Saturday, May 31, 2014

Update - Taking a Break

I've been putting off this blog post because I wasn't quite sure what to write. I apologize for that fact that it's probably going to sound really vague and cryptic, but I try to limit how much personal information I put on here, so I'm not going to give a lot of details. 

Three weeks ago, my life as I have known it was completely shattered. I'm going through massive, stressful life changes that I didn't want or expect. I'm preparing to move and facing a lot of uncertainty about what my future holds. 

With everything going on, I'm going to have to take a break from this blog. That makes me sad, but it can't be helped right now. I don't know when I'll be back because I don't know when my life will settle back down to something that feels "normal," but I do plan on blogging again when I can. 

Thanks for reading. I hope you stick around even though it will be quiet here for a while. 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Products I Want to Use Up - 2014 - Update

Disclaimer: All products mentioned in this post were purchased by me. All opinions are my own. 

I've been meaning to do an update on the list of products I've been trying to use up, and I finally got around to taking the pictures for it. If you want to see my original post, you can find it here.

Here's what I've finished:

  • Hourglass Mineral Veil Primer
  • Hard Candy Concealer Pencil
  • Urban Decay 24/7 Concealer Pencil in CIA
  • ELF shadow from the Day to Night Palette (white with gold shimmer)
  • Stila Lip Glaze in Splendor
  • Chapstick Lip Balm in Cake Batter
  • Silk Naturals blush sample in Candie 
  • Silk Naturals blush sample in Tart Light
  • Stila Smudge Stick in Anglefish
I did a lot better than I thought. I had forgotten how many items I actually finished since I tend to add a new product when something gets finished. 

Now for the things that I'm still working on and the new things that I've added to my list.

Tarte Amazonian Clay Full Coverage Balancing Foundation in Fair - It's hard to tell because of the opaque tube, but I've made a lot of progress on this foundation. It's the one I've been using every day. I'm guessing I have less than a month left in the tube.

Nars Sheer Matte Foundation in Siberia - Since I've been using the Tarte foundation, I haven't really made progress on this one.

bareMinerals Prime Time Foundation Primer - This is my last foundation primer sample, so I want to use it up before starting in on my full size primers.

Benefit Erase Paste in Fair - I'm really excited to say that I've hit the bottom of the jar on this one. It'll probably still last for quite a while, but I'm still happy to see some progress.

Tarte Park Avenue Princess Bronzer - This is so close to gone. After I took this picture, I broke up what was left and put it in an empty loose minerals jar. It's making it easier to get to the last of the product.

Tarte Amazonian Clay Full Coverage Concealer in Fair - I'd like to get this concealer out of my collection because it separates in the tube. I was honestly quite disappointed with this concealer. I end up squeezing some into a clean jar so I can use a brush to mix it together.

Too Faced Wrinkle Injection Extreme Wrinkle Filler - I haven't made as much progress with this as I should. I still forget to use it more often than not.

Milani eye shadow in French Vanilla (largest pan) - The amount of pan showing on this has gotten a lot bigger. It's still going to take a long time to finish, but I don't mind using it, so that doesn't bother me.

Everyday Minerals eye shadow in Funnel Cake (darker brown) - There's a little more pan showing, but I tend to forget to use this one when I grab a palette with a crease color in it.

Silk Naturals eye shadow in Shantung (smallest pan) - This is an old gift with purchase shade. I picked it because it is such a small pan. I'm hoping it won't take too long to finish.

Everyday Minerals eye shadow in Driftwood (lighter brown) - I haven't really made any visible progress with this shadow.

Everyday Minerals eye shadow mix of Good China and Queen Anne's Lace - I pulled this shadow out because it is an easy lid shade. There's a speck of pan showing.

Tarte fRxtion Lip Scrub and Balm - This is getting to the point where it is a little annoying. I already had a bit of the exfoliator break off, which is something I expected. I don't think this will stay usable for much longer before the bulk of it breaks off.

Sassy blush sample in Cosmopolitan and Silk Naturals Mineral Glow in Crinoline - In hindsight, these weren't the best choices for the spring and summer season. I'm gravitating towards brighter blushes at the moment.  These would take me a while to finish anyway, so we'll see how it goes.

Tarte double-ended lip liner - I keep forgetting to use this before I run out the door in the morning, so my progress has been minimal.

Stila eye liners in Stargazer, Oscar Fish, Tetra, and Moray - Oscar Fish (the brown one) is actually gone. I finished it between the time that I took these pictures and the time I got around to writing this post. These drive me crazy because I can't check to see how much is left in them. They don't roll back down once they are scrolled up.

Urban Decay 24/7 eye liners in Whiskey and Rockstar - I've been focusing on the Stila liners, so I haven't really made any progress with these.

Stila Smudge Crayon mini in Smoke - I added this to my list, tried it once, and I might end up abandoning it. The shade is a bit too dark for me to regularly use as a shadow base, but I think it is too light to use as a liner. We'll see.

Stila Smudge Pot in Kitten - This is ambitious. I haven't even made a dent in this yet. The color is much easier than Smoke to use as a shadow base.

bareMinerals Prime Time Eye Shadow Primer sample - I'm liking this eye shadow primer. I've maybe got a week or two left of it before I go back to my standard Urban Decay Primer Potion.

