Les Cinq Amandes – AKA delicious amazingness brought to you by BrandBacker

When Les Cinc Amandes popped up on my BrandBacker feed, I knew I had to apply. For those that don’t know, BrandBacker hooks up cool companies like Les Cinc Amandes with equally cool bloggers like me. We get sent product samples and are asked to give honest reviews. In return, you guys get to see great new products and get awesome discounts too!

Les Cinq Amandes was started by a mother daughter duo in 2007, I love that! Since the 17th century the 5 Almonds have been used to celebrate weddings and celebrations. They represent Health, Happiness, Long Life, Peace, and Love, which we can all use. The mother-daughter team has taken the old traditions and updated them in the tastiest of ways!

Anyway, the lovely ladies over at Les Cinq Amandes sent me over a variety of goodies that I could barely even photograph before digging in.

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A custom blue and white chocolate baguette, amazing Fleur De Sel Caramels, and a customized Renaissance box with Magical Meringues and Almond Dragees. It’s blurry because I was truly so excited to dive in and by the time I looked at the picture, I had eaten everything 😛

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Close up of the tasty Renaissance box.

Seriously, everything was SO good. I had to contain myself to not gorge everything and once. I even had amazing self control and passed the caramel onto my dad because he loves it. He ate all 4 pieces in 1.5 days so it’s safe to say they were delicious. I think the meringues may have been my favorite and I can’t wait to order from Les Cinq for not only myself, but my sister and mother who share my sweet tooth. I think these custom handmade confections make amazing gifts! Maybe a thank you for the relative who hosted Christmas so you didn’t have to or perhaps you forgot to send your grandmother something? Also, we may have just survived the winter holidays, but don’t forget that Valentine’s Day is coming up!!

Now, for the best part!! Les Cinq Amandes has extended my readers a sweet treat!! Enter code HOLIDAY10 and save 10% on an incredible, delicious, 1 of a kind treat. I do not think this code has an expiration date, but let me know if you can’t use it!

**Disclaimer, Les Cinq Amandes and BrandBacker supplied me these samples free of charge in exchange for a review, but all opinions are my own and are in no way biased because of free treats!

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Caramelized Garlic Tart (Plenty #2!)

Another glorious recipe from Plenty and #2 challenge that we took on (see #1 here). This is actually also the second time Dad and I made the garlic tart. The first time, I wasted no time before eating and didn’t get a picture. It’s seriously out of this world delicious. So cheesy (goat cheese and gouda!), creamy, garlicky (3 heads worth!), yummness that I can’t get enough of. I also really loved the technique of caramelizing the garlic, it was fun!

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While not the healthiest of meals (literally you are inhaling cheese with a side of garlic), our salad balanced it out! I was so ravished at this point, I couldn’t slow down to snap a pic. Arugula/spinach mix with goat cheese (because clearly there wasn’t enough in the tart), raspberries, candied pecans, and cranberries with lemon and olive oil. Yoni suggested a green salad with lemon anyway, so we went wild with the toppings. As my dad said, “this is like an $11 restaurant salad!”

I want to make it all the time, but it is slightly labor intensive and you do need all the ingredients. I’d say the the trickiest thing is actually the puff pastry! Check out the recipe here. Our oven is a little off, so after the 40 minutes, I put it for probably another 10, just get that golden brown beautifulness you see above. Let me know if you decide to try this or if you’ve tried any other of Yotam Ottolenghi’s recipes!

MAC Heroine

Soo after reading that MAC was making Heroine part of their permanent line, I ran to their website and saw I could order it ahead of the January arrival in-stores!! I could barely be bothered to put down my purse before ripping through the packaging.

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Sigh, so pretty!

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Ain’t she gorgeous?

Here it is on me:

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It looks so intimidating at first, but then you put it on and it’s like “hello sexy mama!!”. I got full, opaque coverage in like ONE swipe of the tube. It wasn’t horrifically drying and lasted for a while. I had to scrub my lips to actually get it off & was still left with a pretty pink tint on my lips. I think everyone should run and grab this. This was the best $15 I have spent in a hot minute. Have you picked it up yet?? Use code NEXT to get free overnight shipping!

