my nordstrom sale picks

the nordstrom anniversary sale is fun because of all the exclusive beauty items that come out.  from special palettes to well-priced sets, there are always things to drool over.  i don’t usually splurge on anything, but this year i got two items that i didn’t think i could miss out on.  bb nordstrom sale1.jpgthe nars hot escape eye & cheek palette, $49, was really the item that made me make a purchase.  it’s a beautifully cool-toned (FINALLY) palette with four eye shadows, one blush, and one highlighter.  the eye shadows are on the sheer side while still having a nice amount of pigment, making them perfect for every day while still being buildable and buttery.  the taupe is obviously my favorite of the bunch, but i appreciate having a matte beige and a darker shade for lining the eyes.  my darkest shade got a little smashed in transit, but not too much shadow is missing thankfully.  the blush is gorgeously neutral with a ton of pigment, so while i have to be careful with it, it’s great when applied lightly on my skin.  it perfectly enhances my summer tan.  and the highlighter, which i will probably use as an eye shadow, is a great light champagne that isn’t too yellow.  sabrina of the beauty lookbook had a great review on this here.bb nordstrom sale2.jpgthe hourglass ambient lighting blush palette ($65) is the same one they release every year, though they say the shade on the far left is an exclusive.  the shades are surreal glow, luminous flush, and mood exposure.  my surreal glow is very light even on my skin, so i’ve been mixing it with the other two or using it as a faux highlighter (i’m really not a powder highlighter girl).  i like the other two blushes so much that it is worth it to have the light one in the palette either way – again i’ll definitely use it as a soft eye shadow.  this was still in stock by the time of me writing this post, so i recommend checking it out if you like hourglass but don’t have any of their blushes.  mood exposure has always seemed too plummy to me, but it actually shows up quite warm and bronzey/neutral on the skin which is a great surprise. bb nordstrom sale3.jpgi don’t own very many palettes so it’s nice to add a couple to my little collection.  of course i by no means needed these items, but i can’t resist a special edition when i can really see myself loving the products.  of the two, definitely try to find the nars palette on ebay or the like if you are into cooler tones…they don’t come around too often these days!bb nordstrom sale4.jpg

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natural products @ sephora

bb sephora naturals1.pngsephora has always had a small edit of natural products, but they just released their “clean at sephora” mark of approval.  there is a special page dedicated to clean products and all products that are formulated without the following are given a special check mark: sulfates sls and sles, parabens, formaldehydes, formaldehyde-releasing agents, phthalates, mineral oil, retinyl palmitate, oxybenzone, coal tar, hydroquinone, triclosan, triclocarban, and less than one percent of syhnthetic fragrance if any.  in honor of this pretty exciting day, peek some of my favorite natural and available at sephora products as of late.bb sephora naturals2.pngbb natural at sephora5.jpg// rms beauty //

though rose marie is admittedly a little insane on instagram, i’m a big sucker for her little pots of goodness.  i own six of her current products and love each of them equally: the champagne rose luminizer for a deliciously dewy glow on the cheekbones and eye lids, eye polish in aura for an ethereal sheen on the lids, buriti bronzer for a sunkissed flush or warm sheeny lids, lip2cheek in vogue rose (limited edition) for a peachy pink blush that melts in perfectly with the buriti bronzer, and two of the powder swift shadows in tt-73 and em-68.  i previously owned the eye polish in myth and loved it before it stopped offering any pigment, definitely due to its age and the natural ingredients.  living luminzer is a cult classic that i have had and loved, but i definitely prefer the champagne rose luminizer with its beigey and slightly pink hint of color.  i also have two limited edition trios from rms, but they are unfortunately unavailable.

// ilia //

the ilia multistick in tenderly is a product i love for all seasons.  it’s the perfect cool pink with just a hint of peach that brightens my fair skin perfectly.  i love that this never sets and remains dewy on the skin, slightly more wet-looking than the rms lip2cheeks but in a great way.  i also used the flow-thru translucent powder last summer, but the packaging was a bit finicky so i won’t be repurchasing.

