Sunday, February 8, 2015

Give A Little Love With LUSH Valentine's Day



Today I've got a treat for you - some of the goodies from the LUSH Fresh Handmade Cosmetics Valentine's Day collection! This collection is consistently one of my favorites year after year, and I was so excited to be able to try some of this year's goodies straight from LUSH. 


The products in the range this year are colorful, beautifully scented, and altogether romantic and whimsical. This is one of my favorite Valentine's ranges in years, easily! LUSH is one of my favorite brands. They are fighting animal testing through and through - their products aren't tested on animals and that's down to even the ingredients in each product. I've watched some LUSH sourcing and buying videos and it looks like they go to the ends of the earth to make sure the beautiful ingredients in each product are sustainably and ethically sourced. LUSH has ethics I can get behind, and their products? They rock. That's why I keep coming back time and time again.

Prince Charming Shower Gel is something I was excited to see come back after last year! I loved this one so much I bought a giant bottle of it. Prince Charming is back and he's better than ever, with his gorgeous, zingy and juicy fragrance thanks to the grapefruit, sandalwood, and geranium fragrance. The marshmallow root, vanilla, and pomegranate juice in this baby are great for softening the skin. This is a shower gel that just lingers with me all day - and that's what I am looking for in a shower gel! 

Heart Throb Bubbleroon (above picture, second from right) is new to the range this year. This Bubbleroon is beautiful - big and heart shaped. It shares its fragrance with LUSH's best selling African Paradise body conditioner. It's a smoky, spicy floral - geranium, frangipani, ylang ylang, and Fair Trade vanilla absolute. I love the body conditioner, so I was definitely a fan of this bubbleroon. The best part? You can pull the halves apart and get two baths out of one bubbleroon. Just half of it was enough to make a long-lasting mound of awesome bubbles in my tub, with beautiful red water. 


First up is Unicorn Horn, which is one of the most beautiful bubble bars I've seen from LUSH in a very long time. It's simply magical. It's got candy stars and sparkling lustre to make your bath shimmery, colorful, and whimsical. This has a lavender, ylang ylang, and neroli fragrance that I found both calming and uplifting. I'm told by some friends that this is the Noriko fragrance from a couple of years ago. Either way, it's absolutely beautiful and pairs well with pretty much ANY bath bomb I cocktail it with. I went to my local store and bought three of them upon seeing them!


The Kiss Lip Scrub was one of the products I was looking forward to most this year. I've loved The Kiss vegan lipgloss faithfully for the past two years, stocking up every time it comes out! I have really gotten into LUSH's lip scrubs in the past year or so, so I was very excited for this. It's a castor sugar scrub, like the rest of LUSH lip scrubs, but this one is pink and shimmery, and has sea salt, edible red heart confetti, and sprinkles! How fun is that! And might I add, this is delicious. It's like Fruity Pebbles with just a hint of salty goodness. This left me with a shimmery pink pout. I'm lamenting the fact that this one is limited edition.


Oh, look! Love Locket bath bomb came back this year - I was hoping it would! This bath bomb is MASSIVE - you can crack it in half for two baths, and there's another small bath bomb inside of it! Three baths out of one bath bomb, that is awesome. The smaller bath bomb is full of agar hearts, which float out on your bathwater, creating a romantic experience without leaving your skin covered in heart glitter. I can dig it. This is vanilla, jasmine, and neroli scented. It vaguely reminds me of sex bomb, likely because of the jasmine in it, but it's a little bit different. I really enjoyed this one last year, so I was glad to see it come back. 


Last but not least, Cupid's Love soap is uplifting and fruity! This has a bergamot and rosewood fragrance, with fig seeds, passion fruit juice, and soy yogurt. This is a little bit different than the Neon Love soap of last year, I'm told. This also has cinnamon in it, and the cinnamon really warms up that fruity punchy smell. This is a really lovely soap. I find, however, that LUSH soaps tend to be a bit drying on me in the winter, and while this one didn't dry me out as much as usual ones do, I'll stick with my shower gel. This is lovely for washing hands, though, and I have it by my sink.

