Sephora Valentine’s Day Promo

vibxoxoEvery year on Valentine’s Day, Sephora releases a promo featuring three lip products to VIBs and VIB Rouges. The last few years have been trios of lip glosses but this year included two mini lipsticks and a gloss. I’m not a big fan of glosses but I really like lipsticks so I was happy to see this promo (plus I’d been waiting for a good promo code to buy a couple of new rollerballs).

sephora_vibxoxoIn addition to the three mini lip products, the set also included a makeup bag. I’d already gotten a couple of these same makeup bags with promos before and was disappointed to see it again. They are nice for organizing makeup samples but they are a little flimsy and not that cute. I would have preferred a fun, Valentine’s Day themed bag, or at least one that’s a little sturdier.

sephora_vibxoxo2This promo contained three different deluxe lip samples: an Urban Decay Revolution Lipstick in Jilted, a Smashbox Be Legendary Lip Gloss in Disco Rose, and a Buxom Full Bodied Lipstick in Mistress. I wonder if someone at Sephora has a sense of humor because a Valentine’s Day promo that includes products named Jilted and Mistress is pretty funny to me. I’m on a mission to collect as many Urban Decay Revolution Lipstick minis as I can, so I was really excited to see another color in this promo set. The other two are repeats for Sephora promos (Disco Rose was in Sephora’s recent Smashbox 500-point perk set and Mistress was part of the Buxom trio promotion that I reviewed here). I really like Mistress so I didn’t mind getting another one, although it would have been nice to try a new color.

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Jilted, Disco Rose, Mistress

Usually Sephora’s lip promos and point perks include only red lip colors, so I was really happy to see some different colors in this promo. I also like the variety of shades included: a darker berry, a red, and a medium-nude pink.

sephora_vibxoxo3I really like Urban Decay’s Revolution Lipsticks and although I find their mini lipstick shapes to be a little difficult to work with, I collect them (in addition to the six from their Full Frontal Lipstick Stash I reviewed here, I also have Catfight and Naked). Jilted is a new color for me, so as soon as I saw it was in this promo, I had to have it. I really like the Revolution Lipstick formula- it’s opaque with great coverage and moisturizing even though it’s long-lasting. It’s nearly impossible for me to use up an entire lipstick, so I like having the minis. Then I can try a bunch of different colors without spending a lot of money.

urban_decay_jiltedJilted is an unusual color. It’s a very pretty deep fuchsia berry color that contains iridescent blue shimmer. The blue shimmer adds some depth to the color, making it different than other dark pinks. It’s not super noticeable in person so this is still a very wearable color. Jilted is opaque in one pass and lasted all day. This is a fun, bright color that’s different from my usual hot pink lipsticks. The full size is $22 here.

sephora_vibxoxo5I’m not much of a gloss person, so I wasn’t too excited about getting this Smashbox Be Legendary in Disco Rose. Plus, it’s red, which is a tricky color for me (I prefer pink). This gloss is designed to feel light and airy, not sticky. It has a high-gloss finish and a rich rose color. I think colored glosses are tricky because they tend to go on patchy instead of evenly.

smashbox_disco_roseThis gloss is no exception. The applicator was pretty flimsy and made application difficult. It didn’t go on evenly and was tough to work with. It did feel light and not at all sticky on, but this is a gloss that would probably be best layered over a lipstick. The Smashbox Be Legendary Lip Gloss in Disco Rose is $20 here.

sephora_vibxoxo4Buxom’s Full Bodied Lipstick in Mistress was the final color in this set. I already own a couple of minis of this from the Buxom promo last summer, but I really like it so I’m happy to have another (although a different color to try would have been nice). This lipstick has a nice finish- not too shiny but not matte, and it feels moisturizing on.

buxom_mistressBuxom’s Mistress is a great everyday pink shade. It’s almost a brightened pinky-nude, close to a bubblegum color. It’s a medium pink on me, and very easy to wear. I’ve found that the mini is a little soft, and easy to break in the tube if I’m not careful. The full size is $21 here.

