Travel Essentials

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I’ve really managed to downsize the makeup that I travel with over the last year or so.  I decided to do something about the sheer volume of product that I take with me when I had to do an overnight trip with my old boss last May.  I not only wrote recipes for his cookbooks and television appearances, I also travelled around with him and helped with demonstrations.  I had to look presentable, but for one overnight trip last May, I took a Sephora Weekender bag bursting with products.  There was no conceivable way that I could have used all of them in 24 hours.  That’s when I decided to downsize and de-pot everything and it took me until the end of the year to muster up the nerve to break down my pallettes.  Once that happened there was no turning back, and I love it now.

Here’s a list of everything in my makeup bag, minus the brushes and their names and numbers:

–Blinc Mascara Amplified
–Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in Zero
–Urban Decay Razor Sharp Liquid Eyeliner in Perversion
–Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz in Soft Brown
–Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion in Original
–Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer
–Diorskin Nude Foundation in 022
–Kat Von D Lock-It Tattoo Concealer in Light 16
–Kat Von D Setting Powder in Translucent
–Benefit Watt’s Up (champagne cream highlighter)
–Bite Beauty Multistick in Cashew (warm, rosey mauve)

I carry one Z-palette with me.  That’s all I allow.  If the powders won’t fit in there, then I take some out.  I brought the following along with me for this trip (I was really feeling the Urban Decay X Gwen Stefani collab on this trip…mostly because I only ended up with an hour to pack and knew that all of those shades looked good on me):

–Smashbox shades Glow, Highlight, Bronze, and Contour from the Shape Matters Palette
–UD X Gwen Stefani blush shades in Hush (light shimmery pink), Easy (rose with shimmer), and OC (peachy pink with shimmer)
–Nars blush in Goulue (warm pink with gold shimmer).  Dear Lord, I love this color so much.
–UD X Gwen Stefani Eyeshadow shades in Stark (light nude matte), Anaheim (light brown matte), Zone (medium brown matte), Serious (smokey gray with iridescent floating pearl), Skimp (pale nude satin), Baby (cool metallic rose), Steady (medium rose with metallic gold shift), Blonde (pale beige with pink iridescent shift), Blackout (black matte)
–Make Up For Ever eyeshadow in I-544 (warm taupe with a satin finish)

So that’s what I’m travelling with.  It all fits in one Z-palette and one small makeup bag.

I favor the Benefit and Bite creams since I’m currently in Louisiana, which is only a few degrees cooler than Hell on days like today.  Creams don’t melt right off my skin when I leave the house.  They stay in place a bit better than powders, and still look pretty good once I start to sweat.  I really like the I-544 shade from MUFE because I don’t really need to use more than that single shadow if I’m in a hurry or just can’t be bothered to put time into my eye look on any given day.  I just concentrate most of the color on the center of my lid, blend out with a fluffy brush from MAC to blur the edges, add a bit more shadow to the outer edge, blend again, and I’m done.  I’ll use Watt’s Up on the inner corners and brow bone if I feel like doing a highlight.

The powders I’ll use more when I get to Chicago where I hope that the weather won’t be pushing 100 degrees and going outside for a walk isn’t out of the question.  I tend to favor neutrals when I travel purely because they are easy and go with everything.  If I want to add pops of color, I’ll generally go with a red shade like Gash from Urban Decay.

Oh, I forgot to add in my lip shades:

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–Clinique Chubby Stick in Woppin’ Watermelon.  I wouldn’t usually take something like this with me, but it arrived in my Play box the night before I left, and I decided that I would give it a try while I was away.
–Two Bite Beauty Custom Lipsticks.  I carry these everywhere with me because they are perfect.  I went to the Bite Beauty Lab and told them to make the perfect matte red and the perfect peachy-pink neutral cream color for me, and they did.
–Wander Beauty Wander Out Dual Lipsticks in Wanderberry (burgundy) and Barely There (mauve nude)

I really only need two colors–one red and one nude, but I went a little crazy on this trip.  I like the design of the lipsticks from Wander because the tube can fit in my pocket, and the shade selection is good for day and night.  Generally, I just travel with one red and one nude.  That keeps me covered for daytime wear and for any fancy evening dinner I happen to go to.

So there you have my travel collection.  This really has made my life so much easier.  I no longer carry around shades that I know I’ll never use just because they are in a pallette I love, and I don’t waste space in my luggage.

