Kenra Brightening Treatment Intense Violet Toning Masque

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I've been blonde my entire life but never really paid much attention to toning or brightening the color that I have. Over the years, my hair has gotten darker, so I have been coloring it a lighter blonde for quite some time now. My roots do tend to go brassy faster than I would like in between touch-ups, so maybe toning isn't such an inconvenient idea.



I was sent two samples of the Kenra Brightening Treatment Intense Violet Toning Masque for review from Influenster. Immediately, I noticed how dark the color of the mask is. The package says "Intense," and it's not kidding. The product is dark purples and has a pleasant coconut scent. I use this mask once a week (1-2 times a week is suggested) and leave it on for 3-5 minutes after I've shampooed my hair. The directions say to focus on the roots and work your way down, and that's what I tried to do each time. If your hair is anything like mine, then most of the brassiness will be towards the roots.



I noticed a huge difference after the first use. My blonde was much brighter. To be honest, I wasn't expecting to be able to tell much of a difference, but I really did! The picture below is from the second time I used it. I still noticed a difference, but it wasn't as drastic as the first use. I seem to get the most benefit from this mask by using it once a week rather than twice a week.
I was sent two 1 fl. oz (29 mL) samples of the Kenra Brightening Treatment Intense Violet Toning Masque, and I was able to get 4 uses out of each of them and still use a generous amount. I'm so glad I had the opportunity to sample this brightening treatment and am very pleased with how it performed. I do plan on buying a full size of this in the future.

Do you use any kind of brightening treatment or toning mask in your hair care routine?



Product was sent for review. Regardless, all thoughts and opinions are my own.


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Laura Mercier Eye Art Artist's Palette

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Hey, everyone! I'm back again with another review! I got the delightful Laura Mercier Eye Art Artist's Palette for Christmas, and I've enjoyed it so much that I thought I would do a review. I love Laura Mercier's eyeshadows and have a few of the singles, including African Violet, and they are some of my most-used shadows. Typically, I wouldn't be too thrilled having an extra, but in this case, I don't mind at all.



The palette contains 12 eyeshadows with cool shades on the top row and warm shades on the bottom. Espresso Bean, Fresco, Plum Smoke, Truffle, Vanilla Nuts, and Violet Ink are the Matte Eye Colour formula. African Violet and Bamboo are Luster Eye Colours, and Guava, Kir Royal, Primrose, and Sparkling Dew are Sateen Eye Colours. 

Sparkling Dew, Guava, African Violet, Plum Smoke, Kir Royal, Violet Ink
Vanilla, Nuts, Primrose, Fresco, Bamboo, Truffle, Espresso Bean
As you can see, the lighter shades blend right on into my skin tone. Most of these are pigmented, but I wish Guava showed up a bit better. It tends to blend out into almost nothing. The luster shades, African Violet and Bamboo, are my favorites to wear on their own for a one color blend-it-out-and-go type of look. The matte shades are pigmented and blend well. I haven't had any fallout with these either, even when I have used Violet Ink and Espresso Bean as liners.


Here are a couple of eyeshadow looks I've worn using this palette. I love purples and neutrals, so it has been easy for me to pick up this palette and play with it.

African Violet on lid, Kir Royal in crease & outer v,
Violet Ink blended in outer v, Vanilla Nuts under brows,
Violet Ink used as liner
Bamboo on lid, Fresco blended out in crease,
Vanilla Nuts under brows, Espresso Bean used as liner
Overall, I'm really pleased with this palette. I appreciate that 6 of the 12 shades are matte. These colors are practical without becoming boring, and there's a nice mix of cool and warm tones. My main complaint is with the shade, Guava. I understand why it was included, but it's not pigmented enough to be useful. I wish they would have used a matte soft pink instead.

What do you think of the Laura Mercier Eye Art Artist's Palette? Do you own any of the single shadows?


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Inspired Look: Princess Diana Makeup Look by Mary Greenwell

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Today I have a makeup look is inspired by the video on Lisa Eldridge's YouTube channel, THE Princess Diana Makeup Look - with Guest Artist Mary Greenwell. Mary Greenwell has appeared on Lisa's channel before, and I enjoy her light and easy approach to doing makeup. Her looks are wearable, effortless, and extremely practical. In the video, she was recreating a look that she used on Princess Diana for a shoot with British Vogue. She used the Bourjois Smoky Stories Quad Eyeshadow Palette in Over Rose, and the shades she used reminded me of my Bare Minerals Ready Eyeshadow 4.0 in The Truth. I absolutely love this eyeshadow quad, and it's my favorite for taking with me when I travel and need to pack light. You don't need this eyeshadow quad or the Bourjois. It's likely that you already have similar shades. 


