Saturday, October 10, 2015

October ipsy Glambag!

Welcome back, friends!

I was going to merge together my sample review with this post, but I realized after looking over the samples I received last month, I really don't have a ton to share.  September has been crazy busy, and I think for now, I'll just move on to October's ipsy Glam bag.  I'll do a favorites post at some point in the next month or so and let you know what products I'm loving to make up for no sample redux post this month. Deal? Cool! Let's move onward!

This month's ipsy Glam bag is themed "alter ego." I decided there's no real point in my sharing the card with you guys, since it offers no valuable information on the products, so let's take a peek at the bag itself!

This month's bag has 2 sides--a nod to the alter ego theme, I believe.  One side is a metallic gold and the other is a shiny patent-looking black vinyl.  It's a bit on the small side for it to be of much use, but I may pass it along to a little girl I hold quite dear to my heart and let her play with it. :)

Before we get into this month's samples--and they're pretty rad--I want to share with you my first ever points purchase from ipsy.  I had been saving up my points because there wasn't anything being offered for points that was of much interest to me, but then I saw a really nice eye shadow brush so I scooped it up.  Check it out below!

Luxie Beauty
Rose Gold Tapered Blending Eye Brush
Value: $12.00

This shadow brush is really soft and fluffy, and will help me step up my shadow application game.  It was a great points redemption option and it'll be a great addition to my growing makeup brush collection!

Onward to this month's samples!  Ironically enough, here's product number one.

Royal & Langnickel Moda
Standard Eyeshadow Shader Brush
(Medium Eye Shader)
Product is full size
Product value: ~$9.00

I would finally get a brush as a product the same month I've cashed in my points on...a brush.  I'm glad it's a different kind of brush, at least.  This pretty little pink brush will be great for packing shadow onto the lid and for placing shadow into the crease of my eye.  Another addition to my makeup brush collection that I'm happy to have!

Product number two:

Balanced Guru
Scrub Me Body Scrub
Full size, $22.99
Sample Size, 1 oz
Sample value, $2.87

This body scrub is a dry scrub that you mix with water, and it's even safe for your face if used gently.  It's got ingredients like raw sugar, organic coffee, coconut oil, babassu oil, cocoa butter, and also has a bit of spearmint and ginger for an invigorating scent.  I'm excited to try it out--it's totally different from any other product I own.  

Product number three:

Nourish Organic
Pur Hydrating Argan Face Serum
Full size, $23.99 (on sale for $17.99 @ Nourish Organic's website)
Sample size, 0.5 fl oz
Sample value, $17.14 

Serums are something I don't have a ton of experience with, but I'm always happy to try them out.  They are so good for your skin, and going into the colder seasons, it's extra important to keep skin healthy and hydrated.  This serum is super thin--the full size actually comes with a spray top.  I'm sort of surprised that this sample doesn't come with the same kind of dispenser, but it's still a great size for a product of this type.  It smells of apricots and I'm assuming I'll pick up on the rose scent when I use it on my face.  I'll get back to you about how this product works for me!

Product number four:

theBalm Cosmetics
Meet Matt(e) Hughes Long-Lasting Liquid Lipstick
Shade: Committed
Full size, $17.00
Sample size, 0.04 fl oz
Sample value, $3.11

Liquid Lipsticks have taken over the makeup world as the new way to wear color on your lips.  I've purchased about 4 different matte lipstick products, some of which have been liquid, and I've heard of this product, but I haven't tried it before.  I like theBalm a lot--I actually managed to nab their Mary Lou-manizer at half price on Haute Look last month.  This shade is a very pretty pinky nude shade that's nice and natural looking.  I'll definitely wear this shade, and just from swatching it, I can tell it goes on and stays put pretty well.  We'll see how it holds up during a day of wear!

Product number five:

MICA Beauty
ipsy Exclusive Cream Eyeshadow in Bronze
Full size: ? Not currently available
Sample size, .14 oz
Sample value, unknown

Cream eyeshadows are always great, especially as a base to make other shadows stand out and last longer.  This shade is super pigmented, and after I swatched it, I noticed it took quite a bit of effort with a makeup wipe to come off.  That makes me hopeful that it'll be long lasting on the lid, too.  I'm excited to play with it in the future, even though I'm bummed that I couldn't find a price for the full-size yet.  Apparently, MICA is giving ipsters (I didn't come up with it, Shannon, I promise) the chance to try out their cream shadows before everyone else.  Their regular shadows run about $15 each for a .1 oz product, so I would imagine the cream shadows would probably run slightly more expensive, but I'm not sure.  

