First Impressions: my Sephora 20% off purchases

So yeah–I went a little nuts with the Sephora sales–but I knew I would be returning some things. And I already have–with more to go back soon.

Here are my first impressions on some of the products I’ve tried:

The Good

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KORA Organics, Noni Glow Face Oil: I was probably the most skeptical of this one since the recommendation was from a supermodel in a Vogue video, but so far, I really like it. What’s interesting about this product is you have to pat it into your skin, not apply it like a lotion. I have put it on in the morning and had it on it’s own with just some under eye concealer, I’ve worn it under foundation and used it as a nighttime product and it’s been really nice in all applications. I think I’ll keep her.

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Natasha DenonaChroma Crystal Top Coat, Grey Brown: I’m wearing this today! I really like it. I’ve only worn it on it’s own but its a really nice look. Kinda sheer and sparkly with a hint of color. I tried to photograph myself wearing it and it’s hard to see it, so I can’t show you it that way, but trust that it’s a new one-stop staple for me.

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Smashbox, Be Legendary Liquid Lip Vault: Seriously, I really don’t need more liquid lipsticks! But these are a really nice addition to my vault. I haven’t worn all the colors and I’m not even sure when I’d wear some of them *looking at you, blue* but the formula is smooth and they are very wearable. They aren’t my favorites, but they are good and if you are looking to expand into some new shades, this box is a good value, especially with a mix of regular and metallic shades that aside from the blue are very friendly.

all urban decay liner photos courtesy of

Urban Decay, 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil, Torch and Alkaline: I’m really a sucker for UD’s liners and I’m really happy with adding these colors to my collection. They are a little strange and won’t be for everyone, but I’ve really liked wearing them. It definitely creates a different look, but I’ve been down for that lately.

Dr. Jart+Dermaclear™ Trans-Foam Clay Trio: Full disclosure–I’ve only tried one of the three–but I really liked it! I often will throw a mask on in the shower, but I’m aware that it’s neither the right condition for the mask nor the right length of time. I just need that extra something, something some mornings. These are masks that you only leave on for a few minutes–and then with water–it becomes a foaming face cleanser. It’s pretty nifty. Kinda goofy, but so far I’m in.

The Bad

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NARS Powermatte Lip Pigment, Rock with You: What a mess! I put this on once and knew it was going back. It dries really fast making it super hard to apply. It feels like your lips are being pulled into your face from the inside and the color was very patchy. Perhaps this color was just not a good one to try, but I won’t be finding out by getting others. It has been returned.

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Guerlain Lingerie de Peau Aqua Nude Foundation, 02N Light:I’m so glad this was as bad as it was so I wouldn’t fall in love with another ridiculously priced foundation by this brand. This is my favorite foundation and I wanted to repurchase it because I’m nearly empty, but it was sold out. So I decided to try this instead and it’s not good. I’ll leave it at that. You shouldn’t even try these crazy expensive brands anyway! (LYN! i’m talking to you!!!!!) It has been returned.

Urban Decay, 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil, Corrupt: The description for this one was intriguing “dark metallic reddish brown shimmer with silver micro-sparkle ” but it’s just brown with some barely visible shimmer. So this one is going back.

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Peter Thomas Roth Cucumber De-Tox™ Hydra-Gel Eye Patches: I like a lot of products in the line, so I thought I’d give it a shot. Nope. Expensive. They slide all over your face. And it didn’t seem to really do anything. They will go back.

The Indifferent

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FENTY BEAUTY by Rihanna Match Stix Trio in Light: I really wanted to try these and the packaging is really cool. But I already have plenty of highlighters I don’t use, bronzers that are go-tos and concealors I love that I didn’t see myself reaching for these enough to justify the price. The products are good though and if you are in the market for a travel friendly trio like this, I think it’s a nice product. Just not for me, right now. It went back.

The Bizarre

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seriously though–how beautiful is this color?!

PAT McGRATH LABS LuxeTrance™ Lipstickin She’s Heaven: Well this one is a serious disappointment because the tube came broke! I can’t spin the lipstick up, so I haven’t tried it at all! I’m hoping I can return it and get one at the same discounted price, because I really want to try it! (but you need to stop trying crazy expensive products, lyn!!!!!)

