Blonde Rose

The right name can draw you in. That’s what happened to me at least when I first heard the term Blonde Rose. It immediately conjured up images of Blake Lively, California beaches, and cool summer breezes, which is exactly what Clean’s Reserve Blonde Rose perfume smells like. This scent manages to be sophisticated and feminine without being overwhelmingly floral. Honestly, it’s one of two floral fragrances I wear. With notes of rose, peony, jasmine, cedarwood, sandalwood, and musk this is a bright, light, and soft scent that’s perfect for summer. It’s classic but modern, feminine but edgy, and sexy but soft. It’s the perfect contradiction. And the packaging is so beautiful in its understated simplicity that it’s earned itself its own shelf in my bedroom instead of being crowded in with all my other fragrances.

Blackberry & Bay

I have long been in love with Jo Malone. I first fell for their packaging, which I came across while doing research for a design project in college. The elegant balance of masculine and feminine found in their cream base tone with black edging and copperplate typography made the designer in me cry out with joy. When it came time to experience their products a few years later, I fell in love again – this time with their fragrances. Their scents were refined and elegant, but also accompanied by a playful abandonment that was irresistible.

jo malone packaging

However, their prices were far too high for me to casually purchase a bottle of their signature Wood Sage and Sea Salt Cologne that had me so enamored. So, imagine my excitement when the elegantly wrapped bars of soap sitting on the edge of the sales counter caught my eye. At only $20 a pop they were definitely within my spending budget. I left the store with a cream and black gift bag, the Blackberry & Bay Bath Soap, and a smile. When I next showered, I became even more enchanted with the rich lather of the soap and the fresh and verdant scent that reminded me of the bike rides I’d take in California summers as a child. It was quite an experience, and one I highly recommend at that.

jo malone bath bar

A Sanguine Summer

There’s something about summer that pushes me towards citrus fragrances. They’re fresh, clean, bright, and make me want to smile. That’s why I got over the top excited when I tried Atelier Cologne’s Orange Sanguine Cologne Absolue. It smells like a splash of sunshine. I first sampled this in the Play! by Sephora subscription box, and was instantly hooked.

With Atelier Cologne being dedicated to creating pure perfumes, using only the purest citrus oils in all of its concoctions I knew their take on this zesty fruit would be absolute perfection. With base notes of tonka bean sandalwood, and cedarwood it immediately checked the box in terms of being my kind of scent. But it’s in the top notes of blood orange, bitter orange, and red mandarin that makes this scent really shine through. It’s rounded out by a fantastic blend of geranium, jasmine, and black pepper for a surprisingly light spiciness that’s intensely intriguing without being suffocating. This energizing mix of fragrances combines to create a perfume that reminds me of mimosas at sunny brunches, trips to the beach, and cliffside escapades. You just can’t help but smile.

Are you ready to play?

Those of you who follow me on Instagram know that I recently was taken off the waitlist for Sephora’s monthly subscription box. Play! by Sephora consists of 5 sample sized products sent monthly along with a fragrance bonus and a cosmetic bag. Oh, and it’s only $10/month.

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I have to say that other boxes have fallen short for me, but Play absolutely exceeded my expectations. Everything included was something I wanted to use, and they were all from brands I was interested in. The May 2016 box was their The Forces of Nature themed box, and included a gift card for 50 extra Beauty Insider Points, a free beauty consultation, and a booklet describing each of the products. They also emailed me a video that ran through all the products so that I knew exactly what I was getting myself into.

So now for the product rundown:

atelier cologne

Up first is Atelier Cologne’s Orange Sanguine perfume. I ended up purchasing this fragrance because it is so damn delicious. With a bursting mix of blood orange and geranium it deserves its own post, so I won’t say too much about it here other than IT’S AMAZING!

tarte

The one dud of a product was Tarte’s Tartiest Lip Crayon in Latergram. I REALLY REALLY wanted to like this lip pencil, as Tarte is one of my favorite brands. Unfortunately, I found that while the color and packaging were beautiful the formula needed some help. It was hard to apply and the crayon kept breaking. Overall this product – with Vitamin E and mineral pigments – was a great idea that unfortunately missed the mark when it came to execution.

bite

There was however a lip product that excelled. Bite Beauty’s Amuse Bouche Lipstick in Kimchi blew me away. With coconut and pomegranate oils this lipstick is every bit as moisturizing as it is bright. It’s a zinger of a pink that made me want to pucker up and take more than a few selfies. My favorite thing is that Bite Beauty uses food grade ingredients in all of its lipsticks, so I never have to worry about ingesting icky chemicals.

