MOTW: Some pre-V-Day sparkle…

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I’m anti-Valentine’s Day in all way, shape, and form. But you wouldn’t know it by my nails this week…

14Feb12 MOTW
Accent nail is Sephora/Formula X in “Off the Hook” from the Ariel collection of the Sephora-Disney collaboration.

Pink sparkles are a base layer of “Berry Tale Romance” (Sephora/OPI from the Jasmine collection) topped off with “Rosie Lee” from Butter London.

It’s a little more girly than I usually gravitate towards, but I kind of love it!

What’s on your nails this week?

Salut,
bijou

Bienvenue a Birchbox

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A few months ago, birdie bought MOI a six month Birchbox subscription with her points. It was a very lovely thing to do, although not entirely unselfish, as it has expanded our product-swapping opportunities immensely. As luck would have it, when I’m not excited about something, she is, and vice versa. So it’s worked out well. I have to say though, I’ve been very impressed with the general consistency of my samples.

Here is what the past few months have brought me:
bijou past 3 mos BbStandouts are the Chella highlighter pencil – the current love of my makeup life – and the UA headbands (those things stay put like nobody’s business). But really, pretty much everything I’ve sampled so far has been fantastic.

And HERE is what I’m getting for February (can you tell I’m excited??):
bijou Bb Feb14The minute we watched the Sneak Peek video, I knew I had to make the Benefit Big Easy mine. I adore Benefit’s products – I’ve never tried something from them that I didn’t immediately love – and I’m always looking for a good foundation or foundation-adjacent product that won’t look fake and cakey on me. Birdie has been wearing their Hello Flawless foundation and is loving it (more on that soon) – so the combo of Big Easy and Fakeup – another one I’ve been dying to try – is a total win.

The Dr. Brandt products look great too – I’m not clear if they are sampling a product (or products?) from the kit, or if we get the whole kit (I can’t imagine that we would though). Either way, I’m really hoping I get to try the Pores No More. It looks very, very promising.

Salut,
bijou

Sneak Peek: February 2014 Birchbox

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EEEK! The February box pages went live today and in my grand tradition of being completely unable to stay away from spoilers, I looked. Here’s what I’m getting:

Feb14 BirchboxI wish I wasn’t getting TWO face products in a five product box, but oh well. At least they both look interesting and are from great brands. I haven’t had a chance to ever sample anything from Caudalie before so am looking forward to that.

Not too enthused about the tea either, even though I do drink tea, not sure I necessarily want it as a sample especially in a five product box. But oh well.

Very, very excited for the OPI topcoat. It’s a neat concept and I feel like I could do a lot with it and it isn’t like anything else in my nail collection.

Overall, a pretty good box! I’m looking forward to getting it… if it ever ships! As of right now, still no shipping notification.

Oh, and I suppose since February’s box is practically here, I should really probably review January’s box?!?!? More on that soon…

Cheers,
birdie

Then & Now: Face Powder

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THEN: A CoverGirl compact in every purse
then covergirl(photo via covergirl.com)

Despite being beyond trendy right now, the 90’s were not always kind. Especially to those of us who were still finding our way, beauty and style – wise, and experimenting with looks that benefit no one, such as pencil thin brows, garish pastel nail polish, and whipping out your CoverGirl compact to powder your face every five minutes. Even now, years removed, I can still smell that insanely strong powdery scent – and don’t even get me started on the little puff applicator. Pictures from that time reveal a cakey, slightly orange visage. Which, admittedly, was probably much more due to user error and mid-90’s makeup formulations than anything else.

Now: A light dusting of powder to calm down the T-zone
now revlon
(photo via revlon.com)

Copious internet research led me to the joys of Revlon’s Nearly Naked line. The powder is finely milled and goes on light and natural. Applying it with a light touch and a nice face brush (I’m still in love with my Real Techniques Expert Face Brush) doesn’t hurt, either. And instead of a heavy dose of powder every hour on the hour, a la the 90’s, a quick dusting of the T-zone in the morning is all I need.