I’m really happy with this promo, although I won’t get much use out of the Smashbox gloss. Still, I’m happy to have another mini Revolution Lipstick to add to my collection, and I like Mistress so much that I don’t mind another. This Sephora promo is currently out of stock, but sometimes they return. You can stalk it with the code VIBXOXO (only for VIBs and VIB Rouges with a $35 purchase).

-Molly

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Liebster Award

We were recently nominated by DT from Here I Scribble and April from The Tales of April for the Liebster Award! We love reading blogs and supporting other bloggers, so we’re excited to take part!

Liebster Award
RULES
Mention/thank/tag the blogger who nominated you.
Explain the rules for the next lucky nominees.
Answer the questions given to you.
Nominate and link blogs with less than (200) followers.
Post 11 questions of your own.
Notify bloggers that they have been nominated.
Also: you may want to display the award on your blog by including it in your post and/or displaying it using a “widget” or a “gadget”.

QUESTIONS FOR US (from DT, because she tagged us first)
1. What was the last picture you took?
Molly: A very bad photo of my Graze snack. G ran off with my camera so I had to use my tablet.
Stacie: A pic of my workout of the day sticky note. Nicole plans our workouts during the day and writes them on sticky notes to take with us to the gym.  I usually take a picture so I have ideas for future workouts.

2. What was the last lie you told?
Molly: Probably something silly like, “yes, of course I cleaned up my mess.”
Stacie: “Yeah, I totally understand your story.” Haha I might have gotten lost in the details.

3. What’s the best compliment you ever received?
Molly: That’s tough, there have been so many. Yes, I’m really that fabulous. *flips hair*
Stacie: You’re beautiful. (Maybe I do have a romantic side haha)

4. What cheers you up?
Molly: Food.
Stacie: Music. There’s nothing jamming out to a good song can’t fix.

5. What is your favorite food?
Molly: Watermelon. Or chocolate. Or cheese.
Stacie: Ice Cream

6. What’s your best childhood memory?
Molly: Tricking Stacie into cleaning my room for me. :) She bought it every time.
Stacie: Playing cards with the fam

7. What is your strongest personal quality?
Molly: Honesty? Confidence? A winning smile? Haha, I don’t know.
Stacie: Loyalty

8. What does your perfect day look like?
Molly: For starters, it involves sleeping in. And creme brulee.
Stacie: Sleeping in then playing in the snow, followed by hot chcolate and sitting by the fire!

9. What was your favorite holiday?
Molly: Christmas. Or do you mean holiday as in vacation? Our trip to San Diego was a lot of fun.
Stacie: Christmas!

10. If you could live anywhere, where would that be?
Molly: Somewhere warm, so Phoenix is pretty good.
Stacie: Nice, France!

11. Sunrise or sunset?
Molly: Definitely sunset.
Stacie: Sunrise! I’m definitely not a morning person but I like the “new beginnings” vibe from sunrises.

QUESTIONS FOR YOU
1. What is your favorite book?
2. What made you start blogging?
3. What is your favorite lipstick?
4. What is your favorite thing to do on vacation?
5. How do you like to spend your free time?
6. What are your blogging goals for this year?
7. Who did you think was best dressed at the Oscars this year?
8. Would you rather have a surprise party or casual dinner for your birthday?
9. What’s the next vacation you have planned?
10. What’s your favorite thing to cook?
11. How many languages do you speak?

