The Zookeeper’s Wife: Jessica Chastain and Niki Caro Discuss War, Film, and Femininity

A few months ago I came across a great blog post by Messy Nessy Chic by Inge Oosterhoff about a zoo in Warsaw that gave shelter to Jews during World War II. The zoo’s operators, Jan Żabiński and his wife Antonina, faced a variety of hardships during the early years of the war. But Jan and Antonina had been involved with subversive activism even before the war and continued their efforts of resistance even after Germany had entered Poland. The empty cages of the zoo were used as a shelter for the Jewish families and individuals that Jan managed to sneak out of the Warsaw ghettos, where they stayed until they could be moved using false documents that the Żabińskis procured. It really is an excellent post, and I highly recommend that you read it when you have a chance. The post mentioned that the book The Zookeeper’s Wife, written by Diane Ackerman, inspired by Antonina’s diaries, was being made into a movie – which is in theaters now!

The Zookeeper's Wife

The story, of course, stuck with me though I had no idea at the time that I read the Oosterhoff’s post that I would be invited to an advanced screening and press junket for the very same film! The Zookeeper’s Wife, starring Jessica Chastain as Antonina Żabińska and directed by Niki Caro, illustrates Antonina’s experiences at the Warsaw Zoo.

Here’s a spoiler-free synopsis, after which follows a somewhat spoiler-y Q&A:

The Zookeeper’s Wife is the real-life story of one working wife and mother who became a hero to hundreds during World War II. In 1939 Poland, Antonina Żabińska (portrayed by two-time Academy Award nominee Jessica Chastain) and her husband, Dr. Jan Żabiński (Johan Heldenbergh of “The Broken Circle Breakdown”), have the Warsaw Zoo flourishing under his stewardship and her care. When their country is invaded by the Germans, Jan and Antonina are stunned – and forced to report to the Reich’s newly appointed chief zoologist, Lutz Heck (Daniel Brühl of “Captain America: Civil War”). To fight back on their own terms, Antonina and Jan covertly begin working with the Resistance – and put into action plans to save lives out of what has become the Warsaw Ghetto, with Antonina putting herself and even her children at great risk.

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After seeing the film, I was completely taken in by not only Jessica Chastain’s performance, and Director Niki Caro’s beautiful film, but especially by the performance of Israeli actress Shira Haas who plays Ursula, a young Jewish girl who Jan helps remove from the Warsaw ghettos after she is raped by two Nazi soldiers. Ursula is not included in the book, but it was shot and acted in such a way that it became such a central part of the entire movie.

I asked Niki and Jessica if they could speak about filming those scenes, as well as what it was like to act them out with Shira Haas.

NIKI CARO: The character of Ursula is emblematic of all children who are hurt by war. And so as the director of this movie, I had to think very hard about what I could bring to this genre. And I recognized that it was femininity; that I could take my inspiration from Antonina, and be very soft, and very strong with this material. And so Ursula was a very, very important character, because her experience had made her animal – it’s an incredible performance, obviously; young Israeli actress called Shira Haas. And the scenes between her and Antonina are wonderful, because we see Antonina dealing with Ursula as she would with an animal – which is to say, very instinctively; not coming too close, but reassuring her that she’s there. It’s Antonina’s connection to animals that – her humanity with animals that she brings to – that she brought to her human refugees, you know. And I think that sort of unspoken trust and compassion between those two characters, and those two actresses, is a very, very special part of the movie, for me.

JESSICA CHASTAIN: I have to say I was very happy to – sorry, this is a little bit about this. But I was happy to be in a film that, for me when I watch the movie, I’m distraught about the rape of this young girl. But there’s no salacious scene that we’re forced to watch.

NIKI CARO: Um-hmm.

JESSICA CHASTAIN: And I find that in a lot of films in our industry, it’s directed in a way that it becomes this salacious thing. And it was wonderful to work with a woman who had more delicacy with that. And then, what was your question for me?

PRESS: About what was it like to work with the young actress?

