Thursday, May 31, 2012

Frozen Yogurt

One of my favorite snacks/ desserts is frozen yogurt or ice cream. So trying to lose weight and still indulge during the hot weather has been a little tough, especially when I can easily eat a pint or two of ice cream in one sitting.  It doesn't seem practical to purchase individual portions either, so something I started doing to take the edge off is taking regular yogurt (like the 80 calorie Dannon yogurts) sticking them into the freezer and letting it sit there for about 4 hours. The outer portion freezes and the center is still creamy. It takes the edge off and is a little healthier too!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Birchbox Series: June Jacobs Papaya Purifying Masque


Ever have that product that just makes you mad? This is one of those products and it really stems from the fact that this product is not cheap and it did absolutely nothing that it claimed that it would. I got 0.5 fluid ounce sample, which was about 2.5 applications. It smelled great, I was pretty excited to try it, but it did NOTHING for me. 

June Jacobs Spa Collection Papaya Purifying Enzyme Masque (August 2011) Full Size: $62.00

According to Birchbox:
“For instant complexion gratification, nothing beats an enzyme-based mask. This enzyme-based version quickly revitalizes skin, dissolving dead cells and brightening your overall complexion. It doesn’t hurt that the natural ingredients smell heavenly, and work without irritating skin.”

My take:
This did nothing. I followed the instructions to a T, and it did nothing.  It had no effect upon my skin and did not soften it, or dissolve any dead skin cells and did not brighten my skin. My everyday cleansers do much better than this cream did. 

How much is full sized:
$62.00 for 3.7 fluid ounces.

Did Birchbox make me want to buy it?
NOT AT ALL.  This did absolutely nothing for me and I would not recommend this at all to ANYONE.

Birchbox Series: Philosophy Purity


So I have never used any Philosophy products, but when I received this cleanser I got really excited because this was the rage product all over Youtube. It was THE product to have your hands on, and I needed to somehow get my hands on it. But being my silly self, I put it aside to use at a later time (makes total sense right? Ha! Not) I received a one fluid ounce sample, but it took me near 3 weeks to get through the product. 

Philosophy Purity Made Simple 1 Step Facial Cleanser (July 2011) Full Size: $32.00

According to Birchbox:
“This facial cleanser quickly dissolves dirt, oil and makeup to deep clean pores while maintaining the skin's proper moisture levels. purity made simple™ is gentle enough for the eye area and even for the most sensitive skin. As a final step, the toner balances out skin’s pH levels.”

My take:
This little cleanser sure lasted me a long time! It was very very gentle; almost too gentle for my skin. I prefer to use something that has some salisilic acid in it, so my pimples go away faster, and this was like washing with soap. (except the times I’ve washed with soap, it’s been a deeper clean). My skin did feel nice, but it was not anything special and did not get rid of my acne or breakouts. This is great for someone who has extremely sensitive skin. I don’t use the Clarasonic, just the Neutrogena Wave, which rather gentle on the skin. I did notice that the toner is rather nice, and that it had worked rather well.

How much is full sized:
$32.00 for 16 oz. 

Did Birchbox make me want to buy it?
Thank goodness I had a chance to sample the cleanser, because it made me realize that it is just too gentle for my skin. I would not purchase the product because it just isn’t what my skin type needs. 

xoxo,
Ema

Birchbox Series: Korres Showergel in Guava

Hi All,
   Another Birchbox post here and today's focus is the Korres Showergel in the scent/ flavor Guava.  I had never tried the Korres brand before although I have heard a bunch about the lip butters! (they are on my list of products I want to try one day) I had received a 1.69 oz bottle (really .69? couldn’t just get to .70?) and it lasted me about 2 weeks, which was a nice length of time and would have been perfect for travel (if I didn’t already have so many tiny bottles!)