All in all, this month was a pretty solid showing for ipsy.  I've gotten 5 products that I'm excited to use, and I've used some points to get a beauty tool that I know I'm going to get use out of.  The value of this month's bag is a little tough to calculate, mostly because I don't know what value to give the cream eye shadow.  Even without being able to include that price, the value of the bag rings in around $32, which is still 3 times the price of the subscription.  I'll take that value!

That's it for now--I'll see you lovely people again sometime next week when my Birchbox arrives!  Until then, don't forget to be awesome.

Best wishes,

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

September 2015 ipsy Glam Bag!

Hello again, my friends!

My September glam bag arrived literally the day after my Birchbox, and I was super excited to dive into it and explore the goodies ipsy had to offer me for this month.  Let's great right to it!

Here's the bag for this month and the card that came with it--not that it gives me any more information than usual.  But the bag is super cute; there's a sort of golden glamour theme this month. :)

Product number one: 

First Aid Beauty
Ultra Repair Cream
Full size, $12-$30
Sample size, 1 oz
Sample value, $5.50

This is a pretty nice cream--its description says it's full of colloidal oatmeal, shea butter, and eucalyptus oil, among other things.  It should be great for irritated or dry skin, and I'll probably get some good use out of it as the weather gets colder.  I'm glad to have it!

Product number two:

Garnier Fructis
Sleek & Shine Sleek Primer Style Prep
Product is full size!
Product value, $4.29

Garnier is a brand I use a variety of products from, and I enjoy their hair products a lot--they always smell great, and their shampoos have worked really well for me.  This product is intended for folks who use styling tools like straighteners and blow dryers, which isn't exactly relevant to me.  I generally let my hair air dry unless I absolutely must blow dry it, so I'm not sure I'll get much use out of this.  However, I know some friends who might benefit from it, so I'll find it a good home.  

Product number three:

Elizabeth Mott
Queen of the Fill Tinted Brow Gel
Shade: Light Medium
Product is full size!
Product value, $20

I'm a major fan of Benefit's Gimme Brow, which I have in the shade Medium/Deep because of how dark my brows are.  This is a lighter shade, so I'm not sure it'll work as well, but I will absolutely give it a try.  What I love about Gimme Brow is that it not only has a tinted gel, but adds volume to your eyebrows by adhering to the hair.  If this product has a similar effect, I might have to try it out for a while--it's a few bucks cheaper than Benefit!

Product four:

NYX Cosmetics
ipsy Eye Shadow Trio
Product was made exclusively for ipsy subscribers.
Comparable eye shadow trios go for $3-$6

I'm a fan of NYX products, and as you can see from the swatches above, 2 of these three shadows are nice and pigmented.  The lightest shade, which looks gorgeous in the pan, just doesn't translate onto my skin.  I'll give it a try with some shadow primer and a brush, but I'll still get use out of the 2 darker shades even if the lighter one is a bit of a let down.

Product five:

J. Cat Beauty
#MOTD Waterproof Slide on Pencil for Eyes
Shade: Bronze
Product is full size!
Product value, $2.49

J. Cat Beauty is a brand I've heard about from some of my favorite beauty bloggers, but I haven't yet tried out their products.  I'm super stoked to have this eye liner in such a unique shade.  I tried to swatch it, but it doesn't translate to pictures very well, so I'll try to take pictures when I incorporate it into an eye look for my monthly wrap up!

Well, kids, that's it for this month's subscription unboxing/unbagging!  Total value for this month's bag comes to around $36.78, which is pretty close the value of this month's Birchbox.  I hope you've enjoyed learning about the things I've gotten to try out.  If you're interested in checking out ipsy for yourself, click here!

I'll see you folks again at the end of the month for the wrap-up! Until then, don't forget to be awesome.

Best wishes,

Monday, September 14, 2015

Beauty Sample Redux: August in Review + September Birchbox!

It's been a busy few weeks, friends.