// herbivore botanicals //

i have only tried two products by herbivore, which are the rose hibiscus spray and the coco rose coconut oil body polish.  the spray is decent but nothing worth the price tag, i far prefer the heritage store rosewater and glycerin for a hydrating and refreshing rose mist for a fraction of the price of the herbivore one.  the scrub, however, is absolutely amazing!  soooo refining while also being hydrating because of the coconut oil inclusion.  i got a mini size in some sephora gift set years ago, but when i would love to purchase the full size at some point.  it’s one of those products that i can’t really justify but i know i will splurge on someday when i need a little retail therapy.bb natural at sephora3.jpg// maison louis marie //

this is perhaps the most exciting brand to be carried at sephora.  i absolutely adore the no 4 bois de balincourt perfume oil (pretty much everyone does) and it’s a great alternative to le labo santal 33.  i may even like the former over the latter; it’s a little bit more focused on the sandalwood inclusion and somehow i’m on my second bottle of this.  sephora now has their oils, perfumes, and candles!  i have heard wonderful things about all the other scents they offer as well as the one i’ve tried.

// captain blankenship //

many moons ago i tried the mermaid sea salt spray and loved it and then grew to loathe it.  the scent is very peppery and i just couldn’t handle it as i made my way to the bottom of the bottle.  still, i love this brand and really did get great results from the salt spray.  i may even try it again in the near future just to see if my tastes (read: scents) have changed.  i also want to try the new mermane shampoo and conditioner, but am waiting until sephora stocks the travel sizes.

other notable brands that are new to the sephora scene are indie lee, isle of paradise (go jules!!!!), moon juice, and antonym cosmeticsgo-to skincare is an aussie brand that is also listed on the site, which would be incredible!  i love their face hero oil.  so far the link doesn’t go anywhere, but i hope that it will be available soon.bb natural at sephora4.jpg. . .

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the sephora sale: what i actually bought

my sephora purchases arrived!  i’m so happy with my service this time around, especially compared to my drama in the fall.  these are all first impressions, but honestly these products are pretty epic.  i killed it.  no shame!  also important to note, i had a pretty hefty sephora merch credit from some returns i had made, so that allowed me to be able to buy the last product (and perhaps the most exciting) mentioned here…bb sephora sale1.jpgbb sephora sale2.jpg

rms champagne rose luminizer, $38 // somehow i forgot to include this in my sephora sale wishlist, when it was actually the product i was wanting the most.  though i did enjoy it, i no longer have the rms living luminizer.  it just wasn’t exactly what i wanted in a highlighter and i didn’t find myself reaching for it often enough to to justify keeping it around.  the champagne rose luminizer, on the other hand, is THE perfect thing – it isn’t stark white but rather a creamy pink that looks perfectly subtle and glowy on my fair skin and somewhat tan summer skin in the future.  though this does have a slight pinky reflect, it works perfectly with my pink undertones and the overall color of the product keeps it insanely natural.  this is maybe even glossier than the living luminizer and i super love it.bb sephora sale5.jpgbb sephora sale3.jpgbb sephora sale4.jpghourglass ambient lighting powder in dim light, mini $22 // boring purchase but i wanted this back in my life!  i decided to go with the mini size even though it is kind of a rip off for the price/amount of product vs the full size.  i like my mineral fusion powder, but i always want it both at home and while i’m out and about, so this will be good for that purpose as well.bb sephora sale8.jpgbb sephora sale7.jpgbb sephora sale6.jpgmilk makeup kush mascara, $24 // i’m not really a girl to try out a bunch of different mascaras, and i am still in love with my w3ll people one.  but something about this milk makeup kush mascara just seemed fun?!  i don’t honestly know, i just really wanted to try it, and having a more natural (ingredients-wise) but volumizing mascara seemed like something i would like to have around.  and this mascara is INSANE.  one swipe onto my lashes and they had amazing volume and length and honestly looked fake.  if it doesn’t crumble, it will be exactly what i wanted the too faced better than sex to be like.  the packaging is awesome while a little too big for my taste, but i so appreciate milk’s aesthetic and style.  glad i went out of my comfort zone!bb sephora sale9.jpgmarc jacobs le marc lip creme lipstick in cream and sugar, $30 // this is the exact nude i have been searching for.  it is the perfect balance of pink, peach, and brown while appearing super natural.  at first i was worried it was slightly too light for me, but it’s incredibly flattering given the way that i apply all lipstick – blotted and really blended into the lip.  i’m not 100% sold on this, but i think i’m going to keep it!  editor’s note: i have since returned this…it was just too expensive to justify if i wasn’t completely in love!bb sephora sale10.jpgnails inc nail kale base coat, $15 // this was purely a repurchase.  this is my all time favorite base coat and i have not used anything else since i purchased about 2 years ago.  if you do your nails at home and need something reliable, i very much recommend this product.

