Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Seasonal Favorites

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas! Here are some products that helped me get into the spirit of the season:

Yellow Stone Bees Tea Tree Peppermint Hand and Body Cream

This cream smells delicious! It's minty and sweet. If I could eat it, I would. 

Sumbody Peppermint Body Soap

This soap is both moisturizing and tingly. I like how it looks like a candy cane. This also smells mouth-wateringly sweet. 

Scrubz Peppermint Scrub

What can I say, I really like peppermint at this time of year. :) The grains in this worked to exfoliate my skin while the oils helped moisturize it. 

WYK Candle in Whispering Pines

The smell of pine makes me think of Christmas. It's fresh without being overpowering. 

bareMinerals Eyeshadow 2.0 in The Top Shelf

I've really been feeling these shimmery eye shadows at this time of year - they seems festive without being garish. This duo contains a champagne color and a light bronze.

I'm going to keep on enjoying these products all the way until Twelfth Night!

~ Susan

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve OOTD

Merry Christmas Eve!

Here's what I wore this evening to dinner with the family and church:

- Faux Wrap Sweater Dress from LOFT
- opaque black stockings
- black ankle boots from Target
- Tiffany bow necklace

I hope you're having a wonderful Christmas!

~ Susan

Thursday, December 22, 2011

December Julep Maven Box

I've been getting boxes from Julep for several months now. They really do have the best nail polish I've tried (and I've tried all the cheap brands at CVS and Walmart, and some of the pricier brands like OPI and Essie). They endure longer than a week when every other nail polish I've ever used has chipped within 2 days. The polish is "3 Free," meaning they do not contain dibutyl phthalate, formaldehyde, or toluene.

This month I received the "IT GIRL" box which included:

- Rivets Julep Nail Applique
- Helena Julep Nail Vernis
- Julep Fast Dry Topcoat

My little "extra" this month was the Glitter Pot for nails, which is literally glitter for your nails.

I like Julep because of how much freedom they give. Each month on the 20th you get an email previewing what you'll be receiving the next month. Between the 20th and the 25th, you have the option to change the "shelf pull" and switch up what you'll be receiving if you don't like the preview, opt out of receiving a box that month, or send your box to a friend. The boxes are shipped on the 26th, and I usually receive mine around the 1st. Each box is $19.99.

I thought I'd share my December box with you because they have an awesome promo code right now. "SHAREON" gets new members their first box for a penny!

This is my referral link if you'd like to sign up:

Full disclosure -- if you sign up through my link, I get 1 credit. For every 2 a Maven earns, they get a box for free. :)

~ Susan

Monday, December 19, 2011

Green or Unclean: tarte gifted Amazonian clay smart mascara

I got this mascara in a set and I've been using it a couple of weeks. I find that it gives my lashes a feathery look without any clumping or smearing. Like many of tarte's products, this contains Amazonian Clay. The clay is a very effective oil-absorber. By absorbing excess oil near the lash line, this mascara bonds to the lashes more completely. This helps to prevent smearing and smudging, something I have trouble with.

This has a Skin Deep Rating of 4

Ingredients: Aqua/Water/Eau, Cyclopentasiloxane, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Wax, Hydrogenated Olive Oil Stearyl Esters, Stearic Acid, Cera Carnauba/Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax/Cire De Carnauba, Alcohol, Propylene Glycol, Triethanolamine, Candelilla Cera/Euphorbia Cerifera (Candelilla) Wax/Cire De Candelilla, Acacia Senegal Gum, Vp/Va Copolymer, Phenoxyethanol, Polyvinyl Alcohol, Panthenol, Aminomethyl Propanediol, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Kaolin, Iron Oxides (Ci 77499)

There are some surprisingly unclean ingredients for a natural company. Why does propylene glycol seem to be in everything Tarte makes?

Verdict: Clean-ish. Since this received a Skin Deep Rating of 5 or below, I am going to continue to use it. However, in the future, I'll stick to purchasing Physicians Formula Organic wear mascara which seems to have much better ingredients.

