Monthly Archives

May 2016


May Birchbox Review

IMG_4435 IMG_4438I was super excited when I got the email that my May Birchbox had shipped and was on its way.  For this one, I got to pick one sample (Supergoop! Sunscreen Oil) that I wanted to try out of a few options before my box shipped.  Also, you’re able to get a sneak peek and see what is in your box before you get it.  Since I don’t like waiting, of COURSE I looked to see what was in my box!  Now onto the reviews….

Cargo Blush and Bronzer Duo | Full-size $35:  I was so excited to try this duo.  I have always had my eye on Cargo’s products, especially this one.  I am traveling for work next week and this is absolutely perfect to throw in my makeup bag.  The colors?  Love… they went really well with my skin tone.  What I also like about this product is that it’s pretty sheer, but you can build it up to the color you want.  The last thing I want is a giant brown streak across my face with a pink dot in the middle of my cheek.  I obviously packed on the color to show you the swatch on my hand, so don’t be afraid of buying this!  I will buy the full size!  


Cotz Face Natural Skin Tone SPF 40 | Full-size $20:  This is a lightweight sunscreen that actually gives a matte finish! It’s oil-free, fragrance free and free of harsh chemicals.  Win win!  Only bad thing is that it comes with a tint, so unless you have a medium complexion, this won’t really work for you.  I still like my Clarins SPF, but this was fun to try.

Davines LOVE Smoothing Shampoo | Full-size $25:  I literally took a shower just so I could give you a review on this product.  I wasn’t expecting much but I have to tell you… I LOVED IT!  The smell is amazing… I have no idea what it is.  There’s olive extract, but I’m pretty sure that’s not it.  Smells like a light floral scent. I felt like I was in a fancy spa while I was taking a shower.  The shampoo foams and suds almost immediately and there is a LOT of bubbles.   It’s for coarse/frizzy hair, which I definitely have.  I didn’t feel like it dried out my hair and after I let my hair air-dry, I could tell that it was less frizzy and soft.  Am I going to buy the full size?  YES YES and YES!  *The conditioner was added as an extra bonus to my Birchbox.

Supergoop! Sun Defying Sunscreen Oil with Meadowfoam SPF 50 | Full-size $34:  For some reason when I picked this, I thought it was for my face.  I don’t know why it didn’t cross my mind that this could be for the body.  So, of course, it turns out that you’re supposed to use this when you are laying out on the beach and want some sunscreen and moisturizing oil.  Well, since I really do not like to lay out in the sun, I haven’t been able to slather this on my body.  What I did do, was put it on my arm to see if I would get an allergic reaction.  There have been some reviews that this can cause small red bumps on your skin.  I didn’t notice this at all and there is a nice citrus-y scent.  I would recommend this if laying out is your thing, otherwise, you can skip this.

Vera Bradley Fragrances Macaroon Rose | Full-size $48: It is incredibly difficult for me to find a fragrance that doesn’t immediately get musky on my skin.  So you can imagine how surprised I was when I put this on and I didn’t smell like someone’s grandma!!!  This is a very floral, girly scent.  It has the scent of macaroon, rose, sandalwood and jasmine.  I’m not quite sure I smelled the macaroon, but I definitely smelled everything else.  A bit too girly for me, but I would recommend this for someone looking for a new floral scent for summer!

If you want to jump on the Birchbox bandwagon too, here’s a link to join!


Best Mascaras

So this past weekend, one of my coworkers told me that I had to watch this stand-up comedy special on Netflix – Ali Wong: Baby Cobra.  If you have NOT watched this by now and you have Netflix, you are missing out big time.  I was laughing so hard, I am sure if someone was around me, they would not have known if I was laughing or crying.  Seriously, it was HILARIOUS.  Do yourself a favor, especially when you are having a bad day – and watch this special!