JESSICA CHASTAIN: Well, Shira’s an incredible actress. And you know, I just kind of – I instinctively knew to not try to distract her in any way. You know, when we were filming that stuff, she was so in it, that I didn’t want to be like, “Hey, how was dinner tonight?” you know, and talking about things that didn’t connect to what the scene was. So I always held back. I, you know, I was there in case she needed me, or I, you know, was watching her in between takes. But I never tried to do anything that would pull her out of it.

NIKI CARO: You know, it was incredibly organic, actually, the whole – the whole movie was. But in that scene, in particular, there was a bunny. And the bunny is – really shows us the healing power of animals – that it’s a little bunny that can break through for this girl. And that’s Antonina’s gift, really, to know, you know, without words, without overt action, just what to do in that moment. And Jessica absolutely has that gift herself, as a human being. So – which really made my job very, very easy.

Murder is horrific, and it’s important to note that there is a massive industry surrounding horror films that capitalize on murder as entertainment. With that in mind, I think that that there is a great danger in that portrayal of rape can be turned into something entertaining – because movie making is still an industry motivated at some point by profit. So I was grateful to hear Jessica, who works within the film and entertainment industry herself, point out the amazing job that Niki Caro does as a director, and how she deals with such complex and sensitive material in a way that is not salacious but still illustrates the extreme horror of rape, especially because Ursula is a child.

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The film, which naturally revolves around Antonina’s diaries and her life at the zoo, does not ignore the intense personal problems that Antonina would have had to deal with herself. Questions like what would happen to her children if they were found out, or what happens within a marriage in extremely stressful situations, are not ignored. I think instead of moving away from the horrors of the Holocaust and of the Second World War, The Zookeeper’s Wife broadens the scope of our understanding within the platform of film. For instance, I was never taught about the Żabińskis in school. I was never taught about people like Antonina, Jan, Irena Sendler and others recognized at Yad Vashem as Righteous Among the Nations. I wish it had been a part of my elementary or middle school curriculum, which is part of what drew Jessica to the film.

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“I was really inspired by her. And also, I want to celebrate women in the past who have made great sacrifices to help others. We don’t really – I don’t think we acknowledge women in history as often as we should. And so I’m excited to be part of this story that gets to – gets to share it with a larger audience” Jessica also added.

The Zookeeper's Wife Press Junket NYC

The zoo still stands to this day. The film opens in theaters on March 31st! Check out these behind the scenes clips:

Everything You Need to Prep for all of Your Holiday Parties

This post is sponsored by BabbleBoxx.com on behalf of Single Edition Media.

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There is nothing I like better than a good holiday party. I’ll snap up any opportunity to get all dolled up, and I feel like we’re all granted a little leeway to get ridiculously glittery and glamorous during the holidays. There’s nothing more festive than velvet heels, glitter eyeshadow, cat eyes, and a flute of champagne in hand. Thanks to BabbleBoxx, I’m sharing with you my favorite picks for getting party perfect in a pinch!

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I’ve mentioned my super-dry lips before. Nothing ruins an expensive lipstick (of which I may have placed many on my wishlist), like dried out and flaky lips. Taking care of your lips should be right up there with the amount of time we spend worrying about the state of our eyebrows. The Chapstick Total Hydration Lip Scrub is effective at sloughing away any rough patches, and leaving your lips soft and perfectly kissable – cue the mistletoe! Another bonus? This scrub is perfectly affordable, which I love, and make for a perfect stocking stuffer.

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Another Chapstick product I can’t live without this season? Their new Total Hydration Moisture & Tint Lip Balm. In three gorgeous shades – Merlot, Coral Blush, Rose Petal – these lip balms use ingredients that are naturally sourced like Rosehip Seed Oil and Argan Oil. The formulation is really gorgeous and doesn’t feel oily or sticky, and the colors themselves lend a really pretty tint to your lips.