With the start of school (and the return of grad school), I simply didn't find the time to get back over here and do my monthly wrap up!  So today I figured I'd go ahead and do a quickie wrap-up along with a post for my September Birchbox which arrived today!  Let's launch right into it so this won't be miles long.

ipsy Samples:

  • AILA Cosmetics Luxury Nail Lacquer in the (unfortunately named) shade Mister Pookies: This nail polish, y'all.  It is dark and plum and chocolate and gray and I want to wear it for basically all of fall, k?  Just got it put on my nails this past weekend and I miiiight wind up wearing it again in the near future.  Definitely 5 stars. [Bonus: in the pictures for this month's Birchbox samples, this is the color on my nails.]
  • LATHER Ultra Mild Face Wash: This was just okay.  Didn't exactly blow me away, but it is intended to be mild, so I didn't expect incredible results. Solid 3 stars.
  • Doucce Ultra Precision Eye Liner in the shade Black (500): Pretty typical black liner.  I've used it in my waterline on and off this month and been pleased with its staying power, but I'm not sure I'd rate it all that much higher than my drug store brand liner--I definitely don't know that I'd say it's worth $22.  I give this one 3 stars.
  • Hikari Cosmetics Lip Gloss in the shade Merlot: This gloss is pretty gorgeous.  It is, however, not exactly long lasting--it is still a gloss, after all.  But I've enjoyed the color and I'll probably get more wear out of it in the coming months.  I'm glad to have it.  4 stars!
  • Jesse's Girl Eye Shadow Primer: This stuff seems to work pretty well! It doesn't match my Urban Decay Primer Potion, but it's a great product, especially for the price.  I'll give it 3 stars!
Birchbox Samples:

  • I haven't tried out the St. Tropez Gradual Tan In Shower yet...I can't bring myself to try it, but I know I should at least be able to speak to how well it works for me, so I'll gather up my courage and report back once I've given it a go sometime during the fall.
  • R+Co Death Valley Dry Shampoo: S'okay. Nothing spectacular, but I used it up. 3 stars.
  • Air Repair Complexion Boosting Moisturizer: Decent moisturizer.  Used it at night, but I'm not sure I got enough use to have a solid opinion on any lasting effects.  I'll give it 3 stars.
  • theBalm Cosmetics Balm Desert Bronzer/Blush in the shade Take a Dip: I'm still a little frosty at how small this bronzer sample is.  It's the same size as eye shadow samples I've gotten from theBalm in the past, and I don't see how they expect me to be able to assess how well this product works for me when they give me such a small sample.  I can't rate it.  I didn't use it.
  • COOLA SPF 30 Organic Makeup Setting Spray: I enjoyed this product.  It felt nice going on.  I was surprised that I didn't get more out of the spray bottle, but I liked what I was able to use.  I don't know that I'd purchase this one--$36 is pretty steep--but I might consider grabbing a drug store brand setting spray after getting the chance to play with this one.  I'll give it 3 stars.

That's the super speedy wrap up of August's samples.  Some hits and misses like always, but now we look onward to September! Let's dive into my Birchbox that arrived today--it's got some pretty awesome goodies in it!

The box is, once again, gorgeous.  The design is based upon a few 
Birchbox subscribers' submissions to a contest, and I think it looks super cute!

All neat and tidy...and full of goodies! :)

Here's the product card for this month!

Product number one:

High Shine Liquid Lipstick Pen
Shade: Cherry Blossom
Product is full size!
Product value: $20.00

I'm pretty stoked on getting a full size lip product!  This shade is a very pretty petal pink with a touch of shimmer, and while it's called a liquid lipstick, it feels much more like a gloss.  Regardless, it's a very pretty shade that'll be really wearable with lots of different looks, so I'm happy to have it!

Product number two and three: 

LOVE Smooth Shampoo & Conditioner
Full size, $25 (Shampoo) & $29 (Conditioner)
Sample size, 2.5 fl oz (Shampoo) & 0.40 fl oz (Conditioner
Sample value, $7.40 (Shampoo) & $1.37 (Conditioner)
[Total sample value: $8.77]

This was my sample choice for this month--I'm not going to lie, it was partly motivated by knowing that the conditioner packet would offer me an extra 10 points. :) I'm excited to try both products out--Davines is a brand I've heard about ever since joining Birchbox, but I haven't had the chance to try their stuff out until now.  I'll let you know how my hair handles it! (It smells lovely.)

