ESTEE LAUDER TRAVEL RETAIL EXCLUSIVE
EXPERT COLOR PALETTE (Travel Exclusive)
Get It @: Travel Retail Locations
Product Rating: ★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8/10)
Estee Lauder Says: “Lips, eyes, blush and powder are all available in one sleek compact, perfect for the woman on the go. Our eye shadow and lip shades will take you from a classic day look to a dramatic evening look. You won’t need any other makeup accessory.”
Pure Color Eye Shadow in Summer Linen (matte cream), Tempting Mocha (gunmetal frost), Lavish Mink (matte deep brown) & Midnight Star (blue black shimmer)
Pure Color Crystal Lipstick in Crystal Baby (blush pink), Wild Orchid (orchid pink), Rose Petal (neutral rose pink) & Passion Fruit (sheer reddish pink)
Pure Color Blush in Pink Ingenue (neutral pink)
Lucidity Pressed Powder in Transparent
Double Wear Zero Smudge Lengthening Mascara
MONSTER BITE: I’m not big on complete palettes – or really palettes in general. It’s not that I don’t like owning them, they are so pretty! However, there are exceptions to every rule. While this all-in-one palette doesn’t apply to my lifestyle (all I need when I’m on the go is a bottle of water and a bag of Pirate Booty) – those of the fabulous jet-set persuasion will find this the cat’s ass in pajamas.
Whether a quick touch up or a complete upgrade is needed (think last minute cocktails when only a smokey eye will do) Estee Lauder’s Expert Color Palette has the right shades, applicators and handbag friendly size to get the job done.
**This product was submitted by Estee Lauder Travel Retail for review consideration. This is not an advertisement for this product. All reviews and information is gathered independently by Cosmetic Monster or from press releases – and no compensation is received based on the outcome or sales generated from this review. Cosmetic Monster pays WordPress to be AD FREE and does not participate in affiliate programs – all links are provided to promote products, but without compensation. Only REFERRAL links for sites like Hautelook or Birchbox yield compensation (usually points or credit).
Last night I went to exchange the Algenist Facial Oil ($79) for the Genius Serum ($115) which I absolutely love. My return was declined.
BACK STORY (I’LL OWN MY FAULTS): I shop A LOT at Sephora both in-store and online. Any self respecting Cosmetic Monster does. I will confess that most of the returns I do are without receipt. There is something so annoying about random pieces of paper and for the most part, I don’t intend on returning what I buy. Plus (as my co-worker pointed out) I had the product for a long time before returning it. Keep in mind that while I was blogging more regularly, I consistently had to change products and use what was sent to me – so a lot of times bottles would sit idle. So if you’re going to ding me on that – feel free. I own it. Still – nowhere on the Sephora Return Policy does it state that in-store purchases have an expiration date for returns.
Did I also mention that I almost NEVER want cash back or a refund? I almost ALWAYS exchange and spend more.What did I return? Mostly foundation (for color or texture reasons) or skin care that just didn’t work for me. All products were returned nearly unused. ALL PRODUCTS RETURNED WERE ABSOLUTELY PURCHASED FROM SEPHORA OR SEPHORA.COM. I have Pinterest Boards to prove it. LOL!
SIDE BAR: I was totally nice to the cashier and manager about it. Didn’t fuss, didn’t make a stink. The cashier actually THANKED ME for being so nice about it. But tell me that manager (who’s NEW to the Pearlridge location – yes, I’m talking to you) didn’t give me a stink look like I was trash.
STILL…DECLINED? DID YOU SAY FRAUD?
Stupid me went to the 3rd party company they use to monitor fraud and looked at their FAQ (http://www.theretailequation.com/Consumers/FAQ) and this is what set me off. Since I obviously am NOT trying to commit fraud of any kind – the other explanation is that I’m a “returnaholic”. In my years of retail experience – I know what a chronic returner is. That, I am not.
4) What is a “Returnaholic”?