I know I talk about depotting quite a bit, but I can’t fully articulate how much easier this has made my life.  To anyone who has even entertained the idea of depotting, I say do it!  I know we all love the cool packaging on pallettes, but that’s not what’s important.  The shadows are the important part, and I just love being able to move shades from one custom pallette to another and mix and match as the mood strikes without having to carry around three or four massive pallettes.  I used to allow half of my backpack space for my makeup collection.  Now it’s down to a bag and a Z-palette. I’m never going back to that old travel set up.

–Jackie

Sephora Play July 2017.

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This last week has been crazy, guys.  I’m in Louisiana visiting my parents right now, and haven’t had a chance to even think about blogging.  Jared and I were waking up early trying to get laundry done and clean the apartment up because we have a friend staying with our cat while we are gone.  Between that and work, there was zero free time to speak of.  When we finally did arrive in Louisiana, we celebrated by going to sleep on the car ride home.  My latest Sephora Play box arrived the night before we left, so I just threw a couple of things in my suitcase and told myself to type about it when I got the first bit of free time.

I finally have a second to type about it, and I’m doing it sitting from my parents’ living room while using a  Bluetooth keyboard attached to my cell phone.  I left my computer in New York because I hate having to add another step to get through TSA security.  This keyboard is now my new favorite purchase.  It’s got a little cradle in it to hold my phone or tablet or whatever I want to put in there.  The keys make noise, but not too much, and it’s got a knob on it that allows me to switch between multiple connected devices.  It’s a really cool gadget.

Anyway, I have decided that my next blog post will be on the makeup I pack with me when I travel.  Even Jared was impressed with just how little I brought with me on this current trip that is bringing us from New York to Louisiana to Chicago and back again.

But anyway, on to the reason why everyone is here–this month’s Play box:

It Cosmetics Superhero Elastic Stretch Volumising Mascara:  This claims that is has collagen and peptides to condition your lashes as it lengthens and volumizes.  The formula looks super black, and the brush is a bit on the smaller side of what I like, but the reviews of it are pretty good.  It Cosmetics has a cult-like following, but I’ll confess I haven’t tried the first thing from the brand.  I did entertain the notion of buying some of their brushes, as they are seriously soft, but never have.  I’m excited to give It a try.  I’m a loyalist when it comes to my Blinc mascara, but who knows.  Maybe this stuff will be awesome.

Clinique Chubby Stick Moisturizing Lip Colour Balm in Woppin’ Watermelon:  I packed this with me and have been using it since we left New York.  I like it but it’s nothing to write home about.  It’s another in a line of glorified lip balms.  The color is a VERY light pink.  I loved using it on airplanes and in airports when I was just kind of running around trying to make my connection and suck down some coffee to keep me awake, but I honestly can’t see myself buying this.  Maybe in a darker color.  This one is basically the color of my lips but slightly pinker.  I like it because it’s easy, but it’s nothing special.  I’ll use the rest of the tube, for sure, but that’ll likely be the end of it.

Ren Evercalm Ultra Comforting Rescue Mask: I love everything I have tried from Ren.  From night time facial creams to scrubs to masks, this line hasn’t really let me down.  I haven’t tried this specific mask, and I really wish that I had brought it with me.  The water at my parents’ house is full of chlorine, and it is killing my skin.  Between that and the flying and travel, a mask that says it will erase redness and calm irritation would have been welcome on this trip.  The first thing I’m going to do when I return to NYC is try this out.  I can’t wait.

Perricone MD Face Finishing Moisturizer:  I’m a little scared to try this out.  It has a smell that can only be described as “old lady” to me.  It’s not too strong, but I hope that it doesn’t linger.  It felt nice on the back of my hand–light weight and fast absorbing.  For me at least, the Perricone products that I have tried have been pretty hit or miss, so I’ll reserve judgement on this until I can give it a proper go.