I wasn't planning on photographing this look or blogging about, but I liked how it turned out and ended up with good lighting to photograph it on my face. I kept the makeup on my face light and easy and went with a more pink shade of lipstick than what was used in the video. Here's everything I used for my interpretation of Mary Greenwell's look. 

Face:
Eucerin Daily Protection Moisturizing Face Lotion SPF 30 - By far the best daily moisturizer with spf that I can find. I have been searching for a cruelty free one that matches this, and I cannot find one.  
Stila Sheer Color Tinted Moisturizer spf 20 - Fair - I'm bummed that Stila's discontinuing it because it's a really nice tinted moisturizer. It gives the perfect amount of coverage to even out the skin. Currently on sale at the Stila site, if you're in the market for a tinted moisturizer.
Sephora Bright Future Gel Serum Concealer - Meringue - Currently, my favorite undereye concealer. It has good coverage and blends easily. It has been compared to the NARS concealer. I don't have that one right now, but I plan to get it and see how similar the two really are.
Giorgio Armani High Precision Retouch Concealer - 1 - I still had a little bit of darkness showing through under the inner corners of my eyes, so I blended a tiny dot of this over the Sephora concealer to cover it.
Jurlique Lavender Silk Finishing Powder - This transluscent loose powder does a nice job of getting rid of shine without making my skin look dry.
Bare Minerals Blush - Vintage Peach - Blends out easily and looks beautiful over almost bare skin. I love that it has a shimmer to it, so I don't need highlighter.
Tarte Park Avenue Princess Mineral Bronzer - One of my favorite bronzers. I've been working on this sample for quite a while, and I still haven't hit pan on it.

Bare Minerals Blush in Vintage Peach (peach poppy)
Eyes:
Too Faced Shadow Insurance Primer - Nearing the end of this tube, and it keeps on going! I don't think I'm ever going to run out of this. This is a great eyeshadow primer, so that's a good thing.

Top L-R: Serendipitous & Magnetism
Bottom L-R: Fate & Apropos
Bare Minerals Ready Eyeshadow 4.0 - The Truth - I started by applying Serendipitous under the brows for a subtle highlight. Then, I applied Magnetism over the lid and blended it out into the crease. After smudging a bit of liner (see below) into the lashes, I used Apropos to blend it out and applied a bit to the lower lash line.
*Pacifica Natural Eye Pencil - Jet - Mary Greenwell used a brown gel liner, but I opted for a soft black. I thought this one would work for the look because it smudges out like a kohl pencil.
The Balm What's Your Type Mascara - I haven't tried many products from The Balm, but this volumizing mascara is pretty good.
Revlon Brow Fantasy - Dark Blonde - I used the gel of this duo to keep my crazy brows in place.

Lips:
Milani Easy Liner for Lips - Most Natural - My lips are so thin that liner is a must for me. I like this nude pink to cheat my lip line a little bit.
Sonia Kashuk Satin Luxe Lip Color - Blushing - I'm such a fan of this natural pink color. It feels comfortable and doesn't wear off too quickly.


Here's the finished look. I like this look because it's done without being too much and nice for everyday. You don't need a lot of crazy colors, and you definitely don't need to run out and buy certain products. It's an easy look you can recreate using what you already have.


This type of look works with using colorful eyeshadows too. I used the same steps with purple shades, and I liked the result. You can use any color. While I love the heavy and complex makeup looks of Instagram, I find this to be an easy and refreshing break from that.

What do you think? Have you seen Lisa Eldridge's video?

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October Reads

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I love talking about books over my social media accounts, so it seems logical to blog about them too! There's a little bit of everything in here to get me started. I have some recent reads, a birthday book haul, and what I plan on reading next! 


Recent Read & Audiobook

The Girl With All the Gifts by M. R. Carey - I listened to this on audiobook through the OverDrive app from my public library. I had only heard of the title of this book and had absolutely no idea what it was about. This happens to be a little bit horror and action/adventure, so it was perfect for getting into the Halloween spirit. It centers around a 10 year old girl named Melanie who loves learning and her teacher, Miss Justineau. I don't read a lot of horror, so I enjoyed this because it was something different. I know I'm being vague with my description, but I'm glad I went into it without knowing anything about the plot. This book is difficult to review without spoilers. The Girl With All the Gifts was made into a movie and released September 23 in the UK. You can watch the trailer here. I probably won't seek out the movie because, while I can read horror, I don't enjoy watching it at all. 