Sassy eye shadow in Embellish - This is a small eye shadow sample that I've already made a bit of a dent in, so I'd like to finish it off. Like the Stila Smudge Crayon, it's a bit darker than what I normally wear during that day, so I'll be mixing it with other colors to make it more wearable for me.

Jordana LipShine in Banana Cream and Sugar Cookie - I love the scent of these, and I like the feel of them too. Sadly, the colors just aren't flattering on my lips. I'm going to try and use them up on the weekends and when I'm just hanging out around the house.

ELF Studio Translucent Mattifying Powder - I bought this a long time ago thinking I would use it for touch-ups during the day. I haven't been using it, so I pulled it out of my purse to use in the morning when I'm getting ready. I scraped this powder out of the pan after this picture so I could mix it with the other powders that I have and like more. 

I'm pretty proud of what I've finished and the progress I've made on the items that I haven't finished yet. I hope to keep the momentum going throughout the rest of this year. 

Are you trying to finish any products? 

Disclaimer: All products mentioned in this post were purchased by me. All opinions are my own. 

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Halo Razor - Cruelty-free Razor Option

Disclaimer: All products mentioned in this post were purchased by me. All opinions are my own.

Today's post is going to be short and sweet.

In my cruelty-free journey, I'm glad to say that I've found a replacement for my Gillette Venus razors. My fiance looked it me funny when he saw me writing this post because he didn't understand how a razor could be tested on animals. His actual question was, "Do they shave animals?" I explained to him that companies that make razors often make a lot of other products, which can be tested on animals.

The Halo 5-blade razor by the brand Personna is a cruelty-free razor that, for me, works just as well as my old Venus razor did. I'm also happy to say that it is similar in price as well, so I'm not spending more money to buy it.

The package with the full razor (which includes two blades) and the 4-cartridge refill cost me just under $14 on

My only complaints are minor ones. The razor itself came with a large plastic holder for storage in the shower, and I never use those. It sat around for a few weeks until I finally just threw it in the recycling. I'm sure some people like when razors come with their own holder. I'm just not one of them. My other complaint is that I can only seem to find this razor on Amazon, and my initial order was delayed, so it took much longer to arrive than I expected. I'll just have to remember to order replacement cartridges well before I would actually need them. Since I know I like them, I'll also stock up the next time I order and pick up two packs of replacement cartridges at one time.

What is your favorite razor? If your razor comes with a holder, do you use it?

Disclaimer: All products mentioned in this post were purchased by me. All opinions are my own. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

bareMinerals Locked & Coated Waterproof Lash Topcoat - Review

Disclaimer: All products mentioned in this post were purchased by me. All opinions are my own. 

I have a love/hate relationship with mascara. I love it because it makes my blonde eyelashes visible, but I hate it because I have so many issues with mascara smudging and flaking. It drives me crazy. I can find a mascara that I like, but once I've gotten a little bit over-heated, I end up with mascara on my browbone. That's not a pretty look. Since I also purchase a lot of value sets, I tend to have a lot of non-waterproof mascaras in my stash. 

In the search for a solution to my dilemma, I decided to try out the bareMinerals Locked & Coated Waterproof Lash Topcoat. 

Price: $12


There's not really much to talk about here. It's a pretty standard mascara tube. The brush itself is a skinny brush with rubber bristles. I'm not a fan of really large brushes anyway, and for this product in particular, I think the small brush was a good idea (more on that later). 


The product itself is a clear gel that gets applied over mascara. It doesn't make my lashes clump together, and it does make my mascara waterproof. I haven't had any issues with smudges on my browbone since I started using it with a non-waterproof mascara. For reference, I'm currently using a mini tube of bareMinerals Lash Domination mascara. 

The only minor issue I've had with this product was that I just applied it like I apply my mascara, meaning I brushed it on the bottom of my top lashes. Since then, I start by brushing it over the top of my top lashes first and then brushing it over the bottom. If I don't do that, I still have smudges on my browbone. I do the top first because it pushes my lashes down some. Doing the bottom of my lashes second pushes them back up. 

Final Thoughts

This is a specialty product that isn't really necessary for most people. If someone needs a waterproof mascara, she typically just buy one that is already waterproof instead of buying an extra product and adding an extra step to her routine. However, it is a fantastic product for those who need it. It is making it possible for me to use non-waterproof mascaras in my collection that I would have issues using otherwise. I could see this being a popular product for brides who have a favorite mascara that doesn't come in a waterproof formula. 

I hope to eventually find a Holy Grail waterproof mascara. I would love it if bareMinerals actually made their Lash Domination mascara in a waterproof formula. In the meantime, I'll occasionally pick this up in order to use my backlog of mascaras from value kits.

Would you pick up a waterproof topcoat for mascara? Why would you use  it? 

Disclaimer: All products mentioned in this post were purchased by me. All opinions are my own. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Cruelty-Free Update

Disclaimer: All products mentioned in this post were purchased by me. I am including my referral link for Vitacost and The Honest Company.

I had to go back and look, and it's been about six months since I did my post talking about going cruelty-free. I thought it would be a good time to post an update on my progress.


I had started going cruelty-free a while before I actually mentioned it on my blog, so there really wasn't much of a transition needed when it came to my makeup. The vast majority of my makeup was already cruelty-free, and a lot of what wasn't was already added to my blog sale.

