Month: December 2014

Model Monday: Iris Strubegger

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Born In: Schwarzach im Pongau, Salzburg, Austria

Height: 5’11”

Shot By: Alexi Lubomirski, Anthony Maule, Craig McDean, Daniel Jackson, David Sims, Francois Nars, Glen Luchford, Gregory Harris, Horst Diekgerdes, Inez & Vinoodh, Giampaolo Sgura, Karl Lagerfeld, Mario Testino, Marton Perlacki, Mert & Marcus, Miles Aldridge, Paolo Roversi, Patrick Demarchelier, Phil Poynter, Sebastian Kim, Solve Sundsbo, Stefano Moro, Steven Meisel, Willy Vandeperre

Campaigns: Armani Collezioni, Balenciaga, D&G, Francesco Scognamiglio, Givenchy, Pepe Jeans, Pollini, Valentino

Editorials: The Face, American & British Harper’s Bazaar,  i-D, Interview, Numero, Pop, V, British, French, German, Japanese, Italian, Russian, & Spanish Vogue, W

Walked For: 3.1 Phillip Lim, Alberta Ferretti, Alexander McQueen, Armani Prive, Balenciaga, Bottega Veneta. Calvin Klein, Carolina Herrera, Chanel, Christian Dior, Cynthia Rowley, Dolce & Gabbana, Dries Van Noten, Fendi, Givenchy, Haider Ackermann, Hermes, Isaac Mizrahi, Kai Kuhne, Karl Lagerfeld, Lanvin, Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs, Narcisco Rodriguez, Oscar de la Renta, Proenza Schouler, Reed Krakoff, Rick Owens, Roberto Cavalli, Rodarte, Sonia Rykiel, Thakoon, Valentino, Veronique Branquinho, Wunderkind, Yves Saint Laurent

Covered: Amica, Tush, The Room, Italian, Japanese, & Spanish Vogue

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L’Oreal HIP Bright Shadow Duo in Flashy Review + Swatches (DISCONTINUED)

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Color:
This duo contains a pale, sheer yellow matte and a medium shimmery teal. I was attracted to this duo because it reminded me of the NARS duo in Misfit. While I haven’t tried the NARS duo, I feel like the quality difference is clear. The yellow is nearly transparent, but the teal has medium opacity. Both lacked the “high intensity pigment” this line promises. I thought this would be easy to dupe, but the left shade is paler and more beige than similar hues in my collection. I didn’t have anything close to the teal (but teals in my collection are scarce). (2.5/5)

Wear:
The longevity of these shadows wasn’t stellar. At the five hour mark, both looked faded (and this was when primer was used. If you dare to go without primer, you’ll only get 2 hours before fading). (3/5)

Formula:
The yellow shade is so sheer, even with primer, it’s pretty much invisible on my skin (rendering it useless), I imagine it would look chalky on dark skin. The teal has better payoff, but still isn’t opaque, even with primer. The shadows both feel dry to the touch. Both shadows applied easily enough and didn’t look patchy or give me fallout, though. (2.5/5)

Packaging:
These duos come in round black plastic containers with flip top lids that snap shut. There’s also a compartment underneath that pops open, storing a sponge-tip applicator. I really wish they cut the bottom compartment and the applicator, since I never use the tool and the extra space comes open easily and takes up extra space, which means more plastic is needed to make ’em (which is bad from an environmental perspective). The packaging didn’t feel particularly cheap, though. These are easy to store, but I don’t think they’d be crack-proof if you dropped it/during travel. I do like that the pans are separated well, so there’s no powder crossover. (4/5)

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Price:
I admit, it’s been years since I purchased this (at Target), so the exact price isn’t fresh in my mind. But online estimates put this at around $8,25 USD. The product weight is 0.08 oz, making this duo $103.13 per ounce. That’s a bit pricey for a drugstore product, in my opinion. Of course, getting your money’s worth is just as important as price per ounce, if not moreso! And this duo definitely isn’t worth it. The payoff, even with primer, is too weak. (2/5)