WE NOMINATE
Through New Eyes
Courtney Does Beauty
Queen Bee Becca
Amy Farrell Says
Summer Violets
Crazy Little World of Mine

-Molly and Stacie

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Blue Lemon

bluelemon5I’m a big breakfast person (at least I’m a fan of sweet, carb-rich breakfast foods and I always have to eat something in the morning). And as much as I like sweets, I really enjoy eating healthy, clean foods. So when a friend suggested I try Blue Lemon, I couldn’t help myself. Blue Lemon is a fast casual restaurant that uses high-quality, fresh, natural ingredients. Their tagline, pure clean food with a twist, perfectly describes the fun, healthy meals they serve. Originally from Utah, Blue Lemon recently opened a location in Gilbert, not too far from where I live. As much as I love salads and fresh sandwiches for lunch, Blue Lemon’s breakfast menu is what really drew me in. G and I went on a late weekday morning- perfect timing because it was too late for the breakfast crowd and too early for the lunch rush.

bluelemon1To start with, the restaurant is really cute. The exterior looks like a Mexican food restaurant, with mustard yellow paint and Christmas lights hung from the rafters. Lemons are etched into the windows and doors, and cute chandeliers hang from the ceiling. The vibe of the space is very light and fresh, nice and open, a perfect complement to the food. It’s definitely more of a girly restaurant.

bluelemon4Since Blue Lemon is a fast casual restaurant, you order at the front, pick a place to sit, and they bring you your food. Select drinks come from the bar (like my iced tea) but sodas are self-serve. G and I were excited to see a Coca-Cola Freestyle soda machine. They were all over the place when we lived in Denver but are hard to find in AZ. We love being able to mix our own sodas (vanilla root beer is our favorite so far). Condiments are also self-serve (usually I write off restaurants that serve Hunt’s instead of Heinz ketchup, but since I won’t be eating many French fries here, I’ll let it slide). How cute is this condiment station?

bluelemonThe weather was pretty nice so we sat on the patio. I ordered an iced tea to drink (some kind of fruity or tropical flavor, I really can’t remember). Either way, it was good, very light and refreshing. G stuck to vanilla root beer.

bluelemon2For breakfast, I ordered the Berry Orange Crepes. They were very thin and light crepes filled with orange zested sweet creme. My crepes were topped with chopped strawberries and whipped cream. The plate was drizzled with fresh berry orange sauce. The crepes were very good but not as sweet as I was expecting. The orange flavor added quite a bit of tartness to them. I really enjoyed these and the presentation was beautiful, but I would have liked more sauce on the crepes. As pretty as these crepes were, a scrambled egg and some bacon on the side would have also been nice. For an early breakfast this would have been good but seeing as it was later in the morning, I was still a little hungry after eating these.

bluelemon3G ordered the Eggs Florentine. I’ve never seen him eat any eggs other than scrambled, but he seemed pretty confident in his choice (at least until his plate arrived). Eggs Florentine are English muffins topped with tomato slices, ham, spinach, a poached egg, and hollandaise sauce. Blue Lemon serves theirs with a side of rosemary potatoes. All I will say is that I thought the eggs and hollandaise were pretty good. G was able to fill up on the potatoes (the rosemary added a nice twist), ham, and English muffins.

Overall, I thought Blue Lemon was pretty good. It wasn’t super pricey ($7 for the Berry Orange Crepes and $8.50 for the Eggs Florentine) and it definitely had a nice atmosphere. Large chain restaurants pretty much reign supreme here, so it’s nice to have another, healthier option to our standard places. I will definitely go back for breakfast (next time I want to try the Bananas Foster French Toast) and the lunch and dinner options sound pretty good too (the Mango Mint Chicken Salad and Lemon Grilled Chicken B.L.T. seem really interesting). Next time I’ll make sure G knows what he’s ordering. ;)

-Molly

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Nashville Favorites: Pancake Pantry & Merchants

I’m heading back to Nashville next week and to help get excited for my trip I thought I would share a couple of my favorite Nashville restaurants, Pancake Pantry and Merchants. Pancake Pantry is located right near Vanderbilt University and has been around for over 50 years. After my first time eating there I totally understood why its been around for so  long; the restaurant itself isn’t super fancy but the food is AMAZING! It’s well worth the wait which can be quite long (the second time I went it was wrapped half way down the block). The menu has 23 varieties of pancakes, waffles, grits (try them with cheese!), and then of course they also offer bacon and eggs. My first time there I ordered the chocolate crepes. I love chocolate so they were great but after trying the cherry and peach rolled pancakes I was a little sad I hadn’t gotten pancakes! Trust me just go with the pancakes. They have a strong buttery taste but are still light and fluffy.