Korres Guava Little Showergel (month year) Full Size: $19.50 (July 2011)


According to Birchbox:
“We’re not big on singing in the shower, but we can’t resist a good body wash. Korres’s lovely showergels fit the bill quite nicely. The foaming cleansers come in three transporting scents — Fig, Guava, Japanese Rose — that make for an uncommonly luxe daily shower experience. Plus, the paraben-free formula has natural ingredients to keep skin soft and hydrated.”

My take:
I have to say that I fell in love with the scent from just the first sniff. It is just so yummy and I was sorely tempted to find a drink or dessert that smelled (and would taste) like this.  Sad thing is though, after you wash off the gel, the scent does not stay (pity really). But it did make my shower time a lot more fun and was great in the mornings to awaken me.  Another good product that is paraben free, but I really did not notice my skin getting softer or more hydrated. 

How much is full sized:
$19.50 for 400ml

Did Birchbox make me want to buy it?
This was a nice product, but once again, it did not jump out at me as a  unique enough product that I would be willing to splurge on.  

xoxo, 
Ema


Friday, May 25, 2012

Birchbox Series: Befine Food Skin Care Exfoliating Cleanser

Hey All,
   Yep I'm on a roll with my Birchbox series! So today's product is the Befine Food Skin Care Exfoliating Cleanser with Brown Sugar, Sweet Almond and Oats (Phew try saying that 5 times fast!!) Birchbox gave a nice sized sample of the product (1.5 oz) and this lasted me roughly 2 -3 weeks, so that gave me a chance to really see what it was about. Of course if you have any further questions, comment below and I'll answer them as soon as possible. So, on we go...


1.       Befine Food Skincare Exfoliating Cleanser with Brown Sugar, Sweet Almond and Oats. (February 2011) full size: $25 
Yes, I did cut into the product to get every last bit (heehee)

According to Birchbox:
“Finding an exfoliator that’s effective without irritating your face is a bit like trying to find a needle in a haystack (and a scratchy haystack at that). This two-in-one product has gentle beads that first slough away dead skin cells and then melt into a creamy cleanser. It’s ideal for anyone who has sensitive skin or who simply wants to exfoliate every day.”

My Take:
Well this was a good exfoliator, my only slight issue with it (and this may be my own fault) is that I take VERY hot showers, so when I would use this product, the sugar scrub portion would melt away very quickly.  I usually could not get to scrubbing my entire face before it had melted away. Now the cleanser did melt into a nice creamy consistency and it was gentle enough for me to use daily and not be afraid of overdoing it. The formula is nice and on the thicker side with plenty of scrubbies. I did not see it really help my skin with acne, although it did leave my skin feeling fresh.  It is a natural product so the scrub did have some oil which would leave a slight film on my skin so I would follow up with some soap or even just a hot washcloth.

How much do you get?
4 oz for 25 bucks.

Did Birchbox make me want to buy it?
This was something I would not have tried otherwise, and yes I think I would purchase, but just not from Birchbox. I know the flash sale website Hautelook has this brand on sale every few weeks and the price goes down to 11 bucks. So I might purchase from there instead. So Yes Birchbox… you have made me want to purchase this.

 Have you been using any Birchbox products?
xoxo,
Ema

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

2 Week Weigh in Checkpoint

Hi all,
   This was my first weigh in since I started the gym about 2 weeks ago. I started at 196.5, after two weeks and spending 4-5 days at the gym for an hour and sweating like a nutter, I am now down to 188.6! WOOHOOOOO! that means 7.9 pounds down! Thank you God for some sign of my hard work!


xoxo,
Ema

Birchbox Series: Jouer Luminizing Moisture Tint

Hi all,
   This is #2 of my new Birchbox Series, which is basically just a look into the samples that I finish and if Birchbox has made me want to purchase the products. This also links to, does Birchbox really match you up with your likes? So this next item on the chopping block is:


1.       Jouer Luminizing Moisture Tint  (May 2011) Full size: $38
Bronzed is on the left...look at how ORANGE that is! Glow was not much better


According to Birchbox:
The oil-free formula feels positively weightless on but gives you plenty of even coverage. Skin looks soft and dewy and, thanks to SPF 20, you’ll be extra protected from the sun.

