Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Ipsy Glam Bag: February 2015, #ipsylove + December 2014 & January 2015 Ipsy Bags

*Purchased by Me
Referral Link Included

My Ipsy Glam Bag arrived on Valentine's Day so this month's theme #ipsylove theme seems very appropriate.  I didn't get around to sharing my December or January bag, so I'll briefly give you an overview of those two months and then with a full look at February this should give a good overall look at what a subscription to Ipsy is like.

December was a good month.  I liked the design and appearance of the actual bag.  It holds more than the envelope like bag that we got in January and February.  The Bumble and bumble Straight Blow Dry was really good and and worked great as to be expected.  That tied with the tarte lights, camera, lashes as my favorite products for the month.  That's already my favorite mascara, so I was excited to get a travel size.

I liked the Crown brush well enough, it's handy that it's two sided and I can always use a new brush.  I also liked getting the NYX Butter Lip Balm because I had been interested in trying that product out anyway.  I got it in Parfait, which is a little too bright pinky for me.  It went on sheer but like I said, it was too bright for my personal taste.  That being said, I liked the product and am considering trying it in either panna cotta or brownie, colors I think I'd be more comfortable in.  I'll still use, I just layer it under a darker gloss to tone it down a bit.`

The only product I wasn't that enthusiastic about was the Cailyn Just Mineral Eye Polish.  I just wasn't feeling it.  The color or the loose power or the applicator.  It's too shimmery for everyday wear and for special occasions I prefer the Lorac shadows my friend gave me for Christmas.  Those are just so much better, easier to work with, prettier, and longer lasting.

Overall, December was a very good bag, a great value for the $10 and I was really happy 4/5 is really good.  It was a great selection of products to end the year with!

January's theme was Fresh Start and overall, while the value is still more than there, it was a bit of a dud coming between two much better bags.  It made a bad first impression, as the bag itself was pretty ugly in my opinion.  The reverse side of the blue is white.  While I don't subscribe for the bags, they are a nice perk to the subscription and this was the first one I really didn't like.

Inside wasn't much better.  Liquid eyeliner - pass.  The Hey Honey mask was just okay,  I didn't think it did that much for my skin and it was a pain to peel off after.  It's supposed to exfoliate, but I find scrubs to more effective and easier to use.   I still really like this one.

I've gotten a Pacifica eye shadow duo before so I wasn't super enthused to find another shadow in my bag.  I thought the previous one was chalky and ended up destashing it pretty quickly.  This is a pretty color but I much prefer their fragrance and lip products over their eye shadow.

The Velvet 59 lip gloss is my favorite product from this month, it's a pretty color and neutral so it's good for everyday use.  I don't use lip gloss that much, and I just got two gorgeous Lorac colors for Christmas (thanks Margaret!) so with those plus this one so I should be set for a long time.  The "sample" is full sized and valued at $19 so I was glad I got this.

The only product I haven't tried yet is the La Fresh Eco Beauty Be Good.  Good Day, Day Moisturizer and whoa they actually sell the exact same sample I got in my bag for $13.99!!!  Now that's expensive and more than the subscription price...for a sample.  I like their individual travel packets, so I will be really scrutinizing the performance of their moisturizer to see if I think it's worth the hefty price tag.

Now, we're finally onto the current Ipsy bag!  I got five products and like four out of five so it's another good month!  The bag is the same style as the last month, this thin style doesn't hold much but they are still pretty handy.  I like this color scheme a lot better, mainly because my daughter likes it since she'll probably be the one using it.  These are the perfect size for throwing in backpacks with kleenex and PocketBac, like these or for making travel art/homework kits with pencils etc. for her.

I'm like my daughter, a big fan of pink, and that combined with the rose pink metal means that I'm all about this brush.  So pretty!  I always like getting makeup brushes and this one sells $15 so already more than the bag.

My favorite item this month is this China Glaze polish.  You can see it on my nails in my last Mani Monday post.  The glitters are really different from what I usually pick out and I love the colors, but it is best as a top coat.  This is one of the newest brands of polish that I've begun using in the past year.  If you haven't tried them out yet, these range in price from $7.50-$6.99 in stores but I only buy them when they go on sale.  I scored some on clearance at Sally's for a great price.

