Thursday, March 19, 2015

Essie Fiji nail polish review + swatches

           I'd bet that most of us have the one shade of lacquer we just can't seem to stop collecting; for me it's pale pink. I must have at least ten (probably more) shades of Essie pinks alone, that would look practically identical to the casual observer. But to me, they're all so very different - with different nuances, sheerness, or even subtle sparkle! Different times of the year, and different occasions seem to call for different pale pinks. As of late, my pink of choice has been Essie Fiji.

         Essie Fiji is an interesting choice, as it's not one of my usual go-tos. It has the slightest touch of warmth that makes it a bit more sweet-tart than chic. For this reason, I generally prefer my 'cooler' BFF Essie Minimalistic (reviewed) when I want a pale pink. That said, there's something about early spring that calls for candied tones!

          Essie Fiji is an opaque pastel pink. It's every so slightly a yellow-pink, which gives it the candied character I mentioned above. The formula is decent, though not the best of my Essie Pinks; my main issue is that it doesn't level / even out as well as some of my other Essie polishes, despite having a steady hand. You could get coverage with two well placed coats, but I find that three thin coats works best to achieve even, full coverage.

        As a quick aside - I had to share a picture of my Echeveria subsessilis. It's one of my favorite new additions to my succulent collection. I love the pretty pink tips contrasted against the dusty blue leaves - such a perfect combination for spring!

          In terms of comparison swatches, I'm sharing the same set of shades as a previous post, as they really demonstrate the nuances between the different opaque pink cremes in my collection. Essie French Affair has more pink-lavender leanings. Essie Neo Whimsical is darker. Essie Minimalistic (reviewed here) is very similar, but cooler - and a bit more undertone free. Essie Not Just a Pretty Face is a warmer beige pink.

           Overall, Essie Fiji is a sweet pink shade that works so well during early spring! It's not my year-round pink, but a fun shade to have in my collection. That said, I can see how those with more warmth in skin-tone might be able to pull it off on the regular. If you've tried Essie Fiji, let me know how it's worked for you!

         Thanks for reading! What lacquers are you wearing lately? What Essie Pinks are your favorites?

Love, Dovey.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Lululemon Bang Busters vs. Fringe Fighters headband review + comparison

          I never really imagined myself as a headband kind of girl, until I picked up my first Lululemon Bang Buster headband. It was a cute mint and dark green band from the 'We Made Too Much' (a.k.a. sale) section of the boutique. I wore it to yoga the next day, and the rest is history. The headband is so comfortable, and wicks away sweat that can really plague you during downward dog!

         Recently, I went back for more. As happy as I am to wear my 'toothpaste and fuel green' headband with anything, I figured it might be nice to get a couple more shades to color-coordinate with my outfits. I ended up getting the Lululemon Bang Buster headband in black and their newer model, the Lululemon Fringe Fighter headband, in Moody Mirage White / Black Cherry heather. (For reference, it seems that the latter is eventually going to replace the former in the Lululemon lineup).

        As I've worn the two different models, I've come to realize how different they actually are. (Wide headbands are not all created equal, it seems!) I don't think the differences between the cult-favorite Bang Buster headband and it's successor, the Fringe Fighter have been extensively discussed online as of yet, so I'm hoping this will be a useful comparison post for fellow headband lovers!

        The question is: old or new, which is better? Read on to find out...

1. Construction

         From afar, both the Lululemon Bang Busters and Fringe Fighters look like your typical wide headbands. (I have a feeling that that's what Lululemon corporate is hoping we'll think). However, up close they couldn't be more different.

The original model, the Lululemon Bang Buster is much more complex and well constructed. The ends of the band end in pretty ruching, which is both aesthetically more pleasing and more functional (which I've written more about in the 'Comfort' and 'Looks' sections below). The back elastic band is also covered by ruched fabric.

The new model, the Lululemon Fringe Fighter, has a much more simple (read: cheaper to manufacture) construction. It has a single fold to help the fabric fan out. Supposedly the thinking behind that fold is that one can easily fold the fabric over and wear the Fringe fighter as a thinner headband. It's a nice thought, except I find that the band won't stay put on my head in that form. (And if I wanted that, I'd buy a different headband). The back elastic band is not covered by any fabric. It's made from elastic bearing the words 'Lululemon Athletica' and the logo, except you'll never get that entire phrase. For example, mine says '(omega) athle'. Needless to say, not the best branding.