Madame C.J. Walker Dream Come True Wonderful Deep Conditioning Masque:  Another hair mask???  There was one in my box two or three months ago, and it sucked.  The blurb in the Play box says this moisturizes dry, damaged, and color-treater hair and adds shine.  I’ve been over this before.  My hair is crazy oily, so this has the potential to be a nightmare if it says the mask is moisturizing.  I could end up with stringy hair.  Also, I don’t really use hair masks because I HAVE to wash my hair every single day.  Results from a hair mask that would last a week on normal hair will get me, at best, four days.  I’m also not generally one to shampoo, put on a hair mask, and then sit around for fifteen minutes waiting for it to go to work.  I’ll use this eventually, but, needless to say, I am not excited.

Viktor & Rolf Bon Bon: I LOVE Flowerbomb, but Flowerbomb does not love me.  I’ve had this conversation with a best friend before.  That’s almost all she wears, and it smells amazing on her.  There is just something about it that doesn’t go well with my body chemistry, and it ends up smelling like chemically created flowers.  It’s genuinely awful to the nostrils.  We both think it’s weird, but perfume is a very personal thing.  Even though it smells awful on me, I love to smell it on other people and straight from the bottle, so I’m looking forward to trying their newest offering, especially since the top notes are of mandarin and neroli.  There’s also orange blossom, vanilla, and caramel in there.  It’s in the floral family, so odds are good I will love it as long as it doesn’t morph into something that smells like a weird lab experiment on me.

That completes our cruise through this month’s Play box.  I’m pretty optimistic about this one and can’t wait to get back to New York to try out some of the products.  Last month’s box ended up being pretty good, too, so I feel like Sephora is kind of stepping it up after a few months of less than stellar boxes.

Total spent at Sephora this year: $626.88

–Jackie

Sephora Pro Warm Eyeshadow Palette. I Caved. So What?

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Well, this week has been significantly better than last week.  My replacement phone arrived this morning, and everything has been transferred over to it, and my old one is boxed up and ready to send back to Samsung.  I also learned all about an app called Side Switch that allowed me to transfer EVERYTHING from one phone to the other via Wi-Fi.  This had to be the greatest thing ever.  I literally tapped the screen a few times, took a shower, got dressed, came back an hour later, and everything was on the new phone exactly the way it was set up on my old one, from text messages to contacts to pictures to apps.  I can’t even express how happy that made me.  Downloading all of my apps manually is easily the most frustrating part of getting a new phone, and I was super excited to not have to do that again.

I’m coming off of one of the worst hormonal breakouts I’ve ever had.  I can’t count the number of pimples I got around my chin over the last two weeks.  To make matters worse, I pop my pimples.  Always have and always will.  It’s like my brain screams at me to not do it, but I can’t stop myself.  My dermatologist used to get so irritated at me about that when I was a teenager.  I finally told him I would stop popping them when he could give me a pill to take that would make me stop doing it, but until then he was just going to have to treat the aftermath.  I still feel the same way about that matter.  As of right now, there is still some redness around my chin, but I don’t have any new zits, and the scarring seems to be clearing up quickly and cleanly.

My old boss is beginning to post pictures and recipes that I developed and wrote for his upcoming cookbook release on his Instagram account.  I thought this would make me angry because I would be forced to remember the hell he put me through after he, essentially, stopped paying my salary while I was doing the development and all but forced me to front the money for the recipe development without knowing if I would ever see reimbursement for it, but I am quite happy to report that I’ve moved on and could care less about it.  I guess I am just glad to have closed that chapter of my life.  If it’s on the NY Times bestseller list, great.  I wrote a damn creative cookbook.  If it’s not, great.  Good riddance to that man.  I’m thrilled that I seem to have moved on.

I know I said the point of this year is to not buy extraneous crap I don’t need, and believe it or not, I’ve stuck to that goal better than I could have ever anticipated.  As I was sitting around yesterday, I mused on some of the things I bought last year, and I honestly couldn’t think of anything.  I mean, I know I bought a ton of lipstick, but if you ask me to recall anything special about any of them, I can’t.  I don’t even remember any of the colors.  Same with eyeshadow.  And blush.  I bought so much last year, and nothing stands out as special in my mind.  I guess my goal for the year has begun to morph from not buying anything I don’t need into not buying things I’m just going to throw in a corner and forget I own.  For instance, I REALLY want the new Ultra Slim lipstick from Hourglass.  The packaging is amazing and the colors are pretty, but I know I wouldn’t use it enough to justify the purchase.  Those are out.  The Sephora Pro palettes on the other hand…

If you had told me a month ago I would willingly buy Sephora house brand shadows, I would have looked at you like you had bumped your head or something.  The pro palettes went up on the site a few weeks ago, and my initial reaction was, “Wow, that warm one is gorgeous, but there’s no way I’m buying it.”  Let’s be honest.  Sephora brand eyeshadows are almost always crap.  They’re chalky.  They lack pigment.  They don’t blend.  With their eyeshadows, you get what you pay for.  That’s why my jaw hit the floor when the pro palettes were listed for $68.00.  I thought Sephora was getting brave for charging that for 28 mediocre shadows.

