Happy Things

Happy Friday lovelies! I’m looking forward to seeing some close friends and family this weekend and staying inside where there’s air conditioning.  And Sunday is extra special because True Blood AND Dexter are on.  YAY!  Have a wonderful weekend! {Jon and … Continue reading

Beauty of the Month: Sophie of Angel Food Style

It’s that time of the month again and I cannot wait to introduce you to my June Beauty!  Sophie is the gorgeous creator of Angel Food Style, a fashion and lifestyle blog that began in July of 2012.  In less than … Continue reading

Happy Things

Happy Friday! Sorry I haven’t been updating as frequently as I normally do! I’m still getting caught up from being on vacation in Florida. Here are a few things that have perked up my week in pictures:

20120823-134943.jpg{This memory of the beach in Florida. I’m ready to go back!}

20120823-135000.jpg{This is one coat of Essie Ballet Slippers with one coat of Essie Mademoiselle. Essie Weingarten herself wears this combination so I had to try it!}

20120823-135031.jpg{This was the ONLY makeup I packed for my Florida trip besides lipgloss. I was so proud of myself. These essentials kept me feeling put together without being overdone. Products: MAC Mineralize Skinfinish in Soft & Gentle, MAC Powder Blush in Dame, NARS Illuminator in Copacabana, Stila Stay All Day 10-1 HD Beauty Balm (Laura Mercier is still my favorite but I left it at home for this trip), CoverGirl LashBlast mascara (this is my second favorite mascara. L’Oreal Voluminous is my fave.)

20120823-135107.jpg{I did a fun twist on the french manicure this week with Essie Mademoiselle and Martha Stewart Glitter in Sugar Cube as the tip.}

20120823-135118.jpg{Jon was out of town this week so I cooked for one! I made myself this salmon dinner and this Brussels sprouts dish…so good!}

20120823-135125.jpg{Steel-cut oatmeal with fresh strawberry slices and a touch of agave was the perfect breakfast this week.}

20120823-135135.jpg{My friend Paula and I had a fun night in this week. We baked a homemade, healthy pizza (recipe coming next week!), sipped red wine and watched the movie Bachelorette on OnDemand. Hilarious movie.}

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{**OBSESSED** with this Eyeko Skinny Liquid Eyeliner. It came in my July Birchbox and I just love love love it.}

20120823-135150.jpg{Posted this picture of Jon and me on Instagram this week for Throwback Thursday. This was in Vegas 6 years ago. Love this picture…and him!}

20120823-135156.jpg{My current favorite lipcolor is MAC Creme Cup lipstick with a swipe of MAC Nymphette Lipglass. The pinky gold shimmer of the gloss makes the lipstick look so feminine and sexy. LOVE.}

What made you happy this week?

August Birchbox

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August’s Birchbox is a Beauty School theme since it’s back to school time!

What’s Inside

FusionBeauty LashFusion XL

-What it is: A mascara and lash conditioner in one that claims to give voluminous, healthy lashes.

-My thoughts: Ugh. I don’t like this mascara AT ALL. As I’ve mentioned before, I like to have dark, lush, thick lashes and this product does not do any of that for me. If you like extremely natural looking lashes this mascara may work for you but you can find better options for half the price at the drugstore.

Would I buy it: No

Full-size cost: $24

Shue Uemura Art of Hair Cleansing Oil Shampoo

-What it is: An oil-to-foam shampoo that cleanses without stripping hair of natural oils. For all hair types.

-My thoughts: My hair felt really soft after using and it smells so good. I was surprised at how clean my hair did feel after using this. The “oil” part of the product name made my wary. Even though my hair is dry, I like a good cleansing on my roots since I use a considerable amount of product and this did cleanse my hair well. For the price I wouldn’t purchase a full-sized bottle because I like what I’m currently using but this is a great product. If you have $55 to spend on shampoo this could be a great product for you.