A returnaholic is someone who buys and returns goods excessively either with fraudulent intent, dishonest intent, or simply due to an inability to control his/her shopping behavior. There are three basic types of returnaholics: 1) those whose objective is to commit fraud through deceiving a retailer into giving a cash refund or credit which is illegal; 2) those who may not be breaking the law, but who abuse retailers’ return policies and/or buy merchandise knowing they will return it later; and 3) those who are sometimes referred to as “bulimic shoppers” who feel compelled to buy things to get a high or fill a void of sorts and then feel sick afterwards and have to “purge” their purchases through returning them.
Holy. Now I’m pissed.
So I went to their website and got my RAR (Return Activity Report) – that’s how mad I am at this point. It basically lists everything by date up till April 2013 without any product description. Just your returns; not what you purchase in between those returns. So I painstakingly type in every SKU to see what I returned, combed through my Pinterest to catalog what I purchased from them (the list is about 90% accurate) and this is what I came up with:
TOTALS (2013 – PRESENT)
$892.00 TOTAL RETURNS
$5,932.50 TOTAL AMT. OF PRODUCTS I KEPT
$6,824.50 TOTAL SPENT
13% RETURN PERCENTAGE
200 PRODUCTS PURCHASE
22 PRODUCTS RETURNED
11% RETURN PERCENTAGE
I’ll admit that I’m a little shocked at how much I spent – so it’s probably working two-fold to curb my spending big time. That aside (don’t judge me – LOL), does that look fraudulent to you? I obviously have a SPENDING problem, but I would hardly call that a returning problem.
THE REAL PROBLEM. Sephora basically turned me, a loyal and loving customer, into a number. While I returned $892 worth of products – I kept almost $6,000 worth of stuff. Was it because I didn’t keep my receipts? If I had a regular salesperson (or if they didn’t have a revolving door of associates) they would know it wasn’t fraudulent. I JUST HATE PAPER. Shame on me. It also says they don’t trust their employees to make good decisions – they couldn’t even override the decline.
THE LAST ROAR. So here’s what’s going to happen. I’m going to post this here, on social media and send it to Sephora (not that they’ll care). Wish I could say I’m not buying anything from them ever again – but my loyalty stops here. I left the store simply horrified – embarrassed, confused and later after learning what the criteria was – insulted. Deeply. I loved Sephora. It was my fun place where all my cosmetic dreams could come true.
Sephora basically told me to fu*k off.
So I’ll do just that. Smooches.
Camouflage: Top 6 Concealers for Every Issue
Girl, we ALL have issues. I’m not talking about having an unhealthy obsession about wire hangers. Dark circles, redness, blemishes, spots…all the lovely and complexion marring issues that we all have. Concealer can easily get rid of most issues – but only if you pick the right formulation.
CONCEALER MONSTER PICKS:
Dark Circles & Spots: Laura Mercier High Coverage Concealer ($28, lauramercier.com). Formulated to cover dark circles, the warm tones of this highly pigmented cream concealer also doubles as a coverup for dark spots.
Blemishes: Cover FX Blemish Treatment Concealer ($25, sephora.com). 1% salicylic acid treats pimples and 30% pigment load covers them up without effort.
Dark Spots: Bobbi Brown Corrective Spot Treatment SPF 25 ($38, neimanmarcus.com). I think this is being discontinued because it isn’t available at the Bobbi website. Unfortunate, because this is one of the few concealers that effectively covers my dark spot on my cheek. It has a thick creamy texture that dries down to a impenetrable matte finish. The SPF helps keeps spots from getting worse.
Dullness & Shadows: Marc Jacobs Beauty Remedy Concealer Pen ($39, sephora.com) essentially eliminates signs of dehydration, shadows and tired skin. I use Bright Idea under my eyes in a V shape after covering the darkest areas with the Laura Mercier High Coverage Concealer. Nobody knows I haven’t had a good night’s sleep in years. It also works nicely around the lip area without getting cakey.
