January favorites

Since I’ve never done a favorites post before, some of these finds are from December. From cookies to lip butter to metal music, there’s a bit of everything included.

Orphan Black

Airing on BBC America, Orphan Black is a sci-fi thriller about a troubled woman who discovers she is a clone. There’s enough of twists and turns to keep you guessing until the end of the season, and Tatiana Maslany’s multiples roles as the clones almost had me forgetting the same actor was inhibiting each one.

Orphan Black

I was late to the show, which originally aired back in March of 2013, because it aired on BBC America, and I’m not fancy enough for satellite TV. It only took me two days, however, to catch up on all ten episodes of the first season because I was hooked from the beginning.

If you haven’t watched the first season yet, there’s still time to catch up until season two’s premiere in April.

The Hunter by Mastodon

Sometimes you need a break from an album so that when you revisit later, it still sounds fresh and invigorating. That’s what has happened with The Hunter. I haven’t seen them play live in almost four years, so going back to the last album before the new one is released this year seems like a great lead-in to a new tour.

"The Hunter" by Mastodon

It’s a divisive record for Mastodon fans. Some feel they have strayed away from their progressive roots and conceptual themes by penning songs averaging three or four minutes long, while others praised Mastodon for taking a risk by composing music that could be taken as more “mainstream.”

I personally love this album. I don’t necessarily love it more than the others, but in a different way. Kudos to Mastodon for not fearing the wrath of metalheads and taking a different approach to the sound.

Her

When I heard the news about Spike Jonze’s new movie being about a man that falls in love with his computer, I was yearning for him to just keep making Arcade Fire music videos. Thankfully, this film was much more endearing than I thought it would be.

Joaquin Phoenix’s sympathetic character Theodor Twombly (are we in a Roald Dahl novel?) tries to navigate the world of intimacy and relationships in a nearby futuristic world that covets connections with technology more than person-to-person interaction. More than just a quirky romantic comedy, it’s a take on what it means to build a relationship in a world constantly replacing real emotional connections with technological ones.

Clarins One-Step Gentle Exfoliating Cleanser

The 1.7 ounce version of this product was my 100-point reward for Sephora’s Beauty Insider card, and I’m sure grateful I picked it! The orange smell isn’t all that great, but it’s quite faint. Personally, I’m not fond of a scent coming from my face anyway.

Clarins Exfoliating Cleanser

What sets it apart is the exfoliating power that leaves skin feeling baby-bottom-soft. Seriously. I felt the need to stroke my face several times after first using it.

The downside to this cleanser is that it’s indeed pricey, but worth it in my opinion since a small amount goes a long way. It lathers nicely, but if you have sensitive skin like me, I advise moisturizing immediately afterwards before the exfoliating beads cause any irritation or further dryness. Thankfully my sensitive skin actually cooperates with this cleanser, but it does cause a little redness at first.

Anastasia Brow Wiz

Anastasia Brow Wiz

Here’s yet another expensive item, but the results are incredible. Anastasia has great products to tame and shape eyebrows. This pencil and wand combo succeeds in creating realistic coloring and fuller eyebrows, while also being long-lasting.

Unlike eyebrow pencils, it’s a felt tip, so making mistakes are easier to wipe off, and it’s more a softened look compared to the intensity from an eyebrow pencil. If you’re really wanting to go further with taming those brows, the brow gel is wonderful also.

Nivea Lip Butter in Raspberry Rosé Kiss

Nivea Lip Butter

Hydrating and oh-so-lovely smelling, the Nivea lip butters are beneficial for drying lips in the wintertime.

The lip butter keeps my lips hydrated and soft for most of the day, but I will say that the raspberry flavor has a slight light pink tint to it. If you prefer no color whatsoever, caramel and vanilla flavors are also available. This is a great moisturizing lip product.

Forever 21 Open-front Shag Cardigan

Forever 21 Cardigan

Never did I think I would own anything related to the words “shag” or “faux fur,” but here I am with an exquisitely comfortable cardigan that I can throw on with a band T-shirt or nicer knit top when it’s cool out, but not too cool, which happens a lot more in Texas than actually being cold.

The cardigan is long, which comes in handy when I want to wear leggings to work and cover up what little butt I have, or to add more depth to a simple top.