now this wasn’t in the sale, but i got it around the same time…bb sephora sale11.jpgbb sephora sale12.jpgmarc jacobs tan-tastic bronzer, $49 // !!!!!!!! it FINALLY came back just a few days ago (i was afraid i missed out forever) and it is just as deliciously dreamy as it appears online.  the perfect balance of warm and cool, this shade and texture is exactly what i look for in a bronzer.  now i bought this from the marc jacobs website, and they offer a 10% discount for first time subscribers, plus free shipping and no tax.  so all in all it cost me $44, which is far cheaper than it would have been even with the sephora vib sale.  so if you are upset you have to pay full price now that the sale is over, fear not!

ok, i’m never shopping for beauty products again.  done!  bye!

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recent acquisitions

soooo i had a big long post about all of these products, why i bought them, when i bought them…and then it disappeared.  i guess i didn’t save it, but really i’m thinking it just vanished into thin air.  and because i am busy and tired and stressed, i am just going to post the pictures i took and save you and me some time!  the only product i am not using right now is the mad hippie exfoliating serum – i’ve switched to a salicylic acid product because my acne is a little cray right now and the aha’s in this aren’t the right thing.  but i digress…bb recent acqs7bb recent acqs4bb recent acqs6bb recent acqs5bb recent acqs2bb recent acqs8bb recent acqs1dr. bronner’s arnica-menthol magic balm // relieves my sore back and shoulders

aesop resurrection hand balm // the best hand lotion of all time

laura mercier caviar stick in au naturel (matte) // grungy matte eyes that last all day

mad hippie exfoliating serum // gentle aha exfoliant, just not what i need right now

smashbox primerizer // makeup lasts all day on juicy, healthy skin

nars highlighting blush in free soul // light pink and glowing

sonia kashuk crease blending brush // soft and $6!

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buyer’s remorse

sometimes thing’s just don’t work out.  in honor of that, i’m sharing some products that just aren’t working for me and that i’m truly sad i spent my dollars on.  interestingly enough, these are all products that took a lot of deliberation to actually buy – so not impulse buys in the least.  bb buyer's remorse1.jpgmarc jacobs coconut primer // i was soooo excited to buy this.  i had gone through 2 samples from sephora, but for some reason since i bought it i’ve had no interest in it. i’m not particularly worried about how long my makeup lasts since i wear such a minimal amount, so maybe that’s why i’m not overly fussed about wearing a primer.  plus my skin is pretty balanced in the spring and summer so i don’t need that extra boost of hydration.  and to be quite honest, i think i prefer the too faced hangover primer that this is comparable to.  whatever the case, i wish i didn’t buy this uber expensive product!  it’s beautiful but…nah.

gressa lip boost in bare // uuuhghghghghgh.  i’m so upset with this product.  i read reviews that the gressa lip boosts are drying but no one said that they are DRY.  like, can barely get this on my finger dry.  the color is gorgeous but i can only get this on if i leave it in my car in the sun for a while, and that just isn’t good.  i’ve tried it over balm and with a brush and all that and it’s just absurdly, weirdly dry.  after looking back at pictures, it looks like for other people this is a softer, almost creamy formula.  what?!  psh.

mac blush in dame // ok similarly to the gressa lip boost, this mac blush is just super weird.  every time i go to use it it has somehow sealed up, so i always have to scrape the top off.  it’s a great blush and color when i can get it to work, but it really is a pain.  again, nah.

