The US Wishlist: Treats!

Anybody who knows me, knows I love a good treat. I don’t need much convincing on a regular day, but when I’m away from home, I need no justification! The US is known for it’s wicked food opportunities, so here’s a little taste test of what I’m looking forward to…

Image M&M’s Salty & Sweet Snack Mix

I picked up a bag of this randomly last year, and brought it home… who knew that the Mars company could make such delicious mini choc-chip cookies, and tiny pretzels? Obviously they have the M&M’s thing down pat, but their ability to add in a savoury snack was quite amazing – these were delicious! Well worth adding to the treat collection!

Image M&M’s Raspberry

Ok, this is a total Cherry Ripe rip-off – and I love me some Cherry Ripe. These have since come to Australia and I haven’t actually bothered buying them – treats like these need to stay in the US. These are a delicious M&M version of a Cherry Ripe – so stay away if you hate coconut, but if you love Cherry Ripe, I trust you’ll enjoy their little take on it.

Image Magic Mix Trail Mix

A humble trail mix, you say? Ah… but this is American trail mix. Which means they have added delicious chocolate to it! This is my “healthy” snack of choice, and it was quite shocking to discover that this even exists! I tried to copy it once I returned home, but mine just never turned out right – I do think Americans have a great handle on the concept of trail mix, so just adding chocolate bits to a nut mix wasn’t enough at home.

Image  Ben & Jerry’s Ice-cream

OK, this is obviously available in Australia, and in fact, is really easy to find. However, the US, particularly the East Coast, has flavours we can only dream of Down Under. Again, my disclaimer is that I love ice-cream, and it is my #1 treat of choice, so it only makes sense that I should attempt to try all B&J flavours ever.

Image The humble bagel

As I wrote this crazy blog post, and thought about all the food I would consume while away, I realised I had almost forgotten my favourite one…. the bagel. West Coast, East Coast, bakery, small convenience store, hotel, off the street… it doesn’t matter where you buy your bagel, if it’s on American soil, it will be delicious. Do not come near me English muffins, don’t even think about it crumpets, and bread… you are dead to me. ‘Nuff said.

And of course, who goes to the US and doesn’t find the latest in Oreo technology? I’ll update you all once I see what’s the latest there…

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The US Wishlist: The Stores

Now that I’ve got my Visa Waiver organised for my trip, I think I can safely picture myself entering some of my favourite US stores. It’s a random post, but as you can probably tell, I’m getting pretty excited.

Image Sephora

I’m keen to try out some new products, sample the hell out of the place, and love me some Beauty Points. I’m thinking I might redeem a make-over voucher that I got last year, as I’m told this is a great way to see a new range of products.

Image Victoria’s Secret

Now I never understood the VS hype. Even when I first arrived in the US last year, I was much less interested than my travel partner was in VS. I decided to give some of their underwear a trial run, just to see what the hype was about.
OMG. I get it now. They really are amazing. Great quality, extremely comfortable, and darn good value. The No. 1 selling bra in Aus, the Berlei T-Shirt Bra, will set you back an easy $AUD50 – so it’s not like we’re used to bargain basement prices for underwear. VS is highly competitive in their pricing, and their quality is so amazing that I think they are worth their Australian shipping costs. Their VS Pro makeup is pretty decent as well, so I think I’ll check it out (if this line remains), and see if there’s anything worth picking up.

Image Forever 21

Now, I don’t want to slam my American counterparts too hard, but I will say that the clothing side of shopping was pretty disappointing in the US. I took quite an empty suitcase, and was distressed to discover that there wasn’t much catching my eye. For this reason, Forever 21 was more up my alley – really cheap, and perfect for travel pieces – things that you will wear for a couple of weeks, and don’t care if you keep them or lose them.

Image Anthropologie

Actually, I take back my earlier statement. Some of the US clothing stores are to die for – and this is one of them. Their homewares are adorable, their styling is tempting, and the clothes are gorgeous. It’s probably equivalent to Australia’s Country Road in terms of pricing, but paying $100 for a top in the US is crazy. As an Australian, and a Country Road lover, I can deal with their prices.

