Birchbox Update

I enjoyed Birchbox for the first few months. The mix of makeup, haircare and skincare products seemed appropriate. I was receiving the typical 4-5 samples per box and was content. However, when I opened up my latest box I was really disappointed to discover a granola bar. Sorry Birchbox, I don’t think that a granola bar qualifies as a “deluxe beauty sample.” The other products in the box were mediocre, nothing truly riveting. As a result, I canceled my subscription and I have to say, I’d definitely be reluctant to recommend Birchbox to anyone.

I HAVE found another little obsession, however, and it is also $9.99 per month. Although it is not beauty-related, it is awesome. It is called rdio. Check it out if you like music. :)





If you love love love to try out new products, continue reading! If you continuously purchase your standby or go-to products, continue reading! Birchbox is GREAT for everyone! So, I saw a tiny article in a magazine about Birchbox and was immediately intrigued. Here is the deal: you get 4-5 sample beauty products conveniently mailed in a pretty little box to your doorstep 1x per month for a $10 (per month). Incredible!!!  As soon as I read this, I fled from my comfortable little tanning spot on the deck to my laptop where I logged onto and signed up.

My very first birchbox arrived with  my mail yesterday.

Reasons why I am already loving birchbox:

+ the birchbox arrived earlier than I anticipated (was supposed to get it on the 10th, it came on the 8th! *However, this might not always be the case depending on where you live!*)

+ the products within are well varied (from makeup products to skincare)

+the packaging is adorable (such a treat to break into a little gift for no reason at all!)

+so far, the products within are of impeccable quality


So, you might be wondering, what actually came in the box?! A total of 5 products: Laura Geller Blush-N-Brighten Makeup, a perfume sample of Kate Spade Twirl, a sample of Weleda Smoothing Facial Lotion in Wild Rose, Molecular Mist by Sircuit Skin Cosmeceuticals (This sounds way too scientific!… What do you think?), and two Deborah Lippmann lavendar nail lacquer remover finger mit packets. I am enjoying the blush/bronzer and perfume sample so far. I am trying to pace myself and not test out all of the products in one day, although I am tempted to. :)

Bottom line with this product: if you are not signed up, you are missing out! It is an awesome deal and at $10.00, quite the steal! Haha, so lame, I know… :) Sign up and then let me know what you think @




Urban Decay Lip Love

This is the Urban Decay Lip Love Honey-Infused Lip Therapy gloss in Failbait. I purchased this online at Lip love costs $16.00 and it comes in 5 shades: Drizzle, Failbait, Lolita, Stung and Taunt.

The gloss provides the lips with a subtle tint which makes it great for everyday use.  The product smells of honey and tastes like it too!  It is moisturizing and lasts for a decent amount of time (although I find myself reapplying frequently because I love the smooth, moisturizing effects of this product).

Some of the contents of this product are listed right on the tube! It contains Apricot Kernel Seed Oil, Millet Oil, Vitamin C, Jojoba Oil and honey.

Urban Decay Lip Love is a great product but I wish that it was a little less expensive. Sixteen dollars will get you 0.34 fl oz, which is not very much, especially if you use it as frequently as I do!

This product is perfect for anyone who wants a moisturizing product that provides a little bit of color and an amazing shine on their lips! If you are a honey hater, perhaps try a different Urban Decay lip product, like Lip Junkie. (For the record, I am not a huge fan of honey but I don’t mind it in this gloss – it is really pleasant and sweet!)

I would repurchase this product in the future but probably in another color. I am really enjoying Failbait but I Lolita and Taunt are on my wish list! :D

You can purchase Urban Decay Lip Love here:,default,pd.html or at Sephora.



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Origins VitaZing

So many great things can be said about this product! Before I get to them, let me start off by explaining exactly what this product is because you have never seen anything like it before. Seriously! This is a moisturizing lotion that is oil-free with SPF 15.

Initially, when squeezed out of the tube, the lotion appears white. However, when it is rubbed and blended into the skin, it adds an incredible glow, and offers an effect similar to the results you might get from using a tinted moisturizer.

I love the results that I get from using VitaZing and in my opinion, my skin looks more radiant when I use this instead of my other face products. So, you might be wondering, what is so special about VitaZing?

1. It is an awesome substitute for foundation. The lotion goes on smoothly, blends in  completely and provides a great base for additional makeup.

2. One lotion fits all skin types. Anyone can use this lotion! VitaZing eliminates the necessity to match your skin to a foundation. This is especially important to me during the summer months when I tend to need foundations and face products that are a bit darker to suit sun-kissed skin.

