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Have you been watching the Olympics? I have, and I’ve really been enjoying it. So much talent and discipline. Quite amazing. The last two nights, I’ve been watching the men’s skating. As I write this, the long program is still going on, and I don’t yet know who will win. But it was wonderful to see Nathan Chen come roaring back with an amazing performance. We’ll see!

So I will make it short and sweet. Here’s the weekly roundup of beauty blogposts from the Beauty Spotlight Team for Presidents’ Weekend here in the U.S., a 3 day weekend! Whether you have a two day or three day weekend, enjoy it!

Sand & Sky Brilliant Skin Detoxify + Brighten Purifying Pink Clay Mask is an effective 4-in-1 mask that effectively boosts radiance, clears clogged pores, regulates sebum production and detoxifies the skin in a mere 10 minutes, and it does so without drying out the skin. Read the full review on Lola’s Secret Beauty Blog to see why this mask is worthy of your consideration!

Prime Beauty upped her lash game with the new L’Oreal Voluminous X Fiber Mascara. See before and after pics!

The love continues on Beauty Info Zone for Monat haircare. This week Marcia shares her straight, shiny hair favorites.

What are your On-the-Go beauty favorites? Pammy Blogs Beauty shares her in her updated “What is in her bag?” post.

Polarbelle has done a little bit of damage with her hauls of the last few weeks. The video of the first half is now on YouTube.

In case you’re in the mood to try out a new mascara or two, Allison from Never Say Die Beauty recommends her current favorites.

BeautyJudy took the new Maybelline Total Temptation Shadow and Highlight Palette for a spin! Check out two looks with this work appropriate AND nighttime appropriate palette!

Are you trying to save some money and not buy all the latest cosmetics coming out? Do you already have a substantial makeup collection not getting used? Jen from The Jedi Wife has been revisiting her old cosmetic favorites with her #TBTBeauty posts. Her latest post features the NYX Cosmetics Sex Bomb palette.

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Galentine’s Day Giveaway Winner

First, I want to congratulate Michelle C., the winner of the LUSH Lip Scrub and Jesse’s Girl heart-shaped mirror giveaway! Woohoo! Michelle has been a long time follower, so it was great to see her name come up on the Rafflecopter widget.

I also want to say that I had to have Rafflecopter choose 6 names till I got to Michelle because the 5 previous entrants didn’t do what they said they did on the Rafflecopter. I think that 3 of the entrants didn’t leave the mandatory comment on the post. I checked the Stop Spammers Allow Request list, and none of them were listed. If you ever have a problem commenting, send me an email via “Contact Us” and let me know and I’ll try to fix it. Others said they did something else, and when I checked there was no record of it. I felt bad having to disqualify people. Please do what you say you’ve done on the Rafflecopter. Rant over.

New Products to Try Out

This hasn’t been a normal week, and I’m a bit behind. So instead of a typical review post, I’m doing a coming attractions post to let you know what’s coming down the pike.

Esqido Lashes

I am a false lash novice. But I have always wanted to try the luxe Esqido Lashes that are handcrafted, natural and made from mink hair. They are as soft as silk, and so beautifully made. I received two different styles to try out. They also sent me their glue to use with the lashes. I plan to wear them when Jeff and I go out for our real Valentine’s celebration either this or next Saturday night. I will have a full review soon. Have you tried them yet?

SebaMed Skincare

A few weeks ago, I received three skincare products from a new-to-me skincare brand, SebaMed. Their point of difference is that their products are created for sensitive skin, and they have the same pH as healthy skin, 5.5. I am trying out their Liquid Face and Body Wash, Body Lotion, and Moisturizing Face Cream. So far, so good. They are incredibly gentle! I will have a lot more to say about them soon.