Wow Factor:
It’s rare when a product makes a strong negative impression, but Flashy pulled my attention in a negative way. It’s remarkably sheer (the yellow shade can’t even be salvaged as something you could layer. It’s just invisible). The texture of these shadows is also unpleasantly dry (although not the worst I’ve ever seen). I haven’t reached for this duo much, simply because there just isn’t much that can be done with it. (2/5)

Overall:
I can’t say I’m too sad to see this line of shadows be discontinued if they all behaved the way Flashy did. The pigment is way too sheer (to the point where it’d be unflattering on any skin tone). The teal was not bad, but still, it was just okay, nothing to rave about and had it’s own opacity issues. The dryness was another dealbreaker for me. (2.7) D+

Availability:
These duos used to be available at drustores, but since their discontinuation, you can hunt them down on online retailers like Amazon if you really want one.

Useful Information:
-This product was purchased by me.
-These duos are no longer available in stores.
-L’Oreal is famously not cruelty-free.

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The lefhand shade was built up about 4 times!

Tutorial Tuesday: Aluminum Foil With Shiro Cosmetics + L’Oreal

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One of the great things about loose pigments is their versatility: while using them on the lids is an obvious choice, many loose eyeshadows are also safe for use on the lips. Since I love the bold pigmentation I get from Shiro’s loose shadows, I couldn’t wait to buy a clear gloss (I found a perfect one from L’Oreal) and see how the colors looked on the lips.

What You’ll Need:
-Your face essentials (I used Benefit Porefessional Primer, Smashbox BB Cream, Maybelline Mineral Power Concealer, NYC Smooth Skin Pressed Powder, Anastasia Brow Wiz, and Urban Decay Primer Potion)
-A shimmery flesh tone shadow (I used Cover Girl Mink, which is a MAC All That Glitters dupe)
-A metallic copper (I used Maybelline Copper Craze)
-A matte bisque highlight shade (Urban Decay Righteous)
-Electric blue eyeliner (Urban Decay Radium)
-Black mascara (Kat Von D Immortal Lash)
-Peachy pink blush (MAC Pinch ‘O Peach)
-A LIP SAFE silver loose eyeshadow (Shiro Detective)
-Clear lip gloss (L’Oreal Le Gloss in Naturally Nude)

You will also need a stiff, flat paddle brush, a fluffy blending brush, a short, fluffy, domed shadow brush, a lip brush, and a short, stiff liner brush (to smudge your liner–this is optional).

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1) After applying your face essentials, apply a shimmery flesh tone shadow all over the lid, up to the crease, and blend.

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2) Apply a frosty bronze into the crease and blend.

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3) Apply matte bisque shadow under the brow to highlight.

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4) Apply electric blue liner to the upper lash line.

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5) Curl your lashes, and apply black mascara.

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6) Apply peachy pink blush to the apples of the cheeks, and blend upwards and outwards towards the temples.

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7) Filter a small amount of silver shadow onto your mixing surface (I used the inside of the lid of the shadow).

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8) Squeeze a pea-size amount of clear gloss onto your lip brush, and swirl the gloss into the powder. It might feel a bit thick, this is fine. Then apply the the shadow-gloss mix straight onto your lips. Mix together more powder and gloss as needed.

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And that’s it, you’re done! Don’t you love when products go the extra mile? I love the highly metallic finish this shadow gave, and the bold, unusual color. I definitely feel more confidant rocking a strange lip, oddly, enough! What’s your favorite bold lip color beauties? What lip-safe shadow do you like to wear on the mouth? Let me know!

OCC Matte Lip Tar in Black Dahlia Review + Swatches

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Color:
OCC describes Black Dahlia as “blackest blackened red.” It’s not a bad description, although those who are intimidated by the shade in the tube need not fear, it’s much more red and wearable that it appears. It’s definitely a vampy wine shade, perfect for these end of the year months, so those craving a dark lip would love this. It’s the kind of red that makes your teeth look whiter. I’ve lusted after this shade for a long time–I don’t have anything like it in my lippie collection (although my range of vampy lipsticks is admittedly sparse). (4.5/5)

Wear:
Black Dahlia performed well, lasting 7 hours before needing reapplication or removal. While it initially has a glossy sheen, it settles into the promised matte finish at around 3 hours. It also looked slightly less dark, more wine at the 5 hour mark. The formula is stainlike, which helps it last so long and survive through meals. (5/5)

