June came and went so quickly! However, these products — spanning fashion, beauty and skin care —certainly left an impression on the team.

gradeAAbsolution: Le Soin Regard
This certified organic anti-aging eye treatment contains tourmaline (to brighten), blue lotus (to restructure + smooth) and green coffee (to drain), among other noteworthy ingredients. I am absolutely in love with it! It is extremely hydrating (thanks to Aloe Vera, Jojoba, Argan and Calendula oils), yet noticeably firms skin around the eyes. It goes on so easily with little product needed. There is nothing irritating about it, either, which is a huge breakthrough for me. I even apply it on my eyelids. Superior ingredients + amazing results = one very happy skin care enthusiast! Oh, and it's Paraben, PEG, OGM and Phtalate free. Love!

gradeCOlay: Total Effects Line and Dark Circle Minimizing Brush
This product is portrayed as an eye treatment/concealer in one, covering dark circles under the eyes while moisturizing the skin. However, I don't believe it does a decent job at either task. It's irritating, for one. And provides very little coverage. If you are expecting to get concealer action out of this product, you will be sorely disappointed.

gradeB1ikatjcrewdressJ.Crew: Rope Cloud Ikat Dress
I knew I'd like this dress. But I didn't realize how much. I have practically lived in this for half the summer, so far. The color and design are super fun. And the style makes it unbelievably comfy. I wear it as is, as well as with white cut off jeans underneath. It is seriously the easiest piece of the season that I own. It's a roomy fit. The small runs more like a medium.

gradeB2Kenra: Curl Glaze Mousse
Most mousse products generally add volume, but with curly hair, they do not allow for curl definition. Kenra Curl Glaze Mousse defies the odds and in addition to volume, maintains curl definition beautifully. The texture feels a little strange. It comes out of the bottle as a mousse, but then you rub it between your palms and it becomes an emulsion, somewhere between a gel and a mousse. It's a bit sticky. However, once you distribute the product through your hair and fluff or define those curls to your liking, they will stay put. The product doesn't dry hard on the curl, which is a big plus. No one wants crunchy hair. My hair was still on the soft side, and very touchable, which is great. Ingredients like aloe and oat protein help maintain moisture and strengthening. The product does tout frizz control. However, in the high humidity of the south, I experienced some frizz and control issues. Overall, I like the product. It's nice to have curl definition and lifting at the roots, for us curly haired girls, this is a winning combination.

gradeASkinMedica: Redness Relief Calmplex™
Get out of town. This product does waaaaay more than it says. I cannot tell you how ecstatic I am! I have rosacea (almost ten years now) and am very aware of the importance of following a solid skin care regimen. As many wonderful products as I have come in contact with, Redness Relief Calmplex addresses rosacea like no other. I have experienced a significant reduction in redness, to the point where I am finally not the red-faced person in the photo (woohoo). That is so huge, you have no idea! In addition, the texture of my skin has improved tremendously (and I thought the texture was fine prior to use ... evidently, I was wrong). And it's astonishingly hydrating! The product tingles a bit when I apply it, even after 30 days of use (2x/daily), but it goes away quickly. I use this product in conjunction with Tri-Retinol Complex ES, which may be why I am seeing such amazing results so quickly. SkinMedica, you outdid yourself this time. Another rock star product!

gradeB2Trader Joe's: Honey Mango Moisturizing Shave Cream
Typically, I prefer a foaming shave product. However, this cream won me over. It's so moisturizing, thanks to Aloe Vera and Vitamin E. I have yet to experience any irritation when using this product. While you don't need much product, the tube certainly doesn't last long. I have been using this for years now and have not turned back. Great for all skin types.

gradeAdesertsierraseakelpsaltsDesert Sierra Naturals: Sea Kelp Spa Salts in Sleepy Nite Nite
I love my baths. It makes me so happy to find bath products that are pure and natural ... and smell yummalicious! Desert Sierra Naturals is all about natural, organic ingredients that nourish the body and soul. As a result, the products are non-irritating. Perfect for super sensitive skin (even eczema). The bath salts are fantastic! And this scent — a blend of pure essential oils including Roman Chamomile and Sweet Orange — is intoxicating.

gradeDTocca: Baci da Salina Lip Gloss
In all fairness, I have had great success with Tocca products. And the scent of this lip gloss brings me back to my childhood (in such a good way). However, the roller ball doesn't work properly. It may have just been mine, but I have to tell you it was so frustrating, after seven tries, I threw it away. This product hasn't been a mover for Tocca, and now I know why.

