May Sephora Play! Box


Hello everyone! Today’s post is going to be a quick one about the May Play! Box. Let’s dive in!

DF31365A-713A-4693-8FD2-CEED9BC7CB60The first thing I was really excited to see included was the Belif Hungarian Water Essence. I have been wanting to try something from Belif for a while so I was excited to receive this sample! This product is a hydration serum that you put on after toning and before moisturizer. I have been using it at night the past week, and while I do really like it, it hasn’t been life changing for me. I feel like when it comes to serums meant solely for hydrating, the drugstore has really great options. For heavier duty issues (wrinkles, dark spots, texture) I have had better luck with high end products, but I don’t find that the expensive hydrating products work any better than the ones I can get at Target.



The rest of the products in my Play! Box were from brands I hadn’t heard of, but I was really interested in all the products! I am always down to try a new cleanser, and while I was weary of the fact that this one by Skin Laundry was a foaming face wash, I have been pleasantly surprised by it! The foaming doesn’t dry me out, and my skin always feels very fresh and clean after using it. The Sephora site says this product is a solution for “redness, sensitive skin, and roughness and uneven texture”, meaning this product sounds like it was designed for me. The full size is $20 for 6.7 oz, and if I keep liking the sample I can definitely see myself purchasing the full size. I was also really excited to see that a hair mask was in this box! A hair mask always sounds so nice, but it’s not something I would normally spend my money on. This one by Rahua made my hair so soft and silky after! However, given that the full size is $58, there is literally no way I would buy it.


The last product I got was this Highlight & Perfect Multipurpose Stick by treStiQue. (Edit: I did also receive a perfume sample by Stella, but forget to take pictures of it! I also should have received the Magnetic Matte Lip Color by Nudestix, but it wasn’t included in my box for some reason! Sephora customer service however was incredible, and gave me full refund for this month’s box which was super nice! Anyway, back to the post!) This product gives off a really nice dewey – but not too overboard – glow. It’s very natural and really just makes you look healthy. And as far as highlighters go, that is my favorite kind. But, since highlight isn’t an essential part of my routine, I won’t be shelling out the $34 to purchase the full-size. I will however enjoy this sample until it runs out! If you are someone who really likes highlight, and wants a subtle and luminous glow, I would definitely recommend looking into this one!

That sums up my thoughts on this months Play Box. What do you think of the products that were included for May? Let me know in the comments below!


Did you catch my last post? You can read it here: Things that help with my anxiety & stress

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Things that help with my anxiety & stress

Like a lot of people, anxiety (and just plain old stress), is a part of my life. I wanted to do a quick blog post that just talks about the things I do that help me when I am feeling especially anxious, and things that I continually do to try and prevent me from having a lot of built up stress and anxiety.


IMG_3018Whether it is running or yoga or a spin class, getting in some exercise really helps me de- stress. I notice a big increase in my anxiety level and just general irritability when I haven’t worked out for a few days. I try and work out in some form at least 4 times a week (which, let’s be honest, doesn’t always happen). Forcing myself to go to the gym is always a struggle, but I feel so much better afterwards that it makes it all worth it. Exercise has become a lot more about my mental health than my physical health (which is also important!), and with so many different activities/classes/sports you can choose from, it is easy to always keep it from getting boring.

Watching my favorite TV Show

Sometimes all it takes is watching Parks & Rec to put me in a good mood. It is such a positive show and never fails to make me laugh. When I’m feeling anxious and a little down, this is my frequent go-to to help my mood.

Re-reading a favorite book

While I love Parks & Rec, there are times when I just don’t feel like watching tv. When this happens but I still want something calming to do I will re-read a few chapters of a favorite book. Typically that ends of being Harry Potter, but I recently picked out Angels & Demons from my bookshelf a read a few chapters of that before bed to help me relax.

