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The Diptyque Experience (and a Confession)

baies baies2This is an honest Diptyque review and also, somewhat, an experience confession.  My sister and I both work and thus value the notion of budgeting and exercising fiscal responsibility.  While it may be easy to go out and buy anything and everything featured on many-a-blogs, it’s not a realistic option.

For the longest time, I have seen Diptyque be featured in magazines, blog posts, and countless instagrams.  And, for the exact same long time, I have chosen not to purchase a Diptyque candle because of the cost.  A 6.65 oz Diptyque candle retails for $60.00 and a 2.4 oz Diptyque candle retails for $30.00 (these costs do not include tax or the Diptyque Limited Edition releases which often are marked-up).  It’s tough to justify a 30-dollar candle and it’s even tougher when that candle costs over 60 dollars.  However, after reading several reviews online, my sister and I decided to save and invest in a smaller Diptyque candle (while realizing that yes, we are paying over $30 on a candle).

Now, for the review, these Parisian Diptyque candles have a cult-like following for a reason and have managed to remain popular despite fleeting trends in the blog-sphere.  Ditpyque candles are luxe, beautiful, aromatic, and most definitely the definition of extravagant. I purchased Diptyque Baies because it is the perfect “starter” scent – Baies contains notes of blackcurrant leaves and Bulgarian roses and the undertones remind me of mysterious, delicious berries.  Baies is subtle, not over powering or intoxicating, but still able to freshen the air with elusive notes.  The candles are long lasting, and the scent has reach as even a mini Diptyque can fill a large space.  With its beautiful trademark lettering and black and white label, Diptyque candles would fit any home and any decor and would make wonderful gifts.

I always try to end a post by addressing the “bottom line” – are Diptyque candles worth it? While Diptyque products are of amazing quality and design, Diptyque is an indulgence for the wallet (and that’s my confession!).

If you’ve ever spent money on a luxury product, share your experience and whether the product was worth it (…and worth the investment).

Stay Pretty, Miranda M.

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Simple and Moody – November Beauty Favorites

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The month of November simply flew by, and I’m already prepping for the holidays with gift shopping, planning our trip back home, and decorating with anything and everything that sparkles.  My beauty routine was simple and build for comfort – moisturized skin, a red lip, and a seasonal polish.

Tatcha Indigo Soothing Silk Body Butter has been a life saver during these past few very cold days – subtle, soft, easy to absorb, and lightly fragranced, Tatcha Indigo is a great body moisturizer whether you are on the run or indulging in a skin pampering session (and no worries, the naturally-derived indigo shade disappears with use of the lotion but still makes for a fun product).

Lipstick Queen Velvet Rope in Private Party was a gift I received from my fiance last Christmas – this lipstick is luxe, gorgeous, glamorous, retro, and most definitely a treat.  Although the Lipstick Queen Velvet Rope lipsticks are priced at $50 (gulp!), the texture and pigmentation of these products is unrivaled.  Velvet Rope in Private Party is a red satin matte, think soft without the shine, that is “the” shade for holiday parties  and celebrations.  While the price may be an issue, I recommend at least swatching the products (because seeing is believing!).

I’ve recently discovered REN Clean Skincare via the highly popular Flash Rinse One Minute Facial. REN skincare products are free of several irritants and bad-for-you ingredients – formulated for various skin types and at affordable price points, REN has a product for every one.  I had the opportunity to try several samples of REN Clean Skincare and each one is better than the other (even in sample amount!).  My favorites include the REN Ultra Moisture Dry Cream, the REN Firm and Lift Eye Cream, and the REN Evercalm Gentle Cleansing Milk.  My skin has been very happy, and therefore, I’m very happy with REN (be sure to ask Sephora for samples as you may just discover your new HG product)!

Essie No More Film is a moody, rich purple that is opaque within one application – it’s freezing and dreary outside, so I keep reaching for this shade to keep up with the season (in a chic way, of course).lotihand

 Stay Pretty, Miranda M.

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Cyber Monday Shopping – Best Fashion and Beauty Deals

cybermondaydealsProducts Featured: LOFT sweater (currently 50% off), JCrew sequined sweater (currently 30% off and free shipping), Forever 21 earrings (currently on sale with free shipping)cybermondayfashionProducts Featured: Ann Taylor scarf (currently 50% off), Zara checkered scarf (select sale items additional 50% off), Anthropologie bow gloves (currently free shipping)

It’s officially December and it’s time to shop for gifts and treats! While we rarely muster up the strength to brave the Black Friday crowds, we’re all for transitioning into the work week and finals week with a little bit of shopping.  This year, Cyber Monday appears to be part of a a longer Cyber Week event for many shops; however, at least today, stores do add a bit of extra incentive with lower shipping requirements or free gifts with purchase.  We’ve put together a list of our budget conscious favorite products and affordable Cyber Monday deals (well, Cyber Week, really).  And because we’re not made of money (ha!), most, if not all, of our Cyber Monday picks are under $50 and $100 so make your wallet, and yourself, retail-happy!

