Holiday Bundle: Soap and Glory

Each year without fail I pick up some sort of Soap and Glory Bundle. What is kind of amusing is that each year my purchase is driven by one factor. I look at all of their packages and bundles and then I purchase whichever one has the full sized Heel Genius inside of it.

I know, not the best decision making process. However it is mine. This isn’t to say I don’t like the other products in the bundle. This $40 gift set for example comes with several products I like.

Pinkly the Best Includes:

Clean On Me Hydrating Body Wash 500ml

The Scrub Of Your Life Exfoliating Body Scrub 200ml 

The Righteous Butter Body Butter 300ml

Hand Food Hydrating Hand Cream 125ml

Heel Genius Foot Cream 125 ml

Face Soap Clarity Face Wash

Reusable Soap & Glory white and pink tin

The Clean on me Hydrating Body Wash and Scrub of Your Life are two products I purchase for my shower every so often. I like the scent and the effectiveness. The scrub of your life is quite exfoliation-tastic, although not overly harsh on the skin. Because of the exfoliation I can’t use it daily, but for a couple of times a week it is fabulous.

My mother loves the Righteous Body Butter and Hand Cream so those two items will be passed on as stocking stuffers. I have never tried the clarity face wash from the brand so i am looking forward to giving that a go. and truthfully the Tin is going straight into my laundry room. I have a collection of dryer balls, which I absolutely love, but I need a container to corral them in and this will quite frankly work perfectly.

So nothing in this gift set will go to waste.

But I did purchase it for the Heel Genius Foot Cream.

I am posting about this as part of the Holiday Gifts posts not only because this and many other Soap and Glory Products and Bundles make great gifts, but as a reminder that sometimes great products do not have to break the bank.

This Heel Genius Foot cream costs only about $7 and it is the best foot cream I have ever used. It is a drug store product although my local Walgreens tends to run out of this on a regular basis so picking it up is always hit or miss. Hence the reason I specifically make a point to pick it up at the holidays. I do a lot of walking and my feet really take a beating. I have tried a lot of pricier items but in the end, i always come back to this. I have forgotten about foot care for several months and then realized suddenly that i am going to be wearing open shoes where people will be assaulted with my heavily calloused feet and rolled in this Heel Genius for an emergency rescue.

An hour before bed, when I am settled and reading in bed before sleep, I will slather my feet with this cream and pull on a pair of socks. (I can’t sleep in socks for some reason so I take the hour before bed to do this and then peel the socks off just before sleep.) Three nights of this and my callouses are softened, A week and my feet are soft and hydrated. Every time.

Sometimes we get caught up in the new and expensive and we forget the old reliable, and inexpensive products. This is a reliably good product and it deserves to be remembered. And if you can get a squadron of other nice products at the same time, even better.

This year, for me, The Heel Genius was found in the Pinkly the Best Holiday set from Soap and Glory. (Surprisingly though on the official website it is not listed as included in the kit so that may just be a US version.) Each year this is a treat to myself and each year I really enjoy it. It is my self care moment before the craziness of the holidays arrives. Some of the products I will pass on to those I know will love them but most I will keep for myself. It is Happy Holiday to me and I am well pleased.

Holiday Guide: i Gourmet

Tis the season of snacking. It is also the season of guests, both expected and unexpected. Most of my family is scattered around the world at this point. Travel is always interesting. Some sections of my family will skip a year of traveling, staying home and communicating through the electronic ether instead of in person and then plan a huge trip with multiple stops along the way to grandma’s house.

It means that starting, well, about now, we will get phone calls about people passing through our area. A lot of my family seems to book flights to major airports and then rent cars to just meander and catch whoever they can on the way. My house is located along the way to a lot of places it seems so we will have people staying a night in the guest room or just stopping by for an hour. Sometimes we get family dropping by for coffee and maybe a snack, other times lunch, dinner and those strange in between times that are neither.

Which means we always have snacks and the makings of a quick cheese board, veg plate and possible charcuterie on hand. With the veg plate I always have two dips on hand for those who don’t do meat or dairy – it is my excuse to make fresh hummus as much as possible. And if they give some advance notice, my favorite battered and fried mushrooms, but that is a different post.