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^^Yes I did try a little bit of everything but it wasn’t all mine (there were three of us!)

The second time I went I had chocolate chip pancakes and the cherry rolled pancakes (if you ask they will split an order so you can try two flavors!) I also had to have some of the grits with cheese (I used to not really enjoy grits but adding cheese to them makes them really good!

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image^^ Dressed up for Halloween

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Merchant’s is another great restaurant I’ve been to while in Nashville. Merchants is right on the heart of Broadway Street, which is where all the honky tonks are at, so it’s a perfect place to grab dinner before heading out for some live music. Merchants offers two menus with two different dining experiences; if you choose to eat upstairs it’s a little fancier while downstairs is a little more casual. We sat downstairs on the patio which worked out great. The menu has some fun appetizers like Duck Fat Tator Tots (which I’ve heard are amazing), Baked Cheese, and Deviled Eggs. While the entree portion of the menu includes some southern favorites such as chicken fried chicken and jambalaya, as well as non-southern options like fish tacos. I had the chicken fried chicken which was fabulous. The breading on the chicken was seasoned very well and it was fried to just the perfect crispiness. The gravy on the chicken was also great – it was seasoned well but not too much to overpower the taste of the chicken. It was also served with smashed potatoes which perfectly complemented the chicken. My co-worker had the jambalaya which she said was pretty great (and she is a VERY picky eater). Overall our dinner at Merchants was fabulous and on my list of restaurants to visit again.

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Do you have any suggestions of places I should check out while in Nashville?

- Stacie

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Low-Buy and Empties Challenge

100 day 2Lately, I’ve been realizing just how many beauty products I have. Between buying things I want to try, subscription boxes, promos, samples, and gifts with purchase, I have more than enough to last me for years. So, I decided to participate in a 100 day no-buy challenge, with a twist. I often see people going on no-buys only to splurge and buy several hundred dollars worth of stuff as soon as their no-buy is over. Since my goal isn’t to limit myself only to have free reign when the challenge is over or to save money (although that’s a nice benefit), but to reduce my stash and use up some of the products I have, I am doing a low-buy instead.

Basically, a low-buy means I have to really think about my purchases before I make them. I don’t want to buy for the sake of buying, but because I truly love or need a product, and don’t already have something similar. My low-buy is about making more conscientious buying choices, and also falling back in love with items I already own. To tamper the “shopping craving,” I’m also focusing on using up products I already have (specifically samples) and reducing my stash. What’s the point of getting free samples or promos if I’m never going to use them? Do I really need to horde travel sizes in case I go on a trip? I’m sure I’ll acquire more before I actually go on vacation.

I started my 100 day low-buy at the beginning of the year, so now I’m just over halfway through. I’ve been really surprised by how ridiculous the whole thing is (I have to challenge myself to think about my purchases?! I should be doing that anyway). Most of the time it’s pretty easy. Instead of buying something right away, I will take a minute to think about my stash and if I have something very similar. If I’m not completely in love with something or feel even a little unsure, I won’t buy it. It’s surprisingly easy. Once I’ve left the store or turned off my computer, I no longer think about it. There’s no, “I really should have bought that,” feeling. Which makes me wonder how many things I already own that I could have lived without.

