Saturday, March 28, 2015

Raising the Bar: New LUSH Solid Shampoos!

Hello everyone and happy Saturday! I wanted to show you all the new shampoo bars from LUSH Fresh Handmade Cosmetics. I've had these for awhile - over a month - and I wanted to take my time with this post because I wanted to try every single one of these shampoos for at least a week to give you the best possible review I can. 

LUSH Shampoo Bars are very interesting inventions. I'd never seen a solid shampoo before until I stepped into LUSH and wondered aloud what the colorful hockey pucks might do. Solid shampoos are great because they're unpreserved, fresh, and free of packaging. They are very concentrated, so each bar lasts about 80-100 washes for me (even with my long hair), and I'm told they are the equivalent of about three bottles of LUSH shampoo. 

Braziliant (orange shampoo bar, $9.95, found here) is reportedly great for curly hair with nourishing and conditioning andiroba oil. The oil is balancing and doesn't leave the hair with a greasy or oily feeling. In addition, Braziliant is made with whole oranges, which cleanses the hair and makes it shiny. I found that this one gave a nice amount of shine to my fine, wavy long hair. I absolutely love the way this one smells - like fresh orange juice! I did find that the andiroba oil wasn't too heavy on my fine locks, as well. 

Montalbano (yellow shampoo bar, $9.95, found here) is great for giving hair shine and great strength. It has green olives to improve hair's tensile strength and rosemary to cleanse and balance. All of the lemon in it makes the hair unbelievably shiny by smoothing the hair's cuticle. This one has an interesting name and I did a little bit of extra research on it. The shampoo is named after Inspector Montalbano from a series of famous Italian detective novels. I really loved this one, and it was one of my favorites. It's got a bright juicy scent reminiscent of LUSH's The Sicilian bath bomb - heavy on the lemon with a little bit of a green undertone. This made my hair SO shiny and manageable. Highly recommend.

Honey I Washed My Hair (white shampoo bar, $9.95, found here) was one that I was looking forward to when I first heard rumors of this release. I absolutely love the LUSH Honey I Washed The Kids scent. The honey and toffee is so comforting and familiar for me and I always buy all of their products that have the scent, like the soap, the It's Raining Men shower gel, etc. So you can bet I was excited about this one! This one has honey in it to soften the hair - honey is a great humectant and keeps the hair and skin from drying out. It smells JUST like the Honey I Washed the Kids soap. I was a little hesitant to try it because super-moisturizing shampoos can weigh my hair down, but this left it feeling soft and balanced. The honey and toffee scent stayed with me all day. Yesssssss.

Lullaby (pink shampoo bar, $9.95, found here) has a beautiful, herbal lavender scent that is meant to calm and soothe sore scalps. This one is also reportedly good for younger scalps. This has a heavy amount of ground almonds in it, so when it gets wet it makes sort of an almond milk lather. This also has lavender to soothe and jojoba to balance. It's definitely different from any other shampoo bar - it's nowhere near as sudsy. I really loved the fragrance, but found that my hair didn't really care about this one, one way or the other. I did find that it was a really balancing sort of shampoo and I didn't feel too oily or dry after using it. 

Copperhead (brown shampoo bar, $11.95, found here) is another one that I was really excited for because it has the Dear John fragrance, which is an old LUSH scent I've always loved - coffee and chocolate with a little bit of zest. Kind of smoky and masculine and so multifaceted. This has ground coffee in it to invigorate, as well as some henna to condition the hair. Don't worry, this henna won't dye your locks but this is great for darker and red tones. The henna and cocoa butter also give flyaways some weight and shine. This also has lemon for shine. I absolutely love this one, but be warned: the coffee grounds will collect in the bottom of your shower and your shower may appear "dirty" after using this shampoo. This gives me great shine and body, and it's been a daily shampoo for me! 

I really love the formula of these new shampoo bars, and the fragrances are great. Bonuses for them being packaging-free, cruelty-free, and sustainably sourced. My clear favorites are Copperhead, Honey I Washed My Hair, and Montalbano. There's also a 6th shampoo bar called Jason and the Argan Oil (found here), which was released a little late. It has the Rose Jam scent. I haven't been in my local LUSH to try it yet, but I will provide you with a full report when I do!

What did you think of the new shampoo bars? Are any standing out that you'd like to try?

Note: The products in this post were sent by the company for review consideration. All opinions are my own. 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Zoya Delight: Spring 2015 Review and Swatches

Hi there everyone! Today I have the Zoya Delight collection for Spring 2015. I actually took these photos a few weeks ago, things have been crazy for me in my real-world life and I had to step away for a bit. Without further ado, on with the swatches and review! 