Formula:
I’ve tried Lip Tars both before and after their packaging makeover, and noticed that the mint scent with these newer Lip Tars is less intense (which is nice–the old formula was so strong it made my whole lipstick drawer smell like mint). The product is thin but not too liquidy, and applies pretty evenly on the mouth. Your lips MUST be in perfect condition, though–any dry patches and the product will cling to them like a magnet, making the overall product look slightly uneven (true with all mattes in my experience). One small bead from the tube is plenty to coat the whole mouth, so use the included lip brush and take your time; precision is important with a shade this bold. However, the product never really dries down and transfers kind of easily. However, it didn’t dry out my mouth further. (4/5)

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Packaging:
Lip Tars come in squeeze tubes, with the product dispensed through a very narrow opening in the nozzle. This works well, since a little product goes a long way. The packaging is flexible plastic and houses plenty of product. They store easily, although this is the kind of sensitive product you’d want to store away from heavier items (like foundation bottles) during travel, as Lip Tars could easily get smashed by heavier things during travel. (5/5)

Price: 
Lip Tars are $18 USD each for 0.33 oz. That’s $54.54 per ounce. For reference, MAC lipsticks are $16 for 0.1 oz ($160 per ounce). This is one of those great instances where you pay a little bit more for a lot more product (more than twice the amount) and get a better long-term value (Lip Tars are more than twice less expensive per ounce).

As always, I consider monetary value as well as whether or not I feel a product gives you your money’s worth. Black Dahlia delivers on both counts. This Lip Tar is long wearing and boldly pigmented, which is what you expect from OCC. (5/5)

Wow Factor:
Black Dahlia grabbed my attention in a positive way! It’s such a bold, perfectly vampy dark lip color. It always impresses me when a lipstick can last through a meal and still look great. I also love the name of the shade. It did bother me how this formula never quite dried down and transferred easily, though. (4/5)

Overall:
Black Dahlia is a great lipstick that I definitely recommend! It’s perfect for the colder months, helps teeth look whiter, lasts forever, and makes a bold impression. (4.6) A-

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Availability:
-Sephora
-occmakeup.com

Useful Information:
-This product was purchased by me
-OCC products are 100% cruelty-free and vegan

Model Monday: Hannelore Knuts

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Born In: Hasselt, Belgium

Height: 5’9.5″

Shot By: Cedric Buchet, Craig McDean, David Sims, Ellen Von Unwerth, Horst Diekgerdes, Inez & Vinoodh, Juergen Teller, Paola Kudacki, Patrick Demarchelier, Shona Heath, Steven Klein, Steven Meisel, Terry Richardson, Tim Walker, Yelena Yemchuk

Campaigns: Akris, Alessandro Dell’Acqua, Dolce & Gabbana, Jean Paul Gaultier, Lanvin for H&M, Prada, Yohji Yamamoto,

Editorials: A, Italian Amica, Dazed and Confused, Elle, American and British Harper’s Bazaar, i-D, Interview, Pop, AmericanBritish, French,and Italian Vogue, V, W

Walked For: Akris, Alessandro Dell’Acqua, Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, Christian Lacroix, Dries Van Noten, Fendi, Givenchy, Haider Ackermann, Hermes, Jean Paul Gaultier, Kenzo, Lanvin, Louis Vuitton, Moschino,  Prada, Versace, Yves Saint Laurent, Zac Posen

Covered: 10, Grey, Self-Service, American, Italian, Japanese, and Korean Vogue

Plus: Starred in The Invader

Make Up For Ever Smoky Extravagant Mascara Review + Photos

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Effectiveness:
This mascara claims to do it all, claiming that it “add(s) length, volume, and curl.” It didn’t disappoint me! It gives both volume and length (although I found this to be a bit more lengthening). It also stayed curled for the whole 8-hour wear period. It also makes the lashes look nice and dark. I can see why they call it “Smoky Extravagant,” since it would be the perfect accent to a nighttime smoky eye. (5/5)

