Month: October 2014

NARS Blush in Angelika Review + Swatches

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I’ve wanted to try NARS blushes for a long time. So when I went on my September Sephora haul, I knew I had to grab one of these.  I originally wanted to try the shade Gaiety, but after trying ELF Studio Blush in Pink Passion, I realized I prefer less bright pinks on my cheeks. So I settled on Angelika instead.

Color:
The brand describes this shade as simply “cotton candy.” I saw it as more of a cool, mid-tone strawberry pink with silver sparkles. It looks so soft, natural, and girly. However, it can be built up. When built up, the color is more intense and true to pan, and the sparkles become apparent. However, the sparkles aren’t gaudy, they catch the light in a really soft, pretty way. (5/5)

Wear:
Once I applied this blush, it stayed put. It wore effortlessly for 8 full hours, until I removed it that night. It didn’t fade or show any signs of letting up. Impressive! (5/5)

Formula:
I see the hype around NARS blushes now, all of it is true. They really are so finally milled and full of pigment. You can wear them soft and natural, or they can be built up for more intensity. Angelika gives a subtle, lifelike flush to the cheeks that looks like its coming from within. It doesn’t even look like a powder at all. (5/5)

Packaging:
One of the things NARS is famous for is it’s sleek, rubberized packaging. I like that the rubber packaging makes the product resistant to breakage in case of a drop. However, it also shows fingerprints like a mess! (They’re easy to wipe off with a cloth, though.) The compact is thin, minimal, and chic, yet has the feel a more expensive brand should give. It also doesn’t waste plastic, which I love: the inside of the compact is all mirror, and the pan of product is huge. The compact is concise enough to store easily and I reckon these can hold up well to travel. (5/5)

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Price:
One NARS blush retails for $30 USD. That’s certainly not a price everyone can palate.The compact contains 0.16 oz of product, which is $187.50 per ounce. Not exactly cheap. But comparatively, it’s not that bad: you could spend the same amount on 2 MAC eyeshadows and get less product (.10 oz) for more money per ounce ($300). Food for thought! When it comes to product quality per price, which is what I base the score on, I say NARS is worthy of the hefty cost, for the amount you get, the fine texture, and seamless look on the skin. (4.5/5)

Wow Factor:
I had high expectations for this blush, and was not disappointed. All of my expectations were met. It has amazing pigment that can be worn soft or heavy. It looks so smooth and radiant on the skin. Its soft to the touch and there’s a lot of product to last you. (5/5)

Overall:
I loved this blush. It gave me a gorgeous doll-like appearance. The quality couldn’t be beat. I think the versatile pigment would make it workable on a large range of skin tones, from light to deep. It looks so lovely on the skin that it’s now my go-to blush. (4.9) A+

Availability:
-narscosmetics.com
-Sephora
-Nordstrom
-Bloomingdale’s
-Barney’s
-Saks Fifth Avenue
-Neiman Marcus
-Macy’s

Useful Information:
-This product was purchased by me.
-NARS is cruelty free, although some of their products contain animal derivatives, like lanolin.
-NARS’ parent company, Shiseido, is NOT cruelty free.

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October ’14 Huge Sephora Haul

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I noticed that a lot of Sephora Favorites looked really good this year. I wanted to put it off ’til it was closer to my birthday (in November) or the holidays, but after discovering that the Give Me Some Lip set is already sold out online, I decided to pick up the rest before it was too late. I also scored some other goodies I’ve been eyeing for a while. Major splurge? You bet. Early birthday/Christmas presents? Totally. Worth it? 100% percent.

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I’ll start off with the perks. Sephora was having a mascara week it seemed as all the 100-point perks were mascaras. So I indulged in a 250-point perk and grabbed a sample of Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb perfume. I’d heard great things about it and was curious to see what it smelled like. I decided on Clinique and Urban Decay mascaras (the latter of which ended up being foolish, as I coincidentally bought a sample of the same product in the Lash Stash). And finally, I used a promo code to grab a sample of Dior Diorshow, another mascara I’ve heard rave reviews about, as well as Diorshow Maximizer, a lash primer.