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Masks have ruled the beauty marketplace for a few years now and with good reason. There’s nothing like being able to apply a mask and forget it, letting them work their magic as you dance around your apartment to Carey, Buble, and Crosby. Or is that just me? The Dr. Brandt 3-D Filler Mask is a leave-on mask that works to counteract the effects of aging. It’s basically a gentle push-up for the lower half of your face. Among is benefits is the ability to visually add volume to plump the skin and visually smooth laugh lines. I’ve loved all the Dr. Brandt products that I’ve owned and this one is no exception. This mask is sure to get you feeling ready for a night on the town or that amazing New Year’s Eve party you’re planning on attending! Sore 20% off your mask by using the code BABBLE3D and going through this link.

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If you’ve been around here before, you know I’m always on the hunt for the ‘perfect’ hairspray. I probably won’t be satisfied until they come out with a hairspray that reaches out and does my hair for me while serving me champagne and a giving me a manicure. A girl can dream. Until then I’ve got MarulaOil Rare Oil Protecting Hair Spray. It’s a flexible, layerable hairspray that works to replenish your hair while holding it. I know what you’re thinking, “layerable?!” While visions of helmet hair float through your head, let me assure you that this is not the case. This hairspray leaves your hair perfectly touchable and shiny, even after multiple applications. Definitely worth finishing off your party ‘do with. This Protecting Hair Spray retails at around $26, find out more here.

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Katy Perry’s advice for applying perfume? “I never spritz on my skin. I always spritz and walk into it and I like to spray on my hair.” Take it from Katy, whose new Katy Perry Mad Love Fragrance is already social media famous. The fragrance itself is really fun with top notes of Lady Apple Sorbet, Mara Strawberry, and Pink Grapefruit, a heart of Peony Petals, Sun-kissed Jasmine, and Bleeding Heart flower, as well as a base of Sandalwood, Skin Mush, and Coconut Wood. The bottle itself features a trendy marble top, with pink glass and black labeling. I’m fairly certain this fragrance found its way on many a wishlist this year, and it would make a great scent to spritz before you head out  for your end of the year bash! To find more deets and purchase, click here!

So what parties do you have planned for the end of 2016?

Pixi by Petra’s Holiday Beauty Picks

It’s that time of year! I’m lucky enough to have gotten my mittens (have you broken yours out of storage yet? I sure have!) on Pixi’s newest holiday additions. Holiday collections are always so much fun in my opinion, as they always feature such creative designs. This year, Pixi’s holiday picks have this really beautiful holly and mistletoe design that feels like a lovely modern take on an old-school holiday motif. Honestly, I don’t know what it is about this year but I feel really nostalgic for old-school holidays – maybe I’ve watched Little Women too many times? Can one actually watch Little Women too many times? The answer to that is no. Anyways, enough about my Jo & Laurie obsession, here are Pixi’s prettiest under-the-tree treats and stocking stuffers:

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If you’ve used Pixi before than you know that their Endless Silky Eye Pens are amazing. I used to say “they’re money!” in a very Guy Fieri-like manner, but then I was banned from using that term by my family when Guy Fieri became persona-non-grata after an over-enthused Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives binge-fest. It happens. Now I just say that these pens are amazing, and they are. Silky, ideal color payoff, warm blendability, and the color selection – which was great to start with – has now expanded to include this drool worthy rose gold color called OpalOvercoat. Stick it in your mother, daughter, co-worker, beauty addicted friend’s stocking. They will love it. You get a great rose-gold shade with this that is buildable and easy to work with.

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The Palette Rosette is an all-in-one colour kit featuring highlighters, eye shadows, and brow shadows, as well as glow, blush, and contour in some very pretty shades. The contour powder looks like a warmer, subtly glowing, version of their Natural Contour Powder. The shadows themselves are very useful basics (the ones you always run out of), great for travel, my sister asked for this in her wishlist – she’s not a big fan of having to root through her makeup bag in the morning and wants a palette like this to streamline her process. It is new to their collection, and I’m not entirely sure if it’s a holiday exclusive – so I would snap it up now just in case.

