Boscia Charcoal Pore Pudding review

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In my July Play by Sephora subscription box I received a deluxe sample of the Boscia Charcoal Pore Pudding Intensive Wash-Off Treatment. I have used it 3 times now. IMG_8371[1]

It’s a really fund mask as you can see its striped black and white. You are instructed to blend the two layers into an opaque grey layer all over the face.

I wish it looked as gorgeous on the inside as on the outside. This was when I first opened it; not after I had already scooped any out.

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Each time I’ve applied it with my fingers and let it sit for 20 minutes. Then I wash it off and wash my face as per usual. It definitely does visibly help with impurities. I had some dark spots on my face I thought were potentially precursors to blackheads, and after the max they were all either completely gone or significantly lighter.

It did not give my skin that tight new feeling that I get with the GlamGlow mask. I also felt like my skin didnt look particularly different except those possibly baby blackhead spots.

Sadly every time Ive used this one patch of my skin is visibly irritated the next morning. The first two times I chalked this up to coincidence — maybe I slept on that part of my face funny. But 3 times in a row seems pretty hard to ignore. Oddly its always patchy; its never my whole face that is red and irritated. And each time the irritation is pretty mild, no flaking skin thankfully. So a good moisturizer for a couple days does the trick to restore my skin to its former self. I will finish out my sample of this product but I do not intend to repurchase.

So far my ranking for charcoal masks is:
1. Glamglow’s Supermud Clearing Treatment
2. Origin’s Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask to Clear Pores
3. Boscia’s Charcoal Pore Pudding Intensive Wash-Off Treatment

Meal-proof lipstick search: Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick review

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I love lipstick. There’s something about wearing it that makes me feel powerful. However, I don’t love planning my entire day around lipstick. Only eating tiny bites of foods via a fork and only sipping through a straw. No one has time for this! I want to go about my day as usual while also wearing lipstick without the hassle of constant reapplication. Thus, I am going to test a bunch of lipsticks I already own plus buy some others that promise long wear to see how they do. Now I know most or all of these lipsticks will look amazing if you’re careful about it and touch it up. I’m looking for a lipstick that can stand up to my life that I don’t have to worry about touching up.

First up is Stila’s Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in Fiery. This is a beautiful true red that is not too orange and not too purple. I applied Ultimate Ozone primer to my lips, lip liner, then finally 3 coats of the Stila Stay All Day, waiting a couple minutes to let each coat dry. 3 coats is probably a little overkill but I like my lipstick to be very opaque.

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I love this shade of red and this lipstick actually dried pretty well. It wasnt cracking or flaky, my lips didnt feel thirsty, but it also wasn’t sticky. The feel of this liquid lipstick is a 9/10.

My partner and I took a lovely stroll around the UNC Chapel Hill campus for about 2.5 hours, then we decided it was lunch time. We went to the legendary Sunrise Biscuit Kitchen (seriously it’s been featured on Food Network). I got a regular, plain, but spectacular chicken biscuit. Now I know this isn’t really fair to the lipstick! This thing is huge and my lips have to touch it to eat it. Its also a chicken biscuit so obviously some grease is involved. But that is precisely the point! I want to see what, if any, lipstick can really live up to eating a meal without being delicate about it.

I enjoyed my chicken biscuit; it is easily the best one I’ve ever eaten. Sunrise Biscuit Kitchen is a magical place. But alas while eating I noticed I was eating a lot of lipstick. After every bite there was clearly lipstick on my biscuit. By the time I was done and had smacked my lips together a few times to try to even out what lipstick was left this was the result:

stila2This is… pretty dramatically different from where I started. There was a bit left giving just a hint of red, my lips definitely aren’t normally that colored. But largely this was a fail. Again, a chicken biscuit might be the toughest test but this lipstick did not stand a chance. Meal-proof score: 2/10.

While I love the color impact and feel of this liquid lipstick, it barely left remnants of itself after a meal. I’ll probably keep wearing this for drinks, but not for meals. Or at the very least I will be ready to re-apply throughout the day!

On to the next hope for a meal-proof lipstick.

Rothy’s shoes review: 1 week in review

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After my mishap of ordering the Rothy’s round toe ballet flat a size too small, I received my exchange and I’ve had these now for about a week. Where I’ve worn them:

  • Out to dinner and drinks (2 times)
  • To walk around the mall (1 time)
  • To work (2 times)
  • Out to run various errands (grocery store, pet store, etc) (2 times)

I remain extremely pleased with my purchase. I haven’t had any red spots or evidence of rubbing anywhere! Most important not the heel or top of my foot/big toe. The first time I wore them out I did have some slight pressure on my big toe, but I trimmed my toenail and that solved the problem. They haven’t gotten dirty enough to need to be washed yet, but generally this is now my go-to flat. I haven’t worn any of my other flats since I purchased the correct size in Rothy’s. I’ve even chosen them over flip flops once for style since the comfort is about the same.

