I've been wearing BFTE's Little Beach a lot this summer. I got a sample of it in my last order and just keep coming back to it. Blended out with more neutral, subtle colors it provides a little pop of color without being too much.

Here's one look I've been doing with it, all colors from BFTE:

Lid: Little Beach
Crease: Big Island
Liner (lower): Secret Garden
Liner (upper): Espresso
Highlight: Canyon

And here's another super simple look:

Lid: Little Beach
Crease: Errai
Liner: Errai
Highlight: Beautiful

I'm sorry for the general lack of posts lately. Ever since my "good" camera went all wonky a few weeks ago it's been hard to summon to motivation to wrestle with my even less "good" camera for what I know will be mediocre shots. Trying to get my mojo back though, as I do have some posts in mind and hauls to share!

First off, let me apologize for the shoddy pictures. My camera had an unfortunate encounter with some water spilled in my tote bag at the park, and it hasn't been working right ever since. Basically it's letting me take pictures, but nothing more. No zooming, no setting flash, no focusing, no adjustments of any kind. It's very odd, and very frustrating. I will probably have to go back to my old camera, which doesn't work that well either. Not a happy camper about this.

That said, I really like my Birchbox this month. The theme was "beauty school" , as in, brushing up on basics I suppose. Not sure how well the products fit in with that theme but I am happy with the selection of products I received.

The "extra" this month was a Schick Hydro razor. Razors are expensive (though I usually get decent deals by combining sales with coupons) so I was pleased to get this. I am partial to Gillette Venus but gave the Hydro a try and would totally buy refills when they go on sale. The package also came with coupons, a nice touch. I don't know if it hydrated anything, but it got me pretty smooth, did not irritate my skin, and I didn't get any nicks. Very useful, especially for an extra.

The Beauty Fixation nail polish remover swabs was also a full size product, 24 swabs. I only paint my toenails but these will still come in handy.

The DDF Brightening Cleanser, which I expected to be 2 ounces, ended up being 4.5, or around half a full size bottle. Some people did get 2 ounces, so I'm not sure why I got a larger size, but it was a pleasant surprise. I've used DDF's acne cleanser before and liked it, so I'm looking forward to seeing how this one works.

I also got a sample of Juicy Couture's brand new scent, Viva La Juicy La Fleur. This is one of the first mainstream scents that I've really liked since heading down the indie perfume oil path a year ago. But I've always had good luck with Juicy Couture scents, the only one I really disliked was Peace Love Juicy, which is surprising because given the notes I really should have liked it. Then again, it's so much harder for me to discern actual notes in mainstream perfumes. I like indie because there's a chance I might actually recognize what it consists of, which makes it easier for me to understand and appreciate it. So, I can't say much about La Fleur except it's very floral, fruity, and sweet, well in line with previous Juicy scents. It's not overpowering but has good staying power. I'm not sure if I love it enough to purchase a full size, but I will say it's one of the best perfume samples I've gotten to try through Birchbox.

The Whish body butter is alright, a wee bit "meh". First, somehow the ink on the jar smeared and I can't read the ingredients. It just doesn't look great. The smell, which is supposed to be pomegranate, smells a little like Sweetarts. It does seem to moisturize well and is non-greasy, so, not terrible but not something I need more of.

Still, I'm really satisfied with this month's box!

Summer at Solstice Scents arrived a little late this year, but I am still really excited about this collection. As much of a fall-baby as I am, these scents are making me wish summer would last a bit longer!

Here's what I got:

Tropical Moon Sugared Amber Whipped Cleansing Scrub
Tenebrous Mist Glace
Perfume samples in
Summer Garden
Gulf Breeze
Cardamom Rose Sugar
Tropical Moon
Honeysuckle Green Tea

Tenebrous Mist
Musk, White Amber, Sea Spray, Sandalwood, Bay Rum, Tea, Smoke

I got Tenebrous Mist as one of my very first samples from Solstice Scents, and loved it. I wasn't able to get a full size at the time, but I knew I had to get it with this release! Such an unusual, salty, smokey, musky, atmospheric scent. Basically the best ocean inspired scent I have ever tried.

