Step It Up in April with Sephora PLAY!

I’ve finally succumbed to subscription box mania (besides Barkbox for Sport). I’ve resisted signing up for other beauty boxes because I’m pretty particular about my makeup products. I felt that I would rather spend the money on a full size product. I changed my mind when I saw that Sephora had their own version called PLAY! for just $10/month! You cannot beat that price for what you get.

Sephora PLAY! is in demand so you do have to sign up and be accepted to start receiving your box. I got accepted right away so I guess it depends how demand is when you decide to sign up. It includes five skin care, makeup or hair care samples and a fragrance. Everyone gets something a little different depending on the answers you provide when you set up your profile. Each box comes with an adorable bag that has a different theme. You also get a PLAY! Pass that you can redeem in the store for 50 bonus Beauty Insider points and a free tutorial. You get a ton of other tutorials and instructions along with your box as well.

April’s box was themed “Step it Up” to focus on stepping up your beauty routine. I received five great products and lots of tips.

Philosophy Made Simple Face Cleanser ($24)

I’ve never tried the Philosophy cleanser before, but it’s so gentle you can even use it to clean your makeup brushes!

Sephora Collection Waterproof Eye Makeup Remover ($11)

The extra bonus in this eye makeup remover is a lash-strengthening complex full of flavonoids and olive wood extracts. So you can get rid of that pesky mascara while building your lashes at the same time. Win-win.

Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Cream ($52)

This moisturizer contains 30 percent hyaluronic acid, which I discovered constantly attracts and retains up to 1,000 times its weight in water from moisture in the atmosphere. It also include ceramides to lock in moisture, ProHyal+ to improve hydration and elderberry to curb aging with antioxidants. It packs a lot of punch for one product.

Smashbox Iconic Photo Finish Foundation Primer ($36)

This has been one of my long-time staples. I like to test out new primers but always come back to this one. I normally prefer the light version. Fun fact: This is the first product that Smashbox ever created.

Make Up For Ever Aqua XL Eye Pencil Waterproof Eyeliner ($21)

This eyeliner is an Allure Best of Beauty Winner which always makes me take notice. The reviews seem pretty negative about it staying put on the waterline, but I will have to try it out and let you know.

MIU MIU L’eau Bleue ($68)

This is a fun take on the original Miu Miu perfume and updates the bottle using a glittering transparent glass. Scent notes include lily of the valley, wild rose and akigalawood. I LOVE fragrance commercials, I could probably watch them all day, and I especially love this song from Dirty Dancing!

Did you get a PLAY! box this month and get something different? I’m curious to know what you purchased with your PLAY! pass. I got a refill of Dior’s Fix It 2-In-1 Concealer that I was out of.

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Halloween Makeup

I attended a Halloween party last weekend with a few girlfriends and had a lot of fun with my makeup. I decided that I didn’t want to buy a whole costume and went with things that I already had in my closet to create a fun devil’s costume.

halloween costume

Dress * Shoes: Old Nine West Sandals * Devil Horns 

haunted hangar

I decided to play up my makeup and have it done at Sephora by the fabulous Nico. Apologies for the weird picture selfie, but I was trying to get you a good view of my eye makeup. If you didn’t know, you can make an appointment at Sephora to have your makeup done with a minimum $50 purchase. They do Halloween makeup and more!

devil makeup

There were a few products that Nico used on me that I really liked and I figured I would share them with you!

Stila Stay All Day Liquid Eye Primer ($20)

I had never heard of this before, but Nico used this for the gold glitter on my eyes. It worked great, nothing moved the entire night.

stila liquid eye primer

Diorshow Maximizer Lash Plumping Serum ($28.50)

I was all out of my lash primer and Nico recommended this one for me to try. This was one of the things that I purchased and so far I really like it.


NARS Audacious Lipstick ($32)

I hadn’t tried a NARS lipstick before and I really liked this one. I can’t remember the exact color she used, I think it might have been Audrey.


Hourglass Immaculate Liquid Powder Foundation Mattifying Oil Free ($55)

I thought this foundation provided great coverage.


Laura Mercier Secret Brightening Powder ($24)

This stuff is my jam! I recently started using it after a trip to the Laura Mercier counter. I use it under my eyes on top of my concealer and love it. Nico used this on my entire face.

laura mercier

OPI Big Apple Red ($7.79)

You may not be able to tell from the picture, but I had a manicure that day with OPI’s Big Apple Red with the gel version on my fingers and the regular one on my toes.

opi big apple red

I had a great time at the party and received so many compliments on my makeup so thank you to Nico and Sephora for making me look fabulous!

What makeup products are you using to create the perfect Halloween look?

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Holiday Recap

The Christmas break has been fabulous! I’ve loved my time off from work and school and have enjoyed spending time with my husband and family. As Santa (a.k.a. my wonderful husband) brought me a new iPhone right before Christmas, I have finally been able to take good pictures (and have the space to take them) and can start doing my weekend recaps again (hooray!).