Wear:
Smoky Extravagant wore flawlessly. It stayed put for a full 8 hours without flaking, smudging,or losing it’s curl. As promised, too. The brand says SE provides “long-lasting wear in one stroke.” (5/5)

Formula:
This is a drier mascara, which I personally prefer, because it doesn’t feel thick, clumpy, or flaky on the lashes. It holds a curl perfectly and stays in place effortlessly. (5/5)

Packaging:
On the exterior, the tube is sturdy black plastic. It doesn’t feel cheap, or overly luxurious. The wand is conical, with a quite wide base and “precision tip.” It’s a bit cumbersome due to it’s size, so I imagine those with small eyes may find it difficult to work with. However, this extreme cone shape works well, since the wider base flares out the outer lashes, and the narrow tip gets close to the inner corner, so every lash gets coated. (4.5/5)

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Price:
This mascara comes in two sizes, the standard (0.23 oz) size, which is $24, and the mini travel size (0.16 oz) size, which is the one I purchased for $12 USD. The full size is $104.34 per ounce, and the travel size is $75 per ounce. This is actually a bit more than similarly priced products (Dior Diorshow is one dollar more, but has 0.15 oz more product, coming out to $65.78 per ounce. That’s cheaper than MUFE SE’s travel size!)

So the price isn’t ideal, but how is the quality for the cost? By now, it’s clear that I love Smoky Extravagant. It’s not my absolute favorite, because the wand makes it tricky to apply (and I have larger eyes.) (4/5)

Wow Factor:
This is a mascara that does what it says it will, excellently. I liked the result I got while wearing it. My lashes looked dark, full, long, and curled all day. The only major drawback is the size of the wand. (4/5)

Overall:
I really enjoyed Smoky Extravagant. I think it’s a great mascara for creating sexy, nighttime lashes. It’s the kind of thing that’s perfect for a party or date night. It makes the lashes look more intense, with that desirable fanned out, winged out shape. If you don’t mind the price, or the cumbersome wand, then I totally recommend it. (4.6) A-

Availability:
-Sephora
-makeupforever.com

Useful Information:
-This product was purchased by me.
-Smoky Extravagant only comes in one shade.
-Make Up For Ever sells it’s products in China.

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Model Monday: Gemma Ward

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Born In: Perth, Australia

Height: 5’9.5″

Shot By: Patrick Demarchelier, Beau Grealy, Greg Kadel, Steven Klein, Nick Knight, Craig McDean, Steven Meisel, Norman Jean Roy, Mario Sorrenti, Emma Summerton, Mario Testino, Michael Thompson

Campaigns: Burberry, Christian Dior, Dolce & Gabbana, Hermes, Jil Sander, Kose, Louis Vuitton, Obsession Night by Calvin Klein, Pirelli, Prada, Swarovski, Valentino, Yves Saint Laurent

Editorials: Allure, i-D, Sunday Style, British, Italian, Korean,& US Vouge

Walked For: Alexander McQueen, Anna Sui, Balenciaga, Balmain, Calvin Klein, Celine, Givenchy, Jean Paul Gaultier, Karl Lagerfeld, Luella, Marc Jacobs, Marni, Max Mara, Miu Miu, Oscar de la Renta, Prada, Ralph Lauren, Rochas, Valentino, Vera Wang, Versace, Zac Posen

Covered: i-D, Spanish Marie Claire, Teen Vouge,Time, British, Chinese, French, Indian, Italian, & US Vouge, W

Plus: Appeared in John Mayer’s “Daughters” music video, starred in flims Pink PyjamasBlack Balloon, The Strangers, and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, has a cameo role in The Great Gatsby, starred on stage at the Perth Theatre Company’s production of Thee Ugly One, named an “It Girl” on 60 Minutes.

Urban Decay Pulp Fiction Palette Review + Swatches

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Urban Decay’s Pulp Fiction Collection was a pretty big deal, as far as I was concerned. I love the movie, and thought the collection was a great way to honor the film’s 20th anniversary. The Pulp Fiction Palette was sort of the gem of the collection, featuring five shadows designed to recreate Mia Wallace’s signature eye look (there’s even a card included giving a brief tutorial).

