Monday, December 24, 2012

December Sample Society

I know I know.. the month's almost over and I'm just now getting to reviewing my Sample Society box. I tend to get mine a week later and I like to give the products a good round before I write about them. Better late than never right? 

December 2012 Sample Society

  • Philosophy Living Grace Gel Deluxe Sample 1 fl oz. (Full size Retail $22 16 oz) Living grace shampoo, bath & shower gel is a 3-in-1 formula that gently cleanses and conditions skin and hair, while inspiring you to live in the present moment. embrace the beauty of living in the present moment as you lather with living grace shampoo, bath & shower gel. this 3-in-1 multitasking formula gently cleanses, conditions and softens skin and hair, while providing a rich, foaming lather for a luxurious shower or bath experience.  No Shampoo or shower gel has ever inspired me to live in the moment. Who writes this stuff? I couldn't even bring myself to post the full description it's so ridiculous. I've gotten this before in the QVC Test Tube. It's ok but is definitely not inspiring. With sodium laureate sulfate as the second ingredient this stuff isn't going anywhere near my hair.
  • Vapour Organic Beauty Elixir Lip Gloss in Sultry Full Size (Retail Value $20) A healthy high-performance lip gloss in sheer wearable colors. Enhance your natural lip color with five sheer shades. Never sticky or tacky, Elixir delivers superior body and shine. Your lips will instantly feel moisturized and refreshed. Elixir's pure plant ingredients are vacuum processed, without chemicals, to produce a superior lip gloss. Wear alone or layer over Vapour's Siren lipstick. Elixir is made with 70% Certified Organic ingredients and 30% natural mineral pigments & vitamins. Elixir contains Vapour's lip specific botanical infusion of hydrating Myrrh, healing Lemon Balm, antioxidant Green Tea and anti-microbial Iceland Moss. Gluten & Cruelty Free.  Sultry is definitely close to my natural lip color but gives a little extra pigment and shine. The formula is smooth and hydrating. I really like the formula. It smells like Now & Laters but other than I really like this.
  • Hanskin Premium Perfect Super Magic BB Cream SPF30 PA++ Deluxe Sample .33 oz (Full Size Retail $33 1.5 oz) The Premium Perfect Super Magic BB Cream provides coverage, anti-aging protection, sun protection, and cell renewal, all in one tube. The ultimate must-have one-step makeup solution, espeically for those on the go. Contains vegetable extracts for healthy and long-lasting coverage. Evens skin tone by completely covering skin blemishes, freckles, pores, and fine lines. Promotes cell renewal from hyaluronic acid and Vitamin E. Moisturizes the skin while providing coverage. Protects against sun damage, SPF 30 PA++. Comes in one versatileshade that blends in with the skin and will fit most skin tones between light and fairly light. I tend to be a BB snob. If it's not Korean it's crap kinda snob. I'm a huge fan of Skin79 and Holika Holika. I use my Holika Holika almost every day. So I was interested in trying this out..and it's love. The formula is a little thicker than Holika but it provides slightly better coverage. I also like that it dries to a more matte finish. I usually set my Holika with powder because it's quite dewy. Not much in the way of shade range..light to fairly light. Luckily I fall into that category though. I wore this yesterday to dance rehearsal and one of the ladies commented on how great my skin looked. This sample is definitely large enough to last awhile. I might be tempted to buy the full size.
  • Delaney Wellness Rejuvenating Eye Cream Deluxe Sample .33 fl oz (Full Size Retail $135 1.3 fl oz) Delaney Wellness Beauty Reserve Rejuvenating Eye Creme helps to tighten, firm and brighten the skin around and under the eyes while minimizing the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, puffiness and dark circles.Proprietary extract utilizing grape seeds, skins and stems derived directly from Delaney Vineyards is used as the base in all of Delaney Wellness Skin Care Products. Minimizes the appearance of lines and wrinkles. Not tested on animals. I don't have much in the way of lines or puffiness around my eyes, it's all about the dark circles. I think this relies more on the sparkly bits to lighten than to actually treat dark circles. I had to quit testing this because my skin broke out on both my eyes just at the corners. I've never had a weird reaction to an eye cream before.
  • Murad Age Reform Time Release Retinol Concentrate for Deep Wrinkles Deluxe Sample .1 fl oz (Full Size Retail $65 .5 fl oz) Murad's breakthrough Time Release Retinol Concentrate for Deep Wrinkles features a highly concentrated formula that resurfaces skin, minimizing the length and depth of wrinkles. The luxe multi-action formula also plumps skin to decrease wrinkle volume, while rebuilding damaged collagen to promote a smoother, more refined, younger-looking complexion. I only have some faint lines on my forehead that I'm trying to keep from getting any worse. The packaging on this says that you should see results in six weeks. I've only been using this for about a week. So I don't notice a difference yet. I really like how the applicator is flat so you can really get into your wrinkles. Jury is still out on this one.
  • Hanskin Super Plus Perfect BB Cream SPF37 PA++ Bright (30g) SS Foil Packet Extra. I haven't used this yet but if it's like the other Hanskin BB, I'll probably love it.
Sample Society is still my favorite subscription service. I would have preferred the Murad and a hair care product or the Delaney and something else just for a little variety though.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

NOTD: China Glaze Ruby Pumps

What Bat an Eyelash posting a NOTD?! Has she well...gone batty? Not quite just yet. I've said a few times that I'm not all that into nail polish or nail art. I may put something colorful and fun on my toes but my fingernails are usually a neutral color. Every now and then I might get crazy and try my hand at French tips.Typically, the only time there is color on my fingernails is when I'm going to perform. But it's the holidays so I wanted to jazz it up a bit. Enter China Glaze Ruby Pumps.

I think I saw this color first on Temptalia and I had to have it. It's been sitting in my collection for a few months but last night I decided I needed to paint my nails something new. I am in LOVE with this color. It's a cool toned red with sparkle.I kept staring at my nails after I was done because I love this color so much.

What's your favorite holiday nail polish?

Friday, December 21, 2012

Donations for the Sandy Hook Victims

Last week I sat in stunned silence with the rest of the country. Now that the shock has worn off, I feel the need to act. I still feel pretty helpless but there are ways you can show your support to the families and victims.

United Way of Western Connecticut

This list provides charity and donation information for the individual victims and their families.

Newton Angels Bracelets

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

December Ipsy 2012 Bag

This is my second month being resubscribed to Ipsy. Overall I liked this month but I wasn't amazed.

December 2012 Ipsy Bag

  • Mirabella Be a Bombshell Lip Gloss in Hot Mess This looks more orange in the tube than it actually applies. I haven' tried to wear it yet. 
  • Mai Couture Highlighting Papers I just think these are weird. I can't ever see myself really using them.
  • NYX Loose Pearl Shadow in Sky Pink Pearl I love NYX products and I actually have a Loose Shadow already in a blue. I was hoping for silver. I wasn't really thrilled to see pink but this is definitely a workable pink for a neutral look. It's not like a bubblegum pink.
  • Mirabella Primer for Face and Eyes I'm always up to try out a new primer. 
  • Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Eye Pencil in Zero  I already have one of these from the set of mini eyeliners I bought on Hautelook a while back. So I was hoping we'd get different colors.
The bag itself is a good size and color. This would be great to put your brushes in for travel. I like that there is so much variety in the style of bag each month now. When I first subscribed they were all pretty similar. This bag was good but I wasn't blown away. I still haven't used anything from last month's bag either. I think I may finally be sampled out.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

e.l.f. 50% Off Sale Haul

Around Thanksgiving e.l.f  had a 50% of sale. You had to spend $20 or $25 to qualify which is a pretty decent sized haul of e.l.f products.  I needed a new bottle of the Mist & Set and the Lip Exfoliator was finally back in stock so I went in search of what else I could through in my cart. Admittedly, e.l.f. products are hit or miss but at half off their already low prices, I'm willing to take some risks. 