One of my favorite places to stock up is igourmet. During much of the year i will order cheeses from them simply because I like cheese and they have a really good selection of things I can’t find near me (They have a truffle cheese that is fantastic. They sell out a lot, so I sort of stalk the website lying in wait). My babydoll loves their sausages so we often pick a few of those up as well. And while we shop one cheese or sausage at a time when it is just us, we also make lists of our favorites as well as lists of who might be stopping by (No surprise that my family leans heavily towards the cheese board while his leans more towards the sausage).

Sometimes we will order a long list, but often times it is actually easier to order a couple of their gift baskets. The one pictured at the top of the post is their International Snacking Extravaganza box in case you are wondering. Out of this box I have tried the Sweet Sangria olives and absolutely love them. They can really add a great dimension to a simple bowl of snacks. I adore olives, as do many of my relatives and there is usually a bowl of marinated ones out. I make one that has lemon and rosemary in it. These Sangria ones are just easier to buy. They have sweet slightly fruity notes that blend really well with the briny olive and always disappear fast. The brine is a fantastic twist on a dirty martini as well.

Also included in this box is Righteous Felon Jerky. While the Victorious B.I.G. is good, I have to confess my favorite is the Darth Garlic That one and Voodoo Chile are the two we order a lot. The Voodoo is a little too spicy for me but my babydoll loves it. And if we order both then we each get our own bag and i don’t have to share the Darth Garlic.

But beef jerky is another post.

Gift Boxes from iGourmet are a great way to stock up on a variety of items for incoming guests. They also make great gifts. They have boxes that focus on locales like France or Germany. They have cheese centric boxes, charcuterie centric boxes, even a box completely focused on nuts, appropriately named The Nut Case. There are bundles of olive oils or even Barbeque Sauces available. In essence you can find pretty much anything for the food, wine or beer lover on your list.

And to be honest something like the Ultimate Party Collection not only makes a great gift, but can really help you out when you know you have multiple people stopping by and don’t have a lot of time to source a lot of different things. At this time of year, it can be a life saver just to know you have something on hand for whoever ends up stopping by.

Wheter gifting or stocking up for company, iGourmet is well worth checking out this holiday season.

Holiday Shopping Guide: Molton Brown

I know the holidays always seem to come faster and faster each year. Typically I like spreading my holidays out, however before the holiday, comes the shopping for the holiday. For me, my family is scattered pretty much around the globe at this point. So some gifts I pick up, wrap and get the chance to deliver in person while others I order, wrap, and then pack up to ship back out to other destinations. It means that I try to get my shopping done as early as possible. Adding in that everyone has supply chain issues these days and shipping is often delayed, it makes shopping a little early a good idea.

So if you are shopping now or planning your Black Friday/Cyber Monday holiday domination, I thought I’d go into a few of my favorite brands and take a look at some of this year’s holiday offerings.

Molton Brown is a long term favorite of mine. And while There will no doubt be ,more Black Friday/Cyber Monday Deals, currently they have a 25% off site wide (T&C apply) sale going on for those looking to stock up early. For a long time I simply ordered their Rhubarb and Rose body wash and didn’t bother branching out into the other scents. Then I received a couple of travel sized scented body washes in subscription boxes and liked them so much that I had to try a variety of scents.

One of my favorite things to get is the Stocking Stuffer Collection (usually $50, currently $37.50). I tend to pick this one up every year actually. I admit I usually keep one, but the rest of them I parcel out into various stockings. It works out really well because some family members like heavily spiced items, others like fruity scents, some like florals and others are citrus fanatics.

So the sampler stocking stuffer set is really handy.

I also generally pick up at least one of the holiday baubles because it never fails that after I have finally thought i picked up every item I need on my list there is always one Secret Santa or family friend gift that I some how forgot.

And given how much help so many people have been this year with my mother’s surgery, I will be picking up a bunch of these as extra holiday thank yous this year. The Holiday Baubles are usually $15 for one and are currently $11.25. While I will be getting a few of the individually packaged ones I will probably also get several of the three pack holiday sets (usually $49 for three but currently $30). My plan for those is to just have a basket and let people choose the scent they like best.

One thing I love about Molton Brown is that while they put their regular scents of shower gel and body lotion sets out for the holidays, they also have special holiday scents available. This year they have Merry Berries and Mimosa, vintage with elderflower (which might not be strictly a holiday scent but as my dad used to make elderflower wine and always brought out a bottle around the holidays, I always associate with the holiday scents), Jubilant Pine and Patchouli, and Festive Frankincense and allspice.

