Sunday, April 29, 2012

April Sample Society

What is Sample Society? Sample Society is a monthly subscription service that is a partnership between Allure magazine and BeautyBar. For $15 a month you get five deluxe sized samples and a one year subscription to Allure.  You also receive a $15 gift code towards the purchase of any of the brands in your box. It's nice that you have some flexibility and don't have to buy the exact product. You can also use your gift code multiple times. The booklet also includes some tips on how to use the products.

Murad Skin Perfecting Primer, Boscia Purifying Cleansing Gel, Oscar Blandi Jasmine Oil Serum. By Terry Creme de Rose, & DDF Amplifying Elixir

  • Murad Skin Perfecting Primer Deluxe Sample (Full Size Retail $35) Refine your skin tone and minimize the appearance of pores with this acne-fighting primer, which creates a smooth, non-shiny matte finish. It's the secret tool for ensuring a flawless foundation application.   This primer looks pretty dark but it blends into my pale skin easily. I like this primer but wasn't wowed by it. I felt like I needed to use a fair amount to cover my entire face.
  • Boscia Purifying Cleansing Gel Deluxe Sample (Full Size Retail $26) Boscia Purifying Cleansing Gel is a daily cleaning formula which develops a purifying lather to gently clean your skin pores. It helps to refine the look of pores leaving your skin fresh, comfortable and good to touch. This gel has a complex blend of botanical amino acids and other natural things that help to protect your natural complexion.  I really enjoy this cleanser. It really is a gentle cleanser. The texture is neither too thin or too thick. I would consider buying the full size product.
  • Oscar Blandi Jasmine Oil Serum  Small Sample (Full Size Retail $35) Smooth unwanted frizz and shine all day with this lightweight, moisturizing hair gloss from stylist to the stars Oscar Blandi. Banishes frizz and flyaways. Hydrates and protects your hair. Provides instant, long-lasting shine. Add definition and light reflection to dull hair with this strengthening and perfecting serum, which can be applied on both wet and dry hair.  This smells FABULOUS. I absolutely love the way it smells. Unfortunately, I'm not wowed by it's effectiveness as a serum.  I'd still pick the Keratase Elixir Ultime over this. 
  • By Terry Creme de Rose Deluxe Sample (Full Size Retail $99) The enhanced new formula of Creme de Rose New Formula - Nutri-Lift Comfort provides soothing nourishment for tired and thirsty skin effortlessly for hours, softening lines and wrinkles for a firmer, more youthful appearance. The luscious scent of roses makes every velvety application a sensuous experience. Nourishes and soothes tired skin. Softens lines and wrinkles. Moisturizes and protects skin.   With a $99 price tag I'm a bit hesitant to try this. I don't want to fall in love with it. However, I don't have a lot of wrinkles.  I don't want to sound immodest but I also don't look my age. The last thing I want to do is appear younger.
  • DDF Amplifying Elixir Deluxe Sample (Full Size Retail $63) Formulated with a potent blend of hand-picked ingredients, DDF's Amplifying Elixir can strengthens the skin's moisture barrier by up to 50%. Banyan leaf, lotus flower and red clover extracts improve hydration and transform the skin's appearance. Hydrates skin. Can strengthen the skin's moisture barrier. Improves and transforms the skin's appearance.  I've never used a serum.  I've just recently gotten into really paying attention to an reevaluating my skincare routine. I've been a bit hesitant to try to this product because I've read some people have quite a reaction to it. I may give it a whirl or it may wind up for trade. 
Overall, there were more products in last month's box that I enjoyed and was excited to try. I hope next month improves. I received my first issue of Allure this month. I haven't had much time to really dig into it. Are you a Sample Society subscriber? What was your favorite sample?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

What's in My Travel Bag?

I just got back from a four day/three night business trip to Burbank, CA. My makeup collection and skincare routine have changed drastically since I last traveled for business in September. I decided that I didn't want to deal with the hassle of checking my luggage so this was all in my carry on luggage. It was really difficult for me to decide what would stay and what would go and I was really trying to pack light.