  • Beauty Wedges Price $1.00  $0.50 You can always use more sponges right?
  • HD Blush in Headliner  Price $3.00 $1.50 I'm a fan of cream blushes. I've never tried a straight up liquid blush before. I was intrigued. 
  • Cuticle Pushers Price $1.00  $0.50 I've been trying to pay more attention to how my cuticles look lately.
  • Brush Shampoo Price $3.00 $1.50 I'm almost out of my MAC brush cleaner. I have the e.l.f. Daily Brush Cleaner which I kinda like so I figured I'd give this a try.
  • Maximum Coverage Concealer - Oil Free in Porcelain Price $3.00 $1.50 I've been really interested in finding the perfect concealer lately.
  • Makeup Mist & Set Price $3.00 $1.50 I've been using this for almost a year now and love it. I notice a difference when I don't use it.
  • Lip Exfoliator Price $3.00 $1.50 I've been dying to try this but it was always out of stock. I was so excited when I got an email letting me know it was back in stock. I just gave this a test drive and I love it. Full review to come.
  • Moisturizing Lip Tint SPF 8 in Berry Price $3.00 $1.50 I have this in Rose and I really like it. Good pigmentation. Long lasting. I hope this one follows suit.
  • Matte Lip Color in Rich Red  Price $3.00  $1.50 I'm forever on the search for the perfect matte red.
I also purchased a concealer palette ($1.50)  for my Mom's box of holiday goodies. Overall, I got ten items for $13.00 plus shipping. That feels like a good days work of bargain shopping to me.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Collective Holiday Sephora & Ulta Hauls

I took advantage of some holiday sales but didn't go too crazy. I also have upcoming MUA and e.l.f. hauls to post but first my latest Sephora and Ulta hauls. I fell in love with the L'Occitane hand cream from November's Sample Society Box so I wanted to try more. L'Occitane has a holiday set featuring 1 oz tubes of five of their hand creams.  They are Lavande, Pivoine Flora, Classic Shea Butter, Fleur Cherie, and Cherry Blossom. Unfortunately it was sold out a So I picked it up from Sephora (where it is also now sold out). These retail indiviually for $10. I picked up the set for $40 and I believe I got 8% cash back from Ebates.
L'Occitane Hand Cream Confections Set
L'Occitane Hand Cream Confections Set
I can't decide if I'm going to keep them all or send a couple to my mom and sister with the beauty goodie bags I'm putting together for them.

Sephora Freebies
Sephora Freebies
I got a pile of free stuff with my order.First up are my picks for the usual three free samples. Benefit So Radiant which features samples of the Triple Performing Face Emulsion, Total Moisture Facial Cream, and It's Potent Eye Cream. I've try the eye cream in the past and liked it. I wasn't amazed by it but I did like it. Clinique High Impact Mascara was my second choice because I'm always up to try a new mascara. Third choice was Lady Gaga's Fame perfume. I have to admit I was curious. The scent reminds of Liz Taylor Poison from back in the day. Sephora was also offering mystery bags of samples. Mine included two cards of Sephora foundation in Light and Medium, a foil pack of Sephora Instant Moisturizer, Clarins High Definition Body Lift, DDF Amplifying Elixir, and a mini bottle of Versace perfume. I had a sample of the DDF before but it traded it. I may keep this one and actually try it out. I'm pretty sure I'm sending the Versace to my mom though. I'll definitely try the rest.

Ulta was still doing a buy one get one 50% on Real Techniques brushes so I took advantage of that. I picked up the Expert Face Brush and the Stippling brush. I also decided to try a new moisturizer and eye cream. I'm not really loyal to any particular moisturizer and I still haven't found my HG eye cream yet. I like the Eucerin so far but haven't been impressed with the Neutrogena eye cream.

Ulta Holiday 2012 Haul

My Ulta order also contained several items for my Mom but I won't post them on the off chance that she reads this. There was a mix of makeup and skincare products for her. I also scored cash back from Ebates for my Ulta purchase.

Overall, I managed to rein myself in a bit. I'm really trying not to go crazy with my spending lately. I managed to stay mostly on budget as far as gift buying is concerned and only bought a few things for myself. YAY.

What were some of your holiday hauls?

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Bellydance Changed My Life

About four years ago I was looking for a way to work out that wouldn't actually feel like work. I've always had a strong interest in dance but had never actually studied any dance forms. So I started looking at the different types of belly dance. You don't need to a certain age or body type to belly dance. Anyone can do it. Besides it works the abs and hips and what woman doesn't want to work on those areas?

It was my intention to eventually pick up tribal fusion which tends to have a dark and gothic aesthetic. Since I used to be super goth and started going out to goth clubs way back when I was 16 this style really appealed to me. I could still belly dance but do it to all my favorite club hits. Thanks to the strong art history training at VCU, I feel like you have to study the where an art form comes from before you can start altering it or bending it to your will.

I picked up Amira's Bellydance 101 and started my journey. Amira is a local Las Vegas belly dancer and instructor but is known throughout the world. It was quite a challenge to get parts of my body to move in ways they had never moved before. I used to dread the section of the DVD with the body wave! After about two years of doing this DVD at least once a week in my living room, I was finally brave enough to go to an actual class. I contacted Amira but she typically teaches during the day when I work. She suggested I contact Aradia another local dancer and teacher with a world class reputation.

So on June 1, 2010 I walked into my first belly dance class. I was so nervous! Aradia is a star in the belly dance world but I introduced myself and found her very approachable and reassuring. I don't remember exactly what we covered in class those first few weeks but I do know it was quite humbling! I realized I could not dance and travel at the same time nor was I as good as I thought I was. But I didn't give up. Later on that year Aradia offerred a fan veil/drum solo choreography series. I debated with myself on whether or not I was ready but eventually I decided I was up for the challenge. I'm so thankful that I did!

Mt. Charleston 2012 photo by Glenn Brogan
The more I studied classic Egyptian style and listened to Arabic music the more I found I really loved it! So that shift to tribal never happened. Apparently, there's a side of me that likes to wear color every now and then. I was already attracted to sparkly things and dramatic eye makeup.

I began studying consistently with Aradia and dancing in a troupe led by Aradia's teaching assistant, Leslie. The Death by Shimmy ladies are all so unique and amazing. It truly is an honor to dance with them. I've learned so much about myself over the last two and half years. I have achieved so much more than I ever thought I could and met so many amazing women and men!

I was so miserable when my gall bladder was misbehaving and I couldn't dance.  Although I did push through it to perform a very beautiful veil piece with my troupe. The recovery period after my surgery seemed to take forever. It's difficult to get back up to speed between all m health issues over the last year and my new work schedule but I'm getting back up there. Belly dance truly is my passion in life and is somewhat responsible for my makeup addiction.

