Keep That Tan

Summer is sadly winding down.  I’ve been MIA for the past couple of days because I moved into my new dorm, and today classes started. Ew.  Anyway, laying out at the beach is no longer an option until June 2012.  Here are the best options for keeping a sun-free year round tan!
I love love love Jergens Natural Glow moisturizer.  I bought this years ago when it came out, and it’s always been consistent in results.  Jergens as an entire natural glow line with many different products, you can check it out here.  My favorite is Revitalizing Daily Moisturizer, I use the medium to tan…but if you’re on the pale side I suggest you start with the fair to medium so you don’t have any orangey-ness.
I use this every time I get out of the shower, it slowly builds the tan…but after a week you’ll notice a difference.  This is def one of the best self tanners, it won Allure’s Best of Beauty Award for 2010 and 2011.  It’s also been mentioned in and has won awards from Teen Vogue, Self, Seventeen, and Glamour magazines!
Another one of my favorites is Neutrogena MicroMist Airbrush Sunless Tan.  It’s not a lotion, it’s an actual spray so it may be a little more difficult if you’re not used to this.  I use the deep tint, but I honestly don’t use this product that much.  I get a spray tan regularly…so I usually just use this as a touch-up for that.
I really like the way it applies, it doesn’t streak or leave you orange.  You just need to be careful in how you spray…but there are websites that give great advice when you’re doing a self airbrush.  I also really like this product because it dries super quickly, you don’t need to worry about having to wait more than 5mins for it to be fully dried.
Once again, if you’re fair you haveeee to start out with the medium — going right to the dark formula won’t leave you very pretty.
You can find both of these products at any drug store…CVS, Walgreens, Duane Reade…they all have them!

Lush Mask of Magnaminty

I bought Lush’s Mask of Magnaminty while on the search for a mask that would help control oil production and improve the condition of my pores.  I finally settled on this mask, and not only because it’s by one of my favorite cosmetic brands.  I’ve read so many great reviews on Mask of Magnaminty that I knew I had to try it!

This mask is a little different than most others, when I put some on my hand in the store I noticed the consistency was chunky and thick…it’s not smooth at all (but in a good way).  It’s hard to apply with your fingers, so (like with all my other masks) I apply it with a foundation brush, just like the one pictured below, and literally paint it on my face.  
The main natural ingredients are peppermint oil, honey, and ground aduki beans.  This mask is an exfoliator, which you can feel as you apply it and as it sets on your skin.  It also clears pores by lifting dirt up off the surface of the skin (think blackheads).  The peppermint oil is cooling and tingling, but not in a uncomfortable way.  Lush recommends leaving the mask on for about 15mins, I usually leave it on for about 20 then wash it off with warm water.

When I bought the pot the woman told me it had about 20 masks in it, and there’s an expiration date which I like because it ensures the naturalness of the product and forces me to use it!  Right now I’m using it once a week because I use another mask during the week as well.  I’ve honestly noticed a difference in the texture of my skin, and I’m loving it!  And, another plus, it smells great because of the minty-ness so it’s very relaxing at night!

There are two sizes, a 4.4oz for $11.95 and the larger pot (which I bought) that’s 11.5oz and $22.95.  When you do the math, for the larger pot, that’s $1.15 per mask…way cheaper than getting a facial!!
PS: If you’re prone to acne on your back or chest area I’ve read this mask does wonders for those areas too!
PPS: If you have a small breakout and want quick relief, you can use this as a spot treatment and not all over your face!

Relaxxxxxxx

The past couple of days have been rainy and dreary….with even a slight chill in the air.  Yuck.  I take this time to do everything in the house I should have done months ago, and then just hang around and read.  BUT, my favorite thing to do on days like these is take a bath, I don’t normally have time to do this, but I try to make it a priority when the weather is bleh.
So, during times like these I loveee having my Bath and Body Works Aromatherapy Bath Soaks.  Right now I have two: Eucalyptus Spearmint for stress relief and Lavender Vanilla for sleep.  The eucalyptus spearmint is def my favorite of the two, I just don’t think the lavender vanilla has as strong of a scent…but I still like it!
The scent in both of these salts lasts awhile, my entire bathroom smells great after I use them.  They’re made with essential oils and sea salt, I usually fill the cap and use that to measure it out, I use about 3-4 capfuls.
As you can see my bath soaks are designed a little bit differently…they must have just redone the label design because I only got these a month ago.  I’m a huge lover of aromatherapy, so if you need to relax and unwind, I stronglyyyy suggest these bath salts!