2. Fabric

          Both versions claim to be made of 'Light Luon', but by look and feel I could tell they weren't the same. The Lululemon Fringe Fighters felt a bit thinner and flimsier than the Bang Busters. Sure enough, I looked at the label:

Lululemon Bang Buster:
92% nylon
8% lycra/spandex

Lululemon Fringe Fighter:
92% polyester <-- not the same!!
8% lycra/spandex

          I don't know about you, but I find that nylon typically holds up better than poly. I also like the thicker, cooler feel it has.

You can see the single fold in the new Lululemon Fringe Fighter headband here. The charm is also sewn onto the headband itself. 
3. Logo detailing

          Both headbands have the same Lululemon charm sewn on, but in different places. On the Bang Busters, the charm is on the ribbon (which I imagine is harder to do), whereas it's sewn onto the fabric of the Fringe Fighters.

           Also of note, there is a printed reflective logo on the reverse side of Bang Busters, as the headbands are reversible. I noticed that my Fringe Fighter headband did not have this little logo detail, which is a bummer!

4. Looks:

           Because of the thicker, better quality fabric and the detailed ruching, the Lululemon Bang Buster looks better as a standalone headband. You could say that from afar, there's not a big difference. However, I'd argue otherwise. I find that the difference is more obvious when dealing with solid colors and/or simple prints. When shopping for a black headband, despite the lure of a double-sided Fringe Fighter (who doesn't want two prints for the price of one?), I had to go with the black Bang Buster shown here. It simply looked more expensive, even from afar.

           That said, I do think that you can get away with Lululemon Fringe Fighters, especially when they're made of complex, eye catching prints (like Moody Mirage, shown here!). The print distracts from the lack of detailing and cheaper material. In terms of the back band, it's a toss-up. I do like the ruching of the original Bang Buster. That said, the flat elastic of the Fringe Fighter is sleek.

5. Comfort:

           And here's the most important point of the article: the Lululemon Bang Busters are more comfortable than the Lululemon Fringe Fighters!

           I fell in love with the Bang Buster model because it was so comfortable that I could wear it all day. I do find the Fringe Fighters to be comfortable enough during yoga sessions and a little beyond. However I do feel more pressure from the band (particularly at the front) and find that it can start a mid headache if worn too long in the same position. (I'll often fiddle/fold it to prevent this).

           I really think the key to the comfort factor lies in construction! The original Bang Buster has ruching that not only is pretty, it functionally distributes the pressure evenly across the head. The new Fringe Fighters has the single-fold construction that leads to more uneven pressure loading, hence the pressure points / headache.

The original Lululemon Bang Buster has more complex ruching sewn in at the junction, and at the back band. I find that the ruching actually results in a more functional, comfortable headband (in addition to looking pretty).

The Verdict: 

           I'd have to give the Lululemon Bang Busters the overwhelming win here. They have better detailing, sturdier fabric, and construction that leads to all-day comfort. The Fringe Fighters look similar, but have sly changes that fall a little short in construction and comfort. Don't get me wrong, they're not terrible; I think of them as more of a downgrade in quality (which hopefully isn't becoming a common theme with Lulu...). Sadly, it looks like Bang Busters will be replaced by Fringe Fighters, regardless. Time to stock up, it seems...

         Thanks for reading! I hope you've enjoyed this in-depth review of the wide and wonderful world of Lululemon headbands. (I admit I do feel quite silly having written the words 'Bang Buster' and 'Fringe Fighter' so many times!) I'm hoping to have more Lululemon to share with you in the future, as it's been fun exploring the brand. In the meantime, I'd love to know: what are your experiences with Lulu headbands? What are your Lululemon must-haves?

Love, Dovey.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Kiehl's Precision Lifting & Pore-Tightening Concentrate review

         It's been a fit February thus far! Mr. Lovey and I signed up for memberships at Brooklyn Boulders, the newest indoor climbing gym in Chicago city proper. In addition to getting more wall time, I've been enjoying their yoga classes as well. It's been fun working through new poses and vinyasas, and finding elements to add to my routine at home. (Though, as a result, I've developed a little obsession with Lululemon - I expect you'll be seeing more on that later.)