Since then, my next step was to pull out the rest of my items that weren't cruelty-free. I've got quite a few of them in my container of products I'm trying to use it. I use a Stila Smudgestick liner every day to try and finish them. I have to point out that it's really annoying that these liners can't be rolled back down. I have no way of knowing how close to being gone they are. I have this feeling that one day I'm going to line one eye and discover that the product is gone before I line the other one.

Bath and Body

Like with my cosmetics, most of my bath and body products were already cruelty-free. I believe all of my shower gels were already cruelty-free when I made my announcement. The same thing is true of shampoo and conditioners, barring a bunch of samples that I still have and occasionally grab for traveling. Skincare was almost there when it comes to main products. One of my acne treatments is still by Neutrogena because I had stocked up a long time ago, buying something like four tubes. I'm on my last one. Just like with shampoos and conditioners, I also have a stash of samples that I keep around.

When I started working on my stash of lotion in January, I went through and pulled out all of the lotions from brands that I wasn't sure about or knew wasn't cruelty-free. At this point, all of those are gone.

My next challenge to tackle is hair dye. I had several boxes that I needed to use up, but they are finally gone. I recently purchased a box of Herbatint hair dye from Vitacost (referral link). I haven't tried it yet, so I don't know if it is a brand that I'll stick with. I hope it works well for me because most of the cruelty-free hair dyes that I've seen are henna based, and I would prefer to avoid that route, since using henna means I can't go back to regular dyes until it has completely grown out.

Deodorant is another one of my trouble areas. Most cruelty-free options are also natural, which haven't worked for me so far. I've read somewhere that switching to natural deodorants requires a detox period of about two weeks before they become effective. I'm not willing to do that when I'm working. A detox attempt might happen this summer if I can find a stretch of time when I'm not going to be terrified of smelling terribly in public. I've also got a lot of deodorants that I need to work my way through before I try any others.

Home Products

This is the area where I've been making progress a lot more slowly. I've already done a post on The Honest Company (referral link) dishwasher pods, which I love. Several of their other products have also made it into my regular routine. I didn't particularly like their dish soap, so I'm testing out a different one now. Dish soap is a crucial product for me. I have always used Dawn dish soap, and I use it for more than just dishes. I use it to mix up my own shower cleaner and even use it in laundry to boost my regular detergent when I feel it is needed.

I don't think my home products will ever be completely cruelty-free. I don't have access to much of it locally, and I'm not willing to sacrifice quality either. I'll continue to experiment and replace what I can, but I'm definitely making baby steps in this area.

Are you going cruelty-free? What trouble areas have you had? If you aren't going cruelty-free, that's okay too. I'd love to know what other steps you might be taking to improve yourself or the world (recycling, exercising, eating better, etc)?

Disclaimer: All products mentioned in this post were purchased by me. I included my referral links for Vitacost and The Honest Company.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Jane Blush in Berry Bouquet - Review and Swatches

Disclaimer: All products mentioned in this post were purchased by me. All opinions are my own.

I'm spending a Sunday afternoon trying to get some blog posts scheduled while watching a Harry Potter marathon on TV. Does anyone else watch movies on TV that they already own? It seems silly to me, but I do it anyway. Most of the time I do it when I'm just looking for something to have on as background noise.

I've been enjoying trying out products from the relaunched brand Jane Cosmetics. I haven't tried a lot yet, but I have other items on my wishlist for the next time I'm shopping at Ulta and  they are on sale.

One of the products I've been testing out is their Multi-Colored Cheek Powder in Berry Bouquet.

Price: $12


The compact is a basic black with a clear window. It is serviceable without a lot of bulk or frills, which I like. When purchased, it comes with a cardboard band with bright and colorful pictures, but that obviously gets thrown away. The flower pattern on the product itself is eye-catching and pretty.


This berry shade is exactly that, a bright berry color with a matte finish. The swatch above is all of the colors mixed together. After some experimenting, I have decided that I prefer avoiding the deepest shade in the blush when I use it. The difference doesn't show up very much when I swatch it, but I notice the difference more on my cheeks. The powder feels smooth and not overly dry and blends nicely on the skin. It lasts well on my skin, making it through a workday without problem.

Final Thoughts 

I like this blush, but at the same time, it doesn't wow me either. It's a little pricey for a drugstore brand as well. I wouldn't have purchased it at regular price; I picked it up on sale. There are only two other colors in the range, and the colors aren't of interest to me, so I won't be picking those up.

Have you tried the new Jane blushes or other products in the range?

Disclaimer: All products mentioned in this post were purchased by me. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

NYX Baked Shadow in Nebula - Review and Swatches

Disclaimer: All products mentioned in this post were purchased by me. All opinions are my own.

I don't know about all of you, but I'm really glad that spring is finally deciding to show itself. I've been prepping for the season by doing some clothing shopping recently. I'm also eagerly watching the yard to see flowers starting to pop out of the ground.

Today I'm going to be reviewing a shade from the new NYX baked shadow line.

Price: $5.99; NYX products are regularly on sale, so watch out for a good deal.


NYX has gradually been creating a theme with their eye shadow packaging. Most, if not all, of their shadow packaging now has this cute bow over the clasp. It's a nice touch. The configuration of the clear panels also adds some interest to an otherwise basic shadow compact. Probably the only thing I would have changed is shaving off a bit of the extra bulk.