3. A little goes a long way. You do not need a palm full of VitaZing to achieve a pretty glow! Dot the product on cheeks, chin and forehead, blend in with you fingertips and you are good to go. 

4. You skin will look like it is literally glowing. In my opinion this is perfect for anyone who cannot get outside! It will make you look like you just returned from a sunny vacation.

5. SPF 15 is a plus.

6. Oil-free formula makes it suitable for all skin types.

7. It is moisturizing without being too heavy.

8. Light, fresh scent that is invigorating and pleasant.

You can purchase this at Origins (I bought mine on 5th Ave in NYC,) Macy’s, or online at






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Essie Nail Polish

Essie nail polishes are my favorite! I love that the brand is now “big 3 free” (which means their nail polishes are not formulated with toluene,  formaldehyde, or DBP). The polishes in the image above, from left to right are: fiji, e-nuf is e-nuf, turqoise and caicos, topless and barefoot, and big spender.

Fiji: Looks best with a tan. I like to put on 3 light coats of the polish. It is a beautiful, opaque pink.

E-nuf is e-nuf: Perfect coral! It goes with everything. In terms of application, 2 coats is all you need.

Turquoise and caicos: Fabulous for feet. Like fiji, it looks awesome with a tan.

Topless and barefoot: Opaque, neutral & amazing. It is the perfect nude. Use 3 light coats.

Big spender: This color is great for both a manicure & pedicure. It is my favorite Essie polish!

On my shopping list: Too Too Hot



Sigma Brushes

Quality brushes are essential to the application of makeup (unless of course you prefer your fingers, which is perfectly acceptable). I am sure we have all experienced the horrors of cheap brushes: stray bristles on your face, “scratchy” bristles, sparse bristles, etc. The range of brushes available is astonishing, ranging from incredibly inexpensive to ridiculously pricey. I have found that price is not a great indicator for quality when it comes to purchasing brushes. For example, E.L.F. makeup brushes sell for $1 and their eyeshadow brushes are awesome! Another example of cheap (in terms of price) brushes are EcoTools – these brushes are made of sustainable bamboo and have the softest bristles that I have ever encountered. BareMinerals brushes are a bit more expensive but also excellent. Sigma brushes are awesome too, a full set of brushes can be purchased for less than $80. Sigma brushes are a great starting point in building a brush collection – they offer a great range of products at a modest price.

Although I have a decent collection of brushes, I found the Sigma Complete Kit to be a necessary purchase for me because it contains every type of brush for the application of eye and face makeup. (I purchased this kit with a coupon. I always check when purchasing online – the second it takes to look up a promotion code is worth it because it can yield great savings). So I received a total of 12 brushes:  Small Angle E65, Medium Angled Shading  E70, Large Shader  E60, Pencil E30, Large Angled Contour  F40,  Large Powder F30,  Duo Fibre  F50, Foundation F60,  Concealer F70, Tapered Blending E40,  Eye Shading  E55,   and Eyeliner  E05. The brushes came in a classy black mesh drawstring  pouch. I also received a free gift (every purchase over $30 gets one!), which is an E25 travel size brush. There was an insert with the brushes too which contains information on brush cleansing (it is absolutely essential to clean your brushes).

I am impressed with the quality of these brushes and am already enjoying them! This set can also be purchased with a brush roll (for an extra $20). This was not necessary for me because I prefer to store my brushes in decorative mugs. This is a matter of preference, if you would prefer a roll, go for it, at the very least it will allow you to travel with your brush set.

I think that investing in good brushes is a necessity! If you are willing to purchase quality makeup, splurging on great tools and brushes to use in conjunction with your products is definitely essential.

If you are interested in Sigma products, check out their website:

Let me know what you think!



Zoya Nail Polish

Nail polish is one of my favorite things. I love wearing it, putting it on, and looking at it (both on me and on others!). I love it on my fingers but also on my toes and I think it looks so pretty in the bottle. It is easy to travel with, can make an outfit pop, and is a reflection of personality.

I was really disappointed when I discovered how harmful conventional nail polish brands are (on the cosmetic database – Some of my favorite brands that I have been wearing for years (like Essie) suddenly seemed off-limits and dangerous. Nail polish lost its appeal to me because I felt so guilty wearing it.

