OuiPlease 1.2 Dreaming of Normandie

OuiPlease 1.2 Dreaming of Normandie

My favorite coralistas! Let’s dive into the world of truly luxurious subscription boxes, shall we?

OuiPlease is a brand new subscription service intended to bring the best of French fashion, beauty, and epicure to the discerning American woman. Coming in at $150 every two months, $175 for a single parcel, or $650 for the whole year (six boxes), it’s certainly one of the priciest standard (not counting limited edition special boxes put together by companies like PopSugar or Fancy) boxes on the market. Thank goodness it’s every two months, right?

So far, however, the value has been phenomenal. This is my second box (I also received the first, ‘Paris, I love you’, in December), and I’ve decided I like it enough to review it for you guys! Please keep in mind that this is NOT what I would consider a bargain – you are laying out quite a lot of money, even if you do get an exceptional value. This is not intended as a way for me to brag, I realize how lucky I am that I can afford any of this lifestyle at all. I do pay for this myself, (thanks day job! You’re boring but look what you let me do!), and I hope you enjoy living vicariously through me if you’re unable (or unwilling!) to spend this much on a box of ‘stuff’.

Let’s venture into that wonderful region of Normandy, shall we?

ouipleasenormandie

Read more

PopSugar Must Have – March 2015 “Travel”

PopSugar Must Have – March 2015 “Travel”

Welcome back to the last installment in “Jess Reviews All The Boxes” week, my lovely coral cabbages! Okay, there is one more tomorrow, but it’s for a box that isn’t anywhere near what I usually review! Get excited!

This month, PopSugar put together a travel themed box – probably aimed towards everyone who goes on spring break in late March and early April! Fortunately, I’m going to be on vacation soon, so these products will get a lot of love. This is probably one of the most ‘practical’ boxes I’ve gotten, and I am loving that PopSugar is back on track with actually well thought out curation. They were slipping a bit last year, but they seem to have pulled themselves off the brink.

Let’s dig in, shall we?

popsugarmarch15

Read more

Birchbox – March 2015 CREATIVITY

Birchbox – March 2015 CREATIVITY

Mes petites!

This is just the week I catch up on box reviews, isn’t it? Better late than never, I always say!

Birchbox has been doing this thing where they are sending us pretty fancy boxes. As much as I usually hate change, this is pretty cool. This box is supposedly all about creativity – how they decided March was the month of creativity, I will never know. But you do you, Birchbox, you know we still love you!

birchboxmarch2015

Read more

Glossybox – March 2015

Glossybox – March 2015

Bonjour mes petites choux!

Glossybox certainly was… interesting this month, wasn’t it? It almost feels like a bunch of products were just thrown in a bin and the packers scooped up handfuls to throw in boxes! I kid, but there is no curation, and certainly no obvious relationship between the products. C’mon Glossy, you’re my favorite, don’t let me down like this!

Shall we discuss, my friends? I think the meh photo pretty much sums up my feelings, but the products themselves aren’t *that* bad. Just not great! Onwards and upwards!

glossyboxmarch15

Read more

Holy Grail Products: BB Creams!

Holy Grail Products: BB Creams!

Hello there my darling petites choux!

Today let’s talk about that ever mythical product, that one perfect potion that solves all your ills and makes you look fabulous at the same time, that fantastical creature called the ‘holy grail product’. Now, I don’t actually believe that there is any one-size-fits all product that could be called *the* Holy Grail product. We all have different wants and needs and skin types – the list goes on, so the idea of one thing working for everyone is just laughable.

But, with that said, I do think it’s absolutely possible for people to find products that just work for them, way better than they expected, and that keep working for quite a while. For me, those products are few and far between. Usually I’ll find a great product, stick with it, but notice that the amazing results I had been getting either didn’t stick around or weren’t as great in the long run. I’ve found one moisturizer that gives me consistently great results, but of course it’s pricey. So for me, the whole concept of a holy grail product has been pretty much condemned to be an academic, rather than a practical, understanding.

Until now! (How’s that for a segue, eh? I should write for infomercials!)

I actually came across this product in a Walgreens awhile ago, saw it was new, saw it was inexpensive (and, knowing me, likely on sale), like the brand, and thought “Why the heck not!” Now, do keep in mind that I usually loath BB or CC or any weird alphabet soup products. None of them work, they break me out like mad, and I find them to just not be worth the load of bunk the hype dumps on you.

bbcreamholygrailrimmel_edited-1

Read more

Scrubbed Raw: An Adventure In Exfoliants

Scrubbed Raw: An Adventure In Exfoliants

My beautiful little coral cabbages! Welcome back!

So, over the past couple weeks, I’ve been doing an experiment for you. Skin care is one of my most fundamental joys in life, as you may have come to realize, and while I’m willing to spend absurd amounts of money on that one aspect of my ‘routine’, I realize that not everyone is able or even willing to. So I’m going to spend some time talking about products in various price ranges, starting with exfoliating scrubs! Now, keep in mind that there are many MANY exfoliating products out there on the market. Just because I chose these three doesn’t mean they’re the be-all-end-all. I chose them because they were all formulated to work well with my skin type, fit in the three price points I had in mind, and were all slightly different. If none of them sound appealing to you, please don’t take my word as law.