Evelina by Frances Burney - I picked up this novel because it was recommended for Jane Austen fans. First published in 1778, Evelina follows a young girl's introduction into society. Evelina is an innocent girl who was raised in the country by a loving guardian, Arthur Villars, after the unfortunate death of her mother. Mr. Villars somewhat reluctantly sends Evelina to London where she makes makes many social faux pas and is often downright confused by the manners of the people in London society. This takes a look at gender, class, and social customs of the day in a satirical way. I thought it was delightful! The notes in this edition where quite helpful when I didn't understand what certain things were or why exactly something Evelina did was considered a faux pas.

Birthday Book Haul

I'm a huge fan of used book stores and my public library. When possible, I try to get my reading material from one of those places. Sometimes, books that I want cannot be found in either place, and they go on my Amazon list. My birthday was at the end of September, and my mother in law sent me some books from my list as a gift. I'm very grateful and can't wait to dive in!



At the top of the pile, I have How to Sit by Thich Nhat Hanh. I attended a meditation workshop earlier in the year, and this was the book that was recommended for beginners. It's a short book about mindfulness meditation. I've read three other books by Thich Nhat Hanh and found all of them to be worth my time.

Belinda by Maria Edgeworth - Another work of English literature, Belinda was first published in 1801 and is a comic look at gender and race. I don't know much about the story, but it sounded interesting because there's an interracial marriage that's treated respectfully by the author. From what I've heard about this book, Maria Edgeworth was told to change that later on, but this particular edition (Oxford World's Classics) includes that part of the story. 

The Last Summer of Reason by Tahar Djaout - Algerian novelist, Tahar Djaout, was assassinated by Islamic fundamentalists in 1993. The manuscript for this book was found among his things after his death and is unfinished. The story is about a bookstore owner who lives in a country in which a fundamentalist group has taken over and the consequences that it has on the owner and his store. 

The New and Improved Romie Futch by Julis Elliott - Set in the American South, we find taxidermist, Romie Futch. Needing some extra cash, he agrees to become a research subject for scientists to download information into his brain, and now he knows a wealth of information. It sounds strange and funny, and it's set it the South. Sounds like a must-read to me!

Application of Impossible Things: My Near Death Experience in Iraq by Natalie Sudman - Working as a civilian for the US Army Coups of Engineers, Natalie Sudman's truck exploded from a roadside bomb. This is an account of her near death experience and miraculous survival. I think I read a little bit about this somewhere, and it sounded different from other near death experience accounts. I'm curious to learn more about her experience.

House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski - This is a book that has a bit of a cult following, and I don't know that much about it. My husband isn't really a fan of reading fiction, but he recommended this book to me. It's about a family that moves into a house, and the house turns out to be larger on the inside than it looks on the outside and strange things happen. I was told that if I didn't like it at first to stick with it because it changes quite a bit. This book also changes a lot in the format. For example, a page here and there will only have one sentence or a couple of words on it, and some pages are formatted in columns. That sort of thing. I plan on reading this book after I finish what I'm reading now because it sounds spooky enough for Halloween reading.

Current Book & Audiobook



The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury - Set on Halloween night, a group of children are meeting up at a haunted house when one of their friends, Pip, gets taken away by something. The mysterious Carapace Clavicle Moundshroud takes them back in time in search of their friend. I'm about halfway through, and so far they have been to ancient Egypt and back to the time of the caveman. I don't read a lot of children's literature, but I'm really enjoying this. The story was made into a cartoon, and I plan on watching it after I'm finished with the book.



American Gods: the 10th anniversary edition by Neil Gaiman - I'm currently listening to this on audiobook from my public library through the OneClickdigital app . This is a more expanded version of the first release of the book. I particularly enjoy this audiobook because it has a full cast. There is a narrator, but each character is portrayed and the dialogue is delivered by a different voice actor. I've tried reading this before, but I ended up having to return it to my library before I got very far along with it. I'm enjoying it a lot more in audiobook form, and I'm really loving the entire cast of actors in this production. It's very well done. If you plan on listening to this on audiobook, make sure you listen to the 10th anniversary edition. 

That's my current book situation! Let me know if you're interested in anything in my book haul stack, and I will add it to the top of my To Be Read list. I like to read a little bit of everything, and my preferences don't have much rhyme or reason to them. I just go with whatever seems interesting to me at the time. 

