Friday, February 27, 2015

February Birchbox

This post is appearing later and later in the month lately.  I used to get my Birchbox very early in the month, usually before the 10th ever came (which is what they claim is their shipping date).  Lately, it has come almost around the 20th of the month instead.  Boo!  I suppose I shouldn't complain since shipping is free:)

As you know if you've read my posts before, I like to have a bit of time to try out the products so I can give you a bit of info on them in my post.  So, these posts are going up later in the month so I have some time to use the products.

On to this month's box...

BeeKind Body Lotion - While I haven't received this in a box (that I remember), I have tried out this product through the sample packs that Birchbox sends with orders over $35.  It is a nice lightweight lotion that sinks in quickly.  I have put this to the side until the weather warms up a bit since I need some heavy duty lotion with all this cold weather we are having.  While I do like the samples, I wouldn't buy a full size of this lotion.

Eyeko Skinny Liquid Eyeliner - Everyone raves about this brand so I was excited to try out this product.  It is very black which is a bit dramatic for what I wear every day.  It did apply nicely and I will definitely get use out of it.  I probably wouldn't purchase it just because it isn't something I wear often enough.  I do recommend it though if you like liquid eyeliner.

Juice Beauty Blemish Clearing Cleanser - I have tried products from the Juice Beauty line before and I have really liked them and even bought full sizes.  I only used this a few times but it did a nice job of cleansing my skin without being drying.  I would consider buying it after I finish my Neutrogena acne wash.  I am looking for a similar product to the Neutrogena (the Neutrogena one is drying but really helps my skin stay clear) that might be a bit better for my skin.  So, I might give this a try and see if it works.  I'll keep you posted if I do.

Juice Couture Hollywood Royal - This is a sweet floral scent (I'm horrible at describing scents so that is my best guess:).  I do like the scent but it isn't usually a scent that I would pick to wear every day.  It is a little too strong for my taste but it does smell nice.

Marcelle Gentle Make-up remover for sensitive eyes - This is the first time I picked one of the products for my box and this was my choice.  I am on the hunt for my holy grail skincare items, eye makeup remover included.  This takes everything off in one swipe and does not irritate my eyes.  I will definitely consider purchasing a full size of this once I use up my other removers.

I was very happy with all the products in my box again this month.  These are all products I will get good use out of it and might even see myself purchasing the full size of in the future.

In case you are not familiar with Birchbox, it is $10 a month for deluxe size samples.  There are usually 5 samples (sometimes more) and they are usually higher end products.  Also, you can review each product in your box each month and you earn 10 points for each review.  Once you get 100 points, it counts as $10 off an order in the Birchbox shop.  I love their points system and I purchase a lot of my products from their website anymore (as opposed to Ulta or Sephora) because of their points system.

You can also follow me on Instagram or Twitter at @hmills79 for other fashion and beauty posts.


*All opinions are my own.  All products were purchased with my own money.  I was not compensated in any way for this post.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Project 10 Pan Update #2

I am a day late but had a very busy weekend.  So, I took the pictures on the 22nd (which is the date I started in December) even though it is being posted today.  I am also switching things up a bit but I will talk about that at the end.

I have finished 6 of the items after two months.  Being my first project pan, I was rather unrealistic about my time frame.  I originally thought it would take a month.  We are now at two months and I'm still going on some items.  But that is okay because I am still using them and making progress.

Here are the items I finished:

At first update I had finished:
Lorac Porefection primer - wouldn't purchase
Dr. Brandt pore vacuum - wouldn't purchase
Bare minerals concealer - okay for the face but not a necessity

Since then I finished:
Stila lip glaze in banana - I love these lip glosses although they can get messy.  I still have other colors to use up before I purchase again.
Tempt highlighter - This was more of a pink shade than a highlighter.  I used it with a stipple brush under my powder blush and liked this layering effect.  It isn't a product I would purchase though.
Define Night Cream - I really like this product and it lasted me quite awhile.  It isn't very heavy and greasy which I really like.  I have been adding a few drops of my Tarte maracuja oil to it recently since my skin has been extra dry with the cold winter air.

What I haven't finished:

Jo Malone perfume - I am almost done with this as you can see by the line at the bottom.  I think it will be done in the next week or so.  I absolutely love this perfume which is why it was included in my project pan.  I wanted to be sure I got my money's worth from it and it didn't go bad.  I have owned a few Jo Malone scents and would definitely purchase more.