Still, it can be difficult sometimes. Seeing a really good promo can be tempting, but I can usually talk myself out of it by asking if I really need to buy anything at all. Is that promo worth $$$ to me? Because I’m buying something I don’t really need or want that costs that much just to get a few deluxe samples. Other times I just feel like shopping, which is the hardest time to convince myself not to buy. So far I’ve been able to squash that feeling just by going and looking at my stash, and finding something I haven’t used in awhile to play with. I’ve also been using some of my Sephora points to get deluxe samples for free instead of buying something. Then I get something new but I don’t spend any money (although that doesn’t help with reducing what I have).

Since I’m really trying to clean out my stash, I’m also keeping track of my empties. I’ve never been into keeping my empty containers or foil packets around (it’s just a bunch of trash!) but for this challenge it has been really helpful to me. I’ve been keeping track of my low-buy by using easy-to-manage 10-day increments and seeing how many empties I can accumulate in ten days is kind of fun! It definitely adds more of a competitive part to the challenge (can I use up more products in these ten days than I did in the last ten days?) and being able to visualize everything I’m using up helps keep me going. It also makes me much more aware of how many things I still have and how long it will take me to use everything- another deterrent to buying more.

empties1-10I’m halfway through my challenge, so I’ve completed five rounds of empties challenges. What I’ve really found is that a lot of the products aren’t that great. It’s not that they’re bad, but they just aren’t HG-status for me, I have other things that I like better. For example, with this first set of empties (days 1-10), I really liked the Glamglow ThirstyMud (so much so that I grabbed a bunch in my SiJCP Customized Skincare Set) but everything else was just “eh” for me. That’s another great thing about this challenge- I will be able to find products I really like and won’t waste my time buying or rebuying items that don’t really impress me.

empties11-20Days 11-20 weren’t as productive for empties as my first ten days. My skin didn’t like all of the new products at once so I had to slow down a little bit. There were more products that I liked though (both Glamglow masks and the Clarins sunscreen). I was also able to use up a Bumble and Bumble Thickening Hairspray sample. It is always included in their GWPs, so I have so many it’s ridiculous. And I don’t even particularly like the product!

empties21-30I was still letting my skin rest during days 21-30 so I didn’t have very many empties. Once again, everything was fine but there wasn’t anything I really loved and wanted to buy. The Cooling Foot Creme was nice but I don’t use body moisturizers enough to justify purchasing it. I liked the Pomegranate Mask but I’ve been buying so many inexpensive sheet masks lately that I’m not sure I’ll be buying any more in the near future.

empties31-40Days 31-40 were a little more productive, and I was able to use up quite a few deluxe samples and a full-sized packet of cotton pads. The YET mermaid mask was cute and I really liked the smell of the Bath and Body Works shower gel. I would repurchase both of those. ExfoliKate was also great. The Shiseido Facial Cotton felt nice but isn’t worth paying for. I did not like the Peter Thomas Roth shampoo and conditioner. I have several samples so I will use them up right away and be rid of them!

empties41-50Days 41-50 were very productive for me. I was able to use up more of the PTR shampoo and conditioner that I hate. The only thing from this group that I would re-buy is the Neutrogena Eye Makeup Remover. I have sensitive eyes and this is one of the few removers that doesn’t irritate them (I also like their eye makeup remover pads). I won’t be re-buying any right now though, I have another eye makeup remover to use up first.

I’m halfway through my low-buy/empties challenge and I’m doing really well! I have made a couple of beauty purchases but they have been well thought out and are products I am really excited to use and will love to have. Not buying things has been easier than I thought it would be, but I’m still surprised by temptations and the feeling that I need to buy something. More importantly, I’ve been able to reduce my stash by quite a bit! I’m surprised by how many empties I’ve acquired over 50 days. I still have a ton of things left, but seeing how easy it is to use things up is definitely motivating! Although some items seem to take foreverrrr and have an endless amount of product in them (foundations, eye cream, and eye primer specifically). I’m feeling really good at this halfway mark and who knows, maybe I’ll continue past the 100 days!

Have you ever done a low-buy, no-buy, or empties challenge?

-Molly

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