Snuggle/play with my kittens

Before I got Kira (left), I was never a pet person. Like at all. If I went over to a friends house when I was younger and they had a cat or dog, I would be very apprehensive and try my best to avoid them. I got a dog when I was a teenager, which helped me adapt to animals a little better. But there is nothing like getting your first pet that is 100% yours. I honestly cannot imagine not having a pet at any point in my life now. Having a little friend who is always happy to see you when you get home and just wants you to love them is the best feeling. I also recently got another little kitty named Oliver (right) who is just the absolute cutest. Having these two cuties waiting for me at home and snuggle with me on the couch is the best, and I definitely credit them to helping ease my anxiety because they give me something to focus on instead of focusing on my anxious thoughts.


I know that everyone has their own particular way they like to unwind and de-stress, but these are the ones that are currently working for me! If you have any tips to help with stress and anxiety, please leave me a comment below! I would love to hear what other people do for their mental health.

Worth The Splurge | Drunk Elephant TLC Framboos Glycolic Night Serum

I had been wanting this serum for well over a year before I was finally able to get it in my hands (thanks to a very generous gift from my boyfriend). The reason I wanted this so badly was simple: literally every. single. person/review I read or saw on YouTube couldn’t stop talking about how amazing it was. It was supposed to be this life changing product that did wonders to help your skin. This product is a 12% AHA/BHA serum, which means it is a chemical exfoliant that assists with gently getting rid of dead skin cells which in turns improves skin texture, helps with pores, and can also diminish wrinkles and other signs of aging over time. I would categorize my skin type as combo: mildly oily t-zone with some dryness on my cheeks. Along with my skin type, one of my biggest skin concerns is texture (I have lots of little white bumps on the top of my cheeks) which is mainly why this product appealed to me so much. If Drunk Elephant could cure my texture (or at the very least diminish it enough that it wasn’t so bothersome) it would be a miracle for me. The biggest thing that held me back from buying this serum immediately was the price tag. This product is a whopping $90! For a girl that pretty much exclusively buys stuff from Target (with the occasional Sephora indulgence) this was a really hard price tag to swallow. After showing it to my boyfriend one night and talking about how amazing it was and how much I wanted to try it, a couple days later an box showed up on my doorstep and it turns out that he bought it for me!! I’m pretty sure I cried (dramatic, I know).


The first few times I used this, I did experience the tingling sensation that the box says to expect. Even though Drunk Elephant lets you know this may happen, I still did freak out a little bit. I have mildly sensitive skin so I am always nervous about trying a new product in case I have a reaction to it. I started using it every other day since I didn’t want to overload my skin, but I was also hoping to see results quickly regarding my texture. I would say the first couple weeks I didn’t notice a huge difference. I know so many people will say that overnight their skin looked better, but I have never had that happen to me with any skin care product I have tried.  After about 6 weeks of continued use, (applying it every other night or every 2 nights) I would say is when I first noticed my skin improving. I still had texture, but not as much and the bumps I did have were a lot smaller than before. I have now been using this serum consistently for 4 months and I truly believe it has helped my skin. I still don’t have a perfect blemish free complexion, BUT, this product really has helped not only my texture, but my pores as well. I am so impressed that this product has lived up to my expectations, that now I want to run out and purchase every Drunk Elephant product they have (I especially have my eye on the C-Firma Day Serum).  I will definitely be purchasing (myself this time!) another bottle of this once the one I have runs out.

If you are someone who wants to invest in a really good skin care product, I would 100% recommend this one. A serum is so important in any skin care routine because it helps target any specific skin problems, and this glycolic serum has done wonders for mine.


Did you catch my last post? You can read it here: Mini Sephora Haul & Reviews

Follow me on instagram! @karleenbeauty

Mini Sephora Haul & Reviews

Hi everyone! Happy Monday! Last week I was up in D.C. for work and since there is no Sephora anywhere near me, I knew I had to take advantage of being in the city and stop in! Luckily there was a Sephora walking distance away from my office and I was able to go there during my lunch and look around! I only ended up buying three things but all of them are items I have had my eye on for a while. Also, each of these things are the “travel” version and not full size. I LOVE when brands make travel sizes of their products – especially when the full size is expensive. I like to buy a smaller size to make sure I like it before purchasing the expensive full size version. It also isn’t very surprising that two of the three things I bought are skin care products… I am such a sucker for high end skin care products. I am still trying to achieve the perfect glowy skin that dreams are made of people! lol.

