POP Beauty Aqua Lacquer

Dry lips annoy me almost more than the sound of people rustling candy bags during movies, which is still a pretty high level of annoyance.  Despite my ongoing use of balms and a daily sugar scrub (I use PRO Smooth FX Lip Scrub & Balm by Victoria’s Secret before applying lipstick), my lips still seem to dry out quickly.  I LOVE lipstick in all of its finishes and colors and don’t want to have to skip the full color of lipstick in order to have the moisture of a gloss.

My solution has been to apply lipstick in the morning and then use a coordinating gloss when my lips feel dry.  I wipe off all product and reapply the lipstick around midday so that I can still have the color I crave.  It’s like the best of both worlds as well as an AMAZINGLY effective excuse to buy glosses to coordinate with every shade of lipstick I can collect.  
My Birchbox this month contained a full-size version of POP Beauty Aqua Lacquer in Floating Rose.  I love it so much that I have already ordered one in Melted Peach.  I adore the soft and flexible plastic spatula-type applicator, which sounds strange but actually does make sweeping on the gloss virtually  foolproof.  The formula is lightweight, not goopy and thick like other glosses.  As far as the colors go, each are very sheer washes of color with a nice dosePOP Beauty Aqua Lacquer of shine.  Because it contains vitamin E and jojoba oil, it actually works to moisturize my lips instead of just making them feel less dry. 
You’ll notice that I am deliberately not using the word “moist,” which annoys me even more than sticky lip gloss.  Watching our local meteorologist predict moist air and moisture all the time is a trial to be endured, and when offered a moist towelette, I take one for fear of the vomit that those words are likely to produce.
Anyway, I love this lip gloss.  You will, too.

Cost:  $14.00 on Birchbox

Packaging:  Typical plastic tube of lip gloss, with a neat twist.  Instead of a slanted tip with a hole in the middle, attached to the cap is a flexible plastic spatula-type applicator that makes putting on this gloss a breeze.POP Spatula

Scent/Taste:  There is a very mild minty scent to the gloss, but I almost had to jam the tube up my nose to smell it.  No taste that I can detect.

Bear in Mind:  That the word “moist” should never be used no matter what.

I Wish:  That it had a minty taste to go along with the smell.

Overall Rating:    4 out of 5 pink rock stars

4 out of 5 rock stars #birchblogger

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bareMinerals 100% Natural Lip Color – Gingersnap

bare-escentuals-bareminerals-100-natural-lipcolor-gingersnapI am on a lifelong quest for the perfect orangey-brown lipstick.  I saw the exact shade I want on a salesclerk once a very long time ago and I should have asked her then what she was wearing, and I didn’t.  I shall regret that move for the rest of my natural life as I purchase umpteen tubes of brown lipsticks with my fingers crossed.
That said, this is a very nice golden/peachy brown color that I definitely will wear.  I’ve also never tried a bareMinerals lip color product, and this one is a pleasant surprise.  It glides on easily and lasts for a long while.  Unlike most lipsticks, this one did not dry out my lips and I can still feel the moisturizing ingredients on my lips two hours later.
After reading the description on Ulta, I can see why my lips still feel nourished and moist.  “bareMinerals by Bare Escentuals 100% Natural Lipcolor moisturizes lips with a blend of jojoba, macadamia, sesame and coconut oils that delivers rich color that glides on and keeps lips perfectly hydrated and supple throughout the day. Brazilian cupuaca butter and Tahitian monoi oil wrap lips in a cushion of comfort and provide deep and long-lasting hydration. Pomegranate seed oil and Vitamin E help nourish and restore lips, while barley lipids replenish your lips natural lipid barrier while improving smoothness and texture.”
As a matter of fact, this is going into my make-up bag right now to replace my current nude/brown lip color.  I like it.  It’s a nice little find as far as formula, but my search for the perfect orange/brown continues.

Cost:  $15.00 on Ulta

Packaging:  Matte black plastic tube that twists up.  It’s kind of a bulky tube and is not as streamlined as others.

Scent/Taste:  None

Bear in Mind:  I ordered this from Ulta.com.  While researching this post, I was unable to find this line on the official bareMinerals site.

I Wish:  You know what I wish.  ::sniffle::

Overall Rating:   

The Return of the Redhead

Holy Hannah!  I am finally back to blogging after a very painful recovery from a lumbar spinal fusion.  My mother and I both have spines that did not develop properly as children.  My spine is degenerating at a faster pace than is normal, leading to a laminectomy in November of 2011 to the fusion of the same level my musebox piclast Monday.
They had to go through the front and back, which led to a really nasty looking incision that I will spare you all from posting here.  Last week and this weekend were hell, but I’m seeing the light of day now and am off of narcotics (yay for driving again!) and going to back to work (boo for working again!).
For the next SIX MONTHS, I have to wear the most blindingly white corset-type brace.  If I wear it under my clothes, I look like I’m in my second trimester.  If I wear it over the clothes, I don’t look pregnant but I also invite stares.  I think this season will be the season of cardigans. 
That said, I’ve been sitting around on my butt and playing online.  One of the blogs I follow, musthaveboxes.com, posted about a new beauty box My Musebox.  It looks to be slightly more expensive than my beloved Birchbox, but I am intrigued and am thinking about joining up!  Does anyone else have any experience with My Musebox?  Let me know in the comments, please.
Meanwhile, I will continue healing and working on redoing an old desk of my Grandmother’s into a vanity, which will be difficult as I can’t bend, lift, or twist for quite some time!