Now on to a beauty post!  By request, from my dear friend Florence down in San Diego, it’s time to talk about the Best Mascaras!  I do have to tell you though…I have ONE tried and true mascara that I have been using for YEARS.  I have stick-straight Chinese eyelashes, which makes it very difficult to keep them curled. Every mascara that I have ever tried – expensive, drugstore, mascara primer, EVERYTHING… has failed to keep my eyelashes curled.  Usually, they fall right back to being as straight as can be after applying.  So what works for me?  It’s the Covergirl Lash Blast Waterproof Volume Mascara in Very Black.  Best thing I have ever discovered.  It definitely makes my eyelashes look a bit fuller and longer – you have to try it!  Only bad thing is that it is extremely difficult to take off.  I recommend using some sort of cleansing oil, coconut oil, whatever oil you’re currently using to get it all off.

The other mascaras I have listed on here, are some of the best selling ones out on the market right now.  I have heard great things and even have friends who swear by some of these.  Tip:  A few times a year, Nordstrom will have a buy 2, get 1 free Mascara Madness Event.  That is a great time to try some out and save a few bucks!

Has anyone tried a mascara not listed on here that works well on Asian eyelashes?  If so, let me know!  I love trying new things!



April Birchbox Review

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I finally jumped on the subscription service bandwagon and decided to subscribe to a monthly box with beauty/skincare products.  I like experimenting with skincare more than I do with cosmetics, so after doing a lot of research online, I decided to go with Birchbox.  This is the first box that I got and since I signed up during the month of April, it came at the end of April.  Sidenote: those who live on the West Coast may have to wait up to 10 days after shipping to receive their box.  For someone like me who is impatient, this was not a fun wait.

Birchbox did a collaboration with Rifle Paper Co. – hence the box title.  I was also able to enter a code at checkout to get a free notebook and coupon.  Who doesn’t love free things?  I think I’ll be carrying around one of those little notebooks to write down blog post ideas while I’m out and about.  Now, onto the reviews:

(Malin + Goetz ) grapefruit face cleanser | Full-size $32  This citrus-y cleanser is supposed to help dissolve dirt and oil, clear breakouts, and balance your skins natural pH.  This one is oil-free and has hyaluronic acid and vitamin E.  After my first use, I didn’t even realize it was supposed to be a foaming face wash.  I squeezed out about 2 pea sized amounts, added water and washed my face – with no foam.  It wasn’t until the 3rd time I had used it, that it started to foam.  Strange… Anyway, it smells just like grapefruit, which I LOVE.  It seems to be gentle, doesn’t dry out my skin, and my face feels and looks clean.  It reminds me of my Fresh Soy Cleanser as it is pretty gentle.  I think this would be great to use with a Clarisonic – foaming or not.   I would buy the full size.  

(Malin + Goetz) Vitamin E Face Moisturizer | Full-size $–  This came as just a bonus small sample.  I really liked using this in conjunction with the face cleanser.  Doesn’t have the most pleasant of smells but I got used to it after awhile.  Very light, oil-free and I liked using it as a daytime face lotion.  The product description even states that it would be great as makeup primer.  I will have to agree on this.  Thumbs up!  I would buy the full size.  

amika Touchable Hairspray | Full-size $24 This hairspray is a dry mist that offers strong-yet-flexible hold while battling frizz by protecting against the effects of humidity.  I tried and the smell immediately reminded me of bug spray.  It is not as “touchable” as I would like and quite frankly, this will go in my handbag for emergency purposes but I will not be purchasing a full size.

Milk Makeup Gel Brow – Pilsner (Medium Brown)| Full-size $18:  This is a gel formula that is waterproof and transfer-proof.  I liked how it felt going on my eyebrows.  I can definitely tell that there is some wax in it to hold my eyebrow hairs in place.  The color was not bad for me, a little darker than I would prefer but not bad at all.  This was just okay.  I prefer the eyebrow pencil that I usually use, Cle de Peau, but I will put this in my travel makeup bag for touch-ups while on the road or at work.

PETER THOMAS ROTH Acne-Clear Invisible Dots | Full-size $30: Comes in two different sizes so you can pick which one will best cover your breakout.  There is salicylic acid to heal breakouts and prevent new ones.  This one was a lot of fun because they’re stickers – and who doesn’t like to play with stickers?  Luckily, and not so lucky, I had a pimple that was starting to sprout on my chin so out came the stickers.  And what do you know, after sleeping with one of these suckers on my new friend, the pimple was not red and was pretty much gone.  Now, I have to say that it was in its “beginning stages” so take that with a grain of salt.  This stuff isn’t bad and I will probably buy the full-size when I run out of the samples.

