REVIEW: BareMinerals Blemish Rescue Foundation Collection

Here’s fun fact: the original BareMinerals foundation was one of my first high-end makeup purchases way back when I was in middle school.

I mean, okay — BareMinerals isn’t super high-end and it’s not budget-breakingly expensive, but it was to me when I was 13. I was getting $7 a week in allowance from my parents, so a $30 purchase like the BareMinerals foundation was a big deal — if you think about it, that was over a month of allowance for me.

The sad bit was that I didn’t really like it that much — the lady in Ulta who shade-matched me didn’t do a great job because I found that after I got home and actually started using it, it was much too dark and orange-y. I also remember oxidation issues, with the foundation durning even darker and more orange as the day went on.

It made it practically useless, so even though I didn’t have any problems with the product itself, I wasn’t able to ever really wear it. And since I was 13 and only getting $7 a week, it didn’t make any sense to take the risk of another month’s money on another shade of the foundation that still might not match me properly.

So I guess you could call my attitude towards BareMinerals when I received my Influenster VoxBox was fairly mixed. On one hand, I do remember liking the coverage and texture of the product itself, and I still do rather enjoy the stick concealer I was sent for review earlier this year, but on the other, I was never able to get my money’s worth out of the original foundation, and I’m still a little sad about that. I think it’s still sitting in the back of my makeup drawer, practically unused.

But I tried to go into the review with an unbiased mind — impossible, I guess, but still worth making an effort to do. It wouldn’t be fair for me to judge this new product using my bad experience from six years ago.

In my VoxBox, I received the new BareMinerals Blemish Rescue Skin-Clearing Loose Powder Foundation in Neutral Ivory,  the Skin-Clearing Anti-Redness Mattifying Primer, and Seamless Buffing Brush with Antibacterial Charcoal. Altogether, it’s about $83 worth of product, so I’ve got to give it to BareMinerals for being super generous.

Firstly, as these products are marketed for their skincare benefits as well as their general cosmetic use, allow me to give some background on my skin. It’s best described as combination. My biggest issues are mild acne and sensitivity. I’m 19, nearly 20, so my pimples aren’t quite as bad as they were when I was 13, but they haven’t really gone away entirely either. It’s mild enough that with good makeup, I can pretty much cover up everything I need to, but without, it’s pretty obvious that I have a smattering of pimples on my temples and between my eyebrows. The worst for me is when, due to the benzoyl peroxide spot treatment I use, I wind up with a patch of dry skin surrounding a pimple that hasn’t yet gone away. An ideal foundation for me would be light enough that I could use it on the parts of my face that don’t really have any issues to smooth away the mild imperfections, but buildable enough that I could apply it to my acne-prone areas and conceal them without highlighting the dryness there.

Now onto the review — I’ll go in order of application, so let’s begin with the primer. Out of the tube, it’s a green paste-to-gel -like substance meant to correct ruddy tones in the skin. I assume it would appeal to people with acne all-over as it would, in theory, correct the redness of pimples.

I’m no stranger to green color correcting products. There was a time in middle school where I used a green concealer religiously to conceal redness on my cheeks. I never really got into green primers though, as I generally found that the color-correcting properties of a green product were best when used sparingly, but in concentrated amounts, rather than all-over. I believe the same rings true for this product. I just don’t think the green is strong enough to do anything. As for the other qualities of a primer — texture, staying power, mattifying-effect — I’d say it’s just average. It’s not bad, but there’s better out there.

The foundation turned out to be the pleasant surprise of this review. I had wondered if I would have the same oxidation issues I’d had with the original Bare Minerals foundation, but I have not had that problem at all. The color is slightly darker than I would have chosen for myself, but it’s not so far off that I can’t use it.

The best part was easily the buildability and texture. It did just what I wanted it to — went on light on my less-problematic areas, and built up to heavier coverage with some stippling in my acne-prone areas. For that, I have to give it credit.

The worst part is an issue not exclusive to this product, but that applies to all powder foundations — it’s messy to put on. If you’re looking for something to just slap on and go, this is not it. While application itself isn’t too hard — I just buff it on, with a bit of stippling for more coverage — it’s getting the powder out of the container and onto the brush that’s difficult to do with being messy.