My Take:
Okay, I’m going to preface this with, I do not wear foundation or moisturizer on a daily basis. Frankly it is really rare for me to wear it simply because I don’t like the feel of another layer of makeup on my face. I’ll wear it for a fancy occasion where I need to look picture perfect, but day-to-day I don’t. I put this on and felt cakey.  My skin already is oily, so I get that “dewy” look rather quickly. I got the shades bronzed and glow, which on the website glow would seem to be my color, but it was FAR from it. (think Snooki). I touch/ rub my face often and just found this foundation to come off quickly.It's great that it has SPF, it states that it is hypoallergenic and water resistant (o.0). What turned me off the most is the color selection...um Birchbox? did you not pay attention that I said that I am fair skinned?

How much is in a full size? 
1.7 oz for 38 bucks.

Did my Birchbox get me to want this product?
I’d have to say no. Maybe if I had gotten my actual shade I would have enjoyed the product a little more. But since both “shades” have orange in them, I’d be concerned how the other colors look. Online they don’t look like the actual sample colors. When I look at the Birchbox site, they have a more neutral tone, but my samples were much much too orange.  

xoxo, 
Ema

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Birchbox Series: Pomega5

Hey all,
   So many of us have signed up for the subscription services like Birchbox, MyGlam etc etc with the allure of trying new products for a low price of 10 bucks (or around that) per box.  The main point of these companies is to give you the sample, once you try it out, you then have the option to purchase the full-sized product.  I always hear about people unveiling their boxes via youtube or here on blogs, but how often do we really use them up and review them? Do these samples really work and make me want to purchase it? Well, I wanted to start a series (as I work through my samples) and give my two cents on them and if my Birchbox has done it's job and made me want to purchase the product. Please remember, these are my own thoughts and opinions and if I disliked it, it just means that I have different preferences and that they are different from yours :) So what is on the chopping block first?


Pomega5 Green Tea Mattifying Moisturizer (February 2011) Full size: $58
Sorry for the unclear photograph, I've been working with my sister's old camera since mine broke!



According to Birchbox:
“ This silky moisturizer gives your skin the powerhouse ingredients and hydration it needs without feeling heavy. It’s perfect for combination and oily skin because it skins in quickly and leaves your face fresh and supple. Plus we love the citrusy-fresh scent. 

My Take:
I had about a 3-4 day sample given, and I used it both day and night.The color was a fleshy toned product that was a little on the thinner side.  I didn’t know this was labeled as “mattifying” because the container didn’t say it was (not that it made any difference because I didn’t notice my skin becoming matte!) It left a nice feeling on my skin, and it didn’t break me out (points right there for natural products!) and was light in texture but still kept my skin moisturized during some really bad cold and wind. BUT a citrusy-fresh scent? That left my head scratching, this was more of a very sweet pomagranet-y smell boarding on a hard candy. I would have purchased this product if it wasn’t for this super sweet scent, ( I got NO notes of citrus) This sample was nice, but having a large bottle of this stuff would have left me nauseous. I don’t enjoy my face products to have such a strong scent, and one that doesn’t leave me with “clean” feeling. Because of the smell I kept having this image that I was putting some sugary product on my face. 

What is the full size?
1.7 oz. That is a pretty small bottle for 58 bucks to be honest. 
 
Did my birchbox get me to want this product?
Not really. Yes it was a nice sized sample, but it caused me to underscore the fact that I dislike certain scents on my face but I will be now on a search for a similar textured product! The product also did not leave my skin matte, so it didn't really do it's job.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Montagne Jennesse Fruit Smoothie Mask

Hey Everyone,
   So I'll be bringing you all a review on Montagne Jennesse Face Masks, and in particular the Fruit Smoothie Pore Cleansing Crushed Raspberry and Mango Mask.  You can purchase these masks at Walgreens for sure, but I have spotted them once in a while in Rite Aid and CVS. These are those packet masks that are usually brightly colored and can be found inbetween the makeup and facial cleanser sections and retails for roughly 2 bucks a packet.