Color:
The five shades in this palette are Righteous (soft pinkish white matte), Tyranny (warm deep tan matte), Vengeance (warm coffee brown semi-matte), Furious (pitch dark inky black matte) and Anger (stark chalk white matte). Many have lamented that this palette is too basic, and it’s true, you’re not gonna find any groundbreaking shades here. Also, the faint sheen in Vengeance gets lost in the eye, making this a basic, all matte palette. (3.5/5)

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Wear:
This wasn’t the best effort UD has ever put out in terms of wear time. Furious looked faded with primer after 4 hours, and I had fallout from Anger by that time as well. At 6 hours, Furious had migrated some onto the lower lash line. Righteous, Tyranny, and Vengeance gave me no problems for a full 8 hours. (4/5)

Formula:
All five shades apply smoothly, go on opaque, and blend easily, which is great for all-matte textures. However, there were some drawbacks. The sheen on Vengeance gets lost, and has an excessive amount of powder kickup. Furious has the fussiest wear out of all five. Anger disappointed me with fallout. (4/5)

Packaging:
I loved the packaging for this palette. In came in a themed box with the aforementioned tutorial card tucked inside. The palette proper also is decorated to go along with the Pulp Fiction theme, featuring Samuel L. Jackson’s character’s famous quote emblazoned on the front. I also loved that the inside of the box is red. I would’ve liked if the inside of the palette was red too, the black and white camo is a bit tacky. I also don’t like how Furious and Anger are split in half and share a pan. Since these shadows can kick up a bit of powder, those two are easy to cross-contaminate. The palette also holds fingerprints like crazy and the magnetic closure is weak. However, it’s compact enough to store easily and dexterous enough to survive travel (although perhaps not without some dinged corners). (4/5)

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Price:
This palette was originally $34, but has since been reduced to $16 USD. This portions out to about $6.80 per shadow at the full price, which we can all universally agree is by no means costly. The quality is not atrocious, either. If you’re just starting out with makeup or are venturing into neutrals for the first time, this would be a great, cost-effective place to start. (4/5)

Wow Factor:
I did love the Mia Wallace look this palette creates. I also like how there’s enough options to have either a day look or a night look going on. However it’s a really straightforward palette, most people own shadows like this, and they were all essentially one finish. The wear wasn’t perfect with all of them, either. (3.5/5)

Overall:
It’s a nice starter palette, and a good collector’s item for fans of the film. But it’s not a must-have, and I’m sure there’s many ways to get the same look with other, less expensive, better performing shadows. (3.8) C+

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Availability:
Sephora
Ulta
-Now that this is on clearance, it’s only available at urbandecay.com

Useful Information:
-This product was purchased by me.
-UD is cruelty-free, their parent company, L’Oreal, is not.

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Tutorial Tuesday: Festive Plum with OCC

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OCC Lip Tars are excellent products, and I was excited to feature one in this week’s tutorial. Since it’s the holiday season, I decided to play up the vampy lip color with festive gold and garnet shadows. I also tried a lot of these products for the first time, and ended up loving how they turned out! So, lets begin!

What You’ll Need:
-Your face essentials (I just used Smashbox BB Cream, Maybelline Mineral Power Concealer, and NYC Smooth Skin Pressed Powder).
-Eyeshadow primer (I used UDPP)
-A pale gold satin shadow (I used the lefthand brow shadow in Wet ‘n’ Wild’s Comfort Zone Palette)
-A shimmery burgundy shadow (I used Glistening Garnet by L’Oreal)
-Matte black eyeliner (I used NARS Larger Than Life in Via Veneto)
-Black mascara (I used Smashbox Full Exposure)
-Soft peach blush (I used NARS Orgasm)
-A dark, glossy berry lip color (I used OCC Lip Tar in Black Dahlia)
-A flat, stiff shader brush like MAC 242 (I used one by Sonia Kashuk)
-A fluffy blending brush (I used MAC’s 217)
-An eyelash curler
-A lip brush (I used the one that came with my Lip Tar)
-A pencil brush or eyeliner brush.

As always, apply your face essentials, brow products, and eye primer.

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1) Apply gold shadow all over the lid using your stiff shader brush.