As for the brush, it, like the primer, is perfectly serviceable. Not great — there are better buffing brushes out there for less money (I personally like the Real Techniques buffing brush). But this one’s soft, picks up product well, and is stiff-enough for buffing, so it functions as it is supposed to. My main complaint is the shape — it’s short and fat, so it doesn’t fit in my brush-holder with the rest of my brushes. I can’t really speak to the “antibacterial charcoal” claims. It sounds like a label they just slapped on there to make it seem more hygienic, but I don’t know — maybe the charcoal really is more sanitary.

Finally, what about the skincare benefits? Did I find that my acne improved thanks to using this product?

Well…I don’t know. To be honest, I didn’t use it for long enough to be able to assess its long-term skincare effects. Additionally, one’s skin condition is affected by such a wide variety of factors that I don’t know if I’d see the effects unless they were drastic and fast. Which, for this product, they weren’t — that’s not to say there wouldn’t potentially be benefits from long term use, but I just can’t say with the few days I’ve taken over the last month to test this out. Alternatively, maybe my acne would get worse. I just don’t know.

All I can assess this product fairly on is on its ability to function as a foundation. And you know what? It’s actually pretty nice. It’s way better than the original Bare Minerals powder I tried out six years ago, and I would say that if you, like me, didn’t really like that one, you may still find that this new one is a pretty decent product. You could probably pass on the brush and the primer though. They’re serviceable, but there are better options out there for less money.

Summary:

Primer

Pros:

  • Perfectly serviceable

Cons:

  • Why settle for serviceable when you could find something for less money that works better? (I’m personally a fan of the Revlon Photoready Primer)

Foundation

Pros:

  • Light-to-medium buildable coverage
  • Doesn’t oxidize!
  • Wide range of color selections
  • Smooths over my dry patches without emphasizing them

Cons:

  • Messy, time-consuming application

Brush

Pros:

  • Perfectly serviceable

Cons:

  • Why settle for serviceable when you could find something for less money that works better? (In my opinion, the Real Techniques buffing brush is a good substitute)

Have you tried the new BareMinerals Blemish Rescue collection? Or do you have any suggestions for your favorite foundations? Let me know your thoughts below!

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one! Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries and collars, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!

April 24, 2018 – Accidental Wes Anderson (OOTD #270)

Disclaimer: This post contains products that I received complimentary from AMIClubwear for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

Just kidding — this wasn’t accidental. I’m not often this well-coordinated, but every once in a while, I manage to get a really beautiful color combination aesthetic reminiscent of Wes Anderson’s cinematography.

I’ve been attending a film series course for another one of my classes (it’s a little complicated — so basically, I’m in a regular three-credit class that’s requiring me to attend another course that’s the equivalent of a one-credit class but that doesn’t offer any actual credit), and in it, I’ve been learning a lot that I didn’t know about filmmaking. A lot of the films we’ve been watching have been on the artsier side, focusing less on plot and action and more on framing and symbolism. I’m no film connoisseur — most of the movies I ever watch are kids’ animated films — so it’s been really interesting watching some things I would never have watched otherwise.

Anyway, thanks to this series (and maybe also a little bit the beautiful color palette of La La Land), I am now a sucker for nice color combinations — like my yellow tights and this blue background.

I got this dress and these tights from AMIClubwear as a part of their fashion blogger program where, in exchange for a blog post or two, I received a few pieces from their collection for free.

At first, when I was considering whether or not to join the program, I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to find anything from their store. With a name like AMIClubwear, I thought all they would have was clubwear and lingerie, which, while cool, isn’t really what I wear everyday to class.

I was presently surprised to find I was totally wrong — they have a huge selection of casual and everyday clothes that were appropriate and comfortable for me. Yes, there are sexier pieces, but there are also plenty of classier, more conservative looks that went along perfectly with my aesthetic. With affordable prices, frequent sales, and a wide selection of stylish clothes that span different aesthetics, I would definitely have to give AMIClubwear my recommendation.

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life at Notre Dame! Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!

