Sunday, February 1, 2015

So, about how there just aren't that many scented products I feel strongly about...

You may have noticed that I haven't posted in a while. I know I promised one post a week, but honestly, my concept for this blog is feeling a little limiting lately. I just don't have that much to say about good-smelling products. It felt like a great idea when I started and had things to write about that elicited a "I would live in this scent if that was possible" response, but the number of products I feel that strongly about was quite small to begin with, and I've basically covered them all by now. So more and more I feel like I'm going, "I guess I could write about this. I mean, it sort of smells alright, I guess." But that's not what I want this blog to be.

So here's what I'm thinking. If I have that "Holy cow, this is amazing!" reaction, I'll write. If I don't, I won't. In the meantime, I may write some posts that are incredibly off-topic, because sometimes you just need to rant about the terrible, Oscar-nominated movie you just saw, you know? Or you think people should know that podcasts are an incredible, under-appreciated form of entertainment. Or you're wondering if you're the only one who finds it truly absurd that the media has now spent over a week discussing under-inflated footballs, and also if, given the tendency to add "gate" to the end of any controversy, people think that Watergate was actually a scandal regarding water.

Given that movies, podcasts, and NFL scandals are the things I've been more interested in lately than the beauty products I'm using, the title of this blog might change. Or it might not, because the thought of coming up with a new one seems daunting. Anyway, I hope you'll stick with me while I figure it out, and in the meantime, let me know below if there's anything you want me to cover, or if you're just like, "I came here to read about beauty products that smell good. Bring on the good-smelling products!"

And by the way, if you are still checking this after a month and a half, Thank you! I'll try not to disappear again with no notice.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Holiday Thoughts

Hey, guys! I didn't have any products I was really excited to review this week, so instead I wanted to take some time out to share a little bit about my thoughts on the holidays. We'll be back to our regularly scheduled scent-related product reviews after Christmas (but probably not next Sunday, since I'll be on a plane).

Last year was the first time ever that I wasn't with my family for Christmas. I grew up in New England and until last year, that's where my entire family was. My parents are still there, but about a year and a half ago, I moved to Tennessee. My sister followed a few months later (though she's moved again now). And then last fall, my aunt, who was pretty much the keeper of Christmas, moved to Florida. At that point, our traditional Christmas plans pretty much fell apart. I could have gone back home, or to Florida, but I'd just gone home for Thanksgiving and plane tickets are expensive. Plus I was working in retail at the time, and if you've ever worked in retail, you know how hard it is to get time off around the holidays. As it was, I'd had to fly back Friday afternoon after Thanksgiving to work Black Friday. So the thought of spending a few hundred dollars to have a couple good days but ultimately have another holiday ruined by my job was unappealing. My sister and I went to see the Christmas lights at the Opryland Resort (if you ever find yourself in Nashville around the holidays, this is a must-see), saw Frozen, and had dinner at Dave & Buster's (not our first choice, but surprisingly good, if a little depressing). We made do, but it was not a holiday to write home about. This year, I swore things would be different.

When Black Friday ruined my Thanksgiving, I promised myself that this year I would not be working retail. Thankfully, I was able to keep that promise. I had a couple of part-time coworkers whose full-time jobs were at a company they raved about. Just about the time I was having to remind myself on a daily basis, "You cannot quit. You have nowhere else to go. Remember rent? Yeah, that's a thing that needs to be paid," they said their company was hiring. They passed along my resume and I got hired in June. Besides the regular hours, the health insurance, and the awesome coworkers, one of the best things about this job is the fact that I have vacation time and holidays off. Working around the holidays and having those sad little breaks last year really made me appreciate how important the uninterrupted family time that comes with holidays is to me.

I got to spend six days at home for Thanksgiving this year, which was awesome. I had a relaxed holiday, took a side trip to New York City, caught up with a couple friends I hadn't seen in a while, and just enjoyed being home with my family. It was fantastic. And for Christmas, I invited myself to Florida. It's going to be a short trip, but I'll be with my aunt and her husband, enjoying home-cooked meals and catching up after going way too long without seeing her. Last Christmas could have been worse (all I can say is thank goodness my sister was living here at the time), but I'm definitely thrilled that I won't be having Christmas dinner in a sports bar.