Left to right: swatched dry and swatched wet

I wish I could say that I loved this shadow because I wanted to love it, but I was really disappointed.

My first disappointment was with the color. I purchased this online off, and I thought the color I was getting was going to be much lighter than it was when it arrived. I don't really blame that on the shadow. Whenever I buy something online without seeing it in person first or seeing online swatches, I know I'm taking a chance.

The shadow itself performed terribly on me. I tested it with my regular primer applied dry, my regular primer applied wet, with my regular primer and Fyrinnae Pixie Epoxy, and with primer and Jordana's Made-to-Last Shadow pencil. With just primer, the shadow had practically disappeared after just a couple of hours. My other attempts only helped marginally.

Final Thoughts

Clearly, I wasn't happy with this particular shadow. I've only tried this one, so I can't say if the others perform better. I won't be purchasing any more of to find out. I've only seen one other review of these, and it was positive, so these might work better for someone else.

Have you tried any of NYX's baked shadows? What did you think? I would love to hear other opinions on these!

Disclaimer: All products mentioned in this post were purchased by me. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Finished It!!! Volume 12

Disclaimer: All products mentioned in this post were purchased by me except the Vaseline lotion, which was sent in an Influenster box, and the Tata Harper serum, which was part of a giveaway prize. All opinions are my own.

I'm really excited about this empties post for a reason that might seem a little strange. I recently found out where there is a nearby recycling drop-off, so I can actually recycle most of the empty containers I'm about to show you. Yay!

I'm also excited about the number of products I have to show you, especially lotions. For the majority of January, I was applying lotion to my arms and legs twice a day. I've since gotten a little lazy and only apply lotion once a day, but I'm still making progress working through my stash.

DermOrganic Daily Hydrating Conditioner - I really loved this conditioner. It made my hair feel really soft and moisturized. It's a little bit pricey (I found this bottle at TJ Maxx for $20), so I'm not replacing it right away, but I do plan on picking it up again in the future.

Organix Renewing Argan Oil of Morocco Conditioner - I happened upon the 50% more free bottle around the holidays, so I went ahead and picked it up. I liked this conditioner too, and the Organix line is a great cruelty-free option from the drugstore.

RenPure Solutions Sweet Pomegranate Cleansing Conditioner - I got out of the habit of using a cleansing conditioner a while back, and honestly, this bottle got lost in my stash of hair stuff. I've mentioned before that I like cleansing conditioners when I'm feeling lazy and don't want to do two steps. This is another product that I'll probably purchase again at some point, but I'm not running out to buy it now.

got2be Guardian Angel Flat Iron Balm Mini Size - I bought this for a long time because I thought it was cruelty-free. I've since seen got2b on a list of brands to avoid. Thankfully, I rarely use heat on my hair anymore, so it isn't a huge loss.

Nourish Organic Organic Hand Wash in Wild Berries, Almond Vanilla (2 - I'm reusing one of the bottles), and Fresh Fig - I made a big Nourish Organic order when they did a 50% off Black Friday sale. I love the principles of the company, and the soap itself was good. I probably wouldn't repurchase the hand wash though because I like using Dr. Bronner's soap even more, and it is less expensive.

Studio 35  Beauty Pure Honey Body Lotion - I made a point when I started focusing on using up lotions to use up ones that I knew weren't cruelty-free or ones that I wasn't sure about, and this one falls into that category. It was a cheap drugstore lotion too, so it wasn't anything special.

Scentsations by Bodysource Berry Burst Body Lotion - I don't know the status of this company either, and I didn't care for the lotion anyway. It was really runny and didn't seem to do much for my skin.

Vaseline Spray & go Moisturizer in Total Moisture - I like the concept of this lotion, but I didn't love it. This was part of an Influenster box I received last year. Vaseline isn't cruelty-free, so I wouldn't purchase it myself.

Paula's Choice Resist Skin Revealing Body Lotion 10% AHA - I have come to the conclusion that I have keratosis pilaris because I constantly have small bumps on my legs, and I have started getting them on the backs of my arms as well. I bought this to try and help. It didn't work miracles for me, but nothing has so far. I might buy it again in the future.

Wei East China Herbal Hand & Body Perfection - I bought this a long time ago because there was an awesome deal where this tube only cost a couple of dollars. I don't know the status of the brand and didn't like the lotion enough to check.

Bath & Body Works Pomegranate Citrus Body Lotion - I'm a sucker for Bath & Body Works scents and sales. This was a limited edition scent, and while I liked it, I wouldn't repurchase it if it was released again.

Essence of Beauty Citrus Coconut Body Lotion - I got this for free a while back with a CVS coupon. The lotion itself wasn't great, and I don't know the cruelty-free status of the brand.

True Blue Mini Shea Cashmere Hand Cream - The scent of this is beautiful and cozy smelling (don't ask me how it smells cozy though). I'm not running out to repurchase it, but I would definitely pick it up again if I happened to find it for a really good price.

Honest Face & Body Lotion - This is my second mini tube of this lotion that I've finished. It was a decent product, but I don't plan on repurchasing.

Luxury Lane Soap Nourishing Body Lotion in Vanilla Oak - This is a lotion that I would consider repurchasing once I work my way through my stash. I like the formula, and I love the scent.