Starbox December + New Rewards Program

Yay, Starbox came a few days ago and I love it! We were promised a pretty 15 shade palette and Starlooks delivered! In case you’ve never heard of Starbox, it’s a monthly sub box that delivers Starlooks brand products! It’s $15 a month + shipping (so for me $17.68). I’ve only been subbed for 2 months, but I enjoy it! Image

Love their packaging! Sleek and chic! Each box also comes with crystals, but mine were broken sadly. I emailed their CS and within an hour or so, they told me they’d be sending me replacements! Image

The exclusive New Years Eve palette that subscribers got! Gorgeous mix of mattes and shimmers, I can’t wait to play with it! Especially the green 🙂

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A few ladies over at MUT had reported issues of the mattes (specifically black and wine color @ the top) not showing up. Marci, founder of Starlooks, responded personally to one of the inquiries and informed us that swatching with your fingers for matte shades actually leaves behind an oily residue that prevents the shade from showing up! I personally didn’t have any issues with mine as I only tried out the shades with a brush. Another tip I learned from the MUT ladies was to simply put a piece of scotch tape over stubborn shadows and take off the first layer! This will get rid of any pesky oils and let the color shine. Image

They also introduced a rewards program this month! Every 3rd month that you’re a subscriber, you receive a free product valued at $35!! So that means I’ll be getting a lil somethin somethin come March! I’m excited to see what it brings. Let me know if you sign up for Starbox and what you think of it!

Fab Fit Fun VIP Winter Box

It’s here, it’s here!! YAY! I am pleased I stuck around for FFF VIP this quarter. For those that don’t know, FabFitFun VIP is a quarterly box curated by Giuliana Rancic that is $49.99 with a guaranteed value of $120 and chock full of full size goodies! After the initial spoiler came out, I knew I was going to. The total value of the box ended up being $271.47!!!

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Behold the glory that is the winter box

The Giving Key Never Ending Necklace – $55
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I loooove this key! Mine says ‘strength’, something I definitely am needed as of late. 2013 has been a hell of a year and I am ready to go into 2014 with a renewed energy. I also love the message behind this key. You’re supposed to wear it until you meet someone who needs it more than you and instruct them to do the same. The Giving Key is also a favorite of Michelle Williams, Julianne Hough, and Demi Lovato!

Beauty For Real Lip Gloss – $22
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I received the color ‘Light My Fire’, a fun red for the holidays. This bad gal not only has a peppermint after taste, but also includes moisturizing antioxidants, plumping marine collagen, AND IT LIGHTS UP. Yes, it’s gimmicky, but lord does it work! I was like a little kid, pushing the on lipgloss on and off for a few minutes.

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Lorna Jane Bracelet – $29.99
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Lorna Jane is apparently a super famous fitness gear guru. The bracelet is quite neon-y and rubber. Not exactly my style, but we’ll see. It comes with the daily reminder to “Move, Nourish, and Believe”. FFF also included a 20% code (FABFITFUN), however it’s only valid until 12/31, so some people may only have mere days to decide if they want to use it or not.

Bioxidea Miracle – $19
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This mask is supposed to reduce the signs of premature aging. I just turned 26 (aka, the other side of almost 30) so I suppose I should really get on this! I’m excited to try this out and will prob post a pic when I have it on to scare the children.

TruEnergy Inspired Earbuds – $39.99
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Wahoo, I am pleased with the color combo I got, not to mention I need new earbuds. They have some cool features too, including noise reduction AND a splitter that lets you rock out with your gal pals. I’m attempting the Couch to 5K this month (aka, I haven’t started yet but keep saying today will be the day) so I’m looking forward to testing these out.

Physique 57 Classes – $25
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FFF included a pass for 5 Physique 57 classes. This is a boujie celeb happy workout that costs zillions and is only in fancy pants cities. So we get to try 5 classes online and maybe I’ll be closer to Kelly Ripa’s insane bod, hell I’d settle for the chick on the insert.

Skyn Iceland Icelandic Relief Eye Cream – $45
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Tre fancy!! Skyn Iceland is super well known and the eye cream promises to get rid of wrinkles, dark circles, and puffiness. I’m looking forward to putting this into my skin care routine (though I still have a jar of Origins Ginzing eye cream to work through). ALSO, wtf @ my bare nails?! I had Deborah Lippman Cleopatra Goes to New York on, but it only lasted 2 days before chipping so I got impatient.

