Thursday, February 20, 2014

February Birchbox 2014

Time for another Birchbox post! I love getting mail and the Birchbox is something I look forward to opening because even if the box has a few duds, there's at least one star product waiting to be tested.

This month my favorite of the box was the Beauty Protector Protect & Oil treatment. It smells like vanilla and brown sugar (which is amazing) and leaves my hair feeling soft and smooth. My ends don't seem as damaged. The product claims to defend against UV rays, heat, and breakage. Don't know too much about the UV rays, but I'd say it works well as a heat protectant. And it also smells great, so that's an A+ in my book.

Next I got a Harvey Prince Hello perfume sample. It smells incredible, like spring and citrus. Although I don't like getting perfume samples, this one was great and now I want the rollerball of this. Figures. So I guess their marketing scheme worked on me!

The full size product this month was a Cynthia Rowley Beauty Liquid Liner in Black Ink. I am not a huge fan of liquid liner because it looks too dramatic on my fair skin, I do appreciate the full size product. And it really is smudgeproof as it claims on the packaging. I'll use it when I want a more done up look than my every day makeup routine.

I also got Ruby Wing Color Changing Nail Polish in Ride 'Em Cowgirl. This is a fun polish because it changes colors in the sun, although, it's a glitter polish which I don't wear too often because it's so hard to remove. I will definitely try this out though because you can't go wrong with a little gold glitter once in awhile.

The last product is Previse HydroMilk moisturizer. I really enjoy the lavender scent and the lightweight formula, but this product is sixty bucks for the full size so I'll just enjoy the sample while it lasts!

The Beauty Protector Protect & Oil won my vote this month! Come back in March to see what will win for the next box!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

French Pharmacie Haul + Photos from Paris in January

I'm still convinced I'm going to wake up tomorrow and I'll be back in Paris and that these last few days home were just a dream. Paris was incredible. There's no way I can put into words what an amazing month I had.

There's something magical about Paris. The leisurely strolls, the crepes, the historic monuments, and the soft rain create a particular je ne sais quoi that is so Paris.

My group stayed at a hostel called the FIAP Jean Monnet in the 14th arrondissement. It was a modern building with great amenities and it was super close to the metro. I'd highly recommend it to anyone traveling to Paris. (There's also free WIFIAP (wifi) here. Although it's frustrating, it was a huge bonus!) 

 Glaciere was our home stop and I can't wait to return to Paris and visit all of my favorite stops.

I was so very excited to visit the famous French Pharmacies that line most streets in Paris. They're world renowned for their skincare products, and we all know that's right up my alley.

I first hit up the Bioderma section. Everybody's heard of the Bioderma Solution Micellaire which is their gentle cleanser and toner. I also grabbed Bioderma Atoderm Lait Hydratant body moisturizer because I forgot to pack a lotion and my skin needed some hydration. Lastly from Bioderma, I wanted to try one of their facial moisturizers so I chose the lotion from the same line as the body lotion. It's Bioderma Atroderm Nutritive Creme Nourrissant. I've used all three of these and so far I'm loving them. You can't go wrong with Bioderma. Their products are gentle and have little to no fragrance.

My next stop was the Caudalie aisle. Caudalie can be found in U.S. stores, but the prices are extremely high. In Paris, the prices are much more affordable for a girl like me. I had heard wonderful things about the Caudalie Huile Divine and knew I had to test it out. It's a mix of gentle oils suitable for hair, face, and body. It smells pleasant, but not overpowering. I don't know how much it smells like perfume, but it's light and natural smelling. On my way out of the aisle a tiny bottle caught my eye. It's the Caudalie Eau de Beaute. This particular formula is laced with peppermint oil so it's soothing and refreshing. I'm kicking myself for not grabbing more than one of these sprays because I'm almost out and I NEED more. Alas, I'll just have to savor the rest of it and return to Paris as soon as possible. Doesn't sound too bad, right?

My last little skincare bit is a drugstore formula, just a cheaper price in France. It's the L'Oreal Absolue Douceur Solution Micellaire. This is just like Bioderma, but cheaper. I have heard European beauty gurus gush over this so I just thought I'd try it out. I love it. Micellar waters are great for my sensitive skin. Again, I wish I would have grabbed a few more as these are not yet available in the states.

Finally, I visited Yves Rocher. It's not technically a pharmacie, but it's full of skincare products and perfume. Think French Bath and Body Works. It's fabulous. From there I purchased the Yves Rocher The Vert Parfum that smells exactly like iced green tea. So refreshing and different from what I am usually drawn to. I also needed body wash and picked out the Yves Rocher Pamplemousse Gel Douche. Such a fresh scent. I love Yves Rocher and wish we had one in the states!

I had a fabulous time in Paris and hope to be back very soon. Here are some photos from the trip. Enjoy!

YES. I saw Lady Gaga at the Louvre.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

January Birchbox

I spent the entire month of January roaming the streets of Paris and eating crepes all over my favorite city in the world. So now I'm back to the Polar Vortex of Minnesota ready for another semester of school. I arrived at my apartment a few days ago to a wonderful surprise. My best friend gifted me a three month Birchbox subscription for Christmas! I didn't know about it because I hadn't been to my apartment for so long and she is good at keeping secrets! So excited about three months of fun goodies. Yes, this can almost be categorized as a full month late, but I only opened it a few days ago!

First of all, Birchbox has a fabulous packaging strategy. The products come in an adorable printed box and it's presented as a gift complete with bright pink tissue paper.

Inside January's box was a 100% Pure Fruit Pigmented Mascara, Gilchrist & Soames Shampoo and Conditioner, a sample of Juicy Couture Original, and Reviver Dry Deodorant Wipe.

I've tested the mascara and absolutely love it. It smells like berry black tea and gives natural looking lashes while also pumping up the volume a bit. I'll be testing it out a bit more over the next few days, but if I like it enough I might just go buy it. It's a natural mascara and I've been on the hunt for more natural products recently.

Haven't tried the shampoo and conditioner yet, but I'm looking forward to it. Both smell like passionfruit and citrus. I'm not too picky with shampoo so I'm assuming I'll like this. My only concern is if it is too heavy for my hair. We shall see!

The Juicy Couture Original perfume sample is nice, but I wouldn't purchase this in full size. It's expensive and it's not my type of scent. The scent description says, "Mandarin, rose, and sandalwood." To me, it's much too floral, but I know many people who enjoy this scent.

The Reviver Dry Deodorant Wipe is surprisingly the product I'm most intrigued by. The card says, "The first-ever deodorant for your duds, this handy cloth whisks away odors on contact." Being the scent girl that I am, I am constantly worried that my clothes smell like the restaurant I just left (or that I'm sweaty). That happens too. Anyway, I haven't had a chance to use this yet, but I'm very interested in what it can do.

The box also came with adorable colorful cards. They're full of happiness and motivation so, naturally, they've already found a place on my wall.

I'm loving this first Birchbox and cannot wait until February's box arrives!

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