Dress: AMIClubwear

Tights: AMIClubwear

REVIEW: BareMinerals Bare Pro Concealer

Disclaimer: I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes. All opinions are my own.

Look at me! Doing more beauty posts and using my blog as a platform for testing and reviews products!

The thing I love best about doing Influenster reviews is that I feel no pressure to have an opinion, one way or the other, about the products I receive. While I do try to always provide my own opinions and thoughts for the other complimentary products I’ve received for promotional purposes on this blog, it would be a lie to say I don’t still feel some pressure to emphasize the positives over the negatives. With Influenster, since the products are being sent to me via a third party rather than from the brand itself with the stipulation that my only role is to review the product, that pressure is gone.

This is my second Influenster VoxBox (the first one being the L’Oreal Color Crave Hair Makeup and Semi-Permanent Hair Color), and with my experience so far, I’d definitely be happy to get more of these in the mail. They come packaged so cutely in these colorful boxes, and they always provide helpful instructions for what to do once you’ve received the box. If you’d ever like for me to review Influenster as a service for bloggers on LEDJ, leave me a comment below and let me know!

Anyway, the product I got from Influenster this time around was a little stick concealer from BareMinerals from their Bare Pro line, which claims to have 16 hour coverage. I received color 05, which seemed like a pretty good fit for my light-medium skin with neutral undertones.

Now to be honest with you, I don’t typically wear concealer. I much prefer to simply use a BB cream all over my skin, and then dab it on in a little more concentration on problem areas. If I do wear concealer, it’s probably because I’m running late to class and I don’t have time to do a full face of makeup, and I just want to cover up some pimples. Very rarely do I ever do concealer and BB cream/foundation — only special occasions.

So the look I’m sporting here is, in truth, more makeup than I typically wear. I have on both a very light coverage BB cream and the concealer over top of a couple of pimples and scars scars I have on my temples and cheeks, as well as a little discoloration beside my nose. Otherwise, I don’t really have any huge problem areas right now (bless), so I didn’t need to wear it anywhere else.

I was pleasantly surprised with the blendability of the concealer, as its texture is harder and more chalky than some of the other stick concealers I’ve used, like the Revlon Photoready concealer. A few dabs with my ring finger, and it smoothed right in.

I think a large part of the easy blending is just how well this product matched my skin — I don’t typically find products that match me perfectly, as things tend to either look too pink or too yellow, but this concealer really fit my neutral undertones. Especially since I didn’t get to test this product in the store and selected it based off of some sample images I saw on the Internet, I got pretty lucky.

As for its claims of 16 hour wear, I did not get to test this, and I honestly don’t really care to. Who wears makeup for 16 hours straight? It’s not something that’s currently a part of my lifestyle, so whether it wears for 16 hours or not is truthfully not important to me as a consumer. Its staying power did seem pretty solid though for the full 12ish hours that I wore it — nothing spectacular or life-changing, but still serviceable.

Summary:

Pros:

  • Perfect color match (for me, an Asian with light-medium, neutral undertone skin wearing 05)
  • Blends easily
  • Paraben, sulfate and phthalate-free
  • Wears well (for an average 12-ish hour day)

Cons:

  • Costly at $25
  • Still not completely “all-natural” — though what really is?
  • Average to above-average quality

In the end, I liked the product. It’s no Holy Grail for me, but I found it delightfully average, and even a little above average in terms of color matching. Is it worth it for the $25 price tag, when you could get another perfectly serviceable drugstore concealer (Revlon Photoready and the Sonia Kashuk quads are two of my favorites) for half the price? That I guess depends on your views of BareMinerals’ ingredients — they do claim that this concealer is paraben, sulfate, and phthalate-free, and that its natural ingredients (though not all natural — there are definitely some chemical-y ingredients that I have never heard of on the label) “nourish” the skin, so if that’s something you care about, maybe it’s worth it for you.

Have you tried the BareMinerals Bare Pro Concealer? Or do you have any suggestions for your favorite concealers? Let me know your thoughts below!

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one! Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!

REVIEW: Clairol Color Crave Semi-Permanent Hair Color in Orchid

To read part one of my Clairol Color Crave review, click here!