The Beauty Crop PBJ Smoothie Stick – Guava Nice Day | Full-size $14.95: Contains Sweet Almond Oil.  Upon application, I immediately noticed a sweet smell.  I couldn’t tell if it was lychee, guava, or melon but it definitely has a nice scent (I actually figured it out from the website – it’s almost butter and goji berry!).  The color is pretty but not exactly something that I would wear on a daily basis.  Nice to have for days where I feel like wearing some color on my lips.

I just got an email notification that my May Birchbox was shipped and is on its way!  I can’t wait to review the next box for you.  If you want to join me, subscribe HERE!

Until next time….


Best Moisturizers

I decided to start doing some “best/top 5” posts and since I’m on a skincare kick right now – why not start with the best moisturizers for your skin type?  I have tried every single product that I am recommending at different times of my skin’s life.  It’s definitely true what they say, one day you’re going to have “normal skin,” then it’s going to be “combination skin,” then it’ll be “dry skin.”  You have to know what skin type you have and make sure you get the correct skincare products that will help with the problems you have.  Sometimes I will notice my skin is dry at work and all I have is hand lotion.  I don’t recommend doing this on a daily basis by any means, but if it’s an emergency – it should be okay for the time being… I know a handful of people who use body lotion on the face.  DON’T EVER DO THAT…. Ok, onto the post!

Normal Skin: Kate Somerville Nourish Daily Moisturizer|$65.00 – The company says that this is a light, sophisticated formula that delivers brightness and nourishment.  Great for all skin types (even sensitive skin).  Plus, it helps with anti-aging too!  If you have “normal skin” then you are a lucky lucky person.  Back in the day, when I thought I had “normal skin” and before I turned 30, I tried this moisturizer out.  It was when Kate Somerville first came out with her skincare line.  I remember it vividly – I was working at the big fancy and the sales associate that was in charge of the line walked over to my department with some free samples.  I, of course, purchased an entire skincare regime because I love trying out new lines.  I love how it has lavender, ginger and orange in it.  It’s lightweight and has a great scent!

Acne-Prone Skin: Clean & Clear Dual Action Moisturizer Oil-Free|$8.40 – One day my coworker came to my house (again, back in the day) and she looked at my shelf that has all my skincare products on it and she couldn’t believe that I used this product.  Well, the truth is… I went to a dermatologist when my skin was not very happy with me and she recommended this.  I have to say, this definitely  helped in my 20’s when I was breaking out like crazy.  Some pro’s about this stuff – it’s cheap, you can buy it ANYWHERE, and it works!  Why don’t I use this now?  Well, obviously as you get older – your skin has different needs.  Now I need anti-aging, anti-wrinkle, basically anti-anything right?  But, if you are having some problems with acne and need something – use this stuff.

Moisturizer with SPF: Clarins Brightening Hydrating Day Lotion SPF 20 Oil-Free Nordstrom|$65.00 – I actually stopped using this about a year ago because I wanted to try something different.  But I have to say that I did like this.  I bought maybe 3 bottles of this but unfortunately the price kind of kept me away from staying with it forever and trying out other things.  Lightweight moisturizer in a nice pump bottle.  Definitely worth a try if you are looking for a daytime lotion with SPF.

Dry Skin: Bobbi Brown Hydrating Face Cream Nordstrom|$58.00 – There was a time when my skin was super duper dry and I needed something to get it back to it’s dewy glory.  I like the glass packaging that it comes in and it definitely helped my dry skin.  I didn’t repurchase it because I didn’t need it anymore.  Right now if my skin gets a bit dry in the winter – I go through my bag of samples that I have collected from Nordstrom & Sephora and I usually have some “extra moisturizing” face lotions in there.  If I have my favorite La Mer samples, you better believe I use those first!  Side note – you can get La Mer samples when you order beauty/skincare products from Nordstrom.

