Thursday, August 27, 2015

Inside My August Birchbox!

Well hello there! This month I decided to treat myself by signing up for both Birchbox AND Ipsy's monthly boxes/glam bags. I have been buying tons of full-size products in the interest of trying new things, and 10 dollars each for these subscription services seemed like a much better way to discover products I love (or don't love) without the price tag the full-size item. I missed the cut-off point for this month's Ipsy bag, but I did make it just under the wire to receive an August Birchbox.

Below is what was in my amazing box, along with the value of each sample as compared to the full-size product available on the Birchbox website, plus a little review for each! It may be too soon to say, but I am very impressed with my Birchbox, and if you're interested in trying a subscription, you can get the ball rolling here! Enjoy! xo Jenna

Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk - Natural Tint 
Full-size | $20.00 for 3.2 oz.
Sample value | $06.25
I'm a huge fan of dry shampoo, like it's in my could-not-live-without-it favorites (which I may do an upcoming post on soon). I have my go-to which is Drybar Detox, but this Klorane version may convince me to switch it up. The tint is slightly darker than Drybar's (which is powdery white) so it blends better into my hair's natural light-brown-auburn color. It smells great, and I was very pleased with the sample size. Great for an on-the-go spritz.

Dr. Jart+ Dermask Vital Hydra Solution Deep Hydration Sheet Mask 
Full-size | $06.00
Sample value | $06.00 (full-size product)
I had never tried a sheet mask, though I know beauty bloggers/vloggers have been praising these forever. And now I can see why. One weekend evening when I felt like really having a #treatyoself moment, I applied this and wore it in a fabulous bubble bath using some of my recent Lush purchases. It was ahhhmazing–super moisturizing and refreshing–a great experience. And getting a full-size product in my Birchbox was awesome!

Dr. Brandt Pores No More Cleanser
Full-size | $35.00
Sample value | $02.50
Full disclosure: I have not yet tried this product, because I've been trying to use up another sample of the Boscia Detoxifying Black Cleanser from Sephpora. But I am looking forward to giving it a try this upcoming month! And props to the Dr. Brandt social team for giving my Instagram pic a little likey-lou. That is always appreciated, by me at least! (By the way, follow me on Instagram here for more NYC and makeup adventures!)

Benefit Watt's Up! Cream-to-Powder Highlighter
Full-size | $35.00
Sample value | $07.27
So, this was the only product in my Birchbox that I wasn't SUPER jazzed about because I already own this full-size product. And I am not 100% sure I love it. I've really struggled to find a highlighter that works perfectly for me...and I'm not sold on liquids or creams/cream-to-powders. I may just cave and buy the Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector pressed highlighting powder one of these days...or see if my desire to strobe-like-the-sun fades when Fall rolls in. But for now, I have a travel size of Watt's Up!, which should lighten up my makeup bag.

Coola Face SPF 30 Unscented Matte Tint
Full-size | $36.00
Sample value | $03.60
I loooooved this, and of anything in my Birchbox, this is quite possibly what I would purchase in full-size first. The texture was like this...whipped, light, fluffy texture–similar to Benefit's Pore-Fessional but less heavy or creamy. It was not at all greasy, like my current Facial sunscreen would be amazing as a primer under makeup. This product is advertised as being tinted to even out skin tone, and I didn't quite feel like it was enough coverage where I'd wear it without any foundation...but would absolutely wear it to the beach with no other makeup, skin-tone-evenness or not!

Money spent on the monthly Birchbox | $10.89 (including tax)
Value of my August Birchbox | $25.62

I have done tons of research on Birchbox and Ipsy, and have watched countless unboxing vids on YouTube in preparation for this. And while people aren't always 100% pleased with their samples or the value of their box, as far as I'm long as the value of my box is worth more than $10.89 I've got my money's worth. And so nearly $15.00 of free product is quite a treat! Looking forward to many, many more monthly Birchboxes coming my way!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

My First-Ever Lush Haul!

Oh my goodness, I don't really know how I hadn't discovered LUSH before now, but let me just say that I'm obsessing. I had popped into a store in the Orlando airport when I was traveling last fall, but didn't bring anything home with me. And after watching a few YouTube videos of people enjoying their huge Lush hauls and amazing, luxurious bath bombs and bubble bars, I decided to pop down to the Herald Square location and check it out for myself. And let me tell you, it did not disappoint. =

The store smelled like an amazing sensory overload, to the point where I don't even think I knew what my products actually smelled like until I got home. Like, I don't typically go for orange scents because they have a bad scent-memory to me...but a lot of the products I picked out do have an orangey scent. Though, all do smell great to me anyway! Full disclosure: I'd never used a bath bomb until yesterday but watched about fifty YouTube videos like this one, and I got really scared that I would stain my bathtub. But today I saw a tip that if you do happen to accidentally dye your tub with pigment or glitter, the Magic Eraser takes care of I'll be a bit braver next time and just go for it! 

This was the first thing I smelled in the store, and immediately put it into my basket because it has scents that I really gravitate toward...just warm, creamy, and with hints of cocoa butter.

I love, love, love baths and especially bubble baths. My one goal for my trip to Lush was to come home with one bath bomb and one bubble bar...I may have gotten a little carried away but I'm so glad I did because I used about 1/4 of this last night crumbled beneath the running water along with my bath bomb and it was perfection. I might even use this again tonight... Why not?

This is the most surprising scent, because I do not love oranges, but really enjoyed the scent of this. It's quite chocolatey and exotic. And apparently you can break it in half and use it the same way you'd use a bubble bar. Looking forward to trying this!