7B0AE996-AB23-48E4-B943-0CADEF0FF345The first thing I bought is the one I am most excited about and that is the IT Cosmetics CC Cream. I have wanted to get a high end foundation for a while now and this is one that I had my eye on. I know that technically it is a CC cream, but I had read enough reviews on it to know that the coverage is comparable to a foundation. I also loved the fact this has a high SPF level – wearing SPF daily is so important to me so I love when moisturizers/foundations/cc cream etc. have it built in. As I said already, I did buy the travel size of this – which is .4 oz for $15. Because it has a nice medium coverage, I actually don’t need a ton of product to even out my skin tone and cover the redness of my face, so I think it will last me a while which is really nice. The first thing I noticed when I put this on is the smell. It has a super bizarre smell that I really don’t like, but it disappears pretty fast once blended into the skin. I have used my fingers, a brush, and my beauty blender to blend this out and I definitely prefer my beauty blender. It works fine with either of the three methods, but I found the sponge made it look more bright and dewy looking. The Sephora site says the finish of this product is “radiant” and I would have to agree. It’s not dewey by any means (at least compared to say the Maybelline Fit Me Dewey + Smooth Foundation) but it does make my skin look radiant which is my dream! I have used this every day for the past week and I am so obsessed with it. Once it runs out I will definitely keep you posted on if I take the plunge and purchase the full size!


The next thing I bought was the travel size of the Clinique Pep-Start Moisturizer with SPF 20. The travel size is .5 oz. and cost me $9.50. I wasn’t actually familiar with this moisturizer, but I was familiar with the pep-start they have that is blue. But that one doesn’t have SPF so I was really excited to see a version of the moisturizer that had SPF included! My current moisturizer that I use is about to run out, so I have been on the hunt and reading reviews like crazy to find a replacement. I really want to try Glossier’s priming moisturizer but it doesn’t have SPF in it and I really want a good daytime moisturizer that has it included so I don’t have to add another step to my skin care routine in the morning. I was really excited to try this because I am a big fan of Clinique, and I love that their skin care products are more affordable than other high end brands. That being said, I am not sure how I feel about this product yet. I have been using it every day in the morning and it is kinda just “eh” for me. It definitely 77C31352-694B-484E-A0B6-1CE343FD7DE3has a that thick sunscreen consistency, and smells like sunscreen as well. Neither of those things are super important, but I also don’t like that it takes a while to rub into my skin and a little definitely doesn’t go a long way. I feel like I have to dip my finger back into the jar a bunch of times to cover my whole face. BUT, I think that most moisturizers that have SPF are like this, and it that is the trade off for including sun protection, than I don’t mind it. I do like that it doesn’t make my face red after rubbing it in, and it leaves no white cast. The IT Cosmetics CC Cream also layers really well on top of it – there is no pilling whatsoever. I don’t see myself purchasing the full size – I will probably try a different moisturizer once this runs out since I don’t love it.


The last product I bought was the First Aid Beauty Cleanser. The travel size is 2 oz. and is $10. I have been wanting to try something from FAB for a while because I have heard such good things and read lots of positive reviews. I also like that, similar to Clinique, it is a more affordable skin care line. I wanted to try this cleanser specifically though because it is supposed to help with redness and is safe for sensitive skin. When buying cleansers, those two features are up at the very top of the list for things I look for. Using this the past week, I have noticed that my skin doesn’t look quite as red after I shower, which is amazing. The texture of this is kind of like a whipped texture – thick and creamy but it doesn’t foam up. The thing that is weird about this product to me is the smell. It smells exactly like a regular bar of soap. Like if I close my eyes, I would think I was washing my face with a bar of Dove soap. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it throws me off every time I use it. So far, I have liked using this. There aren’t any negatives about it that I have come across, but I am not sure if I will purchase the full size.