This is City Color Creamy Lip Stain in Flirtini isonly miss product of the month.  It's a pretty color but I don't like the formula at all.  Plus even with lip liner it didn't stay put.

GlamGlow is so expensive that I've never tried anything by them so even though I never use eye cream, I was excited to see these in my bag.  I've tried them and they make the skin around my eyes feel like a newborn's.  It pretty awesome and I only used half per use so I've used it three times and now only got one left :(

I don't wear blush that much and I have a similar color from Julep so I haven't opened this ModelCo Peach Bellini but I liked their bronzer so I'm assuming this will be pretty nice too.  I'm planning to pass it along to a friend since I already have a nearly full blush and another unopened one waiting for me.

That brings me to my thought on continuing my Ipsy Glam Bag subscription.  I'm considering cancelling even thought they consistently provide a great value for the $10 monthly subscription price.  Over the past year, I've been able to really build up my previously non-existent make up collection.  Now I have an overflow of products to try and I feel like it will take me awhile to work through all the ones I want to try.

I might need to take an Ipsy break, because while they send me more full sized products and larger samples it's usually Birchbox that sends me products I actually end up buying after sampling.  I'm still undecided because I really do like getting my fun packages of goodies each month.  With everyone using electronic means to keep in touch, it's so nice to get some thing real and physical in the mail.


Friday, February 20, 2015

Birchbox February 2015: Rent the Runway

*Purchased by me
Referral link included

For February, I selected the Rent the Runway Guest Editor box as my Birchbox, so the contents weren't a surprise but I was interested in trying everything inside so I didn't mind.  The box came really early in the month, didn't even get the shipping notice until after it had already arrived!  It might be that the curated boxes are all assembled and ready to ship out early.

This year each month the Birchbox design is supposed to be unique and the regular box is super fun with speech bubbles printed on it, so I was a little bummed to not get it because I keep a lot of mine for storage.  But the Rent the Runway box was very classic and elegant, a pale pink with a rose print around the lid.  Unfortunately, mine got a little beat up on the way to me & my Not Soap, Radio sample leaked :(

Box destruction aside, let's get onto the samples and start with theBalm® cosmetics Read My Lips™ Lip Gloss in BAM! Rose Pink, full size $15. This sample and the next one, were the main two reasons I wanted the curated box.  This is lighter and for me, more neutral shade that I usually go for.  I really like it, it's a good everyday color.

Fekkai Blowout Hair Refresher Dry Shampoo, FULL SIZE, $10:  Let me begin by saying that in this case the full size is really a travel size but the size sent in my Birchbox is sold on their site so that is how much you'd pay for a travel size.  Wow that's expensive, so I'm glad I got it in my box!  I like having dry shampoo on hand for the occasional use, and so far with all the samples I've gotten I haven't had to buy any.  With this one, I should be set for awhile.  I'm not the most discriminating dry shampoo user but I liked how this smelled and worked.  But then again, I've liked all the dry shampoo samples I've gotten so far.

Sumita Color Contrast Eyeliner in Raina, full size $11: This sample is a repeat for me, I also got it last July.  Normally, you won't get the same sample twice, the exception being if you opt for a curated box since those have preset samples.  I love the first one I got, the darker navy blue is a shade I'm more comfortable wearing, versus a brighter blue, so I was happy to get another.

derma e® Anti-Wrinkle Vitamin A Glycolic Scrub, full size $12.75 and Not Soap, Radio Body Wash in The Stuff that Cupid Dips His Arrows in, full size $16.

I've been using the scrub the past two weeks, I like it but I can't say if I have more of a glow about me.  It has helped keep my skin soft and I feel like my trouble areas look a little better so I'll attribute it to this.  I like that it's an all natural product.

Birchbox describes this scrub as: Glycolic acid, a form of alpha hydroxy acid naturally found in sugar cane, sloughs off dead skin cells which helps prevent clogged pores and lessens the appearance of hyperpigmentation. Apricot seed powder and papaya work together to deep clean pores, revealing a more radiant complexion.