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The real pièce de résistance is the new Fairy Dust Favorites. A tower of high pigmented loose shadows, Fairy Dust Favorites come in two varieties – Metallic Warmth and Matte Classics. I love, love, love that Pixi has Matte Classics – as you know glitter and shimmer is not always ideal, especially if you have more delicate eyelids, so Pixi including this collection of five matte loose eyeshadow pigments scores major points in my book. I was sent Metallic Warmth, which features these beauties:

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As you can see, these colors are really rich and beautiful. They show up in tone and in person almost exactly as they look in this pic, with the added metallic dimension. I must admit, was a little apprehensive about the black pigment. I feel like if you buy even the most basic of palettes, you’ll get black eyeshadow. I have so many black eyeshadows that getting another one is not a thrill for me. BUT this pigment does not show up as pure black for me. It has more depth and comes out as this smoky gunmetal that actually makes this shade a completely new one for me. It’s really fun to play with, especially with the deep red and bronze pigments. Speaking of which, I spilled the red all over myself. I looked like the victim of some unfortunate accident and I was utterly devastated that I lost half of the eyeshadow in one go. Somehow I will pick myself up and find a way to soldier on.

If you only get one thing from Pixi from this post, get the Fairy Dust Favorites. I already plan on purchasing the Matte Classics and can see myself repurchasing the Metallic Warmth (especially after the spill!). If you’re buying for someone else, definitely give the palette a look – the value and quality is definitely worth it. And if you’re just looking for a guaranteed winner – that rose gold eyeliner is too cute to ignore.

Anything catch your eye?

PIXI Palette Rosette ($28) | Fairy Dust Favorites in Metallic Warmth ($12) | Endless Silky Eye Pen in OpalOvercoat ($12) | Mattelustre Lipstick in Classic Red ($12)

Master of Multitasking – PIXI’s Multibalm Collection

Multipurpose products are my favorite. Sometimes I don’t have the desire (or space) to carry extra product when I’m on the go, so multitaskers like Pixi’s Multibalms always have a special place in my makeup bag.

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The collection, out since earlier this summer, features five shades – Wild Rose, Baby Petal, Soft Strawberry, Watermelon Veil, and Sheer Sculpt. They feature a multi-use stay-on crème-powder formula that is infused with aloe vera, shea butter, and rose hip oil.

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Designed to be used on your cheeks and lips, the formula is really very amenable to both. I was initially worried that they might show up as dry, but actually the consistency is very light and buildable and not at all chalky – which is most likely due to that infusion of shea butter and rose hip oil.

My favorite of the five has been the Wild Rose and Soft Strawberry, the colors are all fairly safe and you can go deeper in tone with all of them with repeated application. I quite like the subtle look you can get with these and also that if you take them on-the-go you really can go from day to night with them very easily.

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I think the most surprising of the five, for me, has been the Sheer Sculpt – I love using this for on the go contouring, and it is perfect if you’re new to or shy about contouring. It’s subtle, but works well enough on one application to have that contoured effect. If you’re going for a more sculpted look, the formulation is nice enough that going in for a heavier application of product will not leave your skin looking dried out and powder heavy.

Definitely another A+ product in the Pixi line-up, and at only $12, they definitely rank (especially the Sheer Sculpt) as one of my favorite Target beauty buys. Find out more, or purchase the Multibalms here!

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What are your favorite Pixi beauty purchases?

Follow me on twitter, RT the tweet below (or here) and tell me what you think of the Multibalm collection (or any of your favorite Pixi purchases!) in a comment below for your chance to win all five of the Multibalms!

*Disclaimer: Product samples were sent in order to facilitate this review, all opinions are my own. R&R: Giveaway ends October 4th, 2016. US only, 18 and over. Good luck and thanks for stopping by!

Celebrating #TalkingCars100 & Test Driving the Tesla Model S with Consumer Reports!

I am officially listing this past weekend on my 2016 highlight reel. I was invited, along with a select group of influencers to head out to Connecticut and take part in the taping of Talking Cars’ 100th Podcast episode. Talking Cars is an extremely popular podcast created by the Consumer Reports team and last Saturday enthusiasts and podcast fans flew in from all over the country for a chance to talk to the podcasts stars! How awesome is that?!