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Next is Kat Von D’s Studded Kiss Lipstick in Poe. I originally wanted to grab this back in my September haul, but sadly, it was sold out at the time. So I knew I couldn’t pass it up this time around! Unlike other lippies which look bold in the tube but go on sheer, Poe is a true navy blue. I love the Studded Kiss formula and can’t wait to give this shade a test drive.

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Another product I’ve been lusting over for a long time are Stila’s adorable palettes. I got In the Garden, a palette composed of warm earth tones, because I have hazel eyes and thought these kinds of shades would flatter them. Plus who can resist some good matte neutrals and pops of color? Not to mention it comes with an eyeliner as well. The packaging is sleek and feminine, and I love the shade names.

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Now for the bulk of the haul–the holiday collections! I’ve always wanted to try a palette from Too Faced, and when I saw their seasonal Everything Nice Palette, I knew it had to be mine. Once I opened it, it was so me–pink and girly with bright and edgy shadows as well. It also came with 2 bronzers (one of which is Chocolate Soleil, which I love), 2 blushes, 3 brushes, and a sample of their Better Than Sex Mascara, which I’ve also heard fab things about. It also came with a cute, spacious clutch. This ended up being one of the products I was most excited about!

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Some girls live for eyeliner. While I’m more of a lipstick girl myself, I can’t say no to Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencils. So when I saw they were releasing Ten, a set of, you guessed it, 10 liners for the holidays (plus a sharpener), I knew I had to pick it up ASAP. It features nine samples of all-new shades (all of which are gorgeous), plus a full size Perversion, a gorgeous black matte eyeliner. This is another thing I can’t wait to test out!

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And now what prompted me to indulge in this haul in the first place–the Sephora Favorites! I scored all except the one mentioned above, and once I saw them, I was even more bummed out I couldn’t grab Give Me Some Lip, because of the Sephora Favorites I got are great! The first is Meet Your Match, a set of 6 color-coordinated lip products and nail polishes. The purples are Nails Inc. polish in Devonshire Row with Bite Beauty Lush Fruit Lip Gloss in Strangefruit. The nudes are Hourglass Extreme Sheen High Shine Lip Gloss in Child with Formula X Nail Color in Invincible. And lastly, the corals are Deborah Lippmann Nail Lacquer in Girls Just Wanna Have Fun with Tarte Lipsurgence Lip Tint in Elite.

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Next is the Glitz and Glam Party Essentials Sampler. I really loved the metallic silver clutch the products came in. It doesn’t feel cheap and could really function as a nighttime bag. Another great thing about this kit is that it features four full-size products! There are nine total items in the bag. First is Smashbox Be Legendary Lipstick in Infrared Matte. This is one of those full-size items. Next is a deluxe sample of Drybar Detox Dry Shampoo. I love dry shampoos, so I’m definitely happy about this product! Another full-size baby is Deborah Lippmann Nail Lacquer in Good Girl Gone Bad. Laura Mercier Caviar Stick Eye Color in Rose Gold and Stila Magnificent Metals Foil Finish Eyeshadow in Metallic Dusty Rose look like they compliment each other very well. The Sephora Collection False Lashes in Astonish are full size. I love Benefit’s girly packaging and have heard great things about Watt’s Up! Highlighter, so I was excited to see the Luminous Champagne shade included. And lastly, there’s the (just about) full size Lancome Artliner Eyeliner in Noir, another product I’ve heard fabulous things about.

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Draw The Line excited me because no one can deny the effect eyeliner can have on a look. This box gives you six options, one of which is full size. The liners are Sephora Collection Contour Eye Pencil 12 HR Wear in Black Lace, Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner in Dark Brown, Kat Von D Deluxe Tattoo Liner in Trooper, NARS Via Veneto Larger Than Life Long Wear Eyeliner in Black, Deluxe Marc Jacobs Beauty Highliner in Blacquer, and a full size Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Double Ended Eye Pencil in Perversion and Rockstar.

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Super Stars is another one of those interesting variety packs. I like these a bit more than kits with all one kind of product (like the all-eyeliner one above). This kit is very diverse, with 12 different cosmetics, haircare, and fragrance. The products are Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz in Dark Brown, Benefit POREfessional, Benefit They’re Real! Mascara in Jet Black, Bumble and Bumble Surf Spray, Chloe by Chloe Rollerball, Formula X Nail Color in Ignite, Fresh Sugar Rose Tinted Lip Treatment, Josie Maran 100% Pure Argan Oil, NARS Blush in Orgasm, Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream in Light, Stila Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner in Intense Black, and Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Sin. Some of these, like the UD shadow, NARS blush, and Chloe Rollerball, are full size.