Sephora Haul!!

I had two Sephora gift cards from my birthday, so I decided to go and get some stuff I’ve wanted, but didn’t wanna spend money on.  Surprisingly, the gift cards covered more than half of the purchase! YAY.
Also, yay for free stuff.  I got my birthday gift from Sephora since I hadn’t been in there in and hadn’t gotten it yet….AND…the 500 point perk for the Beauty Insider’s which just so happened to have some of my favorites in it, so it made sense I chose it.
The 500 point perk for this month was by benefit, it was some samples of my favorites that I already have, but I figured it was good to get so that I could hold off a little longer from resupplying.  The first product is BADgal Lash, which is one of my favorite mascaras, although I don’t get it often because it can be expensive just for mascara (and my absolute favorite is Falsies by Maybelline). 
 The next product is “that gal” face primer.  I keep meaning to do a post on primers, I’ll get to that soon but this is def a good one.  I’ve only used it a couple of times, but now that I have a sample I’ll use it for the next week to see how I really like it.  Last is my favorite powder highlighter, dandelion.  I love this light pink color, it looks great on my cheeks when I’m doing a completely natural look and only want a touch of shimmer, without the dewy-ness.  
Next I have the happy birthday beautiful vanilla birthday cake shampoo, shower gel & bubble bath by one of my favorite brands philosophy.  If you’re a Sephora Beauty Insider you get this for your birthday.  If you’re not familiar with the Beauty Insider program, it’s a free program that allows you to get free stuff, incentives, and more.  You get a point for every dollar spent, and then they have special days where it’s double points, etc.  When you reach 100 points you get a sample of a great product (they change every month and you have a choice from about three) OR you can do what I did, and save your points for the 500 point perk, which this month was by benefit (but it also changes every month).  It’s a great program and you get invited to special events, and when you become a V.I.B. member (like me!) you get even more offers, invites, etc.  I def suggest everyone sign up to be a member!
Sephora has been teamed up with Hello Kitty since the beginning of the year, and they just released the Hello Kitty Graffiti collection. (Disclaimer: I’m a Hello Kitty addict, always have been since I was little and I always will be for the rest of my life.)  Needless to say I died when I saw this, I watched the launch event in L.A. on Sephora’s Facebook page…and died even more.  When I saw the makeup bag I knew I had to have it ASAP, and I got the last one at my Sephora store. The colors are just so perfect and amazing, and I think the whole theme of Hello Kitty and graffiti is perfection
 I also really like the Graffiti Eyeshadow and Blush Palette for this collection, the colors aren’t what I expected with a graffiti theme, but I love them anyway because they’re super functional.  As you can see the palette is two tiered, the colors all complement each other really well and I’m excited to try it out!  Aside from the actual makeup aspect, the packaging is fabulous.
LASTLY, I love the Sephora by OPI nail poish line, Santa has been giving me some amazing colors from this collaboration the past couple of years.  I have a new appreciation for nail polish, usually I use whatever is at the nail salon but now I enjoy looking up different collections and having my own.  I loved both the Safari Luxe and The Garden of Good & Evil collections by Sephora by OPI, but I knew I couldn’t get all of the colors from each…UNTIL I saw these mini sets!  I think these are fabulous because I always switch up the colors I use so I know I won’t run out of these little ones super quick.  The Garden of Good & Evil is perfect for the fall, and I’m gonna go to get my nails done today and use something from the Safari Luxe collection.   The name of each polish is in the captions!
Don’t Feed the Hand Models — Caught With My Khakis Down — Yes, Your Lioness — I Don’t Bite
Completely Fern-ished — Eve-y On The Eyes — Tempted by Teal — Frankly, I Don’t Give A-dam