Welp, I’ve gone and done it – I’ve dyed my hair purple.

My best friend has declared that I look like a high school band kid, but she usually has some complaint to make whenever I change my hair. I think if it were up to her, I would have maintained the platinum blonde hair, but with the texture of my non-bleach-damaged hair forever. Wouldn’t that be nice.

The reality is that I can’t be spending hundreds of dollars a month to have my hair chemically altered every month, so I have to make do with what I have. What I had was a short, slowly-growing-out brunette pixie cut that left me feeling a bit unsatisfied with how average it was. What I wanted was something practical and affordable that could change up my hair a little and remedy my sense of monotony.

That’s where Clairol comes in. In my latest Influenster VoxBox, I was sent their Semi-Permeant Hair Color in Orchid. While I hadn’t necessarily been thinking of dyeing my hair purple beforehand, I decided to go for it when the opportunity arose.

I have a lot of experience (well, not A LOT – not as much as some people, but more I think than the average 19 year-old) with various hair dyes. I started by getting my first set of highlights way back in sixth grade, before progressing to all-over color my freshman year of high school, then bleach blonde by junior year, then a semi-permanent grey and finally a brunette pixie cut just this year. My hair’s been every shade of brown under the sun, as well as jet black, blonde, platinum, grey, orange (on accident), and now, purple.

The first thing I noticed when I openeed the box was that there was nothing to mix – just the tube of dye. I don’t know if I’ve ever had any hair color products were no mixing was needed, so that was neat. In addition, the kit came with two pairs of protective gloves and a small brush.

As application goes, it was as easy as it gets – just squeeze the purple goop out of the tube, apply, and then rinse out. I guess it also helps that my hair is shorter now that it’s ever been, so I had no worries about making sure I got all my hair covered. I ended up using the whole bottle, though I probably didn’t really need to, with hair as short as mine. If you have long hair, I’d definitely buy two.

The directions said to leave the product in for 20 minutes, or 30 for a bolder look. Given the darkness of my hair (the root growth that is), I opted for 30 minutes.

To be honest, I probably could have left in in for shorter. The color didn’t really show up in my dark hair, and it showed up too dark in my bleached hair. Not that I really expected it to make much of a difference in my dark hair, because so little ever does, but I was hopeful for a little bit of a purple tinge.

(Me after applying and rinsing out for the first time)

That brings me to my biggest complaint about this product – it didn’t really come out as the same color on the box, at least for me. I think that’s partially due to the fact that part of my hair is bleached, which explains just how vibrant it came out, but even so, I don’t even think the color I got is even close to the color on the box. The girl on the box has a medium-tone red purple, while I what I got was a very dark (almost black!) blue purple.

On the plus side, I don’t mind a blue purple – it’s just not really what’s advertised here. If you have bleached hair and you use this product, I would definitely suggest leaving it in for much shorter than 30 minutes, maybe even 15, if you’re aiming for the orchid shade on the box. Another plus is that after three washes (one week approximately), this stuff is still just as vibrant as it was when I first put it in. It’s a semi-permanent dye, which means it should wash out in a few weeks, but I’m surprised it hasn’t at least started to fade for me.

Summary:

Pros:

  • Vibrant color payoff
  • Easy application
  • No mixing required
  • No fading (within first week)

Cons:

  • Color is more blue-toned than what box shows
  • Color comes out much darker on bleached hair
  • Color doesn’t show up at all on my dark hair

In the end, I like my purple hair. It’s not quite the medium lavender I was hoping for, but regardless, I’m happy with what I got. It’s more exciting than the brunette I had before, and that’s all I was really looking to get out of it. I would definitely recommend it for the easy application and vibrant color payoff, but I would just be careful with how long you leave it on in lightened hair, and don’t expect to get the same color as the girl on the box unless your hair is naturally her hair color to begin with. As for lasting power, it’s only my first week with this color, but it hasn’t yet faded, which seems to be a good sign.

Have you tried the Clairol Color Crave Semi-Permenant Collection? Or any other kind of semi-permanent dye? Let me know your thoughts below!

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one! Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!

Disclaimer: I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes. All opinions are my own.

