare products, and this is another one that I’ve heard really good things about. I have used the Origins Ginzing under eye cream and really liked the brightening effect, so I’m hoping this has similar results for my entire face. For a less expensive hydrating option, I might consider grabbing Dr Jarts Water Fuse Water-Sure Gel, a moisturizer containing hyaluronic acid to plump skin.
This mask gets a lot of hype in the professional makeup world. I saw this again recently on Lisa Eldridge’s video about fixing problematic skin while on set, and this was one of her go-to products for dry, irritated skin. This sheet mask is soaked in a fusion of “ vitamin, amino acids, minerals, and organic acids.” These are not cheap, but rather a luxury mask for days of pampering, or when your skin is desperate for a pick-me-up.
Laura Mercier’s Souffle Body Creme is another luxury product that I hope to find under my christmas tree. These are decadent, whipped yet rich and moisturizing, and leave your skin feeling incredible. The 4 scents are Almond Coconut Milk, Ambre Vanillè, Créme de Pistache, and Fresh Fig. Mmmmm!! This is the perfect high-end gift set for your mom, sister, or beauty-loving-friend.
Soap & Glory’s Sugar Crush body wash and body butter are the perfect combination for more frequent use, in comparison to the Laura Mercier body butters, and come in at a much more affordable price point. The body wash smells absolutely gorgeous, and friends have told me it leaves your skin feeling hydrated, and never stripped like other washes can. The body butter is formulated with shea and aloe, so your skin will stay soft and supple. The packaging is so over-the-top and girly, and I for one am a huge fan!
For the nail lovers, this is the Mac Daddy set of Sephora’s newest nail line, Formula X. This nail polish is thick, and looks very similar to gel nails. Here’s what Sephora has to say about the color selection: “Creams provide ultralong wear and incredible saturated color in just one swipe. Neons are mega bright and dry down to a matte finish. Chromes glide on creamy and dry to a smooth, reflective finish. Xplosive top coats create the ultimate splatter effect with a matte confetti glitter that can be worn alone or over any nail color. “
And last, but not least, the item I hope to find waiting for me on December 1st….
The benefit “countdown to love” advent calendar. My mom has bought advent calendars for my sister and I every year since we were kids, and this year I’m skipping the little chocolates and hoping to open this little box of makeup surprises. The Pop Art box drew me in, but the promise of Benefit goodies, including 3 of their bestsellers is what sold me.
Hope you all enjoyed my Sephora Wish List, and if you’re a VIB shopper, don’t miss out on the annual 20% off sale beginning November 7th. As you can see, I will clearly be there.
XO – Samantha
Here are my favorite makeup products under $10. I use these almost daily, and have loved them for a very long time. 1.|| Revlon Colorstay Whipped Foundation $9.99
2.|| Maybelline Dream Lumi Touch Concealer $6.49
3.|| Rimmel Stay Matte Powder $3.97
4.|| Revlon Photoready Cream Blush $8.48
5.||Maybelline Color Tattoo $5.99
6.|| Rimmel Scandaleyes Eyeliner $3.97
7.|| Maybelline The Falsies Mascara $5.99
8.|| Maybelline Baby Lips Gloss $2.99
9.||Revlon Lip Butters Lipstick $5.84
10.|| Real Techniques Expert Face Brush $6.74
BONUS.|| Essie Nails Polish in Barefoot & Topless, and Fishnet Stockings. Great colors all year round! $7.79
Leave me a comment below - What are your favorite products under $10?