Would I buy it: No

Full-size cost: $55

Yu-Be Moisturizing Skin Cream

-What it is: An all-purpose glycerin and camphor skin cream. Free of fragrance and dyes and gentle enough for infants. Perfect for treating chapped lips, cracked heels, dry spots on the face, etc. Cult product in Japan.

-My Thoughts: I really like this cream. It’s all-purpose use reminds me a bit of my beloved Rosebud Salve, although the texture is totally different. Yu-Be is thick and creamy and smells like menthol, but the scent goes away after applying. I put this on a few dry spots on my hands and it really soothed them.

Would I buy it: Yes

-Full-size cost: $16

Juicy Couture Viva la Juicy La Fleur perfume sample

-What it is: A modern perfume with notes of waterlily, mandarin and wild berries.

-My thoughts: This perfume is too sweet and fruity for my taste.

Would I buy it: No

Full-size cost: $70

Schick Hydro Silk Razor

What it is: A shaving razor with a water-activated moisturizing serum and 5 “curve-sensing” blades.

My Thoughts: I really like this razor. I still used shaving cream with it but it left my legs really soft and it gives a close shave without making you feel like you’re going to slice yourself.

Would I buy it: Yes

Cost: $11.49

What did you think of your August Birchbox?

Summer TestTube

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I’m so in love with Birchbox and the idea of new beauty products and samples being shipped to your door. My friend Josephina told me about the New Beauty TestTube and was instantly sold on it. Unlike Birchbox it only comes 4 times per year, but it’s overflowing with full-sized products, generously sized samples and the New Beauty quarterly magazine (normally about $12 on it’s own) for just $29.95 per quarter! You do pay for shipping with this service so it comes out to $39.80 per quarter total.

You end up getting way more than you paid for considering some of the full-sized items in the box retail between $10 and $50! And you always get more than one full-sized item. I love love love TestTube!!! I’ll be reviewing each tube I get, providing details on the full-sized items I received and a brief description of the deluxe samples.

Here’s a peek into the summer TestTube!

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Full-Sized Items Inside (Valued at a total of $54.98):

Mally High Shine Liquid Lipstick in Blossom ($20)

What it is: A sheer lipgloss in a twist tube with a brush applicator

My Thoughts: This is definitely not a lipstick like the title suggests. It’s a sheer lipgloss and it’s great. It has a very emollient texture and a sheer mauvish-pink color. The tube is also really elegant looking with gold and snake skin. It also has a lipsticky smell to it, which I like. While the gloss is great, for the $20 price tag I don’t think it rivals my favorite lip glosses enough to fork over the cash for it. But the full-sized tube came in my box so I’m not complaining!

Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Serum ($20.99)

What it is: An anti-aging serum packed with retinol and Hyaluronic Acid

My Thoughts: I’m a big fan of Neutrogena skincare so I was excited to try this serum. It’s full of skin-brightening retinol and hydrating Hyaluronic Acid to smooth skin and reduce the look of fine lines while diminishing age spots. While I don’t have a lot of these skin issues at this stage in my life, I do use anti-aging products daily and Neutrogena is known for making fantastic anti-wrinkle products. I’ve been using this daily and would definitely pay full price for this when I run out. It goes on smoothly, absorbs quickly without feeling greasy and my skin feels great after using.

Neutrogena Brightening Eye Perfector ($13.99)

What it is: A concealer, brightener, depuffer and sun protectant in one

My Thoughts: This is a neat product because it’s a concealer and eye treatment in one. While hiding under eye circles well it also brightens and depuffs with a blend of vitamins and antioxidants and protects from the sun with SPF 25! It goes on really smoothly and blends like a dream with a great applicator brush, although I use my BeautyBlender to apply it. Love this product and would definitely purchase.