I was in love with the colors in this thing, though, so I put it into my favorites list on the website and decided to keep an eye on the reviews when they finally began to come in.  I mean, the warm palette would be right at home sitting next to the Natasha Denona Sunset Palette or the Urban Decay Naked Heat palette.  I want the Naked Heat and make no bones about that.  I’m in love with the Sunset Palette, too, but I’m not going to buy it.  I think $129.00 for 15 shadows is absurd no matter how good they are, and yes, they are an amazing quality shadow.  I also think the pans are entirely too large for someone who isn’t a makeup artist.  Think about how long it takes you to hit pan on something like a shadow in one of the UD Naked palettes.  A long time, right?  That’s 1.3 grams of product per pan.  The Natasha Denona shadows are 2.5 grams each, so you do get a ton of product for the money, but I would rather have a range of shades in smaller pans because I will never use most of the product.  I don’t buy Natasha Denona eyeshadows, period.

The Sephora palette was exactly what I like to see in a palette.  The shade range is pretty good, and the pan sizes are reasonable at 1.2 grams per pan, but could this thing really not be a steaming pile of crap?  As the reviews started to come in, I was pleasantly surprised.  People didn’t just like it.  They were raving about how good it was.  I thought this surely couldn’t be true and the reviews had to be computer generated or something like that.  But the reviews kept coming, and they were overwhelmingly good.

Last night I found myself down in Meatpacking with my husband because he cracked the glass back on his cell phone and took it to the Samsung store to have it replaced.  They were taking forever, and I got bored, so I went to the Sephora around the corner to wait for him to finish up and get his phone back.  I started playing around with this palette and nearly went into shock.  It was genuinely terrific.  The colors were intense as I swatched them on the back of my hand.  I wanted it.  Really, REALLY, SERIOUSLY wanted it.  And I didn’t want it in an impulsive kind of way.  I wanted it because Sephora had come out with something special.  It felt like there was actually some thought behind it.  The packaging is sturdy and thin.  The mirror is huge, and the shadows are just so, so good.  So I bought it with my husband’s blessing.  Do I need it?  Strictly speaking, no, but I guarantee you I can remember actually purchasing this a year from now.

I got it home, made a frozen margarita and got to playing around with it.

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Seriously, JUST LOOK AT THOSE COLORS!  The reds and oranges and yellows make me melt.  I love them so much I did swatches.  I couldn’t help myself.  True, there are a couple of duds in here, but, overall, I feel like this thing is so worth the money.  Now onto the swatches (Ignore the burn marks on my arm.  By now you guys know I’m a chef.  I’m covered in burn scars):

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Left to right:  Canvas, Oat (basically, a good all-over color for the pale among us), Biscotti, Camel, Ochre (gorgeous golden yellow), Saddle, Auburn

All of those are matte and all blend quite well.

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Left to right: Sand, Brass, Clay, Copper, Bronze (virtually the same as Copper), Adobe, Sandstone

The foiled eyeshadows almost feel like a cream, and they payoff is unreal.

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Left to right: Hazelnut, Khaki, Peach, Brick (!!!), Terracotta, Burnt Umber, Chestnut

Peach is a total dud.  It’s beautiful in the pan, but only shows up as a chunky glittery mess.  Maybe if you wet it and try to use it as a topper for another shade it could be useful, but I’m honestly not so sure about that.

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Left to right: Brown Sugar, Caramel, Sepia, Coconut Shell, Cocoa, Cedar, Obsidian

Brown Sugar is another dud with the same problems as Peach.  Patchy, glittery, and a general mess.  Cocoa requires a little bit of work to get it even, but it is usable.  Obsidian, though, not bad, will not be replacing Urban Decay Blackout as my go-to black shadow anyime soon.