origins

One product that I had been curious to try was Origins’ Maskimizer. This innovative priming mist helps to prep skin to absorb the intensive ingredients in face masks. Thankfully, Sephora included samples of my favorite Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask and the delicious smelling Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask. I used these one after the other with the prep mist and my skin was left clear, soft and radiant.

korres facial

Another mask that was included in the mix is Korres’ Wild Rose Advanced Brightening Sleeping Facial. I have been wanting to try Korres products for years now, but it’s only been recently that they’ve been back in stock as Sephora. Based in Athens, this brand partners with local farmers to make use of unique natural ingredients native to Greece. This soothing mask is applied after your normal evening skincare routine and then slept in overnight. Rose oil is one of the best ingredients for your skin, and the only oil I allow to touch my face. I definitely noticed happier skin the morning I woke up after using this and its mild scent gave me the sweetest dreams.

briogeo

The final product of the bunch was Briogeo’s Don’t Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Mask. While this brand is most widely known for their co-washes, this treatment was one of the best conditioning masks I’ve ever used. It smells wonderful, and the combination of argan and avocado oils left my hair smooth, shiny, and bouncy – just the way I like it!

logo

All in all I definitely recommend Play! by Sephora, and will keep you up to date on future boxes. I highly recommend you get on the wait list now if you’re interested in signing up. It took me a few months to be selected, but I’m sure glad I took the plunge.

Have any questions? Know of any other subscription boxes I should check out? Let me know by clicking on the comments link above and writing me a note!

April GlossyBox & May Giveaway

It’s a new month! Welcome to May everyone :). This month I’m going to be testing out a few new things around here. As you can see from the title of this post, two of those things include giveaways and subscription box reviews. I’m also going to be doing a bit of spring cleaning around my site in preparation for bringing you even better content, photography, and engagement opportunities. In order for this to happen though, I need your help.

That’s why, at the bottom of this post you’ll find a survey. In order to be entered into this month’s giveaway you’ll need to complete the survey, follow my blog (through WordPress, Bloglovin’, or via email…these options are available in the sidebar) and leave a comment on ANY post on this site – choose your favorite and go ham!

Now, on to the review – 4 of these products will be offered for the giveaway, so pay attention to see if you’re interested 🙂

Subscription boxes have been around for a while now. It seems like you can get them for anything and everything under the sun. When it comes to cosmetics there are quite a few that offer sample sizes, less than stellar brands, and frankly, contents that aren’t something you’d ever even want. GlossyBox is the exact opposite. They specialize in high-end brands, include primarily full-size items (occasionally they’ll throw in the deluxe sample size, but that’s usually for items over the $75 full size price mark), and involve an in depth survey so that you only get products you actually want. This was my first foray into the land of subscription boxes, and I have to say I’m quite pleased.

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My first box was the April box. It came in a delightfully pink box that’s now on display with my skincare products. It included 3 full-sized items, and 2 travel size. All of these items were from brands I never would have found myself, but instantly loved. Plus, they came with a card including product information and application tips. So, without further ado, here’s the rundown of what actually came in the box.

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Norell’s Norell New York Eau De Parfum. The Norell brand has mastered the art of bringing the French lifestyle and panache to America. A truly glamorous fragrance with pure, high quality ingredients Norell New York is a green floral evocative of movie premieres and A-list celebrities. Featuring mandarin, bergamot, jasmine, vanilla, and my ever-favorite sandallwood, this scent is sensual without being overtly sexy. Apply to pulse points for a long lasting fragrance experience. We’re talking Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, and Angelina Jolie here.
A travel size of this item is included in the giveaway.

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Studio | 10 Brow Lift Perfecting Liner. You’ve heard me wax on and on about power brows. While there are quite a few products you can use to achieve this look, there are a few things that make this particular pencil extra special. First thing is the brand. Studio | 10 is a cruelty-free brand that is dedicated to improving the lives of women suffering from cancer. Sales of this particular pencil benefit Look Good Feel Better. LGFB provides practical services for women, men and teenagers suffering from the visible side effects from cancer treatment. For example, when someone suffers hair loss due to chemotherapy, LGFB will help provide them with products, like this pencil, that can help improve their self esteem be providing them control over their appearance. This particular pencil is also special because it’s double sided. One side fills in your brows like traditional pencils, but the other side consists of a lighter pencil to highlight the brow bone. That’s a win-win situation.
This item is included in the giveaway.