A little bit of research led me to Zoya. This brand really enables me to enjoy nail polish again! Zoya nail polish is free of formaldehyde, toluene, dibutyl pthalate and camphor. The polish is also vegan-friendly. I like the fact that my nails can look pretty without compromising my health. :)

Zoya has an incredible range of colors to select from – each shade has an intensity rating (of 1 to 5, with 5 being the most opaque). In addition, each color has a color description, and information on the color family it belongs to, the finish (cream, frost or metallic), and tone (warm or cool). Zoya makes it really easy to find colors that work well with your skin (check out this youtube video on how to find the right color for your skin tone:

Right now, I am loving Zoya Elodie and Zoya Erin. I recently purchased Zoya Audrina, Zoya Sabrina and Zoya Kali (I am waiting for them to come in the mail!).

I get my Zoya nail polish at, where each bottle is $7 (+shipping and handling). This is an awesome brand and I highly recommend purchasing their nail polish! :)

x0 Katie

Renpure Organics

Renpure again?!? Okay so this is not my first post about Renpure Organics. I have been a huge fan of this company & their products for a while, if you are interested in what I have said in the past check out these:

Today I am going to talk about Renpure Organics Amazing Miracle Deep Penetrating Reconstructor. This product is a great deep conditioner! To use it: apply it after shampooing, wait (3-5 minutes) & rinse. The best part about Miracle Deep: it can be used daily! Many deep conditioners are too heavy to use daily but not this one. It is a great pick for co-washing because it is free of sulfates, parabens, colors & dyes, which is awesome. Additionally, the product is made with organic extracts. It is safe on color-treated hair as well.

In terms of consistency, the product is pretty thick. It smells awesome. Also, the conditioner was not tested on animals (it was actually tested on the family that produces it!) and it is made in the USA, which is awesome.

I bought my Renpure Miracle deep at Harmon’s (and there is actually a try it free rebate attached!) — give it a try if you are looking for a healthy deep conditioning option.

Katie x0

Philosophy Makeup Optional

I have decided to start 2011 off with a new skincare routine/regimen. This was a pretty big decision for me! I am trying to finish up all the products I currently own in the next 2.5 weeks. It will feel good to start fresh & I would encourage others to try my strategy out too if it sounds like something you might be interested in.

As a side note, I just wanted to say that I have been most faithful to Burt’s Bees and Neutrogena over the years but have tried so many (including: Cetaphil, Aveeno, Clean & Clear, Clearasil, Noxzema, Biore, Korres, Murad, Kiss My Face, Burt’s,  Alba, The Body Shop, Etc.) The brand that I am turning to for my 2011 skincare is Philosophy. There is so much buzz about this brand — I want to experience what it is all about! Oprah named Hope in a Jar one of her 25 favorite things of 2010. I purchased the kit pictured below at Sephora, it is called the Philosophy Makeup Optional Skin kit.

My expectations for the products within are really high! The kit comes with Purity face cleanser, Hope in a Jar moisturizer, 3 face peels, a serum and a cream for the eyes/lips. I am so excited to try out these products! The skin regimen will commence with the new year & I will review the products shortly thereafter.

My hopes for the new skincare regimen: less breakouts, diminish acne scars, some overall firming, and pretty skin that is makeup optional. I will let you know how it goes – join me if you like! :)

x0 Katie

Urban Decay Book of Shadows Vol.III NYC Palette

Everything about this palette makes me happy. The packaging aesthetically pleasing and functional, the products within are awesome, and it is portable. Urban Decay palette are fabulous! I received this as a gift and loved it!  [Rating: 4.5/5]

The NYC theme of the package is trendy, bright & cute. It also feels like it is made well so it should hold up for a long time.

The top opens up to display a pop-up NYC scene, with the Brooklyn Bridge, a yellow taxi, the Empire State Building, etc. In the back of the scene is a great mirror. Lights are scattered about to display the awesome image.

Inside the palette, there are 16 Urban Decay eyeshadows. As you know from a previous post ( I love Urban Decay eye products. This palette contains Perversion, Uzi, Loaded, Kush, Midnight Cowboy Rides Again, Last Call, Rockstar, Money, Haight, Maui Wowie (personal favorite), Smog, Bordello, Radium, Snatch, Suspect, and Psychedelic Sister. In addition, there are two 24/7 Glide On eye pencils and one mini primer tube of Primer Potion (*This is the one downside – I wish it had a full-size tube of primer potion because there is definitely not enough of it in a mini tube for this palette!).

I LOVE this palette! It is limited edition and at $54.00 a great buy! You definitely get what you pay for: great colors, awesome quality makeup & cute packaging.

x0 Katie