Clairol Color Crave Hair Makeup in Rose Gold Review

Hair makeup? Is that what the big beauty brands are trying to cash in for as the next big hair trend?

These were the words I thought to myself when I opened my first Influenster VoxBox with products from Clairol’s new Color Crave series. I’ve lived through plenty of hair trends – the Kool-Aid dip dye color, ombré, pastel hues – but this whole hair makeup thing is new to me. Maybe it’s existed for a while, and I’m just too behind to know about it?

Or, alternatively, maybe it’s just an old product that’s been given a snazzy new name like “hair makeup” to try to appeal to a new crowd. That’s the mystery I intended to solve with my review of the Color Crave Hair Makeup – is this really something new, or is it just something old in new packaging?

A little background on my hair before I get much farther – I have naturally dark, thick, pin-straight Asian hair that had been bleached to obscurity before, just within the last month, being chopped off into a short pixie. My hair’s definitely beginning to get healthier, perhaps due to the ample amount of root growth I have, but the lighter brown bits are definitely more on the dry side.

After opening up the box, I was presented with a small 1.5 oz tube that resembled a bottle of lotion. Pop off the cap, and there’s a little sponge applicator that reminded me a lof of the old Maybelline Age Rewind Eraser foundation applicators. It’s kind of cute, but nothing special.

The directions on the side of the box say to shake the tube, press the sponge applicator until the color begins to appear, rub onto the desired portions of hair, and then blow dry to “lock in” the color, and so that’s what I did. Minus the blow dry part – I actually don’t have a blow dryer in my dorm, and I was a little to embarrassed to stick my head under the hand dryer. Instead, I let the product air dry (which it definitely needed, as this product is 100% a liquid, with all of the wet, runny properties of liquid) into my strands.

Here were the results (with no styling) immediately after applying:

What the directions don’t say is just how messy this product is. Don’t expect to be able to apply this in white clothing and get away unscathed. In the case of my color, Rose Gold, I found my issue wasn’t so much the color rubbing off into my hands or my clothes, but the glitter. This is a picture of my hands just after application:

Speaking of glitter, this is definitely a shimmery product. In a way though, I found that that worked to its advantage. In the dark portions of my hair, the pinkish color didn’t much show up (not that I expected it to – nothing ever shows up in my pitch black hair) but the shimmer really did.

As for the color payoff on my bleached ends, I was pleasantly surprised. The pink really was very visible, which is more than I can say of any hair chalk or other wash-out temporary color I’ve used in my entire life. And it doesn’t take much product to get it to show up either – one swipe with the sponge applicator rubbed in a little with my fingers, and I got the color seen here.

On a more negative note, though, due to the liquid-y paint-like consistency of this product, I found that it dried strangely in my hair, leaving it stiff and product-y. I wasn’t really able to leave my hair unstyled after application – I had to twist it into braids in order to hide the stiffness of my hair. That did make for some very pretty peek-a-boo color, and some festival-inspired boho glitter braids, but not really something I could personally see myself wearing every day.

Summary:

Pros:

  • Good color payoff, especially on lighter hair
  • Glitter shows up even on dark hair
  • Easy application
  • Lasts all day
  • Washes out after one use

Cons:

  • VERY messy
  • VERY glittery
  • Leaves hair stiff and product-y
  • Glitter rubs off even after it’s dried

In the end, I have to admit I had a lot of fun with the Clairol Color Crave Hair Makeup. It wasn’t anything revolutionary, but it also wasn’t just a repackaged version of the hair chalk I played with in sixth grade – this really is something new. It’s messy, too glittery, and impractical for everyday wear, but I can definitely see it being with a try for a music festival or a summer concert, where you’re looking for something fun to try with your hair without being permanent. Don’t expect it to work very well on black hair, don’t expect it to stay very long, and don’t expect miracles, and you should be able to have a little fun with this product, and that I think is the way it’s supposed to be used anyway.

Have you tried the Clairol Color Crave Hair Makeup? Or any other kind of hair makeup? Leave me a comment below and let me know your thoughts.

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one! Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!

Disclaimer: I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes. All opinions are my own.