Death by Shimmy performing at the Las Vegas Bellydance Intensive 2012

Bellydance is really a beautiful art form with so many varied styles and traditions that it really can offer something for everyone. However, it is just like any other form of dance in that it takes constant study and practice. There is always something to learn! I've been in workshops where Aradia (with her 30+ years experience) was right next to me taking the class. Of course I thought I would swoon when she introduced me to another professional dancer in the class as her student. It was definitely validation for me. I was at least good enough that she'd want people to know she was my teacher. LOL.

Anyhoo, if you've read this far let's see some dancing!

So here's a version of that original fan veil/drum solo. I've performed the fan veil portion of this a few times as a solo but never with the drum solo on the end. I really pushed myself to just do it. I was able to add all the layers that seemed impossible when I first started. This performance was so much fun.

This next piece is a nod to the Golden Era of bellydance which started in the 1940s. I love this dance. It could be my favorite so far.

And finally if you're worried that we're too serious all the time, here's a dance we did for Halloween 2011. Remember when I said anyone could bellydance? The "mermaid" in this video is 60. The very beginning of this got cut off. : (

So there you have it. I could go on and on about bellydance all day but I've probably bored you all enough. If you have any questions or want to see more videos please let me know!

Friday, November 23, 2012

November Rambling

First I wanted to say thank you to all of my readers! I am grateful to each of you for reading my blog. Thank you to all the other amazing bloggers out there. I've learned so much from you all and I've been inspired.

I've been trying to do some things around the house over the holiday and there was all the baking and visiting to do. So I've been neglecting my blog. I was going to post about the November Ipsy bag but you're all probably tired of seeing it this late in the month. ;)

I was subscribed to MyGlam back in the earlier months of the year when it...well. when it sucked. So I cancelled my subscription. I've kept my eye on their progress though and they've really upped their game. This month I decided to resubscribe and I'm not disappointed. Except for the nail polish but I'm just not into glitter and gold. I love They're Real! mascara it might be my HG mascara. I'm really excited to try theBalm shadow. I've never tried any of their shadows although I've been tempted to buy Nude'Tude a few times. Love the color of the lip gloss. I'm not really into the actual bag this month but that's OK. I loved the October bag and actually traded over on MUT to get one. 

I need to go through my collection and update my trade list. I'm also thinking of doing a blog sale. I have a few Inglot shadows and some other stuff I may want to part with. 

I'm doing OK on my low buy for the month. I had to take advantage of the MUA 35% off sale. I'll probably hit up some Cyber Monday deals. My Mom wants some makeup/skincare items for Christmas and I still want to pick up a few of the Real Techniques brushes but I don't intend to go crazy buying palettes or holiday sets or even that bottle of Balenciaga perfume I've been wanting for ages.

Hope you're having a great holiday weekend!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Sample Society November

Sample Society  continues to be one of my favorite sub services. Last month was a little blah this month though I'm pretty happy. They have also started to slightly customize loosely based on complexion/hair color. So while everyone got the same lipstick sample, there were different colors sent out. I personally like that everyone gets the same samples with only color variations. That is also why I try to avoid spoilers. I really enjoy being surprised when I open my box. Anyhoo, on to November's box.

November 2012 Sample Society
November Sample Society
  • Dermalogica Precleanse Deluxe Sample 1 fl oz (Full Size Retail 5.1 fl oz $35)  A double cleansing regimen that begins with PreCleanse, is a plant-based cleanser that thoroughly melts layers of excess sebum, sunscreen, makeup, environmental pollutants and residual skin products that build up during the day. Then, when water is added, this hyrophilic formula transforms into a milky emulsion that easily rinses away oil-based debris from the skin's surface. This gentle blend can also be used around the eye area to remove even the most stubborn waterproof mascara. I haven't tried it on mascara yet but I do like this cleanser. It does well at cutting through a full face of makeup. I don't know that it's a product I'd reach for every day.. Most days I only wear some BB and blush so I think it would be a bit overkill. I do like it though. Of course, I have yet to meet a Dermalogica product I didn't like.
  • Alterna Bamboo Smooth Kendi Dry Oil Mist Deluxe Sample 1 fl oz (Full Size Retail 4.2 fl oz $24) Use as both a Treatment & Style Primer.  Infuses hair with nutrients & anti-oxidants. Strengthens hair.  Protects Color with Color Hold® Technology.  Prevents frizz and extends the life of your smooth blowout with built-in humidity resistance.  Enhances shine. Good for you Beauty: Both highly sustainable ingredients are Fair-Trade compliant & Certified Organic. Their production & sale aids in supporting the development of local communities.  All products contain ingredients grown responsibly & ethically traded; FREE OF sulfates, parabens, gluten, TEA phthalates. I actually wasn't excited about this product until I read it's blurb. I haven't used this yet but I will definitely try to work it in this week. I usually don't use much in the way of hair products because I rarely style or iron my hair. Give me a hair oil any day though and I'm happy girl.
  • Diptyque Volutes Eau de Toilette Deluxe Sample perfume vial .06 fl oz (Full Size Retail 3.4 fl oz $120) Blond, honeyed Egyptian tobacco transports you to mysterious horizons and far-off shore. Iris strengthens it, spices give it body, and styrax imposes a daring and distinguished leathery note. Based on the description, it sounds like I'd like it. However, on me, I just get too much of a powder smell. booo. This is the second Diptyque perfume Sample Society has sent out and I haven't like either one. 
  • L'Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream Deluxe Sample .03 oz (Full Size Retail $28) Shea butter, honey and sweet almond extract are smoothing. Jasmine and ylang-ylang essences offer a delicate scent. Vitamin E helps nourish and protect. I've been wanting to try this for a long time so I was very excited to open my box and see the silver tube. This is a hugely popular hand cream. I have to admit that I probably neglect my hands as far as moisture and sun protection. I I like the feel of this hand cream however I'm not quite sold on the fragrance. Still undecided on this one. 
  • diego dalla palma Classic Lipstick Deluxe Sample-29. Pink Satin (Full Size Retail $34) Wax coated pigments offer pure and true color while film-forming polymers provide immediate adherence and staying power. Ginseng extracts fight wrinkles and increase lips' firmness, and vitamins C and E put antioxidants and anti-aging properties to work. I liked the formula of this lipstick a lot. It is creamy and long lasting like they claim. Shade 29 is a light pink color that I normally wouldn't choose for myself. However, it looks alright. If I were going to buy one of these I'd definitely choose a different shade.
So overall I like this month's Sample Society box. I thought they were able to get these boxes out without too much delay from Super Storm Sandy. 

MUA 35% Off Sale w/Free International Shipping!

MUA Cosmetics  is a beloved brand of UK beauty bloggers. They recently hit 35,000 likes on their Facebook page and are celebrating with 35% off and free shipping including international shipping! Just use code MUA35 at checkout.

This sale was so popular it crashed their site for a few days. Now it's back up and running great. I put my order in last night and picked up quite a few things. After making the currency exchange I spent less than $20. Woohoo. I'll post a haul when it gets here but I did order another Heaven & Earth palette to be used in a future giveaway.