Image Duane Reade

My final, but not by any means, any lesser love, is American pharmacies. Duane Reade is my pick of the lot, but this may be because I spent most of my time pharmacy shopping on the East Coast last year. I have been sparingly using my Duane Reade branded nail polish remover, and now know that I should stock up on that while I’m there – it’s amazing. I plan to spend a lot of time poring over the drug store brands, and lamenting the prices we pay in Aus. I’ve tentatively planned a $20 makeup challenge for myself while I’m away.

 

Anyways, that’s it from me, excuse me while I go plan more of my wish list…

Beauty Burn: Origins GinZing

I’ve mentioned it in some of my previous skincare posts, but today I’ll reveal the details of my love of moisturisers. Since I was a young child, my mother has been a passionate believer in moisturising – we were not allowed to do anything until we had some “cream” on our face. I grew up using Rosken’s Vitamin E Skin Repair, which was discontinued (or at least became very difficult to find) in my early adolescent years. It eventually made a comeback, but we had moved onto other products by then – plus, it was my adolescent years – where had all these other products been all my life?!

My habit and love for moisturising still continues to this day, and I actually cannot operate without some form of moisturiser on my face. I love the QV Face cream, I’ve mentioned my Kiehl’s love here, and… I’m suddenly having a total mind blank wondering what I used between my Rosken days, and well… today? Suddenly I can’t recall any details! So basically, what I’m trying to say, is that I come from a long line of moisturiser lovers (even if that line is only my Mum and I), so I am interested up to check out some new ones.

Fast forward to my Treat Yoself day in April, and I picked up the Origins GinZing moisturiser. Now, I’ve given away my verdict in the title, but play along. It has a really zesty scent, is packaged beautifully (I love the simple orange and white contrast), and I had a lot of hope in the Origins brand (since Lisa Eldridge recommends it!), so parted with my $44.

How sad. This was so disappointing! It smelt so fresh and awakening, but really didn’t do that for my skin. It wasn’t harsh or unkind to my skin, it just didn’t do anything special – and I expect something for that price. After some consistent use, I decided it was too citrus-y for my liking (which is surprising, as I love most things citrus), and although it felt nice on application, a minute later, I felt nothing – it felt like I hadn’t even applied anything! The feeling of tight skin drives me mad, and I will not stand for it!

I’m going to keep my eyes out for an Origins mask while I’m in the US (and will definitely insist upon a sample before parting with my money), and then will give my final verdict on the Origins brand (I’m a harsh critic).

Origins GinZing

Would I buy it again? Definitely not. I’ve relegated this to a once-a-week product, in the hope that maybe mixing it up in my skincare routine will give it a bit more oomph.
Who would I recommend this to? Citrus lovers! Or anybody looking for a very light moisturiser, particularly if they have very oily skin and don’t necessarily need lots of external hydration.
Is it value for money? Not in my opinion ($44).
How can you get it? I picked mine up from Mecca Maxima, and it’s also available from Kit Cosmetics.

The US Wishlist: Skincare

My research continues, and some of these things have been on my wish list for the past 12 months. All of these can be bought locally in Aus, but since I knew over 6 months ago that I would be returning to the US, I’ve held off buying any of these.

perricone MD

 

 

 

 

Perricone MD Blue Plasma

 

A daily peel that has been raved about on another blog I read, Makeup By Patricia. She swears by it, and has the skin to back up her claims. It’s promoted as a daily peel, that gives all the results of a chemical peel without the redness, irritability or skin damage. Since I love an at-home pamper, this is something I’m really interested in. [$US95.00]

la creme yeux

 

 

 

 

Chanel Sublimage La Creme Yeux

 

I got a sample of this last year, and am still squeezing out the end of the tiny tube. I love this eye cream. It really brightens the skin around my eyes, and feels so gentle when applied (unlike my Burts Bees eye cream experience). I really need to investigate the different size options (maybe I’ll just get more samples??), as its listed as $US225, which makes me scream.