Deluxe Samples Inside:

It’s a 10 Miracle Leave-In Plus Keratin (Full size cost $20)

What it is: A leave-in conditioning hair treatment

My thoughts: I am seriously loving this stuff! I received a really generous sample bottle of this treatment. I’ve been using it daily for the past week and have not quite used up half the sample yet. First, it smells AMAZING. It has a thicker substance than most leave-in conditioners I’ve tried, but it absorbs quickly and leaves no residue or weighted feeling in the hair. This awesome product defrizzes, restores protein, makes styling easier, protects against heat, etc. I’ve been using it before I put in my MoroccanOil and my hair feels amazing. I will be buying a full-sized bottle when I run out of this generous sample.

LashFood Eyelash Conditioner (Full size cost $80)

What it is: A lash treatment that thickens, darkens and lengthens with long-term use

My thoughts: I’ve only used it twice since I received it but the sample tube is a really large size so I’m hoping to see some results before I run out! It’s supposed to work within 3-6 weeks. I’m not sure I’d purchase a the product due to the hefty price tag but if it really works then it may be worth it!

Hydroxatone InstantEffect 90 Second Wrinkle Reducer (Full size cost $60)

What it is: An eye serum that provides a temporary fix for wrinkles and puffy eyes

My thoughts: I used this to depuff my eyes twice so far. The first time I must have used too much because as soon as it dried I was left with white streaks all around my eyes. I washed it off immediately. I tried it again the next day with a much smaller amount and it did tighten and depuff my eyes. I feel like a good eye cream (like this one) or a splash of cold water would do the same. Would not purchase. It may work wonders for temporarily smoothing wrinkles. I didn’t have any to test that on. 🙂

Lumene Time Freeze Firming Night Cream (Full size cost $21.99)

What it is: An anti-aging night cream

My thoughts: Like all their samples, this was a generously sized sample jar. I’ve tried a lot of night creams and am really picky. This is not nourishing and hydrating enough for my skin type so I tried it once and haven’t used it again. It may be right for someone whose skin is normal to oily. I prefer a much richer night cream.

Jane Iredale Tantasia (Full size cost $36)

What it is: A bronzer and self-tanner for face and body

My Thoughts: I have not tried this yet but may put it on my legs this weekend since I plan on wearing a lot of dresses. It’s just too hot for jeans!

Smashbox Photo Finish Oil-Free Foundation Primer (Full size cost $36)

What it is: A water-based primer that preps skin for foundation by allowing a smoother and more even application

My Thoughts: I haven’t tried this yet but I love all things Smashbox so I’m sure it’s amazing.

AHAVA Time to Hydrate Essential Day Moisturizer Normal to Dry Skin (Full size cost $39.50)

What it is: AHAVA’s products are full of minerals from the Dead Sea. This moisturizer has amino acids, Vitamin E and Aloe.

My Thoughts: This was a generous sample size and I’ve been using it every day this week. I really love it. It has a rich texture and my skin feels supple and happy after use. I would not purchase only because it doesn’t have sunscreen in it. I don’t like to have to wear both sunscreen and day cream, I only use products that have both. I would try other things from this line, though.

July Birchbox

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July’s Birchbox is a Senses theme so it’s full of things for hearing, tasting, feeling and smelling.

What’s Inside

Boscia Green Tea Blotting Papers

-What it is: These are for oily skin. They absorb oil and are full of beneficial green tea extracts to leave your skin matte.

-My thoughts: My skin is bone dry so I wouldn’t put these on my skin ever, nor would they do anything if I did. I’ll give them to a friend with oily skin and I’m sure they will work wonderfully. Boscia is a fantastic skincare brand. I’m a little disappointed these were in my box considering we fill out a personalized form so they know our skin type.

Full-size cost: $10

Eyeko Skinny Liquid Eyeliner

-What it is: The product name pretty much says it all!

-My thoughts: Eyeko is a great brand. I received a full-sized liner, which was exciting! It gives a really precise, even line and is easier to use than most liquid liners I’ve used. Love it!

Full-size cost: $15

Jouer Luminizing Moisture Tint

-What it is: A light-weight tinted moisturizer that gives a dewy finish.

