Beauty of the Month: Melisa of Pie N’ The Sky

Meet Melisa.  She is the gorgeous face behind the popular lifestyle blog, Pie N’ The Sky.  She’s also a graphic designer, among many other things, and she designed my blog!  Melisa has such a sweet spirit and her creativity is … Continue reading

Beauty of the Month: Britaña Campos, Owner of Savvy Boutique & Author of Blogging with B

It’s time for my February Beauty of the Month!  Meet the drop dead gorgeous Britaña Campos.  A New Mexican like me, she writes the wonderful fitness and lifestyle blog, Blogging with B, and owns the chic new women’s clothing store … Continue reading

New Makeup Crush: NARS Lip Colors!

{NARS Lipsticks in Belle de Jour and Roman Holiday, NARS Lip Gloss in Turkish Delight} I’ve always been a fan of NARS but hadn’t tried their lipsticks and glosses until recently.  I fell in love with the Chelsea Girls lip lacquer … Continue reading

My Hawaiian Vacation Beauty Essentials

We are off to Oahu today for a much needed vacation! I won’t be updating my blog much over the next two weeks but promise to return to it as soon as we get settled back in! I loved when … Continue reading

Summer TestTube


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!




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.

Pool Day Beauty Essentials

We have a fantastic pool at our apartment complex and it’s been getting a lot of use now that the warm weather has arrived! Since pool days involve major heat and getting wet, my beauty routine is nearly nonexistent on these days. Here are my 5 beauty essentials for lazy days at the pool with friends!

1. Chapstick with Suncreen

Sunburned lips are so incredibly painful. I have so many chapsticks but most of them don’t contain any SPF. It’s really important to only wear lip balm that includes sun protection when you’re going to be out in the sun. I’ve been using Maybelline Baby Lips clear lip balm in peppermint. It has SPF 20 and comes in a really cute container.

2. Suncreen

This should be obvious. Don’t skip sunscreen! And anything with an SPF below 15 does NOT count! I never use anything below 30 when I’m going to be swimming. I’m currently loving Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Body Mist Sunblock in SPF 30. It applies evenly and absorbs well without being greasy. You don’t have to rub it in and get it all over your hands, which I really like.

3. Bright lipstick

As you’ve seen from my past posts (here and here) I’m totally into bright lips for spring and summer. Since mascara and bronzer are pointless on pool days (I actually swim like a kid with my friends at the pool, not just lay out), I love wearing bright lips. While we were in Vegas, I bought Lancome Rouge in Love High Potency Lipcolor lipstick in Rose Boudoir. This is a great pool day lipcolor because it’s long wearing (claims to be 6 hours but I find it lasts 2-3), and Rose Boudoir is a gorgeous and bright hibiscus corally pink.

4. Leave in conditioner

The sun and chlorine can really take a toll on your hair. I like to spritz some leave-in conditioner on my ends to help protect against damage. I’m currently using Milk Shake Leave In Conditioner. It’s packed with honey, fruit extracts, proteins and vitamin E. It also smells like cake! I’m sure it’s supposed to smell like a milkshake, and it technically does, but I smell vanilla cake and frosting. YUM.

5. Bright Nail Polish

Nail polish is a great way to make a beauty statement when everything else is understated. I’m currently loving different shades of green and blue for the warm weather. My spring favorites have been Revlon Posh, pictured above, and Essie polish in Something Borrowed, Lapis of Luxury and Mint Candy Apple.

{My friends and me on Memorial Day at my pool}

What are your pool/beach day beauty essentials?

Drugstore Hair Care Part 1

In continuation of my previous posts (here and here) about my favorite drugstore products, here are some fantastic shampoos and conditioners you can pick up at your local Walgreens!  I have either tried or currently use all of these products.  Stay tuned for great drugstore styling products in Part 2!


John Frieda Sheer Blonde & Go Blonder Shampoos $6.49

All the John Frieda products I have tried are salon-quality.  I notice that my highlights are brighter, blonder and shinier when I use either of these shampoos.  I’m currently using the Go Blonder.

Garnier Fructis Pure Clean Fortifying Shampoo $4.99

I use this once a week for deep cleansing.  It rids hair and scalp of product buildup without overdrying.  It also smells like fresh green apples and the scent lingers on my hair.  It’s 92% biodegradable, has no silicones and contains sugar cane, lemon peel extract, green tea and acerola fruit extract…whatever that is!

Organix Nourishing Coconut Milk Shampoo $6.99

This super hydrating shampoo is full of coconut oil, egg whites and coconut milk.  It smells like a tropical vacation and leaves my hair really soft and fragrant.  Organix bottles are eco-friendly and manufactured from materials containing recycled post-consumer resin, which is an added bonus to this delicious shampoo.

Neutrogrena Triple Moisture Cream Lather Shampoo $5.99

This gentle shampoo is full of olive, meadowfoam seed and sweet almond extracts that deeply hydrate hair.  It also smells really great.

Daily & Deep Conditioners

Neutrogena Triple Moisture Daily Deep Conditioner $6.79

This conditioner has all the same effective ingredients as the matching shampoo I mentioned above, and leaves hair detangled and super soft.

L’oreal Evercreme Deep Nourishing Masque $8.99

I absolutely love this deep conditioner.  I just ran out and need more ASAP!  It’s full of Omega-3 and 6 and it leaves my hair so soft and managable.  I use this once a week.  It’s also 100% vegan and smells heavenly.

Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Deeeeep Conditioner $3.99

I haven’t used this product in years but I remember really liking it.  It won an Allure Best of Beauty 2011 Cheap Thrills award.  It’s full of Australian sea kelp, aloe and jojoba oil and is a  fantastic detangler.  Plus you can’t beat the price!

What are your favorite inexpensive shampoos and conditioners?

Drugstore Skincare

My post about great drugstore cosmetics got me thinking about all the other fantastic products you can get at drugstores. Many of the skincare products I use are from the spa where I get regular facials and from Lush. There are a few products I use daily from the drugstore and some that I would repurchase at some point. Here are some of the best skincare products I’ve found from the drugstore:


Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser $7.99

This cleanser is a fantastic product. It’s soap free and only has 8 ingredients. It’s gentle enough for all skin types and it really does cleanse and effectively remove makeup. I’ve used this in the past and would definitely repurchase. Jennifer Garner and many other celebrities use this cleanser. It won an Allure Best of Beauty 2011 Hall of Fame award for winning 11 times in the past.

Cleansing Wipes

Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes $7.99

These fantastic cleansing wipes won an Allure Best of Beauty 2011 Cheap Thrills award. Their review of this product was, “With the perfect saturation level, these wipes gently melt away even waterproof makeup.” I completely agree and highly suggest these! I have tried quite a few cleansing wipes and Neutrogena’s are by far the best.


Neutrogena Pore Refining Toner $6.99

This toner is full of hydroxy acids that sweep away dead skin without overdrying. I use this once or twice a week and it makes my skin soft and clean.


Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Cream, Original Formula SPF 15 $13.99

This is my daily moisturizer. It also won an Allure Best of Beauty 2011 Hall of Fame award for winning 9 times in the past. This product is so popular due to the unique formula. Neutrogena discovered a way to stabilize retinol, a pure form of Vitamin A that smooths lines and wrinkles, in a way other higher-end lines were not able to. Allure explains, “they combined the retinol molecule with UV filters and several antioxidants to protect it from sunlight and air, and to keep it active. Without such defenses, retinol will quickly degrade.” This cream leaves skin soft and smooth.

Eucerin Everyday Protection Face Lotion, SPF 30 $8.99

This is a fantastic moisturizer. It’s extremely gentle, hydrating, and full of SPF. It’s light-weight and fragrance free.

What are your favorite skincare products from the drugstore?

My Skincare Routine

We all know that proper skincare is crucial for preventing wrinkles and looking healthy. It also ensures that makeup applies easily and blends well. When skin is dry or broken out, foundations, concealers, blush, etc. aren’t able to blend evenly and can end up looking blotchy or cakey. Keeping my ultra-dry skin hydrated and healthy is top priority for me.  Here are the most important things I do every day to keep my skin in great shape:

1. I always wash my face before bed

We’ve heard this over and over but it’s so important to wash away all the makeup and dirt from your day. I’m currently using Image Skincare Vital C Hydrating Cream Cleanser. It smells like oranges and gently melts away all my makeup without drying my skin out. I wash my face before bed and I don’t wash it again in the morning. With my skin being so dry, I don’t want to strip it of any moisture when it’s already clean. On the rare occasions I’m too exhausted or lazy for washing my face at night I use these while I’m in bed.

2. Exfoliate!

Cleansing is so important but most cleansers don’t get rid of dead skin. Dead skin can leave your complexion dull and dried out. I prefer a gentle exfoliator for daily use and I use something more intense on a weekly basis.  After I cleanse every night I lightly exfoliate with Lush Angels on Bare Skin. It’s a natural, gentle lavender scrub/cleanser. It’s full of kaolin clay for deep cleansing and ground almonds for gentle exfoliation. The rose and lavender sooth and balance skin. It has a very natural, herbally smell that I was put off by at first. I’ve been using it for 6 months and I really enjoy the smell now.

3. Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize, Sunscreen, Sunscreen, Sunscreen!!!!

Living in a desert climate with my dry skin, I worry about premature wrinkling. Keeping skin moisturized and protected from the sun is extremely important. During the day I’m currently using Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Cream SPF 15. I put this on as soon as I wake up in the morning and let it soak in before I apply makeup. I also put this lotion on my neck, because the sun hits there too!

At night I use Vinies Dry Skin Dew Drops. This serum is a delightful blend of essential oils and it has a beautiful floral fragrance. It leaves my skin glowing. I apply 100% Pure Super Fruits Night Balm on top of the Dew Drops. I told you my skin’s dry! This balm is all natural and it’s full of powerful anti-aging fruits.

I use eye cream in the morning and at night. I’m currently loving 100% Pure Organic Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream. It’s full of caffeine and green tea, which reduce puffiness, dark circles and fine lines. The Dr. Oz Show recently featured this eye cream as a “top anti-aging innovation”! I put this on as soon as I wake up and by the time I get dressed and do my makeup my previously swollen eyes are completely depuffed.

4. Drink a LOT of water

Water has a TON of health benefits, and it also hydrates your skin and helps keep it clear.  I hate having to count how many glasses I’ve had a day so I take this everywhere I go and try to drink at least one of these a day. It’s 2.2 liters. One of my best friends owns a spa and she says she can instantly tell when a patient is dehydrated due to the way the skin feels during a facial.

5.  Monthly Facials

Daily cleansing and moisturizing is fantastic but skin can also benefit from a little extra TLC every once in a while.  I get monthly facials at my friend’s spa, Broadway Skin & Body Retreat.  I look forward to this pampering session every month and I always leave with skin that’s positively glowing.  Facials are certainly an added expense but I feel like investing in my skin is a wise choice.  I get my Image Skincare, Vinies and 100% Pure products from this spa as well.