The team of testers were not paid to review these products. However, most of the products listed above were supplied as samples for review purposes.

More miracle workers this month! And the perfect evening shimmering lotion and long dress put us over the top! Enjoy May's fabulous products.

gradeASkinMedica: TNS Ultimate Daily Moisturizer™ + SPF 20, Tri-Retinal Complex ES
I have yet to meet a SkinMedica product that isn't stellar. As in this anti-aging daily moisturizer containing 5.3% zinc oxide. It's enriched with the patented growth factor blend TNS® and antioxidants. So you get major skin benefits in a full-spectrum sunscreen. Another skin-loving product of SkinMedica's is the retinol complex. With 1.10% total retinoids, this powerful treatment delivers three forms of Vitamin A for the highest concentration of retinoids available without a prescription. The unique patented MICROSPONGE® delivery system provides a gradual release over time to reduce irritation. I started with an every other day usage (evening only) and quickly moved to a daily routine. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that there has been a significant difference in my skin — from texture to tone to elasticity. It helps to diminish the appearance of wrinkles by stimulating collagen production. Definitely a contender for Retin-A Micro.

gradeB2Kenra: Platinum Dry Shampoo
This dry shampoo is different from others that I have tried. It goes on like a hairspray, which was a bit odd at first. However, it leaves no residue and quickly revives hair. The rice starch absorbs oils and the Heliogenol + Benzophenone-4 protect against color fade. Bonus, as in all Kenra products, it smells great!

gradeB1Jemma Kidd Make Up School: Blushwear Creme Cheek Colour in Guava
This color looks crazy bright. However, when applied with a gentle hand, it imparts a beautifully soft pink color. The cream to powder formula is light, yet it takes only a little product to make an impact. And I love that it contains Vitamins A, C and E.

gradeAflowerdustmadaraMADARA: Flower Dust, shimmering lotion
I am so happy to have been introduced to this organic cosmetics company from Latvia by Jeffre Scott. Using blossoms and herbs rich in active substances and extracts, MADARA's products are powerful and effective. This shimmering lotion is the best evening glow I have come across. While you can use it in the day, I think it's best for evenings out and events. Containing baltic seaweed, plantain, calendula, chamomile and rosehip (and delicious flecks of gold), this highlighting lotion produces an amazing sheen. I don't find it to be very hydrating. However, it's super special and worthy of its name!

gradeB1Aldo: Valva Gel Instep Cushions
I have quickly become addicted to these gel inserts. Whether the goal is to keep my foot from slipping or just for pure comfort, I love these little things! I wish they lasted longer, but they are totally worth replacing. My feet are spoiled!

gradeAMario Badescu: Dermonectin Eye Cream, Kera Moisturizer, Honey Moisturizer
These three products have been miracle workers! My skin has been irritated lately, and every single one of these wonder creams have brought overnight results. Serious goodness! The eye cream contains Vitamin A and E, along with a special blend of Vegetable, Peanut, and Coconut Oils, to provide mega hydration. The Kera Moisturizer is great for sensitive skin. It's made with Keratoplast, a calming botanical ingredient to reduce redness and irritation, and Oatmeal. The Honey Moisturizer is a gentle AHA and Vitamin moisturizer with antioxidant Peanut Oil, Orange and Honey Extract. I am completely obsessed with it! It penetrates the skin and keeps it hydrated all day long. And it leaves skin smooth and supple ... with a beautiful sheen, to boot.

gradeAdereklamebaydressDerek Lam + eBay: Black Tie Evening Dress in black cotton poplin
When I got the email alert that this dress was available on eBay, I dropped everything and placed the order on my iPhone. I knew it would be a great fit. But I didn't realize how over-the-top in love with it I would be. I love that it puddles on the ground. I love that it can be dressed up or down. I love how comfortable it is. And I love the way it swishes on the dance floor! Love, love, love! It sold out in 24 hours. I feel so fortunate to have one of the most beautifully versatile cotton dresses!

The team of testers were not paid to review these products. However, most of the products listed above were supplied as samples for review purposes.