Pepperidge Farm Milano Melts in Vanilla Crème

Pepperidge Farms Milano Cookies

So simple, yet so delicious. They’re like Oreos but less sweet. The only downside is that there’s not enough of them in each package!

I haven’t tried the other flavors yet, but the Dark Classic Crème and Boston Cream Pie sound like a mouth-watering foodie session too.

Related Links

“The Hunter” by Mastodon

Anastasia Brow Wiz

“Orphan Black”: Episode 1 [HD]

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Rack Room Shoes and DSW haul

Enough shoes? Never.
Enough shoes? Never.

Shoes seem to be my new obsession, but perhaps I have enough…for now. Here’s four pairs I picked up recently at an outlet mall’s Rack Room Shoes and DSW.

Rack Room Shoes

G by Guess Gavin Bootie, $14.99

G by Guess Gavin BootieThat’s right, $14.99. Rack Room Shoes had a “buy one, get one half off” sale, and since these were already on sale, it was quite a bargain. The original price was $79.99.

I’ve never owned anything by Guess, but they were a ridiculously low price, thus the urge to pick them up was too much. They’re a great way to wear something similar to a combat boot, but less heavy. It just takes a little more effort to put them on since there’s a zipper in the back and three buckled straps.

Nike Air Max Torch 4, $74.99Nike Torch 4

My pair of New Balance running shoes have been worn literally since middle school, so paying $75 every 10 years for tennis shoes seems level-headed in that perspective.

Out of the several pairs of Asics and Nikes I tried, the Torch 4s felt the most comfortable. There’s a lot of padding, so Air Maxes are great for people like me that need a lot of support when running.

There’s currently a neon phase when it comes to athletic shoes, and these were one of the very few pairs that didn’t have pink or purple details (I loathe both of those colors). Good luck finding athletic shoes in the women’s section consisting of just simple white, black, or gray.

DSW

Jellypop Artemus Oxford Pump. $13Jellypop Artemis Oxford Pump

I’ve wanted a pair of oxford pumps for awhile, but the majority of the ones I’ve seen were either too steep of a heel or too much money (ahem…Aldo). It was my lucky day in the clearance section of DSW.

It may seem like a tall heel, but they are actually quite comfortable, and don’t make you appear as if you’re attempting to walk on stilts. Since the lining is thin, wearing them in warmer weather will be suitable.

However, the laces are way too long. Having dual laces (one regular pair, and the other more like ribbon) is a good idea, but quite bulky. It’s a unique look that will take some getting used to.

Steve Madden Area Bootie. $59.99

Technically they were on sale, and $59.99 is more than I would normally pay for a pair of shoes, but my $13 pair of oxford pumps balanced the total out (at least that’s how I justified it). Because they are quite snug, I wouldn’t recommend them to anyone with wide feet. I have very narrow feet and they were form-fitting on me.Steve Madden Area Bootie

The cut-out style has been gaining traction lately, but what I liked about this pair in particular is the low heel and less clunky look. It’s a great casual shoe, and perfect for someone like me that wants to still wear boots in the spring and summer, but despises sandals.

The only qualm I have about them is that the zipper makes an annoying noise when I walk, so I’ll probably keep it tied with clear plastic stretchy cord. DIY for life.

I bought some clothes on another shopping trip, so I’ll post that somewhere down the line.

Which pair of shoes do you like the most, and what kinds have you bought lately?

Related Links

Soda Autry-S Leatherette Cut-Out Buckled Ankle Bootie – Black PU

Jellypop Women’s Artemus Oxford

Nike Women’s Air Max+ Running Shoe

Sephora Haul!

From left to right: Soap & Glory Face Soap and Clarity 3-In-1 Daily-Detox Vitamin C Facial Wash sample, Gucci Guilty sample, Sephora Favorites Fragrance Sampler For Her, Wei Royal Ming Firming and Hydrating Cream sample,  Phyto PhytoSpecific Moisturizing Styling Cream sample,  Josie Maran Argan Oil Hair Serum
From left to right: Soap & Glory
Righteous Body Butter sample, Gucci Guilty sample, Sephora Favorites Fragrance Sampler For Her, Wei Royal Ming Firming and Hydrating Cream sample,
Phyto PhytoSpecific Moisturizing Styling Cream sample,
Josie Maran Argan Oil Hair Serum

Wow, I haven’t kept up with this blog in over a year. It’s embarrassing really, but a new year means more self-motivation (at least for several weeks).