         The other good-for-me routine I've been working on this month is skincare! The best addition to my skincare lineup has to be Kiehl's Precision Lifting & Pore Tightening Concentrate. The name really says it all - the serum concentrate is designed to lift, firm, and reduce pores. As for packaging, I'll be the first to admit that the dark brown bottle lacks a bit of pizzazz. That said, I've long since learned not to judge a bottle by its cover! I'm on my second bottle of Kiehl's Powerful Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate, which shares a similar lengthy moniker and nondescript packaging (it's almost like they want the good stuff to go incognito).

        Kiehl's Precision Lifting & Pore Tightening Concentrate contains a blend of micro-filtered yeast extract and geranium essential oil for efficacy. I was pretty excited about the yeast extract (as bizarre as that might sound), as I'm hoping it can provide results a la famed ferment in SK-II. The texture is consistent with previous Kiehl's concentrates; it's slightly thicker than lotion and I find it easier to pat on to the face. It's not a particularly slippery serum!

Wearing Essie French Affair on my tips here!

           In terms of performance, the concentrate seems to be meshing well with my ingredient sensitive skin. I can't comment on the wrinkle/pore reducing capacities as they're not active issues for me. However, I can say, that my skin does seem healthy and well protected - a tall order in Chicago winters! (It's zero degrees outside, literally). I'll definitely be keeping up with Kiehl's Precision Lifting & Pore Tightening Concentrate, as I've had good results with the line thus far. We'll see what the yeast extract will deliver over time!

            Overall, I've found Kiehl's Precision Lifting & Pore Tightening Concentrate ($64 for 1.7 oz) to be a lovely addition to the Kiehl's lineup, worth a moment of exploration next time you stop by a Kiehl's boutique or online at

          Thanks for reading! What are your Kiehl's favorites? Have you spotted the Kiehl's Precision Lifting & Pore Tightening Concentrate in stores? What are your thoughts on yeast extract?

Love, Dovey.

P.S. If you're looking to build a lifting/ firming routine from the Kiehl's lineup, check out my reviews of Kiehl's Midnight Recovery concentrate (which I adore), as well as the Kiehl's Super Multi-Corrective Eye-Opening Serum!
Disclosure: This post contains product(s) sent to Cute and Mundane for consideration. The ideas and opinions in this post are genuine and my own. As usual, no ads or affiliate links!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

EVE LOM Rescure Mask, Moisture Mask, and Cleanser review

          It's been a busy winter for me, spent in and out of airports and constantly on the move! The past few days, I finally had the chance to sit back, relax... and catch up on Scandal on Netflix. (Is anyone else obsessed with Olivia Pope's gorgeous wardrobe? I think my favorite piece has to be the white Calvin Klein halter dress from Season 1. You see it, along with other gowns on the Washingtonian!)

           Of course, I've been catching up on some much need skincare as well. Air travel and subzero temperatures call for extra care on this front! Today, I'm looking forward to sharing a few skincare favorites that I've been utilizing to this end, courtesy of EVE LOM! EVE LOM skincare products have received a lot of love as of late, so I couldn't wait to put these to the test!

          The products I'll be sharing today include the EVE LOM Cleanser, EVE LOM Rescue Mask, and EVE LOM Moisture Mask.

            The EVE LOM Cleanser / Créme Demaquillante ($135 for 6.8 fl.oz.) is the iconic piece from the brand's lineup. The cleanser contains a blend of four aromatic oils with cleansing, decongesting, soothing properties. The cleanser itself look solid in the tub, but melts and picks up easily to touch. The scent is herbal / aromatic intermixed with paraffin.

            I'd say that the EVE LOM cleanser is most similar in concept to a cleansing oil, (though waxier/thicker in texture). When it comes to using this cleanser, there's a prescribed routine, which requires the use muslin cloths (two are included in the box):

"Apply cleanser to the face using circular movements. Dip the muslin cloth in hot water and wring out. Press onto the face and hold for 5 seconds. Repeat 3 times. Rinse the cloth in warm water and remove all traces of make-up and cleanser making circular movements to exfoliate. Rinse cloth in cold water and re-apply to the face for 5 seconds to close the pores. Gently pat skin dry with a towel."