Quite a mix this month — both in products and grades. We'll recount the good, the bad and the ugly for April. Including a few miracle workers!

gradeB2La Bella Donna: Complete Brow Kit in auburn
This is a handy and slim palette with everything you need to create amazing eyebrows. The palette contains two shades of color (mix together or use darker shade for accenting), a wax (swipe along brow line first so the powder adheres to it), and a highlighting cream (to lift brow bone and brighten the eye). While the brunette kit would have been more on point for me (auburn is too red), I do like the convenience of the kit. I apply an eyebrow gel over my brows after application. Using the eyebrow brush below, this stuff stays all day long.

gradeAinstantbrowbrushclaudioriazClaudio Riaz: Instant Brow Brush
Wow — a complete game changer! One swoosh and I was sold, literally. This brush has forever changed how I view my eyebrows. If you have eyebrow envy, like myself, you need this brush. Yes, it's expensive ... but it will change your life. I'm not kidding. Thanks to my sister-in-law Cindy, my eyebrows look 100x better ... this brush actually gives me the eyebrows I have always wanted. It must be the thickness of the brush, in addition to the angle, that make it so easy to brush in instant eyebrows. I still dye my eyebrows, but this brush (with my eyebrow shadow) fills in any sparse areas and makes my eyebrows appear to be thicker than they are.

gradeB1tagringtsTwisted Silver: Tag Ring
How cute is this? It’s a ring with a charm on it. Truly unique, it stands out among the pack. People will stop and ask you about it (oh yes they did!). I wear it on my ring finger. The charm moves around and reaches my knuckle. It’s playful and unique.

gradeAEve Lom: TLC Cream
I have tried a lot of heavy duty moisturizers in my day, and this one competes with the best of them. No matter the altitude or climate, it's impossible for dry skin to get through this stuff. Now you must know, the consistency of this formula is thick and heavy. How you apply it, though, is critical. I take less than a pinky-finger's worth of product, rub it between my fingertips, then press into my skin. It gives you healthy, glowing and extremely hydrated skin. While this moisturizer is more suited for the winter months, I still whip it out throughout the year. My skin just loves it.

gradeC3L'Oreal: Sublime Bronze Self-Tanning Towelettes, Medium
I was really hoping these towels would somehow be comparable to the TanTowel. Well, I'm here to tell you that they are not. They are a fraction of the cost, but they are also a fraction of the product. They claim to be streak-free. However, they streak like crazy ... and the awkward tan it leaves behind fades quickly and unevenly. The ease of this type of product is fantastic, but there is a ton of room for improvement in the formulation.

gradeC3CoverGirl: Lashblast Fusion Water Resistant mascara
I have to admit, I'm a bit perplexed over this formula. While the mascara is okay, I am not sure what makes the water resistant formula different from the regular formula. Starting with the fact that water resistant does not mean waterproof, I'm okay knowing I can't swim with this mascara on my lashes, as long as I can get away with a few happy tears at a wedding. Unfortunately, that's not the case. In fact, the mascara comes off easily in water. It's great when it comes time to wash your face, but the whole point of buying a water resistant formula is to keep it on when rain or tears come into play. The other issue is the fact that it claims to be a fusion product, proving both volume and length. For sure it gives good length. However, no volume at all. Another product that needs to go back to R&D.

gradeAThe North Face: Freedom LRBC Insulated Pants
Fit is everything in a ski pant. You don't want to look bulky or be uncomfortable. These ski pants not only kept me 100% warm and comfy, they are a flattering style. They sit lower on the hips with an adjustable Velcro waist, have zipper vents and convenient pocket/compartments. I couldn't have been happier in any other ski pant.

gradeAhellyhansenlongshellHelly Hansen: Printed Elbrus jacket in white
During my recent ski trip, I had a fabulously warm fleece but needed a shell to keep me dry on snowy days. Thank goodness I came across this fabulous waterproof shell/rain jacket made of breathable Helly Tech® fabric. It was absolutely perfect. Lightweight, fashionable design for the slopes, and with a two-way zipper (love that). The longer length is just cool and worked out well on rainy and snowy days.

gradeAKenra: Platinum Blow-Dry Spray
This is truly a miracle product for me. I have to admit, I've left my naturally wavy hair to air dry for the last 5 months. Due to the fact that it's just plain easier to work with, but mostly because my hair gets so poofy when I blow dry it. I've tried a lot of great products. But this one is the best that I've come across so far. Not only does it decrease blow drying time by 30% (yes, I did the math), it also provides protection from the heat and smooths out every strand of hair on my head ... leaving it shiny and frizz-free! And it resists humidity. I use 3 sprays per section (4 sections) and a couple more on the top of my head. The results are seriously dramatic.

gradeB1argylebootightsBootights: Calliope Argyle
What a great concept for those who wear their fair share of tights under boots in the cooler months of the year! This tight was made for us boot lovers ... with a sock built right into it. I absolutely love how my feet feel in these tights. My tootsies stay warm, but do not sweat (love the wicking fabric). The best note of all is the fit through the leg. Size B was the most perfect fit for me out of ANY other brand of tight. Snug, yet comfy. And no droopy crotch! Honestly, I have not found a better pair of tights to fit my shape than these. I am crazy about this argyle design, too! Super fun ... spunks up any outfit. I was sad to see a little hole form after the second wear. However, it never worsened and I've worn them a ton. Stock up now before fall rolls back around!