Watch This: Wood Watch Review + Giveaway with JORD

Stay tuned for details on how to enter a contest for a $100 gift code for a wooden watch from JORD! 

Welp, Valentine’s Day is coming up, and as usual, I have no one in particular to share it with.

In years past, I’ve usually gone out to eat on a “date” with my dad. This year, as much as I would love to have our usual date night, I’ll be away at school on Valentine’s Day, and we likely won’t be able to do anything together except perhaps talk on the phone. And that’s too bad, but c’est la vie – colleges and distances will do that to people.

Of course, there’s that radical and ridiculous concept that I could actually find a significant other within the next two weeks to go on a romantic date with on Valentine’s Day, but we all know that’s not particularly likely. Besides, I’m pretty content as I am, and I’m not really in the market at the moment. Seeing as Valentine’s Day falls on Ash Wednesday this year (no really – check a calendar) it seems like my only Valentine this year at Notre Dame is going to be Jesus.

Anyway, as I will likely be eating Valentine’s dinner at my university’s ever-glamorous dining hall on a date with myself, I figured I would at the very least treat myself to a gift – a new watch. That’s where JORD comes in.

The folks at JORD were kind enough to send me this beautiful Olive and Acacia wooden watch to try out, and after wearing it for a few days, I’ve come to the conclusion that it would make for a lovely Valentine’s Day gift – for your significant other, or, if you’re gloriously single like me, for yourself.

My favorite part about my new wooden watch is probably the elegant mechanical movement. The uninhibited view behind the beautiful grained acacia and velvet olive wood case shows a mechanical movement and steel grey ring, effortlessly pairing modernism with the simplicity of natural materials. It’s a dazzling way to show someone you love just how deep that love runs.

And now, for the GIVEAWAY DETAILS! 

JORD Wood Watch Giveaway: How to Enter

You can check out JORD’s women’s and men’s shops over here. If it looks like something you might be interested in getting as a Valentine’s Day gift (or honestly, just for any time of the year) for yourself or for someone else, JORD and I have partnered to create a giveaway for you guys! Follow this link, enter your information, and you’ll be entered for a chance to win a $100 gift code courtesy of JORD! Giveaway ends February 25, 2018.

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one! Don’t forget to check me out on PinterestInstagramFacebookTwitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!

Disclaimer: This post includes products that were sent complimentary to review and affiliate links. All opinions are my own.


Luxury Wooden Watch
//www.woodwatches.com/widget-article/lensembledujour

Saturday Musings + Coffee – Basic Invite Stationery Review

A long time ago, back before I had my own laptop (and actually, probably before my family even had a home computer – just my mother’s work laptop that she would bring home on the weekends sometimes) I was really into writing.

Okay, that was a lousy way of wording things – I’m still into writing, it’s not like that’s changed. I mean, what am I doing here other than writing (though maybe not very well, as evidenced by that last confusing sentence)? But back then, I was into…handwriting? Or rather, writing things out by hand?

I don’t know if this is true for kids today, since it seems like they’ve all got their first iPhone by 6 and are on Instagram by 7, but way back when (and by that I mean like 10 years ago), typing was a rarity for an elementary school kid. I remember having to take typing lessons in the computer lab to learn how to position my fingers correctly and get my WPM up, but that was about all we ever did. There were few typed assignments, and we rarely had computers in class.

Handwriting was the only kind of writing a kid did – and I remember really loving it. I think it probably had to do with that it was a relatively novel thing to me, having only learned to write at all a few grades ago, after all. I had really lousy handwriting – my third grade teacher, if I remember, rated it as “poor” once on a report card – but that didn’t matter to me.

I like to think my handwriting’s gotten better since then, even though I don’t do it as much as I used to, especially since I’ve entered college and just about all my assignments are typed in my computer.

But I want to do it more. Noticing this recent decrease in handwritten writing, I decided to order some cute stationery samples – some thank you cards, stickers, notes – to test the waters and see if maybe by getting supplies, I’ll convince myself to write more. I figure if my writing supplies are nice, maybe I’ll be more motivated to write, you know?