NIP+FAB Fix Range with Glycolic Acid

I’ve been using several different skincare products from other brands (Jan Marini, Exuviance, Paula’s Choice) with glycolic acid for at least a couple of years. But I have never tried any skincare products from NIP+FAB. I just received a trio of their Glycolic Fix glycolic acid products – 2 different cleansing pads – Daily Cleansing Pads and Gentle Pads – that I’m not sure what the difference is yet – and a glycolic serum that they call Glycolic Fix Radiance Shot. All are positioned as radiance boosting exfoliators. I haven’t started in with them yet since they just arrived. I have to figure out when/how to use each one. I will most likely review them one at a time since I will probably use them sequentially. Stay tuned.

So this is what’s new on my vanity. What’s new for you?

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Happy Valentine’s Day! Hopefully all of us who are lucky enough to have loved ones let them know all year round that we care about them, but I think it’s nice to have a day that is singled out for love. There’s so much hate in the world, let’s take some time to celebrate love of all kinds.

Retail Sample/Gift I Bought This

Another reason I love Valentine’s Day is that I love hearts. I love the shape, the red color, everything about it. I have a pretty big collection of all things heart shaped.

Jeff has given me tons of heart-shaped things: pillows, a rug to wipe your feet on when you come in the front door, earrings and necklaces.  I’ve also bought a lot of heart-shaped stuff myself over the years.

But today I want to talk about another symbol, the hamsa. The hamsa (pronounced with a guttural “ch” or “kh” sound) is a symbol from the Middle East and North Africa that is believed to have had its first appearances in cultures based in Mesopotamia (Iraq) and Carthage (Tunisia).

The hamsa is the shape of an open right hand, a universal symbol primarily of protection: protection from the evil eye, protection from enemies, protection in general. It is used primarily by Muslims (the Hand of Fatimah, the daughter of the prophet Mohammed) and Jews (the Hand of Miriam, the sister of Moses), and by Christians as well (the Hand of Mary). It also refers to the outstretched hand of God leading the Israelites out of bondage in Egypt as well as other mentions of God reaching down from the heavens in the Five Books of Moses. It is related to the idea that God exists in everything. And it is related to the Egyptian sky god, Horus, and some hamsas include the eye of Horus in the middle of the palm.

The hand has also been described as a fertility symbol to boost pregnancy and lactation and as a symbol of marriage as a bond that together protects both the man and woman. It is also a symbol of good luck.

The word “hamsa” is related to the number 5 (referring to the 5 fingers); khamsah in Arabic and hamesh in Hebrew.

Recently, I was given two new pieces of jewelry with the hamsa.

The sterling silver necklace with the filigree hamsa amulet was a gift from my good friends Sybille and Sahnoune who bought it for me in Algeria this past fall when they went back to visit Sahnoune’s family in Algiers. The hamsa is an important symbol in Algeria, and it even appears in the Seal of Algeria, the first one below from the 1970s and the second one with a more stylized and symbolic hand adopted in late 1976.

Seal, 1971-76

I love the delicate craftsmanship of the hamsa itself as well as the pretty necklace.

Last week, I received a gift from Nancy Davis, the jewelry designer of the Peace & Love collection that is sold on Evine, the shopping network. It is a charming silver tone bracelet with faux diamonds, a slide closure, and the outline of the hand. I was so surprised to receive the gift to thank me for developing a few posts and giveaways via our Fashion Flash group to spread the word about Nancy Davis’ jewelry that helps support her philanthropic work in Los Angeles. I was also surprised to see the hamsa as the centerpiece of the bracelet. Perfect choice for me!

Were you familiar with the hamsa? Do you own any hamsa jewelry yourself?

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My Good News

First, a little tooting my own horn. I got an email and saw a post on Facebook yesterday morning from Feedspot, a blogging organization, letting me know that Never Say Die Beauty was chosen as #5 out of the Top 25 Beauty Bloggers Over 40. Yippee! They also gave me a cute medal that I can display on my blog. Nice!