The body wash  is a blackberry and vanilla cream scent with ginseng, which is said to kick up pheromones.  I don't know about that, it smelled like berries though.  We've all got colds around here, so when I asked my husband if he noticed anything different, all he said was yeah, that you showered.  Guess he couldn't smell my extra hotness!

What goodies did you Birchbox hold this month?  If you're not a subscriber, please consider using my referral link.  In looking back over the past year or so of getting subscription boxes, overall I have found better products, that are more effective, and have purchased more of the ones I've tried via Birchbox.  It's really helped try out new products that have helped update my beauty and skin care routine.


Thursday, February 19, 2015

NCircle Entertainment: Winter Wonderful DVD Giveaway! Featuring Octonauts, Wibbly Pig, Pocoyo, and The Wiggles

*Complimentary review DVDs provided
Giveaway provided by NCircle Entertainment

Kids feeling cooped up?  Mine certainly are!  We're all home today because the windchill predicted was too cold.  Brrrr...and we've still got plenty of snow on the ground from the last snow day!  On top of being stuck inside because of the weather, we've also be sick.  Needless to say, finding things for the kids to do has been harder than usual.

That's why we were all so happy to get the Winter-Wonderful 4 pack of DVDs.  Featuring some of our favorite preschool friends, NCircle Entertainment has also offered to send one of my readers the very same package of DVDs, valued at over $40!

This terrific prize pack will keep your little ones occupied for hours as they go on DVD adventures with The Wiggles, Pocoyo, Octonauts and Wibbly Pig. The Pocoyo DVD even includes bonus karaoke videos that will keep the kids humming all day long!

Here is a little bit more about each of the DVDs included.  Keep reading until you get to the Rafflecopter widget is at the bottom of this post to enter!

Dive into adventure with your favorite underwater explorers, the Octonauts! On this pirate-y DVD, Kwazii swashbuckles with swordfish, goes on a treasure hunt with a pirate parrotfish, and in a special double-length adventure, journeys down the Amazon to find his long-lost grandfather!

The Octonauts is one of my son's favorite shows and he got some of the toys for Christmas.  He is so cute playing along with his Kwazii figurine and GUP X while watching Pirate Adventures.  He especially likes it because of the pirate theme!

Wibbly Pig is an animated preschool comedy series that takes the daily routine of a young child and finds humor and fun in every part of it. From day to day activities like getting into bed, wrapping a present or climbing a tree, to fantasty play like meeting a giant or going to the moon, Wibbly turns the simplest tasks into a comedy routine! Wibbly loves to share adventures with his very best friend - you!

We love Mick Inkpen's other well known character Kipper, and Wiggly Pig has been a big hit too.  I love the style of illustration and the sing along songs.

Sing and dance with Pocoyo and friends in Fiesta! Enjoy this never before seen feature showcasing thirteen songs from all your favorites – Pocoyo, Pato, Elly and even the Martian Brothers! These songs will have your little one dancing along the whole time! It’s time for a Fiesta with Pocoyo!

Never before seen feature: Bonus karaoke videos

Pocoyo and his friends are so cute, they almost look like they could've been made out of clay.  This is a great one to get your kids up and dancing along.  We like Pato's Song a lot, it just cracks us up for some reason.  My son just finds him hysterical.

Who's in The Wiggles' House? All your favorite friends, Emma, Lachy, Simon and Anthony, and twenty-five new songs! Join the fun of 'The Laughing Doctor,' taste the delights of 'Pappadum,' 'Do the Hawk' with Lee Hawkins, 'Have a Good Day (Kia Pai to Ra)' with New Zealand's Robert Rakete, and so much more. So open the door to a house full of fun as we raise the roof with Wiggle House!

Never before seen Bonus Features: Photo Gallery, "Michaud" Music Video, Ready, Steady, TV Series Episode

Perennial favorites, this is everything you've come to love and expect from The Wiggles.  Their DVDs never fail to make the kids happy!

If you'd like to win a 4 pack of DVDs from NCircle Entertainment, featuring the very same titles, please use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Monday, February 16, 2015

Mani Monday: Zoya's Brigitte with Marry a Millionaire from China Glaze

*Referral link included

After the blues of January and the reds from the first half of February, I was in the mood for a more subdued nail color and Zoya's Brigitte fit the bill perfectly.  It's one of my favorite go to colors.