nars multiple in hot sand // ANOTHER product that seals up.  why is that?  this just doesn’t impart and color on my skin whatsoever.  some shimmer but that’s it.  and i’ve applied it straight to my skin, with my fingers, etc.  i even cut the top of it off to reveal the product below, which worked for one use and then it sealed again.  since i did that i haven’t applied it straight to my skin, so i can’t imagine why this is not functioning properly.  it’s such a gorgeous product and color and i’m so so sad that it’s a dud.

mac lipstick in creme d’nude // i mentioned a while ago that i got trapped into buying some mac products, and this is the other product i bought that day.  i’ve been looking for a sheer lipstick to somewhat lighten my lips (kind of the way the korres lip butter in jasmine does but in more out-for-the-day-friendly packaging).  i liked this in the mac store, but now when i apply it it just makes my lips look so dry and textured.  it’s not actually the color that bothers me – i just pat on a little – but it makes my lips look gross no matter the prep beforehand.  ugh mac.  why.

tell me, what products give you buyer’s remorse?  don’t leave me alone here…

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it’s not you, it’s me

ok, maybe it’s you.  i’m talking disappointing products people!  please note, most of these products i either returned, gave to my sisters, or begrudgingly used up.  so i don’t have pictures of most of them because they are looong gone.  and these are things that i have mainly disliked over the past year or so, cause who can remember anything before that?!  now let’s get to it…

bb disappointing products.jpg

bobbi brown bronzer brush // you might remember i splurged on this brush during the november sephora sale.  despite the mostly poor reviews, i thought i would try it out for myself and…yeah it sucks.  i have never had a brush, higher end or drugstore, that shed as much as this.  and not like one hair per use that is totally reasonable.  by the time i returned this 1 month after purchasing i don’t even know how it had any hairs left.  i’m using the real techniques multitask brush for bronzer and blush right now and it is exactly what i was looking for.

glossier supers // i am soooo disappointed about these, especially considering the rave reviews everyone is giving them.  but to be honest, they just didn’t do anything for me.  i got the whole set right when they came out, but did a lot of research as to when and how to use them.  my sister tried the super bounce as well and we just didn’t see any effects, positive or negative.  so yeah, these were meh.  i used them all halfway and left them at them at my parent’s house.  i have since done more research especially on hyaluronic acid serums, and i think i have found some better options as well as why these didn’t quite work for me.  i discussed this a bit in my january picks, but basically most ha serums contain ha molecules that are just too big for your skin to absorb.  i feel this way about all three of these serums – they sit on the skin rather than absorbing into it, so the affects are completely washed away when you cleanse your face.

first aid beauty ultra repair hydrating serum // this is another purchase i made during the sephora sale.  i did finish this up for the most part, but frankly i didn’t see any benefits.  kind of the same issues i had with glossier super bounce.  just meh!

la roche-posay anthelios mineral sunscreen spf 50 // this is a more recent purchase and i don’t have the receipt so i’m not really sure what i’ll do with this.  i have been doing a ton of research on what sunscreens will work for my skin for every day use, and this was a very highly rated one by many including paula’s choice.  however it really didn’t work for me.  the texture is quite grainy no matter how much i shake it up and it doesn’t seem to sit well on my skin.  i decided that i wanted something with more moisturizing properties so i picked up another highly rated susncreen, the kiss my face 3-in-1 for sensitive skin.  this is a partially mineral sunscreen and is great for sensitive skin (duh).  i have used the kiss my face face and neck sunscreen and really liked that, so i knew this would be a pretty solid choice.  i am loving it thus far – it doesn’t clog my skin or sit heavily and adds a lot of moisture to my face.  i am, however, going to keep the la roche-posay around for travel purposes.

bourjois cc cream // i am so sad about this.  i got this while in london because i have had it only wishlist for years, thank you estee lalonde!  it is a great color match for me and everything, but it just feels drying on my skin.  it says that it’s a hydrating formula, but it doesn’t sit well on me the way my nars tinted moisturizer or glossier skin tints do.  i’m going to keep trying to make this work, but i think if you have oilier skin this will be much better for you!  (update: i have since given this to a friend.)

