Saturday, June 23rd

J.S.P Hair and Color Design

Having the foresight that I would eventually need a haircut, I grabbed a Living Social deal several weeks ago. Sure enough, my hair kept growing and it was time for some scissor action. Melanie is the talented stylist and owner of J.S.P. Since it was our first time meeting, we had a quick consultation and I told Melanie what products I used and how I normally style my hair. I’m definitely on the low-end of the fussy scale when it comes to my hair. It’s thick and curly with fine strands.

She made some recommendations for layering and styling and then we got started. The truth is, I love getting my hair done. One of my greatest sources of celebrity envy is the constant hair and make-up time. It’s so nice to sit and relax and let someone else make you look pretty. If I had unlimited funds, I’d be at the salon a lot more. I look forward to getting my hair done the way Mr. Betty looks forward to beer.

J.S.P is located inside N Salon at 3027 North Lamar. A chic black studio with modern, edgy decor, it is the perfect blend of fancy and funky.

N Salon

N Salon

Melanie was professional and swift. We had pleasant conversation while she shampooed and combed and snipped. The blowout was the best I’ve ever had, leaving my hair silky smooth and straight. She gave me tips for straightening my own hair in a way that would maintain swingy volume. (No word yet on whether I can do it. It’s been too hot for me to try. Also, I’m pretty lazy.)

It can be scary checking out a new stylist, although Yelp mitigates some of the risk. I am a believer in salon loyalty, but I also believe in checking out new local businesses and sharing positive experiences. So if you are looking to refresh your look, give Melanie a try.

Melanie

*Note: I was not compensated in any way for this review. My hair just looks really fly right now and I wanted to brag about it.

Saturday, May 12th

May Birchbox

Another month, another Birchbox. I cracked up when I opened this one and saw that it had a Gossip Girl wrapper.

Gossip Girl Birchbox

I am decidedly not a Gossip Girl fan, although I did watch it for a few seasons.

Gossip Girl Birchbox

In typical Blair Waldorf fashion, I find myself losing interest in Birchbox altogether. I think it’s time for a break. So this will be my last Birchbox post for while…maybe ever. This is what I had in my box:

  • Miracle Skin Transformer Body SPF. My tinted SPF came in the shade Glow. $34
  • SHE UEMURA Cleansing Oil Shampoo. This yuzu-scented cleanser is a foaming oil. Weird. $55
  • Dior Miss Dior Eau de Parfum. A classic with floral notes. $62
  • Dior Diorshow Extase. This dramatic mascara is the only truly thrilling item in this box. $28.50
  • Notecard extra. Meh. Feels pretty cheap. $10

BirchboxBirchboxBirchbox

Wednesday, April 18th

April Birchbox

Just in time for Earth Day, the April Birchbox has a natural wonders theme. Healthy, restorative and packaged with green tissue paper instead of pink, this is a fun box.

Birchbox

  • Wonderstruck Taylor Swift. A sweet, light fragrance with notes of freesia and dewberry. $49.50
  • J. R. Watkins Foot Repair Salve. Restorative, peppermint-scented balm to soothe rough heels and tired feet. Just in time for flipflop season. $8.99
  • Pangea Organics Lip Balm. Extra-moisturizing, made with Egyptian fennel, grapefruit, and sweet orange. $12
  • Befine Skincare Sampler. I received a few packs of Exfoliating Cleanser made with brown sugar, sweet almond, and oats. Also Daily Moisturizer, SPF 15, with rosemary, pomegranite, and rice. $24
  • Pangea Organics Eye Cream. Made with Turkish rose oil and white tea extracts. $55
  • Pangea Organics Facial Scrub. Made with adzuki bean and cranberry seed enzymes. $32
Birchbox
BeFine
Pangea Organics

 

 

Wednesday, April 4th

Checks and Balances

I’d like to highlight one of my holy grail face washes, Checks and Balances by Origins. This is a classic product and has many, many, many fans. I’m not discovering new ground here.

Checks and Balances

Formulated for both oily and dry skin, and many of us have a little of both, this wash has struck the perfect balance. Hence the name. A hint of mint invigorates and leaves the skin feeling and smelling fresh.

But what I really love is the insane lathering. The tiniest amount bubbles and foams up like an overloaded washing machine. Using the Clarisonic really makes it go crazy. I don’t know how I lived before this minty, bubbly, foamy wonder. You should try it.

*Disclaimer: Mad Betty was not compensated in any way for this review. I just have a love affair with this face wash.

Thursday, March 15th

March Birchbox

After a year of receiving Birchboxes, I thought I might take a break for a while. Truth be told, I am drowning in samples. I need to, you know, start using them. But this month’s box was so good, I’m hesitant to put my account on hold. What if I miss something awesome? So I will wait for the next lackluster box and reevaluate.

  • Traditions by Nick Chavez Yucca Root Shampooing Cream. A silky hair cleanser made from wild yam and yucca.
  • Koh Gen Do Cleansing Water Cloth. This luxurious Japanese cleansing cloth is made with spring water.
  • Annick Goutal Eau d’Hadrien. A bright scent with citrus notes. I really like it.
  • Color Club Nail Lacquer. This pretty pink shade is called He Loves Me.
  • Eve Lom TLC Radiance Cream. Brightens and hydrates skin with vitamins A and C.
  • Tea Forté skin-smart Teas. I am excited to try all three flavors I received: Cucumber Mint, Honey Yuzu, and Cherry Marzipan.