The team of testers were not paid to review these products. However, most of the products listed above were supplied as samples for review purposes.

This month of reviews undoubtedly needs to be labeled 'The Jeans Issue.' With four pairs on the list, there are great styles and colors to choose from! Plus, an amazing new line of skin care!

gradeB2Miss Me: Megan in Premium Dark Wash
Talk about a tall glass of water! These dark solid wash boot cut jeans make me feel 10 feet tall. They can easily be dressed up, which adds flexibility. I wish there wasn't as much stretch in them. I like to be able to wear my jeans several times before washing and as fabulous as these are out of the gate, they don't hold their shape.

gradeAMiss Me: Irene in Off-White Oyster Wash
I have always wanted a pair of off-white jeans. A few of my tops have soft white running through them versus stark white, so this allows me to blend a little easier. The fit is fantastic: snug through the leg, plenty of room in the booty and finishing with a slight flare (a great visual balancer). I love how this style creates a super long leg (recommendation: wear with 4" heels and don't hem more than 1/2" from ground). The denim is a solid enough weight (my favorite weight) so it doesn't give too much.

gradeB1Red Engine: Scarlett in White
I love white jeans ... I find myself addicted to them. When I stumbled upon this brand, I instantly fell in love with the weight and softness of the jeans. They are seriously the most comfortable pair of jeans I have ever owned. Are they the most flattering? No. But I do like them, a lot. They are sleek, which makes them easy to wear with anything, especially under tunics, as the pockets don't catch on anything. The best part about them — I don't have to wear a belt. They fit perfectly around my waist while accommodating my rear end. And the almost 8" rise is the best fit on me.

gradeAParasuco: Boot Cut
Another brand I had never before heard of. And wow! I cannot believe how much I love these. Perfect rise, perfect cut, perfect shape. The front pockets make me feel 70s-ish without being over the top. These are the jeans that get noticed when I wear them, so, for obvious reasons, they have just become my new 'go to' jean. Unfortunately, I can't link to the exact style, but if you are interested, I will connect you.

gradeB2Duchess Cosmetics: Cindy lipgloss
This has to be one of the most suited colors for spring! Coral! The texture and scent is awesome. I have quickly become a Duchess lipgloss junkie. The color is highly pigmented, so it lasts a good amount of time.

freyaskinkitgradeAfreya+ Scandinavia Skin Science: Freya Skincare Regimens
This new line of Scandinavian skincare lives up to its claims of clear, moisturized radiant skin. Freya is the first brand in the cosmetic industry to utilize patented technology to nano-encapsulate marine based Omega-3 fatty acids, as well as LEXA™, a never-before-seen patented ingredient shown to boost collagen production by over 600%.

It’s packaged beautifully, in Tiffany-blue frosted glass bottles. The 5-step process made such a difference in my skin in only 10 days. Almost overnight, my skin felt like butter! It was clearer, hydrated (my skin was dry and flaky before trying the products) and smoother, with an almost translucent look. I’m not sure I’ve ever experienced anything like it.

The Cleansing Water is not just unique in its properties, it’s unique in how to apply it. I used a cotton ball and smoothed it all over my face and then rinsed with water. My face felt clean and refreshed, slightly tingly, yet never striped. All products are lightly scented but fresh ... never irritating.

The Intensive Anti-Aging Serum contains the most powerful concentration of nano-encapsulated marine Omega-3, the uniquely preserved and singularly pure ingredient which allows for reduced inflammation, heightened elasticity, and visibly improved skin tone. This was, by far, my favorite of the five products. It can be used morning and night. It goes on smoothly and is absorbed quickly.

The Hydrating Day Cream delivers continuous moisture throughout the day. The groundbreaking LEXA™ complex also contains antioxidant-packed arctic berries and milk peptides to improve skin’s natural healing properties and fight against harsh aging effects caused by free radicals. My skin felt dewy and soft as soon as I applied it and still felt that way 12 hours later. It’s very lightweight. I used it over the serum.