In general, there’s a lot of kickup from the pans and a good bit of fallout, so I would definitely do my eye makeup before the rest of my face, but if you use and love the Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance palette, you’re going to love this one.  I find these shadows perform much the same as the Modern Renaissance ones.

There’s a good matte to everything else (shimmer, cream, metallic) ratio.  While there are a couple of bad shades, this palette is well worth the sixty-eight bucks.

I did play around with the Cool and Editorial palettes in the store, and both were very good.  I won’t be buying those, however, because I just won’t get the use out of them to justify the purchase, but if those colors strike your fancy, they are totally a good investment.

I’m probably going to depot these shadows, since that’s what I do with almost all of my palettes, but the packaging seems to be very sturdy.  There’s a magnteic closure and a very large mirror that would make this perfect for travel.  I, personally, only travel with one palette, which is why I’m such a fan of depotting.  I just toss my blush and whatever shadows I want to take with me into one Z-palette, and I’m off.

I’m still not sure if I should feel guilty about buying this, but I’m madly in love with this one.  I wasn’t impulsive about just running out and buying it, either, so, at the very least, I feel like I’m beginning to crawl my way toward being a responsible adult.

The cost of this with tax was $74.04, and it’s well worth it.  this means that I’ve spent $615.79 at Sephora this year.  I’m at about the halfway point of the year, and I suppose that number could be a bit lower, but for the first time in years, I can actually tell you everything I’ve bought from that store for the year, so I guess that counts for something.

Really, though, if you are even entertaining the notion of getting one of these palettes, pick it up before they are sold out as they are limited editions.  I can almost guarantee that you won’t miss the Natasha Denona palette once you start playing around with this one.  This is the first honest to goodness excellent palette Sephora has produced, in my opinion.

The nice lady at the checkout threw in deluxe samples of Benefit’s Boiing Airbrush Concealer and Living Proof’s No Frizz Nourishing Oil.  Why, oh why, can’t Living Proof turn that smell into a perfume?  I love it so much.  I haven’t tried either of these out, but I’ll get around to it eventually.

–Jackie

Nest Citrine Perfume. I’m Glad I Found This.

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I never change purses.  I find it to be one of the most frustrating things in the world to do.  I always forget to transfer something from one bag to the other, and then I usually end up needing the item I’ve forgotten, and then I just get angry.  I carry a Patagonia mini messenger bag around most of the time.  My husband thinks it’s a little bizarre because I have other bags tucked away in my closet that cost hundreds of dollars more than this well-loved thing from Patagonia that is most certainly starting to show it’s age.  It’s water resistant and loaded with tons of handy pockets.  It holds a book, my wallet, and a few other items I like to carry around with me.  It’s got a pocket on the outside for a water bottle (or a folding umbrella on rainy days).  It’s so well designed, I genuinely don’t want to carry around other bags.  When it finally gets too worn to be seen with, I’m going to buy another one.  It’s the best.

Nevertheless, some occasions call for something a little nicer than my favorite broken-in possession.  I found myself going to a wedding a month ago, and had to do the dreaded purse change.  I found this in the bottom of the purse I took with me to the wedding and got super exicted because I thought I had lost this sample before I managed to finish it off.

I got this in a Play box some time last year and absolutely loved it.  I love most of the Nest Perfumes with Verde slightly edging out Indigo for my favorite.  The bottles are gorgeous, and they, for the most part, all smell divine.  They wear for about six hours on my skin, which, for me anyway, is a long time.  Very few perfumes have any real staying power on me.  I assume it has to do with body chemistry, and it makes me a little sad since I can potentially blow through a bottle of a favorite perfume in no time.

Citrine smells like eating lemon cake in a garden.  It’s got a bright citrus flavor coupled with a floral that reminds me of freesia.  There’s hints of woods at the end.  It smells amazing, and I wish I could justify getting a bottle, not only because I love it, but also because it would look brilliant on my dressing table.

Alas, there shall be no purchase of this one.  I’ve got three bottles of Nest perfume around here along with countless others.  I really have no need for this one.  For anyone who is curious, it retails for $72.00 for a 1.7 ounce bottle, and it comes in a smaller sized roller ball that’s $25.00 for a little over a quarter of an ounce.  I would suggest springing for the big one because, as I said earlier, the bottles from this brand are like works of art.  That being said, I do like a good travel size perfume, but that’s what all the samples are for, right?