Bath & Body Works Apple Blossom Citrus Body Lotion - Another limited edition scent that I couldn't resist trying. I wouldn't repurchase.

Bath & Body Works Cherry Vanilla Body Wash - I really liked the scent, and I like Bath & Body Works' body wash formula. I can't get this scent anymore, but I will repurchase other scents in the future.

Bath & Body Works Eucalyptus Spearmint Body Wash & Foam Bath - This came in the Black Friday bonus bag. I wouldn't have picked out the scent myself, but I liked it. I didn't like it enough to repurchase, but I would use it again if it came in another set.

Heritage Store Rosewater - I like using a rosewater spray after I've applied my makeup to help get rid of the powdery look that it can sometimes get. This is my second bottle from this brand. I have a couple of other facial sprays to test and use first, but I might repurchase this one in the future.

Paula's Choice Skin Balancing Ultra-Sheer Daily Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 30 - I like the brand Paula's Choice, but I really didn't like this moisturizer. The consistency was really runny, similar to what a traditional sunscreen feels like, and it felt gritty when I applied it. I won't repurchase.

Tata Harper Rejuvenating Serum - Just like a couple of other Tata Harper products that have ended up in my empties, this was part of a giveaway prize. The brand is too expensive for me to consider buying, but it was fun to try, and I like the principles behind the company.

Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer - This came in a Sephora set that I bought over a year ago. It's a really nice primer, but it isn't amazing enough for me to justify buying a full size, which is quite pricey.

Silk Naturals Candie Blush Sample - Candie is a light shimmery pink blush. The color was pretty, but I don't wear my loose blushes enough for me to choose to purchase a full size.

Silk Naturals Translucent Cloud Finishing Powder Sample - I bought this to mix in with my beloved Sleep in a Jar Light Peach. It is supposed to help skin retain moisture, and I find Sleep in a Jar to be drying. I'm still testing my mix, but the sample jar is in my empties because the jar itself has been emptied.

Silk Naturals Sleep in a Jar Medium Peach Sample - I originally just planned on mixing the Cloud Powder with the Medium Peach, assuming that the mix would be light enough for me to use. However, the Cloud Powder didn't lighten the Medium Peach as much as I expected. They both ended up mixed in with my Light Peach.

The Body Shop Vitamin C Eye Reviver Duo - Just like a lot of my beauty purchases, this item got purchased because it was on sale. At first, having the two sides, one with a roller ball and the other with a doe-foot applicator, seemed fun. Later it just seemed annoying. Because of the two products in one gimmick, there's also less product overall. I think this product was actually discontinued, but I wouldn't repurchase it anyway.

Stila Lip Glaze Mini in Splendor - Stila, sadly, is no longer cruelty-free because the brand has started selling in China. I made a point to use this up to get it out of my collection. I didn't particularly care for the applicator or the formula, so it isn't a huge loss.

Chapstick Lip Balm in Cake Batter - I'm a sucker for cake, vanilla, and sweet scents, so I was weak and purchased this balm along with a red velvet one back in the fall, even though Chapstick isn't cruelty-free. I didn't love the formula, and the scent was just okay, so I'm glad to have this one gone and the other one about to head out the door too.

Hard Candy Concealer Pencil (comes with the Glam-o-flage Concealer) - I pitched my Glam-o-flage a long time ago, and this concealer pencil just kept hanging around. I used it up by using it to clean up my lip line. It wasn't special, and I didn't like the Glam-o-flage enough to repurchase.

That's all of my empties for the time being. Now I get to go sort them out for recycling.

Have you finished anything recently?

Disclaimer: All products mentioned in this post were purchased by me except the Vaseline lotion, which was sent in an Influenster box, and the Tata Harper serum, which was part of a giveaway prize. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Beauty and Babbling at Home - Honest Dishwasher Pods

Disclaimer: All products mentioned in this post were purchased by me. This post contains my affiliate link, which earns me a $20 credit if someone uses it and makes a purchase. All opinions are honest and completely my own. 

I haven't done a Beauty and Babbling at Home post since my initial one. I think it's about time for another one, don't you?

I don't mention my journey to go cruelty-free very often, so if you are new to my blog, you might not know about this goal. Most of my makeup was already cruelty-free, so I'm doing pretty well there. Most of what isn't is currently in my regular rotation to be used up, listed in my blog sale, or in a bin waiting to be listed on my blog sale.

I've had a harder time with home products and some toiletries, but I'm making progress.

One company that has been really helpful though is The Honest Company (referral link). The company was co-founded by Jessica Alba and Christopher Gavigan, an author and a collaborator with WebMD. Their goal was to create products that were eco-friendly, non-toxic, and affordable. The more I read about this company, the more I like it. For example, while searching their site for information about them to add to this post, they have earned Gold status as a Green America Certified Business. I had no idea what this was, but you can check out everything that the company has to do in order to receive this certification here. I'm impressed!

One of my favorite Honest products so far is their dishwasher pods.

Price: $10.95 for a pack of 32. If you choose to subscribe to their bundle service, it is cheaper (more on that later).