Salut,
bijou

MOTW: Julep “Reiko”

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Mani of the week, right here:

14Jan27 NOTW
Can’t get any pics to truly to it justice, but it’s the most gorgeous rose gold metallic with a foil finish. It’s pretty and neutral for those of you who are office dwellers, but has just enough shine to really kick things up to the next level.

Reiko was part of the “Champagne Trio” that Julep made available late last summer, but this was the first time I did a full mani with it. Not seeing it up on their website any longer, unfortunately…

Salut,
bijou

Birchbox Points Order, January 2014 edition

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Oh, Birchbox. I just can’t quit you. January was my 16-month anniversary, so armed with an anniversary code plus 600 points ($60) burning a hole in my pocket, I purchased the following for the grand total of $0.00:

Jan 14 points order Bb

It should arrive today, when I get home from work. So excited!

I’m joining literally thousands upon thousands of other beauty bloggers when I say – the points system is what makes Birchbox. Although I’ve had great luck with my boxes – only a dud or two over the past 16 months – this is not my first order using a bazillion (roughly?) points. They really do add up and cashing them in is the most fun you can have with your clothes on.  =)

Interested? My referral link is here. And this isn’t just a fluff post to get referral credits – Birchbox really is the best sub out there, IMO, and if you aren’t already a subscriber, you are seriously missing out!

Cheers,
birdie

Hello, there.

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And, we’re back. Kind of? Holidays take their toll, don’t they? We are just coming up for air from the festivities of November and December, and the letdown that is inevitably January – all those cold, gloomy days with no Christmas music to warm your heart up and keep you distracted from the actual business of day-to-day life.

Getting through our beauty arsenal quite well, thankyouverymuch. Look at all these empties for Nov/Dec!

NovDec empties
January’s empties will be similarly bountiful. There’s something nice about getting through everything, and opening up the room under the sink and in the cabinets for only the very best, the proven, etc.

Some re-purchases, in the past few weeks, or soon to be: the Nuance Daily Clarifying Pads – (top right in the photo above, with the red eos lip balm on top). Salma knows what she’s doing, dears, this stuff is MAGIC in a bottle.

We’ll also be rocking the Suave Professionals Dry Shampoo. For $2.88, we *will* dare to venture into Wal-Mart for another magical bottle that works just as well as Klorane, or bumble&bumble, or whatever other pricey stuff you might be tempted to grab. The Keratin Infusion version is our go-to (very top right in photo above, with black cap), but we’re currently trying the (new?) Moroccan oil version.

We’re on a very limited budget this year – insert dramatic SIGH here – but have a few fun things coming our way, thanks to Birchbox points, Walgreens rewards, and other pre-paid subs.

Stay tuned…

Cheers!
birdie&bijou

Review: October 2013 Birchbox

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Well, it’s shaping up to be a very Birchbox heavy week around here. October’s box was a perfectly lovely one…

October Bb
Miss Jessie’s® Original Crème de la Crème Conditioner
– this is a perfectly lovely conditioner to have in my hair care rotation. It’s not earth-shattering (although its general loveliness makes me want to try other Miss Jessie’s products, some of which *have* been touted as life-changing) but it makes hair soft and smooth. The one drawback, for me, is the smell. It’s reminiscent of a very strong laundry detergent. I’m all for “clean” smelling products, but this one is too overpowering for me.

Folle de Joie eau de parfum – similar to my thoughts above, this is a perfectly lovely perfume to have in my rotation, but not one that I’m obsessing over. It’s a citrus-based scent, which I’m always a fan of, but a little heavier and “fall” smelling, which of course is good timing.

POP Beauty Aqua Lacquer – I love a good pink lip gloss, but this is not the one for me. The applicator is weird and super-awkward and it’s a very, very sticky gloss. It’s in my lippie drawer but not one I reach for on a regular basis.

ChapStick® Hydration Lock – I feel like a total fraud in saying this, because I love lip balm and I’m a life-long Chapstick devotee, but…I’m just not into this! I’ve been putting it on at night and my lips actually feel somewhat dried out in the morning. Which could be due to the sudden temp changes that have been going on here, but I don’t know. I’m not sold on this one.

Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish™ Hot Cloth Cleanser/Pure Muslin Cloths – this was a *great* sample. Good size and luxe packaging are always a good way to win me over. I like the cleanser itself but I don’t think it’s HG status or anything. The cloth will definitely be in rotation once the cleanser is gone – it’s that odd mix of being exfoliating and gentle, all at the same time, and I can see it working well with any type of creamy cleanser product.

In re-reading this, my review was more negative than I intended it to be! While this wasn’t a box worth shouting from the rooftops over, I was quite pleased with it and it contained perfectly lovely samples that I’ve been putting to good use. And that’s the beauty of Birchbox, if you will – even the “bad” months are never bad. It’s always products that I know I’ll use, or gift, and that’s what makes it worth the $10/month for me.

Are you a Birchbox subscriber? (If not, click here!) How was your October box? Are you as excited for tomorrow’s sneak peek (fingers crossed they release it on time) of November’s box as I am?

Cheers,
birdie

Birchbox Points Spending Spree

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Soooo, this happened:

Birchbox points haul 2Is there anything better than seeing “Grand Total: $0.00” at the end of a large beauty order? Plus, I even scored 50 bonus points for the Gimme Brow, how cool is that?

I got trigger happy and hit “place order” a few weeks ago – despite still waiting on my 13 month anniversary code. I was *really* wanting the amika mini-blow dryer and I was afraid it would sell out, as it was getting a lot of coverage on beauty blogs and forums.

Here’s the haul… and please note, I ordered on a Friday morning and had this in hand by the following Monday. Good on ya, Birchbox!

Birchbox points haul 1Right up front is my Mystery Pick-Two – a Bulgari perfume sample (meh) and a Supergoop skin serum (meh? Although it has good reviews.) So that was kind of a bust, especially considering some Mystery packs I’ve seen, but hey, you take your chances.

As I already blogged, a few of these items were HG’s for me, so I’m loving having full-size versions at my disposal. The Gimme Brow is very cool, the Instain blush is GORGEOUS (Gawsh, I love you, TheBalm!), and the amika dryer is beyond cute and surprisingly effective for such a little guy (gal?). The only thing I haven’t tried to date is the Embryolisse – just waiting for the weather to get a little colder so my skin doesn’t throw a hissy fit and the supposedly crazy moisturizing benefits.

Tell me, what do you think of my order? What would YOU have ordered with 800 points?

Cheers,
birdie

Brushing Up

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About two months ago, we started getting really obsessed with learning about makeup brushes. After going through every palette, kit, and other products with brushes that we had, here was our brush collection:

brushing up
Hmmm. Not *too* shabby for makeup novices, but it definitely need some brushing up (ha) and rounding out to make it a little bit more functional for us.

There’s nothing we love more than reading other beauty blogs to research products/ideas, so we powered up and started reading. Kate over at The Small Things (one of our faves – we want her hair!!) has some great posts about brushes – not only what you need to start out, but what you can add over time to round our your collection. Beautylish and Refinery29 also have some great info on brushes – types, brands and where to start.

Pretty much everything we read recommended two brands above all others – at least in terms of affordable, in-our-range brushes – Sonia Kashuk (Target) and Real Techniques (Walgreens, WalMart).

We picked up a 5 piece kit from Sonia that has a foundation brush (kit no longer online but similar brush can be found here) that – no joke – changed our life. Foundation goes on evenly, lasts longer, and looks like perfection. All 5 brushes are soft beyond belief with fancy printed handles that make us feel like we paid $100 instead of $12 for these.

With our recent Walgreens order, we picked up the Real Techniques Core Collection which is a set of four face brushes. While we wish the foundation brush were a bit bigger, the blush/powder and highlighter brushes (second from right and far right in the pic below) are absolutely fantastic.

real techniquesAll in all, if you haven’t jumped on the brush bandwagon, we’d heartily recommend it. It makes sense – if you want your makeup to look good and be long lasting, it helps to have the right tools. Actually, we think if we had figured this out earlier in life, we wouldn’t have had such a love/hate relationship with makeup! C’est la vie, though.

What are your favorite brush brands or types? Do tell!

Cheers,
birdie&bijou