About a month ago, I was picked as one of the Top 50 Beauty Bloggers (of any age), but I didn’t get a badge for my blog with that one 😉 I want to thank all of you who read and comment from time to time on Never Say Die Beauty! It was because of you that I got this recognition. xoxo

Now if only Sephora would think that my credentials are good enough to join their affiliate program so I could run their ads, lol. Well, guess I can’t have everything!

American Heart Health Month

February, Valentine’s month, is American Heart Health Month. So if you’re of a certain age, make sure you check your blood pressure and cholesterol. Here’s a link to a useful website about Heart Health Month from the CDC, Center of Disease Control, whose budget, I believe, is being cut unfortunately so corporations can have a big tax cut.

In spite of the fact that I’ve been a jogger for more than 40 years, I have high cholesterol and now high blood pressure. Boo. Unfortunately, my entire family on both my mother’s and father’s sides have or had a history of heart disease or precursors to heart disease. I inherited it. No matter how much and how often I jog (most days), and how I watch my diet (vegetables, fruits, lean meat, and cheese as a treat every now and then), my numbers won’t move on their own. If I were vegan, that might help, but I’m not willing to go that far at this point. A few years ago, I started taking cholesterol meds, and they made a difference. I also lost the battle of trying to get my blood pressure down through jogging and healthy diet. I finally agreed with my doctor that I would start taking blood pressure meds. In fact, we just doubled my dose.

Another thing that I did to try to get a handle on my blood pressure and stress level is to try meditation. Typically, I like things where I can move around like jogging or dancing, but I finally gave meditation a try. And though I can’t say that it’s a total success yet after just a few weeks, I am surprised that I enjoy it. In order to learn how to do it, I discovered a series on YouTube put together by a woman named J. Bittersweet. She has a 30 Day Meditation Challenge for Beginners. She also has Meditation for Stress and Anxiety, and another series about the Third Eye that helps me fall asleep, as well as Binaural Beats and Ocean Waves for Sleep that works like a charm. Here’s the link to the J Bittersweet website, but I mostly use the YouTubes. They vary in length from about 5 minutes or so each for the Beginners Meditation to longer for the stress and sleep-oriented videos. You don’t actually need the video portion (she’s a cartoon character!) just the audio. I listen to it on my iPhone. I don’t always listen to them in order, but instead I replay the ones I find most useful.

In order to make sure that my heart is OK, I recently had a couple of EKGs. It was more than 5 years since the last one, so it was certainly time. I was surprised that now a technician rolled in a portable EKG apparatus right into my doctor’s office. It took less than 5 minutes. Yay.

As part of my check up, my doctor suggested I have a stress echocardiogram. Several years ago, I had two or three stress tests on different occasions. I would arrive wearing my jogging clothes and get on the treadmill for about 15 minutes or so, and that would count as my daily jog. Usually, the tech would tell me to get off already. I also had a couple of echocardiograms when I was in the hospital about 8 years ago after I inadvertently disturbed a wasp nest. I ended up with more than 12 wasp stings, and I went into anaphylactic shock, a state that can affect your heart. The wasp stings weren’t fun, but I recovered, and the cardiac workup was no big deal even though they made me check into the Cardiac Care Unit to do it.

So yesterday, I put on my summer jogging attire (scoop neck sleeveless top and short jogging shorts) and went in for my appointment. For some reason, I was very nervous about it. I sat in the waiting room trying to meditate, and a middle-aged male tech finally came out into the waiting room and called my name. I identified myself. He said, “Come with me. We’re going to have us some fun.” He didn’t say it in a friendly, joking way, but in a deadpan way. Regardless of the tone and manner, I found it disturbing and inappropriate. Rather than helping my nervousness, it made me feel worse. I followed him into the test room, and he held out a gown and said, “Go into the dressing area. Put on the gown open in the front and take off everything from the waist up.” I said to him that I was wearing my summer jogging clothes, as I had done at my other stress tests. He said that I couldn’t take the test without following his instructions. I thought about it. I don’t know about you, but I am not jogging for 15 minutes on a treadmill almost nude and without a bra for support. He could have easily attached the electrodes to my skin under my bra as had been done in the past. I said, “Thank you, I’ll pass”. He said, “Suit yourself”. I left.