Have you tried any of these products? What do you think about them? If you have a good recommendation for a moisturizer with SPF pleeeease let me know!


Did you catch my last post? You can read it here: Mascara Roundup – Currently Loving

Follow me on instagram! @karleenbeauty

Mascara Roundup – Currently Loving

Hello everyone! This post is going to be about my current go-to mascaras. All of them are drugstore, and all are amazing! Also, please excuse the fact that you will probably read the word “mascara” a million times in this post… it was unavoidable.


First up is L’oréal Voluminous Mascara is Carbon Black.  I bought this mascara because I read that Kim Kardashian’s makeup artist Mario uses this on her, and if it’s good enough for Kim K then I figured it would be good enough for me. I don’t use this mascara too often – I prefer a more lengthening and curling mascara over a volumizing one. But for nights out, or when I am doing a more dramatic and full-on makeup look, then this is the mascara I reach for. It does give off the whole “spidery” lashes vibe after a few coats, so I only do two coats max. But if that doesn’t bother you than you can definitely layer up with this one!


Next is the Maybelline Lash Sensational mascara. I have only had this one for a few months but I LOVE it. It does an amazing job at lengthening my lashes while also giving them a little volume as well. I have been using this mascara almost everyday since I bought it and I typically do two coats. It does clump up a little, but I just work the brush through my lashes a few extra times and that usually takes care of it. I am also a big fan of the brush- it’s kinda thick but curled which makes it really easy to coat my lashes. The one thing I don’t like about this mascara is that for some reason it is harder to remove than most other ones I have used before. I usually use coconut oil or micellar water and I always find myself having to rub my eyes quite a bit longer when I am wearing this mascara. Not a huge deal but it is a little annoying at the end of a long day.

Last, is my holy grail mascara – L’oréal Telescopic in Carbon Black. I am obsessed with this mascara. I ran out of it a few weeks after I got the Lash Sensational so I had been using that one almost every day. But I finally picked up a new Telescopic last weekend, and I just don’t know how I ever survived so long without it. This is definitely not a volumizing mascara (in my opinion), but it does a fantastic job at lengthening and curling my lashes – and keeping them curled through out the day! This is the most important thing to me for an everyday mascara because my lashes have almost no natural curl. This is my go-to mascara for the days I do minimal makeup (which is basically everyday) because it really helps emphasize my eyes, without looking too overboard. I also really like how I can do 2-3 coats and get no “spidery” effect in my lashes. This mascara has zero downsides for me.

What is your favorite mascara? Let me know in the comments!!


Did you catch my last post? You can read it here: Perfume Samples

Follow me on instagram! @karleenbeauty

Perfume Samples


Recently, my parents got me a Tory Burch perfume gift set (review), and with the set came a bunch mini perfume samples. I already had several of these, so I have quite the collection going. So, I decided to do a post literally just listing all the samples I have at the moment. Let me know if anything of them are favorites of yours!

  • AIR di Gioia by Giorgio Armani
  • Sí by Giorgio Armani
  • Gucci Bamboo
  • Prada Candy
  • L’Homme by Yves St Laurent
  • La vie est belle by Lancóme
  • Daisy by Marc Jacobs
  • Azzaro Wanted
  • Gucci Guilty
  • My Burberry
  • L’Eau Bleue by Miu Miu



Whenever I buy something from Sephora or Nordstrom or some other place, and you get to choose 3 samples , I always try to pick perfume samples… which is how I end up with a million of these little things. But it’s really nice for when you want to try a perfume you have heard a lot about! There are actually a couple that came with the Tory Burch set that I had been wanting to try and was super excited to see included.


The first was Prada Candy. Honestly I really just wanted to try this one because I love the name! And of course Prada just seems so “power woman” – esque that I figured the perfume would reflect that image. The second was Sí by Armani. I have seen so many posts about how much people love this perfume, so I was really happy to see the sample!


Anyway…. I know this post is super random but I thought it would be fun to catalog all my perfume samples lol. Are any of these perfumes your favorite? What fragrance do I need to try? Let me know in the comments!