There you have it, everyone! My selections from this year's amazing Valentine's Day range from LUSH. All of these would make perfect gifts for your sweetie, or even add-ons to what you may have already gotten them. Besides, what's better than being soft and smelling sweetly for Valentine's Day? ;) 

What are you grabbing from the LUSH Valentine's Day range? Be sure to get your goodies before it's too late! 

Note: A few of the products in this post were sent for review consideration. All opinions in this post are my own. 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Zoya Naturel Satins Review & Swatches



Hey everyone! Two posts in a row, crazy right? I just received the Zoya Transitional 2015 collection in the mail yesterday. This is the Naturel Satin collection, featuring a new polish texture from Zoya. Zoya is calling this new finish a hybrid between matte and glossy, and they are intended to be worn without topcoat. 

All swatches here are two coats, without topcoat. The formula, for the most part, was freaking AMAZING. Smooth, buttery, non-streaking, and covering fully in just two coats. I'm excited about this collection, it screams "winter transitioning to spring" to me. Then again, I loved the Naturel collection, in both of its previous iterations. Total refreshment to me. Just the lightest hint, lightest breath, lightest blush of color. I really enjoyed this entire collection.

On to the swatches!


Zoya Ana is described by Zoya as a light toasted almond cream. This is a slightly yellow-toned beige with a little bit of an almond undertone. The color wasn't my favorite - but I'm rather pale and pink-toned, so most yellow-toned polishes look weird on me. The formula on this one was the thinnest of the bunch but easily workable. 


I gasped a little when I applied Zoya Brittany. This is described by Zoya as a rose mauve cream. It's a delicate nude with rose undertones. I'm so pink toned that this came off as almost the perfect neutral for me - total "mannequin hands," so to speak. I was taken aback by how gorgeous this was, with its hint of rose. I felt it was particularly flattering on my skin tone.


Zoya Leah is up next, and while zoya describes it as a lavender tinged taupe cream, I wasn't able to get much of that lavender to come out and play in my photos. It's rather camera-shy. In natural light, it is evident, but in my artificial lighting, more of the taupe came out, and I was left with a really pretty putty tone. This one would be a great base for nail art. 


I was surprised by how pretty Zoya Rowan was. Zoya's calling it a suede taupe creme, and whatever it is, I think it's gorgeous. It went on for me as a neutral camel creme and it was everything I was wanting. This was a surprise favorite for me. 


I knew when I saw Zoya Sage it would be one of my favorites. That slightly taupe tinged mossy sort of color gets me everytime. I have a bunch of the same kind of color in Essie, in OPI, and in Zoya too. I love this sort of color and find it so flattering. This was no exception. The formula on this one was particularly great, effectively making it my absolute favorite in the entire collection. 


Last but most certainly not least, Zoya Tove is described by Zoya as a misty slate gray cream. This was a gray with just a hint of blue. It looked almost powder blue in some lights, and a dove gray in other lights. This was absolutely gorgeous and I also found it quite flattering. The formula on this one was kickass.

There you have it! The latest and greatest from Zoya. My absolute must-haves from the collection were Brittany, Sage, and Rowan. The collection can be found here. Zoya polishes are $9 each or they have full collections available. Zoya is 5-free and never tested on animals, and awesomely enough is based right here in Ohio.

What will you be picking up?

Zoya Fall and Winter 2014: Matte Velvet & Wishes Swatches & Review


Hey everyone! These swatches are a little late, but better late than never. These collections came out as I was moving and dealing with my mother's passing. When I went to go swatch, my camera battery was dead, of course! I'm sorry for the delay but here they are - the Fall and Winter collections from Zoya Nail Polish - Matte Velvet and Wishes! 

We'll start with the Matte Velvets. 
Let's talk about the formula and finish here. All swatches show two coats with no base or topcoat. The formula was thick, but really easily workable. The formula dried quickly, so I moved quickly and used thin to medium coats. I let each coat dry enough in between so I didn't get any streaking or dragging. These were really impressive, and i'm glad I have the collection because I've worn all of these so many times! 
In these swatches, you'll see I put topcoat on my ring finger so you can see what the polish looks like if it were not matte. All of them are stunning. 