            The routine is absolutely lovely. The cleanser dissolves all traces of makeup and massages easily into skin. I loved the addition of the muslin cloths to the routine; the warm water soaks are oh-so-relaxing, while the clothes themselves were woven to have just the right amount of coarseness for gentle exfoliation. The extra steps are definitely worth the time; the warm soaks open pores and improve circulation. I'm definitely looking forward to incorporating the EVE LOM Cleanser into my everyday routine!

EVE LOM Cleanser Ingredients: Paraffinum Liquidum (mineral oil), PEG-30 Lanolin, Cetearyl Alcohol, Bis-diglyceryl polyacyladipate-2, Aluminum stearate, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, PEG-75 Lanolin, Phenoxyethanol, Eugenia Caryophyllus (clove) Leaf oil, Humulus Lupulus (Hops) oil, Chamomilla Recutita Imatricariaj Flower Oil, Eucalyptus Globulus Leaf Oil, BHT.

          I'm actually wearing the EVE LOM Rescue Mask / Masque Reparateur ($85 for 3.3 fl.oz.) mask as I type! The mask is meant to be used as a weekly deep cleanse or as an emergency mask when skin needs extra attention. The instructions are as follows:

"After cleansing, apply over the entire face, avoiding the area around the eyes. Leave on for between 15 and 20 minutes. Rub off gently with upward movements, then wipe skin clean with a damp buslin cloth."

          The kaolin clay based mask has a the texture of a thin paste. (It won't hold shape as some clay mixes do). The scent is that of soft camphor. I'd say it has a gentle combination of deep cleansing kaolin and moisturizing ingredients that would be perfect for regular to sensitive skin. Almond seed meal offers gentle exfoliation as I rub off the mask (remember, upward strokes!) As per its namesake, this EVE LOM mask is for rescue; it's relaxing, not aggressive. (Also, a little goes a long way --- I usually get overzealous with the amount of product and end up waiting a while for the mask to dry!)

EVE LOM Rescue Mask Ingredients: Kaolin, Aqua (water), Glycerin, Alcohol denat., mel (honey), Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (sweet almond) seed meal, phenoxyethanol, camphor, magnesium aluminum silicate, calcium chloride, Magnesium chloride, Sodium chloride, Ethylhexylglycerin, Aluminum Chlorohydrate, Allantoin.

           I was the most curious about EVE LOM Moisture Mask / Masque Hydratant ($90 for 3.3 fl. oz.). The EVE LOM moisture mask offers an intense boost of hydration to dull, dry skin subjected to extreme temperatures / weather conditions (hello, Chicago winter!) and travel. The directions here are quite simple:

"For best results, use this leave-on mask in the evening after cleansing or whenever your skin needs extra hydration."

        In its glass tub, the EVE LOM Moisture Mask has the texture of a very viscous clear liquid. It reminds me of the texture of a slippery cleanser (but thicker). I only need the smallest touch of the moisture mask to spread over my face. It's effective at protecting and immediately hydrating; it's the kind of mask that will sit atop the face, as oppose to soaking completely into skin. The mask can be worn overnight (or if you're like me, while hanging out at home). I really like how this mask delivers an actual H2O 'moisture boost' as promised, as opposed to simply providing a coat of oils as a thick cream might. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this one.

EVE LOM Moisture Mask Ingredients: Aqua (water), glycerin, ceyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Coconut alkanes, Glyceryl polyacrylate, Acrylates copolymer, PHenoxyethanol, Polyglyceryl-3-oleate, Propanediol, Coco-caprylate/Caprate, Tocopherol, Sodium PCA, Urea, Sodium hydroxide, Ethylhexylglycerin, Polymethylsilsequioxane, Sodium hyaluronate, Trehalose, Lecithin, Avena strigosa seed extract, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment filtrate, Lonicera caprifolium (honeysuckle) flower extract, Polyquaternium-51, 1,2-Hexanediol, Phytic acid, Hydroxypropyl bispalmitamide mea, Lonicera japonica (Honeysuckle) flower extract, Potassium sorbate.

               Overall, I've had a wonderful experience with my new EVE LOM skincare. The line has lovely minimalist packaging, and products that add a spa-like feel to my everyday routine. At the moment, my must-have of the three (and I'm sure many would agree) would be the EVE LOM cleanser. Both the product, as well as the routine are relaxing, yet effective. If you're a fan of cleansing oils, I have a feeling you'd really like this one. The EVE LOM Moisture Mask is the best mask fit to my sensitive, dry winter skin at the moment! Intense hydration is always welcome at this time of year! You can learn more or shop EVE LOM skincare and color at, as well as Sephora and fine department stores.