Ingredients: Sodium Carbonate (Natural Soda Ash), Sodium Citrate (Citrus Derived), Sodium Metasilicate, Sodium Percarbonate (Solid Form Of Hydrogen Peroxide Bonded With Natural Soda Ash), Sodium Sulfate (Mineral), Crystalline Silica (Mineral), Non-Ionic Ethoxylate (Biodegradable Cleaner), Sodium Polyaspartate (Mineral), Sodium Iminodisuccinate (Biodegradable Water Softener), Alpha-Amylase & Protease Enzymes (Organic Enzyme Blend), Polyvinyl Alcohol (Biodegradable, Water-Soluble Film)

Performance: These are fantastic! I love the the convenience of the pods compared with a loose powder or gel, and they work as well, if not better, than the brands I used to buy. I'm pretty lazy about rinsing dishes before sticking them in the dishwasher. I'll usually make sure there aren't chunks of food left on dishes and do a quick rinse, but I don't scrub everything off before they go in the dishwasher. The vast majority of the time, all of my dishes come out completely clean. The items that don't are ones that really did need a good scrubbing before going in, but I was too lazy to bother. :-) I also have a couple of cookie sheets that I use regularly, and these pods have gotten rid of all the build-up and discoloration that tends to happen with cookie sheets. 

My only minor issue that I've had with these occurred recently. I just got a new bundle shipment in, and it included two bags of these pods. I haven't actually opened the bags yet, but there was a lot of loose powder in the bag, so I could tell that several pods had broken (I've never had that happen before, and I've been getting these since the summer). I shot the company a message on Facebook and included pictures. In less than a week, I had a new bag shipped to me to make up for the broken pods. No hassle. No fuss. The company also made a point of asking for the batch number of the bags I received so they could investigate the problem. 

Bundle Subscription Information

When I was first introduced to The Honest Company (referral link) and became interested in the brand, I signed up to get their I signed up to get their Essentials Bundle trial kit, which includes trial sizes of their shampoo + body wash, face + body lotion, laundry detergent, healing balm, and hand soap. I only had to pay $5.95 shipping and handling. 

This signed up up for their Essential Bundle service. The standard setup for this service is receiving 5 full-size products every month for $35.95 plus $5.95 shipping and handling. Each individual can choose which products they receive, and it can be changed with each shipment. 

These bundles can be customized even further. The Honest Company allows up to 3 add-on products in each bundle at a 25% discount. If the bundle total after add-on items is over $50, the bundle ships for free. Also, even though the initial setup has bundles shipping ever 4 weeks, the shipping frequency can be changed to every 8 weeks. If even that is too often, there is a calendar that allows for personal ship date selection. For example, I just received a bundle, and I have enough product to last me a while, so I adjusted my next ship date to the end of May. If it gets close to that time, and I still have product to get through, I can adjust the date again to push it back. 

When constructing my bundles, I usually end up doing a lot of mental math, and even sometimes scribbling some figures on paper. The bundle is a really good deal, but only if I pick up some of their more expensive products. A lot of them are around the $6 mark, which isn't really a deal if a bundle is only made up of those items. They, unfortunately, don't have anything to indicate whether your bundle has reached the $50 threshold for free shipping, so I end up doing some figuring to make sure I've reached that amount. 

One of the other downsides to the bundling program is that there is no way to cancel a bundle except for calling the company directly. I would prefer having the option to cancel online, but since I plan on continuing with the service for the foreseeable future, this isn't really a big deal for me. 

Final Thoughts

These dishwasher pods work really well for me. With my current bundle and the extra bag sent to make up for the broken pods, I have 5-6 bags of these stashed in my kitchen, and I'm happy to have them. I love the fact that I'm supporting an eco-friendly, cruelty-free company that does its best to provide products without a lot of nasty chemicals. I haven't loved all of their products that I've tried, but I have liked the majority of them. 

Do you have any favorite eco-friendly, cruelty-free household products? Have you tried anything from The Honest Company? 

Disclaimer: All products mentioned in this post were purchased by me. This post contains my affiliate link, which earns me a $20 credit if someone uses it and makes a purchase. All opinions are honest and completely my own. 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Surprise Love! Physicians Formula Nude Wear Blush in Natural - Review and Swatches

Disclaimer: All products mentioned in this post were purchased by me. All opinions are my own. 

I usually like products from Physicians Formula, and when there is a good sale on the brand at CVS, I usually can't resist picking something up. It's rare for me to discover a product from them that I'm really excited about though.

I've already posted about picking up a blush and bronzer from their new Nude Wear line when I was able to get them for a fantastic price.

Price: $12.95 on Physicians Formula's website; I got mine for much cheaper at CVS with a sale and coupons.


Just like pretty much everyone else out there who buys Physicians Formula, I have a love-hate relationship with their packaging. Their packaging is usually really cute, and this line is no exception. I love how girly it is with the pale pink and the metallic bow.

Just like every other Physicians Formula powder product though, the packaging is really bulky so they can include their terrible, scratchy brush. I would so much rather they skipped the brush (and even the mirror) and made the packaging half the thickness. I don't expect that to happen though, and it is just something that has to be expected with the brand.


A shimmery over-spray is another one of Physicians Formula's quirks, so if you aren't familiar with the brand and are hoping that shimmer runs throughout, you are out of luck. If you don't like the shimmer, don't worry. It is gone after one use.