You can pick up sets that have just the holiday scents, such as the trio of bath gels to the right, or you can go for your favorite scents. If you are looking for something that is slightly floral but has a sweet tart scent to it, then I would suggest the Rose and Rhubarb. If you like something with a bit more of a clean fresh scent than I would lean more towards the Costal Cypress and Sea Fennel. Currently the one I am absolutely loving right now is the Heavenly Gingerlily. It is slightly spicy with a slightly floral note. And like all of Molton Brown’s products, foams beautifully and rinses away cleanly while leaving beautifully soft skin behind.

As always they did release an advent calendar this year but alas it is currently out of stock. I am hoping they will bring it back by the time Black Friday rolls around. I believe that is what they did last year. I remember seeing it was sold out, then on Black Friday got a notice that it was back in stock and by Saturday afternoon when I went to see about purchasing it, it was out of stock again. As it looks like a great way to try a variety of their products I can see why it is so popular.

For me, I love the brand and the products. I also love that while I have several people on my Christmas list who have sensitive skin, no one has ever had any problems with any of the Molton Brown products. I do have two relatives who are very scent sensitive so they tend to get bath time gifts from another company because of the scents (Molton Brown is quite potent in the scent department), but the formulas are great for all skin types. In addition to stocking stuffers and making sure everyone has a little holiday scented fun at bath time, I like the fact that Molton Brown’s products are always nice gifts but not to personal to give to work acquaintances at Secret Santa Gatherings, or your mother’s church friends who made sure she got to doctor’s appointments on time. They are just nice all round gifts and this time of year is a great time to stock up on them, whether it is for a gift or just yourself. I can already tell you, there is at least one Heavenly Gingerlily product heading into my own shower in the near future.

Molton Brown (US)

A sampling of Tea from The Art of Tea

It is that time of year again. The weather is turning and I start thinking out my gift giving list. While I was a summer baby and born in June, most of my family was born in the winter. From November to February we will have most of the familial birthdays to cover a well as the major gift giving holidays.

And so the planning begins.

One of the things I like to do around this time of year is to get sampler packs and discovery kits. At this point in my life I kind of know the taste profiles of most of the family and in my family, tea is always a good option. Items like the At Home Tea Starter Kit are perfect for trying out a variety of teas.

While I have ordered tea from The Art of Tea before, and in fact gave a subscription to their Tea Club as a gift to an older family member who informed all of us that she had accumulated more than enough knickknacks and if we felt it necessary to give her any sort of gift at all we should make sure it was one that wouldn’t collect dust. She has since passed on but she adored the subscription for several years.

My purchases tend to be the seasonal ones. In the spring I always purchase their limited run of cherry tea when it becomes available. but because I only purchase canisters of things I know I like, there are wide selections of their teas that I have never tried. And so I picked up the At home Tea Starter Kit. The Kit costs $24.99 and contains eight sachets in a nifty wooden box. To be honest i will be reusing the box to continue to store tea bags in it once I have worked my way through this selection of teas. It is quite a handy container.

I will be working my way through these teas and posting an afternoon tea post for them as I do. However this post is about the kit rather than the individual teas. The eight teas in the box are a wide selection of offered teas from The Art of Tea.

I really love the details on the individual pouches. On one side the name of the tea is clearly given so that if you like it and want to re order it is easy to find. On the flip side there are the details of the tea itself. For example the White Coconut Crème. If you flip the packet of tea over, the package will tell you it is a white tea blend. Creamy, smooth and Sweet with Medium Caffeine levels. It then tells you the recommended amount of water for the sachet, the temperature of the water and the recommended steeping time. Then all of the ingredients are listed.

the information displayed and easy to find

I love that the levels of caffeine are listed. For me tea is an afternoon treat. While the mornings are for coffee, in the afternoons sometimes I want a little pick me up with caffeine and sometimes I just want a warm beverage to sip. The wanting a warm beverage to sip in the afternoon increases as the weather turns colder and being able to choose easily a tea blend without caffeine when I don'[t need any extra boost is really handy.