First up is Zoya Daisy. Daisy is a lemon yellow with a micro shimmer that flashes turquoise. Very interesting color combination! I feel like the shimmer made the formula better, as this was only two coats and yellows are notorious in the polish world for having awful formulas. This was nice and smooth and covered completely in two coats. Not a color I'd normally gravitate towards, but I really liked this one once it was on. 

Zoya Eden is a classic bright pink, not very bubblegum but more fuchsia-leaning. Think OPI Kiss Me On My Tulips, etc. Classic pink for springtime, and I always seem to love these pinks. This one was no exception, and the formula was buttery-smooth, almost a one-coater, but this was two coats. 

I was excited to put on Zoya Leslie, a lilac purple with more of that beautiful turquoise shimmer that Daisy had. This one had a great formula and covered well in two coats. I love these shimmers, I think they are a perfect base for nail art, stamping, or glitters. This one really wowed me with that green/blue shimmery flash. 

I wasn't sure how much I would like Zoya Lilian as I'm not much of a fan of pastel blues - but give me a deep or shimmery blue and I'm all over it. However, this one had an AMAZING formula, and again covered well with two coats, though you could probably get away with one coat if you're careful. 

Naturally since I said I'm usually a deeper or more shimmery blue lover, Zoya Rayne was right up my alley. I ooh'ed and aah'ed when I took this one out of the box, it is so gorgeous. The turquoise shimmer gives it so much depth! This is so springy and dewy and it's everything I love. Like I said, these shimmers have so much depth, especially this one, and they'd be a great base for nail art or glitter. This is two easy coats. 

Finally, we have Zoya Tiana.  Tina is sort of a pastel pistachio green creme and the formula on this one was pretty stellar. Just two coats. I didn't expect to love this one as I don't love pastels, but I found myself really digging this one. 

Which polishes did you like from the collection? Did you pick any up? I'd have to say my favorites were Rayne, Leslie, Tiana, and Eden. Thanks for checking out the post! I've got more up my sleeve! 

Polishes in this post were provided by the company for review consideration. All opinions in this post are my own. 

Friday, March 6, 2015

Preview: The Roosevelt Coffeehouse - Columbus, OH

Today I had the opportunity to visit Columbus' newest coffee joint, The Roosevelt Coffeehouse, during some open house hours that they were holding. I was seriously impressed and wanted to share the story about this local gem.

The Roosevelt Coffehouse, located at 300 East Long Street in Columbus, Ohio, is a brand new coffeehouse opening up in Columbus within the month (hopefully by April 1). I was able to tour the facility as well as enjoy some great coffee today during their open house. They have a beautiful, airy space in downtown Columbus with some beautiful design details.

I absolutely love the wood tables and surfaces - owner Kenny Sipes tells me they are all made from reclaimed bowling alley lanes. 

They had Stumptown Roasters Hair Bender espresso blend available for us to try, and might I say this is one of the best cups of coffee I've ever had. Clean and smooth, a bit fruity and sweet, with a caramelly finish. I absolutely loved this and I'm glad Roosevelt will be showcasing Stumptown coffees. I purchased one of their travel mugs, which benefits providing clean water to those who do not have it, and my coffee was served in a handy plastic keeper cup (think the Starbucks $1 cups, but a little sturdier) with the Roosevelt logo. 

While enjoying the coffee, I got to chat with owner Kenny Sipes about his vision for the coffeehouse. The Roosevelt Coffeehouse is all about benefiting three key social justice topics: fighting hunger, providing clean water, and bringing an end to human trafficking. Roosevelt accepts donations for the charities they work with that do great work in their communities in these three key areas. Roosevelt also plans on donating barista tips and, after profits are made, possibly portions of the month's profit towards working in those three key areas. Roosevelt has already made some headway in the community - they're located right next to a men's shelter, and Roosevelt bought Thanksgiving dinner for as many patrons as they could there during the Thanksgiving holiday. Roosevelt plans to work with agencies both locally and internationally to provide aid for the hungry, for the thirsty, and for those victims of slavery and human trafficking. 

It's very interesting that an Ohio coffeeshop would be interested in human trafficking. However, it's not surprising, because Ohio is one of the states most known for its illicit human trafficking trade. We have multiple intersecting interstates and Ohio has in recent years become a hotbed for human trafficking activity. Roosevelt hopes to raise awareness and benefit local and international victims. I think the Ohio capital is a great place to do it. 

I'm really excited for this place and can't wait for it to be open. What's your favorite coffee spot?

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:

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

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

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!