I was very upset because I thought my doctor would be annoyed that I didn’t take the test. When I got home, I wrote her a message via the electronic message board recounting my experience and asking if there was an alternative. We’ll see what she has to say. In the meantime, I contacted a couple of friends who had the same test elsewhere, and I asked them about their experiences. They told me they kept on their bras during the test, and the technicians were all women who were very nice. I plan to call the Patient Relations phone number of the health care facility and talk to them about what happened. I came away feeling like that guy probably thought I was strange for not complying with his orders and for walking out. I think he said something like, “It doesn’t matter to me.” Nevertheless, I hope I can have the stress echocardiogram elsewhere or under different circumstances. It’s an important test to have to compare to my earlier ones, but I couldn’t do it under those circumstances.

I don’t usually write this kind of a post. Hope it’s OK to share my story and my feelings about it on the blog. I’m also wondering if any of you have had a stress echocardiogram, and if so, what was your experience was like?

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Happy Valentine’s week! I’m hosting Fashion Flash this week. And whether the posts in this edition are Valentine’s themed or not, the lifestyle, beauty, travel, health and wellness, exercise, and fashion bloggers at Fashion Flash have a lot going on.

Speaking of a lot going on, Barbara Hannah Grufferman’s new book, Love Your Age: The Small-Step Solution To A Better, Longer, Happier Life, is now #1 in the Self-Help category on Amazon! That’s a big deal. I just got a copy, and I am delighted with it. More to come on the book and Barbara next month on NSDB. But in the meantime, click the Beauty Info Zone link to enter the giveaway to win your own copy of Love Your Age and to win a $50 Sephora gift card. You can’t beat that combo! The giveaway lasts for just 7 more days, so act now.

Grab your beverage of choice, relax, have a good read, and have a great start to Valentine’s week! <3

Jackie Silver Style wishes you a happy, healthy Valentine’s Day!

Are you on the go all the time, like Sheila from Painted Ladies? You might just love the MYO Cosmetics Case which makes being chic a snap.

With Valentine’s Day coming up we need to be pampered more than usual. Lisa from Beauty Info Zone has found some products that she’s going to use and believes you should also.

Inka of http://www.glamourgrannytravels.com experiences art around the clock in Greece

Prime Beauty thinks we all need a Va-Va-Voom in our lives if it comes in the form of a lipstick, all the better! Check out the new Buxom Va-Va Plump Shiny Liquid Lipsticks!

Barbara Hannah Grufferman — author of the just-released “Love Your Age: The Small-Step Solution to a Better, Longer, Happier Life” — is a testament to how anyone can get fitter, no matter what your age. Here are her best tips, straight from the book! 

 
Just in time for Valentine’s day, Deb of No-Nonsense Beauty Blog investigates the health benefits of chocolate.

Janise of Mama in Heels shares what 7 things her family does every night to avoid stress in the morning.

Test your Fabulous Forever health IQ with this at home quiz created by Mirabai Holland from http://www.mirabaiholland.com

Are you getting too little or too much protein? Society Wellness sheds some light on the subject.

Allison from Never Say Die Beauty doesn’t usually wear liquid matte lipsticks on her dry lips, but she has found the creamy red matte lippie from Sephora that she’ll be wearing for Valentine’s Day!

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We all have our favorite mascaras. But more often than not, we’re always still on the hunt for new favorites.

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Over the past few years, some of my favorites are still in my favorites list, though they have been joined by new favorites. Some of my old favorites have dropped off the list. None of these mascaras clump, flake off or leave me with raccoon eyes. Here are the mascaras I love now.