I was reluctant to try this mask because I have tried the Passion Peel Off Face Masque which broke me out like CRAZY. So needless to say, it was not a nice experience. But alas, I still had three packets still left. So I sucked it up and decided to just test it out. I used it about 3 days ago and have had a chance to check for breakouts etc.


What is it?
A mud/ clay masque that dries out on your skin to pull out the gunk in your pores. 

The claims?
To be pore cleansing and leaving the skin "softer".

Scented?
Yep, Crushed Raspberry and Mango. Now if I didn't know the name of it, I wouldn't really be able to pinpoint the scent. It's fruity and yummy smelling though.

The Pro's:
It dries in decent time and you get a nice amount of product. The smell is fun and just kinda a "pick me up". It did leave my skin soft feeling and surprisingly clean.

The Con's:
Well it seems the product is packaged to be a one time use, but the amount of product given is really able to be used twice, but there is no way to reseal it for later use. I folded it over and clamped it shut with a clip. Granted it's two bucks, but you get .07 oz, and I don't know....I just feel like I'm not really willing to toss half a packet into trash.. But for the amount I spent on all four packets, I can purchase a nice big bottle of a masque and use it many more times.

So overall:
I won't be repurchasing. They are not stand out products to me, but they aren't too bad either. This mask sits in the middle of not bad and not good. So if you enjoy the fun fruity scent...give it a try!

xoxo,
Ema

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Finished Products Pt 2


Hi All!
It’s time for another products that I have finished post! I feel like I am on a roll, but the be realistic this is probably the final batch of products that I had a little left and am now really working on full products (phew!) I’ve been pretty good with not spending money, last that I calculated I am at (roughly) 40 dollars spent. 
L-R: Softsoap Spa Radiant Body Wash, B&BW White Tea and Ginger Body Wash, Aveeno Lotion, B&BW White Citrus Lotion. TOP ROW: Calgon Tahitian Orchid, No Brand Foot Scrub, Avon Naturals Vanilla Lotion, B&BW Moonlight Path Body Butter



 1. SoftSoap Spa Radiant Body Wash: It says that it had some pearls in it, but the formula was so watered down that I had to use a lot to get a lather and the "pearls" were so few that I didn't bother to count it as "exfoliating". Not a huge fan of the scent either. Not repurchasing. 

2. B&BW White Tea & Ginger Body Wash: Talk about concentrated and getting your moneys worth. This lasted me 3 months! But I loved the scent and just a tiny bit lathered up so much and left my skin feeling clean. I already have bout 9 backups of this (B&BW sale...no shame!) The scent is fresh, and even my boyfriend purchased one because he loved it so much.

3. Aveeno Lotion: My sister used to have REALLY dry skin and hated many formulas, this was one that she didn't really like. I personally loved it, and will probably repurchase once I finish all these other lotions I have laying around the house (dear God, why did I buy so much!?!)

4. B&BW White Citrus Lotion: I've said it before, after using a lot of lotion products, I find that B&BW lotions just aren't moisturizing enough for my liking. Yes the scent lingers for a little while but when my elbows and knees need some TLC...it don't work too great.  I liked the scent though, found it rather refreshing and not sweet. I might repurchase, but it's not a MUST have for me. 

5. Calgon Tahitian Orchid: *siiigh* ok, I can say this product took me a while to finish, but just the scent doesn't seem right. FIrst off...doesn't smell like a real Tahitian Orchid, and second...it just didn't work right on me. I ended up using it as a room spray and even then...it just didn't seem to fit (really weird and wonky I know...but ever have just those products where you can't put your finger on it but it just seems wrong?)