SPF: Shiseido Urban Environment Oil-Free UV Protector Broad Spectrum SPF 42 Nordstrom|$32.00 – I know I did a review on my favorite Clarins SPF, but I wanted to offer another option.  Also, I know this isn’t a “moisturizer” per se, but if are you too lazy – you can totally just put this on and it kind of moisturizes your skin.  I do this sometimes if I am going hiking.  I sweat so much that I don’t want to sweat off my moisturizer AND my sunscreen all at once.  So that’s my lazy tip to anyone out there…. but back to the review – All of my sisters use this SPF so it has to be good.  Plus, I always see it on the “top SPF” list when I’m googling stuff. I just never liked it – personal preference only.  I know that Shiseido is good for Asian skin but since I’m all about packaging and smell it never appealed to me.  It’s a great product and definitely a good SPF, especially since it is at 42 SPF.  Give it a try!

Combination Skin: Fresh Black Tea Age-Delay Cream Nordstrom|$90.00– This is what I currently use and I love it.  I totally contradicted myself in the review above about the SPF saying I didn’t want to put the one that I love BUT I really love this one.  It’s pricey but worth it.  I love the consistency and the packaging.  The smell no longer bothers me and my skin just feels so luxurious after I apply it.  If you have combo skin like me, get a sample and try it out!

Oily Skin: Kiehl’s Rosa Arctica Lightweight Cream Nordstrom|$60.00 – I generally use this in the summer when my oily skin is out of control.  I like that it smells like lavendar and it’s lightweight.  Plus, the light aqua color of the packaging is just so pretty.  I can hear everyone right now saying in their head “Susie!  Packaging doesn’t mean the product works!”  I know…but I love a good packaging!  Kiehl’s does make this in the original formula that isn’t lightweight.  I find it to be a bit too heavy for the summer, but good in the winter.  I actually have the original formula and am planning on trying it out soon to see how it goes with my skin – will update you in a few months when that happens!

I hope this was useful to you.  If there are any other “best/top 5” posts that you would like to see, let me know!  It could be “best leather jackets” or “best nude sandals for the season.”  Don’t have to be beauty only, it can be fashion as well. Leave me a comment below and I will make that happen for you!

Until next time!


Maxi Skirt

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Outfit Details:  Top: Anthropologie (similar) | Skirt: Classiques (similiar) | Shoes: Tory Burch | Clutch: Gianni Chiarini  | Sunglasses: Ray-Ban | Watch: Michele (similar) | Bracelet: David Yurman 

I pass by this neighborhood and especially this beautiful Spanish style house all the time on my way home from work.  I LOVE Spanish styles homes and it is my absolute dream to own one someday.  I would like it to have one of those doors that looks like a front door, but when you open it – it’s actually a courtyard to the ACTUAL front door of the house.  Then when someone knocks on it and I don’t want to answer it, all I have to do is look at my camera and ignore them.  Yes, my house would be so fancy that I would need to install cameras all around it!  No more tiptoeing around the front door and making sure I don’t make any noises as I go look through the peephole.  LOL  Plus, wouldn’t it be amazing to eat meals and have coffee in the courtyard?  One day….

Now on to my favorite maxi.  The fabric is super flowy and I feel whimsical each time the wind picks it up and blows it to the side.  Plus, there’s a side slit which makes it so not boring.  Remember when Angelina Jolie wore that dress that had the huge side slit to an awards show and she kept posing with her leg out?  Well, that’s exactly how I feel like when I’m wearing this maxi skirt.  I can’t forget to mention – there are POCKETS in this maxi.  Pockets!  Who doesn’t love pockets?

I like to wear flat sandals when wearing maxi skirts, I just feel like those are the most logical because of the length of my skirts.  I bought these Tory Burch Miller sandals way back in the day when they first came out and I cannot believe they have lasted me this long.  It has to have been at least 7 years.  They’re great if you want a sandal that are a bit more “dressy” than rubber flip flops.  Perfect to wear in the Spring or Summer with dresses, skinny jeans, skirts – ANYTHING that you want to dress up just a bit.  Plus, they come in so many colors!