Redness & All Over: Cle de Peau Concealer ($70, cledepeaubeauty.com) has the ideal texture – pigmented without being heavy – giving this cult-status stick the ability to cover anything. Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-In-Place High Cover Concealer SPF 35 ($24, esteelauder.com) offers long wear and impressive coverage in a portable compact.
JULIETTE HAS A GUN NOT A PERFUME Review
JULIETTE HAS A GUN NOT A PERFUME
$120 100 ml. | $$$
Get It @: birchbox.com
Product Rating: ★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8/10)
BIRCHBOX SAYS: Even if you’ve never heard of Cetalox, you’ve undoubtedly picked up its scent. Used as a back note in thousands of fragrances, Cetalox (a synthetic substitute for grey amber) takes center stage in Not a Perfume. The result is elegant, pure, spicy, and completely allergen-free.
MONSTER SAYS: I’ve been wearing the same fragrance for years – Comptoir Sud Pacifique Vanille (or one from that line) which is simply the BEST vanilla fragrance on the market. I also love Jo Malone fragrances (Nectarine Blossom & Honey and Grapefruit are my favorites). I’ve never been inspired to buy a new fragrance based on a sample, but when I received the Juliette Has a Gun Not a Perfume from Birchbox I was instantly hooked. Not a Perfume has a warm, clean scent that is comforting, soft and glorious at the same time. While it won’t make people say “I smell yummy cupcakes” or guys stop mid-conversation to find out who smells like cookies, people will just think you naturally smell warm and cozy.
SMASHBOX Double Exposure Palette Review & Swatches
DOUBLE EXPOSURE PALETTE
$52 14 shadows + mascara + brush | $$
Get It @: sephora.com
Product Rating: ★★★★★★★★★☆ (9/10)
SEPHORA SAYS: This innovative eye palette features coated pigments formulated with coating technology to create multiple effects when wet, allowing the shadows to transform in one of four ways—allowing these 14 shadows to become 28 shades in just one palette. When wet, these colors amp up vibrancy, become deeper, turn metallic, or create sparkle for endless, customizable eye looks.
MONSTER SAYS: Eyeshadow palettes have been my latest obsession. The Smashbox Full Exposure palette that features coordinating matte and shimmery shades is one of my all-time favorites, so when Sephora launched the SMASHBOX DOUBLE EXPOSURE PALETTE ($52) as a VIB Rouge exclusive – I didn’t hesitate. Each shade can effectively be used wet or dry – adding additional intensity or transforming it into a rich metallic.
BOBBI BROWN Warm Glow Eye Palette Review & Other NEW Products
WARM GLOW EYE PALETTE
$75 9 shadows | $$$
Get It @: bobbibrowncosmetics.com
Product Rating: ★★★★★★★☆☆☆ (7/10)
BOBBI BROWN SAYS: This limited edition Eye Palette has everything you need to make eyes sparkle with rich, bronzy metallics, rose golds and deep browns. Comes in a gorgeous faux-croc case that you’ll love to pull out at parties.
MONSTER SAYS: One of Bobbi’s prettiest palettes, thankfully void of any dull grey-based beige tones. Works well with my medium-tan skin tone, but would be notably warmer on lighter skins. A few of the colors are a bit redundant and this palette could have used a matte brown (like Rich Brown) to really pull it together. A great palette, but not quite a must have – unless you’ve been waiting for a truly “warm” collection.
Cosmetic Monster Then (1990) and Now (2014)
I was fortunate enough to grow up in the era of jelly shoes, piles of plastic bracelets, giant neon earrings, Breakin’ & Mannequin, Metal, Wham and leggings. While there were several huge fashion disasters (my hair included) – it was a time when there was no such thing as too much.
Graduating in 1990 (and the start of Heroin Chic and Nirvana) I ditched the neon green crop tops for my boyfriend’s flannel shirts. There were brief stints of girlishness (Cherry Blossom Pageant in mid-90’s), bad plaid dresses and t-shirts with cartoon characters. After discovering surfing toward the end of the 90’s – it was pretty much black tank tops from there.
