Vacay Empties

Confession time: the cabinet where we keep our stash of beauty samples? It’s getting a little out of control. So when we recently went on a little mini-vacation, we knew it was time to dig into the dark recesses of our bathroom vanity.

vacay empties

While everything we brought with us worked out perfectly fine, here’s what we really and truly adored:

Soap & Glory The Righteous Body Butter: Body butter is such a mainstream thing now, it has kind of lost its meaning. If we’re not mistaken, The Body Shop was the true pioneer in this arena, and we’re pleased to see Soap & Glory take up that mantle. This is not just a thicker version of lotion – this is the real buttery deal. Creamy, moisturizing, and rich, this butter melts into skin without feeling caked on or heavy. A definite winner in our (vacation) book!

– bumble & bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil shampoo & Conditioner: This was a godsend for our sweaty vacation scalp, not to mention that the massive detangling power of this set came in handy for undoing the damage of a windy beach day. Smells fantastic to boot.

Marvis toothpaste: The answer to all of our “we’re short on shipping minimum” probs at Birchbox, we’ve racked up quite a few of these mini Italian delights. If you think you won’t enjoy fashionable Italian toothpaste, think again. The flavors are amazing, your breath will be fresh, and your teeth pearly white. Can’t argue with that.

How about you? What are your beauty product go-tos for vacation?

Cheers,
birdie&bijou

We Heart Sephora

So, we both made some Sephora orders in the past month or so…

bijou indulged in another line of foreign prestige skincare, this time from Hungary:
omorovizca order
Breakdown of bijou’s order value (because we heart math, too)(actually, not really – only when it helps us justify Sephora purchases):

Hourglass Immaculate Liquid Powder Foundation Mattifying Oil Free in Nude – 0.03 oz (Sample with order)
Full size = $55 for 1oz / Value = $1.65

Caudalie Premier Cru The Cream – 0.03 oz (Sample with order)
Full size = $158 for 1.7oz / Value = $2.78

Guerlain Lingerie De Peau Invisible Skin Fusion Foundation SPF 20 in 02 Beige Clair – 0.05 oz (Sample with order)
Full size = $61 for 1oz /Value = $3.05

Fresh Black Tea Instant Perfecting Mask – 0.68 oz (Special VIB offer for deluxe skincare mask)
Full size = $88 for 3.4oz / Value = $17.60

Omorovicza Travel Set
– 1 oz Cleansing Foam – Value = $15
Full size = $75 for 5oz
– 1 oz Queen of Hungary Mist – Value = $25.29
Full size = $86 for 3.4oz
– 0.67 oz Balancing Moisturizer – Value = $53.21
Full size = $135 for 1.7oz
– 0.5 oz Thermal Cleansing Balm – Value = $30.88
Full size = $105 for 1.7oz
– 0.5 oz Deep Cleansing Mask – Value = $35.29
Full size = $120 for 1.7oz

TOTAL ORDER VALUE = $184.75

 

And while birdie stocked up on brush heads for her new Clarisonic, she also took advantage of a stellar skincare sample pack offer:
July Sephora Order
Order overview (no math, sorry! I don’t have as guilty a conscience as bijou does, I guess…)
– Clarisonic brush heads – just an excuse to get the skincare sampler, really. But I’ll put these to good use, for sure!
– Sephora pearl mask – LOVE these masks!! The mattifying green tea one is fabulous, and I have high hopes for this one as well.
– Order Samples: BB Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Shampoo and Conditioner (LOVE), Guerlain Lingerie de Peau foundation (ok, not as good as I’d hoped for), Becca Matte Primer (haven’t tried yet, but this oily-skinned girl has high hopes).

Skincare Sampler – huzzah!
Fresh Black Tea Instant Perfecting Mask (love love LOVE LOVE)
Bliss “That’s Incredi-peel” (haven’t tried yet)
Bliss Micro Magic (haven’t tried yet)
Clinque Moisture Surge Overnight Mask (LOVE)
Kate Somerville ExfoliKate (have used before and love)
GlamGlow BrightMud Eye Treatment (nice, I suppose – not sure it did much for me, but I don’t have undereye issues)
Lancome Visionnaire 1 Minute Blur (I like it, but not any more than other, much less expensive, blur products that I’ve tried)
Algenist Algae Mask (okay, wouldn’t buy a full sized version)
Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Peel (haven’t tried yet)
First Aid Beauty Skin Rescue Purifying Mask with Red Clay (adore, bought the full sized version already!)

How about you? Any Sephora lovers out there? Tell us what you are buying so we can feel better about our Sephora habit, please!

Cheers,
birdie&bijou

Empties: July and August 2014

Whoo!! Another two months worth of empties to show off…

empties_july_aug
Lots of sample packets on display here, as we worked our way through some recent Sephora orders and the plethora of lovely little goodies that always come with them. Really loved the First Aid Beauty peeling mask and bought a full size version. Also repurchased another castile liquid soap, albeit the cheaper Walgreens version this time around.

How about you – any good empties and/or finds lately? Isn’t it satisfying to get all the way through something??