The website I went through was called Basic Invite, and I must say, I’m very satisfied with my experience. What’s great about this particular brand was the sheer about of options there were – options for different kids of stationery (wedding invitations, children’s party invitations, thank you cards, etc.), different kinds of paper, colors, you name it. Along with the vast customization features that allow you to create invitations that are perfectly tailored to your needs, I was equally impressed with the service I was provided. I was emailed when my order was completed, when my samples were queued for print, when they were being shipped out, and when they had a delivery date estimation for me. Everything arrived neatly packaged, undamaged, and ready for use.

Will these new supplies actually encourage me to write more? We’ll see. One of my professors has already specifically stated she doesn’t allow computers to be used in her class, so that’ll be a good motivation for me to work on that. I’ll have all my different colored pens, my stickers, my stationery – I’ll be so organized I may even forget to pay attention to the lecture.

Basic Invite is currently running a promotion for 15% off with coupon code 15FF51, so I would definitely recommend giving them a look if you’ve got any stationery needs. Or, if you’re like me, and you don’t really know if you have stationery needs or not, but want to order some samples to test them out, Basic Invite is one of the few websites that allows customers the ability to order a printed sample of their actual invitation so they can see exactly how it will print as well as the paper quality before placing their final order!

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life here at Notre Dame. Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!

Disclaimer: This post includes products that were sent complimentary to review and affiliate links. All opinions are my own.

Review: Alya Skin Australian Pink Clay Mask

It’s been a long day.

And by a long day, I mean it’s actually been quite a nice day – it’s just had a lot of things to do in it. I started out frantically finishing up packing to head back to school before flying from Lexington to South Bend – in a private plane I might add, but more on that when I post the OOTD from today later this week – and finally making it back to school by early evening in time to get dinner with my friends and then unpack.

It’s days like these when I like to pamper myself a little – you know, to reward myself on a job well done of not messing anything up horrifically and actually getting a fair amount of productive “adulting” in. Those days don’t come by often.

Recently, my friends at Alya Skin sent me their Australian Pink Clay Mask to review, so it seemed like the perfect time to crack it open and give it a shot.

The first thing I noticed about the product was its nice packaging – a simple matte pink box, inside of which was a simple pink jar. Was it anything spectacular or artistic? No, but it was very fashionable, like something I wouldn’t mind having sat out on my bathroom counter. Minimalistic.

The mask itself was very standard mud mask fair – apply to cleansed skin, let it sit for 10 minutes, then rinse off with a damp cloth.

Alya Skin claims that their Australian Pink Clay mask helps with removing pigmentation clusters from skin’s surface, stimulating regeneration of skin cells, and drawing out and removing pollutants and toxins from skin. Did it live up to those claims?

(After application: no face makeup, some eye makeup)

To be honest, I’m not sure. I can say, though, that after one use, my skin felt smoother, softer, and more refreshed. I’m no facial mask expert – I’m don’t understand the chemistry of skin or the science behind skin care  – but I can speak to my own experience, and my experience was positive. I liked the rose scent, I liked the pearly pink texture, I liked that the product is vegan, gluten free, and not tested on animals.

(After application: full makeup)

In the end, I got everything I was looking for out of the Alya Skin Australian Pink Clay mask – some relaxation, a calming scent, and the satisfaction of knowing I was doing something good for my skin after having fallen asleep with makeup on a few too many times over winter break. I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a simple way to pamper themselves every now and then, and to anyone looking for a quick way to even out their skin’s texture and tone.

You can check out the product over on Alya Skin’s website here, if it looks like something you might be interested in purchasing. Use code lensembledujour for 10% off at checkout!

Disclaimer: This post includes products that were sent complimentary to review and affiliate links. All opinions are my own.

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life here at Notre Dame. Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!

November 29, 2017 – Have A Look At This (OOTD #171)

I adore glasses.

I think it has something to do with how, when I was a kid, I didn’t need them – and of course, since I didn’t need them, I wanted them. There was just something so cool and stately about how my parents and other adults looked when they had their glasses on – even the most basic pair could make a person look intelligent and cultured.