My first post back is just a recollection of a few products I ordered from Sephora online back in December. The benefit from buying them online instead of in the store is that the purchase comes with three free samples. In addition, I was able to get another free sample as a 100-point reward with my Beauty Insider membership (which is free by the way, so I definitely recommend it).

I’ll be doing some product reviews later once I’ve had time to test all of the products. There’s links for each product on Sephora’s website, but only for the full-size versions since most of the samples are no longer in stock.

Wei Royal Ming Firming and Hydrating Cream
Wei Royal Ming Firming and Hydrating Cream

First, we have the samples.

Wei Royal Ming Firming and Hydrating Cream

Sephora Listing

If you clicked the link, yes, you’re reading that right. The 1.7 oz version of this cream in $98. I just had to pick this sample to see if it’s so hydrating, because I’ll never be slapping any $98 product on my face!

Unfortunately, the bottle is absolutely tiny (smaller than my index finger), but hopefully will last at least a few days. I’ve always had problems with exceedingly dry skin, so that’s another reason I’m eager to try out this cream.

Gucci Guilty

Gucci Guilty sample
Gucci Guilty sample

Sephora Listing

I’m already loving this fragrance. It’s a little too strong for my easily affected nostrils, but still a very unique smell. I’ve never had a scent with a hint of citrus before, and there’s also pepper as well.

Soap & Glory Righteous Body Butter 

Sephora Listing

I had actually ordered a Soap & Glory facial cleanser sample, but apparently it was already out of stock (or someone made a boo boo), so I have body butter instead.

Soap & Glory Righteous Body Butter sample
Soap & Glory Righteous Body Butter sample

That’s okay, because body butter is something I’ve never tried.

Itchy legs is something that’s been problematic for the last few years, so maybe this will help. The packaging says it was voted “Britain’s best body butter.” Challenge accepted.

Phyto PhytoSpecific Moisturizing Styling Cream

Sephora Listing

Phytospecific Styling Cream
Phyto PhytoSpecific Moisturizing Styling Cream

There’s mixed reviews about this styling cream on Sephora’s website, but since it’s just a sample I don’t mind giving it a try. However, my frizzy mane is really long and unruly too, so I’ll probably be able to test this product only one or two times before it’s empty.

Josie Maran Argan Oil Hair Serum

Sephora Listing

Frizz is the number one annoyance I have with my hair, and it always has been. I’ve tried different serums and conditioners, but none have made any remarkable difference.

Josie Maran Oil Hair Serum
Josie Maran Oil Hair Serum

This serum is made with argan oil, which has surged in popularity lately. I’ve only tried the product once so far, but it did work better the current Garnier anti-frizz serum I’m using. The drawback? It’s $12 for a .5 ounce bottle. We only live once guys!

Sephora Fragrance Rollerball Sampler for Her

Sephora Listing

Fragrances have never been an interest of mine, but after gifting them for other people I decided to try this five-count sampler as a starting point.

Sephora Favorites Fragrance Rollerball Sampler For Her
Sephora Favorites Fragrance Rollerball Sampler For Her

If you’re not a fan of sweet, floral scents this isn’t for you. Pretty much all of the scents are floral. Fragrances included in this set are Chloé’s Chloé See, Gucci’s Gucci Flora, Juicy Couture’s Viva La Juicy, Marc Jacobs’ Dot, and Viktor & Rolf’s Flowerbomb.

The bonus, though, is that it includes a certificate for a free rollerball of whichever scent. My favorite so far is probably the Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb, though the Marc Jacobs perfume Dot smells delightful as well.

In the next few weeks I’ll have some reviews of the products once I’ve been able to sample  all of them. Let me know of some great fragrances, because I’m still a newbie with this!

Related Items

Marc Jacobs Dot 1.7 oz. – EDP Spray for Women

Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb 0.33 oz Eau de Parfum Roll-On rollerball