This was the bath bomb I used immediately after I got home last night. It just looked big and fun, and amazing. And it smelled like honey and toffee. It left my skin feeling silky smooth, and I could have just soaked for hours. Will definitely be purchasing this again.

This was one of those unexpected purchases that I ended up being very excited about. Once I was already getting carried away, I saw this and it's gorgeous glittery finish and decided I had to have it to give me some shine on my shoulders and décolletté for the rest of the summer. It has such a beautiful finish to it, and melts into your skin like butter.

This is quite similar to the Shimmy Shimmy product, except it's tailored for darker complexions and shimmers instead of glitters. However, if you're pale like me, this also blends into the skin and acts as kind of a bronzer for body. I'm very intrigued. Stay tuned for whether or not this works for me! Full reviews will be coming soon. 

I'm saving this one for fall, once it's a bit more chilly out...because I am very much looking forward to a steaming hot bath with this just fizzing and melting all around me. It's all of my most dreamy scents; vanilla, sandalwood, lemon...yes, yes, yes. Ahh! Fall, get here soon please! (Don't hate me if you're a summer person, but summer in New York City is a dirty business, my friends...)

One of the girls at the Herald Square location, I think her name was Jamie, told me that this is one of LUSH's original products from way back. I was a bit of a shopaholic tornado at this point, so the moment is fuzzy to me, but I can not wait to try this because...Blackberries? How summery is that? I'll have my Magic Eraser ready for this one ;-)

I wanted to get a massage bar because they feel amazing in your hands, I can only imagine how delicious they feel on the body. Can't wait to give this a try, probably tonight. Maybe I'll give my boyfrand a little birthday back massage? Or I'll save it for myself...mwah ha ha. Okay, signing off now! xo Jenna

Friday, August 7, 2015

The Secret to Sensational Summer Legs

Hello everybody! This summer has nearly come and gone, but this tip was too important not to share. Because I, Jenna Sais Quois, have uncovered––after twenty eight summers of life––THE secret to my best ever summer legs! Seriously, they've been smooth, glowing, and most importantly not transparent (because other than freckles, I do not tan #gingerproblems). And while I wish I could tell you that it just happened and requires minimal work, there are a few critical steps involved. But not to worry, I've outlined the different steps and products I use below! Best of luck with your own sexy summer gams, ladies or gents!

Step 1: Dry Brushing
Now, this is a new to 2015 step for me, but beauty bloggers and vloggers have been recommending it like crazy, saying it helps to smooth, exfoliate, and even reduce the appearance of cellulite. I don't just use it on my legs, I use it all over my body, and have definitely noticed improvements. The dry brush I use is from The Body Shop for $12.00 and worth every penny.

Step 2: Exfoliating
I think exfoliating is super important for both the health and overall look of your skin, and it's a step I've always done though my products of choice have evolved over time. The Clinique Sparkle Skin Body Exfoliator feels gentle and lovely but the best feature for me is the packaging, which takes up very little space on my shower shelf vs. most others that come in large pots.

Step 3: Shaving
This razor was new-to-me for the Summer of 2015 and I'm loving it. It's called the Venus Swirl Razor from Gillette, and the unique ball joint at the head makes the razor perfect for navigating the contours of your knees and ankles. It's kind of like the Dyson Vacuum of razors, in that way! I'm a big fan, and will definitely be continuing to use this razor for the foreseeable future. I just need to order the replacement blades from Target or something, because I can't find them in Duane Reade. 

These next few stops can be either combined, or used independently of one another. I like to use 2 out of 3 for everyday, and a combo of all 3 for special occasions. 

Step 4: Moisturizing
This moisturizer has been my favorite product of 2015, hands-down. It's the Jergen's BB Body Protecting Skin Cream, and it's firming, nourishing, formulated to hide skin imperfections, and gives the skin such a beautiful luster. Plus it smells amazing. Whenever someone catches the scent of it, they always ask me "What is that scent?" like it's perfume or something. I've gone through two bottles already this summer, and they aren't cheap for a drugstore lotion but I don't even care. Give me more. I'm addicted. I will say, I use the medium to dark lotion on my pale skin, because it blends beautifully and gives me a nice subtle tint to the skin when I'm not going full-out with my next favorite product.

Step 5: Tanning
I am very happy I discovered Sally Hansen's Airbrush Legs, a product I've seen in drugstores for years - but was a little too scared to try the airbrush can because it seemed, I don't know, too intimidating. But behold - there's a new lotion formula. I like to apply this after my Jergen's lotion, so it's a bit easier to blend into the legs. I just let it dry-dry-dry completely before I dress for the day. It is truly a miracle product! It evens and perfects your legs until they literally look like Hollywood Barbie legs or something. And it isn't like most self-tanning products that have a chemical smell and leave a permanent affect (where if you mess it up, you're stuck with it for quite a while). Small Disclaimer though: This comes off with a scrub in the shower. But if it rains, it may rub off on clothes so check the weather! And don't ever sit on a white couch, just in case...

Step 6: Glowing
If I'm not doing the full tanned leg bit, I do quite like to add a glow to my moisturizing lotion (all over, not just on my legs) and just strobe out my whole body by adding a bit of the Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector ––I use the shade Opal––and it gives a gorgeous effect. I don't actually love a liquid luminizing product on my face, but I love it for body. it looks beautiful on legs, shoulders, décolleté, wherever you want a healthy summer glow. 

Hope all your gams are glowing out this August! xo Jenna