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As an avid lip product junkie, I couldn’t pass up Give Me More Lip. There’s a little of everything–lipstick, gloss and balm. And there’s plenty to go around–this box contains 17(!) products! The items included are: Bare Minerals Marvelous Moxie Lipstick in Speak Your Mind, Benefit Hydrating Tinted Lip Balm in Posie, Bite Beauty Luminous Creme Lipstick in Palomino, Buxom Mini Full Bodied Lipstick in Menace, Fresh Sugar Berry Tinted Lip Treatment, Hourglass Opaque Rouge Liquid Lipstick in Icon, Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in Outlaw, Laura Mercier Lip Glace in Blush, Laura Mercier Creme Smooth Lip Colour in Red Armour, Make Up For Ever Waterproof Lip Liner Pencil, OCC Lip Tar Test Tube in Black Dahlia, Sephora Collection Rouge Infusion in 10 Red Essence, Stila Stay All Day Vinyl Lip Gloss in Nude Vinyl, Tarte Lipsurgence Lip Tint in Moody, Tarte Lipsurgence Power Pigment in Flush, Too Faced La Creme Color Drenched Lip Cream in Naked Dolly, and Too Faced Melted Liquified Long Wear Lipstick in Fuschia. 

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And finally, the Lash Stash. I first heard about the Sephora Favorites from Elle Fowler reviewing that year’s Lash Stash years ago, and it piqued my interest. Mascara completes a look to me–it can even wake you up when you don’t have time for much else. This kit includes 11 fab lash products: Benefit They’re Real!, Buxom Lash Mascara in Blackest Black, Clinique Dual Ended High Impact Mascara and Lash Primer, Josie Maran Argan Black Oil Mascara, Kat Von D Immortal Lash 24 HR Mascara, Lancome Hypnose Drama Mascara, Sephora Collection Waterproof Eye Makeup Remover, Sephora Collection Outrageous Curl Dramatic Volume and Curl Mascara, Smashbox Full Exposure Mascara in Jet Black, Urban Decay Perversion Mascara, and YSL Mascara Volume Effect Faux Baby Doll.

I’m so excited to try everything out! Naturally, reviews on the individual products as well as the Sephora Collections as a whole as soon as possible. I’m embaressed to admit I’m still posting reviews from last month’s haul! But I have more free time coming up, a large chunk which I can commit to blogging. Stay tuned!

Have you tried any of these products beauties? Tried any of the previous Sephora Collections? Do tell!

Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Bronzer in Medium/Deep Review + Swatches

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I was so excited to receive Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Bronzer in Medium Deep as a 100-point perk from my last Sephora haul. I’ve heard so many great things about it, and have been in desperate need of a bronzer for a long time.

Color:
This bronzer is a soft sepia matte, much lighter than the color of actual milk chocolate. I was a bit concerned that Medium/Deep would be too dark for my fair skin, but it was surprisingly natural looking and subtle (it can look a bit muddy if you go too heavy handed with it, though, so paler ladies be careful). I think it’s dark/buildable enough to work on a decent range of skin tones, although I’m not convinced it will show up well on dark skin. (4.5/5)

Wear:
I enjoyed a good wear time with this bronzer. It looked perfect until the 6-hour mark, when it began to look a little faded. It was still there, though, and stayed this way for the two more hours I continued testing. (4/5)

Formula:
I’m really pleased with the formula of this bronzer. It applies smoothly and blends easily, and as mentioned, can be built up somewhat. The texture is really soft and smooth and it doesn’t look fake or cakey on the skin. It also has that famous, delicious chocolate scent. (5/5)

Packaging:
Mine is a sample, so the packaging is a little different. For my version of the product, its a cardboard compact that fits snugly over the plastic pan when you close it. It’s surprisingly sturdy and functional (it’s sealed shut and isn’t gonna pop open), if not immune to some wear and tear around the cardboard edges. The full-size compact looks just as secure and more durable. (5/5)