There you have it! My first impressions on the products I bought from Sephora. I’ll update soon with the products I got from Ulta.

How are you’re 20% off purchases working out for you? Any regrets on items you didn’t get? Things you love? Products that are going back? Let us know below!

I bought everything myself and have been happy to get money back on the returned items!


An apple a day.

I’ve never been good at taking vitamins.  It’s not even the habit of taking them that I’m not good at, that’s the easy part… it’s more the taking them for maybe a month, then running out and not repurchasing them.  And also not knowing what I should even be taking.  I was, for a little while, taking some gummy chew-able ones, and figured out I was eating about 100 calories alone in vitamins a day, which seemed really silly…. but they were like candy, so it’s not surprising I guess.  They were expensive too!  So I quit those.  Then I got a random mail ad for care/of, so I decided to see what they were all about.

Today’s quote: “Success is most often achieved by those who don’t know that failure is inevitable.” – Coco Chanel

Care/of is a vitamin subscription service, personalized by you through a series of questions about your lifestyle, diet and health goals.  You are given initial recommendations and then can decided how you want to customize your vitamin pack.  Starting with about 5 different recommended vitamins, I ended up choosing the three that I felt were most important to me, thus also adjusting the monthly price to a number I felt was within my budget (I used to spend the same amount on monthly beauty box subscriptions and that seem totally reasonable to me…. so spending it now on vitamins seemed like a much more wise investment at this point in life.)  In the past I’ve more often than not only taken a multivitamin, so I’m excited to see how I feel with a customized vitamin regimen.  You can also change and adjust what you are receiving monthly, at any time.  They boast honesty and transparency, with quality ingredients, sourced thoughtfully from around the world.  Everything they offer is tested and produced in the United States.  The best part, the part that I love most is the packaging – daily packs personalized with your name as well as a fun fact or quote on them in a convenient holder that fits nicely in a cupboard, or looks quite cute and non offensive sitting in the open on your kitchen counter (I’m a sucker for great packaging…. but aren’t we all?)  I’ve only been taking my care/of vitamins for a few days now…..  we will see how I feel and how long I stick with it.  Though, I can say I feel pretty confident that I’ll continue with them, and I feel good spending the money on my health vs. Birchbox.

sorry Birchbox, you’ve been replaced by a vitamin box.


Do you take vitamins?  How do you feel about them?  –  Yes, I think vitamins are super important!  Or, no…. it’s probably snake oil?  I want to know your thoughts about this!  Care/of has a really pretty website (of course) and I thought the questionnaire was kinda fun….. so maybe check them out!?

*yep, using my own $$$ to buy my vitamins.


The Great Bathroom De-cluttering!!!

This past weekend, my husband and I had a great Saturday. We slept in, went to the gym, had a long, lingering French brunch with a good friend, then wondered what to do with the rest of the day. It was cold and gloomy, so we tried to rally and think of errands or out-and-about things to do, but couldn’t think of anything. I said aloud “well, if we just go home, I’ve been kind of itching to de-clutter the bathroom…..”  This made it real. There was no going back now.

I regret that I did not take “before” pictures. I was focused; on a mission. Because trust me, it was a problem.

I was drowning in products, collected over the 12 years we’ve lived in this house. Old hair products shoved to the back of a cabinet, old lip colors that had separated or dried out, anything cream-based that was past it’s prime, things I used half of and then decided I didn’t like, random samples collected over too many years of Birchbox and Ipsy (long since cancelled), travel bags, and anything that didn’t have a proper home.


On the heels of the Sephora 20% off sale (during which I showed a fair amount of restraint!), I had a hard time finding a place to put some of my stock-up items. So I was in the right frame of mind for this task, which was “nothing is precious get rid of it all!!!!”. Ok, maybe more like keep what I love, and ditch the rest. If I haven’t used it (or more likely, was unaware of it’s existence), it was out. I grabbed a box and labeled it “keep” and a paper bag labeled “throw”. I probably didn’t need to actually label things that were different types of containers, but it made me feel more official. Lucky for him, the kitten jumped in the “keep” box. I liked this system because it forced me to touch everything, evaluate it, and make a conscious decision of where to put it back (as opposed to the “shove it over there” method). It also let me wipe down my grimy bottles, shelves, whatever.