NYX Powder blush - I am making progress on this although it is hard to tell.  The pan in the center is slightly bigger.  I have been layering this over the Temptu I finished.  I am now layering it with an Elf blush so that I don't get bored and continue to use it up.  I have a million blushes to use before I'd purchase.  I also find these blushes to be hit and miss.  I have another one and I'm not thrilled with the pigmentation even though this one is good.

Stila liner - I am using this every day and it is much shorter.  I bought a bunch of these when Stila clearanced them so I'm good for quite awhile.

The Balm Nude Tude palette - It is hard to see the dips in the eye shadows but I think I am close to pan on the shades I use every day.  Those are the yellow and white at the top.  The pink on the right and the brown which is fourth down on the left.
At the beginning I really liked this palette, but the more I use it, the less I like it.  Some of the shades are glittery and hard to work with.  I think part of it may also be the desire to change it up and not use the same colors every day.  So, once I hit pan on the shades I've been using, I will be taking a break from this palette unless I incorporate single shadows into a look.

I like the plan to use up products and cross items off a list.  I have kept a list of these items in my medicine cabinet and crossed them off.  I've also marked progress which helps me see that I am actually using them which can be hard to see day to day.  However, being new to this I am unsure how to start a new project.  I don't want to drag this out for another month just to try to finish these.  So, I am going to start Project Use It Up.  This will be rotating throughout the year so as I finish a product, I can add in a new one.  I think this will work better for me than a set number of products.  So, here is my new list:

As you can see, it still has the Stila Liner and NYX blush included so I can use those up.  I am almost done with the perfume and want to take a break from the palette so I didn't include those.  As I finish the Urban Decay gloss, I'll put a new gloss in its place.  Same with the masks, lotions, creams, etc.  This will ensure that I continue to use up products as the year goes on.

I am going to see how this works for me and I may change it again as the year goes on.  Who knows?

Thanks for joining me on this journey!  Would love for you to comment if you're also on the project pan journey so I can check out your progress!

I post product empties and other reviews on my Instagram and Twitter (@hmills79).

*All opinions are my own.  All products were purchased with my own money.  I was not compensated in any way for this post.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Beauty Blogger Book Club: A Mad, Wicked Folly

Back at the beginning of January a fellow blogger I follow, Ashley, posted about a book club she was part of.  The book club is a group of bloggers who read a book each month and post a review about it.  She said if you were interested to email her.  I love to read (although during the school year I don't get to do it as much as I'd like) so I emailed her and said I would love to join in.

Michelyn at Brains, Beauty and Basketball chose our first book.  During the month of January we read A Mad, Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs Waller.  This book is set in London in 1909.  Vicky is attending a french boarding school when she is expelled for posing nude for an illicit art class.  Vicky is from a wealthy family who attempts to marry her off to a wealthy man to save their reputation.  However, Vicky has dreams of attending art school and begins participating in the suffragette movement.

Being a fan of Downtown Abbey, Jane Austin, and anything of a similar genre, I was very excited to read this book.  I loved the character of Vicky because she was strong willed and independent.  Her struggle between pleasing her parents and following her dreams was one many can relate to.  She also meets a boy from the working-class who makes her question her decision to marry and if it will truly bring her what she wants.  I was intrigued by Vicky and what path she would choose.  Would she get into art school and pursue her dream?  Which boy would she choose?  This book was exciting to the very end as she struggled to make a decision that would be best for her and I waited to see how it would affect her family.  This is a definite must read!

Head over and check out what the other bloggers thought of the book!

For the month of February, Ashley chose Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter.  This sounds like another great pick!  I have a snow day today and my book is set to arrive today (fingers crossed) so I can dive right in.

If you are a blogger and interested joining our book club, email me for more information!  If you love to read but don't have a blog, you can still join us!  

Each month, one of the members of the Beauty Blogger Book Club (BBBC) will choose a book for the club to read.  At the beginning of the following month we will share a book report/summary for our readers to enjoy and share the book for the following month.

Have you read this book?  What did you think?

Sunday, February 1, 2015

January Beauty Empties

Snowing like crazy here so I'm going to work on a few posts to get caught up since leaving the house isn't an option.  I don't think I will be posting January Favorites because I haven't really been using or buying any new products.  I am working hard this year to use products up and so as the year goes on, I will have rediscovered favorites I will share.  This month I have been working on my project pan items for the most part so I haven't had any new favorites.

I am continuing with my 365 days of empties challenge and low buy challenge for 2015.  I will talk more about that at the end of this post.

I do have quite a few empties for you this month so lets jump in!

These are my project pan items I have finished so far.  I posted my update on the 22nd of the month.  You can check out that post here.