The Firming Eye Cream has quickly become one of my all time favorite eye creams. It's one of those eye creams that is so hydrating, it baffles you how it can possibly firm and tone skin at the same time. But it does! Using the same LEXA™ complex, the formula is rich + creamy and feels wonderful on the delicate skin around my eyes. The hydration lasts throughout the day and night.

The Restorative Night Cream encourages cell renewal as its LEXA™ complex promotes the reduction of fine lines and wrinkles by boosting collagen production. Simultaneously, powerful nano Omega-3s calm and balance skin, creating a restored balance of tone and clarity. This cream is thicker than the day cream, however, it never felt greasy or heavy on my face and was quickly absorbed, as well. Truly after 10 days, I did notice a reduction in my deep wrinkles on my forehead by using the products together. They work like a dream. Seriously! I was amazed. I love this line and how it makes my skin feel.

The team of testers were not paid to review these products. However, most of the products listed above were supplied as samples for review purposes.

Yay February! What a fun month of reviews, covering fabulous sand colored boots, mixed metal earrings and fabulous hair, skin and body care! Enjoy!

highplainsbootsinbeigeJeffrey Campbell: High Plains Boot in beige
gradeB1I had my eye on these boots for quite some time. Going light in color brings new possibilities. And for me, these allow me to wear boots into April, which makes me so happy! The fact that they didn't need any breaking in was a breath of fresh air. The style is super fun and I can't go anywhere, literally, without someone stopping me and asking about my boots. They run a 1/2 size larger and hit right at the knee (not underneath, unless you are tall). The zipper needs a little help every now and again, but overall, I am loving these boots.

Cosmedix: Refine (4% retinol complex), Pure Enzymes
I discovered this brand over 7 years ago from one of my favorite spas. I'd forgotten how much I loved the products and how effective they are. Cosmedix uses ingredients that are purified, chirally correct and effective. Chirality refers to the right-handedness and left-handedness of the molecules in our bodies and the ingredients we apply to them. Studies have shown this process to produce ingredients that are up to 4x more concentrated than those in conventional brands. gradeA

Refine
is a retinol complex available in two strengths, 4% and 8%, containing key amino acids to help stimulate collagen production. Amazingly, it does not dry out my skin. The first few days of use did make my skin feel slightly sensitive. But I chose to use it nightly versus every 3rd night (as recommended to start) and was pleasantly surprised how well my skin adjusted to it. I used to use Retin-A Micro nightly, but fell off the wagon almost a year ago. I'm happy to inch my way back into a retinoid. I can definitely tell a difference in the texture of my skin. No doubt it looks better than it did prior to using it. It's easy to integrate into my routine and I'm moving up to 8% next month.

gradeB2Pure Enzymes is an exfoliating mask containing cranberry enzymes and lactic acid to gently scrub away facial impurities and decongest blocked pores. It tingles for a few seconds when applied and tightens within minutes. It's a simple step that leaves clean, balanced, soft and radiant skin. Cosmedix is a plant-based, earth-friendly line, that is free of artificial colors and preservatives. I love that!

axisearringsTSgradeB1Twisted Silver: Axis earrings
Fun, lightweight and bringing attitude! These mixed metal earrings from Twisted Silver are perfect for spring. They add a little edge to any outfit. The Axis earrings are just easy, which feels great, as we move into a new season where less is more. They definitely get noticed! And how nice to let your earrings be the focal point, along with a fabulous big Twisted ring, as we recognize the obvious memo from the Oscars of no necklace (well, when wearing a fabulous dress, that is).

gradeAMOR: Emporium Black Collection Body Butter in Kale and Watercress
Oh my goodness! I have never smelled such an intriguing scent in my life! So refreshing. So addicting. Infused with olive and rosehip seed oils, this soft, rich formula is touched with an earthy mix of bright green kale and fresh peppery watercress. While I wish the formula had a little more slip to it, it is a body butter and it does hydrate skin all day long. Seriously delicious ... makes me want to lick my arm!

gradeB3L'Oreal: Texture Expert Defining Polish, Golden Modelling Gelee
I have to say, these two products surprised me ... in a good way. The Defining Polish helps to keep flyaways at bay and smooths the hair while providing nice texture for piecey looks. The Gel is a little harder to manipulate and can get crunchy if you're not careful. I wish I got the shine out of these products that they say they provide. Not so much. But overall, pretty good!

The team of testers were not paid to review these products. However, most of the products listed above were supplied as samples for review purposes.