Summer Garden
Very Green Fragrance of Petitgrain, Lantana, Katrafay, Carrot Seed, Tomato Leaf, Lettuce, Mimosa Absolute & More

As much as I like Haus of Gloi's Insalata Nocturna, Summer Garden takes the fresh-from-the-garden theme to the next level. Insalata Nocturna is heavier on a fresh citrus note with the tomato in the background, but Summer Garden is tomato front and center. It's a little unnerving how fresh it is. The tomato doesn't last too long though, and it settles into just a very refreshing, green, earthy scent.

Gulf Breeze
Aquatic Scent of Ocean, Salt & Stormy Skies

I was pretty sure no ocean scent could begin to compete with Tenebrous Mist, and I was right. TM is an unsettled, oceanic powerhouse, whereas Gulf Breeze is just more of a traditional ocean scent. Not quite stormy as the description suggests, this scent seems far calmer and gentler to me. It's cool and watery, yes, but there is also something...fruity? It really must be my nose, because I get something that reminds me of watermelon, which I'm pretty sure is not in there, but I smell it, just the same. If Tenebrous Mist is too out-there for you, Gulf Breeze might be the answer.

Honeysuckle Green Tea
Sweet Honeysuckle Blooms, Green Tea, Lemon Myrtle

This is just like walking by a bunch of honeysuckle bushes on a really hot, humid day. To me the cold sniff is really strong and I'm wary of even applying it, but the honeysuckle starts to mellow and the green tea comes forward. It smells lovely on some sniffs as it dries down and then on others it seems like its gone a bit sour. There are moments where I really like this, and then others when I really don't think this one works for me.

Moroccan Spices, Sandalwood, Hot Baked Earth, Myrrh Resin, Precious Saffron Threads & Oud

This is a wonderfully rich, dry, earthy, incense-y blend that really does bring to mind some kind of hot, shimmering desert climate. I think this would be well-received by those who liked Cascade of Gold, and, oddly enough, fall/winter scents like Flintlock and Outpost. There is something in this that reminds me of those, but I can't quite put my finger on it, perhaps some of the woodsy notes. This is a perfectly unisex scent too.

Tropical Moon
Coconut, Tuberose, Tahitian Gardenia, Lime Essential Oil & Pink Lotus Attar

A few years back Avon had a perfume called Instant Vacation, which I really liked. Tropical Moon reminds me a lot of it, but it's little softer, smoother and, while clearly tropically festive, less obvious and not super suntan-lotionish. The tuberose and coconut meld beautifully together, just like tuberose and vanilla did with Nightgown this past Valentine's Day. I wish it lasted a little longer on my skin, but it's still one of my favorites from this release.

Cardamom Rose Sugar
Brown Sugar, Cardamom EO, Moroccan Rose and Bulgarian Rose

This scent struck me as rather odd and unusual when first reading about it. Really, what could I expect a scent like that to smell like? And then I got it, smelled it, and it all made perfect sense. It's liquefied Gulab Jamun! Gulab Jamun is this yummy little Indian dessert consisting of milky, fried doughnut-like balls soaked in a sugar syrup, often enhanced with rosewater and cardamom. I got some the other day and smelled them, just to compare. Yep, that's it. Except Cardamom Rose Sugar is even stronger and richer, and utterly delectable. The rose is very subtle, and the cardamom which was so potent initially fades into a very exotic, darkly sugary scent. I think it's a perfect transitional scent for between summer and fall. Delicious!

G and I got back from our little minibreak on Monday, and thankfully I was feeling much better after having been quite sick with what I think was strep throat. It was a good thing too because even though we were only in Indianapolis for three days we did a lot. First, the requisite getting-lost -and- getting -mad -at-each- other- because- of- it- part. Once we got that little detour out of the way things went quite smoothly.

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