If you’re interested in getting a pair of Rothy’s you can use my referral code through August 16th, 2017 for $20 off.

Review: Origins compared to Sunday Riley night skin care routine

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I am a skincare product junkie. I have a couple tried and true favorites, but generally I switch things up when I run out of something. I have just finished the Origins night cream after several months of use. I was using this in conjunction with the toner and the night oil. The toner ran out first, which makes sense as this isn’t a night specific product so I was using it morning and night. Then the Night-A-Mins Renewal Cream ran out, and I still have some Night-A-Mins Renewal Refining Oil left.

I liked all of these products. The scents are lightly citruses, but nothing too intense. I enjoyed the consistency of the cream — it was dense. It reminded me of a cloud cream. You could tell when you put it on that this is for night and should be absorbed into the skin over hours. When I woke up there was no trace of residue left and it did in fact absorb nicely throughout the night. The face oil is light and absorbs pretty quickly. I assume this is because it is designed to be followed by the thicker cream. Part of me thinks that for $44 the oil isn’t worth it. The cream alone I think would probably do its job well. The toner was nice, but nothing outstanding. For a $25 price tag though I think it performed well and have no complaints.

The Night-A-Mins oil and creme combined come to $88, which isn’t anything to snicker at. While I do feel like it maintained my skin well I didn’t see any improvements. The fine lines I have are still there, my outbreaks came at about the same frequency, the texture of my skin seemed about the same. I am only in my mid twenties so my skin care is aimed to prevent signs of aging, and certainly my skin didn’t get worse. I also have relatively sensitive skin and find that many products are irritating and none of the Origins products bothered my skin at all, so thats a plus! However, for $88 there were no miracles.

Prior to this I was using the Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Oil, and while that is even more expensive at $105 I did feel like my skin was more plump, more radiant, and just had a glow about it when I woke up. It does have quite an odd smell, very planty, but its not so strong that I couldn’t use it. I intended to use this in conjunction with Good Genes, but my skin is so sensitive that Good Genes made my skin pretty dry/flaky/red so I couldn’t use it more than a couple times a week. I bought the Luna oil and the Good Genes treatment in a set, where they were each half size but the set was only $78 (it’s $85 now; a $105 value) at Sephora, so keep an eye out for the value sets if you’re interested in Sunday Riley.

Results for these things are so subjective, but I will say I don’t have anything especially lovely to say about my skin after using the Origins routine. I certainly have nothing bad to say, but I probably won’t be repurchasing. While I did really enjoy the Sunday Riley line I’d like to see if I can achieve these results for less money.

On to the next product adventure!

Disney hair bow!

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I assume I will not wear my lovely Disney ears every day we’re there. 1) Perhaps they will start to bother my head after loads of hours, and mostly 2) I don’t understand how people wear sunglasses and headbands… that just doesnt work for me? My ears can only accommodate so much. Thus, while I am stoked to have my beautiful ears I wanted to have a cute hair accessory as well.

I bought a lovely sequin pineapple Dole whip bow from Frosting Hair Treats on Etsy. The specific bow I bought is not currently available, but here are all of the hair bows, including Star Wars, Disney princesses, Nightmare Before Christmas, and more. The shop also offers Disney ears, drinkware, and more.

If you follow the shop owner on instagram she posts flash sales/codes for her etsy shop. Sometimes the offer codes are for specific items, other times they are for the entire shop. I was able to snag my bow when all purchases were 50% off, meaning it was only $3 (instead of the full $6 price) + $3 shipping.

I placed my order on a Sunday. A little more than 3 weeks later my purchase was still marked as not shipped, so I sent the shop a message. I didn’t get a reply, but my order was shipped out about a week after contact. All in all it was a little over 4 weeks before my bow was shipped, and it arrived later that week. While I was disappointed in the long shipping time and the lack of communication about this, the final product is lovely. Also my order came with an additional bow that I did not order. I’m not sure if this was to make up for the long shipping time? There wasn’t a note to explain, but I assume it was a kind gesture and I really appreciate Etsy shop owners that go the extra mile.