Lush Ocean Salt

Ocean Salt Face and Body Scrub is Lush’s #1 seller for a reason…a really, really, really good reason.
In addition to my favorite Lush product, Coalface (past review linked) I’m equally addicted to Lush’s Ocean Salt exfoliate.  This is a body/face exfoliate, although I only use it for my face because I prefer some other amazing body exfoliates (past review linked).  I first bought this while I was at school in D.C., the girl helping me in the Lush store was kinda bored and just wanted to try products on me.  When she suggested this one I was slightly skeptical because I’ve always looked at salt based products as super drying…but this is perfect and is designed for normal to oily skin.
I loved the texture and consistency of this product, and decided to try the small pot (120g).  The area of my hand that she tested it on was super smooth, and when followed up with lotion was amazingly soft.  So, I figured that if the back of my hand felt like heaven, my face probably would too.  
You don’t need to use a lot of this product for it to have an effect, the picture below is about the amount of product I use per use for when I’m only exfoliating my face.  When I’m doing neck and face I’ll use a tad bit more. 
When you first buy this the mixture isn’t set…when you open it up it’ll look like the photo below.  They give you a little mixer and the first time you use it just stir it up a couple of times and you’re good to go!  It might look a little scary when you first open it, because it just looks like a pile of salt…but it’s okay no worries.
Before stirring the mixture.
After, ready to go.
Ocean Salt smells so yummy, it’s kinda zingy.…which makes sense given it’s super cool ingredients.  The mixture is composed of lime, coconut, avocado, grapefruit, and sea salt…it’s vodka based which basically just proves how much of an astringent/antibacterial it is…meaning more benefits for your skin!
I use this product twice a week, you shouldn’t use it more than that because it could potentially dry you out.  I can promise you that Ocean Salt will deliver results, I found that the longer I spend massaging it into my face the better the results are.  I have mildly sensitive skin, and because it is a serious exfoliate it sometimes leaves me red, but it’s only for about 5mins after and then my skin looks great and glowly!  
I’ve moved on to the larger (250g) pot, and gave the rest of my smaller pot to my mom to use.  My aunt recently tried it out too and loved it.  This product can be expensive if you use it all over your body, which is why I only use it for my face.  The smaller pot is $19.95 and the larger pot is $34.95.  One of my favorite aspects of all Lush stores is they will give you an ample sample (lol) of anything you want, go to a Lush store (or if there aren’t any around you they have their own stores within most Macy’s) and ask for both a sample to take home and a test right there in the store!      
Seriously, go try this out right nowwww!!!

XO.
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The Body Shop Body Butter

I was in the Body Shop about a month ago and picked up their Body Butter which I’ve been wanting to try for awhile.  I was instantly hooked.  I chose the Pink Grapefruit body butter, I had a birthday coupon so I thought it was a perfect time to try out something new!
Bodyshop.com
I knew the Body Shop was known for their body butters, most recently the Body Butter Duo, one side is regular body butter while the other side is formulated specifically for dry skin.  I’ll buy that the next time around to try out.
Anyway, the smell of the pink grapefruit is lovely for summer, and in the morning after I shower really wakes me up.  It’s super refreshing and natural.  Some people don’t like using a body butter in the summer, but I enjoy using it all year…I love the results it gives, my skin is always super soft and healthy looking.
The main ingredients are shea butter, cocoa butter, and glycerin.  When applying this moisturizer you can literally feel it melt into your skin, which proves just how much of these great ingredients it’s really made of.
There are so many different types of body butters, and they all serve different purposes depending on your skin type.  I have normal skin, which is why I can use this product all year round…and the pink grapefruit is in this category.  There are a bajillion different types, so click here to see which would be best for you!
PS: I’ve recently become obsessed with abuncha Body Shop products, and I’ll be doing a lot of reviews since I’ve been using them long enough now to have solid opinions. I love how the Body Shop supports community trade by getting ingredients from poorer countries to help villages generate income.  They also do not test on animals, and currently have a campaign running to raise awareness of human trafficking.
Watch this video to learn more about the Body Shop’s Community Trade efforts!

Burt’s Bees Lip Balm

I just wanted to put up a quick post about my favorite lip balm.  I ran out of it today, and it made me think about how many of these I go through…I think I’m addicted. 
This stuff is amazing.  I wrote about it in my beach bag post, but I would just like to reiterate how fabulous I think this lip balm is.  I’ve used all types of lip balms/ chapsticks…Blistex, Rosebud Salve (which I still love), Softlips, and Carmex.  But, for some reason I love the texture of the Burt’s Bees the best.  I also like that I can feel the pomegrante oil, and I really think that has helped keep my lips protected in both the winter from the harsh cold, and the summer from the strong sun.  Lastly, this lip balm uses all natural ingredients which I prefer and has an SPF of 20.
Which remindssss meeeee, it’s SO important to make sure your chapstick or lip balm (whatever, they’re the same thing) has SPF in it.  Usually making sure your lips are protected from the sun is the last thought someone has while at the beach ready to get their tan on.  Howeverrrrr, your lips don’t tan, duh, so they must be protected from the harsh rays.  So, make sure you have a lip balm wth SPF 15 or higher, I’d always opt for the higher.  
PS: Sorry I haven’t updated in a few days, life has been super hectic the past week!