~ Susan

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Boscia B.B. Cream

I got a free sample of this with a purchase I made at Sephora a while back.

image from

This product only comes in one shade, a light neutral beige. It claims to self-adjust to your skin tone; however, I think they picked a shade that they thought would fit most skin-tones... it does not match my pale skin. It is too dark and would be even at my tannest.

The texture is light and creamy. It provides good coverage, and I didn't need any extra concealer. By starting at the center of my face and blending outwards, I was able to make it work and I wore it a few times. It took too much effort to warrant a re-purchase. Plus, though Boscia is marketed as a natural company, the list of ingredients just doesn't compare to those in my current foundation by Everyday Minerals.

Overall, I think Boscia B.B. Cream SPF 27 PA++ could be a good pick for someone who is just starting a transition to more natural products (it is formulated without: preservatives, parabens, sulfates, synthetic fragrances and dyes, petrochemicals, phthalates, GMOs and triclosan) AND has a medium to tan skin tone.

Ingredients: Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, Glycerin, Sodium PCA, Glycereth-26, Dimethicone, Dipropylene Glycol, Arbutin, Beta-Glucan, PEG/PPG-18/18 Dimethicone, PEG-10 Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Methylsilanol Hydroxyproline Aspartate, Panthenol, Alteromonas Ferment Extract, Phenyl Trimethicone, Acrylates/Dimethicone Coploymer, PEG-10 Dimethicone, Sodium Hyaluronate, Allantoin, Adenosine, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Butylene Glycol, Stearic Acid, Caprylyl Glycol, PEG/PPG-20/15 Dimethicone, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Alumina, Mica, Citric Acid, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Levulinate, Sodium Anisate, Iron Oxide (CI 77499), Iron Oxide (CI 77491), Iron Oxide (CI 77492)

~ Susan

Friday, December 16, 2011

Tarte for True Blood

Target had some good electronic deals on Black Friday, so I picked up a bunch of DVDs, including the first two seasons of True Blood. I've read all the books and loved them, so I assumed that I wouldn't like the show because movies/TV shows are generally never as good as the books they're based on. BUT, I've been hooked into the show. It has the same characters and the same places of interest, but it differs from the books in storyline. It almost seems like a work of fanfiction, or a parallel universe where everything is just slightly different. I think that that's actually a positive, because on one hand, you never know what's coming but you get the same great characters.

ANYWAYS, Tarte came out with True Blood inspired makeup a while back and due to my newly renewed affinity for the series, I decided to get me some Sookie and Pam-endorsed makeup. :)

I got the LipSurgence Natural Lip Tint and the Natural Cheek Stain.

True Blood LipSurgence
The Lip Tint is touted as a "mint-infused, iridescent red shade that drenches lips in a luminous, long-lasting tint." The mint is oddly refreshing and doesn't sting my lips like other mint-flavored products have in the past. The tint seems to last a normal amount of time (around 4 hours sans eating or drinking) for a lip product. This is not as moisturizing as the other LipSurgences I own. Maybe they played around with the formulation, or maybe I just got a weird batch. Mine is more moisturizing than a lipstick, but less moisturizing that a lip balm. The color appears in the tube to be a bright red, but when applied to my lips it takes on more of a pinky shade, I think because my natural lip color is coming through. This makes it a bit more wearable; sometimes I sport it on my lips to work. If you're looking for a really bright, dramatic lip, I would go for the LipSurgence in the shade "Enchanted," which has a deep, rose-colored tint and is one of the brightest lip colors I own. 
True Blood natural cheek tint

I love the color of the Cheek Stain! It is a very vibrant, berry red and is oh-so pretty to look at. I'm torn over the sparkles; some days I like how they catch the light, other times I feel rather stupid for being over 15 years old and sporting sparkles. The formulation took a while to get used to, but as long as you apply to one cheek at a time and being blending it out immediately, this blush can look almost natural. I used to use a cream blush by Clinique - that one was much more blend-able. Because of the glitter, I only wear this at night.

If you like True Blood, check out Tarte's line before these limited edition products are gone!