Consumer Report Test Track

Thanks to my mom, I’ve known about Consumer Reports for a while. But I didn’t know that they are a actually a nonprofit, and I also didn’t know that they buy all of the cars they test. All of them. To remove bias that might stem from media review vehicles, they purchase all of the cars that they review themselves. Because they can’t have manufacturers catch on, they’ve developed an intriguing system of purchasing cars, I can’t say much but it involves long distances and some significant dedication.

Consumer Reports Talking CarsTalking Cars 100th Episode Taping

The Talking Cars Podcast was taped in the Consumer Reports garage, which for the day was emptied of the latest cars, and filled with fans, enthusiasts, and media. The panelists were car experts Jennifer Stockburger, Jake Fisher, Tom Mutchler, and Jon Linkov. They discussed the latest trends in cars, which cars they liked the most/least, and the future of manufacturing. Honestly, it was ridiculously interesting. I’m definitely thinking about my first car purchase, and the options and experience of these folks was really invaluable – whether you’re looking for a new car, your first car, or like the 13-year-old fan who had an extensive knowledge about fuel efficient vehicles – you’re a real fan of the industry.

Afterwards they fielded questions from the audience, which was amazing to be a part of. Talking Cars has generated a genuine following and you could really tell that the fans and the experts were so excited to talk cars in real time and in person. Consumer Reports provides in-depth, independent reviews – you can count on them for thorough testing and honest opinions. They definitely have the consumer in mind, as Jennifer Stockburger said when discussing car seat options “You don’t need a $500 model, our best option so far is a $40 model.” They’re clearly not about the fanciest option – they’re about what works best for you as a consumer.

Tesla

After taping wrapped Jennifer took us out on the track to test drive the Tesla Model S. Now, I’m something of an Elon Musk fan. I find his work intriguing and I’ve long wanted to find out what a Tesla drives like. Suffice it to say, it was amazing. Ah-maze-ing. Like if I could only own one car ever, I would choose the Tesla S hands-down.

Consumer Reports Testing Tesla S

Jennifer explained the various features of the electric car, including its touch screen panel which you use to control the car. You can also quickly get a google map view of your location – which means no more getting lost. The touch screen panel can also be used to surf the web, and check your email – which you should never do while driving (in case you were wondering). Setting the car to “Insane”, we almost instantly went from 0 to 100 mph. I don’t know if ‘car euphoria’ is a real term, but I experienced it then. For me it was like those exciting moments of lift-off on an airplane, or that feeling you get when you’re on a roller coaster or a great theme park ride.

Tesla Model S InteriorTesla S Interior

Jennifer (who is a 16 year Consumer Report veteran herself) also showed us how well the car swerved to avoid hitting objects. She told us about their testing standards, how they don’t test in extreme temperatures because it affects how the car drives, how they even test how every vehicle hydroplanes, as well as how everyone at the CR Connecticut office tries each car out – which takes into account the varied consumer. Driving around in the Tesla, I wouldn’t have minded staying out on the track for hours. Even though we weren’t out there a long time, by the time we headed off the track I was in love. Honestly I don’t typically speak car, but I couldn’t stop talking about this car for days. And I might just be 1001% jealous of Jennifer and the rest of the Consumer Reports team, I envy them their jobs – minus the YouTube comment moderating they mentioned.

Consumer Reports Tesla Model S

Thanks so much for having me out Consumer Reports!

Are you a Consumer Reports fan? How about Talking Cars? Catch their latest podcast here! Do you have a favorite or a dream car? I’d love to know, tell me about it in the comments or send me a tweet!