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2) Apply burgundy shadow in the crease and outer corner using your fluffy blending brush.

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3) Apply the same gold shadow around the tear duct using your pencil brush.

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4) Line your upper lash line with a matte black pencil.

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5) Curl lashes and apply black mascara.

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6) Apply peach blush to the apples of the cheeks and blend outwards towards the temples.

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7) Apply vampy lip color using a lip brush for extra precision.

And you’re done! I think this look would be fantastic for all the upcoming holiday parties. Here’s a close up of the finished eye look.

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What kind of look and colors are you planning to wear this holiday season beauties? Did you find this review helpful? Let me know!

04 Graze Box Review

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My fourth Graze Box featured an interesting mix of their products, with some tropical, some sweet, some savory and some unexpectedly salty flavors. Let’s get right into it.

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When Graze sends me dips, I eat them first, out of fear that they’ll go bad quicker (a fear that’s based on nothing, by the way). So I tried the Summer Berry Compote first. The perk is that it’s light, 130 calories. This is a sweet-smelling fruit jam with wholegrain shortbread dippers. I thought the jam scent was pleasant but the dippers had this weird scent that reminded me of feet. However, they tasted good together. The compote was fresh and summery, and the dippers had that delicious, semi-crumbly texture and made a good savory contrast.

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Next was the Beach Bum. This is a mix of coconut flakes, dried pineapple, and chewy dried banana coins. The perks is that this is light (90 calories) and has vitamins and minerals (Vitamin C and Maganese). This had a nice, tropical scent. The pineapple had a fresh taste despite being dried. The coconut flakes are thin, crunchy, and flavorful (although in my container, there were so many in relation to the other fruit that it was a bit overwhelming). The banana was mild, and unfortunately tends to get stuck in the teeth. This has that tropical flavor somewhat, especially when you eat all three together, but like many Graze goodies, it suffers from being too timid with the flavor.

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Next was the Sweet Mustard Ranch. This was easily my favorite thing in this box! The perk is also that it’s light (130 calories). This is a mix of poppy seed pretzels, sour cream and onion cashews, and mustard breadsticks. The flavors were so good, although if you’re expecting anything ranch flavored, you’ll be disappointed (I wasn’t, as I’m not a fan of ranch). The poppy seeds add a nice, unexpected flavor to the pretzel that’s clearly more healthful than salt without skimping on taste. The cashews were so good! You get that distinct sour cream and onion flavor, plus the richness of the cashew. The mustard breadsticks were delicious too, with a clear mustard flavor. These items taste great on their own, but create a pleasantly unique flavor when eaten together as well. I love Graze’s savory treats; they often turn out so well.

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And finally, the Salted Fudge and Peanut Cookie. I was looking forward to this new treat, as I have a major sweettooth, but I was utterly disappointed. I hate to say it, but this was my least favorite thing I think I’ve ever tried from Graze. Its a mix of salted peanuts, redskin peanuts, vanilla fudge, and mini chocolate cookies, with the perk of being a good source of protein. This just smells like peanuts, and sadly, the salted peanuts just taste like salted peanuts. I wasn’t discouraged, and went on to the redskin peanuts, which may be one of the most awful nuts I’ve ever tasted. Sadly they tasted very reminiscent of twigs, which I found quite unpleasant. The vanilla fudge was sweet and tasty, and played well with the salty elements, but the pieces were so tiny, its like they didn’t count much. And finally, the chocolate cookies were a big let down. They were salty and didn’t have a chocolate taste, just a weird bitter aftertaste. This seems like it’s just there for texture. This is one of those treats that has to be eaten together to make sense, and it comes together more that way. But it was still not as sweet or decadent as I was expecting. The redskin peanuts kind of killed it for me because of their overpowering, unpleasant taste. I was disappointed with this one.

So this box wasn’t perfect, but there were some real gems in here. I loved the Sweet Mustard Ranch! It was pretty much flawless to me. However, each other the other treats had varying degrees of room for improvement. The compote dippers were mild and smelled weird, the Beach Bum was overwhelmingly coconut, and the fudge and peanut cookie was just not for me. But as always, I love getting these boxes, and can’t wait for the surprises in the next box.