The four tones of the Nude Wear Blush in Natural combine to make a soft pink with just a little bit of sheen. It feels smooth to the touch and blends easily onto the skin.

It honestly doesn't look like anything special, so what makes me love it? There are two things. The first is that the color is practically impossible for me to over-apply, which is a near miracle on my fair skin. The second is that it lasts all day on me. I'm talking 12+ hour wear time here. Those two things combined is probably going to make this a blush I'll reach for regularly.

Final Thoughts

I'm obviously really happy that I purchased this blush. If you have fair to light skin and are looking for and easy-to-apply blush, keep an eye out for sales and give this one a go. I have a feeling this shade might start to look a little bit ashy on medium to dark skintones, but that is obviously just a guess on my part.

Have you tried any products from the Nude Wear line? Have you had any products that surprised you with how much you like them?

Disclaimer: All products mentioned in this post were purchased by me. All opinions are my own. 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

NYX Hot Singles Eye Shadow in Sex Kitten - Review and Swatches

Disclaimer: All products mentioned in this post were purchased by me. All opinions are my own. 

Was anyone else really impressed with the size of NYX's spring collection release? It was huge! They released a ton of new products, and I have to admit being totally jealous of the people who got the NYX swag bag at LA IMATS.

Even so, I had a hard time picking out a couple of products to try when I placed a recent Ulta order. A big part of that is not being able to see them in person. Colors weren't jumping out at me like they might in the store. I did finally settle on a few items to try out, and I've had some mixed results.

First time going to talk about one of their new Hot Singles Eye Shadows in the color Sex Kitten.

Price: $4.49 on


The packaging is pretty standard for a single eye shadow. It's a simple black compact with a clear window on the top to show off the shadow shade. NYX added a little bit of individuality to it with the bow at the clasp. I didn't take any close-ups of it, but it is essentially the same as the bow on the palettes they released last year.


NYX Sex Kitten swatched on bare skin

NYX's website describes Sex Kitten as a peachy pink shimmer, which is pretty accurate. I see a lot more peach than pink, and the shimmer is gold. This shadow would look stunning on blue eyes. My eyes are a mix of blue and green, and I could definitely see the blue popping out when I wore it. I've only done online comparisons, but the shade looks similar to MAC's Jest or Makeup Geek's Cinderella.

Both the pigmentation and texture of this shadow are really nice. It applied smoothly and evenly and wore all day over primer.

Final Thoughts

This shadow is a win for me. I don't think there's anything that I dislike about it. If you've got blue eyes, check it out the next time you see a NYX display. I'll definitely be checking out other colors in the line the next time I get to Ulta.

Have you tried any of NYX's new Hot Singles Eye Shadows? What other colors should I check out?

Disclaimer: All products mentioned in this post were purchased by me. All opinions are my own. 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Be a Bombshell Blush and Eye Shadows - Review and Swatches

Disclaimer: The products mentioned in this post were prizes that I received from a blog giveaway. I was not required to write a review, and I have no affiliation with the company. All opinions are my own. 

Over the summer, I was a very lucky lady, and I won a giveaway hosted by Valentine Kisses for six full size items from the brand Be a Bombshell Cosmetics. I think I had seem this brand mentioned a couple of time before then, but I didn't know much about it. According to their website, they are cruelty-free. If you have heard something different, please let me know.

Today I've got one blush and two eye shadows that I'm finally going to review.

Price: Blush - $16; eye shadow - $14 each


There's not really much to say about the packaging. It is pretty standard with a matte black case and a clear window on top. It's functional and isn't overly bulky. I will say that I do like their brand logo on the top. I find it cute.

Be a Bombshell Blush in Raspberry Tart
The blush that I was lucky enough to win is called Raspberry Tart. It's a pretty deep pink that leans just a little coral. It has a little bit of shimmer and sheen, but it isn't excessively shimmery or shiny. It just adds a little bit of glow to the color.

Be a Bombshell eye shadow in Bright Eyes
The first eye shadow that I received was Bright Eyes. I think this shade is relatively unique in my collection. It is a gold, but it has a somewhat strong green undertone. It is a shimmery shade with some gold glitter in it, that, unfortunately, doesn't show up in my picture.

Be a Bombshell eye shadow in Starstruck
The second eye shadow shade in my prize pack was Starstruck, which is a warm leaning purple with rainbow shimmer. It plays right in to the Pantone's Color of the Year, Radiant Orchid. I even happened to pick up a paint swatch of the shade, so I could compare the two.

Both colors pulled more blue in this picture than they are in real life, but you can see that they are pretty close in color.


From left to right: Raspberry Tart, Bright Eyes, and Starstruck
How do these product perform?

The blush is finely milled and blends easily. It lasts well throughout the workday, but it is something that I would probably end up wanting to touch up if I had to head back out in the evening. I like the color because it is slightly outside of my pink comfort zone, but it is still pink enough that I'll still grab for it on a normal day.

The eye shadows are also finely milled. They don't feel as creamy as other shadows on the market, but it isn't something I notice on application since they apply smoothly. I mentioned earlier that Bright Eyes has glitter in it, but that glitter doesn't really transfer to the eyes or, thankfully, to the face. I'll maybe see a fleck or two, but it isn't a glitter bomb that is going to leave you covered in gold glitter. Both shadows wear well over primer (the only way I wear shadows) and last all day.

Final Thoughts

I like these products from Be a Bombshell. They are good quality. I'm glad I got to try them out. Will I buy more of the brand? Maybe. I'm a sucker for sales and deals, and I rarely buy anything at full price. I can't see myself paying $16 or $14 respectively for these products (I've never paid full price for an Urban Decay shadow either). The brand does occasionally run some awesome sales, including 50% off (they did one for Black Friday and another one for Valentine's Day). If something catches my eye, I might grab it during one of those, but my wishlist for products from other brands is so long that I don't see it happening any time soon.

Have you tried anything from Be a Bombshell? Are you a sale-fiend like me who rarely pays full price for makeup?

Disclaimer: The products mentioned in this post were prizes that I received from a blog giveaway. I was not required to write a review, and I have no affiliation with the company. All opinions are my own. 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

CVS Haul! Physicians Formula and Milani Deals!

Disclosure: All items mentioned in this post were purchase by me. All opinions are my own. 

I was really hopeful at the beginning of last week when I stopped into my CVS and saw that they had slots opened up for the new Physicians Formula products that just came out. With Physicians Formula 40% off this week and an emailed coupon for $2 off of a $10 beauty purchase, I was all set to pick something up. At the time, they only had the Nude Wear blush in Natural and the Nude Wear bronzer out, so I waited.

Later in the week, I got an email coupon for $4 off of $20. I stopped in on Thursday to see if the new stuff was out yet. When I scanned my card in store, I got a coupon for $3 off of a $10 Milani purchase and a $5 off of a $12 Physicians Formula purchase. Yes!!! Still no more new Physicians Formula items though.

When Friday rolled around, I asked one of the CVS workers when they would be stocking the new Physicians Formula items, and she said they might be getting them in over the next few days. *sigh*

I did get a little bit lucky though because my CVS had added one of the new Milani matte baked blushes to the display between my trip on Thursday and my trip on Friday.

Here's a look at my haul:

Here's the breakdown on my deal.

The Physicians Formula Nude Wear blush was originally $13.29, so the 40% off price was $7.97. The bronzer was $15.29, and the sale price was $9.17. The Milani blush was $8.79.

My total prior to coupons was $25.93. I then used the $5 off Physicians Formula, the $3 off Milani (the blush rang up for less than I was expecting, so I don't know how this coupon still worked, but it did), the $4 off of $20, and the $2 off of $10.

My final total before tax was $11.93 (with tax it was $13.33). Without any coupons or discounts, I would have paid $37.37 before tax, so I saved $25.44.

These particular deals aren't still available, but keep your eyes peeled and make sure and scan your CVS ExtraCare card every time you go in. You never know what deals might come your way.

Have you gotten any good deals lately? Have you tried any of the new Physicians Formula items? Are there any that I need to get when my CVS finally gets them in stock?

Disclosure: All items mentioned in this post were purchase by me. All opinions are my own. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Tarte Cream Shadow in Slate - Review and Swatch

 Disclaimer: All products mentioned in this post were purchased by me. All opinions are my own.

I don't know about all of you, but I tend to fall into makeup ruts. In particular, I automatically reach for my powder products when it comes to eyes and cheeks, so I creams tend to sit unloved. It's really a shame, since I have some nice ones in my collection.

Back on Black Friday, I picked up the Tarte Balanced & Beautiful Amazonian Kit, which came with a full size of the original Flush shade of their Amazonian clay blush, a cream shadow in Slate, and an eye shadow brush. It was a fantastic deal! Slate had been ignored because it is a bit darker than I normally use for a lid color. Thankfully, I got over my hesitation and tried it the other day.

Price: $19 for the Balanced & Beautiful Amazonian Kit or for the individual shadow (I told you the kit was a fantastic deal)


Tarte's cream shadows come in sturdy glass jars. It looks like the individually sold ones have a square base instead of the round base like this one, but the actual opening for the product looks to be the same. I personally wish the opening was a bit bigger. It's a little hard to get a normal-sized shadow brush in there and run it across the product.

I really like the fact that the sticker on top of the jar indicates the shade in the jar, making it easy to identify what color it is without looking for an actual shade name. However, the shade name is printed on the bottom of the jar, and since the jar it clear, it is also easy to identify the shade if you store your cream shadows upside down, like I tend to do.


Tarte describes Slate as a shimmering silver, but I would consider it more of a grey-taupe shade that makes a really pretty soft, smoky eye. 

I really like the formula of these cream shadows. They aren't too soft or too hard. It is easy to get opaque color with it, but it also blends out well along the edges. Work quickly though. It doesn't take too much time before this shadow sets and isn't going to budge.

I did a wear test the other day over Urban Decay Primer Potion, and it didn't crease at all. I had some fading around the center of my eyelids somewhere around the 8-10 hour mark, but it really wasn't anything that was obvious until I stared at myself closely in the mirror.

Final Thoughts

 I actually like this shade a lot more than I thought I would, and the formula is fantastic. If you like the look of it yourself, I would highly suggest the Balanced & Beautiful set, since you get two extra products for the same price as buying the individual shadow.

Have you tried any of Tarte's cream shadows? What do you think? Do you tend to ignore your cream shadows or blushes like I do?

Disclaimer: All products mentioned in this post were purchased by me. All opinions are my own.