Beauty Review: Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream and its Bargain Equivalent

As beauty balm (BB) creams continue to be all the rage I have stood quietly on the sidelines, testing products and trying to find my MVP. I tested brands like Estee Lauder, Dr. Jart, etc., and finally landed on Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream.


Like all good BB creams should, Smashbox’s contender packs primer, moisturizer and foundation into one little tube, boasting broad spectrum SPF 35. Having semi-dry skin and testing it out in the winter, I do have to use extra moisturizer – but I’m banking on Camera Ready being the only product I need for my summer skin. I’m usually a light/medium in most foundations, and for this product I use the “light” tone.

It’s important to note that BB creams are intended for light coverage, so you’ll likely still need concealer for any blemishes. I still use The Balm’s Time Balm concealer under my eyes.

I was very content and ready to tell the world that I’d found my BB, when my best friend informed me that she found its drugstore equivalent.

Revlon PhotoReady BB CreamThrifty makeup minimalists, rejoice! Revlon PhotoReady BB Cream Skin Perfector, clearly made to compete with Smashbox’s BB elixir, tested equal, and for a fraction of the price ($11 compared to $39)!

My color is “light/medium” in the Revlon version. This is a huge breakthrough for me, since I’ve always been of the mindset that name brand beauty products are always worth the extra money spent. The only notable difference is that Revlon is SPF 30 rather than 35. Since I already had Smashbox, I keep that one in my makeup case at home, and the Revlon in my purse for on-the-go touch ups.

Do you have a favorite BB cream? 

Beauty Review: Not Your Mother’s® Kinky Moves™ Curl Defining Hair Cream

My curly-haired girls know that achieving the perfect ‘do is no easy task. Every detail, starting with shampoo and ending with hairspray, must be carefully calculated. Finding the perfect combination of products is nothing short of groundbreaking.

I recently sang praises to Miss Jessie’s® Original Quick Curls, but my 2012 Influenster Beauty Blogger Vox Box sent me a sample that pushes poor Miss Jessie to #2 on my “must-have curl cream” list. Who is the new number one? Not Your Mother’s® Kinky Moves™ Curl Defining Hair Cream.

At just six dollars for a full sized, four ounce bottle, Not Your Mother’s® gives the 32-dollar, eight ounce bottle of Miss Jessie’s® a run for her money. The Kinky Moves Curl Defining Hair Cream has two definite pros over Miss Jessie’s®:

  1. The smell. Kinky Moves is infused with natural grape seed & jasmine to encourage natural curls and eliminate frizz and fly-aways. Every time I use this product my boyfriend raves about how good I smell. He’s a full foot taller than me – so catching his attention with nice-smelling hair products is much easier than trying to entice him with perfume!
  2. It’s lightweight. Kinky moves really does eliminate frizz, without any greasy residue, which tends to weigh down curls. My curls are bouncy and clean-feeling once dry.

My curls with Not Your Mother’s® Kinky Moves™ Curl Defining Hair Cream

So if you’re constantly searching for great curl products that don’t break the bank, give Not Your Mother’s® Kinky Moves™ Curl Defining Hair Cream a shot. I just ran out of my sample and will be buying the full-sized today!

Interested in trying other Not Your Mother’s® products? The Beach Babe Texturizing Sea Salt Spray is another favorite!

Birchbox Favorites

The reason I joined Birchbox almost one full year ago was to practice my favorite principle of “try before you buy.” Each month, for only $10, Birchbox mails a box of large or full sized products for sampling. There is almost always one full sized product that makes the month worth the $10. Since joining, I’ve been exposed to many products that I like, but there are a handful that my improved beauty regimen just cannot live without. Here are my top three:

Eyeko eyeliner
Image courtesy of polyvore

1. Eyeko Skinny Liquid Eyeliner– this liquid eyeliner’s pen-style applicator is a life-saver. I like that the applicator is skinny because I can do a thin liner or build up to a thicker look. The company also makes a fat eye stick for a smudgier look, but I’ll stick with my skinny.

2. Miss Jessie’s® Original Quick Curls – August was the best month to receive this amazing curl cream. The cream’s moisturizing botanicals kept my curls calm and lightweight, giving them a very soft and natural look, which is not easy for me to achieve in the late, humid East Coast summer.

Image courtesy of
3. Tarte LipSurgence™ lip tint: I’m not huge on lip color – at least I didn’t used to be – but this product is amazing. Birchbox gave a full-sized sample in August. I already had this lip tint in a deep red and a light pink, and Birchbox  gave me ‘Joy’ – the stick looks orange but it goes on in a deep peachy color that is just perfect for any season. I wear this tint just about every day.