GLAMGLOW

 

 

 

 

Glam Glow Mud Mask

 

This is an extremely raved about product on a lot of YouTube vlogs, and as you all know, I love a good mask. I considered buying it from Mecca Maxima on a recent Treat Yoself day, but figured I could wait 2 months to visit the US. It’s a Sephora stocked product, so I’m keen to sample all 3 different types (hydrating, exfoliating and clearing), to work out which one is worth my cash [$US69.00].

bite lip mask

 

 

 

 

 

Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask

 

The idea of a lip mask makes me a bit giddy – another part of my face that can have a mask?! Again, rave reviews from US YouTube vloggers, so definitely need to look into this product [$US28.00]. My go-to scrub is the Victoria’s Secret Lip Scrub, so will restock that for exfoliating purposes.

Of course, I’m keen to sample and try a whole range of things while I’m away, but these are the main researched products that are on my wish list. Any recommendations, please comment below!

The US Wishlist: Palettes

So, for those who know my history of beauty loves will know that I am a long-time lover of palettes. One of the first makeup products I ever got as a teenager was an eyeshadow palette from an older, and therefore glamorous cousin. It provided me with hours of fun, and I have never moved on from my palette love. Fast forward over a decade, and Urban Decay introduced their Naked palette, which I think totally transformed the palette market. For so long, palettes were too cheap and nasty to consider as real makeup, and instead were gifts given from older to younger cousins. The Naked Palette began the incredibly competitive market of nude-themed palettes which are still dominating the beauty market.

I’ve picked up the Naked and Naked 2 palettes in previous travels, and am keen to add to my palette collection on my upcoming US trip next month. Unfortunately for my budget, there are many palettes that I want to purchase, and have resisted buying in the 6 months leading up to my trip.

Image The NARSissist Eye Palette
Incredibly expensive here in Aus (around $AUD139 when I last spotted it advertised – which I can’t confirm at the time of writing), and is quite obviously a luxe product. I’m keen to swatch this in store – if there is any on my list I can live without, it’s probably this one. It’s also the most expensive ($US79) on this list, so needs more thought.

Image Urban Decay Naked 3
I am pretty sure I could live without this – I have the first and second one, and was never particularly fussed on the second one. I absolutely adore the first one, think it suits my skin tone, allows for plenty of eye looks and I still have plenty of product. However, I’m a sucker for marketing and frankly, I suffer from FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). I know I probably don’t need it… but I don’t wanna miss out ($US54).

ImageToo Faced Chocolate Bar
I’ve only tried one other Too Faced product, which was the eye primer “Shadow Insurance”. I had a significant allergic reaction to it, my eyes puffed up like crazy, and I ended up having to give it away. This made it really hard to trust the brand, even though I know it was an ingredient in the primer solution, rather than the brand itself. The Chocolate Bar palette looks right up my alley with its gorgeous golden shades and chocolate-y brown shadows. I had a “Treat Yoself” day recently, and was committed to purchasing it locally at Mecca Maxima – it’s completely sold out until May. I can wait one more month and pay US prices ($US49), thanks.

LORAC-PRO-Palette

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lorac Pro 


This is the one I’m most intrigued in – I have no idea where or even if one can source this in Australia at all, so it’s definitely worthy of US investigation. It’s $US42 (for 16 shadows) which brings it in as the cheapest out of these 5 palettes.

Smashbox Full Exposure

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Smashbox Full Exposure

 

This is the one that is a definite on my list. I love Smashbox, I love the matte and shimmer mix, and the pricetag of $US49 isn’t horrifying. I loved the Masterclass 2 Palette, but there are a whole lot of colours in that, that I never ever use. I think this is a more practical upgrade, and one I’ve been interested in for quite a while.

So, that’s it from me for today. It’s a bit of a different post, as I’m really trying hard to avoid buying any new products, and instead trying to research and plan what I need to investigate and pick up in the US.

Sunday Night Pamper (April)

It’s Pamper Night time… let’s light a candle. This month, I’m lighting up an Ecoya candle ‘Midnight Orchid’. I had waited for weeks for this to go on sale in Myer, and it finally did… and unfortunately was a bit of a let down. The scent pay off just wasn’t enough for me, so I’ll be lighting something different next month.

pamper night april

Hop in the shower, and I’m still using The Sanctuary Hot Sugar Scrub, but I’ve amped it up by adding in The Body Shop Exfoliating Gloves. This was a tip from my Pac Fair lovin’ QLD friend, Waj, and I’ve noticed a steady increase in the smoothness of my legs. I get a lot of ingrowns on the back of my legs, and since using these gloves in conjunction with the scrub, I haven’t had a single ingrown!