Sadly (or perhaps gladly…) I had perfect vision up until a few years ago, when I started having issues reading for long periods of time and seeing street signs at a distance. A trip to the optometrist, and I got my very first pair of glasses at age 16 – a feat that I was fairly proud of. I don’t need to wear them all the time, and occasionally, I do wear contacts, but I’ll often wear my glasses even when I don’t ned them just for the sake of fashion. So, given my love of eyewear, I was more than happy to to help Warby Parker announce their new Resort ‘17 collection of frames. I was drawn to the rich acetates paired with hints of glimmering metal, supported by temples so lean they practically float. A glinting and elegant metal inlay is visible to onlookers only from certain angles— like a coat with a luxurious for-your-eyes-only lining.

I was so inspired, I came up with an outfit to go along with it – something I thought would complement the vintage but luxurious feel of the new Warby Parker collection. I did my best to replicate the aesthetic and tone of the glasses with this skirt and top set I got over Thanksgiving Break in a local vintage shop. It’s admittedly not the comfiest outfit I’ve ever worn –  the scratchy 70s polyester wasn’t exactly breathable – but I loved the look of it so much I couldn’t help it. It was one of those things where I saw it in the store and I just had to have it – you know? I’m a pretty picky person. That doesn’t often happen.

If you’re interested in giving the new Warby Parker collection a look, you can try it out for free with their free Home Try-On program! Select any five frames that you like, and they’ll ship them to you for free to test for five days. If you find one you like, you can purchase it when you’re ready, but if not, you can ship them back for free after you trial is up. No commitments, and no trips to the eyeglasses store necessary.

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life here at Notre Dame. Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!

Top and skirt: Vintage (thrifted)

November 3, 2017 – In Which Dental Hygiene Is My Aesthetic: Bianco Smile Whitening Powder Review (and OOTD #151)

Today’s post will be a little different than usual – in addition to my typical OOTD discussion and sarcastic humor, I’ve got a review for you too!

The lovely folks at Bianco Smile were kind enough to send me a package with their Activated Charcoal Whitening Powder to try and review, and I was just so excited about the fact that someone on the Internet noticed me, that I couldn’t say no. Admittedly, I’m no teeth expert – in fact, the last time I went to the dentist, I got rather passionately criticized for not flossing. But I suppose that’s why there’s a several billion dollar dental hygiene industry out there – because idiots like me don’t care for their teeth like they ought to, and then need to buy things to try to fix them.

The product came packaged in a cute little black box with the instructions labeled on all four sides – 1)Dip ya brush, 2) Scrub ’em, 3) (Smile). I rather a fan of the simple, all-black look; it was very fashionable, like something I wouldn’t mind having sat out on my bathroom counter.

As the instructions suggest, powder itself is actually rather simple to use – simply dip your wet brush into the powder, and then scrub your teeth just as you would with toothpaste. And indeed, the experience was rather like just brushing my teeth as I would any regular day, the primary difference being the texture of the powder (for lack of a better word – powdery), and how I looked when using the product.

To be honest, you’re probably not going to look pretty while brushing your teeth – in fact, you’ll probably look like you’ve just eaten a bunch of blueberries and now their guts have coated your teeth – but that’s alright, because you’ll look pretty afterwards.

I’ve compiled here some photos of my teeth over the last few days using the product:

Day 1:

Day 2:

Day 3:

The verdict: I rather liked this product! I really don’t know anything about charcoal whitening powders, so I can’t compare it to any other similar products, but for my first experience using a whitening charcoal powder, it was overall quite positive.

Perhaps I’m just seeing things, and perhaps it’s simply the result of wearing red lipstick in the final photo (which does tend to make your teeth look whiter), but I do believe my teeth looked a touch whiter after a few days of using the product. I definitely think I will continue to use it – maybe not every day, but perhaps in rotation with my regular toothpaste.

My only complaint is that it’s not exactly the cleanest product ever – there was definitely some black powder left over on the sink after I was done brushing, but it was super easy to wipe up and left no stain.

You can check out the product over on Bianco Smile’s website here, if it looks like something you might be interested in purchasing. Use code MEILIN20 for 20% off at checkout!

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life here at Notre Dame. Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!

Jacket: Vintage (thrifted)

Dress: Pitaya