Birchbox All-Stars

Birchbox All-Stars Final

I’ve reviewed over 70 beauty and lifestyle products since joining the Birchbox family just over a year ago. Aside from the alluring monthly surprise to myself – I really have discovered and incorporated many new finds into my routine because of Birchbox’s rather genius, yet simple idea: sending high-quality samples, from high-profile brands to experiment with before taking your next big beauty plunge.

Like anything, Birchbox can be a total hit or a total miss (case and point: last month’s box), but I can’t help but look back and smile at my experience in general.

I received my most recent box just this past weekend, and I can already tell April is going to be all the more glamorous for it. It got me to thinking about what my favorite products have been since joining the Birchbox family 14 months ago.

And so, I’m feeling a little nostalgic today. It’s a good time to pause and reflect on my favorite discoveries, my top 10 out of them all. These are products that I now use with regularity, with a couple that I will be adding to my routine in the very near future. These are my Birchbox all-stars.

  1. Lancôme’s La Base Pro Primer – Full review here and here.
  2. Suki Exfoliate Foaming Cleanser  – Full review here.
  3. Color Club® Harlem Lights Collection in “Baldwin Blues” – Full review here. (Available for purchase here.)
  4. ChapStick® Hydration Lock – Full review here.
  5. Davines Love Smoothing Shampoo &  Davines Love Smoothing Conditioner – Full review here.
  6. Harvey Prince Hello Perfume – Full review here.
  7. Serious Skincare® Glycolic Gommage Extreme Renewal – Full review – here.
  8. Mally Beauty Evercolor Starlight Watercolor Eye Liner in “Sailor (Blue)” – Full review here.
  9. Camille Beckman Glycerine Hand Therapy – Full review here.
  10. Coastal Scents® Neutral Mirage Palette Set – Full review here. (Cheaper here!)

Stay tuned for the full review of April’s products coming at the end of this month! Happy primping, ladies!

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(I’m not affiliated with Birchbox outside of just being a fan…with an opinion.)

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What I’m Lovin’ Right Now

It’s 87 degrees outside as I write this. My home air-conditioning unit has gotten light usage as of late. The birds are chirping in full effect, leaving “bodily surprises” all over my car once again (boy, do I miss parking in a garage!). And trips to Yogurtland are happening with more regularity. On more than one occasion, I’ve stepped outside, greeted by our trademark LA sunshine and smiled to myself as the warm heat hits my face. Aah, do I love this weather!

It’s no secret that I’m usually a much happier person when the world outside my door is circa 80-85 degrees. This is the time of year when the balance is just right. Warm, sunny, gorgeous…but manageable. I’m realizing as I write this that all too soon a huge transition will take place and I’ll be melting in 101 degree weather – cursing the electric company when I get my bill in the dead of summer because the A/C usage becomes anything but “light.”

Until that day comes, I’ll continue to enjoy the sun on my face, less expensive electric bills, and even try to enjoy the song-like chirping of the birds despite their nasty behavior. Because, hey, we all have “bodily surprises”…I just wish it wasn’t all over my freshly washed car.

Here are a few things making me smile a bit bigger about the warmer weather. Here’s what I’m lovin’ right now…

…and p.s. – if anyone ever asked me to describe myself in just three words, it would be #1 below. xx


1. She Loves Adventure | LoveLustFashionBeautyRomance

2.  Parmesan Cauliflower Bites | Damn Delicious

3.  Sassy Tank Top | Etsy

4. 5 Steps to Melt-Proof Make-up | Lauren Conrad

5. Report Simba Flats | DSW

6. Life is like a Box of Chocolates Contact Lens Case | Etsy

(Yes, I still actually wear contacts in the 21st century. I’m working my way to the whole Lasik thing.)

7. Stella McCartney Lucite Clutch | Media Cache

8. Old Fashioned Georgia Peach Lemonade/Ice Tea | The Gaia Health Blog

9. Gold Knuckle Rings, Black Manicure | Sarah Sarna

10. My Dream Kitchen Inspiration: bright, airy, spacious, sleek and modern | Media cache

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Birchbox Review: June

Birchbox June Products Individual

A few weeks ago, Birchbox users got an email cheerfully announcing some branding changes that included a new website design and logo.

Personally, I’m all for wanting to change things up, to keep things relevant and fresh;  but I was seemingly in the majority of people who were less than thrilled with the re-design. Birchbox’s aim to present a more “sophisticated” branding lost much of the playful femininity that made Birchbox fun.

I suspect part of the now more gender neutral approach in branding is to appeal to the masculine and gain more subscriptions for Birchbox Men. I’m sure they’re paying all the right market researchers and top advertising companies to help streamline this new way of presenting their brand, and while they should trust these agencies over a humble gal from LA with an opinion; somehow in the long run I just don’t think many men will buy into the brand and it’s core goals the way women ultimately do. Perhaps there’s more to come that might change my mind or prove me dead wrong, but typically men don’t buy into the beauty business the way us ladies do.

Here’s how June’s samples shaped up…

{1.} Davines Love Smoothing Shampoo – I was surprised by how much I liked this shampoo (and later the conditioner and hair oil). It has a wonderful scent and my hair instantly felt moisturized and soft as I worked the product into my wet hair.  This shampoo’s claim to fame is that it helps tame frizziness. I can’t tell if it’s because of the shampoo or the fact that I caved and bought a CHI flat-iron recently (or both combined) – but it’s been a good hair week and I can’t complain. I’m not saying I was convinced enough to purchase this expensive shampoo, but I am saying I didn’t hate it.