Anyway, I just wanted to take some time to reflect on how much things can change in a year, and to urge you to enjoy your families and friends this time of year. I know we can all get caught up in the sales and the presents and the parties, and those things are great, but it's nice to remember how much joy the simple things can bring us, too. Whether you're spending Christmas/Chanukah/Kwanzaa/etc. with friends and family or at a Dave & Buster's, I hope you find a way to make it a special time.

Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

The Body Shop Body Lotion

So here's the deal: I have this in "Early Harvest Raspberry" which I bought because I've never met a raspberry I didn't love. However, it's a seasonal scent that isn't available right now, so I can't link to it. That being said, you can't go wrong with any of The Body Shop's scents. I linked to the strawberry scent because I figured it's the closest to raspberry, but they also have peach, mango, and others, and they all smell delicious. Anyway, on we go...

This is a pretty heavy scent and it lasts a while. Obviously it fades over time, but I do still notice the scent the next morning and sometimes into the afternoon and evening, the day after I use it. This might bother some people, but I love it. I hate when you put on a scented product and in 15 minutes it seems to be gone. This lotion isn't overpowering, but it's definitely there, and it definitely sticks around. I'm obsessed with the raspberry (which will probably be back next summer/fall), but like I said, you can't go wrong with any of the scents. I'm partial to the peach and the mango, which are year-round scents, and they have a seasonal apple scent right now that is to die for (though apparently they don't have the apple in this exact product). I tried to buy a hand lotion in the apple last week but some lady had apparently just bought out the store. 

Anyway, this a pretty thin lotion. I like that because although my face and hands are super dry, my body isn't so bad. I use body lotion more for maintenance than treatment, and I like that this sinks in fast and isn't oily as it dries. It is super sticky when you're applying it, which I'll readily admit is extremely strange. I don't know what that's about. But after a minute or so the stickiness is gone and my skin feels moisturized but not slimy like it sometimes does with thicker creams and lotions. That being said, if you're looking for a seriously moisturizing body lotion, this is probably not the one for you. 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014


Just a heads up, I will not be posting this week(end). I'm going home for the first time in a year and will be spending time with my family and friends I haven't seen in way too long. I hope everyone has a fantastic Thanksgiving!!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

This Must Be What Hell Smells Like: Drybar Hot Toddy Heat Protector Frizz Fighter

Let me preface this post with a disclaimer: I used this product precisely once before returning it (you can probably tell why from the title), so I can't speak to how it works. That being said...

Welcome to my first "This must be what hell smells like" post. You know how in my banner it says the scent can make or break a product? Well, I'm putting this one in the "break" column. When I bought this, I had just cut my hair short for the first time in a while and I had grand plans of straightening my hair regularly (Ha! Tell that to my lazy self when I'm trying to get ready in 15 minutes or less in the morning). With that in mind, I began carefully comparing products on Sephora's website to see what might help cut down on frizz while also giving me heat protection and shine. I settled on Drybar's Hot Toddy Heat Protector and Frizz Fighter. It claims to "naturally enhance shine and bounce" by "sealing split ends" and "creating a protective barrier against heat." It's cruelty free and safe for use on keratin and color-treated hair. Sold.

It came in the mail and I decided to try it immediately. The first thing I did after I smoothed it into my hair was run my head under the faucet and rinse it all out. I can't even describe the smell. Reviews online say it smells fruity and other people thought it smelled great, so maybe my nose was off that day. Maybe I got a bad bottle. All I know is that I literally could not stand to live with the smell. I actually stuck my head in the sink because I couldn't even wait to get in the shower. The scent was overwhelmingly strong, and not in a good way. I returned it and went for a cheap drugstore heat protector while I looked for something better. Two years later I think I've straightened my hair once, so I'm glad I didn't end up spending a lot on a product I did need.

What's the last product that made you say, "Oh my gosh, no. You could not pay me to use this again"?