-My Thoughts: This is very similar to my beloved Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer.  Similar, luxurious texture and luminizing finish.  I applied it with my BeautyBlender this morning and really liked it.

-Full-size cost: $38

Oscar de la Renta Live in Love perfume sample

-What it is: A feminine floral fragrance with hyacinth, orchid, sandalwood and cedar.

-My thoughts: This is a really girly, soft perfume that I like. Not sure I would pay for a full bottle but it’s a nice scent.

Full-size cost: $78

Larabar Uber on Cherry Cobbler

What it is: A snack bar packed with dried nuts, fruit and a touch of honey.

My Thoughts: I love Larabar and this was delicious. I love that her ingredients are so simple and natural. All her bars leave me feeling full and energetic.

Full-size cost: $27.95 for a 16-pack

Earbuds:

What it is: Earbuds for your iPhone, iPod, etc.

My Thoughts: I absolutely love the neon green and hot pink colors. These are so cute! The iPhone earbuds typically make my ears sore after wearing for a while and these don’t do that! They do slip out of my ears easier than the iPhone ones, though.

Cost: $10

What did you think of your July Birchbox?

Happy Things & Winner of Facial Giveaway!

Happy Friday! Thank you all so much for entering my giveaway with Broadway Skin & Body Retreat for a 60-minute Cooling Facial! The winner is Mandi Kane!  Mandi, I just had this facial last night and I can tell you, you are in for a treat!

To show all of you how much we appreciate you entering this giveaway, Broadway Retreat is offering each of you a 30-minute Express Facial for only $25 (normally $45)!  This discounted offer is valid through August 31, 2012.  To take advantage of this, call the spa at 505-246-2400 and reference the giveaway.  Thank you again! We are grateful for each of you for supporting us!

Here are the happy moments from my week captured in pictures!

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{My friend Shay came in town for her birthday and Jon and I were lucky enough to spend it with her and a few of our old friends}

20120719-103521.jpg{Clean, sheer nails were a nice change from my summer brights. This is Essie Pop Art Pink}

20120719-103540.jpg{A Diet Vodka Tonic was the perfect evening refresher after a long day at work. Just mix 1 shot of good vodka with diet tonic water and squeeze the juice of 1 lime wedge}

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{My collection of lipsticks and glosses that I carry in my purse on a daily basis makes me both extremely happy and embarrassed at the same time. My coworker Melanie calls these my “just in case” items!}

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{Happiness came in the form of mail this week when both my July Birchbox and my summer NewBeauty TestTube arrived! Posts coming soon about both of these delights!}

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{I found the most perfect bouquet of creamy white Hydrangeas for my Mom’s birthday at Trader Joe’s}

20120719-103655.jpg{We spent my Mom’s birthday at her home in Corrales enjoying Indian food and the beautiful post-storm weather}

{Spending Thursday night at Broadway Retreat with Devon sipping wine and getting a Cooling Facial!}

What brightened your week?

June Birchbox

I recently joined Birchbox and will be blogging about each monthly shipment I receive.  Birchbox lets you sample the latest beauty and skincare products by delivering a box full of samples to your doorstep for only $10 a month!  You fill out a questionnaire upon signing up so each month your box is personalized to your preferences, skin tone, etc.  Each month also has a different theme and the items inside are associated with that theme.

They work with all the top brands like NARS, Khiel’s, Stila, Fresh, Essie and many more.  You can check out their list of brands here.  They also have a rewards system so that when you buy full-sized products from their site you accumulate points you can put toward items.

Birchbox has a waiting list so once you request a membership you wait until it’s your turn.  I waited about two weeks for my invitation.  Here is my review on the June Birchbox!

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June’s Birchbox is a Jet Set theme, so it’s full of items that are travel-friendly and serve multiple purposes.