What’s In My Beach Bag???

I’m going to the beach today and since I’m up so early I figured I’d do a post on what I bring with me down the shore.  I have a lot of beach bags, but so far I’ve been using my Tory Burch one this summer.  Most of my other beach bags are from Victoria Secret, they were free with a Pink purchase.  I love those bags, they fit so much in them and they’re made well for being free!
Anywayyyy, I got this bag the day after Christmas in Bloomingdale’s, it took me forever to realize that it was printed in pink bugs.  My friend said to me, “why does your bag have cock roaches on it??” — I thought it was just pink and pretty…wrong.  But, oh well, i just ignore the bugs…whatever species they are.
Aside from my wallet, towels [I bring two, one to lay on and one for my head…makes it more comfortable] and sunglasses [with case for extra protection against sand scratches!] here are some essentials I always make sure come with me to the sand.
Most importantly, here are the two sunscreens I use while I’m at the beach.  I use Aveeno Face 30SPF, and I love it.  I’m really picky about the sunscreen I put on my face, Aveeno isn’t super oily, and I’ve never broken out after using it…which can sometimes happen to people with oilier prone skin.  The formula is light, and doesn’t leave a gross residue.  I def suggest this for your face if your looking for a new facial sunscreen!  For all over sun protection, I took my mom’s 48SPF sunscreen the other day.  It’s from Walgreens, it worked really well.  I applied every hour and still got tan without being burnt.  Since it’s not a facial sunscreen it’s a little bit thicker than the Aveeno, but it applies pretty dry which is always a plus…as opposed to streaky and yucky white goo everywhere…bleh.  It worked just fine for being a generic brand, so I’ll keep that in mind from now on! 
I prefer to read while I’m at the beach, as opposed to listen to music.  Since I’m always with my friends I think it’s more fun to read so I can still talk, rather than be zoned out in music.  Today, I’m bringing the August issue of Cosmo [Kim Kardashian…yay!] and one of the books I’m currently reading, Entre Nous: A Woman’s Guide to Finding Her Inner French Girl.  It’s a very cute and easy read, I’m almost half way through…I feel more like a French glam girl already!  I bought this book in Anthro a few months ago, and while I can’t find it on their website now..here’s a link to Amazon for it! 
I make sure to have a compact with me, I always need a mirror.  This compact is from the Hello Kitty collection from Sephora.  I also always carry blotting papers, I hate to feel oily whether it’s just from the heat or my sunscreen.  I really love these tea tree oil blotting tissues from The Body Shop.  I know the link doesn’t exactly look like the ones I have, but I’m 100% sure they’re the same ones!
Lastly, while I don’t wear a lot of makeup when I go to the beach, I still need to have something on.  I always put on Laura Mercier oil-free tinted moisturizer spf 20 [I use bisque] on in the morning, and I actually add the Aveeno sunscreen to that before I leave.  I don’t put much else on besides mascara [Maybelline Falsies is my new favorite], because nobody will ever see me in public without mascara on. 
I bring a bronzer with me because we usually go out to lunch so it’s nice to have a glow-y look after I’ve been laying out.  Right now my summer bronzer is MAC’s Mineralize Skinfinish Natural in medium deep.  I use it as an all over bronzer or sometimes just as a blush which looks great too. And lastly, I always have my Burt’s Bees Replenishing Pomegranate Oil Lip Balm with me…everywhere.  Some people don’t like this Burt’s Bees balm, they like the original better, but I love this one.  It’s so hydrating, especially after being in the water.  
I keep my makeup in this oversize Coach wristlet I got a longggg time ago.  I don’t want to bring my everyday makeup bag since I have other unnecessary stuff in it.  Everything fits in here just fine, and with a zipper I can make sure nothing falls out of it and gets sandy in my bag!
This is all the stuff I’m bringing with me today!  Also, a quick tip…I put water bottles in the freezer the night before and wrap them up in paper towels [for when they start to super sweat from the hot sun, the water doesn’t get everywhere] to bring with me to the beach.  Cold water for hours in 95 degree weather sounds perfect to me.  It’s SO important to drink water all day when in the sun, but I’m sure you all already knew that!
   