First up is Zoya Dovima, a black with ever-so-fine multicolored shimmer running throughout it. As you can see, the Zoya Matte Velvets are really multifaceted and not as flat as a normal matte would be. Absolutely stunning when not matte, and it gives a nice edgy look when it is. 


Zoya Harlow surprised me with how gorgeous it was with its regular matte velvet finish. I preferred it matte to with topcoat. Beautiful raspberry pink with pink sparkle.


Next up is Zoya Loredana, and this was so shimmery I didn't get a super matte feel from it. It's a steel gray with more of that multicolored shimmer like in Dovima. This one was really beautiful with topcoat. 


My absolute favorite of the collection. Enlarge the photo. Go ahead, I'll wait. This is Zoya Posh. This is a beautiful red with a fine red shimmer running through it. I found this one absolutely entrancing both with and without topcoat. The formula on this one was killer and didn't stain or pool like a lot of reds do on me. 


Zoya Savita was one of the ones I was looking forward to most after seeing swatches of it in the old collection Zoya put out awhile ago. This one didn't disappoint. Beautiful royal purple base with a warm purple/red shimmer. Like Posh, it was stunning with and without topcoat, and it was in my top 3. 


Last but not least, Zoya Veruschka is a jewel-toned emerald green with fine green shimmer. This one I've work time after time after time. I'm not even a green polish lover but I've kept revisiting this one. The only downfall of this one is I've noticed it's a stainer. After I remove this one, there's always a bit of yellow-green stain left behind. All that aside, this is my second favorite in the collection.

Of the Matte Velvets, my favorites are Posh, Veruschka and Savita. Did you guys pick any of them up? 

Next up is the Wishes collection, which was Zoya's winter/holiday offering for 2014. 
All swatches are two coats with no topcoat. The PixieDusts are without base coat as well. 
I wasn't a giant fan of this collection. Parts of it felt a bit uninspired for me. I'll explain more below.



First up, and perhaps my least favorite of the collection is Zoya Prim. It's such a pretty metallic periwinkle color, but the finish is just not for me. It went quite frosty and brushstroke-y on me even when I was careful. Also I found the formula a little goopier than the rest. Such a pretty color, but I didn't enjoy the formula or finish.


Zoya Haven has a slightly more controllable formula than Prim, but it's surprisingly metallic - it doesn't look too metallic in the bottle. Care must be taken to avoid brushstrokes with this one, too. This is a beautiful plum wine color, and my pink squinting pulls more of the red/pink from this one. It looks almost duo chrome in the bottle. 


When I opened the sample box and saw Zoya Willa, I chuckled. Surely Zoya had a black creme, right? Wrong. They've done lots of blacks with shimmers or glitters or various finishes, but not a straight black creme. This black creme had such an amazing formula. Of the first part of the collection, it was surprisingly my favorite polish. 


The second half of the collection was in the now-discontinued PixieDust finish. I found these three to be a combination of the best sparkly parts of the Magical PixieDust collection with the great texture and formula of the regular PixieDusts.

Zoya Nori is my absolute #1 favorite of this entire collection. It's a deep blue jelly base with gorgeous blue and holographic hexes and glitters. The photo here is after FOUR DAYS of wear with no base coat or topcoat. These usually wear well on me, but you can see after four days there was minimal wear or chipping. The formula was so easy to work with - slightly thick, yet absolutely workable. 


Zoya Thea is an amethyst jelly base full of orchid and holographic glitters of varying sizes. This had the same great formula as Nori and I loved how blingy and sparkly it was. 


Finally, Zoya Imogen rounds out the collection. A black jelly with gunmetal/silver holographic hex glitter. This felt more like the regular Magical PixieDusts to me and came off a little chunky for my liking. This wasn't as sparkly as the first two for me and I didn't quite love it.

Out of the Wishes collection, I believe that Nori, Thea, and Willa are my top 3. What did you pick up?

I know this was a long post but I just had to get it out of the way! What did you think of Zoya's fall and winter collections this year? 