What are you currently reading? 


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Veeda 100% Natural Cotton Feminine Care Products

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*Got a couple of samples, and I bought the rest!

I have been hearing about tampons that have synthetic materials and have been treated and bleached for years, but I never knew of a convenient alternative. Organic tampons are pretty expensive for a tiny box. The Diva Cup and other brands of menstrual cups have been on my mind, but having read both the positive and negative reviews, it was a purchase that I kept putting off. Then, I started reading reviews from other bloggers about a brand called Veeda that offered 100% cotton feminine care products that weren't treated with chemicals or dyes. Immediately, I investigated the website and checked the store locator to see if any products were available at my local stores. Lucky for me, two of my local supermarkets popped up in the results! 



The first store that I checked had just gotten Veeda's tampons and was selling them at a really good price. I checked the other store soon after, and they didn't have any of Veeda's products on the shelves. I'm hoping that if I go back soon I will find them there. I would love to be able to purchase the pads and liners at a store. Of course, all of Veeda's products are available on their site. If you're on the fence about ordering online, they have free shipping in the US! 


These products are a must for anyone who is sensitive to irritation that many feminine care products can cause. This is a sensitive area we're talking about here, and most of the time, I have a good bit of irritation from pads and tampons by the end of my period. These products actually help in reducing that. 

Veeda has tampons with plastic applicators and applicator-free. I have used the regular tampons with the applicator, and they are just as easy to use as others I have tried. The tampons meet the same standards of absorbency as other tampons and are FDA approved. Because these are all cotton, they don't leave behind any fibers once removed. Evidently, rayon can do that! For more information on synthetics, chemicals, dyes, etc. you can visit the Veeda FAQs page

I was lucky that someone from Veeda contacted me after I commented on another blog about being interested in this brand, and they sent me a couple of tampons, pads, and liners to try. So, I was able to try the pads and liners, if only briefly. While I don't prefer pads, I do use them at night. The couple I got to try were comfortable and more absorbent than the Always pads I had been using. I definitely felt drier when I got up in the morning than I usually do. The liners are very comfortable, and I didn't feel them at all when I used them. None of the Veeda products I tried caused any irritation at all. Like the tampons, the pads and liners are made of 100% cotton. 

I definitely recommend Veeda if you've been looking for some kind of alternative to the pad and tampon options we have now. I'm so glad that these are sold in a couple of stores where I live!


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Make Up For Ever Artist Rouge Lipsticks

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*I received the #MYARTISTROUGE Voxbox from Influenster.
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A change of lipstick is one of the easiest ways to change up a look. Lipstick can take you from everyday to glam to wild. I received the perfect shades for the very same looks in the #MYARTISTROUGE Voxbox from Influenster


The Make Up For Ever Artist Rouge Lipsticks come in 14 matte and 31 satin finishes currently available at Sephora. I received 3 of the satin formulas in C211 Rose Wood, C404 Passion Red, C502 Taupe Violet. 



All three of these shades are extremely pigmented, as all of the colors in the range are supposed to be. It does not take long at all to build up the color. The bullet comes to a fine point, making it easy to get a precise application. The formula is long-lasting and not drying. It's not moisturizing, but it's comfortable to wear. 


C211 - Rose Wood
C211 Rose Wood is my everyday shade. This neutral shade is a bit darker than the neutral pinks I've been wearing throughout the summer, making it a nice choice for fall. 

C404 - Passion Red
You know I love a glam red lip! C404 Passion Red is the perfect red shade. I love how it brightens up my face. Unfortunately, this one bleeds and feathers on me quite a bit, even though these aren't supposed to do that. I love this shade, but I can't skip the liner with this red.


C502 - Taupe Violet
More and more brands are making these wild colors, and the Make Up For Ever Artist Rouge Lipsticks have a few. C502 Taupe Violet doesn't look as crazy on me as I thought it would. That said, I don't think that wild shades are for me, but I'm so glad I have this right before Halloween. What kind of costume could I build around this lipstick? I ended up making this work for me by mixing it with C211 Rose Wood to get a cool taupe shade that I think will look great this fall. 

Overall, I really like the Make Up For Ever Artist Rouge Lipsticks. I like that they're pigmented and have so many colors available in this range. If there's a specific color you have been looking for, then you should be able to find it!

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Beauty Empties | August 2016

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Happy September! It's still early enough for me to say that, right? As someone whose birthday is in the month of September, I am happy when it rolls back around. I have been showing my empties on Instagram and Snapchat, but there were items that I wanted to talk about a little more this month. 