One Lovely Blog Award

I want to begin by thanking Sari from The Sweet Life for nominating me for the One Lovely Blog award. She's got a really fun blog dedicated to the things she loves like beauty, fashion and food, so check it out and show her some love.

The One Lovely Blog award is passed around by bloggers to the new(ish) blogs that they want to bring some attention to. The award allows bloggers to recognize those blogs they think are "lovely" based on content and the way that their authors interact with followers and other bloggers. It's a great way for the blogging community to come together and help each other bring in some more viewers. To accept the award, bloggers must complete the following five steps:

1) Thank the person who nominated you and include a link to their blog.
2) Follow the person who nominated you on bloglovin'.
3) List the rules and display the award image in your post.
4) Share 7 facts about yourself.
5) Nominate other bloggers you want to know better.

Here are 7 facts about me:

1) This is my 4th attempt at blogging, and the only one that's lasted more than a couple of posts. I have the Birchbloggers community to thank for that! When I've tried to blog before, I've given up when I realized that no one was reading (side note: Page views are great, but I'd really love to hear from you. Please comment if you like (or hate) what you're reading).

2) I moved from New England to the South a year and a half ago and I still feel like I'm new to town.

3) I watch way too much tv (and my two favorite shows, Scandal and Parks and Recreation, could not be more different).

4) I used to sing in chorus, musical theater, and a cappella and I miss it all the time.

5) I've changed my mind approximately 1,700 times since I graduated 4 years ago about what I want to do with my life, and I still haven't figured it out.

6) I adore makeup, but I hardly ever wear it because I can't seem to make it out of bed more than 10 minutes before I need to leave in the morning.

7) I get unbelievably excited any time it snows.

I nominate:

Jade at A Teaspoon of Serendipity

And I'm looking for a few more bloggers to nominate, so if you would like a nomination, please let me know and I'll update this post!

Monday, November 17, 2014

DevaCurl Styling Cream

This one's an oldie but a goodie. I've been using this styling cream for a while now (just checked and it's been 11 months) and I'm still on my first bottle. When I first bought it, I remember thinking, "Should I really be spending this much on a styling cream?" but 11 months later, I've definitely gotten my money's worth out of it. 

Anyway, I'm writing about this cream because when I first got it, I remember saying, "Oh my goodness, I don't even care what this does to my hair. It was worth $25 just to smell it." And the smell is heavenly. It's always reminded me of grapes for some reason, but don't buy it or not based on that description, because that's more of a feel than a smell. I can't explain how a smell can feel like a grape, but... Okay, this is veering into bizzare-o rambling territory, so let me try this again. A commenter on the Sephora website described this as smelling like Starburst candy, and I actually think that's a great description. It's sweet and fruity and I seriously want to eat it every time I do my hair (don't eat it!). 

Remember how I said I didn't care what it did to my hair as long as it kept on smelling just that delicious? Well, this cream actually works really great for me. I have super thick, wavy hair. Too much product and it's crunchy and flat. Not enough and I get a vaguely triangular, frizzy mess. About a pump to a pump-and-a-half of this (My hair is shoulder-length now. I used 2-3 pumps when it was mid-back-length) and I'm good to go. I rub it between my hands, run my hands through my hair until most of the cream is off, scrunch, then flip my head over and shake my hair out. The flipping and shaking probably undoes the scrunching, but that's what works for me, so I keep doing it. The DevaCurl cream helps give my hair a little more curl definition while keeping the frizz at bay. The description says it works best with "Botticelli and corkscrew curls" (I have no idea what Botticelli curls are. Anyone?), so it's probably even better if you are lucky enough to have real curls, but I've been happy with what it does for my wavy hair. 

I'll probably buy this again when I run out unless I find something I love even more first. Any suggestions? I'm always looking for ways to make my hair look styled just by tossing in some product. 

On a side note, I'm looking for some blogs to nominate for the One Lovely Blog Award (it's a fun way to get to know a little bit about some great new bloggers, spread the love to some blogs your readers may not be familiar, and get some links back to your own blog). All you have to do is write a few facts about yourself and provide links to a few other blogs. Super simple. So if you have or you know anyone who has a blog you think would like to participate, leave a comment below with a link to the blog. Thanks!