I like everything in this month’s box. I especially love trying new scents. And the shampoo looks interesting, too.

Click here to order Birchbox.

Sunday, February 19th

February Birchbox

The February Birchbox was fun. I anticipated a perfume sample or two, as I feel that lovely scents align with Valentine’s Day. I was wrong. Here’s what I got:

  • dermalogica Daily Microfoliant. This is a powder that you mix with water to create an exfoliating paste. Pretty cool. $60
  • beautyblender. The hot pink sponge that looks like an egg is a foundation blender. $26
  • EYE ROCK Designer Liner. Stick on cat eye strips. I can’t wait to use these! $13
  • Jouer Luminizing Moisture Tint. I hope I like this moisturizer as much as Jouer lip conditioner. $38
  • Extras. Heart-shaped nail file and six free songs from Green River Ordinance.
Monday, January 23rd

January Birchbox

The first Birchbox of the new year had a clarity theme. From a fresh face to an optimistic mood, the products included this month are supposed to inspire clarity in all aspects of our lives. That’s a bit of a stretch, but I still enjoyed the selection in this month’s box.

 

 

  • FIX Malibu Immaculate Complexion Smoothing Serum. Antioxidant-rich vitamins A, C, and E brighten skin tone and soften wrinkles.
  • Algenist Firming and Lifting Cream. Moisturizer that uses microalgae to boost skin’s elasticity.
  • Juicy Couture. Their signature fragrance is sweet and floral.
  • Zoya Nail Polish. The color I received is called Kendal and is a pale, creamy periwinkle.
  • Extras: ‘wichcraft Granola and a Birchbox magnet. There was also a card with tips for doing mini detoxes in various areas of your life: Mind, Relationships, Closet, Diet and Bathroom Cabinet. They suggest using your Birchbox magnet and putting the list on your fridge as a reminder.

The real gems in this box are the serum and moisturizer, which cost $94 and $125, respectively. I’m happy with all of these products.

Thursday, January 19th

Got my hair did

Recently I took advantage of a Google offer for a $75 cut and color at Jco and Company Salon in South Austin. What an incredible deal! I took full advantage and had my blonde highlights freshened up and a significant hair cut.

My regular place is a Redkin Salon and Jco uses Paul Mitchell, so I felt good about trying some new products and maintaining high quality.

The salon itself was friendly and comfortable, with a hint of luxury. A place where I felt pampered, but it wasn’t at all stuffy. More than a salon, there is photo studio in there as well as rooms for esthetician services. So you could get a full makeover and photos after, which is pretty cool.

My stylist was Tara, who was fantastic. She was personable, professional and modern. We discussed what I wanted, my normal hair routine, curly vs. straight, and she made a few recommendations. I appreciated that she cared how it would grow out and wanted to provide a style that would buy me time, as I am not good about going every six weeks.

Are you looking for a new salon? Check out Jco and give Tara a call!

Tuesday, January 17th

Glam Gift

Someone special sent me some fun Estee Lauder products. If you’ve never received anything from Estee Lauder in the mail, you should order something. It’s so beautifully packaged with glossy boxes, layer after layer of shimmering gold paper, and tied with ribbon. It’s almost too pretty to open. Almost.

Look at these glittery glosses. Perfect for a night out or a glammed up day at work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Look at how beautiful the Michael Kors makeup is. I love the hardware on the bag, and the subtle colors in the compact. This was a fun gift!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday, January 12th

TestTube

I received my latest NewBeauty TestTube. A quick refresher: The tubes come every three months and are $29.95 plus $8 shipping. They are chock full of products to try and you can sign up here. They also come with an issue of NewBeauty magazine, which sells for $10 on the newsstand. Eva Longoria is on the cover this quarter.

In the tube:

  • Chella Anti-Fatigue Eye Mask Kit. This includes mask pads and an activator solution. You soak the pads and leave on for 20 minutes for ultra hydration, lifting and smoothing.
  • Dr. Brandt Microdermabrasion. A nice, expensive exfoliant.
  • Miracle Skin Transformer. This is a tinted enhancer with SPF 20.
  • Immunocologie Treatment Cream VenoMAX. This very expensive ($275) cream uses snake venom mimicking polypeptides to relax lines and increase glow. Ssssssssuper.
  • Lumene Sensitive Touch SOS Cream. This is for chronically dry skin due to harsh weather conditions.
  • Glymed Plus Intensive Peptide Skin Recovery Complex. Promotes collagen regeneration for age management.
  • Mirai Purifying and Cooling Body Spritzer. This is just a freshening spritzer.
  • Macadamia Natural Oil Healing Oil Treatment and Deep Repair Masque. Great for dry hair, smells nice, and is expensive.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They changed the actual tube itself from plastic to cardboard. It was recyclable before and still is, so that’s fine with me. I had received the Macadamia products a few tubes ago, so I’m surprised they sampled the same product twice in one year. It’s a product I like though, and at $72 a bottle, I’m unlikely to buy a full size hair oil. So I don’t mind getting more.

I’m considering canceling the TestTube and having this be my last one, at least for the time being. There are so many sampling programs out there and I’d like to switch it up. I have enough anti-aging samples to last at least a year. So, I guess I won’t be aging this year.

Big fan of the TestTube.