nars concealer stick in vanilla // i got this a few months ago to keep in my purse instead of another mini creamy concealer.  the shade match was perfect but i just couldn’t get along with this guy.  maybe i’m just used to the cement-like properties of the creamy concealer?  this one just slipped around and didn’t really cover much of anything for too long.  i returned this to sephora.

rms lip and skin balm in vanilla // ok let me start off by saying this smells disgusting.  the cocoa and the vanilla scent.  i figured i could look past that so i bought it anyway, but yeah no.  i thought this would be a good petroleum-free alternative to glossier balm dotcom and vaseline but i just can’t get it to work for me.  you have to warm up the product so much, more than other rms products, and it doesn’t hydrate at all.  so between the scent and the fact that it doesn’t do much of anything, i’m not sure what to do with this thing.  PLUS it contains a lot less product than any other rms product, even though it’s in the same size pot and ridiculously expensive.  it looks like i’m already halfway done with it when i’ve used it very minimally.  sadly this is the first rms product i haven’t loved.  i am actually really mad at myself for spending almost $40 on this.

nars sheer glow in mont blanc // i’ve had this for a long time and i just can’t make it work.  i bought this a year ago when i was really really struggling with my acne and redness.  i loved how it covered my redness and returned my face to more normal territory, but it was heavy and cakey and just looked like i had a lot of makeup on.  i haven’t even bothered to use it until the last month or two (and just to try to use it up), but whenever i put it on it still feels too makeup-y.  even with an oil and primer underneath and applied extremely lightly with my fingers, it cakes up and clings to dry patches.  so many people love this, but it’s too much for me i guess!

tarte amazonian clay blush in exposed // don’t you just hate when a super cult product doesn’t work for you?  that’s exactly how i feel about exposed.  i have extremely fair skin and i couldn’t even get this to show up on my skin.  i just swatched it on my hand next to my favorite nars impassioned and the tarte blush in paaarty from this year’s sephora birthday set, and both of those perform so much better than exposed.  i like the peachier neutral tones of the tarte paaarty and the cool pink of nars impassioned, and exposed just doesn’t compare to these.  i’m actually wondering if i got a dud, but after the first one i purchased was totally smashed and this one lacking any pigmentation, tarte exposed is being returned to sephora asap.  plus, i’m really not that much of a blush girl, so i really didn’t need this anyway! (ps tarte paaarty is now available as a full size product, so if you don’t shop at sephora/don’t have a birthday coming up but are interested, there you go!)

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material concerns pt 2: newish stuff

image.jpeg(accumulated over the past month)

wet-n-wild megalast lip color in spiked with rum and ravin’ raisin // really good matte lipsticks and so cheap!

sephora matte lip cream in shade 13 marvelous mauve // a great entrylevel matte liquid lipstick, great bold-but-not-too-bold color, great price point

neutrogena mineral sheers powder foundation in shade 10 classic ivory // great for added coverage and setting foundation/concealer, plus i really trust neutrogena as a brand

covergirl full lash bloom mascara // i saw this when i was hunting down my beloved lash blast length.  it’s not the same, but i do like it and am giving it a fair go.

milani lash trifecta // i picked this up on a whim (see above) on my way out of walgreen’s – i think it’s new?  surprisingly, i actually really like it!  it’s less natural than i would usually go for, but it lengthens and makes really pretty, fluttery lashes.  since i don’t curl my lashes, i like the bit of lift this gives.

essie starry starry night // i thought all of these were sold out when i found a few bottles at my walgreen’s!  this is a rerelease of one of essie’s most famous shades from the 80s. the original contained diamond dust with denser sparkle and was darker, but the rerelease is still beautiful.  here’s a great post explaining the differences.

essie peak show // i basically pick up every opaque white-pink nail polish i see on a hunt for the perfect one.  i have a post coming with more specifics.