Now before we go much further, I want to express remorse for my level of waste here. It was SO MUCH STUFF. And as much I would have liked to make a generous donation to a women’s shelter, very little of what I threw out was actually worth passing on, since it was old or half used. So moving forward, I know I’ll still fall into traps and buy stuff I don’t need, but I’m definitely going to go about my purchases more mindfully.

I had four zones to conquer: the countertop, the cabinet, the top of the cabinet, and the daily drawer.


MB was happily immersed in a computer game, so I threw on an episode of The Black Tapes, cracked open a cherry lime Klarbrunn, and started with the cabinet. We don’t have a lot of storage in our bathroom, so we have a cheapie white cabinet in there, which was jammed full of random stuff that would explode out whenever you opened the door. On top of the cabinet, I have a step-shelf for perfume, hair products, and daily use things that was also overrun (which led to things always being knocked over), a smaller set of drawers with makeup I needed to store but didn’t use daily, and a bin full of palettes, masks, hair bands, and pretty much any random thing I needed to shove somewhere. It was out of control, and it felt really great to pull everything out. Here’s the finished, organized product!

I was now able to fit the blue bin inside the cabinet, and that happily houses all the lipsticks, eyeshadows, and skincare products that I use on occasion so I like to keep, but don’t need to have out, at the ready. This allowed me to downsize my palette storage (I didn’t get rid of any palettes!) to a wire basket, which is both smaller and easier on the eyes than an ugly plastic shoebox. The shoebox, as you can see, was re-purposed to the bottom shelf, housing… well, a few things I couldn’t bear to part with, like old perfumes with only 3 drops of nostalgia left in them, or things I use seasonally. Wait… why did I keep all those velcro rollers?? Maybe someday I will learn to use them.

I have a small drawer in the vanity that I keep my daily go-to and frequently used items in, and it was getting to the point where I had to have it configured just so in order to even close it. We all have this drawer, right? I’m not alone? Well, I was able to pare it down quite a bit, and while I still have about 57 too many lipsticks (as if “too many” is even a thing), I can now quickly see and grab what I need on mornings when I hit the snooze an extra time. Or two. I used some food storage containers to separate things out by use- complexion, eyes, lips, and tools, which makes it even easier:

Now look at this clean countertop!

Everything is so tidy! These are things I either use daily or it’s just easier to have them within reach. I don’t use more than a few of those lip/eyeliners, but aren’t they cute all nestled together in a cup??


The best/worst thing I did was to wash my brushes. Washing aaaaalllllll of the makeup brushes is oddly satisfying. A few years back, Pamela gave me this awesome brush cleaning mat from Sigma, and it makes the job even more fun! I use lavender Dr. Bronner’s because it is the best, and gentle, and smells nice. Pro tip: always dry your brushes flat- if you dry them stored upright, moisture can loosen the glue in the ferrule and wreck your brush.

Cleaning hair brushes, on the other hand, is a vomit-inducing task. But!! It feels so magical and good to have clean brushes, so suck it up and do it now and then. Pull off as much hair as you can (puke), then soak your brushes in some warm, soapy water (again, I used Dr. Bronner’s) for a few minutes, then scrub any remaining grossness out with an old toothbrush. Later, when your gag reflex recovers, admire your sparkly clean new brushes!! (Check out Kandee Johnson’s tutorial if you need more!)

Here is all the stuff I threw out. It’s a whole grocery bag. RIP, stuff. You had a good run. Except for you Biore pore strips- you were just terrible.

Oh!! I also found $41 cash (??) and rode the wave right into cleaning out my purse. Next stop: the t-shirt drawer. Maybe I’ll wait until the next lazy Saturday rolls around.