*the polishes in this post were provided for review consideration. All ideas and opinions are my own. 

Monday, January 5, 2015

Face of the Day: 01.05.2015


Hello everyone and Happy New Year! I hope 2015 has found you all happy and healthy. 

I'm not normally a resolution maker, but one of my goals for 2015 beauty-wise is to shop my stash more often and use up more of the makeup I've already got instead of blowing a bunch of money at Sephora and Ulta on new goodies. I have some great pieces in my stash and I definitely will be using them more! I also want to be posting more Face of the Day (FOTD) posts here. 

Here's today's Face of the Day:

Face:
tarte CC Colored Clay Primer in Fair
tarte CC Colored Clay SPF 15 Liquid Foundation in Fair
Milani Naturals blush in Tea Rose

Eyes:
Jordana fabuLiner in Black
Too Faced Better than Sex mascara
ybf beauty Eyebrow Pencil in Universal Taupe

Lips:
MAC Cremesheen Glass in Double Dare (I forgot how comfortable this was!)

Really simple face today, but it was better than my post-cold, winter pale skin. I feel like this is helping me look just a LITTLE more awake and alive on this frigid Monday. Let me know what you think!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

On Loss.

I don't even know where to start with this one. I've started this post thousands of times since my last one, and I just can't seem to find a way to get the words right for what I want to say. I thought 2013 was a rough year. The roughest I'd ever been through. Two house burglaries. Two car accidents. Surprise gallbladder removal. All of that was really hard, and they were all growing moments that taught me a lot about the importance of not taking my life for granted.

But apparently, I had more lessons to learn. 2014 started out with the breakup of my engagement and, eventually, my first foray into casual dating in over 4 years. With a couple minor heartbreaks out of the way, I survived that one pretty much unscathed. I got promoted at my job to a lead position, which I had been working hard for, and it was nice to feel like hard work had paid off. I was living a pretty charmed life until October 3.

On October 3, 2014, my mom passed away suddenly, unexpectedly, from causes that are still unknown to me (and we're still waiting on the coroner's final answer). Someone saw her fifteen minutes before she died. Just fifteen minutes. And then she was gone. They found her on the floor, unresponsive, already gone. My aunt was able to get in touch with me first, not the rest of my family. I had to shoulder the burden of telling my father and sisters that she had died. That was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do and I get emotional and feel actual pain every time I think about it.

Since then, I've been trying to find a new normal. It's astonishing to me how selfish I've been in my life thus far, and how much I've taken things like a mother for granted. Holidays, birthdays, etc - I'm used to her checking in or singing to me or just calling to say, "you go, girl!" Now, I don't have that. My phone doesn't ring at 6am on my birthday. Thanksgiving will no longer include a visit to W. 99th Street in Cleveland. And Christmas won't be the same. Nothing feels normal, nothing feels right, and most of the days I vacillate between numbness and overemotion, wanting to scream, and cry out, and just weep.

I wouldn't wish this on anyone. Ever.

This whole experience has taught me to take less for granted, to enjoy more of the little things, and to tell people how thankful I am that they're in my life. If anything, I feel like my sisters and I have gotten closer. And through the help of some pretty intensive therapy, I'm starting to deal with my emotions, my anxiety, my shit just a little bit better. I've come a little ways, but I have a long way to go before I even begin the healing process (at least, that's how it feels some days).

I know this holiday season isn't going to be easy. But all I can do is just do my best. Do my best to be present and in the moment. Do my best to have a heart full of love and gratitude and share that with everyone around me. Do my best to mourn and grieve in healthy ways while still being a productive member of society. Just yesterday, my mom's brother passed away. It is a monumental loss to experience this twice within about two months. It seems the focus of my life this year has been loss. Changing things. Losing things. Losing people. And I'm learning lessons, but they are hard lessons to learn.

And do my best with blogging. I know I haven't been around, and now you know why. I miss blogging. I miss it a lot. I'll be back very soon, and thank you all for being so patient and kind and wonderful. In 2015 you'll see me switching up a bit with this blog. Not just beauty products. Not just swatches. Life experiences and musings on love and healing and grief and wonder should go here. And they will.

