Weekly Round Up: I am a Sephora Addict

Back in my 20s, I didn't really think twice about buying drugstore makeup. It was inexpensive, it worked, and at the time, I wasn't really paying much attention to what it was or was not doing to my skin. My 30s are a different story. For starters, my skin has changed (seriously, WTF is up with that?!), gravity is real, I'm further along in my career, and I decided that I just wasn't going to compromise with anything that I was putting on my face. Enter, my Sephora addiction. 

I'm at VIB status, and lets just say that Rouge is not too far away (for the uninitiated, its the Sephora rewards program: Beauty Insider, VIB, VIB Rouge-- as you move from left to right, you receive more exclusive access and rewards.) And. I've also now passed a tiny bit of this love for high end skincare onto Nick. True story: Nick and I were traveling and he forgot to bring his face wash (he's pretty low maintenance like that: face wash is the only skincare product he uses regularly, not counting sunblock in the summer) so I invited him to use mine. I've now ordered him his own $22 face wash. 

Anyway, as part of my weekly round up this week, I thought I'd share some recent beauty buys that I'm loving so far in 2016!


1. Marc Jacobs Beauty Velvet Noir Major Volume Mascara: full disclosure, I didn't technically buy this mascara. I received it as part of the Influenster program, and I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE it. I've actually stopped using the Dior mascara that was my go to because this is so awesome. It is super black and inky and really leaves your lashes with loads of volume. And rest assured, when the time comes for me to buy more mascara, this is the one I will be buying. 

2. Sonic Airbrush Sponge: Best $11 beauty buy. Its a foundation sponge and it really does a great job blending the foundation in so it looks like your face has been gently buffed. I love this product, although there is one downside-- you end up using more product than if you're using a foundation brush.

3. Marc Jacobs #Instamarc Light Filtering Contour Powder: I have a round face. And all those crazy youtube contour makeup videos got me thinking I could fake some cheekbones. And I have to say, this lets me do a subtle fakeout. I've also discovered I really like highlighter, so there's that.

4. Veil Mineral Primer: I love this primer. I've used so many primers over the past few years, and this one is my absolute favorite. It goes on super smooth and even, and I swear it makes my makeup last longer. The super sleek packaging doesn't hurt either.

5. Tangle Teaser: If you've been following me on Instagram (and if you haven't, why aren't you?) then you will notice that I've been wearing my hair curly (its natural texture) more often. The problem with my curly look is that I still hate washing my hair, but the curls really do tangle my hair. This tangle teaser hairbrush is a lifesaver. No more ripping out hair from the root -- detangling is easy and painless! 

I hope you enjoyed this roundup of my favorite beauty products! I'll do another in a few months, because after all, I am a Sephora addict, but in the mean time, leave me a note in the comments if there are beauty product you think I should try! 


CLE Shops: Pure Okwuma

One of the things I forgot about puppies are their razor sharp claws. And Webster's claws really are like little daggers! Needless to say, my arms and legs were getting really scratched up, until I started using the recently launched Pure Okwuma body butter. 

Made from shea butter and cocoa butter, this body butter is 98% paraben, phthalate and sulfate free. It is fragranced with botanicals like basil, green tea, and bergamot, and honestly smells like fresh cut grass with a hint of citrus-- its like the essence of spring in a jar! You might think that the shea and cocao butters make this greasy, but it absorbs into your skin very easily, and keeps it soft for an impressively long time. And most important to me, this product is not tested on animals! Oh, did I mention it is also vegan?

I had an opportunity to speak with founder and CEO Kaylyn Danielle to learn a little bit more about how she came up with this product. Upon graduation from college, Kaylyn became interested in heathy lifestyles, the environment and social responsibility, and found that she had a hard time finding natural products for her skin and hair. After tinkering with some homemade concoctions, she came up with the unique mix of ingredients that make up Pure Okwuma, and the rest is the beginning of a whole new beauty adventure, founded right here in Cleveland! 

Pure Okwuma believes that people should feel alive and empowered in their skin: As Kaylyn says "I wanted to show people that there are many ways to be comfortable; not only in our skin, but in our willingness to relax and let go of all of the stories, labels and judgments that we have placed upon ourselves." So go ahead and try this new product, and get a little more comfortable with how amazing your skin will look and feel!

Disclosure: I was sent a 2oz container of Pure Okwuma body butter to test and share my thoughts via Things I Luuuuurve. As always, all opinions are 100% my own! 

Subscription boxes: Julep

Last summer, I signed up for a nail polish subscription box-- Julep. Julep is famous for its 4-free colors and striking bottle shape, but back when I signed up, I was really not one for painting my own nails. In fact, I basically sucked at it.  But over 6 months of a subscription (and one Clean Slate Polish Corrector Pen later), I have shown tremendous improvement.

Now, you may be thinking-- how many polishes does one human need? What if I don't like the colors? I'm here to assure you that there is no need to worry. Not only can you customize each box for whatever colors you want, you can also switch it out for beauty products. Personally, I'm a fan of their lip colors, especially their lip crayons that are super hydrating, as well as the pedi creme. And, they usually send you a little gift in each box-- sometimes its candy, but this past month, it was a glitter top coat with tiny hearts in it!!!

Now for the cost: you can get a monthly box for $24.99 (+ tax)/month or you can sign up for 3 months at a time, and the cost per month drops to $19.99 (+ tax).  You can click here* to join!

*If you use the link above, I do get a referral fee (which is open to any Julep Maven who refers her friends to the service)

Winter Skin Survival

A few years ago, I did a little feature on beauty tips on Fox 8.

But since that was over a year ago, I feel like I'm due for an update. Here's what I'm using the winter to keep my skin soft and hydrated:

From left to right:
Julep Mint Condition pedi creme: I walk around barefoot. Which is so terrible in the winter, but its what I do. This smells delightful, and works wonderfully for daily wear. I usually put it on before bed and before workouts-- I once read that the heat from a workout helps the lotion get absorbed into your feet. I'm not sure its actually true, but it certainly doesn't hurt! *cruelty free
Lush Sympathy for The Skin: I do not say this lightly-- this is THE BEST body lotion ever. It smells like vanilla (you can see the flecks) and dessert, and it leaves your skin ridiculously soft. I've even gotten comments on how soft my skin feels. Even better: this product is vegan and not tested on animals! *cruelty free
Clinique Chubby Stick Baby Tint: This stuff spells sweet relief for my dry lips, and enhances the natural color of my lips. It looks different on every person, adapting to your own lip color. *animal testing language vague.
Swell Skin Miraculous Multi-tasker: This sea buckthorn oil is magical. Keeps my skin clear and hydrated, wrinkle-free, and also helps with accidental flat-iron burns. This smells a little "earthy" and is made locally, and is not tested on animals. *cruelty free

So there you have it-- my winter skin rescue arsenal. What are some of the beauty products that you're loving this season?