–Jackie

Retail Therapy.

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Pardon my French, but Tuesday was utter shit.  I had to work, but that’s not the shitty part.  That doesn’t bother me at all, actually.  We were completely dead, so I came home early to spend some time with a friend who was in from out of town.  Score!  Not so fast, dude.  We decided to meet for ice cream, which is always nice.  Everyone loves ice cream.  The trains were a zoo when I left work at 10:00 at night because of everyone leaving the firework display on the East River, so I had to wait through a train.  That’s fine.  I can deal with that.  My night turned to crap when I got off the train.  My friend and I got ice cream and headed home.  I walked in the door to be greeted by a terrified cat because of all the fireworks going off around the neighborhood.  She had to be coaxed into eating her nightly wet food.  I don’t know if anyone reading this has a cat, but if you do, you know how much they love wet food.  Needless to say, I felt pretty bad for Pirate.

Things got even worse when I plugged in my cell phone to charge.  Something in it had broken, and it was charging at a glacial rate.  I spent about an hour trying to figure out what was wrong and ended up resolving to take it to the Samsung store in the city to see if they could fix it.  I gave up and went to bed.

As I was lying in bed waiting for sleep to take hold, the worst thing that could have possibly happened, happened.  Literally, as my eyes were about to close, it dawned on my that I left a bag with my chef’s knives in it at the store my friend and I ate ice cream at.  Four knives.  About $900 worth of knives.  When I say that I don’t lose things, I mean that I DO NOT LOSE THINGS.  I’m absolutely methodical about keeping up with stuff, and nothing makes me angrier than when I misplace things.  Nevermind losing things.  Nevermind losing almost a grand worth of knives.  I shot out of bed, freaked out, had a panic attack, and spent Wednesday calling the store to see if anyone had been nice and turned them in.  No luck.  I hope the asshole that picked them up loses a finger on the Nenox.

I’m stuck buying a new knife collection and a new phone.  The friendly people at Samsung checked out everything today and told me that the problem wasn’t in the charging mechanism on my phone.  The problem is that the motherboard is starting to go.  It’s a shame, too, because I like my phone and really have no inclination to get a new one.  The one I have does everything I need, thankyouverymuch.  I’ve had it two years, and have insurance, so the question has become one of replace it with insurance or upgrade.  The S8 isn’t all that appealing to me, so my gut is just telling me to file an insurance claim.

I’ve been pretty pissy most of the week, so I went to Sephora.  Thank god they didn’t have the UD Naked Heat palette in store, or I have no doubt that I would now own yet another eyeshadow palette.  I’m also glad they didn’t have the new neon lipstick line from Bite in the store because that whole collection is just calling my name.  I wandered around the store for about a half hour trying to decide what to buy.  In the end it came down to practicality over impulse.  I picked up a new tube of Origins Checks and Balances because I’m almost out of my Clarins wash, and I just like this one better and snagged a couple of products for an upcoming trip.  The first one is Purity Made Simple from Philosophy because they didn’t have a travel sized tube of Checks and Balances, for whatever reason.  I like this one, and it’s still the best I’ve found for one-step makeup removal.  This stuff takes off everything.  I’ve used it off and on since about 2006, and I always keep a bottle around for days when I get a little crazy with the eye makeup.  I also got a travel sized tube of my favorite primer–Smashbox Photo Finish.  I’ve used this for years, and I love it.

I paid and left the store before I could talk myself into the Natasha Denona Sunset Shadow Palette.  Lord knows I don’t need that, but the colors are beautiful.  It’s not like I don’t have a ton of warm toned shadows at home already.  I mean, there has to be at least a hundred or so of those around here.  Sure, the Denona ones are amazing, but let’s be real about it.  It is going to take me a lifetime to get through all of the reds and oranges I already have.  I don’t need more regardless of how crappy my week has been.

I spent $53.35 today, bringing my total spent at Sephora this year to $541.75.

–Jackie

Suave Keratin Infusion Shampoo. Never did I ever think I would Love a Shampoo.