I wish you all the happiest and safest and most loving of holidays. I've got swatches for you soon. Thanks for reading.

All my love,
V

Friday, September 19, 2014

Birchbox: September 2014



Happy Friday everyone! I am bringing you something I haven't brought you in awhile - a Birchbox post!
I used to post these monthly and I got out of the habit, but decided to show you what Birchbox had in store for me this month.

If you're not familiar with Birchbox or you're just joining me for the first time, here's the rundown about it:
Birchbox is one of my favorite monthly beauty subscription sampling services. It's $10/month for around 5 deluxe beauty samples. It's a great way to discover new brands. If you're a product junkie like me, and hate committing to new products, this is the perfect subscription. You can review the items you get each month for points. Gather up enough points and get $$$ off in the Birchbox shop! If you want to sign up for Birchbox, feel free to click my referral link here. I'll get 50 Birchbox points for every person that joins! 

To view other Birchboxes I've gotten, click here

September is Birchbox's birthday month and I always get excited for whatever they send that month. You can tell a lot more goes into these anniversary boxes. 

The theme for this month was "Fresh Paint."

"September means turning the page on summer, and diving into fall's colors, textures, and inspiration. It's also Birchbox's anniversary month - the perfect time to celebrate our subscribers, reflect on the past years(four and counting!) and gear up for new adventures. With that in mind, we've dressed your Birchboxes in gorgeous patterns fit for a new season. We hope you'll use these keepsake boxes to store samples and other treasures. And of course you can expect plenty more surprises all month - stay tuned!"


I really loved the colorful graphics for the month. 


Here's the inside of my box! I was so excited to see a full size nail polish in there!


And here it all is unwrapped in all its glory.

Let's go through what's in the box, shall we? 

  • Juicy Couture Viva La Juicy Gold Couture: A newly launched, decadent blend of wild berries, honeysuckle, and warm caramel notes. Spritz onto pulse points and you're golden. I've got the original Viva La Juicy in my fragrance collection, because I've always enjoyed the warm, caramel-y notes it brings out. Viva La Juicy Gold Couture is first off a mouthful to say. It encompasses a lot of the warmer notes I love in Viva La Juicy. I definitely get an amber, and a caramelized note. Very warm and comforting fragrance and perfect for fall.
    • Full Size: $92.00 for 3.4oz | Sample Value: .05oz, valued at $1.35
  • RUFFIAN Nail Lacquer in RUFFIAN Naked: This 5-free polish in a chic nude shade dries to a glossy, streak-free finish. Apply a base coat and follow with two coats of this long-lasting lacquer. Bonus! we added in this acetone-free towelette to remove your fave RUFFIAN lacquer. I'm not a giant fan of the RUFFIAN nail polishes I've received from my Birchboxes. The formula on this one promised to be relatively streak-free, but I still found myself using three coats. Also, this nude shade is NOT chic on me. I had to cover it with Girly Bits Love Ya Beach! to even feel comfortable with the hue. Ah well, not every nail polish will hit it out of the park. Very cool of Birchbox to include the remover towelette, which I'm told smells like amber.
    • Full Size: $10.00 for 0.17oz | Sample Value: FULL SIZE! $10.00 (Also, this is like HALF the size of a normal nail polish, so it makes me giggle that a nail polish this small is full size.) The remover towelettes are $12.00 for a pack of ten, so the total sample value here is $11.20.