MeUndies Gift Card – $20
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The blogosphere has been buzzing about MeUndies for a while now, so yay for $20 to spend on undies! I believe this will cover a singe pair making it the most expensive/basic panties ever, but YOLO? Also, I am special, thank you MeUndies.

Bonus Items:
Simple Foaming Facial Cleanser – $7.49
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While we JUST got a full size Bliss Cleanser in the last box, I’m sure I’ll get around to this. It’s won a few Allure beauty awards and hey, maybe it’ll become HG for under $8!

NYX Eye Shadow Palette – $8
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Another item I wasn’t super excited for, mostly because I am up to my ears in neutral eye palettes from higher end brands. I got this in Sunsets with Sophia. It’s pretty and maybe I’ll get around to it after I’m done obsessing with my Naked 3 / Starlooks.

Overall, this was a great box. I love majority of the items and it was a high value box for only $49.99. New subscribers can save $5 using the code EARLY5. Did any of you get the box? What did you think?

Glossybox on Living Social, as low as $12 a box!!

Living Social is currently having a great deal on Glossybox subs! Glossybox is a monthly subscription box that promises at least 5 items (usually deluxe samples and a full size product) from all around the world! December’s box holds a great Nails Inc polish. Anyway, back to the Living Social deal:

• $16 ($21 value) for a one-month subscription + included shipping
• $45 ($60 value) for a three-month subscription + included shipping
• $90 ($115 value) for a six-month subscription + included shipping
• $165 ($220 value) for a 12-month subscription + included shipping

Use the code WARMUP for an extra 20% off (expires 12/15) for up to $20 off! I ended up having $15 in Living Social bucks from an expired deal so I got a 3 month sub for just $21 (THE PRICE OF ONE BOX Y’ALL!) Also remember to use Ebates for an extra 4% cash back! In case you don’t use Ebates yet, you basically get money back for shopping online! I just started last month and have earned $10 + a $10 Target Giftcard!  Let me know if you ended up snagging this great deal!

Revlon Colorburst – Striking Spectaculare

RUN, DON’T WALK, to your nearest CVS/Walgreens/etc and pick this baby up!! It’s part of Revlon’s new Matte Balm line and I lurve it.

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Wheeeee iPhone car pic!!

It’s the perfect holiday red, tastes a bit like peppermint, and is creamy deliciousness. I was browsing the aisles at Walgreens when I saw her, #240, calling out to me. At first, she was in the wrong section and already opened. I then scoured the rest of the store and snagged the last unopened one and ran to the register.

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Peep at Hunter on my fingers, love you Zoya!

I barely made it to the car to put this bad gal on. Staying power isn’t amazing, but still, ain’t she pretty? Best $7.99 I’ve spent in a while!! *Walgreens was also having a buy 1, get 1 50% off but I couldn’t be bothered.

Naked 3!!!

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YAY, I received my Naked 3 palette today! I picked up from Sephora with my $20 off $50 GC late last Thursday when it hit their website.

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Come to me my precious! Palette itself is very sturdy and I love the brush. It’s soft but not mushy, like it will actually pick up color and deposit it on the eye, not just disappear into brush land. Clearly the iPhone does no justice to the sparkly goodness that is this rose-gold-amazeness. Also included was a sample pack of their primers, which supposedly each have a week use. We shall see! I was pleased at how fast it got here, not to mention the massive DevaCurl sample I received. I think this is the largest foil sample in history of samples.

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Seriously, how large is that DevaCurl?! Did you pick up anything with your BI/VIB/VIBR coupon? Also, don’t forget, 12/25-1/1 Sephora is having 20% off their sale items! Code is EXTRA20. Hopefully they’ll throw in some holiday sets 🙂 Anyway, just had to share! I’ll update with swatches ASAP ❤

OHH I almost forgot!!! I stopped by Ross and Target today and found some great beauty steals. At Ross, I got a full size Oscar Blandi Volumizing Dry Shampoo for oly $7.99! It retails for $25 at Sephora/Ulta and I love it. I also grabbed a 2-pack of Maybelline the Falsies Volum’ Express for $6.49 at Target. Never tried it before, but I couldn’t turn down a sale.  Heck ya for me 🙂