On the first Friday of my Christmas break, I went to the fifth annual Passion for Fashion at the Shenandoah Country Club to benefit the Alexander and Gabrielle Mansour Memorial Fund. Since I moonlight as a teacher to fashion students I’ve been trying to attend more industry events. This event was really fun because one of my former students was running the show and one of my future students was working the show. I also got to catch up with my department head at the show and talk about next semester’s curriculum:

PassionforFashionOn Saturday, John and I went to a holiday party in cocktail attire. I also got a Sephora makeover (more to come on that later). I loved my dress too, which was from one of my White Collar recaps, here. Unfortunately, someone spilled their drink on me, so I hope the dry cleaner can get it out, because it has the potential to be one of my favorites.


Then on Sunday, I hosted a Painting with a Twist Event for my Phi Sigma Sigma alumnae group. We painted the Eiffel Tower and it was so much fun! I was impressed by how creative everyone was.

Painting with a TwistThat takes us into Christmas. John and I had a great holiday this year and that was due to our amazing families. We are so blessed to have them. We also can’t get enough of our niece, she is such a cute little nugget:


Santa was so good to me this holiday season! Aside from the new iPhone, my husband got me this beautiful Michael Kors watch!

Michael Kors 'Everest' Baguette Crystal Bezel Bracelet Watch

Michael Kors ‘Everest’ Baguette Crystal Bezel Bracelet Watch

My parents got me the Temptu airbrush system and I couldn’t be more excited! It is even better than I imagined. There will be more to come on that after I get the hang of it.

Temptu Deluxe Air Brush Kit

Temptu Deluxe Air Brush Kit

After Christmas we went to see the Trans Siberian Orchestra with my parents. They definitely put on a good show! We went to the Macaroni Grill before the show and had a great time!


On Saturday, John and I drove down to Chicago to meet up with some friends for the Michigan game. On our way down, we stopped at the cutest place for lunch, Tavern 109 in Williamston- I had a fantastic wine flight:


We made it to Chicago and went to Duffy’s Tavern & Grille (a.k.a. Chicago’s Big House) to watch the game. It is really fun, too bad the game didn’t turn out better for us…


Before we drove home the next day, we stopped at Pizzeria Due for some authentic deep dish Chicago pizza…YUM!

Pizzeria Due

All in all, it was a fantastic break! I am looking forward to spending New Year’s Eve with my husband and friends.

How was your holiday?

Best of Detroit Party Sephora Makeover

A few Fridays ago, my husband and I attended HOUR Magazine’s Best of Detroit party at Motor City Casino with a few friends. We try to attend every year because it’s a great time and I like to get dressed up.

Glammed up for the HOUR Detroit party

Glammed up for the HOUR Detroit party

I decided that this would be the perfect opportunity to get my makeup done at Sephora. I usually reserve this for special occasions or when I am in Las Vegas. Sephora technicians will give you a glam makeover with an appointment as long as you spend a minimum of $50. This is a great deal because you actually get to go home with product. I usually go to Sephora at the Somerset Collection, since my favorite technician is Elizabeth (she is the best and we share the same name!) who works at that location.

We decided to go glam, so we needed a lot of fun colors:

Makeover time!

Makeover time!

Here are all of the products that she used on me:

Stila One Step Correct ($36) – This was such a cool concept. It has a triple-swirl helix that color corrects, brightens, primes and nourishes the skin. I thought this did a great job and will definitely try it once my primer runs out.

Stila One Step Correct

Stila One Step Correct

For my foundation, she mixed Urban Decay’s Naked Skin Foundation ($39) in 2.0 and 3.5 to give me a custom look:

Naked Skin Weightless Ultra Definition Liquid Makeup

Naked Skin Weightless Ultra Definition Liquid Makeup

The concealer was YSL’s Touche Eclat Radiant Touch in Luminous Radiance ($40). I had been looking for a new concealer pen for my purse and this fit the bill. You click it up from the bottom.

YSL TOUCHE ÉCLAT - Radiant Touch

YSL TOUCHE ÉCLAT – Radiant Touch

We had a lot of fun with the eyes and went with a purple theme. Primer is the key to any great eye look and we used Urban Decay’s Primer Potion ($20):

Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer

Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer

Urban Decay’s Fun Palette ($36):

Urban Decay The Fun Palette

Urban Decay The Fun Palette

Sephora Collection Jumbo Collection Pencils ($14) in Purple Glitter and Lilac Shimmer:

Sephora Collection Jumbo Liner

Sephora Collection Jumbo Liner

Urban Decay Heavy Metal Glitter Liner in Distortion ($18) on my lids:

Urban Decay Heavy Metal Glitter

Urban Decay Heavy Metal Glitter

And my favorite part, fake eyelashes! We used the Sephora Collection Eyelashes in Mink ($10). They come with glue and are really easy to apply. You do have to purchase the eyelashes as part of your minimum, but you can keep them and re-use them:

Sephora Collection False Eyelashes in Mink

Sephora Collection False Eyelashes in Mink

For my face we used Hourglass Ambient Light Powder ($45) in Diffused Light on the planes of my face and Mood Light all over:


Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder

Nars The Multiple in Luxor ($39) for highlighting:

Nars The Multiple

Nars The Multiple

Sephora Collection MicroSmooth Baked Sculpting Trio in Sassy ($20):