I have been using up samples and half empty products in an effort to clean out my stash. I know, it's brought up in every blog post now, but it's a process that's taking quite a bit of time to accomplish. Simplifying my space has become a new goal, and I am loving it so far. It's not just my beauty products either; I've been getting rid many unused items around my home. It feels great to have more space and less clutter!



GlamGlow Supermud Clearing Treatment - I really like GlamGlow masks, but the Youthmud is my favorite. This one is good for oily and acne-prone skin, and my skin does feel clearer after I use this mask. It's pretty expensive, so I won't be repurchasing anytime soon. 

Nerium Age-Defying Night Cream - This night cream is touted as a miracle product. And while I don't think it's bad, it's not a miracle for me. I will say that I did notice that it had a bit of a tightening effect on my pores and a tightening feel. I say you can skip this, unless you're curious and want to help out a friend selling it. For more info, read Paula Begoun's (of Beautypedia and Paula's Choice) review HERE

GÖTZ Bad Ischl Oxygen Facial Tonic* - I just reviewed this (HERE), and I've already finished the bottle. I really like this facial spray. The toner I'm using now doesn't compare!

Murad AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser - I got a lot of use out of this sample! This is a really good scrub, and I would buy this in a full size. It's strong stuff, so you can't use it daily, though.

Aveeno Positively Radiant Daily Moisturizer with SPF 30 - This is very moisturizing and a bit heavier than what I normally use. I'm not going to buy a full size, but I do recommend it for dry skin.

Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Peel Original Formula - I've used samples of this peel before, and I like it. Unfortunately, this gets a terrible rating on Beautypedia for irritants, so I will be looking for another peel to try.

Caolion Premium Hot & Cool Pore Pack Duo - This is a set of 2 masks that are meant to be used consecutively. The Hot mask is supposed to cleanse the pores, and then the Cool mask tightens them. I got three uses out of my Glossybox sample. It was really fun to try, but I don't think I have the time to devote to this mask duo on a regular basis. Also, I'm not entirely sure about the hot and cool feelings that happen on my skin when I use this. Do check this one out if you're a mask junkie, though! It's neat and different, and I'm glad I got to sample it!




Kirkland Signature Daily Facial Towelettes - This is the last small pack in a 150 count box from Costco. These are really great wipes, and I highly recommend them if you have a Costco membership!

Bath & Body Works Dark Amber Body Wash - This is one of my husband's empties. He used up this shower gel along with another one from Bath & Body Works -- I think it was Noir. I like the men's scents from Bath & Body Works, but my husband thought that the shower gels were too strong. He's currently using one of the Adidas shower gels and likes it a bit more.

Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Conditioner - I didn't like this conditioner because it didn't moisturize my hair at all. This would be great if you have thin hair and need something that won't weigh your hair down at all, but this is not for me. I love the styling cream, though!

Eucerin In-Shower Moisturizer Body Lotion - This didn't do anything to moisturize my skin, so I won't be getting this in a full size. 

Borghese Creme Cleanser - My skin never felt clean when I washed it with this. It felt like there was some kind of residue left afterwards. I didn't like this at all.

Crabtree & Evelyn La Source Ultra-Moisturising Hand Therapy - I got this hand cream in a Glossybox. It's very moisturizing, and the scent reminds me of the ocean.

It's a 10 miracle Leave-In for Blondes - I've used a few of the different leave-ins from It's a 10, and I like all of them. They do a good job of making my hair soft but not weighing it down. I've also tried the original and the keratin, and I would like to try the silk formula. 


Tarte Clean Slate Eye Primer - I liked this eyeshadow primer, but I have a couple of other ones that I'm using now. Tarte used to make an eyeshadow primer that I loved, but they discontinued it. This one works just fine, but it's nothing amazing.

Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Water - I'm surprised by how much I like this sample. I don't like primers that feel heavy, so a primer water turned out to be a good solution for me. I plan on getting a full size in the future. 

Clinique Stay-Matte Sheer Pressed Powder 01 Stay Buff - This was in my Spring Favorites post. I loved using this as a setting powder and as a powder foundation. 

L'Oreal Voluminious Power Volume 24H Mascara - This became difficult to close after just a couple of weeks, so I gave up on it. I liked what I was able to use of it.

Physicians Formula Sexy Booster Cat Eye Collection Mascara - I liked this mascara, and I reviewed it in this post.

That is everything I used up in August! What did you use up and love last month? 



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