The teas in this Starter kit range from zero caffeine to medium caffeine and each is clearly marked. The teas included in my kit are: White Coconut Crème, Pacific Coast Mint, Matcha, Bright Eyed, Earl Gray Crème, Green Pomegranate, English Breakfast, And Earl Gray. Some of the flavor profiles are familiar to me, others will be entirely new experiences.

While this is a very practical side to the packets, I absolutely adore the flavor notes for each blend. It is a bit like wine or even perfume. I can imagine the flavor profiles as I look through the packets and decide what suits my taste buds for the moment. I do like taking a little extra time with my afternoon tea. I walk past the mugs that I use for both coffee and regular black tea and take out a cup and a saucer. I take my time with the selection and then enjoy the process of brewing steeping and then drinking the tea. It is a way to create a special moment in my day.

I am eagerly looking forward to trying out each and every one of these teas. I know I will derive pleasure from the trial, but it will also help me to determine what sets of teas I will be slipping into stockings this Christmas or giving as gifts for my list of upcoming winter birthdays. So for me it is a two in one sort of deal. I get to try out something new, possibly finding a new favorite for myself and I can purchase gifts with confidence knowing that the profile of the tea will fit the person. Admittedly I already know two people who are just going to get one of these At Home Starter Tea Kit as like me, they like to experiment. My seasonal gift planning is off to a great start.

The Spring 2021 Eyeshadow Palette Declutter

<y collection of Eyeshadow Palettes All laid out so I can actually see them

I am generally not a big decluttering fan.  I generally don’t purchase a lot of extras and wait until I use things up before I purchase more.  It is why I keep my lists of things I want to pick up handy so that once I use things up I can move on to new things I want.  I do this primarily because my big addiction is really skin care and if you keep skin care too long it can easily go bad on you. 

However with so many subscription boxes, eyeshadow palettes arrive on my doorstep with great frequency.  I have one drawer in my dresser where I store them.  I like to keep them in one row so I don’t forget about them.  Recently I noticed that drawer was getting very overcrowded and I was forgetting I had things.  Part of that was that face palettes were getting mixed in and lost in the craziness. Part of it was disorganization and part of it was that I had palettes I just wasn’t using anymore that were taking up space.

So I decided to do a declutter.  I am not going minimalist, but I am getting rid of a few items.  I probably should have been more cut throat, but there were some I just wasn’t ready to part with. I will sort through them again in the fall, but for now this is what I am getting rid of. It doesn’t mean these items are bad.  Some of them are quite good, but I find that I am no longer reaching for them or I have the same colors in a formula I like a little bit better.  All of them will be cleaned up and passed along to family and close friends who will get use out of them before the products expire. 

Over all, I am getting rid of eight eyeshadow palettes which, is about 15% of my eyeshadow palette collection.  Here is a brief run down. 

Soph x Revolution Ultra Eyeshadows: 

This is a nice palette that performs well but I just find that all of the colors I like in this palette I have replicated in outer palettes.  The only one I don’t have elsewhere is the shimmery green called Pine Tree.  As you can see it is the only shadow that actually looks like it has been touched.  Which is mostly because I will pull this palette out just for that color.  All of the shadows are soft and buttery, but I really do only reach for this for Pine Tree, so I am going to pass it along and see if I can find the one color I want elsewhere.

Autobalm Pic Perfect from The Balm:

Again, these shadows are great formulas.  All except the one cream base called Neutral Primer.  I despise that product.  It doesn’t perform well and it collects fall out from other shadows so it always looks dirty.  The shadows work really well and I will be picking up St. Charles elsewhere, possibly in a single shadow.  I never reach for this palette mostly because of the metal container.  While I think it looks adorable, it is really hard to open and each time I look at it, I recall how I have split several nails trying to open it and just pass it by in favor of another palette.  So it never gets used. I will pass this on to someone who will really enjoy playing with it and not mind the container.  I will be getting a single of St. Charles though and I still love The Balm formulas, just not this palette. It’s a cute idea that just doesn’t work.

Doucce Freematic Palette:

I love the way this palette looks and the way that it is magnetic and can be replaced.  I really like the highlighter and the shimmery maroon shade in the lower row.  That shade is absolutely stunning. However, I don’t like the other shadows.  They just didn’t work for me.  I have other highlighters that I like as well and I did find a shadow that almost identically matched the maroon shade I love, so I am passing this on.  It is actually going to my mom.  She has been looking for a good magnetic palette and I think she will really like this one.  I also have a blush that goes with the freematic system that I am passing on to her unopened as it can be used with this set up.  I know these are her colors and I know it will be well loved so it is no hardship to pass it on.

