Who Can Resist Three New Zoya Polishes…

I had skipped out on ordering the Zoya Cyber Monday box (although once I saw what it contained, I sort of wished I had!), but since I was in the market for a new base as well as a new top coat I couldn’t resist this deal that popped up a week later: buy a mini color lock set and receive 3 full-size polishes for free. Since the full-size polishes retail for $9-10 on their own and I wanted all of the items in the kit, to me this was a great deal!



I spent ages poring over all the polishes on the Zoya site trying to pick the perfect three. They have so many beautiful colors that it’s just so hard to choose! I looked at swatches of SO many of the polishes that it probably took me hours, not even kidding. I ended up with Tinsley, Hermina, and Nimue.

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Crabtree & Evelyn Hand Cream Extravaganza

I love Crabtree & Evelyn products, despite not having ever owned very many of them. I can pinpoint the exact moment when my love began – the year I received a basket of products from their Summer Hill line from my grandmother for my birthday. It felt like such an adult gift, since scented gifts were so rare for me to receive, especially as nice as ones as these. I used those products like they were made of silver and was so sad when the single product I loved the most out of that basket, the Summer Hill Hand Therapy, finally ran out. I still have and use several of the other longer-lasting products from that basket, like the perfume, but I still think about that hand cream.


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2015 on Just a Primer

2015 is the second year I’ve been writing on the pages of this little blog, and I’m constantly amazed by the process, whether it’s prompting me to think more critically, write more eloquently, or interact with others who share my interests in beauty and blogging.

I wanted to take a moment to look back on 2015 and all the incredible things that happened for Just a Primer in terms of posts and views. But first, I wanted to acknowledge the most important component of all this: you! I have 88 beautiful, wonderful, heartening followers, and I am so grateful for your attention and your companionship in this big wide blogging world!

Now, down to statistics. My most popular post by far was my January review of the new Chloé perfume, Love Story. This post received twice as many views as any other post from this year. It actually appears on the first page of the Google results when you search “chloe love story review,” which makes me prouder than it probably should.

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Welcome, 2016!

2015 was a pretty great year overall, despite some hard times. I’ll be posting some “end-of-year” recaps sometime soon, including the list of my favorite products from the past year and some photos of my travels. But today I want to talk about the upcoming year.


I have high hopes for 2016, such high hopes and big dreams. I am also absolutely terrified of it. This is the year of my final school graduation (at least for the foreseeable future). The year that I will hopefully find and start my first job, and therefore the year that I finally need to figure out what I want to do and where I want to live (at least for the time being). The year that I will have my last great opportunity for long-term travel (at least for a while), since starting employees rarely receive more than 2 weeks vacation. And all of this is so scary in my eyes, like a leap into the great unknown that I would really prefer not to take just yet.

That said, this is the year that I will finally leave school behind (as much as I love it) and have more control over my free time. The year that I will hopefully start work with a company and in a role that I love. The year that I will get to travel long-term, as long as I find a job before graduation and plan my summer right. My fear is of the ifs. There are so many “ifs” in my life right now. Usually I love possibility, but at this point it’s less possibility and more feeling a little left behind — I’m the one who doesn’t know where I going and feels a bit like a rudderless ship, while it seems like everyone else has chosen a course to sail that they’re happy with.

So, I’m taking control of what I can. For 2016 I’ve made a few (okay, more than just a few) new year’s resolutions. Some of them are things I want to remember to do on a daily or weekly basis until they become habit. Some of them are goals I want to work towards achieving. Some of them are milestones I want to reach.


1. Strive for better eating. This means eating reliably (no more skipping dinner because I’m busy!), eating enough vegetables (preferably with every meal), and testing out new healthy recipes.
2. Exercise in place to get in shape. The “in place” part is there to remind me that I don’t need to go outside or even get dressed to work on this resolution. Right now my goal is to do some form of exercise 3x per week (ex: dancing, yoga, running) and do stretching and/or strength exercises at least 4x per week.
3. Read! I know I should associate more specific goals with this, but right now it’s just a general injunction to read whenever and wherever I can, because it is something that I derive such pleasure from. I want to tackle some classic books that have been on my to-read list for years, as well as some of the best new works of fiction and fantasy.
4. One “French immersion” day per month. I have been speaking French since kindergarten, but in the past year and a half I have barely spoken the language at all. I don’t want to lose it, and I find that the best way of refreshing a language is to dive in headfirst. So one day per month (ish), I want to immerse myself in the French language. All of the media I consume, the conversations I have (within reason) and any writing I do will be in French.
5. Dedicate time to my long-distance relationships. So many of my friends graduated last year and moved away to start jobs in new cities, and I’ve been lousy at keeping in touch with them. I’ll be distant from even more friends after graduation this year. I don’t talk to my parents as often as I should, and I want to change that. I want to call my grandmother more. I also may be in a long-distance relationship after graduation which I will have to devote communication to.

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Birchbox Black Friday Haul

I love Birchbox. I love receiving my box every month, I love window-shopping in their store, and I love occasionally buying myself something. This month was one of those “buying something” times.


Shipping was a little slow, but only by the high standards I’ve come to expect from Birchbox — it took 2 days to be shipped, and another 3 to arrive at my door. I was really surprised by how light the box was, especially considering its size, until I opened it….and realized how much bubble wrap had been used to package my products!

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January 2016 Birchbox Sample Choice Comparison

Birchbox’s sample choice has become a monthly staple now; you can find a description of the program here. This month there are 3 samples to choose from plus an awesome curated box filled with Korean beauty samples. Let’s dive in to this photo-heavy post!


The Eyeko Fat Liquid Eyeliner was supposed to appear in everyone’s boxes this June, but a shipping problem prevented the samples from arriving in time. They promised that the liners would appear in a future box, and here they are! I’m actually more pleased about the way they’re doing it this time around, with the Eyeko liner as a sample choice instead of a definite sample, since there are plenty of people who probably don’t particularly want another eyeliner, but those who are excited to receive it can opt for that choice.

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