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Here is the bow itself. Love how the clip on the back is lined with a ribbon to make sure no glue spills down and makes for awkward clip closing. Note that the clip is a little small compared to the bow size — it is definitely big enough to stay in but I wouldnt use it to hold hair back really. Also note that because the pineapple emblem has a “right side up” then this bow can really only be placed right side up on the head. I usually wear my hair accessories on the left side of my head, but being right handed and the orientation of the clip I would have to place the bow from the back of my head, rather than going from the front. All of the other hair bows I have don’t have emblems so can just be flipped if needed. This is not something I thought about before purchasing! So if you have a preferred place for your hair accessories be sure to note to the seller which way you’d like the clip facing to make using your hair bow easier.

Here is the bow sitting at the front of my bun. You can see its rather large!

And here is it clipped on to the right side of my head.

I’m not sure I would normally make such a silly purchase, but I really love this and for half off I think it was totally worth it! Bows are a great alternative to disney ears if you dont like headbands or want to spend a lot less money. Let me reiterate that with the coupon this bow was $3 plus shipping, whereas ears regularly run $25-$40. This could be a great way to still accessorize for Disney but save some money. I definitely recommend this shop as long as you are at least 1 month out from your trip. The beautiful quality and discounted price is worth the waiting.

Rothy’s shoes: a follow-up review

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I decided to splurge for my birthday and purchase a pair of Rothy’s flats in size 7. I wear a 7 in most flats I own (from Banana Republic and BP), as well as most sandals (from Kelly & Katie and Born). However, these were simply just too small on my left foot. My initial impressions were really good other than the fact that they were clearly too small.

I dropped off my exchange at the post office late Saturday, and the following Thursday my size 7.5 exchange was on my front step in the afternoon. I remain impressed with shipping times. The exchange process was super easy and I’m glad this is an option (even though their FAQ makes you think it isnt). 7.5 is the size I wear in Keds and Vans sneakers.

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I didn’t notice this before, but the pull tab to open the box actually has a lovely blue ribbon glued to the back of it for easy pulling

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The unboxing; shoes cradled in a cute paper nest

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Shoes in the box

R2 4

Shoes out of the box

The Grey Birdseye is really beautiful and I’m still pleased with my choice. I wish the little blue stripe peaking out of the heel wasn’t there, but honestly it won’t affect what outfits I wear these flats with.

Having feet that are two different sizes makes wearing flats a real pain. I wish retailers would let you buy one shoe in one size and another shoe in another size to form a pair. Does anyone else have this problem? Every time I go to a running store they say its pretty common for feet to be a half size different, yet here we are stuck in this antiquated system where both shoes are always one size. End rant.

The 7.5 size definitely fit my left (bigger) foot better. My right (smaller) foot is probably actually a 7, but it can handle the 7.5. I wore these around my house for about 5 hours doing chores and whatnot and my left big toe is still a bit squished, but nothing that isnt manageable, and my right foot is a bit loose, but my heel wasn’t slipping out so not *too* big. I did put in a gel heel liner in my right shoe to see if that improved the fit. It helped a little but noticeably rubbed, taking away comfort from the shoe, so I removed it. The insoles are comfortable and removable. My left foot fit considerably better without the insole, however the shoe is pretty dang hard/flat without the insole. The insole itself is quite cushy and I like it a lot. However, I think I could use some extra toebox room in my left shoe, so maybe I will look for a heel only insert? Or an insert that is considerably thinner at the sole than the heel.

Oddly the left heel rubbed slightly but that went away after about 2 hours of use. I guess there was a little bit of a warm up time for the shoe to mold to my foot. The top of the shoe remains extremely comfortable – finally no rubbing on my big toe bone! I also noticed the soles have pretty decent traction for flats, which is a great plus.

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Grey Birdseye in indoor lighting

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Grey Birdseye in outdoor (overcast) lighting

My negatives about these flats:

  • There really is no arch support. This clearly isnt a Rothy’s specific problem, but just pointing out that if you need arch support this flat, while very comfortable, won’t solve that
  • My feet seemed to sweat a lot. I think its perhaps because the fibers are synthetic and not natural. So unlike wearing a leather flat that can breathe a bit this shoe seems to trap it in somewhat. This doesnt particularly bother me as there are many workarounds: spray deodorant, baby powder, or the shoes can be machine washed! Particularly given the fact that the shoes can be washed this really isn’t a problem, but something to note.

My positives about these flats:

  • They’re actually cute and comfortable
  • Eco-friendly
  • No rubbing on the top of the foot
  • No heel rubbing

Now I won’t be running a marathon or taking these for an 11 mile walking day in a theme park, but these are easily the most comfortable work appropriate ballet flat I own. While $105 may seem like a lot I think these shoes feel pretty sturdy and will hold up quite well over time.