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Price:
As mentioned, I scored this sample for free from Sephora as a 100-point perk. The full size is $30 for 0.35 oz of product. That’s $85.71 per ounce (Benefit’s Hoola bronzer is $28 for 0.28, or $100 per ounce, making Chocolate Soleil more cost-effective–more product for less money in the long run). I also think the quality of this bronzer is definitely worth the money–from my experience with it, there’s nothing not to love about it. The texture, finish, staying power are all there. (5/5)

Wow Factor:
This is my first experience with a bronzer, but it definitely left a good impression. I loved the matte finish for contouring my face. That finish really helped the shadows look more believable. It also feels and smells so good, and you get a lot of product, even for a sample. When it comes to what a good bronzer should be, Chocolate Soleil knocks it out of the park. (5/5)

Overall:
I loved it! I definitely see why everyone in the beauty community is raving about this product. You can count me in amongst the believers: Chocolate Soleil really is a fantastic bronzer. If you’re looking to shape the face or get a glow, this product certainly has you covered. I completely recommend it. (4.75) A

Availability:
-Sephora
-Ulta
-Toofaced.com

Useful Information:
-I got this product for free by redeeming 100 Points at Sephora
-Too Faced is cruelty free, and Chocolate Soleil is vegan.

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Face of the Day 06

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I wanted to do a look with some of the products I’ll be posting reviews up in the coming days. I like the feminine, pink girly sparkle look of the whole thing. So here’s what I used:

  • L’Oreal Visible Lift Foundation
  • Maybelline Mineral Power Concealer
  • NYC Smooth Skin Pressed Powder
  • Urban Decay Primer Potion
  • Avon Brow Pencil
  • BareMinerals Ready Eyshadow 4.0 Quad in The A-List
  • Covergirl Lashblast Mascara in Brown
  • NARS Blush in Angelika
  • Kat Von D Studded Kiss Lipstick in Backstage Bambi

I liked the way it all turned out so much that I’m planning on doing a tutorial once all the reviews are up! Would you guys want to see that? Have any of these products? What are your thoughts on them? Let me know!

October ’14 Ipsy Unboxing/First Impressions

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I’ve been wanting to subscribe to beauty boxes for so long. After seeing a ton of unboxings and reviews on Youtube, I decided to try out Ipsy, Michelle Phan’s service, first. I like that each month has a theme (October was “Beauty Candy”), and that you get a cute little makeup bag. The material of the bag was surprisingly nice–I was expecting cheap vinyl, but it could actually double as a clutch or a makeup bag for travel. Another thing I like about Ipsy is that they mix well-known brands with lesser known ones, so you get to try brands and products you may otherwise never have considered or even heard of.

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The first product I received was a full size Nicole by OPI nail polish in the shade On A Gilt Trip. Just looking at it in the bottle, it’s a pretty, shimmery pale gold. I think this a timeless kind of shade that can transition through the seasons. I love OPI, so I look forward to trying this sister brand.

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Next is Noyah All-Natural Lipstick in Deeply In Mauve. This shade looks dark in the tube, but when swatched, it was actually a pretty, brown-based berry red. It looks like it’ll be really lovely for fall. I detected no scent. I like that this lippie is synthetic-free and not tested on animals.

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Next is Skone Tattooed Waterproof Eyeliner. Sadly, I couldn’t find a shade name on the product or on Ipsy’s site. But it’s a medium dark black. Since it has a felt tip applicator, this comes off as more liquid than pencil liner in finish, so it make require the precision and patience of liquid.

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Next is Ayres Patagonia Body Butter. I really like the packaging on this product. It has an old-fashioned apothecary feel that I think is really cute. The product itself is a medium-thick white cream that feels a little luxurious, blends in easily and absorbs quickly. It does have a slightly medicinal scent though, from jasmine and rosemary (but it’s not unpleasant or strong). Of all the products I got in my bag this month, this is the one I’m most excited to try.

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And finally, Indie Lee Brightening Cleanser. Skincare is not something I’ve tried much of, but my skin is fussy (very sensitive), so I look forward to trying this out. When I “swatched” it, it felt thin, a bit runny, but lathered well without water on the back of my hand and felt nice, so I think it’ll be gentle enough to use on my face. It also has a nice, fruity-sweet smell, exactly like Pez candies!