Do you have an favorite products thanks to Birchbox?

June Birchbox: Nerdy Excitement

Hello! I know that it’s been long time, no post, and I am so sorry for that! Everything has been insanely busy, and I hate to admit that I’ve been completely uninspired lately. But today, Birchbox decided to throw a little inspiration and excitement my way.

Finally jaded from all the sample boxes I’ve been receiving for the past six months (I recently cancelled MyGlam because every month was “nothing special”), I opened my Birchbox this morning with a lack of enthusiasm, expecting the same old stuff. I was greeted with – get ready for it – a box of 20 Cynthia Rowley BAND-AIDs. How cute are these things??
I know this is beyond nerdy, but I am the blister queen. My feet do not get along with any of my darn work shoes, cute as they may be. As you can see, I’ve already ripped the box open.
Other items from my June Birchbox that I’m eager to test-drive include:
  • Eyeko skinny liquid liner: Direct from the UK, This user-friendly liquid liner has a genius pen applicator and a super smooth formula. I tested this on my hand already and I’m in love!
  • Melvita rose floral water: This organic mist works as a light toner and mid-day skin refresher.
  • theBalm cosmetics stainiac in beauty queen: This two-in-one lip and cheek stain has a sheer gel formula for a subtle yet long-lasting flush.
  • Yu-Be moisturizing skin cream: This best-selling  Japanese cream has a concentrated formula for use on hands, lips and other dry areas.
I also received a little Birchbox Man extra, a John Varvatos cologne that I will pass on to the boyfriend for testing.
What did you receive in your Birchbox?

Tax Day Shopping

Happy Tax Day! I hope by now that everyone has filed their taxes and can take the short remainder of the weekend to relax (and maybe shop!). It seems that everywhere I turn there is a tax day sale going on.

I personally took the opportunity to stock up at Ricky’s, where they’re offering an extra 15% offpurchases of $20 or more. I bought my basic restocking haircare needs but also decided to indulge in a new color for my essie collection:

Essie – Geranium

I also did some major damage at J Crew’s factory sale this weekend. Did you do any Tax Day shopping?

March Birchbox in Review

This month, Birchbox partnered with Teen Vogue to put together an exciting Birchbox for prom season. I may be nearly a decade from my last prom, but I can still get all dolled up, right? This was by far my favorite Birchbox since joining. Here are the goods:



1. tarte LipSurgence™ lip tint: I’m obsessed with this product. Birchbox gave a full-sized sample, making the whole box completely worth the $10. I have this lip tint in a deep red and a light pink already. Birchbox  gave me Joy – the stick looks orange but it goes on in a deep peachy color that is just perfect for welcoming Spring.
2. essie® Luxeffects Nail Polish:I have to admit that I’m not a sparkle girl. Glitter and shiny things are great for accents every now and then though, so I will hold onto this full-sized goodie with the intent to step outside of my comfort zone sometime soon. If anything, I have my New Year’s Eve polish 9 months early.
3. Annick Goutal Petite Cherie: This scent is absolutely beautiful. It’s very sweet and clean, but a little young – perfect for the prom-goer though!
4. PETER THOMAS ROTH Max Anti-Shine Mattifying Gel: I’m not sure why Birchbox included this product in my box. I have normal to dry skin, so a mattifying gel probably won’t do me any good. I will try it eventually but haven’t yet.
What did you get in your Birchbox?

Product Review: Gillette Venus & Olay Razor

Beware, we’re about to dive into the realm of TMI. Let’s talk about shaving.
For the past I don’t know how long, my shave regimen has been Olay body wash (it’s super moisturizing!) with my Venus razor. Imagine my delight, when I received the Venus & Olay razor in my Love VoxBox from Influenster.
Product Details
  • Venus’ five-bladed razors shave you close and adjust to women’s curves for a smooth and comfortable shave, even over tricky shaving areas like knees and ankles.
  • Olay Moisture Bars contain skin-enhancing elements found in Olay products: Petrolatum helps lock in skin’s moisture for less dryness and Glycerin helps offer that goddess glow! Just wet the razor to release a light lather – no separate shave cream required.
  • As with most Venus razors, new Venus & Olay also features a rounded, pivoting head designed for women’s curves, and a soft-grip ergonomic handle for confident control, even in wet and soapy environment

This razor is the love child of my two favorite shaving products. The moisturizing strips left my skin so smooth, and the five blades ensured a perfect shave. Also, the new holder for the razor is so nice and tiny – the one from my last Venus razor was bulky and always fell off my shower wall. If you like razors with built in moisture bars, this is the new Gold Standard, and I highly recommend it. 