Avon Urban Splatter Nail Enamel

Avon Urban Splatter AppliedFull disclosure – I am an Avon rep (http://jpfalz.avonrepresentative.com/).  I will review Avon products here from time to time, and they won’t all be glowing.  My intention is to remain straight-up honest.  That said, this review IS glowing. 
I LOVE nail art, but I have some nerve problems in my hands that make it almost impossible for me to draw or paint with a steady hand.  There goes my illustrious career as a neurosurgeon!  There also goes my ability to do anything very cute on my own nails.  Also, I just noticed that my pointer finger is crooked.  Wierd.
What you see in the picture is two coats of Avon Urban Splatter Nail Enamel on my fingers.  No paint, no tiny brushes, no decals – just straight up two coats on my nails.  This particular shade is “Pink Splatter,” and after I had applied it I realized that it made me think of Cherry Blossoms, which made me think of my best friends in D.C., which made me happy every time I looked at it.
The base is very light, so chips weren’t noticeable .  It wore for a long time.  I loved it so much that I have already bought another color.  Urban Splatter comes in Blackout, Pink Splatter, Underground Yellow, Blue Vandalism, Purple Graffiti, and Urban Green.

Cost:  $6.00 from Avon.

Packaging:  Just a little black box with a bottle of nail enamel inside.

Avon Urban Splatter

Scent/Taste:  It smells like any other brand of nail polish.

Bear in Mind:  As you brush the coats on, you’ll find that the brush will deposit most of the decals on the top part of your nail.  It’s very easy to use the brush to “push” the decals around on the surface of your nails so that it’s evenly distributed.  Also, as with any enamel that contains glitter or decals or special effects, it’s a pain to remove.  You’ll have to get out the acetone to remove it.  Some of the decals might end up extending over the top of your nails.  Once they dried, I just trimmed them back.

I Wish:  My D.C. girlies weren’t so far away!

Overall Rating:   

Caudalie Divine Oil

Caudalie Divine OilI have always had horrifically nasty oily skin.  I was a slave to oil sheets, oil-control products, oil-absorbing powder and the like.  I knew that oily skin still needs moisturizer, but it seemed that whatever product I found for oily skin made the problem worse –  I could not even touch a moisturizer without my face becoming an oil slick.  When I received a free sample of Caudalie Divine Oil in my Birchbox, I was extremely skeptical.  Applying oil to an already oily face seemed so counter-intuitive to me, but I gave it a chance.  After all, I’m not getting any younger and I really need to start moisturizing in addition to my anti-aging treatments.  I’m happy to report that my face is now baby soft and positively glows.   Just a little applied to the face is all you need – it really covers a lot and it works wonders for your skin.

Cost:  $49.00 (100ml)

Packaging:  Thick glass bottle with a metal pump and a heavy cap.

Scent/Taste:  I can’t even begin to tell you how much I love the way this smells.  It smells woody and sensual and slightly floral.  I would use this as perfume if I could.

Bear in Mind:  That this stuff rocks!!!!!!!!

I Wish:  Caudalie made a fragrance of this scent.

Overall Rating:

5 out of 5!  Perfect!

The Body Shop Peppermint Smoothing Pumice Foot Scrub

The Body Shop Peppermint Smoothing Pumice Foot Scrub

I grew up on a little hobby farm in the country.  During the summer months, we mostly ran around barefooted.  I remember thinking that it was pretty dang cool that my Mom could grind out a cigarette butt with the heel of her bare foot.  Looking back, I can only surmise that my Mom had some pretty gnarly callouses on those feet and I’m glad that I didn’t investigate her skill further.

I never will be able to grind out a smoke with my heel, because my feet are baby soft, smooth, and pretty, and it’s all because of The Body Shop’s Peppermint Smoothing Pumice Foot Scrub.  I love the smell, the cooling sensation, and the texture but most of all, I love the fact that it works.  I’ve been using this for years and have tried other products, but always come back to this one.  I use it a couple of times a week in the tub – just scoop some onto your fingertips and rub into your feet and ankles.  Don’t forget between your toes, ticklish as they may be!

Cost:  $14.00

Packaging:  Blue plastic disc about the size of a hockey puck.  The top screws off.

Scent/Taste:  Smells like peppermint and menthol and everything tingly.

Bear in Mind:  I always end up getting a little pool of water on top of the product.  I imagine it’s because of my wet hands scooping up the scrub.  Easy to handle – just turn the disc upside down when you open it.  The product is thick enough that it will not fall out.

I Wish:  I had a lifetime supply of this product!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Overall Rating:   

evologie Intensive Blemish Serum

evologie intensive blemish serum

I never have a lot of blemishes at one time, but I usually have one enormous honkin’ pimple somewhere that can be contributed to cystic acne.  That’s the kind that feels like a marble is underneath your skin and just grows and grows and grows and turns bright red.  Quite lovely, really.

I had been using various spot treatments which seemed to do nothing but dry out the top layers of my skin and give me a huge honkin’ flaky pimple.  I received a sample of this serum in my Birchbox  one month and I have bought nothing else since.

When I feel a big lump starting under my skin, I put this on immediately.  Overnight the lump is noticeably smaller and not red.  It prevents the spot from turning into a huge blemish and it prevents my brother from calling me “Cyclops.”  It’s slightly expensive but it is so worth it.  I will never run out of this and I can’t imagine finding a product that works better than this one.

Cost:  $35.00 on Birchbox

Packaging:  Plastic pump.  Product comes out when you push on the top.

Scent/Taste:  Smells like eucalyptus and menthol and all sorts of natural goodness.

Bear in Mind:  A little goes a long way – press the pump lightly so as not to waste what I feel is white gold.

I Wish:  It wasn’t so expensive, but as I said, it’s easy to justify because it works so well.

Overall Rating: