Review: Control Corrective Essential Daily Care Kit

Me and Mom

In the past couple of years I’ve tried to be very diligent about making sure I take care of my face. I am very lucky, I have great genes, my mother looks at least 10, if not 20 years younger than she actually is and we’ve been asked, on a regular basis if we were sisters. People also assume that I am younger for my age–my favorite is that I am still often carded nearly 11 years after my 21st birthday even with friends who are not being carded.

I have yet, though, to find a system that I am completely dedicated to so I was excited when Birchbloggers put a call out for people to test out a system. I eagerly applied and was sent the system. The system is called Control Corrective Essential Daily Care Kit.

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And I liked that it all came together, one of the things that super frustrates me is when I have to buy each lotion, cleanser and toner separately. It even came in a perfect travel container, which is helpful since I’ve had several trips in the past few weeks and this was easy to bring on airplanes.

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The system is made up of four parts, a facial wash, toner, crystal C serum and a daily cream.

Here is what Birchbox says:

Birchbox Breakdown

We’re constantly on a quest for balance, whether that’s between work and life, social time and gym visits, or indulgent dinners and juice cleanses. Conclusion: finding this so-called balance isn’t so easy. As far as our skincare is concerned, however, this daily-use kit has us covered. The high-performance, antioxidant-rich products—including a cleanser, toner, serum, and moisturizer—normalize skin to reveal a healthy, radiant glow.

How it Works

The aloe vera-based Gentle Facial Wash turns from gel to foam to rinse away oil, dirt, and makeup, perfectly prepping skin for the set’s other treatments. Botanically enriched with aloe vera, the Balancing Tonic hydrates as it protects skin from environmental stressors and harmful bacteria. Amino acids help repair the skin’s pH balance while reducing inflammation and removing impurities. For a healthy glow, Cyrstal C Serum gives dull complexions a perk with its vitamin C and aloe vera (notice a trend here?) blend. The antioxidant-rich ingredients help downgrade any inflammation. As a final protective barrier, Ceramide Daily Cream fortifies the skin’s lipid barrier to lock in moisture. The lightweight cream boasts vitamins A and E to fight free radicals and lend a luminous luster. For use on all skin types.

How to Use

Massage a quarter-sized amount of Gentle Facial Wash into damp face for about 30 seconds and rinse. After cleansing, soak a cotton ball or pad in the Balancing Tonic and sweep over face and neck in smooth strokes. Then dab a thin layer of Crystal C Serum all over to amp up radiance. Once the serum has been absorbed, massage a quarter-sized amount of Ceramide Daily Cream into face and neck.”


My thoughts on the product: I really like that the steps are clearly laid out and all come in the same package. I like how, even though there are basically three layers I’m applying to my face, it’s all very lightweight and I feel like, even after I put a foundation creme on, my face is not heavy feeling or sticky. I love the smell of everything and I love that it’s aloe vera based as I’m a big fan of aloe.

I’m also a fan of the fact that the system is compact enough that if I’m not home, I can still have it with me without having to have an additional travel set.

The one downside? It’s not cheap! It retails on the Birchbox website for $62.00. But I guess since it’s a four piece set, it’s actually not that unreasonable. \

What’s your favorite face cleansing system?

If you’re interested in trying out Birchbox, please use my code.

***I received this product complimentary from Birchbox for purposes of reviewing it. I will only recommend things that I think are good products and will always be honest in my reviews***

Pretty Little Beauty Swap Reveal


Coming home to packages is always fun and this weekend, when I came home Sunday from San Francisco, I had several packages waiting for me including my Pretty Little Beauty Swap package! This month I was paired with the delightful Cassie from Southeast by Midwest.  Cassie was delightful (although for some reason her email didn’t like me and kept throwing me into spam!) But it worked out and we had a great exchange!

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I loved that I felt like I was getting a beauty package in the mail with the paper and tissue! We had a discussion about masks and healthy products so it was nice to receive several of those!

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I think it was in middle school/late elementary school that Freeman products were huge-I remember using their shampoos and masks all the time! It’s literally been years since I’ve seen their products so I am super excited to try out their products now!

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I’m always on the lookout for a good mascara so I’m excited to try this one out and see how good it is. I’ve started only using mascara on my upper lashes in the hopes that I get less clumping throughout the day. Any suggestions for this one?

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I’ve never seen or heard of sea terra but I love the smell of rose so I’m excited to try this out and see how it works.

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I’ve been wanting to try out Julep forever now so I am super excited to be able to see what I think before I make the plunge into buying a subscription box!


Thanks Cassie for the awesome treats! To see what I sent her, go check out her blog!


Pretty Little Beauty Swap


One of the cool things about blogging is the awesome swaps I get to participate in.  I particularly love the Pretty Little Beauty Swap because I get introduced to all sorts of awesome beauty products that I might not know about!

This time I got paired with Vanessa from X-Tremely V.  Check out her website for what I sent her!


I loved the box–I might actually use it for something else!



Love the polka-dot card!




I can’t wait to try all the E.L.F. stuff! I don’t think I’ve actually used E.L.F. products before so I look forward to trying them out!

IMG_3176 IMG_3174

Moroccan oil is supposed to be great in your hair so I can’t wait to try them out! And I love masks!

All in all, I loved the box and can’t wait to participate again!

Beauty Back Talk: CC Cream

I’m trying to get better and better about taking care of my skin.  I was blessed with some amazing skin from my mother and the gorgeous skin that tends to happen on Italians.  But I know that while it’s great now, I still need to start doing a better job of taking care of my skin.

In fact, one of my goals this year is to moisturize more!  So I was excited when I was able to get my  hands on some CC cream.  I received the bottle from Studio Gear Cosmetics.  I’ve never really used BB or CC or any other alphabet named moisturizer but I’m game to try anything once.

Some info on Studio Gear Cosmetics:

“Founded by industry veterans Steve Rohr and John Avolio, Studio Gear Cosmetics is a prestigous cosmetics brand featuring a full collection of professional makeup brushes, revolutionalizing complexion formulas, and a wide selection of color products for the eyes, cheeks, and lips. Since 1996, Studio Gear has been on set at hundreds of professional photo shoots, in the beauty departments of Bloomingdales, Macy’s, Dillard’s, HSN and ULTA, and also in the everyday woman’s makeup bag. This is a line created true to the concept that every woman deserves professional, high quality cosmetics at a reasonable price.”

It was a generous sized bottle and the cream went on smoothly.

You can see me before my makeup application:

CC Cream

Don’t mind my pale face!

CC Cream After


Was there a difference?  I’m not sure.  I’d probably have to use it for awhile to see.  I’ll let you know!

Overall, I am definitely enjoying using their products and will probably continue.



Wantable Box

I may or may not have become completely addicted to the subscription boxes and was super excited to get one from Wantable.

Wantable Box


I love the nail polish color!  It’s simple and pretty and I got compliments on it for a long time.

The moisturizer is known for helping with age lines.  I haven’t tried it yet but am not sure it’s really up my alley.

The lipstick is pretty but way too orangey for me and I am tending to go towards deep reds right now for the winter.

Again with the fake eyelashes. . . not sure about these. . . I will try them maybe for a big event.

I love the makeup brush, I’ve been using it for powder blush and it’s worked out well.

The eyeshadow color is a perfect pinky color with a shimmer–I’ve been using it and loving it!

I definitely enjoyed this box but don’t think I am going to subscribe with them right now.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Beauty Back Talk: November Birch Box and Ipsy & Collage It

Yay for my beauty boxes!  I received Birchbox and Ipsy on the same day–I love when that happens!

As you guys know, I try to take a lot of pictures on my blog.  One of the things that annoys the heck out of me is so many pictures and resizing them and blah blah blah.  So I am constantly trying to figure out ways to get my pictures to not take over the blog.  I love collaging pictures but still don’t know photoshop well enough to functionally use it.  I was excited to review CollageIt 3.  And what better time to break out the collages than for my Ipsy/Birch Box reviews!?

OK Birch Box:

November Birch Box


Ahmad Tea London-Assorted Teas/Full-size $7

What: A best-selling British blend of premium teas from Assam, Sri Lanka, and Kenya.

How: Steep 3-5 minutes in near-boiling water

Well we all know I love me some tea and I’m excited to try these out.

Chella-Latte Highlighter Pencil/Full-size $18

What: The face illuminator brightens and contours–it can be applied in 10 different ways!

How: Blend onto brow bones, cheekbones, or along lip  line.  Go to our magazine for a tutorial!

I’m not sure what I think about this–still can’t figure out exactly how to use it.

Color Club nail polish/Full-size $8

What: On-trend pro quality lacquer that will take you easily–and gorgeously–from day to night.

How: Apply two coats for an opaque finish.  Always use base and top coats to make your color last.

I haven’t used this color–I received three different nail polishes this month but I do like the color and think it’ll look really good with my shirt for Thanksgiving!

Miss Jessie’s Leave-In Condish/Full-size $11

What: Lightweight leave-in conditioner that nourishes strands for soft, shiny curls and waves.

How: Apply nickel-sized amount to damp hair.  Style as usual

This smelled delicious and I think it makes my hair more manageable!  I’ve been trying to use an intensive something once a week and I like Miss Jessie products.

Mox Botanicals Bath Milks/2-pack $12

What: This indulgent blend infuses your bath with botanical goodness and nutrient-rich sea salt

How: Let steep in a full tup of warm bathwater.  Or empty directly into tub before soaking.

I love that this is from Portland and I am totally going to seek out the store!

I actually really liked this box which is exciting.  Remember, if you are interested in signing up, follow the link.


Ipsy Bag

November Ipsy


I received:

em michelle phan waterliner intense color eyeliner

So far I like the color and have enjoyed using it.

Be a Bombshell Lip Crayon

Smooth and I like the color :)

Nailtini Straight Up Color Nail Lacquer

Not loving the color–it’s a little too dark and I was disappointed that for the second time, the nail polish was slightly open and went all over the place in the box and the package reeked of nail polish.

Pixi Beauty Bronzer

I like the bronzer and it adds a bit of color to my cheeks.

Starlooks Gem Eye Pencil

Not sure why I received two eye pencils in this bag but I do like this color as well.

Kiss everEZlashes Lash Double Pack

I have never used false eyelashes in my life and am a little nervous about them but I’m sure I’ll try them out and see.

I guess overall more impressed with Birch Box this month which is a first in a while.

Do you receive both or either?  Which do you prefer?

In terms of CollageIt, it is super easy to use. . . I had a bit of a snafu downloading the app onto my computer and it wouldn’t open directly from the link, I had to go into the application folder and open it that way.  But once I figured that out, the program is super easy to use with tons of different options to try out.

And a super cool offer to thank people for their support, the CollageIt people are offering a discount!  PearlMountain is going to make a big discount promo up to 65% off for the pro version CollageIt. It is priced at $29.90 normally, now users can get it at only $9.90 during this Thanksgiving, saving about $20. The promo is active from Nov. 26 to Dec. 2. During this promo period, you can enter this promo at:  Pretty snazzy!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using <a href=”” rel=”nofollow”></a>. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Beauty Back-Talk: October Birchbox and Ipsy

Although I’ve been getting both my Birchbox and Ipsy bags, I haven’t blogged about them lately.  In all honesty, I am preferring the Ipsy over the Birchbox but then there is always something somewhat good in the Birchbox and so I figure, I’ll keep going for another month.

So here’s October:


Birchbox October

The pink bottle is 12 Benefits-Instant Healthy Hair Treatment (full-size $19)

What: Created by two industry experts, this heroic all-in-one detangles, protects, and heals

How: Spritz damp or dry strands from mid-lengths to ends.  Style as usual.

I’m excited to try this as I’m always looking for stuff to make my hair feel better!

Karuna Hydrating Mask (4 masks $28)

What: This all-natural cloth mask is infused with a hydrating cocktail of antioxidants

How: Arrange on a clean face.  Remove backing, relax for 10-20 minutes, then discard

I am looking forward to a relaxing mask–I love masks!!

The pink tube: Pop Beauty Aqua Lacquer (Full-size $14)

What: A British makeup pro created this sheer gloss, which plumps and hydrates with jojoba oil

How: The cute paddle-style applicator makes for precise lines

Supergoop! City Sunscreen Serum (Full-size $20-$42)

What: This antiaging SPF 30 serum, which creates a weightless UV shield, can be worn year-round

How: Apply a thin layer in the morning.  Wear alone or as a primer under makeup

I loved my previous supergoop! samples so I am looking forward to this one.

And then the chapstick: Look for the baggie with your Birchbox Find, a mass-market discovery we think is just plain awesome.  I’m excited for the vanilla creme flavor and it’s a throw back to being a kid!

Ipsy Box

Ipsy October

First of all, I LOVE the cosmetic bags.  I’ve loved all of them and I think I like this one the best–but that’s because I love words!  Included in this bag were five items plus the bag:

Style Sexy Hair: Spray Clay–meh.  Not a big fan of hair stuff for the most part and don’t use spray.  It’ll be a good gift.

Coastal Scents: Medium shadow brush–looking forward to using this one.  Can always use new brushes.

Zoya nail polish in Mason–pretty color, looking forward to trying this.

Bella Terra mineral cosmetics eye shimmer in navy-looking forward to this and the powder is the kind of eye shade I use anyway.

Ole Henriksen truth creme advanced hydration–I used this tonight and it’s got a mild citrus smell and feels good so far.

All in all, a pretty good load for October.  I love receiving packages and so it’s always fun to be surprised every month.  The only hard part is reading blogs of people who also get one of these bags and being on the West Coast, I tend to get the bags a few days to a week later and so I can’t read those blog posts–I don’t want spoilers!

I pay for all these items on my own.  If you are interested in Birchbox, please use my referral code (I get points!):

If you are interested in ipsy, please also use my referral code:


July Birchbox

I know, I know, it’s August and I’m just now getting up my Birch Box up from July.  Let’s say I had a great birthday last week and continued the celebration :).

Sadly this was the last month that my mom was getting the Birch Box, I had given her a three month subscription for her birthday and mother’s day but she’s decided not to continue on.  Also, she got hers several days before I got mine so we had two separate openings.

Her box arrived first:

July Birch Box  July Birch Box


This month’s theme was Suits which I didn’t quite get but ok.

July Birch Box  July Birch Box

Cute hair clips!  Cute mom!  She also got a perfume sample which she liked the smell of.

July Birch Box

My birch box arrived later in the week.

I was excited that it didn’t include perfume samples because I don’t love those.  I also loved the fact that I got the same hair clips as my  mom–super cute and super useful!

July Birch Box  July Birch Box


Love the hair clips, not sure about the curl keeper.  I tried it and it didn’t seem to do much for my curls.

July Birch Box  July Birch Box


I haven’t had a chance to use the bright trio and I’m not a fan of CC creams so not sure what I’m going to do about that.

July Birch Box


I haven’t tried this yet.

So honestly, I started getting Ipsy bag (I’ll post about my first one soon) and I liked the items much better and for the same price, I might stop Birch Box for a bit.  I’m also trying out Brit + Co which is crafting stuff.  So I might change it up.

I purchase these every month.  If you are interested in Birch Box, please use my link so I can earn points!  Birch Box link :)


Review: Sally Hanson French Manicure

I’m not going to lie, it’s been a week since my last post and I apologize–things got a bit hectic but are back on an even keel.  Last week I went to the beach for the day with my mom and grandmother and was planning to take pictures with my new schnazzy camera but alas that didn’t happen, next time.

I did have a chance to try out a new product.  I’ve been loving Sally Hansen Salon Effects for a few years now and use them regularly.  I always get compliments when I wear them and I appreciate that they are more like nail polish strips than fake nails.  I also love the look of a French Manicure.  So I was super excited when I found a French Manicure version: Salon Effects French Manicure.  So of course I bought it and last week I tried them on for size.

Nail Polish RemoverGot to start with remover and I actually liked these remover pads that were only ninety nine cents, great deal for 32 pads and yummy strawberry smell!  It also only took one pad to get of all the polish on my nails which is always an accomplishment because I feel like I have to always douse acetone on a cotton ball five times before I can get all the polish off my nails!



Salon Effects French Manicure   Nails with nothing

So I thought the nails were beautiful looking and not super complicated to put on.  Basically you put on the white strip, lined up with the top of your nail and then the clear/pink part lines up with your cuticle.


Post manicure   Post manicure Post Manicure



Sadly the nails didn’t last very long.  They were already peeling by the next day.  I think I might have just been a little too rough on them because generally speaking I feel like the Sally Hansen nail strips are good products.

June Birchbox

So it may be the first of July but I still haven’t posted my June Birchbox stuff.  Well this time not only are you going to get to see mine, you’re going to see what my mother got as well!

I gave my mother a three month subscription for her birthday/mother’s day and I was here for the second of the boxes.  It was a lot of fun to open them together and also be ablet o trade some stuff.  So without further ado:

June Birchbox      June Birchbox

So much fun to see two pink boxes instead of one!

June Birchbox    June Birchbox


The top one is my mom’s and the bottom one is mine.

Now for the products:


June Birchbox This was in my mom’s box and it’s a matchbox full of mini filers.  Since she totally used and destroyed the last one I got from Birchbox, we split this box.  I love them.  I love the fun colored polka dots and the teeny size of them.  I keep mine next to my bed and anytime I’m feeling the urge to file, I just grab one!


June BirchboxAlso mom, not sure if she’s had a chance to use them.






June Birchbox Rein in Spain.  I took this because she got a similar reddish polish in her box last month.  I haven’t had a chance to use it yet.




June Birchbox Also in mom’s box, but I had this last month and loved the cucumbery smell and it kept me from getting burned.






June BirchboxAlso in mom’s box, also something I got last month.  I totally might steal this when I finish mine.  It’s an Australian lipgloss and the color is perfection and just a great punch of moisturizer. Love love love!




June BirchboxSo Birchbox was rebranded this month and the theme was wandering.  I loved these postcards that came and think they would look cute framed in an office or bathroom.  Super cute, don’t want to mail them!




June BirchboxThis was in my box, I love a good mask and haven’t had chance to try it yet but am looking forward to it.




June BirchboxAlso in my box.  I liked the subtle mint smell and the moisture but the color was a bit bright for me.  I might give this to my mom.  She can rock the brighter colors better than I can.



June BirchboxI do love Origins products- I’m using that brand for my under eye cream right now.  I traded this with my mom for one of her things.




June BirchboxLondon Calling.  I like the minty color.  My first attempt at putting this on was unsuccessful but I do like the color so I will try again.





June BirchboxGood scent but overall bored with all the perfume samples so I gave this to my mom.




So, I think between the two of us it was a good haul.  I look forward to our shared boxes next month!

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