Matrix Oil Wonders Volume Rose Collection Review

For the past few weeks I’ve been gradually lightening my hair. Lightening or bleaching your hair is a surprisingly tenuous process. In addition to blonder strands, the process can also bring out the beauty geek in you – suddenly you’re looking for items like T-18 toners, color sealers, color boosters, and deep conditioning activators. You’ll spend an hour in the beauty aisle debating the effects of olaplex with other bottle blondes, all while flipping through your saved pins of gorgeous (and totally unrealistic) blonde hair looks. This entire coloring process is actually very interesting, but all this work has really made me even pickier than normal about what I’m putting in my hair. I don’t want to damage the color and I certainly don’t want a product that needs to be piled on to be effective. Enter Matrix’s new addition to the Oil Wonders line, the Volume Rose Collection.

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The Oil Wonders Volume Rose Collection consists of five products: a pre-shampoo treatment, shampoo, conditioner, plumping mousse, and finishing spray. The entire line is infused with rosehip oil, and smells divine. Matrix does a great job with scents in general, and this one is not obnoxiously rosey (it’s not your grandma’s potpourri) – it’s floral without being soapy, and makes your entire bathroom smell lovely. Also, how gorgeous is the packaging!? I’m in love with rose gold look to this collection, it’s so nice to go in the shower and see these – it’s so luxurious!

Matrix Oil Wonders Shampoo ConditionerOil Wonders Volume Rose Review

But does it work? The line boasts an up 78% more volume for fine hair when using the entire system. While I was using the line I definitely noticed increased volume – in particular, after using the plumping mousse.

At first I was not thrilled with the idea of using a pre-shampoo treatment. I thought it would weigh my hair down even more. However, the shampoo and conditioner (silicone free) are actually much more delicate, which leaves room for the oil based pre-shampoo treatment. The shampoo is a great cleanser, but I don’t get that sort of rough, stripped feeling when I’m done. And the conditioner leaves my strands slippery and silky.

Oil Wonders Pre Shampoo Treatment

Meanwhile, the pre-shampoo treatment is designed to provide dedicated nourishment to damaged strands in order to reduce breakage of fine hair. The treatment is meant to attach to only the damaged areas of hair to ensure zero added weight. Ding, ding, ding! We have a winner! This treatment is exactly what my hair needed after all that bleach and toner. I did find that I prefer to apply the treatment to the ends of my hair and along my hairline where the damage has been more concentrated and it has worked wonderfully. I mean, I can definitely tell the difference in the texture of my hair from prior to using the collection to now, especially when I’m heat styling it.

Matrix Oil Wonders

The collection runs from $18-24 depending on which product you’re getting. I definitely recommend taking a look at this collection if you’re looking to pamper your strands, or even if you’ve recently colored your hair like I have. Find out more about the Oil Wonders Rose Oil Collection here.

*Product samples were provided in order to facilitate this review. However, all opinions presented here are my own.*

Beauty Review: Michael Todd Soniclear Petite Facial Skin Cleansing System


It’s been quite a few years since the first facial cleansing system hit the market. Since then, it’s been really interesting seeing how those systems have changed and evolved. The Soniclear Petite is the world’s first antimicrobial sonic skin cleansing system and it is definitely a game changer.

Sonic Skin Cleansing System

If you’ve read my reviews before you know that I have sensitive skin, so finding skincare products that work for me is pretty high on my list of beauty priorities. The Soniclear Petite caters to sensitive skin with 3 speeds – and none of them feel ridiculously rough, no harsh scrubbing here!

Designed to strip away dead skin cells, makeup, dirt and oil 6x better than hands alone, the Soniclear utilizes unique sonic technology that enables the petite’s brushes to move up to 18,000 times per minute. But what’s with the “antimicrobial”? Well, Soniclear cleansing heads are treated during the manufacturing process with LIFE antimicrobial product protection to inhibit up to 99.9% of stain and odor causing bacteria. Basically, the cleansing brush will stay cleaner for up to 6 more months.

Soniclear Petite

What I really love about the cleanser though is that it has a self-timer, so you hear this beep as your brushing your face which signifies that you’ve spent enough time cleansing one area of your face and you should move on to the next. This is really crucial to any skincare regimen because you generally do not want to over cleanse as it has been known to cause dryness which can lead to excess oil production, etc.