Also, for those of you concerned about environmental effects – most exfoliating scrubs are made with either shells or microbeads. How environmentally friendly these are depends on how they’re composed. But usually, they’re not super ‘green’. This is really too bad, but I’ll try to touch on how ‘green’ and natural each product is as I discuss it. If you want the same effect without those ingredients, I suggest you look at peels. They’re harsher products for your skin, but with proper use provide much of the same effect. Options! We have them, and it’s a beautiful thing!

Let’s get reviewing, shall we?

scrubbedraw

So, I’ve decided to start with the most expensive of the bunch. This is, naturally, the Sisley Paris Botanical Gentle Buffing Face Cream. Coming in at a whopping $95 for a 1.8oz jar, this is what you buy for yourself when you want some serious pampering. I’ve used products from this brand before – most specifically, the black rose face mask – and been very impressed. Not thrilled with the prices, but sometimes you just have to bite the bullet when it comes to making your skin happy. Especially when your skin is as snowflakey as mine can be!

This is… an interesting product. You apply it like you would a mask, let it dry, and then gently ‘roll’ it off your skin. Needless to say, it’s MESSY. They also tell you to only let it dry for a minute, but I found (through trial and error, because I want to be thorough for you!) that it’s more effective and easier to get off if you let it completely dry. Because it’s made with herbal extracts, it’s got an interesting but good smell, and it certainly feels nice on the skin. It’s not very attractive in the jar, and you have to stir it up a little bit every time as the water tends to settle at the top, but it feels nice and is relatively easy to get on your face.

Getting it off, however, can be a challenge. It’s just… messy. It gets all over the place, takes forever to come off, doesn’t all come off without the help of a muslin cloth, and is just generally a pain. What it does do, however, is make your skin feel really nice. I’ll give it that. You definitely get glow-y, and very very soft. So I’m going to tentatively recommend the product. For, you know, those Sunday evening pamper sessions where it’s okay if just your exfoliating step takes 45 minutes! It’s definitely an indulgent treat, but it’s not something I’m going to recommend if you’re looking for something that you can use a couple of times a week to really help keep your skin clear and fresh.

Next up, a product from one of my favorite skincare brands: Ole Henricksen! This is their Walnut Complexion Scrub and it is, as the name might suggest, mainly comprised of walnut shells. Well, walnut ‘powder’, which is basically just ground up walnut shells. It’s also got a whole bunch of other good-for-your-skin ingredients, including aloe vera, chamomile, and comfrey extract. Which is precisely why it’s my favorite of the bunch. Coming in at $24 for a 1.7oz tub, it’s certainly not cheap but it’s also not prohibitively expensive. The best part is that you only need to use a little bit to get the benefits. I find myself reaching for this more and more in the shower, after I’ve washed my face once, to really make sure my skin is clean.

Keep in mind that because it is an abrasive scrub, you should only use it 2-3 times a week. Those of you with sensitive skin should keep it to 1-2 times, and those who (like me!) suffer from combination/acne prone skin can get away with using it a bit more often than that. But walnut shells do carry the risk of causing micro-tears. So, be gentle with it when you use it, and don’t use it too often. I know I used to get super worried about micro-tears and the potential for infection, but I’ve found that as long as you’re not really grinding the stuff into your face, you’ll be fine. Be more gentle if you have large pores, but also don’t be afraid to use a stronger product like this.

Also, keep in mind that though the ingredients in this scrub *are* natural, it takes quite a while for them to decompose. So, if you’re trying to be super Eco-conscious in your skincare routine, this is your best bet of the bunch but it’s not perfect.

Last but not least, the bargain of the bunch! Coming in at roughly $5 for a large amount of product, St. Ives is probably a brand most of you are familiar with. I tried out their Pink Lemon and Mandarin Orange Scrub, which supposedly is brightening AND gentle! So gentle, in fact, that it’s nearly ineffective. It takes a LOT more of this stuff to reach anything near the same results as either the Sisley or the Ole Henricksen.

It’s got a nice fresh scent, and definitely removes dead skin cells, but just doesn’t give that oomph that I personally look for in an exfoliating product. I’ve used their other scrubs in the past though, and am generally comfortable recommending the line for those who are more price-conscious (while I used the CVS link to the product, you can pick these up nearly anywhere, though the price does fluctuate). This is a nice enough product, but I just can’t get excited about it. I would recommend it before the Sisley mostly due to the pricing difference, but it’s simply not terribly effective. Ah well, you can’t love them all can you? Even though I certainly try!

The Winner: Ole Henricksen!

Thanks for reading my lengthy thoughts on something as seemingly basic and silly as exfoliates, mes petites choux! I hope you liked it – do let me know if you want me to make this into something of a regular feature. I have a similar one planned for sheet masks, and boy has trying those out been an adventure. Let me know what you think! Ciao!

PopSugar Must Have – February 2015

PopSugar Must Have – February 2015

Hello again my darling little cabbages! How are you doing?

I’m going only moderately stir crazy with all this terrible weather we’ve been having, but I’m finally getting around to posting some of February’s box reviews. I even have some non-box posts going up sometime soon, and isn’t THAT exciting. PS do you like the mood lighting I’ve got going on with this photo? I was feeling in the Valentines mood, so I thought I’d play around a little!

Without further ado, let’s talk about PopSugar Must Have some more!

popsugarfeb2015 Read more