My First Birchbox!

I was SO happy today when I came home from the beach…I saw a bright pink box from Birchbox!! YAY.  I wrote about Birchbox a couple of posts ago, I while I said I was hesitant at signing up, the good news is…I LOVE EVERYTHING IN MY BOX!
First off, the packaging is so cute.  When I opened the box I saw that Cynthia Rowley was a contributor to this month’s box.  I love Cynthia Rowley, I have a super cute silver sequin pillow by her and I take it everywhere with me…literally…it’s in my car right now.  The products in this month’s box are her favorites, which works perfectly for me because my favorite facial product of all time is in it!  
I’ll begin with my favorite, “Purity made simple” facial cleanser by philosophy.  This is my favorite makeup remover ever.  My mom and I both use it, and we’re addicted.  Of course, it’s a travel size, which is perfect because I’m going to Chicago at the end of the month, so I’ll def need it then.
My next product is “Redken shine brillance” glistening mist.  I thought maybe at first this was a light hair spray, but I sprayed it on my hand and it’s not sticky at all…which is what I was hoping for.  The smell isn’t so lovely, but we’ll see how it works out.
The next two products are Joya perfume and Nuxe dry oil.  I’m not familiar with either of these brands, so I’m excited to see if I like the products.  I don’t typically use shower oil in the summer (spray tan killer), so I probably won’t start using that until the fall.  The Joya perfume is a roll on, it smells very clean and fresh but I’m not sure I would really consider it a fabulous scent.
The last two products are a ybf beauty eyebrow pencil, in taupe, and a KIND almond and apicot snack bar.  Um, I was slightly confused as to why there was a snack bar in my beauty box…but then I read the note in the box and Cynthia Rowley says she always has one on her, so it’s an extra for this month.  I’m excited to use the eyebrow pencil, I’ve honestly never used one before because I really love my eyebrows, but whenever I go get my makeup done professionally they always still fill them in.  It’ll be a good experiement…hopefully.
SO, that’s my July Birchbox!  My expectations were definitely exceeded with this first box, from the products to the packaging.  I hope next month makes me just as happpyyyyy!

Just Because…Birchbox

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Last night I took the $10 plunge and signed up for the beauty-box-of-the-month club, Birchbox!  This club is relatively new but so far the press and reviews have been great!  In case you haven’t heard about Birchbox here’s a quick rundown…every month, for $10, you get a box with four or five beauty samples.  The samples cover hair, skin, makeup, body, and fragrance.  

Also, you can earn reward points, there are different things you can do to earn these points like purchase full size products (recieve 1 point for every dollar), refer friends (50 points for every friend who signs up), and review products (10 points for every review you do).  Once you get 100 points, you’ll get a $10 reward that you can put towards a full sized product.
I’m super excited to recieve my first box in July.  I took a beauty quiz so my box is more tailored for me.  For example they ask about skin tone, hair color, etc.  It’s very similar to the jewelry profile Jewelmint asks you to complete. It’s all about narrowing down the best options for you!  
I was slightly skeptical about this club for the past month, samples are samples.  They’re small, and although you get 4 or 5 per box is $10 really worth it?  Well, I decided it was once I took a look at their brand page.  I think Birchbox has done a great job of securing deals with amazing brands, I recognized and think highly of almost all of them!  bareMinerals, benefit, Cargo, juice Beauty, laura mercier, Nars, Oscar Blandi, stila, too faced, and Kate Spade are some of my favorites from the list!  I use these brands, and others listed, almost every day.  So I know I’ll use, and hopefully love, every sample given to me!
I’m constantly looking for ways to build up and evolve my beauty routine.  Rather than spending $30-$50 for a new product, I can try the sample first and then really think about whether or not I want to purchase it.  And if I do, I can purchase directly from Birchbox and get rewards points!  While I’m not really looking to spend money on full sized products any time soon, I’m loving my beauty routine right now, it’s always a good option down the road.  
For now, I think I’m gonna have fun sampling new things every month!  I’ll do a review with pictures once I get my first box!