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review: hard candy BROWS NOW (plus a peek in the hard candy factory!)

{lip gloss, anyone?}
{in the coral}
{one roll of neon, please}
i recently spent a few hours touring the hard candy factory in new jersey, seeing where and how makeup is made.  this was a truly thrilling for me, as both a makeup and hard candy lover.  i was able to see the entire process from raw ingredients, to huge boiling vats of gooey hues, all the way to packaging and labeling.

while i fell in love with the bright colors i saw at every turn (how gorgeous is that neon?!), the product i took home that i have used everyday since is the brand's brow gel.  the formula of hard candy BROWS NOW reminds me of my previous favorite fancy-brand brow gel (i won't mention any names), but with a better brush, a highlight added to the other end, and 1/3 of the price tag.  available in just two shades - light medium and medium dark, the light medium blends easily with my natural brow shade.  the spooly brush is covered in tiny microfibers, making it easy to get good coverage with just one swipe.  flip it over to add highlight under brows, or along cheekbones, for extra definition. plus, it is $8 (!) at walmart.

i'm sure i'll be sharing other colorful hard candy finds from my factory tour in the weeks to come, but the BROWS NOW is a beauty necessity that i couldn't wait to share.

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dolce + gabbana perfect the lift foundation + the primer.

{a better couple than pb+j}
season change, for me, means changing not just my lip, eye and cheek shades that are in high rotation, but also my skincare and foundation regimen.  new for this fall (released september 2014) dolce + gabbana the lift foundation + the primer has stolen my heart.  perhaps the love affair began because i've recently renewed my commitment to good skincare, and this duo is like skincare and makeup in one.

the foundation (and primer) contain gold flavo-silk tricomplex, a proprietary blend of gold silk sericin, italian olive oil, and vitamin b3.  the combination provides immediate hydration while working to improve fine lines over 4 weeks. the pair also contains SPF - 25 in the foundation and 30 in the primer.

i'm not always a proponent of a daily primer, but this primer and foundation are truly a team.  i've never seen a duo that work better together.   this foundation is great (light + natural-appearing, but with excellent coverage), but when used with the primer it's on another level.  together they make my skin look distractingly good.  plus the routine doesn't really add time to my routine; i've been applying both the primer and foundation quickly and with my fingers (and still getting the desired result).

available in 15 shades, i wear creamy$72 for the foundation, $68 for the primer. 

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review: scentbird fragrance subscription.



{scentbird helped me finally try this famous scent}


lately my household is all about the subscription services.  i think the subscription box trend is here to stay because it offers something distinct; the opportunity to try new products with minimal commitment.  the latest subscription that i've tried is scentbird, a fragrance sampling service.  scentbird is perfect when one is hunting for their signature scent, or simply looking to enhance their fragrance library.

the scentbird site helps guide users to potential perfume matches with a recommendation algorithm. simply answer a few questions about the sensorial preferences (ie: beach versus flower shop), then plug in current fragrance favorites, to generate a list of suggestions.  the quiz took me under 3 minutes, and came up with a long list of choices.

users can then select a scent from those listed, or choice from the extensive list of scents available (over 300 designers are represented on the site) to decide which they would like to receive for the month.  they then receive a 30-day supply (8mL) of a scent of their choosing, housed in portable black atomizer.  since i have a penchant for jasmine, i ultimately selected the classic bvlgari jasmin noir which i've never had a chance to try before.  while i liked the scent, it wasn't love, so a 30-day supply ended up being perfect. 

$14.95 a month at scentbird.com.


editor's note:  i was provided with a 1-time sampling experience gratis for review.  all opinions are my own.

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review: dr brandt laser FX bright serum.

i'm not always thrilled to try a serum.  sometimes it's the texture - either too runny or too heavy.  sometimes it's the mere fact that it seems like one more my step in an ever growing skincare routine.  whatever the reason, i was curious, but not over the moon, when i heard celebrity dermatologist (kim k's a fan), dr. brandt, was adding 3 new "laser FX" serums to his eponymous line.

my excitement increased when i heard dr. brandt speak about the serums.  it was one of the first truly fall evenings of late september.  i escaped the crisp air and tucked into the meticuliously-editted birchbox store in soho where dr. brandt described the new serums as a way achieve effects similar to those of popular laser treatments in a dermatology office, but at home.  based on the most sought-after laser effects, there's a serum for tightening (laser FX lift serum), one for fine lines (laser FX perfect serum) and a third to even tone (laser FX bright serum).

after a quick consult with a member of the dr. brandt team i was advised to try laser fx bright serum, designed to treat uneven color, dark spots and dullness.  i dutifully applied a pea-sized amount before bed, and was pleasantly surprised by the texture - soft, light, and not a bit watery.  an even more pleasant surprise occurred when i woke up; looking refreshed, and somehow already more evenly-complected.  i initially thought i'd just test the treatment at night, though the packaging advises AM and PM use.  however, i quickly became hooked.  for the past two weeks it's the most important step in my morning and evening routine.  dark spots from zits i had ages ago have finally disappeared. 

each laser FX serum retails for $78 (a steal when compared with an actual laser treatments) at birchbox.com.

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