I’m not at all disappointed with my first Ipsy. I got a good mixture of products to use all over the face. I always love adding new brands and products to my stash, as well. I can’t wait to put these babies to good use. Full reviews coming soon! What did you get in your Glam Bag this month beauties?

01 Graze Box Unboxing/Review

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I was so excited to sign up for Graze, a bi-weekly food subscription box. I’ve always been a foodie, and something like this is right up my ally. Plus at only $7 USD per box, it’s a steal. Since the service has over 90 products to choose from, and I don’t have any special dietary needs, I decided to let them surprise me completely. All 90 of their treats sound delicious, so even if I wanted to choose, I wouldn’t be sure where to start! All of Graze’s products are light and promise to be good for you in a variety of ways.

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Each box comes with four snacks, as shown above. The four included in my first box are (clockwise from top left): My Thai (Sweet chili sauce with baked soy bites), Raspberry & Coconut Muffin (amaretti drops, raspberry infused cranberries, almond slices, and coconut flakes), Morning Energizer (cherries, pear, and walnuts), and Black Pepper Pistachios (roasted pistachios with black pepper).

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The first I tried is My Thai. I liked the little chili pepper doodle on the packaging. The sauce smelled good, you could tell by the fragrance it’s intended to be more sweet-smoky than too hot (which is great, because I can’t really handle spicy foods). I really liked the way it tastes. The soy bites are seasoned and the sauce is so delicious. The bites are nice and crunchy and pair well with the sweet sauce. This product packs a lot of flavor at only 80 calories.

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Next was the Raspberry and Coconut Muffin. The perk of this treat is that it’s light (140 calories) and is a good source of vitamins and minerals (Vitamin E and Manganese, dominantly). I wasn’t sure how much I’d like it (since I’m not a huge fan of cranberry), but the raspberry-infused cranberry actually made me say “mmm.” It has a sweet taste that cuts down the cranberries’ overpowering tartness, and feels more like a more flavorful raisin. I was surprised by how well they were able to get the flavor of a muffin in here (I thought it’d be more loose interpretation). The sweetness is there, and it’s evocative of something you’d bake at home, especially if you take a small handful and get a little of everything at once.

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Next, the Morning Energizer, a combination of dried cherry, dried pear, and walnut. This one is also only 140 calories and has the added perk of being a nutritionist pick. The package claims the energy from this comes from copper and manganese. The cherries had a nice chewy texture and tart flavor. The slices of pear are generous and despite being dried, have a delicious fresh flavor. The walnuts are rich and delicious.

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And finally, Black Pepper Pistachios. This treat has only 100 calories and also boasts vitamins and minerals (protein and fiber, according to the nutrition facts included in the package). The cute squirrel doodle was actually the first illustration I really noticed on the containers. I love black pepper, but I’m not really crazy about pistachios. Sadly, the black pepper flavor didn’t come through as much as I would’ve liked (it just kind of tasted like plain pistachios), so this was a miss for me.

Ultimately, I loved my first Graze box and it was a great experience! All of the foods included were so tasty, and the fact that they’re portioned well and not so bad for you are all tremendous perks. The affordability and bi-weekly shipping are awesome, too. So far, I’m not seeing anything I don’t love about Graze.

Gilette Venus Embrace Sensitive Razor Review

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A couple of weeks ago, I received the Gilette Venus Embrace Sensitive Razor from Influenster. I mentioned in my unboxing that I had high hopes for it and turns out, I wasn’t disappointed. This razor is designed to work well for sensitive skin because it has five blades placed close together, surrounded by a moisturizing aloe ribbon. The goal is to remove more hair with less pressure. I found that to be true: I didn’t have to use as much (any) force to get the blade to remove the hair quickly and effectively. It glided over the skin and didn’t leave me with razor burn. I had the closest shave I’ve ever gotten using this razor, and my legs felt nice and smooth. This razor pleasantly surprised me by doing exactly what it said it would. I’m glad to continue using this razor, and thankful I have the kind that uses replaceable blades! This razor didn’t drag over the skin–the moisturizing ribbon really assisted in keeping things smooth and light. I noticed a dramatic difference between using the Embrace Sensitive, and generic disposable razors (which have less blades, no moisture, and need much more pressure, leading to razor burn and irritation).