Makeup Remover Wipes, 3-1-1 Liquids Bag, Cosmetics Bag

The makeup remover wipes and my cosmetic bag were in my carry on suitcase and I wasn't required to pull them out for inspection.  I was able to fit a lot of products in my one quart sized bag for liquids.  I also took a full sized bottle of contact solution which doesn't count as part of your liquids. So don't waste valuable real estate in your liquids bag on those small bottles of contact solution. In the US this is considered a medication, you have to pull it out to be scanned with the rest of your liquids but it doesn't have to be 3oz. When I left Vegas, they pulled me aside and did an additional scan on my contact solution to confirm it wasn't anything dangerous. When I went through security at Burbank, they didn't care. 

Contents of my 3-1-1 liquids bag
I got all of this in my bag of liquids and had a little bit of room to spare. Oh thank you subscription services! 
  • Crest Toothpaste
  • UD Lip Junkie Lip Gloss in Wallflower (free w/purchase)
  • NYX Xtreme Lip Cream in Buttery Nude reviewed here
  • Lorac Lip Gloss in Rich Garnet reviewed here
  • Maybelline Dream Lumi Concealer in Ivory
  • Estee Lauder Sumptuous Extreme Mascara in Extreme Black (free w/purchase)
  • Kerastase Elixir hair serum (Birchbox)
  • UD Primer Potion in Original 
  • Lancome Teint Miracle Foundation in Buff 4C (free sample from Ulta)
  • Harvey Prince Yogini Perfume (Birchbox)
  • Inglot YSM Foundation in 41  (free w/purchase)
  • Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer (free sample from Ulta)
  • Regenepure DR Shampoo (My scalp is super sensitive so no using the hotel shampoo for me)
  • Regenpure NT Conditioner
  • Boscia Cleansing Gel (Sample Society)
  • Mac Fix+
  • Ahava Essential Day Moisturizer (Birchbox)
  • Maybelline Eye Studio Gel Liner in Charcoal 
Cosmetics bag contents
  • UD 24/7 Eyeliner in Whiskey
  • UD 24/7 Eyeliner in Peversion
  • Almay brown eyeliner (I use this to dip in my gel liner to apply to the waterline)
  • My Inglot Neutral palette ( #353, 341, 337)
  • My Inglot Smokey eye palette (# 324M, AMC #36, 387M, 348M, 391)
  • Milani Baked Blush Luminoso
  • Dermalogica Microfoliant (Sample Society)
  • MAC Mineralize Skinfinish in Light
  • Cover Girl Powder Natural Ivory
  • compact mirror

Travel Tools
This case is the one the e.l.f. 11 piece Studio Set comes in. I like it because it's super flat and fits easily in a suitcase.
  • Estee Lauder Powder Brush
  • e.l.f. Powder Brush
  • e.l.f.. Blush Brush
  • e.l.f Fan Brush
  • e.l.f Mineral Concealer Brush (free w/purchase)
  • MAC 217
  • MAC 239SE
  • e.l.f. Contour Brush
  • MAC 219SE
  • e.l.f Small Smudge Brush
  • Sonia Kashuk Blending Sponge

So that's pretty much what I can't leave home without for a few days. I could do a nice neutral day look or a dramatic smokey eye for evening. What can't you leave home without?

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Update on April's Birchbox: Expired Befine Samples

*A quick note. I will be very busy with work this week and I will also be rebuilding the Batmachine to make it faster.  I will try to post once more this week but I may not be back until next week*

If you read my blog about my April Birchbox you know I was really excited about the Befine moisturizer. Well it turns out it's expired.  Not just a little passed the use by date..Mine expired in 07/2009.

Befine Expiration Date
These samples were in several of the April boxes. So check your dates. It's on stamped on the side and can be a bit hard to read.

Birchbox became aware of the issue on Thursday and by Friday issued the following statement:

Dear Birchbox Customer,

It has come to our attention that a small number of the Befine Daily Moisturizer with SPF 15 samples included in our April boxes may have passed their expiration dates. Please check the stamp on the outside of your packet of Befine Daily Moisturizer with SPF 15. If your sample has expired, we advise you not to use the product, as the SPF is not guaranteed to be effective after the stated expiration date.

If you received an expired sample of the moisturizer, we would like to deposit 100 Birchbox Points in your account. Please complete this survey by April 27 to request the points award; your account will be updated by May 1.

We take pride in sending you high-quality products from great brands, typically their newest and best selling products. This situation is unacceptable and not representative of the Birchbox standard for product quality. We are working with Befine to determine the root cause of the error, and we deeply apologize for this experience.