Hair products for this month:
Clear Scalp and Hair Shampoo - This is not empty but is being trashed because it makes my scalp very itchy and dry to the point where it actually hurts.  Not good.  Definitely not a repurchase.
Neil George Shampoo - This was a Birchbox sample.  I didn't feel like it did anything bad but I didn't feel like my hair was super great when I used it either.  I won't purchase a full size for that reason.
Rusk Texture Dry Finishing Spray - Sample from Birchbox and I thought it would work like a hairspray.  However, it is a texture spray that I felt made my hair dirty and sticky.  It isn't a product I would ever use for how I style my hair so I won't purchase a full size.
Macadamia Healing Oil Spray - I love this stuff!  I have gotten a few samples from Birchbox now and it is great for when I let my hair air dry.  I often shower at night after working out and let my hair air dry for work the next day.  This makes it very soft, smooth, and keeps it from getting frizzy.  If I could find this on sale or at TJ Maxx, I might purchase it.  However, this tiny 2 oz size is $14!  I will be on the hunt for a similar product that isn't as pricey!

Face products finished this month:
Pond's original fresh wet cleansing towelettes - These came in my winter Walmart Beauty Box and were great for traveling over the holidays.  They stayed wet and were a good size and thickness to remove my face makeup.  I won't purchase because I am not using makeup remover wipes anymore but I would recommend these (I'm sticking with my Sephora Cleansing Water).
Formula 10.0.6 Pores be pure skin-clarifying mud mask - This is another product that isn't finished but will be going in the trash.  While I liked it, I'm not sure it every did anything special for my skin besides make it soft.  I am trashing it because it is very old and the last time I used it, it really bothered my skin so I think it has gone bad.
Neutrogena Clear Pore oil-eliminating astringent - This has been my holy grail astringent for a long time and has been in my empties before.  It does have alcohol and might be a bit harsh for my skin.  However, as long as I use it, I notice my skin is a lot clearer than when I stop (I have tried others that were not as effective for my skin).  I only use it in the morning after I cleanse.  I have a few more of these to finish up but then I have a new product I would like to try in its place.
DDF Ultra-lite moisturizing dew - I love this moisturizer.  It is a nice lightweight moisturizer for daytime and it sunk in quickly so I was able to apply my makeup.  It is pricey so I'm not sure I would purchase a full size although this sample did last me quite awhile.  This came from Birchbox but they also sell it on Ulta's website (not sure about the store).

Other Products:
CVS premium cotton rounds - I like these because they have an exfoliating side and a smooth size.  They also don't leave any fuzz behind or get fuzz in my eyes.  I usually buy them when they are sale so I grab a few at a time.  I don't count these in my 365 days of empties because I don't hoard them like I do other products so it isn't a beauty item I feel I need to restrict my purchase of.
Yu-Be moisturizing skin cream - I received a sample of this from Sephora awhile ago and purchased the full size.  I liked this on my cuticles and dry spots on my hands.  I have found a product I like better so I won't be repurchasing this one.
Ellovi Butter - This was a Birchbox sample that you could use for a variety of uses such as makeup removal, dry skin, etc.  It was solid in the container but then as it warmed up, it became more of a liquid.  I also used this on my cuticles and I liked it for that purpose but I feel like putting it on my face would not work for my skin.  I liked that it was a more natural product with only a few ingredients.  I'm not sure I would purchase it just because I'm not sure I have a use for it.

Update on my low buy challenge:
When I posted my December empties, I had 268 products.  I added 27 products this month through my monthly Birchbox and then purchases with gift cards I had received for Christmas.  That brought my total products to 295 (not really going down, yikes!).

I used a total of 18 products this month.  4 were full size, 5 went in the trash (2 products shown here and 3 mascaras because I had an eye infection), 2 foil packets (I only post those on Instagram) and 7 deluxe samples.  That brings my total products as of now to 277. (I don't include cotton rounds in my total even though I used them up).

I am also keeping track of the cost of all the items in my empties and what I purchase.
Purchased: $8.78 (replacement mascara and a T-Gel shampoo for my itchy scalp)
Trash:  $67.42
Used Up:  $115.50 (I like that this is higher than my trashed total and my purchased total.  yay!)

As always, lots of beauty and fashion related posts on my Instagram and Twitter (@hmills79) if you want to follow me over there!

Thanks for sticking with my long post and I hope my journey to empty products is inspiring you!

*All opinions are my own.  All products were purchased with my own money.  I was not compensated in any way for this post.