While I don’t usually review tools like this on PV, I’m a believer. If any other ladies struggle with sensitive skin and don’t want to deal with body hair or razor burn, the Embrace Sensitive is a fantastic option. It’s cute, it’s effective, it’s easy to use and works well, and with the replaceable blade cartridges, this razor promises to have longevity. Given the close shave and gentleness of the blades, I’m going to continue using this product, and I highly recommend it to others.

*This product was sent to me for review and testing purposes for free from Influenster. All opinions are my own.*

Bath and Body Works 3-Wick Candle in Harvest Peaches Review

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There’s something soothing about a candle that just makes a room much more inviting. And since I’ve joined the beauty community, my interest in candles may have been elevated to obsession. Once I heard about Bath and Body Works’ 3-Wick Candles, I knew I had to pick up some for myself. The scents are so creative!

I scored three on my recent haul. The one I’m reviewing today is Harvest Peaches. The brand describes the scent as follows: “Juicy peaches are at the heart of this sweet blend of cinnamon and autumn spices.” The peach actually receded for me. There was a hint of fruitiness, but it wasn’t overwhelmingly juicy and summery, like I was expecting. The cinnamon and spices were much more prominent for me. I couldn’t pinpoint the exact spices included, but this scent leans much more cinnamon/autumnal than summer peach to me. I liked it, but was a bit let down by the fresh peach scent taking a backseat.

I like that when burning a Bath and Body Works 3-Wick candle, the scent fills the whole room without being overpowering. I liked that Harvest Peaches had a fresh, inviting scent that lingered, even when the candle wasn’t burning. This made my bedroom feel very welcoming (and was quite relaxing after a rough day at work). I got a lot of burn time out of this candle, but not as much as I expected. I burned it almost every night, and got a little past three weeks of use before I had to admit defeat and say I could burn it no more. (Then again, I burn my candles for several hours; sticking to an hour or two a night would stretch  the longevity considerably.)

So was my first BaBW candle worth it? Totally! Even though I didn’t love the fragrance as much as I thought I would, it still gave me a comfortable, homey feeling that I appreciated. I would definitely recommend the line of candles to anyone on the hunt for a unique seasonal scent. I’m currently burning Farmstand Apple, so stay tuned for a review of that at the end of the month. Also, I can’t wait to score some of the line’s holiday fragrances–I’m expecting a lot of fantastic pine and peppermint!

NYX Macaron Lippies First Impressions

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A couple months ago, I first heard about NYX’s new line of Macaron Lippies, 12 shades of candy colored (and named) lipsticks. After seeing a review by Sarah from And Beauty Or Something,I knew I had to get my hands on them. Fortunately Ulta had a fantastic 40% off sale, so I was able to grab them all!

The shades are arranged in alphabetical order in the photo above. They are: Black Sesame (grey), Blue Velvet (mermaid blue), Chambord (black), Citron (yellow), Coconut (white), Earl Grey (powder blue), Key Lime (lime green), Lavender (lavender purple), Orange Blossom (orange), Pistachio (teal), Rose (barbie pink), and Violet (Lorde purple). All the colors are pretty bold. Rose, which seems the most wearable, is still vivid. I love me some bright lipsticks, and some of these are daring even to me! So this line is definitely not for the faint-hearted, all-natural kind of girl (some would look fantastic to accentuate Halloween costumes, cosplay, or drag looks).

I was so pleased to see these go on bright and opaque. Too many brands put out lipsticks that look shocking in the tube, but have very sheer, “safe” pigmentation on the mouth. Not these! These are bright and attention-grabbing. They also look true ti the color you see in the tube. They all applied very smooth and felt comfortable on the lips, although they did stain a bit (and that was just during very brief lip swatches).

These have a lovely vanilla scent (think MAC, but less intense). The packaging was a bit of a let down. It feels and looks very cheap, and some shades feel a bit loose. Like, you can shake the tube and feel it rattling around in there. That feels very low quality to me.

Ultimately, I love the look and feel of these lipsticks and can’t wait to try them out. Full reviews to come!