Then my latest ipsy bag arrived and inside was Marry a Millionaire by China Glaze.  It's an older polish, from their 2011 Eye Candy holiday collection.  A mix of small pink & purple glitter with lots multi-color bar glitter, it was so cool looking in the bottle I had to immediately give it a try!

I love it as a glitter topper, and even though I thought it might look odd on top of Brigitte, I'm liking the combination a lot more than I thought I would.  I think because Brigitte is a mauve shade the purple glitters work better with it than I anticipated.  I don't have any polish with bar glitter so this is a fun & unique addition to my collection.


Friday, February 13, 2015

Five on Friday: YouTube Beauty Gurus

Happy Friday everyone!

Today I wanted to start a new semi-regular series on my blog, that I've been wanting to add for awhile.  It's the perfect way to start of the best part of the week, the weekend, with some of my current favorites!  After all, it's always nice to hit a positive note and share what you've been loving and enjoying ♥

Last spring, so almost a year ago, I became really obsessed with started watching YouTube videos a lot while scrapbooking.  I've always liked a little something on in the background while I create.  I used to watch music videos or older BBC history programs, because I'm kinda a history nerd ☺.  But then one day, I innocently looked for a video review of the then new OPI Brazil Collection, well that was it.  I was down the rabbit hole, so to speak, and now I watch at least one video a day!

I watch a lot of scrapbook process videos, hauls - which is basically when someone shows you all the stuff they recently bought, and my three year old son is really into watching John Deere YouTube videos.  I watched YouTube from time to time but it wasn't until I discovered the Beauty Gurus that it became a daily activity.  FYI: Beauty Gurus are YouTubers who primarily post reviews, hauls, and tutorials relating to beauty topics.

I think I just hit things at the right time, as I had just had my 37th birthday and kinda freaked out about skin changes and needing to incorporate anti-aging products into my regimen.  I had never been more interested in make up, since high school.

To kick off my Five on Friday series, I wanted to share five of my favorite YouTube Beauty Gurus to watch.  I find them to be interesting, dynamic presenters, knowledgeable, and personable.  They are entertaining and introduce me to new products, many of which are too adventurous for me to ever actually use, and have helped improve and update my daily minimalist look.  I enjoy hearing their thoughts and I hope you will too!

Andréa was one of the first YouTubers I ever subscribed to.  I just really like her personality, she is so sweet and has really beautiful looks, I always really admire her eye make up.  She shows much more advanced looks than I've ever worn but I like learning how to apply a more full coverage look.  Whenever I go to make up counters the stylists always steer me toward a very natural look, probably because I show up clueless and bare faced!  But sometimes you really want to know how to do more and that's why I enjoy learning tips and tricks from her.  Plus she is good about showing how to use drug store brands and not just high end products.

Amy Lynn is how I got sucked into, it was her OPI videos I first found.  She is funny, laid back, and is one of the few YouTubers that I've watched ever single video of!  I know, a little crazy.  She just seems like a really fun person to sit down and have coffee with, or as she'd probably perfer - a cheeseburger Sunday.  That's one of her weekly things.

Dani is where I go see lots of products, colors, and bold looks that are totally out of my comfort zone.  It's a bit of escapism for me.  She is so energetic and happy, often when a YouTuber has a catch phrase that they say a lot, it kinda bothers me but not with her.  With Dani I think it's cute and fun.  I've learned about a lot of totally new to me brands from her.

Ashley is my go to gal for more natural products, she has more classic aesthetic that is probably closer in line with what I lean toward.  She features some mid to high end products that I enjoy hearing about so I can consider them for myself.  I find her very calming and poised.  Plus her video editing skills are top notch, which add to the over all viewing enjoyment.

Michelle is another of the very first channels I subscribed to.  She posts pretty frequently and I like the wide range of products she reviews, she often will do all or almost all of an entire new line.  I have probably made the most purchases based on her videos, than any other Beauty Guru, not including polishes because I consider the Polish Girls in their own category!

That's my first Five for Friday!