Product number four:

Three Whishes Body Butter
Scent: Lavender
Full size, $24
Sample size, .75 fl oz
Sample value, $3.52

I've gotten a couple of Whish Shave Lotions before and they've been hit or miss, but this stuff smells awesome.  The lavender scent is super soothing, and I think I'll put this to use at night before bed time.  Super glad to have it!

Product number five:

100% Pure
Organic Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream
Full size, $25
Sample size, 0.3 fl oz
Sample value, $7.50

I'm slowly coming to love eye creams.  I've only gotten one other product from 100% Pure before and it was sort of a miss, but I'm excited to try this product out.  Being that it's all natural, it has a bit of a..."natural" kind of smell, if that makes sense.  But the reviews say it's super effective, so I'm excited to try it out.

Product number six:

By Rosie Jane
Scent: James
Full size, $39
Sample size & value unknown

I can't pull a sample value together for this one because--lo and behold--they don't put the sample size anywhere in the information in my box.  It's an interesting fragrance described as having notes of fig, amber, and gardenia.  It's a touch floral for me, but I think I'll enjoy wearing it--it'll certainly be something different!  

Overall, this box has been pretty solidly in the win column.  Total value (not counting the unknown value of the perfume sample) comes to almost $40 ($39.79), which is almost 4 times the cost of the subscription! I'm stoked to try everything out and I look forward to sharing my findings with you all.  If you're interested in trying out Birchbox for yourself, click here.  The next time you hear from me should be for this month's ipsy bag, which I expect any day now!

Until then, don't forget to be awesome!

Best wishes,

Monday, August 17, 2015

August 2015 Birchbox!

Here it is--post number two, wherein we delve into my August Birchbox and see what goodies I get to test out this month.  My ipsy bag was pretty stellar, and I'm pretty excited about my Birchbox, too, but for different reasons.  Let's get to it!

How cute is this box's design?!? Here's a peek at the card: (Note how informative it is--are you listening, ipsy people?)

Let's run through the samples I got this month!

Product number one:

St. Tropez
Gradual Tan In Shower
(In Shower Tanning Lotion)
Full size, $25
Sample size - 1.6 fl oz
Sample value - $5.97

Tanning lotion is something I've never really tried, mainly because I've never really needed it.  I'm intrigued by this product, though. Apparently, you apply it after you've finished washing up in the shower, leave it on for 3 minutes, then rinse it off.  I'll give it a go just to see how I like it, though I can tell you now this won't be a product I'll purchase.  Should be fun to give it a go!

Product number two:

Death Valley Dry Shampoo
Full size, $17-29
Sample size, 1.6 oz
Sample value - $7.37

I always enjoy dry shampoo, so I'm stoked to have this one.  I've previously gotten samples of shampoo and conditioner from this brand, and I feel like I liked those, so I'm excited to try out their dry shampoo, too.  Well done, Birchbox.

Product number three:

Air Repair
Complexion Boosting Moisturizer
Full size, $20
Sample size - .24 fl oz
Sample value - $2.40

This is supposed to be a really awesome rich face cream.  It's loaded with antioxidants and humectants, and can be used as a moisturizer or as a face mask by applying liberally and letting it sit for 10-15 minutes.  I'm not sure this sample allows enough product for the mask treatment, but it'll be nice to use as a moisturizer at night after taking off my makeup!  

Product number four:

theBalm Cosmetics
Balm Desert Bronzer/Blush
Shade: Take a Dip
Sample size - 0.028 oz
Sample value - $2.61

This sample is super small, you guys.  Like, I don't even know how I'd use this as bronzer.  I like bronzers, but this is just a bit too much work for me.  The shade seems nice, but I'd need a bigger sample in order to really try it out.  Regardless, here's a swatch I took on my finger.

Product number five:

SPF 30 Organic Makeup Setting Spray
Full size, $36
Sample size, 0.34 fl oz
Sample value - $7.20

This was my sample choice for the month of August, and I'm super excited to try it out.  It smells pretty okay for a makeup setting spray, but I've not tried any other products like this before.  I'm pumped to test it out and see if it helps my makeup stay looking better for longer.  If not, hey--it's still an SPF 30 product, which can't hurt.