Everyone’s eye shapes and type of lashes are different, and often because of that, we tend to gravitate toward certain types of mascara formulas and wand types/shapes. My eyes are downturned, and I have long but almost clear lashes. I like to try to get length on my outer upper lashes to create an uplifted cat-eye look so that my eyes look less downturned. Also, in spite of some sources recommending that older women not apply mascara to their lower lashes, I always apply mascara on my lower lashes. IMHO, without lower lash mascara, eyes look like they’re floating, but to each her own.

For some reason, I prefer mascaras that give either both length and volume, or even just length. I don’t like thick-looking lashes on me, but that’s just my preference. I tend to gravitate toward slim wands with plastic teeth, though I do have a couple of big bristle wands that I reach for from time to time. I apologize in advance for photographing most of the wand heads against such a busy black & white background. What was I thinking?

Here are my current choices:

  • MAC Upward Lash: I’ve been using MAC Upward Lash for about a year. I got a sample with a MAC order, and I fell in love with the strangely short wand with plastic teeth. I find that with this wand, I can more easily coat the little upper lashes in the inner corners as well as my lower lashes. I also can easily manipulate the short wand to apply more mascara to my outer lashes to get the uplifted wing that I like. Also, with this mascara, I don’t need to curl my lashes. BTW, the tip of the wand is flat. I should’ve cleaned off that little droplet of mascara at the tip in the photo below.

  • Benefit Roller Lash: Lately I’ve been reaching for an older favorite, Benefit Roller Lash. Roller Lash has a slightly curved wand with plastic teeth. Although I wish the wand was straight instead of curved, I can still make it work without too much trouble. I love the placement of the teeth that are shorter on the inside of the curve and longer on the outside. For me, the mascara is more lengthening than volumizing though it does both well enough for me. I recently discovered that Roller Lash has a brown mascara too, so I now own both shades. Yay! Comes in full and travel sizes.

  • Mirabella Lasting Lash Waterproof: Mirabella Lasting Lash is the only waterproof mascara that I have ever liked (at least in recent memory!). I was sent this mascara to test for review about three years ago, and I have repurchased it myself at least 5 times. Mirabella Lasting Lash has a very slim plastic wand with small teeth that may not be to everyone’s liking. But the wand is perfect for me to manipulate to get the small inner lashes and lower lashes, and to turn to add more mascara to my outer lashes to get that uplift I like. I would say this is primarily a lengthening mascara though I can apply additional coats for more volume. Although it is waterproof, it isn’t difficult to remove. It comes off easily with micellar water or eye makeup remover.

  • Benefit They’re Real: This is an old favorite. Though I would say that Roller Lash has eclipsed They’re Real for me, I’m not entirely sure why. The formula of They’re Real does a great job providing both lengthening and volumizing. And the zillion plastic teeth of several sizes all around the longer, slightly hourglass-shaped wand, do a fantastic job both coating and separating lashes. It also comes in brown and blue shades. Comes in full and travel sizes.

  • Urban Decay Perversion: Urban Decay Perversion with its huge bristled wand is an unlikely mascara choice for me. What I like most about it is the rather wet, black black black formula. There are tons of close-set bristles on this big wand that really deliver fat volumized lashes. Comes in full and travel sizes.

  • Diorshow Mascara: Diorshow is probably the mascara in this group that I’ve been using off and on for the longest time, decades even. I love the formula that delivers lashes that are both lengthened and volumized. Also, it comes in brown, purple and navy blue as well as a few shades of black. The bristles on this long wand are set further apart than UD Perversion that seem to separate lashes well.

All of the above mascaras are from prestige brands, and they can be rather pricey. Because I don’t own it right now, I can’t photograph along with the group. But I still love L’Oreal Voluminous Butterfly Intenza, and I intend to buy it in the future.

  • L’Oreal Voluminous Butterly Intenza: Butterfly Intenza was introduced toward the end of 2014, and it is still available. I like the formula that I find both volumizing and lengthening. But what really sold me on it is the shape of the wand. It wings out on all sides of the wand, so it is the easiest plastic wand for me to use to get the winged outer lashes that I love. Plus, it’s affordable.