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Unani Dermo Defense Face Mask. This particular mask is unfortunately not available in the U.S. (which is another reason why GlossyBox is the best at introducing you to new, never before seen luxury products.) It both hydrates and purifies, leaving your skin looking better than ever. It’s a clear gel, and while the texture is a bit slippery, it’s certainly an effective mask.

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Leighton Denny Expert Nails Nail Polish in Pillow Talk. I’m very particular about my nail polishes. This one happens to be a perfect combination of opacity, gel-like texture, and staying power. It was quick to dry, easy to apply, and lasted all week without chipping. Unfortunately, it can be quite difficult to track down outside of the U.K. but I managed to do just that. Which is why this item is included in the giveaway.

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Biossance The Nourisher, Precious Rose Face Oil. When it comes to face oils, I tend to be very cautious. One wrong step and my face will erupt like Mt Vesuvius. Thankfully, the primary oil in this little bottle is rose oil, which is known to be calming and excellent for all skin types. This product firms, improves radiance, and moisturizes. It combines powerful plant extracts and Vitamin C to give you the best skin of your life. The full size comes with a hefty price tag, but the travel size of this item is included in the giveaway.

So go ahead, subscribe to GlossyBox now and enjoy 5 products delivered to your door every month on the dot. It’s totally worth it.

Now, if you don’t mind, I’d love it if you’d enter the giveaway. Remember, all you have to do is complete the survey below, follow my blog, and leave a comment on ANY post on this site. The contest is open through the end of the week and the winner will be selected based on the quality of their responses. Happy posting! And THANK YOU!

Hot Commodity

I’m a sucker for packaging. It gets me every time. If something looks beautiful, I really don’t care how well it works (at least in the moment)…I’ll be picking it up. I’d lusted after Commodity’s niche fragrances for months before I finally bit the bullet and ordered two of their travel sized perfumes. At the time there wasn’t a Sephora in Charleston, and I didn’t want to purchase a full-sized fragrance without knowing it was one I loved. That’s how I ended up with these beautiful tubes of Commodity’s Black Collection fragrances in Book and Gin.

These little tubes are beautifully designed, and look wonderfully sleek and modern sitting on top of my dresser, among my other perfumes. The matte black label with it’s masculine serif typeface made the designer in me smile with joy!

The brand itself is all about personalization. Each scent is designed to be worn either alone, or layered upon each other for a truly custom fragrance. There are two collections – black and white. Black is a collection of intense, moody, and multifaceted scents. White consists of lighter, easy, and casual perfumes that are simple and elegant. Given that I like deeper scents, I opted for two of the black label.

Gin is a 1920’s party straight out of The Great Gatsby. This swingin’ scent is a musky mix of Leatherwood, Eucalyptus, and Sandalwood. It’s far too heavy for daytime, and should be applied sparingly. It’s definitely a masculine scent, and smells like a night listening to jazz at a cigar bar at first but softens to a woodsy delight. Every time I wear it I feel like I’m exploring the woods of a fantasy adventure novel. If you want to feel like the heroine, and not the damsel in distress, Gin is the one for you.

Book smells like the pages of a Hemingway novel. It’s my favorite of the bunch. Massively crispy, this scent is a true delight. With notes of cucumber, lavender, eucalyptus, and my ever favorite sandalwood. It smells like tea sandwiches and early mornings writing at a wooden desk from your cabin in the mountains. It’s perfect for early spring, as the season transitions from winter. So spritz yourself, and step into an F. Scott Fitzgerald novel – or write one!

Creed

If you’re looking for a quintessential Spring scent, look no further. The one and only Spring Flower by Creed smells like spring has sprung. It’s crazy floral. We’re talking roses, jasmine, and peaches here. It’s the single most feminine scent I’ve ever found. I mean, the bottle is hot pink and comes with a bow. Now, I know that I don’t normally go for florals. They’re usually to sickly sweet and sticky smelling. But this one is different, it’s a light floral. It smells like you just walked through a beautiful garden. Plus, it was developed specifically for my favorite actress, Audrey Hepburn. It perfectly masters her playful, sweet, and fresh personality. For anyone who wants a little Holly Golightly charm, this perfume is sure to deliver.