Check out my haul from the MUA 25,000 likes sale here.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Ulta Mini Haul

Even though I'm trying to do a Low Buy for the next few months, I braved a trip to Ulta. I had $5 off coupon on a purchase $10 or more and my quarterly reward to pick up (which I've never actually used before). Ulta had also mailed me a postcard announcing their new Clinique counters. To celebrate, they were giving away a free lipstick. So I made my plan of attack and went in. The only two items I was intending to buy were the Real Techniques Blush Brush and OPI Nail Polish in Bubble Bath. Ashley over at Blush Bug did a post not too long ago about her Favorite Nude Polishes and I fell in love with Bubble Bath.

  • O.P.I. Nail Lacquer in Bubble Bath Original price $8.50 after coupon $6.07.  This polish is the perfect pale pink color. I did two coats and it's still pretty sheer but still gives a hint of color. Love!
  • Real Techniques Blush Brush Original price $8.99 after coupon $6.42 I don't have a blush brush that I love. Everyone raves about these brushes so I thought I'd give it a shot. It was a tough call between this brush and the Expert Face Brush. I'll definitely get the Expert Face Brush next time around.
  • Clinique Long Last Lipstick in All Heart Original price $15. FREE! I believe this is full size but I can't find the weight on the tube. The color All Heart is a deep mauve/berry color. It really suits me. I used to use a lot of Clinique skincare products but I haven't ever really used many of their makeup products.
  • Macadamia Natural Oil Healing Oil  .35 oz Original price $6.50 FREE! I hardly ever cash in my quarterly points at Ulta. I always forget. When I saw this as one of the options, I was way more motivated than usual. I love this stuff! I'm still working through my 1 oz bottle from Beauty Army. I swear I'm actually going to buy it one day.
Even though I went to the NYX display twice and everything was buy one get on 50%, I managed to not walk away with anything. I'm so proud of myself for sticking to my plan of action. It definitely was not easy! My total spent before taxes was $12.49 that's like a record low for me.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Brush Battle: Coastal Scents v. e.l.f. Stipple Brushes

I like to use a lot of cream blushes and I tend to apply them with a stipple brush. The first stipple brush I bought was the e.l.f brush a few months ago. I just got the Coastal Scents Stipple Brush in mystery box. Let's see how the stack up against each other.

Coastal Scents Stippling Brush and e.l.f Stipple Brush

  • Overall Design: The Coastal Scents brush is longer. I tend to hold it close to the ferrule anyway so that doesn't really make much of a difference to me. The handles are slightly rounded for grip. Winner: Tie

L to R: Coastal Scents, e.l.f.
  • Bristles: These are both made with synthetic bristles. The Coastal Scents brush has thinner bristles that are more densely packed. This definitely gives a more controlled application. The e.l.f bristles are a little bit stiffer and not as soft against the skin.  Winner: Coastal Scents
  • Durability: I've had the e.l.f. brush for a few months and I use it fairly regularly. I haven't noticed any shedding and there has been minimal fraying of the bristles. Cleans easily.

e.l.f bristles

The Coastal Scents brush starting shedding immediately. I've washed it a few times and it still sheds. I find bristles stuck to my face or in my blush. There are also more bristles that are going off in their own direction. I also had a very difficult time getting this brush clean. I really had to work in the brush cleaner and let it sit to get this brush completely clean.

Coastal Scents bristles
This is only after a few weeks of off and on use. Winner: e.l.f

  • Price: These are both reasonably priced. Coastal Scents is $6.95 available on the Coastal Scents site. and e.l.f is $3 available on the e.l.f site Winner: e.l.f
  • Overall Winner: e.l.f. This is a great brush for the price and has held up nicely. I do wish the bristles were a little bit more densely packed but I will still reach for this over the Coastal Scents brush. 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

October Favorites

I didn't get around to doing a September favorites so this is more of an September/October favorites post. I haven't been wearing a lot of different makeup the last few months. I did perform with my troupe a few times though. We danced a 1940s Golden Era Bellydance piece so I've been doing a retro look a lot which is where most of my favorite products come from.

If anyone is interested in a tutorial for this look let me know. It's pretty easy and always looks glamorous. Anyhoo, on to the October favorites!

Eyeko Skinny Liner, Ardell Wispies, Besame Crimson Rouge, e.l.f. Tinted Lip Moisturizer, & Benefit They're Real! Mascara

  • Eyeko Skinny Eyeliner in Black I got this back in my July Birchbox it was one of the few items I got from Birchbox that I absolutely loved and one of the very few full sized items I ever got. Anyhoo, this is a felt tipped liner that glides on smoothly and is long lasting. It makes it really easy to achieve that winged liner look. It comes in several different colors. There's a purple I keep talking myself out of buying. It's gorgeous but I don't know when I'd ever wear it. You can buy it at Sephora or Birchbox for $15.
  • Ardell Wispies Love love love these falsies. They're big and dramatic but still give that soft wide-eyed look. You can find Ardells in most drugstores and Target for around $4.
  • Besame Crimson Rouge I got this is as a sample in my August Beauty Army kit. Besame Cosmetics is all about the vintage retro look with their products and their packaging. This cream blush is much drier than other cream blushes I've tried. It works great though. Just dab a little bit on and blend it out and you have the perfect vintage looking flush. The full size of this is $22 and you can find it at Besame Cosmetics or Beauty Army.
  • e.l.f. Moisturizing Lip Tint SPF8 in Rose I usually carry around a ridiculous amount of lippies in my purse. So I've been trying to use up some products and cull the herd. I rediscovered this and have been wearing it a lot. Rose is a darker pink color. I find it much more pigmented than other tinted lip moisturizers/lip balms that I've tried. Fairly well moisturizing and the color is long lasting. These are $3 on the e.l.f. website and I think you can find these in Target.
  • Benefit They're Real! Mascara I got this sample in my September Little Black Bag. I really didn't want to love it because the full size is $23. I have a hard time finding a mascara that doesn't give me panada eyes even though I only wear mascara on my top lashes. This mascara delivers length and stays put all day. Love it! I have about $10 worth of Birchbox points to cash in so I'll probably buy this. You can also find it pretty much everywhere... Benefit, Sephora, and Ulta.
I don't normally talk about music but the eagerly awaited new album from The 69 Eyes is finally out! The 69 Eyes are a Finnish Goth rock/metal band. The new album is so good. I've been listening to it two or three times a day. Here's the video for the single "Red."  My favorite track is actually "Black." You can buy this on Amazon as a CD or download. The Itunes version features a bonus track which is a duet with Kat Von D.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Coastal Scents Mystery Box

Awhile back Coastal Scents was offering these mystery boxes. I believe they originally sold for $50. I picked mine up when they were on sale for $19.99. I had seen a few other people post about them and the contents looked decent and I love a good mystery box. This seems like a mixture of discontinued, slightly irregular factory faults, and sale items.  Here's what was in my box.

Mini Contour Brush & Mini Lip Brush
I tried to use the Mini Contour Brush for cleaning up my cuticles after painting my nails but it didn't work very well. You could possibly use it for really targeted blending. The lip brush would be good for travelling or throwing in your purse for touch ups.