Complex Culture Full Time Eyeshadow Palette:

The palette itself is lovely.  It feels really luxe in the hand.  I just didn’t like the shadows.  They didn’t perform well for me and I simply don’t see myself reaching for this palette.  Therefore I am passing it on to someone who might get better use out of it.  I would rather dome one take it in looking new and shiny then let it knock around the drawer for a few months while I dither about trying to make it work because the outside is so pretty.  And truthfully even if I did make the shadows work, none of them are unique.  I have all of these shades in other formulas that I like more.  So decluttered the palette gets.

Deck of Scarlet Edition 04:

This is an interesting palette.  It is more of an all in one palette.  The two cream products on the side are lip products and as you can see I liked one of the,  I actually used a bit of the purple lipstick to mix with the neutral one.  The shadows are nice as is the blush, but I simply don’t reach for this palette.  It was great when I was going on a quick over night trip because it has everything combined, but it is so limited that I quickly get bored with it and just forget about it.  To be honest I may have to check on the dates of this as it may be too expired to risk passing along. 

Pur Festival: 

Again this is kind of old and I am simply not reaching for it any more.  I liked how it performed and the shadows were great.  I really liked that red glitter shade and the hot pink under a brown smokey eye was absolutely fantastic.  However it is old and I’m not reaching for it and to be honest when I pulled it out of the drawer to look at, there was a not so pleasant scent coming from it.  I believe that regardless of the date on the palette, these shadows are expired and should not be worn. I still like Pur Shadows though, this palette however must go.

LA Splash Magic Eyeshadow Palette:

I love the colors, but absolutely hated the formulas.  They were patchy and difficult to work with.  This is one of those palettes that makes me a little sad as it looks so ready to be my everyday palette, but just failed miserably.  I really wish it had performed better.  Perhaps someone with more skills can work with it, but the patchiness was just too much for me to overcome.  And I do have these shades in different palettes.  Still it made me sad as it is a good everyday mix of colors and is the perfect travel size.

Laura Geller Central Park State of Mind:

I know, technically this is a face palette. I’m still including it in the bunch because of the eyeshadows. I liked the Cherry Hill rose shimmer and I liked the blush.  The other shadows and the highlighter I didn’t care for.  As you can tell from the state of this palette the mattes have a lot of fall out.  It looks far more used than it actually is.  All of the shadows, including Cherry Hill I have elsewhere so those are not a loss.  I really did like the blush shade though and will have to look and see if Laura Geller has that shade of blush elsewhere. It was a great color and performed really well. It is the one thing I will miss in getting rid of this palette.

So there you have it, the eight palettes that I am decluttering from my collection.  All had their highs and lows and now it is time for them to be passed along.  Those that can still be used will be sent to close family and friends who will use them after they are cleaned up and sanitized.  The ones that are expired will be dealt with, as much of them going to recycling as possible. A friend of mine actually does uses powdered products in his art and jewelry making. He grinds them up and used them as pigments mixed with epoxy and resins so I might see if he wants the expired ones as they will still be useful but cause no harm to the skin. Plus I like to think of the glitter eyeshadows of the Pur Palette encased in a ring or pendant. It makes me happy that they can still be used and still look beautiful.

Even though I didn’t get rid of a lot, taking everything out and looking at what I have, reminded me of what was in the drawer and let me think about what I really was going to use.  I found several palettes that were buried that I want to use again as now I can find them.  Mostly his gave me the chance to reorganize the drawer and put everything where I can see it so that I am not always reaching for the same item all the time. It wasn’t a massive declutter, I know, but it suited me and I am very happy with what has been done.

Volition Beauty

Kristopher Buckle’s Vanity Collection Volume 2

I am a sucker for a good makeup kit. I really am. I love them in sample size and I love them in full sized. Makeup, skin care, hair care, I love them all.

I know that sounded a bit like a beauty themed Dr. Seuss book, but it happens to be true. Also this post is in no way sponsored. The links are affiliate links, so I may earn a small commission if you use them when purchasing, but I bought these products on my own and all my opinions will be honest ones.