I’m washing my locks with John Frieda’s Brilliant Brunette Shampoo & Conditioner. This is a former love of mine, and I was recently told that Chemist Warehouse sells it for $20 for the 2 – very tempting! It was enough to revive my love for it, but I ended up picking it up from Coles for $11 each (I figured I would lose $2 in petrol going to Chemist Warehouse?).

This month, I’m lathering up with The Body Shop’s Honeymania Shower Gel, and am bloody lovin’ it. As soon as I started using it, I loved it, and rushed back to The Body Shop to buy the lotion – but they don’t sell a lotion (yet)!

I’m still using the Clarisonic, just like last month, but this pamper month, I’m using the QV Face Gentle Cleanser. I think QV is so underrated, and very soon I’ll be doing a blog post about the two QV Face products that I love.

Hop out of the shower, and I’m applying the Clarins Tonic Body Treatment Oil. This was a deluxe sample I picked up when buying some other products from the Clarins counter, and damn, it’s a gorgeous product.

The final piece of my pamper night is my skincare – this month I’ve done my masks midweek, to help cut the time down on my pamper – so it’s straight to leave on stuff. This is my absolute favourite product of the month, Clarins Blue Orchid Face Treatment Oil ‘Dehydrated Skin’ (reviewed here). I cannot get enough of this oil, the smell is just gorgeous. Even better – the results are quite noticeable, and pleasing – I’m waking up looking more refreshed, my skin is looking really bright and awake, and I may have even noticed a decrease in my hyperpigmentation! But really, even if it didn’t do anything, the smell alone is worth it! (They also have 2 other facial oils – one for oily skin, and one for dry skin).

Until next month’s pamper night… 

pamper nightProduct List (RRP)
Ecoya Candle – $35.95 [Myer]
The Sanctuary Hot Sugar Scrub – $19.99 [Priceline]
The Body Shop Exfoliating Gloves – $8.95
John Frieda Brilliant Brunette – $17.95 [Coles]
The Body Shop Honeymania Shower Gel – $12.95 (250mL)
QV Face Gentle Cleanser – $9.39 (250mL) [Chemist Warehouse]
Clarins Tonic Body Treatment Oil – $62.00 [Myer]
Clarins Blue Orchid Facial Treatment Oil – $49.00 [Myer]

Paint it On: Rimmel Salon Pro Polish

As regular readers know from my Seedless Watermelon post, it takes a lot for me to dedicate a whole blog post to one polish. I truly believe this polish is worthy of such a review though, it was such a pleasant surprise to find and to wear! Nail polish generally does give me quite a lot of joy, but this polish gave me joy that was unexpected.

One of my friends (RB) is a huge advocate of the Rimmel polish and has sent me a number of photos of her growing collection, yet it has taken me a while to give the brand a go. I’ve always been a die-hard OPI gal, but the more I want the perfect shade, the more willing I have to be to try out some different brands.

Fast forward to a fortnight ago, browsing Target’s 30% Rimmel sale, and I spotted the most gorgeous grey-purple shade – Punk Rock. For some reason, I feel I can trust the Salon Pro range more for my first Rimmel polish purchase than I can for the other ranges – the bottles are seriously sized, and the extra dollars tell me it is more special (I’m a marketers dream).

Image

 

This shade is perfection! The beautiful Chanel polish I was gifted for my birthday was a let-down as it turned out to be a lot darker than the bottle – nail polish trickery at its finest. It’s my biggest pet hate when buying a polish, especially when you’re paying >$20 for a polish! Anyways, Punk Rock turned out exactly how it looked in the bottle, which is obviously gorgeous. I haven’t taken any photos of my own nails for this blog – I’m on a manicure diet to save some $$$, and unfortunately my at-home mani’s aren’t quite the same. I think I should invest some time in a YouTube manicure video?