          Thanks for reading! What EVE LOM products have you tried? Which ones are on your wishlist? What are you currently using for your winter skin?

Love, Dovey.

Disclosure: This post contains product(s) sent to Cute and Mundane for consideration. The ideas and opinions in this post are genuine and my own. As usual, no ads or affiliate links!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Friday Five : Gehry x Louis Vuitton edition

Keeping things cozy with a wool blanket and a pile of glossies!
            Happy Friday! I've been spending the week spoiled with daily french toast, made from mom's organic home baked bread! In the midst of the work I'm supposed to be doing, I've been watching Season 1 of the Blacklist (on Netflix) and stretching out with a few sun salutations. I thought it was high time for a Friday Five, so here are the five things that have been on my mind as of late:

1. [Recent reads]: Architectural Digest
I've been looking for decoration inspiration as of late. Thankfully, at my mom's house there's a backlog of Architectural Digest issues that I've been working through this past week! My favorite thus far has been the October 2014 feature on Frank Gehry x Louis Vuitton! The Gehry-designed gallery has the most delightful shell of glass sails; the interplay between sky, light, and reflection is portrayed beautifully within the glossy pages! Though that issue is now out of print, you can see photographs of the Fondation de Louis Vuitton from the Architectural Digest Article online!

2. [Shopping Diary] : Nike, mostly
My shopping tends to be thematic, and lately I've been adding athletic pieces to my collection. I suppose its a roundabout way of working on my general fitness resolution! (After all, working out is so much better when there's cute clothes involved). During my past couple trips to Nike, I've picked up a cute racerback (screenprint here on instagram) and a couple of much needed leggings. I'm thinking they'll work out nicely for both yoga and rock climbing (provided I'm on a wooden, not textured wall ... abrasives don't play well with polyester).  As a side note, I also picked up a couple bottles body wash in Pacifica California Jasmine and Pacifica Persian rose from Marshalls. I've seen Pacifica in a couple stores now, so it may be worth a look if you're interested!

I just can't get over the sky shades reflected in the Fondation de Louis Vuitton here. Gehry's work is simply gorgeous!
3. [The Starbucks Situation] : Guatemala Laguna de Ayarza
I'm someone who seems to function better with a cup of Starbucks in hand (even when it comes to touring desert gardens...)! At my east coast home away from home, I've been relying on K-cup versions of the brew. Most recently, we picked up Starbucks Guatemala Laguna de Ayarza, a single origin coffee with citrus and deep chocolate notes. It's a supermarket variety, I think, which must parallel the new Guatemalan blend Starbucks Casi Cielo that's being sold in-café. I was on an African coffee kick, but I'm really loving the smooth South American beans. I may have to pick up a bag of Casi Cielo when I get back to Chicago...

4. [Routine de Soin] : Keeping it Fresh 
I've been sticking to my resolution of using and enjoying items in my stash, especially when it comes to skincare! My current routine involves a full line of Fresh products; I've been exfoliating with Fresh Brown Sugar Scrub, then cleansing with Fresh Soy cleanser, then patting on Fresh Black Tea Toner, and Fresh Black Tea Age Delay Cream (set reviewed here). The combination is wonderfully gentle and hydrating. I'm hooked on the Soy Facial cleanser again, and I'm not sure what I'll do once I run out! I've also been doing daily Fresh Rose Face Mask treatments. Typically this would seem over-indulgent to me, but my new philosophy is to use it before I have to lose it.

5. [Beauty-to-buy list] : Baby Pinks
I feel like I've found great balance in my current collection, and am happy to report that I haven't felt the urge to collect in quite some time. That said, there are a couple things that have caught my eye. First up is NARS Reckless blush (Spring 2015); the sheer silvery pink looks like something that would be right up my alley. I'm glad that NARS has gone lighter this time; it's hard for me to wear the more daring medium to dark shades that seem to more common as of late! I've also been eying CHANEL Rouge Allure in Badine as well; love my light pinks!

         Thanks for reading my little diary of rambles! Hope all is well - I would love to hear about anything from your recent reads, shopping diary, starbucks situation, routine de soin, or beauty-to-buy list!

Love, Dovey.