I think kits and collections are a great way to try out a brand. For those who regularly read these posts you will no doubt have heard that the Kristopher Buckle Cashmere slip lipstick in Bardot is one of my all time favorite lipsticks. The formula is smooth, but not drying and the color is perfect for everyday wear. It’s one of those lipsticks that is so comfortable you forget you are wearing it. while I have gotten that with liquid lips before, I find it really rare in a more traditional lipstick type formula.

But as much as I liked the lipstick, I hadn’t tried anything else by the brand.

So when I saw that the Kristopher Buckle kits were 35% off, I pounced.

Incidentally the sale runs through July 31st if you are interested in taking advantage of them. It is an affiliated link so using them earns me a small fee which helps support this site, but if that bothers you, just go to the site and use the code independently. It isn’t tied to me or my site and I make no money off of it. (code: EXCLUSIVE35)

Affiliate Exclusive | 35% Off Vanity Kits

My kit came in the mail just a few minutes ago and I will be adding these items to my makeup bag for next week, so I haven’t used them yet, I was just so excited they arrived. It seems like everything is taking forever to arrive these days.

Some days I feel like I am stalking the postman.

This came very quickly. I ordered it three days ago and was sort of kicking myself for not ordering earlier. Mostly because there are several other kits included in the sale and if I liked these products enough I was thinking of stocking up. Not only are they 35% off, making this particular kit $18.85 instead of the normal $28, but they have free shipping going right now. They do have various kits and collections in the sale. They have one that is just lipsticks I believe as well. I was very much eying that one but I really wanted to try out the foundation.

In addition I wanted to let you know about the sale as well so you could snap up items you wanted. Cause I like to share.

So what was in my Vanity Collection Volume 2?

The first item is the Triplicity Perfecting Foundation stick (retail $22). It is supposed to be a soft, blendable formula. I’m sure you all know how much I love trying out new foundations by now. And I really do like stick formulas. This one is a really good size too. Hopefully it contains a lot of good product as well.

Next is the graphic gel eyeliner. If I am going to use a pencil instead of a liquid, I do tend to like gel formulas. They tend to pull less at the thin skin as well as glide on easier. I can’t wait to see if this one is up to snuff. I have to say the design of the tip looks interesting. I am resisting opening it and testing it immediately as I want my first impression to come when I use it, but it is really hard to resist.

There was a cashmere slip lipstick in this box as well. It is in the shade Casting Call (retail $14). I’ve mentioned my love of the formula above. I’m hoping this maintains the fabulocity with a different color. I have to say though I almost went with the Vanity Collection 1 box instead of the 2 because in the first kit they include the Cashmere Lip in Bardot and I know that is a shade I will use up until it is empty and I wouldn’t mind having a back up. Admittedly, I’m probably going to be buying a back up anyway.

However, this collection came with a mascara and a setting powder, two of my standard must haves. The mascara is the Grand Opening Volumizing Mascara and the Powder is a translucent setting powder (retail $24). I have to say, while I haven’t opened the powder, I did tip it on it’s side to see how much product is inside. I have to say I am impressed. Often the loose powders that come in kits tend to look only about half full. This is a seriously full container.

I’ll need to add a few things to fill out the makeup bag for next week, but I really like that the kit covers all of the basics. I am looking forward to seeing if all of the products are as good as the lipstick.

All in all I think the set (even at full price) is a really good deal. All of the products are full sized and would cost me far more than $28 if I purchased them separately.

I couldn’t find the eyeliner or the mascara listed separately on the site, but if you add up the cost of the other three elements you get $60, so I think it’s a good deal, especially for 35% off. Incidentally, they also have a sale on eyeshadow palettes (30% off, code PALETTE).

All of these items are going to be added to the upcoming Makeup bag so I’ll hold off on first impressions, but I just had to share what came in my Kristopher Buckle Vanity Collection Volume 2. Let me know if you’ve picked up any of these collections and what you think of them (or any of his products really. I haven’t seen many reviews for them, which considering how fantastic the cashmere lip is, is a crying shame). And if you go to the site (even if it isn’t through my links) don’t forget to use the code(s) to take advantage of the sale. Happy shopping.

Kristofer Buckle