6. No Brand Foot Scrub: Let's be real...this was rubbish as a foot scrub, but worked great as a body scrub. Yes it was minty but I liked it to wake me up on tough mornings. It wasn't greasy, or oily, just a great shower jelly with scrubbies in it. I liked it so much that i obviously cut into it. If I knew the brand or where I got it...I would probably repurchase. 

7. Avon Naturals in Vanilla: This just smelled like fake vanilla bean to me. I didn't love it, and it was just not memorable...or anything to write home about. Will I repurchase? probably not. 

8. B&BW Moonlight Path Body Butter: Ok, while the B&BW lotions aren't amazing...the body butters are pretty damn good! My legs still felt moisturized the next morning (after my nighttime application) and the scent was good. I might not try to use this particular scent though. (granted I have roughly 4 other body butters to get through...)

L-R: Color Workshop Eyeliner in Black, Burt's Bees Lip Shimmer in Rhubarb, Carmex Tub
9. Color Workshop Eyeliner in Black: This was a sample sized black eyeliner that came in a palette I purchased, and I was actually really surprised how smooth, dark and creamy this liner was! If they sold these separately I would probably repurchase, but I have only seen them in palettes (and these are dirt cheap too!)

10. Burt's Bees Lip Shimmer in Rhubarb: I love this thing! It has the mintiness of the regular Burt's Bees but a really nice tint to the lips.  This color does not have a frost or shimmer and feels really nice on the lips. Once I get through a few more glosses or chapsticks I will be buying this again.

11.  Carmex Tub: My holy grail lip treatment. My lips had never felt as nice as with this product. It was just medicated enough to protect my lips. Will be a repurchase as soon as I can because I almost always have one on hand.

B&BW Wallflower in Cranberry Bellini, Rembrandt Mouth rinse, Nail Polish Dryer
12. B&BW Wallflower in Cranberry Bellini: I was introduced to this scent by a friend and it just smells so yummy. It has a light and crispness to it that allows it to still be fruity but not fruit-punchy. I will probably repurchase once I finish out my other 4 wallflowers and if they go on sale again at B&BW.

13. Rembrandt Mouth Rinse: Meh, it was a good mouthwash, but nothing to really write home about.  I didn't notice my teeth getting any whiter. Frankly, if I had to pick between this or a large bottle of my usual mouthwash, I'd probably pick the cheaper version. Not going to be a repurchase simply because it just doesn't seem to be anything amazing.

14.  Nail Polish Dryer: This product was pretty cool, it dried my nails a bit and left a nice sheen on my nails.  I would probably buy this product again once I get through my Avon nail polish dryer.

L-R: Burt's Bees Citrus Scrub, Olay Gentle Cleanser and Scrub, St. Ives Apricot Mask

15. Burt's Bees Citrus Scrub: I enjoyed this sample and I found it rather surprising to have enjoyed it.  It took quite a while for me to really be willing to try because it had a different texture and color (deep brown). But the exfoliates were quite nice and varied in size. I'd probably repurchase if I see it, but it's not something I would go out of my way to get.

16. Olay Gentle Cleanser and Scrub: OYE, i was not a fan of this product. The only really good thing I could say was the pump on it which made it much easier to dispense.  The scrub was SO fine that it did not leave my skin feeling clean and the gentle cleanser was TOO gentle cleansing. It didn't lather up, and it was just an overall disappointment. NOT repurchasing.

17. St. Ives Apricot Mask: DISLIKED. After using the scrub I thought that it would be just as amazing, but I just did not like it. It wasn't great as a cleanser and the mask was ok...but got a lil funky towards the end there. For what I hoped it would be...it didn't deliver. Every brand has it's own flops and I think this is the flop of the St. Ives brand. 

So My Running Totals Are:
Lotions/ Fragrance/ Hair products: 9
Makeup: 6
Candles/ Scents: 5
Cleansers/ Body Washes: 11
Randoms: 2
Grand Total: 33

How are you all using up products?
xoxo,
Ema