What are you cleaning? Do you have any tips to not be a product hoarder? I’m trying to pay attention to how many hot pink lipsticks I have, I swear! What podcasts are you listening to? This project took at least 3 or 4 episodes of The Black Tapes, which I have now finished all 3 seasons of, so I need something new!

20% off–how we recommend you spend your Sephora discount

Lyn has already spent some serious cash at both the Ulta and Sephora holiday sales. And being the enablers we are–here are our recommendations on what to pick up during this weekend’s Sephora sale and some of the items we have our eye on.


I’m thawing out from my spending freeze for the Sephora 20% off sale! And also because I am most certain I won’t maintain my VIB status next year, because I’ve not spent enough money with them this year. So, I may as well stock up a little? Having said that, most of my purchases will be repurchases because I am trying to at least spend practically or some justification like that.

So, I know I have expressed my dislike for this product at least once or twice on the blog…. but now that I don’t have it, I totally want it again! Yep… I will be repurchasing the Sol De Janeiro Bum Bum cream. I never thought I would! I bought it in the holiday gift pack last year, and will again this year, which includes the lip butter and fragrance mist as well, which both seem exciting to try. The cream itself though, is what I’m after. It is so seriously hydrating. My fall/pre-winter skin misses it immensely. And I kind of miss the scent as well – it’s strong, but in the end I started mixing it with a regular unscented moisturizer and it really made it so much more subdued – and really the scent itself was never my issue…. It was the strength of it.

I can’t say I’ve gotten to the end of a tube of lipstick in forever (probably because I have about 30 currently that I need to use, sitting in a drawer upstairs) but I just ran out of my BITE Beauty Matte Cream Lip Crayon in the color Peche. I originally purchased it specifically to wear for my wedding. It’s taken me three years to use it all up, but I do love it and want it back.

And I will (maybe) be purchasing the Maison Margiela REPLICA fragrance – By The Fireplace, because they are sooooo expensive I would never buy this if I didn’t have 20%. I’m still on the fence about spending the money. These bottles are huge, which is great! But I don’t wear fragrance on a daily basis, and if you remember last year I got the MM REPLICA – Lipstick On, which I still love, but have barely made a dent in. So, this is more of a wish than a need. I honestly really dislike smelling like a campfire (but I really like camping – weird), and if you have smelled this you would think I’m silly to want to wear it, because it smells exactly like a campfire. BUT, the campfire smell is warmer and fades to a woody and sweet vanilla. It’s yummy. I really wish they sold it in the travel size. So, I guess I’ll see how I’m feeling about my finances the day I make my purchases.

Oh yeah…. I might also get this years Glow For It set too. I definitely don’t need it, I have or have had a couple that are in it, but I am also a sucker for highlights. And bonus – it still appears to be in stock, unlike last year.


Alrighty… *rubs hands together*… what’s my plan?? Well, I also need to restock some of my favorites. I continue to love Origins Checks and Balances Frothy Face Wash (Lyn!! Why do you hate it so??? It’s minty and cleans everything off without drying you out!!), and that’s a boring thing to spend money on so I’ll grab one with my haul. I might also pick up some Bumble and Bumble Tonic Lotion– I don’t use it every day, but I like having it around, especially in the winter.

And speaking of winter problems, I’m also super stoked about this Dr. Jart Magical Skin Potions set Lyn pointed out last week- you get a FULL SIZE Cicapair Treatment PLUS a bunch of other stuff that I will use (their micellar water is pretty great, and I love a mini) for the price of the balm alone!!

Remember last year when I tried a whole bunch of liquid eyeliners?? Well, I’ve finally used them all up! Then I found a fresh mini sample of some Kat Von D Tattoo Liner in my stash, and realized, once again, that it is actually the best eyeliner ever. So… I’ll be adding that back into my daily rotation. (For the record, still love the Physician’s Formula and the Tarte one totally grew to be one of my faves!)

Now for the fun part: the “things I don’t really need buuuuutttttt…..” list. Since I’ll be in the KVD aisle anyway, I really think I need to pick up one of these new Everlasting Glimmer Veil Liquid Lipsticks. I swatched a few on my hand last time I was in the store, and they are BEAUTIFUL. Seriously, out of control gorgeous. I talked myself out of it because honestly, when will I wear this?? But screw it- it’s the holidays and I need something shiny!! (Which color though???)