Did you catch my last post? You can read it here:Month in Review | April

Follow me on instagram! @karleenbeauty

Month in Review | April


Happy May everyone! I hope you all had a great April. I am very excited to officially be in the midst of Spring! It is such a nice change to be able to leave my apartment with only a light sweater or raincoat.





DFB1ADF6-1169-443A-8D61-51AE00C1919BIn the beauty realm for April, I was very into simple makeup with a definite “spring” vibe.  As per usual I have been using my Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer almost daily, however the past month I have been doing something new- which is applying it with my fingers. I normally use a beauty blender or brush but I had been feeling lazy so I started to just blend it in my my fingers and it actually works really well! I am very pleased but surprised as well. On top of that base, I have been using Orgasm by Nars blush. I have had this blush for over a year but I think April was the month I wore it the most. It has the most beautiful but natural pink shimmer finish and I have been low key obsessed with it. I finish off my look with either my NYX butter gloss or Lumière by ColourPop (review).

Also a quick update on my April Play! Box (review) – two of the products I have (surprisingly) really fallen in love with. They are the Smashbox Photo Finish Primer and30ECBC64-8804-4BA5-8D7D-E6E3F8E0029B the Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Cream. I have been using these both everyday for the past couple weeks and I am obsessed. Initially when I reviewed them for the blog I had only used them twice and I said they were good, but not worth the steep price tag. Sadly, (for my wallet) my opinion has totally changed and I definitely see myself purchasing both of them when my samples run out. The primer completely fills in my pores and really helps soften my skin and my makeup applies great on top. I am actually very shocked how much I love this product because I don’t usually see primer as a necessity in my routine, but this one has changed the game for me.

The moisturizer (which I have been using at night) sinks right into my skin and when I wake up the next morning my skin is so soft and looks brighter and my texture looks a lot better. I am actually so sad that I love this moisturizer so much because I still adore my Confidence in a Cream (review) but now I am sort of leaning towards buying the full size Cloud Cream instead… which makes me sad lol. I think part of the reason is that the Confidence in a Cream is thicker, and since it is starting to get warmer my skin has just been responding better to a lighter moisturizer. But anyways, I will of course keep you all updated with which one (or both…) I end up purchasing.


In addition to makeup/skincare, my love of perfume was re-ignited last month by my new Tory Burch Love Relentlessly (details here). I got this at the tail end of April, but I am already obsessed by it so I had to include it in this post.


I go through phases where I don’t read all month long, and then one month I will read 5 or 6 books. April was definitely the latter, I think I read 4 books. Of the books I read this month, I would highly recommend Good as Gone by Amy Gentry. It is a suspense/thriller novel – in the same vein as Gone Girl and Girl on the Train. I don’t think it was as well written as those two books are, but it was still a huge page turner for me and I think I finished it in only a couple of days. I couldn’t put it down! I also have been reading When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi which is a really amazing memoir about a neurosurgeon who gets diagnosed with lung cancer. I haven’t finished it yet but it is truly an incredible story that you all should read.



I was persuaded by a co-worker to give Breaking Bad a second shot (I tried to watch it a few years ago and found it too slow to watch) and I am hooked! I know I am very late to the game with this show, but I definitely get why people are crazy about Walt and Jesse now! I am in the middle of season 3 at the moment and will probably finish it in the next couple weeks. I even got my boyfriend hooked on it too!

I also started the podcast S-Town this month, which is just an incredible and unique story about an eccentric man in small town Alabama. S-Town is from the same people who created Serial (which I loved!) and so I knew I needed to listen to this podcast as well. It is hard to give an adequate summary because it kind of jumps around a lot and doesn’t fit into a genre, but it is so good – I listened to the whole thing on a Saturday while doing chores and stuff around the house. Podcasts are perfect for that!


What did you all love last month? Let me know in the comments!!


Did you catch my last post? You can read it here: Purity by Philosophy | 1 Year Later

Follow me on instagram! @karleenbeauty