All the best,
Hayley and Katia
Co-founders of Birchbox

I'm disappointed that these are expired.  I was really excited about trying them out. I may go ahead and buy the moisturizer. It's also disappointing because it only leaves me two items in my box that are useful to me the MicroMitt and the Wei face mask.

I'm pleased that Birchbox has acted swiftly and honorably during this situation. If you received expired samples and have not heard from Birchbox, contact customer service: or on Twitter @BirchboxOps

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

April Birchbox

Birchbox is a monthly beauty sample service for  $10 a month. They are now offering a Birchbox for men. April was my second Birchbox. I received Box # 10. I've been pretty happy with both boxes I've received so far. The April boxes gave a nod to Earth Day and featured products made from natural ingredients.

April Birchbox Box # 10

  • Befine Skincare Sampler  Moisturizer and Gentle Cleanser .34 oz sample (Retail Full size 4oz $25 each)  Revive dull skin with this gentle cleanser and moisturizer duo. Both use rice extracts to restore skin's natural barrier.  I received three packs of moisturizer and two packs of the cleanser. These are very generously sized samples. I can easily get multiple uses out of the moisturizer. I've lost count on the first pack. I think I've gotten six uses so far. The cleanser is liquid which I didn't realize when I first opened it and spilled all over my counter. Normally this is the part where I say, 'eh it's a moisturizer" but I actually really liked the moisturizer and would consider buying it. There is only a light fragrance. It applies smoothly and doesn't feel greasy or heavy. I was a bit underwhelmed by the cleanser but I'll give it another go.  
Befine Skincare Sampler
Befine Skincare Sampler. 3 x Moisturizer, 2 x Cleanser
  • Wonderstruck by Taylor Swift  Perfume Sample .04 oz (Retail Full size 3.4 oz $59.50) Inspiration for Wonderstruck came from Taylor’s favorite memories and scents. The fragrance is a gourmand floral; a charming and sparkling surprise of vibrant fruits, kissed by a bouquet of soft petals and a touch of sweet indulgence.  I don't typically go floral or fruity .
  • Zoya TRUE Spring Collection Nail Polish in Bevin .25oz sample (Retail Full Size .5 oz $8) Lighten up fprr spring with this fresh shade. The non-toxic formula goes on opaque and lasts 50% longer than traditional polishes. Bevin is a sage green with faint teal undertones. I'm not a big nail polish person. I don't see myself ever wearing this color. I think it would just come out sickly with my pale complexion. I'd be willing to trade this for Cho.
Zoya TRUE Spring Collection Bevin Swatch
Zoya TRUE Spring Collection in Bevin
  • WEI White Lotus Hydrating Face Treatment Pad Single Sheet Sample (Full Size 6 sheets $68) This single-use face mask is soaked with a blend of Eastern botanicals and hyaluronic acid to give skin an instant moisture boost.  Hopefully, I don't like this too much because $68 is probably stretching what even I would be willing to pay for skincare. 
  • MicrodermaMitt Face Mitt  Full Size (Retail $28.50) This all-natural silk mitt gently exfoliates away dead skin cells and pore-clogging debris.
Overall I'm pretty impressed with this month's box. I will probably try to trade the Zoya polish and the Wonderstruck. I know a lot of people get caught up on the monetary value of their sample boxes. This particular box has been judged one of the better boxes $$ wise. I'm not one to place value strictly based on the dollar amount. I judge the value based on how useful the products are to me. 

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Milani Spring Nail Polishes

I was one of the lucky winners of the Milani Cosmetics MVP Giveways on Twitter.  I won six full size bottles of the Spring 2012 nail polishes. I'm a huge fan of Milani blushes but have not tried their nail polishes.

Milani Spring 2012 Nail Polishes
L to R: Beach Front, Sail Away, Key West, Orchidia, Deep Thoughts, & Silver Stilettos

I found the formula easy to use. It was neither too thin and watery nor too thick. A little does go a long way. So if you tend to be heavy handed with your polish like I am, you may want to be careful. It dries fairly quickly and layers nicely. I used two coats for the swatches. All of the colors except Deep Thoughts have a slightly glittery finish.