Okay, kids, that's it for this month's Birchbox.  Total value rings up at $25.55, which I'll admit isn't the most impressive value for them, but it's still more than 2x the $10/mo subscription rate.  I'm excited to try out most of these products, and the good news is that even if I don't love them, Birchbox still lets me earn points for those reviews.  I'm hoping to bank up my points to get a really nice set of brushes. :)  If you're interested in checking out Birchbox yourself, click here to sign up! It's a great way to get exposure to new products and brands that you might not otherwise pick up.  

Alright, my friends, this wraps up my August subscriptions.  My month in review may be a bit late, but I'll get back with you with some more thoughts on the products I've sampled this month--along with a few other exciting tidbits about this month.  Until then, don't forget to be awesome.

Best wishes,

Sunday, August 16, 2015

August 2015 ipsy Glam Bag!

Holy crap, friends--can you believe the new school is like 4 minutes away from starting?

I just got back from a great long weekend in the mountains (coming off of a wonderful week in the Outer Banks) and I'm feeling about as ready for this upcoming week of workdays as I can, I suppose.

So imagine how delighted I was to return home to this lovely sight:
Yaaaaay, mail!
I'm going to run through my ipsy first, and then I'll go through my Birchbox in a separate post, just to keep things organized.  I'm a little short on time, so we're going to get right to it!

First off, here's this month's bag and the "theme" card (that's absolutely useless in terms of giving me information on any of the products I received):

That houndstooth! I'm loving the design, though the "fabric" is really more like vinyl than actual fabric.  The "prep school" theme had me nervous that I wouldn't really like what I got this month, but I was pretty pleasantly surprised with what I got.  Let's dive right in!

Product number one:

AILA Cosmetics
Luxury Nail Lacquer
Shade: Mister Pookies
Appears to be full size!
Product value: $17.00

This shade doesn't photograph well, but it's described as a "steel grey with purple undertones," and even though I hate the name, I'm stoked on the color.  It's going to be perfect for fall, and I may even get it on my fingers the next time I go get my nails done! I've never spent more than $8 on a bottle of nail polish, so $17 seems pretty steep, but maybe it'll prove to be worth it.  We'll see!

Product number two:

Ultra Mild Face Wash
Full size, $19
Sample size - 1 fl oz
Sample value - $3.17

This face wash smells remarkably familiar, but I can't place it.  (After a bit more consideration, I'm able to detect a distinct lavender scent, and that may be the familiar smell!)  I'm excited to try it out and see how well it works with my skin.  Should be plenty in this bottle for a few good trials.  

Product number three:

Ultra Precision Eye Liner
Shade: Black (500)
Appears to be full size!
Product value: $22.00

Black eyeliner is always useful, and this one seems to be a pretty nice formula.  Like the nail polish, I think the price tag is a bit high, but I'm happy to have it and I'll certainly put it to the test as a tightlining mascara--whether or not it lasts in the waterline is the ultimate test! Here's a quick swatch I did to test out the formula. Felt pretty nice!

Product number four:

Hikari Cosmetics
Lip Gloss
Shade: Merlot
Product appears to be full size!
Product value: $13.00

So this month's ipsy bag was just determined to be a show-off with 3 FULL SIZE products.  Hikari is a brand I'm familiar with, though I haven't tried many of there products, so I'm excited about this one.  They market it as a high-shine finish lip gloss.  The shade I received, Merlot, is described as an intense red mauve.  It's a gorgeous shade and is, along with the nail polish, a great shade for fall as we move into cooler weather.  I threw some on my lips and took a quick selfie, shown below:

Product number five:

Jesse's Girl
Eye Shadow Primer
Full size - $5.99
Sample size, 0.1 fl oz
Sample value - $3.74

Jesse's Girl is a drug store brand that's starting to get some buzz, so I'm excited to test out this shadow primer.  Primers are generally either really good or really useless.  Let's hope this one is good!

Okay, friends, that brings us to the end of this month's ipsy Glam Bag.  In all this month's bag is coming in at a total value of $58.91--more than 5x the $10/mo subscription, which is pretty impressive.  If you're interested in checking out ipsy yourself, click here to sign up!

I'm off for now, but come back soon--August's Birchbox is going to be going up next! Until then, my friends, as always: don't forget to be awesome.

Best wishes,