If you’re eager to buy, the razor is available starting tomorrow at food, drug, convenience and mass merchandise stores throughout the United States.  Happy shopping!

Awkward & Awesome…Friday

  • It’s Friday, not Thursday. Awkward & Awesome is posted on Thursdays. I was too busy yesterday to blog and I cannot let another week pass without filling you lovelies in on the awkward and awesome. So my breaking tradition = awkward, but not unprecedented (yes, I’ve done this before).
  • My first VoxBox from Influenster came today! Influenster is an online community where trendsetters can provide feedback on products. This should get filed under awesome –  I’m so excited to be part of this program and share product reviews with you! But the theme of the box is Love, so the side has a bright pink sticker that says “Love VoxBox.” It’s just sitting pretty on my desk in the office and people are probably wondering what’s in the love box. I assure you it’s nothing naughtyJ.
  • I woke up late for work this morning. Like SUPER late. I then proceeded to spend 15 minutes looking for my “Go The Extra Mile” Kate Spade bangle, only to find it on my desk when I got into work. Then I left my BlackBerry in a conference room for half a day. I wonder where I left my brain, because I’m pretty sure it’s not in my head.
  • I’m staying in New York this weekend. Wahoo! I’m so happy to be here now that the weather is warming up. I’ve made a point to not make plans this weekend. I just want to wander and go to the park all day on Sunday. What are your weekend plans?
  • I’m going to tell you all about my new blog next week. Are you excited? I am!
  • Birchbox and Dermalogica are holding an event on March 15, and it’s right near my office!  They’ll be giving complimentary skin analyses and treatments, and of course samples. The only problem is that the guest list is already full, so fingers crossed that some spots open up.
Have a great weekend everyone!

Awkward & Awesome Thursday: The Blues

For some reason, this week feels like it is dragging. The mid-week messy weather is totally bringing me down, and I’m wondering why Mother Nature decided to tease us with such lovely spring like weather last week. Doesn’t she know this is how people catch the Blues?

  • I have about three blog posts that are 95% written, sitting as drafts. I suddenly can’t finish anything I start! Finishing these posts is my goal for the weekend and now that it’s here on the internet for all of you lovely readers to see, I have to do it, right?
  • Jamie broke my juicer this morning, and I’m totally letting it ruin my day. Juicers are expensive, and I use mine almost every day. I should probably just look at this as an opportunity to upgrade, but I so was not ready to do that yet.
  • My friend Alycia shared this interactive map from the New York Times, and I feel so uncomfortable seeing the violations of  some of my favorite restaurants. Cockroaches? No thank you. The difference between grade A and grade B is astronomical! It is good to be a knowledgeable consumer though –they need to turn this bad boy into an iPhone app.
  • Alycia and I went to The Smith last night for dinner. It was my first time in their ‘new’ location in Midtown East, and it was just as good as the downtown original. The Smith is officially my favorite spot for girldates. From cocktails to dessert, dinner was perfection.
  • Blogger Makenzie Horan of Design Darling launched her Design Darling Boutique today. I highly recommend hopping over there to see her selection of preppy interiors and accessories.
  • My favorite NYC salon has a Bloomspot deal today! It’s $35 dollars for a haircut, style and Moroccan Oil treatment. You really can’t beat that in NYC. I bought this last time they had a deal and LOVED it! If you purchase, make sure you schedule you’re appointment with Nick, he’s the best.
Since I’m blue (da ba di) today, here are some other lovely blues for you:


Get those spring styles with Hot Tools curling irons!

The weather has been a crazy mix of snow, rain and sun, and we keep getting sneak peeks of the warmer seasons to come! It’s almost time to break out our new spring looks, and that especially means changing it up a bit with my hair. Nothing too drastic, but I can’t wait to get out of my winter rut, and try some fun warm weather styles, like carefree waves, braids, and soft spring-time curls. I’ve been dying to get my hands on a new curling iron… I know, I know, you’re probably wondering why someone with crazy curls like me would want a curling iron. I think they’re essential for all hair types! When I want the crazy curls I go au natural – but when I want a put-together styled curl, it’s the iron all the way!
I did some research and think the Hot Tools Blue Ice Titanium Curling Iron looks awesome.  It has a short clamp so you can wrap your hair around the barrel as tightly or loosely as you want for a variety of different looks! It is lightweight, produces high and even heat, has excellent corrosion resistance for use with styling products, and also boasts a super hard, smooth surface. It will be great for those beautiful days when you want some bounce in your hair to match the bounce in your step! I found this product online at Image Beauty, and it’s on sale for $39.99 (normally $100!). Can’t wait to get mine! What are your favorite springtime hair styles, and what tools do you use to create them?