{2.} LAQA & Co. Fat Lip Pencil – In theory, I like what LAQA & Co is doing with this lip pencil. The color is long-lasting and vibrant and you won’t ever have to bother with a pencil sharpener. These are all pluses in my book. However, I found that the color I was given was extremely bright and went on as a matte finish. I’ve been experimenting with a bright pink lip lately thanks to this sample, and found that the best way to get any use out of this product was to use it lightly and blot like hell. It works well when I mix it with a new lip butter I bought from Revlon so I can play with the texture and the adjust the color more to my liking, but at $16 and the extra work I have to do to tailor it to my skin tone – this is a pass.

{3.} Color Club Wanderlust Collection in London Calling – This is part of what makes Birchbox fun! I likely wouldn’t have ever gambled with a lime/mint green-esque nail polish. It’s a welcomed change of pace.

{4.} Suki Exfoliate Foaming Cleanser – I think this is, by far, my favorite product EVER in all of my now 5 Birchbox experiences! I am in LOVE with Suki’s Exfoliate Foaming Cleanser. This delicious lemon fragrant scrub comes out of the jar with the consistency of a serious sugar scrub, but once mixed with water turns into a gentle foaming cleanser. When researching more about this product, I was ecstatic to learn that it’s also filled with organic ingredients, it’s synthetic free, and alpha hydroxy acids within the raw sugar are what make this product a must-have powerhouse. Caution: this should only be used once a day max. I typically use it in the morning to take in the wonderful scent (read: to wake my ass up) and prep my freshly exfoliated skin for an even smoother makeup application.

{5.} Davines Love Smoothing Conditioner – At the risk of sounding redundant, this conditioner is a wonderful compliment to the shampoo. It gave my hair moisture and softness. Enough said.

{6.} Davines OI/OIL Absolute Beautifying Potion – Davines lightweight and fantastically scented hair oil was great during those times when my hair needed a quick burst of moisture. An added benefit was a nice sheen that instantly took my tresses from dull to glam. As with the rest of the Davines’ line, it’s expensive and this deters me from buying full-sized products at this time. I’d be curious to see if my good hair week was in fact attributed to Davines’ line. I’m going back to my tried and true Aussie brand products with my new CHI to find out.

Happy Primping!



|| What I’m Lovin’ Right Now ||


“Two things define you. Your patience when you have nothing, and your attitude when you have everything.” – unknown

On a rather ordinary day when I was desperately trying to get something done but not seeing the results that I wanted, this quote popped up in my Facebook news feed…at just the right time. I instantly took a deep breath and told myself to just “keep going, keep trying, have patience.” I think what is often disappointing when trying to build anything is when you feel like you’re making this great big effort, but not seeing it actualized as quickly as you would like. It’s especially frustrating when you see others already in the realm of the type of success you’re after, and then it spirals downhill from there. So today, I thought I would share these 17 words from an unknown source, but words that recently made all the difference in my day.

Since I know I can’t be alone in this: be patient, if you too, are struggling with anything today. Just keep going and do the best you can. Since persistence and patience are usually the factors that ultimately drive you to success, it’s only a matter of time. And when you do get there and have everything you’ve ever wanted – be mindful – your attitude defines you as much as your patience once did.

love & light,


here’s what i’m lovin’ right now


|| Nikki Montoya Jewelry // Mayan Necklace.||


||Cupshakes = Cupcakes Blended with a Milkshake.||

|| Madewell’s Transport Tote in English Saddle.|| e138ed700e37c2b4c33486be4fe893eb

||Infinity scarves with shorts.||


||Alternate uses for your muffin pan // Lemon infused ice cubes (great for summer) & Pancake bites.||


||’s How to Cover Up Acne Scars.||


paris||I’ll see you someday soon, Paris.||

*click photos for image sources.

To Prime or Not To Prime

I’ve had a change of heart, girls. And it involves the use of a base primer before applying your make-up for the day. I always thought of primers as not very necessary if you use foundation and other beauty products that are already designed (though admittedly oftentimes fail) to have a “long-lasting” effect. If you recall, I reviewed Lancôme’s La Base Pro Primer in my first Birchbox two months ago and didn’t think much of it, not because I didn’t like it; but thought it was just another expensive something that I could live without. That’s until…


…this last week or so. I’ve been grabbing the La Base Pro Primer every morning to finish up the Birchbox sample, and realized not long after that when I really looked at my make-up toward the end of a busy day; my cheeks still had a subtle glow from the cream blush application I’d applied that morning, and most noticeably, my concealer was still managing to hang in there. My biggest beauty complaint is how flawless my eye make-up looks when it’s first done, but by 3:00pm, dark circle central returns under my eyes and my mascara and eyeliner seem to smear no matter what I do!

Even better, I’m noticing that my skin isn’t as oily by the end of the day. The primer glides on in an oil-free manner creating a matte texture on my skin providing the perfect canvas before adding my favorite MAC concealer and Estee Lauder foundation. At $42.00 a bottle, it is an expense, but one that I’m willing to overlook since a bottle should ideally last you for months.

So sincere apologies girls, I spoke way too hastily on this one. Lancôme’s La Base Pro Primer IS worth the hype!

You can take a look inside my make-up bag by reading about my favorite products here.

Happy Primping! xx

{Here’s a great how-to video to get the most out of your make-up primer.}