~ Susan

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Hair Pair

I have found a really good shampoo and conditioning pair! I had been looking for hair care items with good ingredients, but it was proving to be quite difficult. Finally, I checked out the Trader Joe's skin care/health section, where I found the Tea Tree Tingle Shampoo & Conditioner.

Shampoo Ingredients: Aqua (purified water), tea tree oil, peppermint oil, eucalyptus oil, rosemary oil, nettle oil, thyme oil, birch leaf oil, chamomile, clary, lavender, coltsfoot leaf, yarrow oil, mallow, horsetail oil, soybean protein, C12-14 olefinsulfonate (coconut derived), cocamidopropyl betaine, tocopherol (vitamin E), trace minerals, citric acid, sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, sodium chloride, grapefruit seed

Conditioner Ingredients: Aqua (purified water), tea tree oil, peppermint oil, eucalyptus oil, rosemary oil, nettle oil, thyme oil, birch leaf oil, chamomile, clary, lavender, coltsfoot leaf, yarrow oil, mallow, horsetail oil, soybean protein, cetyl alcohol (plant derived), tocopherol (vitamin E), trace minerals, citric acid, sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, grapefruit seed

They each cost $3.99 for 16 oz., the price per ounce is the same as Herbal Essence's shampoo and conditioner. Basically, they work and I feel good about using them. :)

~ Susan

Sunday, December 11, 2011

November Favorites

I've been without internet for the past couple of weeks, and now I am SO glad to have it back! Here are my favorites from the month of November.

Tarte Full Coverage Foundation

This is the only foundation I've been wearing recently. It gives me the coverage I want without making my face look cakey of streaky. It feels moisturizing without making me constantly aware that I've got a "mask" of makeup on.

This is only available from, and it comes with a brush, which I don't use. I'm hoping that when I'm through with this tube it will have be sold elsewhere, because I'd rather not get a brush I'm not going to use every time I buy this. /: It's pretty comparable in texture/feel to the smooth operator Amazonian Clay tinted moisturizer with SPF 20 that Tarte sells which is available at a lot more places. The foundation has more coverage and staying power.

Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush

Mostly, I love the colors they have of these blushes. I also like that they require little thought when applying - one sweep on the cheeks, and I'm good to go. My favorite shade is Exposed, though I own a few others.

I know that Tarte isn't as pure as many other natural companies, but I think they're a good transition for people who are just starting to pursue greener and cleaner makeup choices (i.e.- people like me =D)

Bare Minerals Ready Eye Shadows

These shadows are very smooth and have a really good color payoff.

Trader Joe's Tea Tree Shampoo & Conditioner

I was having a crazy hard time finding a shampoo and condition with really good ingredients. There were a bunch that were almost perfect except for fragrance. Finally, I found these, and I couldn't be happier. Also, these are pretty cheap - $3.99 a bottle. Not as a cheap as say, Suave, but a lot cheaper than the other natural options I was looking at. The bottle says that Trader Joe's worked with a professional boutique to create this - I think it might be Giovanni something or other. They have a tea tree line which looks very similar to this one. Most of Trader Joe's products are created by another company and differ only in packaging and price.

These feel a bit different from other shampoos and conditioners in the shower; my hair feels kind of dry... even though it's wet. Maybe it just feels really clean. As soon as my hair is dry it feels extremely soft AND non-oily. I would continue to purchase these even if I wasn't concerned about ingredients. I wash my hair at night, it air dries while I sleep, in the morning I brush it once and then I'm good to go. No other products needed. :)

Rainwater Botanicals - Herbal Herbal Healing Salve & Intensive Repair Cream

I've been loving all of the things I got from Rainwater Botanicals - especially the moisturizers/salves. My top favorites are the Herbal Healing Salve, which I use on my hands to keep them soft in this cold weather, and the Intensive Repair Cream, which I've been using on my legs. The scents are nice but not overpowering, and they make my skin feel truly moisturized. I've already repurchased both of these.

This past month's dislike: my difficulty with finding a good, facial skin care routine. I've just been washing my face with Tea Tree Soap, and that's it. Maybe that's all I really need. It's definitely the cheapest skin care routine I've had in a long while!

~ Susan