What’s Inside

Juliette Has A Gun Not a Perfume perfume sample

-What it is:

A single-element fragrance by Romano Ricci. It’s made with Ambroxan, which is a synthetic substitute for grey amber and often used as a back note in perfumes. Juliette Has A Gun is described as “minimalist, elegant, pure.” It’s also allergen-free.

-My thoughts:

This is a very unique, clean, feminine scent. I like that it’s made with just one element. I’d imagine this would help minimize perfume-induced headaches, which I definitely get with some brands. I don’t see myself buying a full bottle but I do enjoy the fragrance.

Full-size cost: $85-$110

Melvita Rose Floral Water

-What it is:

A facial toner made primarily of water and organic rose petals. It’s meant to hydrate, refresh and tone skin. It’s made specifically for sensitive or prematurely aging skin.

-My thoughts:

I absolutely love facial mists and really like this one. My skin feels instantly refreshed and hydrated after a spritz of this and it has a very strong rose scent. They also make lavender and orange blossom floral waters. I would definitely purchase a full bottle of this product. I’d prefer it in lavender since I don’t love rose-scented things.

Full-size cost: $22

Stila Stay All Day 10-in-1 HD Beauty Balm

-What it is:

A 4-in-1 product that serves as a primer, moisturizer, anti-aging serum and sheer foundation all in one. It’s full of peptides to minimize appearance of wrinkles and antioxidants to protect against free radical damage.

-My Thoughts:

I’ve been really curious about beauty balms and was excited to try this.  I really like Stila products and this did not disappoint.  It provides a bit more coverage than the tinted moisturizer I typically use. It has a really luxurious feel as it goes on and it absorbs flawlessly into skin.  It has a nice, fresh scent to it as well.  I’m totally obsessed with my Laura Mercier but I would buy a full bottle of this product.  The only downside is it doesn’t have any SPF in it.  My fabulous beauty-blogging cousin gives more details on beauty balms here.

-Full-size cost: $38

theBalm Cosmetics Stainiac in Beauty Queen

-What it is:

A 2-in-1 lip and cheek stain in a bright pinkish red shade. It has a gel consistency and it’s very long-wearing.

-My thoughts:

I’m a fan of the Benefit Benetint Rose stain and this gives similar color pay-off. The consistency is completely different, though. I like the gel consistency of this better. The Benefit stain gives a runny application and the gel formula of the Balm’s product makes application a breeze. Beauty Queen is described as a magenta-toned pink but I think it looks more red, like Benefit’s product. It makes lips look naturally but noticeably rosy.  It also gives a gorgeous natural-looking flush to the cheeks.  It doesn’t have a scent, which I also like. I would definitely purchase a full-sized tube of this. They make it in 2 other shades; Prom Queen-a rose pink, and Homecoming Queen-peach.

Full-size: cost $17

ModCloth Headband

What it is:

A retro-inspired headband with flexible metal wire.

My Thoughts:

I can honestly say I would not be caught dead in this headband. It’s just not my style at all. The one I received has a deer print on it, which I really don’t like, but the overall retro-style just isn’t me. It could look really cute on someone else with the right clothing.

Full-size cost:$14

Happy Things

Happy Friday! I hope everyone had a great week. I’m ready for a relaxing weekend and plan on staying out of the heat! Monday is the last day to enter my lip balm giveaway! If you haven’t entered yet, you can enter here. The winner will be announced on Tuesday!

Here are a few things that made me happy this week! All photos are from Instagram (Username: GourmetBeauty).

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{ My Maid of Honor speech from Devon‘s wedding, captured in a photo. I was so scared! }

20120621-141752.jpg{ Ice cold Corona Lights with lime & salt…great way to beat the heat }

20120621-141803.jpg{ Fresh cherries were my dessert most nights this week }

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{ My June Birchbox. Loving it! Details coming next week on the blog }

{ Breakfast for dinner after a hard kickboxing class, courtesy of Jon ❤ }

What are some things that brightened up your week?