Milani Beach Front, Sail Away, & Key West
L to R: Key West,  Sail Away, and Key West
Key West is a light pastel blue. It's darker and less minty than it photographed in the bottle. Sail Away is a beautiful dark blue glittery color. Key West is a glittering emerald green.

Milani Orchidia, Deep Thoughts, and Silver Stilettos
L to R: Orchidia, Deep Thoughts, and Silver Stilettos
Orchidia is much more purple and less pink than it appears in this photo. Deep Thoughts is the only non-glittery color in the group. It is a beautiful deep grape purple. Silver Stilettos is a very shiny and metallic silver.

Milani Nail Polish Swatches

I normally only wear neutral colors on my fingernails but I will wear color on my toes.  However, if someone were to make a collection of nail polishes based of my belly dance costumes, it would be these six colors.  I can wear just about any of these colors for performance. I really enjoy the colors is this collection. I may just have to try out some more Milani nail polishes. Thank you Milani for a great giveaway!

Milani cosmetics are found at most drugstores or online directly at  Milani Cosmetics . Follow them on Twitter: @milanicosmetics

Sunday, April 8, 2012

NYX Xtreme Lip Cream in Bonfire and Absolute Red

Awhile back I raved about how much I loved the NYX Xtreme Lip Creams. So I bought two more. I'm not one of those people that goes and buys every color in a collection but I really do like this formula. It is exactly between a lip gloss and a lipstick, gets a decent amount of wear time, and a little product goes a long way. They are also only $6.

Bonfire is a medium pink color and Absolute Red is a cool toned red. Bonfire is much more pink than I could capture in my photos today.

Natural Lip Color
NYX Extreme Lip Cream Bonfire Swatch

NYX Extreme Lip Cream Absolute Red Swatch
Absolute Red

These shades are both very much on trend for the neutral face bold lips looks of Spring.  Of the four I have, Absolute Red is the most fussy. I did experience a little bit of bleeding and smearing. It would probably be best to wear it over a lip liner. It does have the most staying power of all the shades though.

I'm a big fan of NYX in general but I really believe they nailed it with this formula. Who knows I may wind up owning them all anyway.

Bat's Rating: Still a 9. Long wear for a gloss, great pigmentation, great value.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Review: Lorac Bejewelled Lipgloss Set

I picked this set up for 50% off when Gifting Grace was liquidating their inventory. This was my first purchase of anything from Lorac. I've heard alright things about them so I thought I'd check it out.

From the Lorac site:
Live the diamond life with LORAC's Bejeweled Lip Gloss Collection! These luxurious glosses are infused with antioxidants to help nourish and protect, while the natural emollients soothe and moisturize your lips. The bejeweled diamond wand, with its sparkly finish and custom pro-brush, hugs the curves of your lips for gorgeous, ultra-rich color and super high shine.
Receive 6 FULL SIZE Glosses for not much more than the price of one gloss! VALUED at $132!!

These are .11oz. each. Typical Lorac glosses are .17oz and retail for $22 each.

The colors are Red Ruby, Peach Moonlight, Bronzed Topaz, Hot Pink Sapphire, Rich Garnet, and Pink Diamond. I like the packaging. I'm a sucker for a little bit (or a lot) of bling. The glosses have a small brush instead of a doe foot. I find the application a bit uneven with the brush. The formula is a bit sticky. These also are vanilla scented. I'm not a fan of scented cosmetics. I'm even less of a fan of vanilla in anything other than food. These all have a sparkly glittery finish.
Lorac Bejewelled Lipglosses Swatched
L to R: 
Red Ruby, Peach Moonlight, Bronzed Topaz, Hot Pink Sapphire, Rich Garnet, and Pink Diamond.
Red Ruby is not as pigmented as I would like. I found that it didn't wear that long either. Peach Moonlight is a nice neutral gloss. I've only swatched Bronze Topaz,  Hot Pink Sapphire and Pink Diamond. Hot Pink Sapphire and Pink Diamond were very sheer. Pink Diamond is a very very sheer iridescent shimmer.These would probably work best if layered over a lipstick. Rich Garnet (while being nothing close to garnet) is my favorite of the lot.  It's a nice berry color and I seem to get the longest wear out of this one. I keep this one in my purse actually. I'm pretty disappointed in all the others except maybe Peach Moonlight. I'm just not a fan of sticky or scented lip glosses. If I had paid full price for this I would be even more disappointed.