If you’re interested in getting a pair of Rothy’s you can use my referral code through August 16th, 2017 for $20 off.

I am planning to post an update in a few weeks or months after I’ve worn these a lot more to see if the comfort lasts the test of time.

Rothy’s shoes: an honest initial review

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My Facebook has been absolutely flooded with advertisements for Rothy’s shoes — supposedly eco-friendly and super comfortable. The shoes are made by recycling plastic water bottles then using the fibers to 3D knit the shoes. This process makes the shoes seamless, and the shoes are also treated with a moisture wicking agent to help keep your feet dry and comfortable. Plastic water bottle shoes don’t sound super comfortable,  but the website promises a silken feel. You can read more about the process in the FAQs.

After reading some reviews and looking at my current shoe collection I decided to take the plunge. I only have a couple pairs of ballet flats and I don’t really love any of them. The promise of blister-free flats was too enticing to pass up. I have been eyeing Tieks for years, but Rothy’s are significantly less expensive, more eco-friendly, and can be machine washed! While I still want a pair of Tieks, Rothy’s make more sense for my budget right now.

I decided to go with the traditional round toe ballet flat (“The Flat“). 1) I’m not a fan of pointy toes, and 2) the rounded toes are less expensive than the pointy toed versions. At $125 this is still a serious price tag for a flat in my opinion, but I did use a referral code to bring it down to $105. In North Carolina there was no tax or shipping fee, so a flat $105 it is. After input from friends I went for the Grey Birdseye — both beautiful and versatile. I ordered a size 7, which is the size I wear in flats from Banana Republic and BP at Nordstrom.

I placed my order on a Monday afternoon, received shipping confirmation about five hours later, then they were at my doorstep Saturday afternoon. Not bad for free shipping across the country!

They arrive in a grey shoe box made from recycled materials with beautiful blue foil text. The inside of the box reminds you what makes Rothy’s special–made from recycled material, machine washable, recyclable when you decide theyre too worn out, and versatile. The packaging is pretty, but nothing insanely special. The box does come with a pull tab to open, and the inside of the flap has a self-sealing option for if you want to ship them back.

The flats looked as they did on the website. I wore them around my house for about 3 hours and found the claims to be true (at least initially). I had no marks on the back of my heel, the edge didn’t dig into my foot anywhere, even the top of my foot/big toe bone where I often feel discomfort from shoes, and the shoes weren’t hard or plasticy feeling at all. I’m not sure I would call these ‘silken’, but they definitely don’t resemble a plastic water bottle. This is easily the most comfortable flat I’ve tried on.

I found them to be cute and comfortable on my right foot, which is slightly smaller than my left. My left foot was simply too large for this size 7. So for now I am exchanging them for a 7.5, which for reference is the size I wear in all Keds sneakers.

Exchanging was really simple! The FAQ on the website currently says exchanges are only possible by returning and purchasing a new pair; however, I did not find this to be the case. Being able to exchange instead of just return and re-purchase was really lovely because it means I didn’t have to go hunt down my referral code for $20 off again! Returns and exchanges are also completely free in the US. In my box I was instructed to head to rothys.returnly.com. There I entered my email and selected the return I wished to process. It asked my why I was returning with many options, I selected too small. It then asked me if I wanted to exchange for the same pair (The Flat in Grey Birdseye) and if yes what size, so I selected 7.5. Then I completed my return and was prompted to download and print a return label. Now I found this a bit annoying — I wish the Rothy’s just included the return label with each shipment. I know plenty of people who don’t own a printer and thus printing out a label is a bit of a pain. Considering there’s no way to try these on in person (unless a friend has some) you’d think they’d expect a large volume of returns for fit issues — so why not just provide the prepaid label?! But alas, I printed my label, taped it to the box top over the original label, sealed up the box with all its original contents with the self-sealing strip, then dropped it off at the post office.

I went to the post office late Saturday afternoon (I was hoping the cut-off time was 5PM, but sadly it was 1:30), so my shoes should be off back to Rothy’s first thing Monday morning. Once I get my size 7.5 pair I will post a complete review once I’ve received the correct size and have worn them around a bit more.

In the mean time if you’re interested in Rothy’s my first impression is very good! Not having blisters over a few hours is way better than all of my other flats. You can use my referral code to get $20 off until August 16th, 2017.

Edit:// if you want to see how I felt after my exchange read my next blog post!