Classic Stippling Brush, Classic Shadow Large Natural & Medium Natural, Natural Fan Brush, and Classic Blender
I like that I received a mixture of synthetic and natural brushes. I always love trying new brushes. I've been using the Stippling Brush for apply cream blush. I'm going to do a comparison with the e.l.f Stipple brush soon. I haven't decided what to do with the Large Natural or the Natural Fan brush yet. I gave the other two to my sister who had no brushes.

Mineral Shadows: Balara, Ignite, Figi Twist, Lace Sparkle, Lagoon Mist, & Emerald Sapphire (sample)
Five full sized mineral shadows! I actually don't use a lot of mineral makeup though. These colors were all recently discontinued. Balara is a dark brown color unlike the orange tint it has in the photo.  Ignite is a light brownish pink. Fiji Twist is a bright sunshine yellow. Lace Sparkle is a light mauve. Lagoon Mist is periwinkle. Emerald Sapphire is a cool toned sparkley green. These can be applied wet or dry. If you're interested in swatches let me know. I may just put most of these in my trade pile.

Mineral Bronzer
I was all set to send this straight to the trade pile but this seems light enough that it won't just make my complexion look muddy. I'm going to give it a shot.

Quad Eyeshadow Palette: ??, Peach, Deep Grape, New Penny
This quad was being sold as a dramatic look for green eyes. I'm a blue eyed girl and I don't think I can pulll off this combination. The mystery shade and Deep Grape are matte colors. The mystery shade is very sheer. Peach has a satin finish. New Penny has a more metallic finish. You could easily pop these out and put different colors in. I have a medium and small Z palette though. If I need to travel, I just put my selected colors in the smaller Z palette.

Whimsical Lashes
I love lashes. I don't have a pair with this crisscross pattern so I'm pretty excited about these. I usually only wear lashes for dance performances though. Not sure when I'll get around to trying these out.

I also received a bottle of facial cleanser with grapefruit and green tea extract. It foams up out of the bottle and has a very fresh and clean scent. I haven't tried the African Black Soap yet.

For what I paid, I definitely think I got my money's worth. There are some products I definitely wouldn't have picked up on my own. What are your favorite Coastal Scents products?

Monday, October 22, 2012

Milani Winner: Brows Products for Fall

I was one of the lucky winners back when Milani was giving away products for fall. All I did to win this was re-tweet a picture. This is actually the second Milani haul I've won. Back in the spring, I won the Spring Nail Polish Collection. This time I won products from the brow range. I've just recently really gotten into brow products so I was really excited.

Milani brow products
Easybrow Mechanical Pencils and Brow Fix Kits

Milani describes the Brow Fix Kits as,"A brow grooming and shaping kit that will help you create a perfect set of arches. Compact contains seven essential tools: Straight edged tweezers, slanted brow filler brush, brow bone sponge applicator, 3X magnifying mirror, brow bone highlighter and two tone-on-tone powders to fill and shape brows. Be your own brow guru, shaping your brows is as easy as 1-2-3!"
Milani Brow Fix Kits
Brow Fix Kits in Light and Medium
I will do full reviews of these soon. I love the idea of these. This would make a great addition to my on the go makeup bag.
Milani Brow Fix Kit Medium Swatch
Quick Swatches of the Medium Brow Kit
The EasyBrow Mechanical Pencils also have a spoolie on one end for blending. This is super handy. I have some with my brushes but I don't want to carry around a spoolie in my purse.

This only comes in two colors.  Natural Taupe and Dark Brown.

The Easybrow Mechanical Pencils retail for $5.49 and the Brow Fix Kit retails for $6.99. Milani cosmetics are sold in most drugstores and from the Milani site

Sunday, October 14, 2012

New Giveaway Winner!

So the first winner of my giveaway did not contact me back with her shipping info. Bad news for her. Good news for someone else!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Congratulations Katie!

October Sample Society

I know I'm a bit behind on this one. I always get my Sample Society box a week after  everyone else it seems and it's been crazy busy at work. I normally photograph my box right after I open but this time it sat on my counter for a week. Overall, this is probably my least favorite Sample Society box to date. I'll only be keeping two of the five main items. The rest are going up for trade.

October 2012 Sample Society

  • Jane Iredale Tantasia Self Tanner Deluxe Sample (Full Size Retail 4.2 oz $36) Bronzer provides instant, healthy-looking color. Builds a gradual, natural looking tan within three days, for optimum control and customization. Fresh citrus fragrance. Streak-free formula. Sensitivity tested for use on face and body. Provides natural hydration to the skin. I won't repeat my rant about self tanners. If you missed it the first time, you can find it here. I will say that I find getting a self tanner this late in the season is a bit odd. Granted it's a perfect 80 degrees and sunny with a nice breeze here in Las Vegas. I actually have my windows open.  So still being naturally tan is not out of the realm of possibility. This is not true of most of the country.
  • Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment Deluxe Sample .25 fl oz (Full Size Retail 2oz $85) Combats acne and blackheads. Reduces discoloration and polishes skin. All skin types, except sensitive skin. This expert formula harnesses the power of fruit enzymes to clarify skin by removing dead cells and eliminating bacteria. Rosewood and cinnamon extracts work to reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles while aloe vera, honey and Vitamin E smooth and soften skin. Salicylic acid balances hydration, without over-drying the skin. This is one of the products that I'm going to keep and try. Who doesn't love a good exfoliator? However, at $85 for the full size, it's doubtful I'll love it enough to replace my beloved Ren mask. I also have a Clarisonic Mia that I should use more often.
  • Erno Laszlo Phormula 3-9 Balm Deluxe Sample .10 fl oz. (Full Size Retail 1.7 fl oz. $245) Rich Repairative Moisturizer Smooth scars, wounds, burns, and dry skin with this intensive. nourishing balm. Dryness, redness and puffiness are effectively treated beneath the balm's protective Health Dome. Skin is strengthened while irritation is reduced. Rich, anti-bacterial tropical Tamanu Oil boosts skin health and promotes rapid healing. Dromiceius Oil restores the skin's moisture barrier and stimulates skin cell renewal. Yeast Extract improves skin cell respiration. Marine-based Glycosaminoglycans promote collagen production for greater smoothness and elasticity.  I have a little acne scaring and a few spots that could use some love. Strivectin SD has worked fairly well so far. I'll give this sample a try. This is something I definitely will not be purchasing. It would have be to a-Freaking_mazing at that price. That's most of a new belly dance costume! 
  • Aromachology Clean & Fresh Fresh Eau de Parfum Deluxe Sample (Full Size Retail $100) Like a bright, sunny Saturday, Aromachology Clean & Fresh Eau de Parfum is comfortable and carefree. This fresh fragrance includes notes of white tea, bergamot, green tea, cardamom, lemon balm and precious woods.  Some people have described this as smelling like dryer sheets. It reminded me of soap. I think Irish Spring but I haven't actually smelled that in years. I still like getting perfume samples. Every now and then I find something I love. I'm looking at you Bond #9.
  • Oscar Blandi Pronto Wet Shampoo Deluxe Sample 1.7 fl oz. (Full Size Retail 8.4 fl oz $24) In combination with Oscar Blandi Pronto Dry Shampoo, Pronto Wet is designed for every-other-day use. Keep your coif calendar streamlined with this time-saving routine. Purifies hair with natural botanicals. Removes build-up and boosts volume. Scented with a Lemon verbena fragrance. Enjoy the perfect cleanser for your full-wash days – as well as the healthy, full hair you deserve. Grape seed oil and Olive oil add moisture. Hydrolyzed Wheat protein helps restructure hair. Silk amino acids help to repair and strengthen hair. AquaFlex technology, a special polymer that coats the hair, provides instant volume.  My hair stylist makes a pretty penny every few months thinning out my hair. The floor looks like she's shaved a yeti when it's done and then I still have plenty of hair left. It gets even bigger after I wash it. So volumizing shampoo is almost up there with self tanner for me... almost. I'm waffling on whether or not to just try it or to trade it. I also prefer to try both shampoo and conditioner together. 
  • Herban Essentials Lavendar Towelette Extra. Foil pack 1 x towelette (Full Size Retail 20x $16) Herban Essentials essential oil towelettes are made with the highest quality pure essential oil, which not only makes them smell amazing, but makes them naturally antibacterial and antiseptic as well. The most common use for the towelettes is to cleanse the hands and kill germs, but there are millions of ways to use these wonderful wipes!  Toss them in your purse, backpack, briefcase, car, wallet, or gym bag to enjoy their germ-killing, mood-lifting, fabulousness everywhere you go!  I haven't tried this yet. I'm not opposed to lavender scented products. I like the idea of these. Other varieties include: Eucalyptus, Peppermint, and Lemon. There are also towlettes gear for Yoga (hands, feet, and mat) and for contact with pets (interesting). 
So not the best Sample Society box ever. I don't hate it. I'm just not excited about it. Sample Society is still my favorite. I've been cracking down on subs lately. Birchbox has been cancelled and I skipped Beauty Army and Little Black Bag this month. Partly I think I'm getting seriously sampled out. They're all over my house! On my desk, on the counter, in the bathroom. The other part is really trying to spend less and save more.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Giveaway Winner and Update!