  • Shiseido Ultimune Power Infusing Concentrate: Enhances skin's defensive power against signs of aging for a radiant complexion. Morning and night, apply to clean face before serum and moisturizer to boost results. I had been very intrigued about this one after seeing it in the September issue of Allure. The sample is the cutest packaging ever and is actually quite a nice size. This goes smoothly onto the face and feels invisible. 
    • Full Size: $65.00 for 30 ml | Sample Value: 10ml, valued at $21.67. (Holy wow.)
  • TEMPTU S/B Highlighter in Champagne Shimmer: Liquid shimmer that illuminates and contours your complexion or gives an all-over glow. Dab and blend on apples of cheeks, brow bones, Cupid's bow, or anywhere else you'd like. When I first got into makeup, I went crazy on highlighters. I collected every big one there was to have. I loved the way the shimmer played with the light and drew attention to my features. Now that I'm older and my skin has grown drier, I am sometimes wary about bringing a lot of light to some of my features - haha! TEMPTU is an airbrush makeup system, so it made sense to me that this highlighter would be so liquid. It also isn't shimmery or glittery, but brings a beautiful sheen to the skin. It blends in and looks gorgeous. I wish I had a TEMPTU - if I did, this would be a must-have product for me.
    • Full Size: $27.50 for 1oz | Sample Value: .1oz, valued at $2.75.
  • Tocca Crema de Mano - Bianca: Loaded with natural oils, this green tea and lemon lotion absorbs in a flash. Rub generously into hands - and anywhere you need a moisture boost. I'm mainly a nail blogger, so I get pretty excited whenever I see a hand cream come in my beauty boxes - I go through them like it's my job! (Wait....) This one is a definite green tea and lemon scent, and I really was impressed with how quickly it absorbed into my skin. This has jojoba, olive, and coconut oils, which are among my favorites because they are sebum balancers and don't tell our skin to overproduce oil. I definitely will be popping this sample into my purse for the upcoming dryness I know I'm going to experience with the seasons changing.
    • Full Size: $20.00 for 4oz | Sample Value: 1oz, valued at $5.00. 

The total value of my $10.00 birchbox was $41.97! I'm very impressed! I really loved some of the products this month, like the Shiseido, Temptu, and Tocca items. What did you think of my Birchbox? What did you get that you've been loving? 


Have a great weekend! 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Zoya Ignite Collection for Fall 2014

(press samples)

Hi lovelies!
Today I have the Zoya Ignite Collection for Fall 2014. As you may have seen from my post about the Entice collection, the Zoya fall is comprised of two parts: some beautiful, smooth cremes and some even MORE beautiful shimmy glass fleck wonders. Today I present to you the Ignite collection - in all of its shimmery, wonderful glory!



Zoya Autumn is a metallic copper with gold glass flecks. As you can see, the gold glass flecks in it really give it a bunch more depth than a metallic copper would normally have. I also loved the glass flecks because they helped eliminate brush strokes. This was a surprise favorite of mine!
Two coats, no topcoat.



Zoya India was one of those ones that made me gasp when I put it on. India is a deep red with gold and red metallic glass fleck shimmers. This one has so much depth, it was absolutely stunning for me. I mean, look at that LED lamp shot! This one burned bright with lots of different colors in the shimmer.
Two coats, no topcoat.



Zoya Remy was another favorite of mine - and I knew I'd love this one from the moment I saw it. Remy is a beautiful deep indigo with green and blue and a bit of gold glass fleck. It looks like underwater treasure and it was absolutely gorgeous. It didn't stain upon removal like I thought it would. Absolutely stunning, and perhaps one of my favorite polishes of 2014.
Two coats, no topcoat.



Zoya Sansa is one that a lot of the nail blogging world was excited about - especially if you're a Game of Thrones fan. Sansa is a deep purple with a gold sparkle. This is gorgeous, but I definitely have a few polishes like this. Purple and gold go really well together, though!
Two coats, no topcoat.



Zoya Teigen is a raspberry pink jelly with gold and pink glass fleck. This one went on a bit more sheer than all the others and I ended up using three coats for photographic purposes. Still very gorgeous and I loved the jewel tones.
Three coats, no topcoat.



Rounding out the collection is Zoya Yuna. Yuna is more of a creme than the rest of the polishes in the collection. It's a gray with this beautiful gold glass fleck shimmer that brings it alive. This was another favorite for me.
Two coats, no topcoat.

Well there you have it - the Ignite collection from Zoya!
If I were to pick favorites or must-haves they would definitely be India, Remy, and Yuna. 
The collection is available now at zoya.com.

Disclaimer: The products featured in this post were sent by PR for review consideration. All opinions in this post are my own.