I need another eyeshadow palette like…. I don’t need anymore eyeshadow palettes. But! This Tarte Tartelette In Bloom Clay Eyeshadow Palette is calling to me for some reason. Anyone have it? Thoughts?? It seems like just the right combination of shimmers and lights and deeps and would be a good grab and go travel palette…. maybe??

It might be way too expensive for several things I already have, but this Superstars Everyday Must Haves kit is kind of great, right? I might need it. Probably because I am also still using a Beauty Blender from the dawn of time.


I already spent a ton of money on the VIB 20% sale–I posted what I ended up going with on our Facebook page–so here are some things I think you should pick up:

FENTY BEAUTY by Rihanna, Gloss Bomb Universal Lip Luminizer: This is the most wearable, universally flattering, beautiful lip gloss of all time. I’m not exaggerating. I feel like everyone should have one or three lying around. It’s beyond wonderful and smells amazing. And every time you wear it, it makes Rihanna smile. Go get it!!

LANEIGE, Lip Sleeping Mask: I’m obsessed with this! Since I had some troubles with my old standby, I grabbed this to give it a go. I love it. I wear it every night and throw it on sometimes on no makeup days. Too bad it’s in a pot, but even that doesn’t spoil the magic of this product.

Ouai, Treatment Masque: Yeah, these are stupid expensive. Yes, they work miracles. My hair always looks and feels its best after slapping one of these on. And I get two uses per packet making it slightly more defensible. 

bareMinerals, OIL OBSESSED™ Total Cleansing Oil: Gets makeup off. Has a nice light texture. Makes your skin feel amazing. What more could you want?

Peter Thomas Roth, Mask-A-Holic Kit: I bought a version of this probably two years ago and I’m still working through them. It’s a really nice collection of nearly full size products to fix all face predicaments. Feeling puffy? Go for the cucumber. A little congested? Use the clay mask. Dull looking? Grab the pumpkin. Wanna feel fancy? It’s time for the gold. I’ve never tried their undereye patches, so that’s a bonus! Still a little too much for you, even with the discount? Have fun with these.

And have I mentioned the Anastasia Beverly Hills, Modern Renaissance Eye Shadow Palette? Yes? Ok.

And YAY, PAM!!!! Go get that Bum Bum cream!!!

What have you picked up? Anything you’ve got your eye on? Let us know below!



Float On: A Claustrophobic Tries Float Tanks

I work in the wellness industry, so naturally, I like to stay on top of the trends. Clients have questions and I like to be able to give them an informed opinion, or be able to make recommendations if I think there’s something else out there that might help. So what’s the new game in town? The new hot thing?

Floatation Therapy.


What Is It Though?

Floatation Therapy involves laying in a personal-sized tank filled with body-temperature water (only about a foot deep) and 1200 pounds (!) of Epsom salts. Continue reading

My Sephora 20% off wishlist–yay or nay?

Another day, another 20% off code making me spend money on things I don’t really need. But as Anjee said related to the Ulta 20% off–if you don’t like it, return it! (advice for life.)

As I mentioned with the Ulta sale, I prefer to buy things at Ulta because their reward program is actual cash. But there are some brands that are Sephora exclusive and Sephora has some holiday packs that are only available through them.

I have a very random wishlist for Sephora–mostly things I’m curious about–very few things I need. Here’s what I’m looking at:

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Empties: sleeping masks, hair products and fancy face creams

I’ve used up a bunch of stuff–what did I think, would I repurchase, should you get on board?–let’s find out together!

Sudzz, AquaFix® Hydrating Conditioner: I’ve been using this conditioner for years! I’ve tried other samples and things but I always come back. I get it from my salon, It has already been repurchased.

DevaCurl, WAVE MAKER™ Touchable Texture Whip: I kinda liked this stuff. It was easy to pack when I traveled for work and was really light but kept my hair manageable. I haven’t repurchased yet because I have a ton of hair stuff right now. But I would pick it up again.

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