Cheers,
birdie&bijou

Obsessed: August 2014

Why hello there! It’s the very last Friday in August, and we wanted to try out a new feature – Obsessed. Just to fill you in on what we were obsessed with this month – the one (or two – but this will never be a long list because we want to keep it truly exclusive to our obsessions) product that we just couldn’t get enough of this month.

aug obsessed

BIRDIE
This month, I was obsessed with shopping my stash, and specifically, this little gem: L’Oreal Paris Infallible 24 Hr Eyeshadow in Amber Rush. It’s a gorgeous rose gold shadow that I bought awhile back and just rediscovered, for whatever reason (funny how that works, right?). If you watch enough YouTube beauty tutorials, you’ll come across this one for sure. This is one of those products that photos just can’t do justice to, but I’m linking here to Temptalia’s post with swatches – it probably comes closest to the amazingness that is Amber Rush IRL. It’s so versatile – I know I’m gushing here – and I just can’t get enough of it. It’s dramatic enough to be great all on its own (I like to pat it all over my lid with my finger and then blend it out up towards my brows), and it also makes a more complicated eye look really “pop”. Just get yourself to a drugstore STAT and give it a look, ok?

BIJOU
I’m obsessing over the oh-so-adorable mini Hourglass lipstick that I picked up at Sephora via a VIB 500 point perk. The color is described as a “light peachy beige” but it reads as more of a pinky nude to me. It’s pretty much my exact natural lip color, but just kicked up a notch or two. I’ve been reaching for it basically every morning, and lately I’ve been topping it off with the Sugar Shine Lip Treatment (clear) gloss from Fresh.

How about you – what were you obsessed with this month?

Cheers,
birdie&bijou

Clarisonic – A Long and Winding Road

I’ve been thinking and researching the purchase of a Clarisonic for a long time. It’s a pretty hefty investment, for me anyways, and I wanted to make sure I got exactly the right one for me. There are different device options, a wide variety of different colors, different brush heads, and also different places to buy that offer different value sets. Whew!

Many of these value sets contain skincare – sometimes from the Clarisonic brand itself, and sometimes from other top brands, like Kate Somerville, fresh, or Lancome. Oh, and of course, there is always the eBates cash back amount to consider, especially when making a large online order. (Click here to learn more about eBates and sign up with our referral code).

In addition to researching the device itself, I also read up about individual user’s experiences with the Clarisonic. I looked through old posts of blogs that I subscribe to, and did a lot of googling (always a good way to find new blogs to subscribe to, as well!) One thing that scared me was that many people seem to encounter an initial phase of breaking out really badly. I already don’t have the best skin in the world, and this definitely gave me pause. But it did seem like just a phase, and most people got through it somewhat quickly and then experienced really great skin.

So then, back to the device research. It just seemed like I could never find exactly the right one for me, in terms of combination of device color, skincare extras, etc. I had decided that the Mia2 was the best fit for me – I liked the idea of having a “delicate” setting as well as the universal one. Clarisonic has some really nice comparison charts (perfect for the girl who exhaustively researches every beauty purchase!) for their devices and brush heads that are definitely worth checking out if you are trying to make a decision.

I thought about using up the Birchbox points I had saved, but they just didn’t have any good colors in the Mia2 – white, pastel pink, or pastel purple. Not for me. And then I thought, it’s probably really silly to hold out for the color I want … but for that kind of an investment (anywhere from $100 – $300ish, depending on the device type and value kit), I would really like to have it in a color that I don’t mind looking at every day.

It then occurred to me to check out QVC to see what they had to offer… and lo and behold, they had some of the best options I’d seen to date! Their Mia2 value kits came with TWO brush heads instead of just one – most of the value kits I’d looked at just provided one brush head, so that was a nice bonus. They also had several different options for skincare extras, and a variety of really great colors and patterns. And of course, this being QVC, there was an option to pay in installments, which is always nice. AND eBates was offering extra cash back that particular week! It was a win-win-win.

Here is the beauty that made its way to me earlier this week:
QVC screen grab_mia2
How great is that “vibrant turquoise” color?? It’s cheery and happy, very Tiffany’s, too. I guess I should have realized before based on this picture, but the Kate Somerville Gentle Daily Wash is HUGE – I was expecting just a travel size tube but this is the full sized 4 ounce bottle, which has a value of $32! Coupled with the extra brush head (a set of two brush heads usually go for $40-$50) and the fact that this value kit is $136 instead of the usual $150, I feel like I came out way ahead on this deal.

It arrived earlier this week, and after letting it charge for 24 hours, I used it at night, post-makeup remover and I fell in love. I decided to use it just at night, to begin with, while my skin “adjusts”. I’m also starting out using the Sensitive Brush Head that came with my kit, and I’m only using the “delicate” speed setting. I feel like part of the problems that I read about from other users was because they are scrubbing their face to death two or three times a day – and what skin wouldn’t react poorly to that? After the first cleanse, my skin felt ridiculously smooth. It may be my imagination, but it seems like my skincare products are absorbing more quickly, and my makeup definitely looks better – more natural, and less “sitting on top of skin”-ish.

I will report back moving forward on my experience – for now, very, very glad that I finally made the plunge. I feel like I just went on and on and on about this, but let me know if you are considering buying a Clarisonic, or if you have any questions!

Cheers,
birdie