So these are my favorite mascaras, now in February 2018. What are your current faves, and why?

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Today’s post will be short and sweet.

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Although I like my Michael Todd Soniclear Elite cleansing brush, the brush head was a little too harsh for my skin. As a result, I could only use it about once a week. Instead, I have been using a Foreo Luna.

So I’ve been dancing a jig since I received a Sensitive Replacement Brush Head to try out.

The Sensitive Replacement Brush Head has been available for quite a while for $18, but I didn’t know it. Bad blogger. The bristles are softer than those of the original brush head, and for me, that makes all the difference. Now I can use my Soniclear Elite just about any time I want.

Most importantly, I really like the fact that the Soniclear uses antimicrobial technology that lasts for the life of the brush head. I feel better about using the cleansing device. Basically, I can use the brush head for a couple of months or more until the bristles need to be replaced, as long as I clean the head with soap after each use.

Also, I recently learned that the Soniclear is 5 times more effective than the Foreo Luna that I had been using much more frequently, and that the Soniclear cleanses in less time. On the Michael Todd website, there’s also information about Soniclear vs. Clarisonic. In sum, Soniclear has the antimicrobial protection and Clarisonic doesn’t. I didn’t know that. There’s also some more info about the cleaning effectiveness of the brush heads of the two similar brands. Worth a read.

I own the classic purple Soniclear Elite, but now it comes in a slew of colors and patterns. It has 6 speeds, and the new version does wireless charging (I wish I had that!). The regular price for the full size Soniclear Elite is $149, but I just got an email announcing a 20% off any items on the Michael Todd Beauty website during the Valentine’s sale with the code: LOVEMTB that’s good till February 16. Take a look. Michael Todd Beauty also has other cool beauty devices. And if you already own a Soniclear, now’s a good time to stock up on replacement heads! And they’re also sold at Ulta. 🙂

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Such a satisfying feeling to have a lot of beauty empties to toss into the recycling bin. And even more so when they’re full size products.

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Because making room for new things is so rewarding, I’m finally starting to purge old, expired beauty products that are sitting around taking up space. I’m going to try to do that every month and include those products in with the empties posts.

So let’s start with what I used up.

Bath & Body

I think it’s easiest to use up bath and body products because I use them everyday and I use so much of them.

  • Nature Island Botanicals Citrus Sunrise Body Lotion: I’ve mentioned this before, but oddly enough, Daphne’s thick, rich cream made from natural and organic ingredients that comes in a pump bottle is called “body lotion”. It feels more like a body butter, and it’s perfect for winter. The Citrus Sunrise scent is heaven. Repurchase? I reordered during the holidays, and I bought a Citrus Sunrise Body Butter (which is a lighter weight cream) in a jar, and Caribbean Escape, her other divine scent, in the Body Lotion pump jar. I like to mix it up. But I cannot be without these two products!
  • Nature Island Botanicals Lemongrass Bar Soap: I liked this sunshine yellow soap made from organic calendula flowers infused into organic sunflower and extra virgin olive oils and organic cream. Cleaned well and left my skin moisturized. Repurchase? I have two different bars of soap from NIB waiting in the wings.

  • Got Your Goat! Pure Goat Milk Lotion, scent Pumpkin Spice: I bought this thick, rich artisan made bottle of lotion a while back when Jeff and I went for our annual maple syrup brunch at a maple sugar shake and restaurant not too far away in Brookline NH. They sold  the lotion in the gift shop. I loved the Pumpkin Spice scent initially, but over time, I came to feel that the scent was too strong and too cloying though the lotion itself was very nice. Repurchase? No. I’ll stick with my Nature Island Botanicals lotion and body butters.
  • L’Occitane Whipped Hand Cream: I love the look of these old school-style aluminum tubes (though the tube is really made of plastic that looks and acts like aluminum). And what about the cream itself? It was nice, but I disliked the too strong floral scent. Repurchase? No. I’m off of L’Occitane hand creams because I seldom like the scents and I like other brands better.