I just returned from spending a week with my family in Virginia. It was great to get out of the city and just recharge for a bit. On a side note, I know can sympathize with you ladies that don't have easy access to Ulta or Sephora. My Mom and I had to drive two hours to go to Sephora! We had a road trip planned anyway but still. The big news is the winner of my giveaway is Ashley M. from Ashley the Fashion Guru a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, September 29, 2012

September Sample Society

It's been box mania around here. Normally I try to post these earlier but I've been too busy to really use most of my samples. I like to at least try things once before putting in my 2 cents. So on to this month's Sample Society.

September 2012 Sample Society

  • CellCeuticals Extremely Gentle Cleanser Deluxe Sample 2 oz  (Full Size Retail $35) Ideal for even the most sensitive skin, CellCeuticals Extremely Gentle Cleanser removes impurities and makeup without drying out the skin. This daily cleanser hydrates the skin and leaves it feeling supple as it removes facial and eye makeup. I wasn't expecting this to have such a thin texture so I got more out than I had bargained for. This is a very gentle cleanser. I like it so far. I have tons of sample cleansers to work through though.
  • Borghese B Gloss Deluxe Sample .16 oz in Fiore (Full Size Retail .21 oz $18.50) Borghese B Gloss Lip Gloss is a lush, glossy color that accentuates lips and provides high-shine looks. Moisturizers deliver a soothing treat while high style pigments add luminosity. Has a long-wearing formula. Vitamins A and E deliver moisture. Avocado oil, jojoba oil and aloe vera soothe lips. The color I received is very close to my natural lip color with just a little shine. It's nice and subtle. Wear time was pretty good but it comes at a cost. This lip gloss is very sticky feeling. I really don't care for glosses that are really sticky. I'd rather reapply more often.
borghese b gloss swatch fiore

  • Diptyque Vetyverio Eau de Toilette Sample Vial .06(Full Size Retail 1.7 oz $88) Made for both women and men, the Diptyque Eaux de Toilette use the finest raw materials. Vetyverio is in Diptyque's Woody Family. Has the essence of forest vegetation. I normally like the more uni-sex fragrances since I'm not really into girly florals. I don't care for this one. I may give it another try though. My first experiment with it made it smell really strong.
  • Stila Cosmetics Smudge Crayon Waterproof Primer + Shadow + Liner in Umber Deluxe Sample (Full Size Retail $22) Stila Smudge Crayon Waterproof Eye Primer + Shadow + Liner Dazzle is a 3-in-1 gel-based product that glides on with ease and stays in place until you say when. This creamy, multi-pearl formula is infused with emollients for a smooth, comfortable application. Stila Smudge Crayon Waterproof Eye Primer + Shadow + Line Dazzle also provides rich, bold color for more than 6 hours of continuous wear that won't crease over time. The best part: There's a pull-out sharpener conveniently hidden in the base so your product can be ├┤on pointo no matter where you are. I haven't had a chance to use this yet either except to try to swatch it. I love this color and think it can go well with some of the colors from MUA's Heaven & Earth palette.

Stila Cosmetics Smudge Crayon Waterproof Primer + Shadow + Liner in Umber

  • Ahava Purifying Mud Mask Deluxe Sample .9 oz (Full Size Retail 4.4 oz $30) Apply this unique mineral mud mask once or twice a week. It contains purifying and softening qualities, clears skin of excess oils, roots out the grime and blackheads, and prevents the formation of blemishes. This is the only product I haven't had a chance to use yet. I'm hoping to get to it this week. I don't do a lot of masks other than my weekly Ren mask. So this will be a nice change of pace.
Sample Society continues to be my favorite box. I like that it's balanced and sends out brands I wouldn't normally try on my own.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

September Beauty Army

September marked my second month with Beauty Army. Beauty Army is a montly subscription service that allows you to choose your own samples and you can skip a month if you want. Yay. I really enjoyed my first box last month so I was really excited for my window to open up this month. I have seven items this month since one of mine leaked last month.