24 years later, I still have chubby cheeks, a crooked smile and incredibly unruly hair that is remarkably flat iron resistant. While I often get the gratuitous “You don’t look 40″ thanks to boat loads of eye cream and an obsession with sneakers – the realization has become clear that aging isn’t what ages you. While I have passed my prime (and right to have firm abs without starving myself) looking forward is no longer something to dread. With two kids (who can simultaneously make me laugh and scream), a great husband, an enjoyable job & amazing co-workers and my health – I welcome everything that each day brings. Wrinkles and all.
Happy Birthday to Me! I picked up this Smashbox Double Exposure Palette ($52, Sephora VIB Rouge Exclusive Early Launch) during the 20% off sale. I’ll definitely do a review as soon as it hits my doorstep.
For the first time in years, I’m also not going to our usual karaoke bar to celebrate. I’m opting to have a nice dinner with my husband (sans kids) and celebrate with the family another night since the 5 year old loves to sing “Happy Birthday”. Life is good.
Natto Ice Cream Sundae
#JENN20 Update: I hate making excuses, but there was no time to really focus. Again, I haven’t gained anything – but really bummed I haven’t made more of an effort. November seems to have a few more open time slots and my first free vacation in a year – so we’ll get this done!!
I realize that the ice cream part of this photo isn’t “healthy” – but the NATTO part is. Half of you are probably wondering what natto is and majority of you who know what it is are saying “Ewww!”. Yes, slimy fermented soybeans normally has the opposite effect than – let’s say – BACON. Still, natto is one of the sleeper health foods – rich in probiotics, a good source of protein and low in calories. It also has both types of Vitamin K (K1 & K2) and studies suggest it could provide treatment for Alzheimer’s!
Personally, I love natto and can eat it out of the box with or without rice. While I’ll agree that it sometimes has a funky smell, I love the taste. So I’ll be including lots of natto in my “diet” going forward. Without the ice cream – of course.
Monster Read & Source: http://kimonobox.com/post/en/3858/natto-10-medical-benefits/
Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream SPF 15 | Product Review & Ingredients
*Robot by OMGoshShop at Etsy.com
Charlotte Tilbury’s secret is out. Her Magic Cream is a secret mix of patented anti-aging ingredients combined with a hyaluronic booster and floral extracts to lift and transform tired skin in an instant.
Experience/Skin Type: Medium weight cream with light floral scent. For most skin types – except for extremely oily.
Key Ingredients: A break-through multi-tasking ingredient, the BioNymph Peptide Complex, fights the aging process on all fronts: it stimulates collagen production and cell energy and fights free radicals, to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and smooth the skin.
A hyaluronic acid booster called Sodium Hyaluronate floods skin with moisture, re-plumping the skin. And an infusion of rose hip oil and vitamin E bring your complexion back to life.
Quick Review: Affordable luxury in a richly textured cream that transforms tired skin into a glowing, healthy complexion. Is it magic? While it won’t banish all your skin woes (dark spots and acne still require specific attention) it certainly WORKS.
Tatcha Moisturizer Guide & Reviews
(L-R): The Tatcha Moisturizer Line Up: Luminous Dewy Skin Mist, Luminous Deep Hydration Firming Serum, Supple Moisture Rich Silk Cream, Gold Camellia Beauty Oil, Ageless Enriching Renewal Cream
TATCHA is a remarkably simple, effective and elegant skin care brand that started with gold-flecked blotting papers and has quickly evolved into a brand to watch (and maybe to aspire to). While the brand started with a single, brilliant moisturizer – Supple Moisture Rich Silk Cream – there are now several curated products that can be used individually, or in tandem to achieve glowing, healthy skin for a spectrum of skin types.