Facial Skincare

  • Shiseido Ultimune Eye Power Infusing Eye Concentrate: I truly love this eye gel-cream “booster” that I sometimes use as a pre-treatment and sometimes as the main event. One thing though that bugs me about it. This huge bottle contains only about 0.5 oz. of eye concentrate, but because of the size of the bottle, you think there’s going to be a ton of it. The bottle lasted me about two months for about $67 (thankfully, I bought it during a sale). Repurchase? Can you believe it, I did during another sale. But right now I’m using Algenist Firming + Lifting Eye Gel that I had purchased a while ago that I want to use before it goes bad.

The following two products are not empties, but they are old and I need to toss them.

  • StriVectin Repair & Protect Moisturizer SPF 30: I like the airless pump container that this daytime moisturizer comes in. I also really liked the fact that this moisturizer with sunscreen contains great anti-aging ingredients. However, it contains chemical sunscreen ingredients that led me to believe, along with the advertising and product materials, that this would be a lightweight moisturizer. In my experience, it was more like a moisturizer with physical sunscreen ingredients that often can be heavy and leave a whitish cast on my face. I found myself seldom reaching for it, so unfortunately, it’s time to go. Repurchase? No.

Nails

  • 4 sided emory board and buffer/polisher: The portion of the emory board that does the “heavy lifting” (filing and smoothing ridges) the nails always wears out long before the rest of the file that does the polishing. Also, I don’t use it as often as I used to because I strongly prefer my glass nail file. Repurchase? I think I have another one that I bought some time ago. I’ll use it to smooth the ridges and buff my nails after I file and shape them with my beloved glass nail file from Mont Bleu.
  • Nail Butter Nail and Cuticle Butter: I have a very bad habit of saving things that I like a lot instead of using them. I don’t know where that bad habit came from, but I have to get over it pronto. As a result of not using this, (my third jar of Nail Butter), often enough, I have to throw it away unfinished because, being preservative-free, it turned. Repurchase? I just did, and I’m using it rather than admiring at it! And I love the lemongrass scent.

Hair

  • It Haircare 12-in-One Amazing Leave-In Treatment: I liked this multi-benefit leave-in hair treatment. It has a lotion consistency that comes in a pump bottle. Over time, it got a little difficult to pump out, similar to a body lotion pump towards the end of the bottle – but that’s not a big deal. Repurchase? No. Although I liked this leave-in, I decided to go back to my ultimate favorite It’s A 10 Leave-In Treatment that is a liqui-gel that’s much easier to spray and leaves my hair truly feeling like silk.

Makeup

  • Jordana Twist & Shine Moisturizing Balm Stain, shade Fresh Fig: This is the lip product that I wear most often because it is moisturizing yet it stains so my lips always have color on them throughout the day or night. I carry this in my makeup bag, and both the product name and shade have long since worn away. I had to look up what color it is. Fresh Fig is a kind of a pink/purple/mauve – it doesn’t really look like Fig to me, but I don’t care. I love the shade. I have another one that’s red (called Rock ‘N Rouge) that I like as well, but I don’t wear it nearly as much as Fresh Fig. I have to go to Walgreen’s to track down another tube. For $3.29, this lip balm stain is a steal. Repurchase? Yes, as soon as I can get to a Walgreen’s.
  • Bioderma Hydrabio Micellar Water: I received this travel size (100 ml) Hydrabio MW when I purchased the large 500 ml size last year. I should have saved this to bring on our trip, but I think I started it a while ago before we made our plans. Now I’ll take the Derma E Hydrating Facial Wipes instead. When it comes to micellar water, Bioderma – especially their Hydrabio for dry skin – is my fave. Repurchase? I already repurchased the big size, but this year unfortunately it didn’t come with the travel size bonus bottle.