  • Emani Foundation Primer & Serum (Full Size Retail .84 oz $28) Velvety in texture, it absorbs excess oils and minimizes the appearance of pores. Hydrating Primer Serum contains 10 different organic extracts to aid and prep your skin for an ultimate foundation application. It deeply nourishes, moisturizes, and softens the skin, creating a soft, luminous effect. I'm always up for trying out new primers. 
  • Bath & Body Works Shower Gel in Japanese Cherry Blossom (Full Size Retail 10 oz $11) Bath & Body Works' exclusive formula is now enriched with Shea Butter for softer, cleaner skin in their bubbliest lather ever! Moisturizing Aloe Vera and skin-loving Vitamin E combine with our exclusive, award-winning Japanese Cherry Blossom for lather that bursts with fragrance! Japanese Cherry Blossom is a seductive and mysterious floral scent. Top Notes: Asian Pear, Fuji Apple and Ume Plum. Mid Notes: Japanese Cherry Blossom, Butterfly Lily, Kyoto Rose, Mimosa Petals. I really enjoyed the version of this I got last month in Twilight Woods. That is definitely a more masculine woody scent which is right up my alley. This is definitely a floral. It's almost too light and girly for me. Given the choice I'd pick Twilight Woods.
  • SUNTEGRITY BB Cream SPF30 in Light (Full Size Retail 1.7 oz $45) An all in one, natural Beauty Benefit cream that treats, hydrates, protects, primes and covers the skin. Supercharged with youth promoting antioxidants that fight free radical damage, this cream also provides mineral Broad Spectrum SPF 30 coverage. Red algae and Certified Organic: aloe vera, jojoba, sunflower, pomegranate, cucumber, and green tea provide the face with additional sun defense and hydration. Non-nano sized zinc-oxide protects the skin while providing anti-inflammatory properties that help with rosacea, acne, and melasma. Carefully made for all skin types. Vegan and Cruelty Free (PETA & Leaping Bunny Cert.).  I love true BBs. This seems a bit pricey. I swatched this on my arm before slathering it all over my face. Too yellow! booo. To the trade piles.
  • Egyptian Magic All Purpose Skin Cream (Full Size Retail 4 oz $37.20) This miraculous all-purpose formula will amaze you. This non-greasy blend of all natural ingredients serves an astounding variety of purposes. Use it on your face as a night moisturizer and eye cream. Apply as a split end mending hair conditioner and defrizzer. Try it as a lip balm and as a healing nail and cuticle conditioner. May be used to smooth rough areas and treat conditions like eczema, psoriasis and atopic dermatitis. Egyptain Magic All Purpose Skin Cream has antibacterial properties and contains no toxins, making it a perfect stretch mark prevention cream for use during pregnancy. May also be used to soothe redness, fade scars, and even heal blemishes. I've read a lot about this lately and was excited to get the opportunity to try it out. I'm a bit hesitant to use this. I have a pretty small sample and if it's as amazing as people say it is, I'll want more more more! I'm not on a strict no buy again but I've definitely been weighing need v. want a lot lately. 
  • LIPSI COSMETICS Aphrodite Power (Full Size Retail .74 oz $20) This fine finishing powder is designed to absorb the excess oil, allowing your skin to glow. Aphrodite Power sets makeup and absorbs shine while keeping your cosmetics fresh and natural all day long. This powder suits all skin types and tones. I'm a powder girl. I always set my BB or foundation with powder. I have combination skin and find that powdering really helps. The sample is a bit small and I can't seem to get a decent amount out. I can't imagine trying to do my whole face. So I used it in targeted areas like under my eyes to keep my mascara from smudging.
  •  NAILTIQUES  Formula 2 (Full Size retail .25 fl oz $9.50) Formula 2 is a treatment for soft, peeling, bitten, weak or thin nails. The salon-tested formulation offers a special combination of ingredients, including hydrolyzed keratin and protein in combination with gelatin and calcium to build a healthy nail foundation. The protein formula bonds the nail layers together building a strong nail foundation resistant to peeling, chipping and splitting. My nails aren't in the best of shape. I don't really invest a lot of time into making them look nice and healthy. I worked with my hands for some many years that they always looked torn up anyhoo. So it's taken me a bit of time to get into the habit of taking care of my nails and cuticles. I'm hoping this builds up my nails some. Hopefully, I can remember to apply it daily. Two days in and I do see a difference.
  • Delizioso Skincare Mangosteen & Acai Super Anti-Aging Facial Cream Deluxe Sample (Full Size Retail 1 oz $58) 100% Natural Mangosteen & Acai extracts along with Alpha Hydroxy Acids use a potent anti-aging system of antioxidants to perfect dull skin. Organic oils nourish while aloe and pure juices of cucumber and blueberry rehydrate. As you apply the moisturizer Vita Burst Beads infused with a potent dose of Vitamin E, Acai, and Mangosteen pop and start to act immediately. This technology helps keep the potent ingredients at their very peak of action. This was my bonus sample. I could have gotten something else but I wasn't thinking fast on my feet when she asked me if I wanted this sample again or something else. I loved this last month though and used what was left in the jar up completely. I would consider buying this product. 
Overall, I'm still really happy with Beauty Army. Taking the profile test over and over can be a pain but I've been happy with the samples I've ended up with.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

September Little Black Bag

I had been doing so well resisting the temptation of Little Black Bag for the last two months but I saw a purse I liked and gave in. LBB had also teamed up with Benefit Cosmetics and there were bonus Benefit goodies to be had. Win Win. Over the course of my trading, I fell out of love with my purse and wound up trading it for a two item trade. I ended up with five items plus two Benefit samples.

  • Spring Street - Snake Print Cosmetic Bag (Retail Value $25) This is a cute shiny snakeskin print makeup bag. I'm not exactly sure why I was drawn to it. Shiny? It's a good size but will still fit comfortably in purse. 
  • 'ZAD - Cheveron Cut Out Cuff in Silver (Retail Value $26) If you've looked at my past LBB videos and posts, you know I love a good bracelet. This bracelet isn't really my usual style but the good thing about LBB is that it let's you try things you wouldn't normally try while minimizing the financial risk. I've actually worn this bracelet a few times since I got my bag and I love it!
  • Kenneth Cole New York - Beaded Y Necklace (Retail Value $42)  This wound up being the most expensive single item in my bag and I wouldn't have paid $42 for it on it's own. I like that's not a symmetrical design. The beads are light and clear. I know if I decide that I don't love it my Mom will.
  • Lydell NYC - 2 Row Chain & Circle Necklace (Retail Value $28) Oddly enough this is my favorite item from this bag. The necklace has a good length to it The simple circle design will go with just about any outfit. My only complaint was that it was a pretty big knot when I took it out of the box. 
  • Kenneth Cole New York - Cherry Orbital Earrings (Retail $26) I'm not really amazed by the earrings. I kept trying to trade them and couldn't seem to shake them unless I went with something well under this value and I wasn't really willing to do that. Not to mention there hasn't been much on LBB lately that I've actually liked. These earrings are bad earrings. They just don't WOW me. Again, I can always gift these to my Mom.
  • Benefit Cosmetics - They’re Real Mascara (Full Size Retail $23) If you've been reading my posts for awhile you are also aware that I've been on a mascara hunt. This was one of the mascaras that was recommended to me. Now I'm not going to spend $23 on a mascara unless I know I'm going to love it. So I jumped at the chance to get a sample in my bag. Preliminary testing is going well. I'm definitely impressed with the length and curl.
  • Benefit Cosmetics - It's Potent! Eye Cream (Full Size Retail $32) Despite my best efforts, I still haven't found anything that really makes my dark circles go away. Sometimes they aren't as bad but they never go away completely. I haven't had a chance to try this yet but I'm always up for eye creams.
There was also a card with a sample of Benefit's Porefessional Primer. This is my absolute favorite primer so I'm excited to get a little extra. The retail value of my bag this month minus the samples is $122 which is pretty modest for LBB. I place more value on getting several items I really love.

What was in your LBB?

Sunday, September 16, 2012

September Birchbox

If you've been reading my blog the last few months, you know that I've had a pretty tumultuous relationship with Birchbox. I finally decided that this month would be the month that would decide if we were going to break up or stay together.