Ann Taylor – 50% off entire purchase, free shipping on $175
J. Crew – 30% off site wide, 40% off sale, free shipping no minimum (Miranda purchased this RMS eye shadow for a total of $12 with free shipping)
LOFT – 50% off everything, shipping varies (perfect for a work wardrobe update)
Forever 21 – 20% and 30% off minimum purchase, free shipping on any orders
Asos – 30% off everything, shipping varies (Mackenzie picked this lovely (on sale, under $35!) bow purse for the holiday celebrations)
GAP and Banana Republic – 40% off everything, shipping varies
Nars Cosmetics – 20% off everything, shipping varies (that lace palette though!)
Bloomingdales – free shipping on any order, up to 50% off sale (while you have to hunt down the Bloomingdales Cyber Monday deals, this Tory Burch lipstick has been on our wishlist for a while)
Deborah Lippmann – 30% off everything, free shipping on any order (well, hello, Recipe for Love neutral three polish set)
Space NK Apothecary – gift bag with purchase (their sets make for wonderful stocking stuffers – I’ll have this, and this, and this!)
H&M – 30% off purchase and free shipping on orders over $50 (velvet bow tie shirt is must)
Too Faced – various sales and free shipping no minimum (the La Creme gold lipsticks are only $11)

sephoracybermondaysalesProducts Featured: Nars Lip Gloss Coffret (free shipping, gift with Nars 100$ purchase), Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush palette Sephora (bestseller kits and holiday kits available)

cybermondaysalesProducts Featured: Asos Bow Heels (on sale, free shipping), Topshop Mid Heel (free shipping), Charles by Charles David Polka Dot Pact Pump (on sale, free shipping)

 Stay Pretty, Miranda M. and Mackenzie M.

Studded Kiss – Kat Von D Studded Lipstick Bauhau5 Review

Katvond_bauhau5 copylipstick_detail copykatvond8Processed with VSCOcam with t1 presetIt’s disappointing when a lipstick is great but not perfect. In the case of the Kat Von D Studded Kiss Lipsticks, there are pros and cons (and you, as the customer, must balance and decide which attributes are more important before purchasing).

I picked the Kat Von D Studded Lipstick in Bauhau5 simply because of the shade – I saw it, I loved it, I got it.  Bauhau5 is a deep fuchsia color that brightens the complexion and creates a lovely, alluring pout (Bauhau5 is the lighter in-between the Mac Rebel lipstick and Melt Cosmetics Darkroom lipstick). This particular shade is unique as it contains red, pink, and purple tones, and I’ve find it difficult to dupe (but seriously, how beautiful is this color!).  The Studded Kiss Lipstick packaging may not be everyone’s favorite, but the studs are fun and different (and with all those studs, this lipstick will never slide down from the counter to the floor as you frantically try to catch it, ha!).

Unfortunately, while the Studded Lipstick collection contains a variety of shades and finishes, the quality of the product leaves me wanting more (a lot more!).  Many of the Kat Von D products are surprisingly good and worth the investment, but the Studded Kiss Lipsticks miss the mark.

Formula wise, Bauhau5 is a matte, but the actual texture of the product  cannot be flattering on anyone. The Bauhau5 lipstick applies extremely unevenly, with patches of product in random places, and unnecessary color dragging.  I tried swatching on my arm believing that dry lips were the culprit, but ultimately, this formula is just terrible.  The matte finish, combined with the uneven application, brings out the dryness and fine lines in lips (the Bauhau5 swatch above was carefully applied, after many attempts, using a lipstick brush).  Despite the stunning shade, the Kat Von D Bauhau5 is not worth the $20-plus investment – for a fraction of the cost and at a much better quality, I recommend the Maybelline Creamy Matte lipsticks  (review here) or the  L’Oreal Le Matte lipstick pencils (review here).

With the Studded Kiss Lipstick collection, a reformulation would be a welcomed change to experience both pretty color and quality wear. Have you experienced any products that you wanted to love, but just couldn’t?

Stay Pretty, Mackenzie M.