Fragrance

  • Scent Trunk Custom Fragrance: I had this perfume custom made for me in the fall by Scent Trunk (explained and reviewed here). They crafted a perfect scent from based on my online survey results and my preferences among 5 key perfume notes that were sent to me to sniff and choose. Scent Trunk claims they will make perfumes for you till they create one that you love. Either they are fantastic at what they do or I was lucky, because Scent Trunk nailed it for me the first time. Repurchase? I intend to. They offer different plans where they send you a new spray atomizer of your custom scent every month or so. It is quite affordable, and I think it would make a fantastic Valentine’s Day gift for a scent lover.

So those are my empties and tosses for January. Truthfully, I have 3 or 4 more full size products that are just about empty, but I’ll save them for next month. And I look forward to finding some more old beauty products that have got to go even though they’re not finished. What did you finish up in January? Or what are you tossing unfinished?

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I’ve begun to measure the passing of the weeks in terms of weekly roundups, 😉 It’s already Monday again, and this week’s of edition of Fashion Flash is live!

Our host this week is multi-talented Barbara Hannah Grufferman, who has a new book on healthy aging just coming out in February, Love Your Age: The Small Step Solution To A Better, Longer, Happier Life,, published by National Geographic/AARP. In fact, you can learn more about the book and how to get it in this week’s Fashion Flash, and here’s the link.

In addition, here’s what you’ll find in the “Love Yourself” edition of Fashion Flash, a great mix of health and wellness info, beauty reviews and travel:

  • why you should add flaxseed to your diet
  • fun and relaxing things for your bath with the January Sky Organics Bubble Box
  • what to eat to feel better
  • the background story of Valentine’s day
  • the skinny on the buzz-worthy Monat Hair Care line
  • 7 highlighters to bring some shimmer to 2018
  • a transformative skincare tonic
  • a new anti-aging moisturizer with retinol, a must-have skincare ingredient
  • how to choose the right vitamin B complex supplement
  • regular exercise to help manage diabetes.

So there you have it. Happy reading and have a wonderful week!

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This week absolutely flew by. I’m actually not ready for the weekend. That sounds strange, but it’s true. Not sure what’s on the agenda. How about you? What are you up to?

As always, if you have a few minutes, relax with the weekly roundup from the Beauty Spotlight Team!

Aroma M Camellia Prickly Pear Face Oil was just selected by Lola’s Secret Beauty Blog as a must-have handcrafted, ultra-luxe face oil that is covet-worthy this winter.

You may have heard of Scentbird, the fragrance subscription service, but did you know they have expanded? See how much Prime Beauty is enjoying this.

There’s a lot of controversy over Tarte Shape Tape Hydrating Foundation. Justina from Justina’s Gems discusses the issue that is being discussed as well writing her personal review. What do you think about all of this?

Allison from Never Say Die Beauty is hosting a giveaway Paula’s Choice Advanced Smoothing Treatment 10% AHA, a lightweight essence/serum with multiple anti-aging benefits. Enter to win it!

A monthly beauty box subscription with limited-edition YouTube-inspired palettes? Yes, please! Pammy Blogs Beauty is totally onboard with Deck of Scarlet!

Want beautiful hair? Lisa from Beauty Info Zone has discovered Monat haircare and is head over heels with the products recommended for her. When you see her photo you’ll understand why.

Shipra from Taneja’s Bride wants you to follow the yellow brick road to Devinah Cosmetics Somewhere Over the Rainbow Bundle Set

Christa from Realizing Beauty doesn’t have many “favorite” products but the Dior Lip Glows are absolutely one of them. She shares her review of some of the new shades and finishes!

They say diamonds are a girl’s best friend. Polarbelle is going to show you just how brilliant a diamond can be with her review of the TooFaced Diamond Highlighter.

Are you looking for a reasonably priced subscription box? If so Makeup Obsessed Mom has the deets on the Target Beauty Box for January.

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