I also love that it’s cordless and waterproof, so you can use it in the shower – I feel so trained to not bring electronics into the shower that I don’t, but you definitely can if you want to, haha! I was sent mine via Amazon, and that one from Michael Todd came with the Michael Todd Damascus Rose Cleanser which I love. I’m already a massive Michael Todd fan from back when all the YouTube beauty gurus were raving about their green algae cleanser.

Soniclear Petite Kit

You can check out the Soniclear Petite here for more details, reviews, and to purchase (ARV $89.95). If you do get the Soniclear or already own one, let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

*I received this item at a discount or complimentary in order to facilitate this review. This review is not sponsored. All opinions presented here are my own.*

Bite Beauty’s Amuse Bouche Collection

Amuse Bouche Bite Beauty Influenster Box

I think I’ve been with Influenster for about four years now, and never have I been so excited to get picked for one of their boxes! I know, I’m easily pleased. The Amuse Bouche collection was released in time for this Spring. Influenster and Bite Beauty sent me three of their lipsticks from the collection, however the complete collection consists of 34 different shades.

Amouse Bouche by Bite BeautyAmouse Bouche Lipstick Colors

What’s special about the Amuse Bouche collection is that they are made from 12 edible oils, which lend them their ultra-creamy hydrating texture. The three shades I received were Gazpacho, Beetroot, and Pepper. Up until I received this box I had never tried anything from Bite Beauty before, I had heard really good things though so my expectations were pretty high. Now having tried these beauties out I can see what all the fuss is about – the pigmentation and staying power of these lipsticks are insane.

Amouse Bouche Lipstick

The formulation is, true to form, very creamy and hydrating. I don’t often use lip liner, but I feel like using a liner – even something like Pixi’s Invisible Smudge Stopper liner – would be a good idea with these. And again, the color payoff here is off the charts, also you won’t need to keep checking the mirror to see if the lipstick is still there, I wore one all day (*sidenote, I didn’t eat much that day) and I only had to reapply once. However if you are having regular meals, I recommend you reapply after eating because these transfer a lot.

Bite Beauty's Amuse Bouche Collection Review | read more at nyctalon.com

Gazpacho was a very Taylor Swift-esc true red with blue undertones. I mean this is your fire engine red, break out the pin curls and victory rolls kind of lipstick. While the Beetroot is a rich berry infused with deep reds, and Pepper is a mid-tone dusty rose with brown undertones. I own quite a lot of pink and dusty rose shades and am a massive fan of that color family, so Pepper was a welcome addition. It’s actually a lot deeper on than you would think. I also loved Gazpacho and Beetroot, unfortunately they didn’t really look right with my skin tone – which was so disappointing to me as they are such great shades. Eh, I guess you can’t win them all – my sister was all too pleased to take those two shades of my hands and every time I see her slide them out of her makeup case I breathe a sigh of regret. Luckily I have Pepper to comfort me, which is a neutral worthy of being worn frequently.

New in Beauty: PIXI Nourishing Lip Polish

I’ve just recently gotten over a nasty cold, and between two weeks of coughing and sniffling and being perpetually in a state of dehydration, my lips have definitely taken a hit. In the midst of all that I have also been recently reviewing Bite Beauty’s new Amuse Bouche collection (catch that post tomorrow!) and I was quickly made aware of the terrible state of my lips – they were really dry and generally in a bad way. Since I’m not much of a DIY girl – I tend to make messes and forget the DIY project in the fridge for months – I immediately went online shopping for a lip scrub. I’m a massive fan of Sugar’s Lip Polish, however, it is rather pricey for a polish and I’d much rather save up my pennies for their body scrub or Soy Face Cleanser, so I was really on the hunt for a more wallet friendly alternative. Well, literally the day after I was doing my online search I was sent PIXI’s new Nourishing Lip Polish! I might have actually squealed when I opened it – it was exactly what I was looking for!