madewell denim sunday shirtdress //  i got a gift card to madewell for christmas and have been saving it for just the right purchase.  i went to the mall in search of a dress to wear with tights for a work thing coming up, and i couldn’t leave without this!  it fits like a dream, is a little swingy, and hits at a nice place on my legs.  it will look amazing with black tights and my favorite black booties.

brandy melville for nordstrom bobbie knit // on my search for the dress above, i popped into my mall’s nordstrom and headed towards bp.  i noticed that there was actually a brandy melville section in my bp, which was really surprising to me.  i don’t usually shop at brandy – i liked to go when i lived in boston but never really bought anything – i hate that it’s one size cause a) i like everything oversized and b) that’s just absurd.  however, this is the softest, best fitting shirt EVER.  it’s loose and swingy and a little bit long, and has the sexiest deep v.  love.

the vacationers by emma straub // i’ve been wanting to pick this book up since summer 2014, and i finally got around to it.  i’m half way through and enjoying it – it’s nothing crazy or sophisticated, but so far it’s an entertaining read.

brain on fire: my month of madness by susannah cahalan // i am so excited to read this.  since dealing with my own mental health (hate that term) issues, i’ve found it very interesting and compelling to read and learn more about this subject.  this is about the author’s experience with a mental breakdown at 24 years old.  it’s also being turned into a movie, so i’m interested in what that will be like.  keep you posted.

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recent additions to my life

IMG_2936 IMG_2924ok that sounds like i got a dog, but nope, just more shopping.  i’m horrible.

jack wills suede bag (not pictured): this bag is ameeeeezing!  real suede with a real leather strap and excellently slouchy.  the orangey tan color is beautiful but neutral and i think it will look amazing as it begins to wear in.  can’t wait to have this one for a long time.  and the best part?  i got it on sale so it cost me about $70.  pretty good deal for a 100% suede purse, if you ask me.  now i want the navy and the grey which just cannot happen.

butter london fiver: i’ve been on the search for the perfect, white based minty nail polish for a looong time.  essie mint candy apple is too dark and chalky, nails inc swan street is a little too green, essie find me an oasis is a little too blue and all of them have sucky formulas.  but then, i happened upon this beauty.  i believe it is from either a 2011 or 2013 collection and it is such a beauty.  pretty close to what i’ve been dreaming of.  it’s looking more green in the image above, but in real life it is like a much lighter, more faded essie mint candy apple.  ya know?

essie petal pushers: i had this in the mini version and loved it so much that i had to get the full size.  it’s the greatest color – blue, grey, sort of dark, sort of not.  not too dark to wear in summer, but still a little bit edgy.  it’s a very cool neutral shade in my opinion.

shashi bracelets: i’ve been wanting a small collection of shashi bracelets for years.  but since they are pretty much only available online, i’ve always resisted.  and then i saw them in an actual store!  i had just gotten my paycheck so i splurged and got 3 and even though they are ridiculously expensive for what they are, i’m really excited about them.

charlotte tilbury x norman parkinson matte revolution lipsticks: I’M SO EXCITED!  i love love love the matte revolution lipsticks (i got the shades glastonberry and lost cherry when they were released for a month a little while ago) and they are so dreamy.  i knew that i had to get these two when they were finally released since the formula is so amazing, these two colors are so beautiful, and they are limited edition.  did i need them?  absolutely not.  could i help myself?  absolutely not.  1975 red is the perfect orangey red shade for me because it feels slightly cool toned, so it’s not too orange for my very pink skin.  miss kensington is an amazing nude that basically looks like my lips but with a little something extra.  i am so glad i splurged on these, even if they were very unnecessary!

j brand maria jeans in blanc (not pictured): it seems like every few summers i get a new pair of jeans in my search for the perfect pair.  white jeans are definitely a summer staple for me, because they can be a little bit more dressy if you want them to be or casual if you want (i love white jeans with a basic tee and sandals) and look so good with a tan.  the j brand maria is one of my very favorite denim styles – the perfect high waist, perfect skinny, and perfect weight so when i saw this pair in the perfect shade of white, the decision to purchase was out of my own hands.

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