I actually follow 80 or so Beauty Gurus, and I have lots more that are really good!  These are just the five, that I pretty much watch ever single video from.  Do you watch YouTube?  Have any recommendations for channels I should check out?  Leave them below!


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Julep Maven: February 2015, Smitten Kitten Box

*Referral Link Included

I was excited to see Julep Maven's were offerred a special themed box this month because I enjoyed the October one so much.  I felt that in February, I got an especially great value for the monthly subscription price.  Besides the usual two polishes + third additional makeup/polish/treatment item (I consider the top coat to be filling this spot this month), all subscribers also got a free holo glitter top coat!  The third item this month would've been their Glow Highlighting Powder, which I wasn't interested in at all, even though it has gotten some good reviews.  I glad those that did get it, seem to enjoy it.

I also used some of my Jules, which is Julep's reward system, to add on Ada, the glitter polish on the far right above.  I've been a subscriber since before the rate increase, so I got everything you see above plus some cute red & white heart decals for $19.99!  If you don't mind that they include older polishes and not the monthly releases, the special themed boxes Julep periodically offers are really fun options.

This is Karissa, a holly berry crème.  Considering how much polish I have, I actually don't have very many red crème without any kind of shimmer or glitter.  As in this is  my only one!  It's pretty and it's the right season to have it for Valentine's nails.

This is the main reason I really wanted this box!  Vivien is a champagne bubbles full coverage multidimensional glitter.  It. Is. Gorgeous!  I love the larger glitter within the polish.  This was a retired polish, brought back from the vault so I'm not sure how long it will be around.  I'd hurry up and snag it!  

I gave my daughter a Valentine themed mani over the weekend with Julep's Maren and we used the decals included in the Smitten Kitten box but now I can't find them anywhere!  I hope they didn't get accidentally thrown away because they are cute and we only used two, one of each accent nail.

To round out the box, we also got an Oxygen Performance Top Coat.  I have mixed feeling about this top coat.  My first bottle got very clump and thick about half way through.  Now that it's harder to apply, the thickened version also leaves little strings as I brush it off the end of my nail.  These often go everywhere and fall back on top of my freshly painted nails and leave a very undesirable texture as they dry.  They do not dry down and self level into the top coat as it dries.

I would not purchase this top coat again as an add on, but when it's thrown into my box I'll take it.  It worked well at first, and I my first impression was that I quite liked it.  I'll be curious to see if the quality of this second bottle goes downhill as I use it.

Julep founder Jane says that they put the heart in Hartleigh just for their Mavens, and gave their subscribers this as a free bonus.  It's super fun and packed with glitter.  I dabbed on the large hearts for better control of placement but this looked super stunning on.

Ada was my add on polish, I can't remember how much extra it would've have been if I paid for it because I redeemed some of my Jules points, which I get for referrals & for each month I take a box.  This one has a new finish and is described as: Fizzy looks just how it sounds: Adorable.  Bright rhubarb fizzy with multi-sized pearl glitter.  The jelly base makes it look like the glitter is suspended within the polish and gives it so much depth.  Absolutely gorgeous!

Show above from left to right: Karissa, Karissa with Ada layered over, Karissa with Hartleigh top coat.

I loved my Julep Maven goodies this month, it's great how it almost always ships early in the month so you get your hands on it right away.  It's usually the first monthly subscription box to arrive.  I wanted colors that would be great for Valentine's and Julep really delivered!


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Heart Handprint Canvas for Valentine's Day

My kids and I made a quick Valentine craft over the weekend, that I wanted to pop in and share with you.  I already had all the materials on hand, since I'm a crazy craft lady horder always buying supplies for "someday".  It was inspired by this pin, but we changed it up to be a keepsake item versus a card.

I wanted to include both of my kiddo's hand prints so our "heart" is a little off kilter but I think that makes it even more adorable.  After we carefully made our prints, I added the year and the kids' names & ages with rub-ons.  (As usual, the kid's names are digitally edited out for this online share.).

I used more rub ons to add a little sentiment, replacing the letters /o/ with wood veneers.  A crop-a-dile helped me punch the holes into the artists mat board, which have a canvas like texture but are solid boards and so easier to get a good impression on. Then all I had to do was add a ribbon for hanging.  I love how it turned out!

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