Sephora Collection MicroSmooth Baked Sculpting Trio

Sephora Collection MicroSmooth Baked Sculpting Trio

For my lips we started with Urban Decay’s Lip Primer Potion ($20) to help my lipcolor stay put:

Urban Decay Lip Primer Potion

Urban Decay Lip Primer Potion

and layered Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Lip Tar in Hoochie and Iced. These two colors came in a set ($49), but it looks like you can buy the Iced color separately:

Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetic's Lip Tar

Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Lip Tar

And finally we used Urban Decay’s All Nighter Long-Lasting Makeup Setting Spray ($29) to finish the look:

Urban Decay All Nighter Makeup Setting Spray

Urban Decay All Nighter Makeup Setting Spray

Here are a few shots of the final look:


I really liked the final look and it was super glam for this type of party. As an added bonus, when I checked out, Sephora gave me my Benefit birthday gift a few weeks early:

Have you tried any of these products before? Which ones did you like?

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The Journey Begins with Wen

I have been on a journey this year, a journey to get fabulous hair. To do this you have to go back to the basics-shampoo and conditioner. I have tried many different shampoo brands in my life, all promising to give me more volume, make my hair thicker, shinier, better. Unfortunately, all of their promises fell flat. There isn’t much you can do with baby fine hair like mine. That is, until I discovered Wen.

I first heard about Wen in a random celebrity interview, but it intrigued me. Could this be the shampoo I was waiting for? I did more research online, watched the infomercial and was hooked.

Wen is made from natural ingredients and contains no sulfates or harsh chemicals like regular shampoo. It doesn’t strip your hair and takes the place of your shampoo and conditioner.

I had to try it, but I didn’t really want to sign up for shipments from the infomercial or QVC so I ended up buying the starter kit from Sephora.

This came with the Cleansing Conditioner, Replenishing Treatment Mist and Re Moist Intensive Hair Treatment all in Sweet Almond Mint for $39.50.


Wen Healthy Hair Kit

Wen Healthy Hair Kit

I tried it out and loved it! At the time Sephora only carried the Sweet Almond Mint Scent and you could only buy 12 oz. at a time. Now they have expanded and carry the Sweet Almond Mint, Cucumber Aloe and Fig Cleansing Conditioners in the 16 oz. size for $32.

There are a lot of other scents that you can get through the Wen website or through QVC. I like to buy mine through eBay because you can search for the cheapest one and try all different scents. So far I have tried the Sweet Almond Mint, Lavender, Tea Tree and Fall Ginger Pumpkin. The Lavender is my favorite so far.

Here is a list of the different scents and what they work best for:

  • Sweet Almond Mint – Universal for every hair type
  • Pomegranate – Universal for every hair type
  • Fig – For medium to thick hair, coarse hair, dry, damaged or color-treated hair – This is the most moisturizing
  • Lavender – Specifically created for fine, thin hair – Gives volume and is the second most moisturizing flavor
  • Tea Tree – Recommended to anyone who has scalp problems, for dandruff, dry/itchy scalp or thinning hair
  • Cucumber Aloe – Clarifying for those with oily scalps and dry ends or if you need extra cleansing
  • Fall Ginger Pumpkin, Winter Vanilla Mint, Spring Gardenia Green Tea, Summer Mango Coconut, Fall Apple Spice, Spring Orange Blossom – Seasonal scents that are universal for all hair types, lengths and textures

I’ve noticed a huge difference in my hair since I started using Wen. It looks healthier, thicker and less frizzy. I really notice it when I run out of Wen and have to use regular shampoo so I try to make sure I replenish my supply on time. I find that the Lavender works better for me, so if you aren’t seeing results you might try changing up the scent.

Here is how I use Wen: I wet my hair in the shower and use as many pumps as I need to thoroughly cover my hair. This is usually 8-10 pumps. Wen doesn’t lather up like shampoo it is more similar to conditioner. I don’t have a lot of hair to begin with so you may need to use more if you have thick hair. Then I run a wide-tooth comb through my hair to make sure that I have my entire head covered. I do this first before I do anything else so I can let it sit while I finish my shower. When I finish everything else I rinse it out.

So there you have it – pretty simple for great results.

I have also experimented with some of the Wen styling products including:

Wen Styling Creme– $24

Wen Styling Creme

Wen Styling Creme

Wen Volumizing Spray – $30

Wen Volumizing Spray

Wen Volumizing Spray

Wen Texturizing Balm – $26

Wen Texturizing Balm

Wen Texturizing Balm

My routine before blowdrying is to spray the Wen Replenishing Mist and the Wen Volumizing Spray on my entire head. I then add the Wen Styling Creme to just the ends. I only use the Wen Texturizing Balm if I have flyaways that won’t stay put. I also use the Wen Replenishing Mist if I need to restyle my hair to go out and before I go to bed for a little extra moisture. A little of these products go a long way.

I know this may sound weird to some of you, using a conditioner instead of shampoo, but trust me it works. I have always had very oily hair and this doesn’t weigh my hair down at all.

Have you tried Wen yet? Let me know what you think!

Read more about my journey to get fabulous hair Tools of the Trade.

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