Here is a comprehensive list of Tatcha moisturizing and nourishing products from lightest to richest.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Coincidentally, at 41 years old, I’m getting ready to schedule my first mammogram. Thankfully I’m not a high-risk candidate and haven’t found anything during breast self-exams, but this disease has affected so many women close to our family and our hearts. If you haven’t had a mammogram and are over the age of 40 – it may be something you want to discuss with your doctor. Come on, we’ll do it together.
Estee Lauder Evelyn Lauder Dream Compact ($125, esteelauder.com) 20% of the suggested retail price will be donated to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation (August 2014 – June 2015). This elegant compact refillable compact is filled with Lucidity Translucent Pressed Powder in Transparent which is perfect for touch ups. Did you know 1% of men are affected by breast cancer? The touch of blue represents them.
BCRF is an independent, not-for-profit organization that was founded in 1993 by Evelyn H. Lauder to fund the most promising breast cancer research worldwide. It’s mission: prevention and a cure within our lifetime. For more information about BCRF visit www.bcrfcure.org
Check out WHAT’S NEW in October, featured products and more:
Senegence LipSense in Caramel Latte Flash Review & Swatches
$25 | senegence.com/michellewhalen
Product Rating: ★★★★★★★☆☆☆ (7/10)
LipSense is the premier product of SeneGence and is unlike any conventional lipstick, stain or color. As the original long-lasting lip color, it is waterproof, does not kiss-off, smear-off, rub-off or budge-off! Create your own color palette by combining shades. Your customized look will last even longer and your lips will stay moist and plump with LipSense Moisturizing Gloss.
Presentation: Standard lipgloss tubes with doe foot applicator
Color Reviewed: Caramel Latte (pink nude with slight shimmer) and Matte Gloss
SeneGence LipSense is the original long-lasting lipstick and it’s serious stuff. It has a very fluid consistency (like thin ink), a non-aggressive scent and MUST be applied according to the extensive directions, or you will be left disappointed. No cheating!
Caramel Latte swatches – 1,2 and recommended 3 coats (top).→
While I normally prefer a more hydrating product, and Caramel Latte was a little too pink for my taste – I really liked using this and was impressed at how long it stayed on. Unlike other long-wear lip products, it didn’t crack or peel off. Yes, it felt like I had a thin coat of nail polish on my lips at first, but and application of the Matte Gloss remedied that right away. The Matte “Gloss” felt like a silicone primer on the lips – but smoothed things out without any unwanted shine. After applying, I easily used my own liner (MAC Stripdown) to tone down the pinkness of the edges.
This isn’t something I would use everyday – I can see how this could dry out your lips since it does have a bit of alcohol and no nourishing properties, even with the gloss. However, I work some 14 hour days and this is definitely the best long-wear lip color I’ve used to date.
LIPSENSE LIQUID LIP COLOR INGREDIENTS: SD Alcohol 40-B, Acrylates/Octylacrylamide Copolymer, Isostearyl Alcohol, Silica, Fragrance (Parfum), Water (Aqua), Paeonia Suffruticosa Root Extract, Hypericum Perforatum Extract, Tilia Cordata Flower Extract, Isodonis Japonicus Extract. May Contain: Mica (CI 77019), Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499), Bismuth Oxychloride (CI 77163), Ultramarines, Yellow 5 Lake (CI 19140), Orange 5 (CI 45370), Red 33 Lake (CI 17200), Blue 1 Lake (CI 42090), Red 7 Lake (CI 15850), Red 28 Lake (CI 45410), Red 6 Lake (CI 15850), Red 27 Lake (CI 45410:2), Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Palmitic Acid, Methicone.
**This product was submitted by a Senegence Independent Distributor for review consideration. This is not an advertisement for this product. All reviews and information is gathered independently by Cosmetic Monster or from press releases – and no compensation is received based on the outcome or sales generated from this review. Cosmetic Monster pays WordPress to be AD FREE and does not participate in affiliate programs – all links are provided to promote products, but without compensation. Only REFERRAL links for sites like Hautelook or Birchbox yield compensation (usually points or credit).