I did find the brush a bit tricky to use – I don’t have a point of reference, but compared to the brush size, my nail beds are quite narrow. Rimmel devotee, RB, assures me that I’ll get used to it, and even come to love it, so let’s wait and see. The colour is divine, so will get many repeat wears. The real clincher for me though, was the wear time with this $6.20 polish (I got it 30% off the RRP of $8.95). I generally will change my polish mid-week, depending on what my evenings are like, and how busy I am with the business side of my job. Last week, I was knocked down with a cold, a tummy bug and a lot of work, plus the prep work of my SIL’s baby shower, so there was no time for a polish change. Rimmel Salon Pro is the perfect pick for a week like what I had – no time to change a polish, no time to maintain your nails, no time to even think about removing the polish. No chips, just some minor tip wear after 7 days of wear! I’m off to Melbourne in a fortnight and I’ve already planned to wear Punk Rock for that week – I think my travel mates will frown upon my desire to change polishes during a 3-night work trip – but I can’t risk any chips (once my polish chips, it must come off).

Would I buy it again? I would buy a polish from the range again and I would buy this shade again – it is divine.
Who would I recommend this to? Anybody with large nail beds, Rimmel devotees, and time-poor individuals who want to get their whole week out in one polish.
Is it value for money? A polish that wears for a week from an at-home mani for $8.95? Yes.
How can you get it? Any Rimmel display – Target, Big W, Priceline, Coles, etc. This little beauty is easy to find.

Slap it on: Clarins Blue Orchid Face Treatment Oil

I’m such a sucker for a retail hit, particularly when shopping alone. When I’m shopping with a friend, it’s quite easy for me to buy nothing, and return home still feeling somewhat satisfied. Shopping alone, and no purchases? Sad face for me.

I’ve been interested in hitting up the Clarins counter at Myer since MO [a regularly mentioned friend on this blog] decided to trial some products before Christmas. At the time, I wasn’t so interested in the skincare, but instead was drawn towards a gold shade eyeshadow quad – like I need more gold toned eyeshadow palettes in my life? I managed to walk away, but in the back of my mind, I was interested in returning. The beauty of MO investigating the products was that I could find out the prices, so I could make a confident return to the counter. I am so easily influenced once I hit a counter, regardless of how ridiculously priced a product may be, so it really pays for a person like me to do some research beforehand.

Anyways, so it was time for a new cleanser, so I figured a Clarins cleanser was worth a trial. Because I am so easily influenced, I couldn’t help but be interested in other products in the range. The sales assistant showed me a small handful of products (and of course I couldn’t help but ask about the gold eyeshadow quad, just in case it was still available), and she showed me some serums and some oils. I’ve been reading a lot about the use of oils within one’s skincare regime, and one of my favourite bloggers (Makeup by Patricia) is a huge advocate for facial oils. I rubbed and scrubbed a number of products, and the Blue Orchid Oil was a stand out. Easily absorbed, gorgeous smell, and would finally fill my need for a facial oil.

Image

 

Dayum Clarins, where have you been all my life? I am in LOVE with this oil. The smell is so addictive, I just want to use it every night. Since it’s an oil, and I am prone to oily skin most of the time, I’m trying to avoid using it every night. I obviously automatically wanted to pick up the oil for Oily Skin (which is the Lotus Face Treatment Oil), but the sales assistant really recommended I try the dehydrated skin version (the Blue Orchid) as we’re heading into winter, where most people are prone to dehydration. It is perfection for my skin – it really does eat up the oil, so I think the dehydrated skin recommendation was best. My skin feels amazing immediately after application, and looks amazing once I wake up. It has really helped brighten up my skin, and is such a lush addition to my pamper nights!

Would I buy it again? No doubt. I would like to try some other facial oils, but this is really quite perfect.
Who would I recommend this to? Anybody wanting to up their skincare treatment; anybody who is a sucker for products that smell amazing; anybody with dehydrated skin.
Is it value for money? I’ve been using it almost daily (it just smells so good – it requires a lot of discipline to only use it every 2nd night), and I’ve barely made a dent in the 30mL level. It comes with a pippet, and about 4 small drops covers my face easily. It retails for $49.00.
How can you get it? Clarins counter at Myer.

Sorry for my silence over the past week readers – had to fight off a bug last week, and had a baby shower over the weekend!