December Birchbox

Unboxing and first impressions

I received my December Birchbox really early this month which was a happy surprise! I chose the curated box because I really wanted to try the LOC Liquid Shadow, Marcelle Mascara, and Whish Primer. I haven’t been too impressed with the sample choice options recently (mostly because I’ve already tried many of them), so this is the second month in a row I’ve chosen the curated box. I believe everyone received this eyelash curler as well which is a useful gift!

Look at this pigment! I’m newly obsessed with the LOC Liquid Shimmer Shadow in Stardust. It’s a perfect champagne color that’s shimmery without being chunky or glittery. I wore this for almost 10 hours yesterday and it didn’t crease at all, but it easily washed off at the end of the night. I’m definitely looking into the other colors.

Next up is the Marcelle Ultimate Volume Nano Mascara. The brush is teeny tiny with short bristles, so I wasn’t sure how well it would work, but it does give serious volume! Unfortunately, after one coat it’s super clumpy and you can’t comb it out because the bristles are too short. I’ve only tested it once, so I’m going to give it another go. I do love it for the bottom lashes so far though.

I tested out the Whish Botanical Primer this week as well. I love that it feels like a gel moisturizer, but it also blurs pores thanks to dimethicone. If you generally hate that silicone feel, you might want to try this because it doesn’t pill. The rest of the ingredients include natural hydrators like argan oil, which is perfect for the dry weather we’ve been experiencing here in New York. I don’t really wear foundation, so I generally don’t get excited about primers, but this one is great!

I’ve tried the NuFace Prep-N-Glow cloths before and was happy to receive two more in this box. They’re great for quickly removing makeup, light exfoliation, and adding some moisture with hyaluronic acid. I’ll definitely be using them during my trip to Chicago next week.

The only item I haven’t tried is the Aveda Thickening Tonic which is supposed to plump strands without leaving a gritty residue. I love that it’s 97% naturally derived, but the scent is strong and almost minty. Certain scents tend to give me a headache, so I want to try this for the thickening effect, but I’m a little nervous.

I’ve been subscribed to Birchbox for five years and I still look forward to my box every month. I love that there are customizable options and enjoy the discovery aspect as there are always new brands to try. I also haven’t received a repeat sample yet (unless I chose to because I loved it so much!), so I highly recommend this subscription. You can sign up here if you’d like!

What did you get in your December Birchbox? Do you like being surprised or choose the curated box so you know what’s coming?

Ulta Haul Update

Three new affordable favorites

I’m obsessed with this Hask Volumizing Dry Shampoo from my recent Ulta Haul. Being on crutches, my hair is not getting washed too often, so trust me when I say this stuff works. It absorbs oil, smells great, and does add a little volume to my thin hair. The best part is that is doesn’t leave a white cast at all! Even on day four hair, I just massage my roots a tiny bit and nothing is left! It’s seriously impressive and one of my favorite new finds because it was only $4!

I’m also loving this Real Techniques brush duo. The “Base Shadow Brush” is actually perfect for fluffing shadow into the crease. It blends color so nicely and effortlessly. Then the “Deluxe Crease Brush” is actually great for packing on color because it’s so dense. I think the naming is funny because I use them for the opposite purpose, but the brushes themselves are high-quality. The bristles are soft, the handles are a great length, and they feel sturdy. This was also only $5! For two brushes! I need to start shopping at Ulta more often.

Last, but not least, we have the Soap & Glory Smoothie Star Body Milk. This smells delicious – perfectly sweet and warm for the winter months. It is described as Almonds, Oats, and Brown Sugar scented and I definitely get that baked goods vibe. The lotion itself is really moisturizing, but not greasy and it sinks in quickly. I usually transition to a thick body butter around this time of year, but this is working well enough and I absolutely love that it comes in a convenient pump.

I’m so glad I picked up these items as they’re turning out to be staples! Have you hauled anything recently that turned out to be a favorite? Let me know in the comments. I’d love to check it out!

Gift Guide: Stocking Stuffers ($20 and under)

Stocking StuffersI absolutely love stocking stuffers! They’re such fun, whimsical surprises. These would also make great coworker gifts as they’re cute and affordable.
  1. Faux Fur Pom Beanie from Nordstrom ($15) – This is perfect for winter and such a pretty color!
  2. Voluspa Macaron Candle from Anthropologie ($16) – Smells amazing, burns well, pretty packaging. Check, check, and check!
  3. Euphoria by Lily King ($9) – One of my favorite books ever! It’s a mix between anthropology/historical fiction and a love triangle.
  4. Cozy Socks ($9) – A cute spin on a traditional gift. I wear these all the time in the colder months. I love the Nordstrom Butter Socks and this Target set with a sleep mask.
  5. Essie Gel Couture Set ($18.50) – Pearls of Wisdom is a gorgeous shade for the holidays and this top coat lasts for over a week on my nails with no chips.
  6. Benefit Get the Pretty Started Palette ($20) – Minis of the cult classic Hoola bronzer, the new Galifornia blush, and Watt’s Up highlighter in one convenient travel palette. Review coming soon!
  7. See’s Sour Stars ($6.55) – Delicious holiday candies that aren’t your typical chocolate or peppermint.
  8. Recover Phone Case ($20) – I love the evil eye design and iridescent colors, plus a new phone case is always nice to receive.

More gift guides to come! Let me know your favorite stocking stuffers below.

Ulta Haul and First Impressions (video)

My 2nd Youtube video is up featuring a bunch of makeup, haircare, and body products from the recent Ulta Cyber Sale! Did you haul anything? Let me know your recommendations for my next shopping trip!