Bat's Rating: 6. Sticky and scented. Rich Garnet is the only saving grace.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Get to Know Me 11 Questions

I was tagged by the lovely Britt @ Britt's Beauty Blog tagged me in this get to know me post. This seems like an interesting idea to me. I won't be tagging any other bloggers but if you feel like answering these questions or adding your own please feel free to.

11 Things About Me

  1. I live in Las Vegas. I don't drink and I don't gamble and I don't watch Pawn Stars.
  2. I didn't really start wearing blush until last year and I'm still trying to figure that one out.
  3. I love cats! I have a Norwegian Forest Cat named Mia. If I had a bigger apartment, I'd have more cats.
  4. I've been gluten free for almost three years and I feel great since making the change.
  5. I'm certified to drive a forklift.
  6. I would love to move to Savannah, GA. I grew up in the South and I miss it. Savannah is such a beautiful, historic, and fascinating place. Oh and the food is amazing.
  7. 95% of my wardrobe is black but it's not my favorite color. Too many years of being goth and too many years of being a lighting technician. I'm working on it though. There are now some colors and prints in my closet.
  8. I learned to sew last year and enjoy making things for myself and other people. It's also really handy since I'm short and pear shaped. Everything I own needs alterations.
  9. I don't speak any other languages but would like to learn to speak and read Arabic.
  10. I left the lighting industry for awhile and worked as a baker. I still enjoy baking recreationally. Going GF made it fun and interesting. I had to relearn how to bake.
  11. I dance in a belly dance troupe called Death by Shimmy. The ladies I dance with are an amazing group of women who continue to inspire me. Love you ladies!
Britt's Questions

1. What has been the best trip you've gone on?  I honestly haven't travelled as much as I would like. Usually when I do travel it's to visit my family back in VA (which is good for the soul but not necessarily exciting).  I might have to say the weekend trip to NYC I took way back in college. It was through the Theatre department. We had some shows and things we had to attend but were pretty much free to roam the city.  My friends and I found some great restaurants at random and rode the subway just about everywhere.

2. What is your favorite flower? Is there a special reason for it?  I don't really have a favorite flower. I used to grow roses though. Maybe they win by default.

3. What was your favorite cartoon as a child? Or now! :) As a child I'm going to have to say  Muppet Babies

4. What is your favorite perfume/cologne/body spray/essential oil? AKA What you use to smell good! :)  I'm kinda between perfumes right now. For a long time it was Calvin Klein's Eternity. I've been testing out CK Pure and the Yogini by Harvey Prince perfume from my Birchbox. I really like the Yogini.

5. What helps you get to dream land on sleepless nights?  I use the Sound Oasis Sound Therapy System every night. I listen to Delta Echoes. If I really need some relaxation I'll take a couple of valerian pills.

6. What is your favorite movie?  Tough call. Pick one of these three at any given moment:  Dune, Dangerous Liaisons,  or Real Genius.

7. What is your favorite cosmetics brand and why?  Tough call. It's either NYX or Inglot. I LOVE Inglot eyeshadows but I don't have too many of their other products. I have NYX eyeshadows, blushes, and lip glosses and I love them. Both are pigmented and affordable.

8. What is your favorite "dancing" song? I don't really dance, so workout song, turn it up loud in the car song, etc...whatever gets your grove going.  Belly dance wise pretty much any version of "Lama Bada" or some good golden era orchestrations or some newer House of Tarab stuff. (rocking A Tribute to Om Kalsoum right now). Goth/industrial wise Wumpscut's "Wreath of Barbs"

9. Are you a total tech junkie or are you more low key and like turning your phone/computer off once in awhile?  A little of both. I have a smartphone and I text and tweet. My computer is almost always on. However I don't feel the need to tweet everything or check in to places. I don't get that.

10. What is your favorite food?  Right now I'm completely obsessed with the Thai dish Pad Woon Sen. Silver noodles with chicken and veggies. Yum. I have to limit myself to order Thai food once a week or I could eat it every day.

11. What do you focus more on, hair or make up?  Even though I have long hair and a lot of it. It's pretty low maintenance. So I'm going to have to say make up!

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