  • Vastanti Brighten Up! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator 20g deluxe sample (Full Size Retail $ 34)Vasanti’s multi-action exfoliator includes both enzymes and micro crystals, plus healing natural ingredients. The result? Renewed, decongested skin without any redness.  Wow that's a name! I thought my skin looked brighter after using this but I don't really care for the gritty texture. I'll probably finish up the tube at some point but I don't see myself buying this.
  • Fekkai Technician Color Care Shampoo & Conditioner Foil packs (Full Size Retail $28 8oz)  Plant-based proteins keep color-treated looks looking true-to-hue, while moisture-restoring avocado oil hydrates dry, brittle strands. A potent blend of peach, apricot, and callendula flower extracts helps protect hair from discoloration and fading. Foil packs for shampoo are really hard to open in the shower. grr. I have actually been using this shampoo conditioner for the last month or so. I actually bought a sample kit after I fell in love with the Fekkai Gloss in my March Sample Society (that sample was a true deluxe size. I'm still using it after all these months and I use it regularly). I like this formula but I don't know if I like it enough to fork over $28 a bottle.
  • Twistband Hair Tie 1 full size (Full Size Retail $18 12ct) Each Twistband is made of high-quality elastic that keeps braids, buns, and ponytails secured. Because they’re thicker than regular hair ties, they don’t leave crimps in hair.  Well that sounds nice and these may actually work if you have a normal amount of hair. Even after getting mine thinned out, I have a LOT of hair. I could only wrap this around my hair twice. Instead of a perky and cute ponytail, I got limp and sad. Some ladies mentioned that their cats loved these. Mia is just about as interested in it as am. Not to mention this is pink. I don't a single article of clothing or accessory that is pink and I'd like to keep it that way. 
  • Birchbox & Color Club Custom Collection Insta This! Deluxe Sample (Full Size Retail $8) We designed this share-worthy custom collection with Color Club for all the social media addicts out there. You’ll be inspired to tweet, pin, tag, and post these four gorgeous shades with your followers.  The only thing I feel inspired to Instagram about this is a big sad face. Every time Birchbox gets a new batch of Color Club polishes, I get one. I'm really not that interested in nail polish and this color just is not something I see myself wearing. To the trade list it goes. 
  • Dr. Jart+ Water Fuse Beauty Balm SPF 25+ 3ml Deluxe Sample (Full Size Retail $32 25ml) A moisturizer, sunscreen, and treatment serum all-in-one, this tinted BB cream even helps hide imperfections—so there’s no need for foundation or cover-up.  These have been making the Birchbox rounds for a few months as well. When they first started appearing, subscribers were getting near empty tubes. Mine was about three quarters full which is a decent amount for trying this out. I love Korean BBs. I wear my Holika Holika nearly everyday. I've also tried and really liked Skin79. I wasn't really into this one. The coverage wasn't as great as some of the other BBs I've tried. The color is just ever so slightly too dark. Normal people (non makeup obsessed) would probably not even notice but I do and it kinda bothers me.
  • The Brush Guard Variety Pack  Lifestyle extra 3ct (Full Size $5.50 4ct) The cross-stitched plastic guard holds the shape of a makeup brush. It also protects it from dust and dirt. And the snug fit keeps all our favorite tools safe. Try the ¼” for your shadow or liner brushes, and the ⅖” size for blush accents. We like the ¾” guard for foundation brushes, and the 1” for powder or Kabuki brushes to keep your all-over application tools extra clean. I actually haven't tried these out yet. It seems like a good idea though. I can't see myself actually spending money on these though. Usually when I travel with my brushes, I put them in a case by themselves so they're already protected.
There was also a digital download for some Tristan Prettyman tracks. Pretty cool if you're into that kind of music. I listened to the previews and decided it wasn't worth the space on my hard drive. 

Birchbox teamed up with Madewell clothing and put together a little fall fashion guide. I don't take pains to be on trend every season. I like what I like and that's that. They included a $25 "gift card" (good on purchases of $75 or more) to redeem at Madewell. To me their clothing was a little pricey and boring. They also only carry up to a size 12. I can sometimes where a 12 on my top half but no way on the bottom half. My code is up for grabs if anyone wants it just leave me a message. 

So what's the final verdict?! This is definitely a better box than last month. There are some products I like but it's too little too late. This will be my last Birchbox for awhile. I'm consistently happy with Sample Society and I've liked my last two Beauty Army kits. Sure it's only $10 a month but that adds up and I'd rather save my money or buy a few products I really like instead. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

100 Followers! Thank you!

When I started this blog back in January, I thought that maybe a few of my friends and family would read it. I never dreamt that so many other people would start reading it! Sometimes I don't have as much time to devote to my blog as I'd like to but it inspires me and pushes me to know there are people out there reading this and enjoying it. I love all of your comments and feedback.

In appreciation of hitting the 100+ follower mark, I'd like to send out a small thank you gift. I've chosen the e.l.f. 11 piece Studio Brush set because I think it's a good basic set of brushes. Many of these I use everyday. These are also fully synthetic and vegan friendly. The set includes: Eyeshadow "C" Brush, Small Smudge Brush, Small Angled Brush, Small Precision Brush, Contouring Brush, Concealer Brush, Blush Brush, Complexion Brush, Angled Foundation Brush, Powder Brush, and Fan Brush.

I'm also giving away my two favorite colors of the NYX Xtreme Lip Creams. My reviews of those are my most read posts. I'm giving away Buttery Nude and Absolute Red. NYX products are cruelty free.

You can read about them here and here.  I know NYX isn't a brand that is easily accessible to everyone. So I wanted to spread the love.

This will be open to my international readers as well. Winner will have 48hours to respond. If a response is not received, a new winner will be chosen. I really hope one of my actual readers wins this so you will not find a "Tweet About This Giveaway" or "Blog About This" option. Of course, if you feel like sharing it you can . :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, September 3, 2012

August Favorites

The month of August flew by! This month I have been using some new products and some products that have been sitting in my makeup drawer neglected for awhile.

August Favorites
e.l.f. Kabuki Face Brush, UD 24/7 Stray Dog, MUA Heaven & Earth, Macadamia Healing Oil, e.l.f. Makeup Mist & Set

  • e.l.f. Kabuki Face Brush This brush is so soft! I've been using it lately in place of my Estee Lauder powder brush and I love it. It's only $6 from e.l.f. I picked this up last month when they were having a sale for only $3. I'm really amazed at the quality for the price. This brush is fully synthetic and vegan.
  • Urban Decay 24/7 Eyeliner in Stray Dog This was party of the 24/7 Travel Set in Naked. I don't believe this color is part of the permanent range. I picked the set up when it was Hautelook last time. The color is a nice taupe brown. It just happens to go perfectly with the eyeshadow combination I've been using from my MUA palette.
  • MUA Heaven & Earth Palette MUA is a UK drugstore brand that lots of bloggers rave about. I finally got my hands on some of their products. Here's my haul post if you missed it. Their products are well priced even with the exchange rate. I'm happy to report that they live up to the hype. This palette is pigmented with a nice texture. I've been creating some really nice smokey daytime looks. I'll try to do a full review soon. 
  • Macadamia Healing Oil Treatment This was from my first Beauty Army. This smells amazing and leaves my hair very shiny and soft. I definitely plan on purchasing the full size version in the future. 
  • e.l.f. Makeup Mist & Set This is another of those products that I use everyday and tend to take for granted. I really notice a difference in how long my makeup lasts when I don't use it. The ingredients include aloe, green Tea, cucumber and vitamins A, C & E. There are probably better setting sprays out there but for $3 I don't think you can beat this one. It also tends to last. I've had this bottle for awhile and I'm just now getting to the halfway point..
What are your August favorites?
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