Pixi Nourishing Lip Polish Review | read more at nyctalon.com

This  2-in-1 lip exfoliator + nourisher helps to repair & protect dry, sensitive lips. A nutrient-rich formula smoothes lips with shea butter & a blend of sweet almond, apricot, and evening primrose oils. The unique massage applicator works to stimulate circulation, giving a healthy, plumped effect.

Pixi Nourishing Lip Polish Review | read more at nyctalon.comPixi Nourishing Lip Polish Review | read more at nyctalon.com

Right off the bat I’m going to tell you that the PIXI Nourishing Lip Polish is an excellent dupe for fresh’s Sugar Lip Polish – the smell is almost identical, with this one leaning more on the sweet side (an effect of the xylitol, perhaps?). I’m also going to tell you, that although I love fresh’s scrub, I liked PIXI’s version a little better. The Nourishing Lip Polish tube is very reminiscent of all those lip glosses I used to buy back in ‘99, except this tube features a massage applicator that is designed specifically for massaging in product. I feel like this really sets it apart from other scrubs, I love the fact that I don’t have to dip my fingers in a pot which can sometimes feel unhygienic. Also, it feels like my lips are getting a massage which is nice too.

Pixi Nourishing Lip Polish Review | read more at nyctalon.com

The scent is very citric, likely by way of the grapefruit seed oil, orange peel oil, apricot kernel oil, and cranberry seed oil. The draw for a lot of scrubs is that they feature brown sugar, which acts as a natural exfoliant. There isn’t any mention of brown sugar in the ingredients, but it definitely has a “scrubby” feel to it. Also it’s more wallet friendly than many other scrubs on the market. PIXI has recently been rolling out a plethora of new products, and they’re really hitting the mark, I have a few on my hands that I can’t wait to review, but I definitely recommend picking up one of these if you suffer from dry and slightly feathery (is there a polite way of saying peeling?) lips.

PIXI’s Nourishing Lip Polish retails for $12, pick up at Target or on the Pixi site here.

New in Beauty: Matrix Style Link Gloss, Hold, & Volume Boosters

Matrix Booster Series

What I first noticed about Matrix’s Style Link collection is that each and every single product smells absolutely amazing. Seriously. The entire Style Link line consists of fourteen products, designed to Prep, Play, Perfect, and Boost your style. While I’m still in the process of using and reviewing some of the Style Link products that Matrix generously sent my way*, I wanted to specifically call out the booster products in this collection. The Matrix Style Link collection features three boosters, Gloss, Hold, and Volume Booster. The genius behind the Booster products is that they can be used alone, or as well as a booster to another product. For instance, you could add a drop of Gloss Booster to the Matrix Smooth Setter or to their hair spray – you could even use it with other brands too. I love that you can really experiment with the intensity of the product and that it lends you more control over how you’re styling your hair. Here’s the low down on each booster:

Matrix Style Link Boosters ReviewMatrix1

Gloss Booster –  Utilize this unique concentrated formula to add serious shine to your ‘do. What makes this a stand-out product is not just that it successfully adds a lovely shine and finish to your locks but that it can also work to soften hold. Use on damp or dry hair.

Hold Booster – A little goes a long way with this Booster. This formula is surprisingly light and non-sticky, and it’s ideal for taming unruly flyaways and keeping your style on lock.

Matrix Volume Booster Style Link Collection

Volume Booster – With a consistency bordering on a serum and a gel, the Matrix Volume Booster delivers amazing volume (especially when paired up with a little Volume Builder Mousse). I recommend it if you’re someone who likes to blow dry your hair after showering – just apply this to towel dry hair before you start styling. Bonus points = this does not leave your hair feeling lightly glued together or leaves your roots feeling gooey.

More information on the Matrix Style Link collection and Boosters can be found here. Each Boost runs about $20 a bottle, but is well worth it considering that a little goes a very long way where these are concerned.

Have you tried any of Matrix’s styling products? What are your favorite hair styling tools? Let me know in the comments below!

*I was not financially compensated for this post. I received a sample for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.*