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Okay, so when I started this blog, I had evey intention of keeping my posts to items obtained from Sephora and other high-end purchases.  The goal was to document money spent throughout the year and force myself to analyze exactly what I do and don’t need in my makeup routine and in my life.  I HATE clutter.  Anyone who knows me can attest to this.  I feel like over the last few years my makeup has begun to take over my life.  I need to downsize, and the blog is helping my in this respect.  I’ve basically stopped buying things that are dupes for items that I already have.

Over the last six months, though, the blog has also morphed into something a bit foreign to me.  When I started it, I expected about five people to actually read it, all of them friends and family.  Then as the months progressed, people started following me.  It’s a little weird to think people are actually interested in what I have to say.  With this in mind, I am typing this post.

Never did I ever think I would be typing a post about my love of a shampoo, and a cheap one at that.  Dirt cheap.  This is around four bucks a bottle depending on where you buy it.  I bought this at the drug store up the street from my apartment because shampoo, for me, is a total afterthought.  My hair is OILY.  I repeat.  My hair is OILY.  I have accepted that regardless of the shampoo, conditioner, products, whatever I use, I’m going to be washing my hair every day.  I also color my hair once a month, and regularly forget to get my hair trimmed.  I’ve forgotten to get a hair cut for six months at a time.  I mercifully don’t do a ton of heat styling on it, so it takes a long time to get ratty on the ends.  For all the time and money I’ve spent on makeup and skincare, hair is a total afterthought.

I picked up a bottle of this because I like the way it smells and the conditioner is surprisingly good.  I didn’t really think it could do what it claimed because I’ve never used a shampoo that did what it claims.  Color preserving shampoo?  Lies.  Volumizing shampoo?  Nope.  For me shampoo is just something I use to get the grease out of my head for 24 hours before I have to do it all again.  Factor in that it was only four bucks, and I certainly wasn’t pegging it for life-changing.

Needless to say, I was wrong.  So very wrong.  This is the first shampoo I have used in my thirty-two years on this planet that actually makes my hair smooth and manageable, and it did it after the first use.  I was amazed.  I honestly cannot think of a time my hair felt this soft that didn’t include a trip to my hair salon.  It doesn’t do anything for the grease, but, the manageability of my hair is out of this world when I use the shampoo and conditioner.  I can put a little frizz serum in my damp hair, and whatever wave product I feel like using that day, twist my hair into sections, scrunch them up with my fingers, and I’m good to go.

It’s helped with the tangles I get when I forget to go for regular trims.  My hair is really fine, but it is super thick, so I always get my stylist to thin it when I go in.  As it grows out and gets thicker, the tangles start.  I usually deem it time to get a fresh cut when I can’t deal with them anymore.  Not a good thing to admit, I know, but it’s the truth.

I never thought I would fall in love with a shampoo so hard that I would be willing to share that news with the world.  If you had told me I would not only fall in love with a shampoo, but a CHEAP shampoo, I would have pegged you for insane.  I have, though.  I love it so much I have gone through two regular sized bottles and just bought a gigantic one on Amazon.  (Amazon is the worst.  “Buy with 1-Click” will be the death of me and my bank accounts.)

So, for anyone who wants to know my recommendation for shampoo and conditioner, there you have it.  It’s Sauve Keratin Infusion Smoothing Shampoo and Conditioner.  I very genuinely mean it when I say that it has changed my life (or at least the life of my hair.)

–Jackie

Burt’s Bees. We Need to have a Little Chat about Lip Balms.

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This is less a review and more of a question.  I’ve used Burt’s Bees lip balms since 2004.  Back then I was in college, and you couldn’t get it in every drugstore.  There were, like, two places in my town that sold it, and I would drive out of my way to pick the stuff up because I liked it so much.  The old school Burt’s Bees is still the best tube of lip balm for my money.  I love it.

At some point, the company was sold, and then they expanded the line, which is good because now I can get it practically everywhere, but now it comes in flavors…and they’re not very good.

I pick one of these up every now and again thinking it will be as good as the original stuff, but the formula for this is just different.  It’s more oily than waxy, and it doesn’t wear as long, and it leaves my lips dry after it does wear off.

I’ve tried a few of the flavors.  Vanilla, strawberry, and mango I can remember off the top of my head, and they’re all this way except the honey flavor.  The honey one has more of the waxy texture of the original.

I’m going to continue buying the original Burt’s Bees for as long as they continue to make it, but has anyone else noticed the difference in formulas or am I crazy?

–Jackie