ipsy Review- January 2014

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Ipsy is here! The ipsy Glam Bag continues to be one of my favorite subscriptions, and at $10 a month, you can’t beat it. Ipsy is a monthly mailing that always includes a cute little makeup bag containing three to five full and sample-sized makeup and beauty items. This bag is always lots of fun! Here are the goods:

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So many fun things in here this month. Plus, there is a postcard where you can fill out why you think that 2014 is your year, and then Instagram or Facebook it to enter a big giveaway. Here are the details:

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Mica Beauty Tinted Lip Balm in Natural: Any time I get a nice, natural lip balm, I am a happy girl. Mica Beauty has a nice feel and takes a nice shine without looking goopy. I layer it over Chap-stick (like I do with almost anything I put on my lips) and it still lasts awhile.  Cute color, too! The full-size for this gloss is a whopping $30, but this sample is more than half the full size, so great deal!

Nicka K Absolute! Makeup Cleansing Tissues: 10 pack ($2.49) This is another one of those things that is always a keeper. I can put this in my gym bag and never have to worry about scaring people in the pool with my raccoon eyes. These are pre-moistened with a water-based cucumber solution, so they feel really nice on your skin and give it that fresh feeling that only cucumbers can give. The product information said these are made of “delicate spun lace” which kind of made me laugh. I feel like maybe I should be laying them out as doilies instead of washing off my makeup with them. Pretty fancy.

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Sexy Hair Healthy Sexy Hair Soy Tri-Wheat Leave-In Conditioner: travel size ($6.00) This stuff smells really nice, which is a must for a leave-in. It is formulated to help repair color-treated hair and add softness and manageability without over-proteinizing your hair. I am not sure what over-proteinizing is, but it sounds dangerous. The reviews for this spray are top-knotch, and I am ready to get in on it. Guess I should shower first.

Elizabeth Mott Smooth Shadow Pencil in Penny: Ipsy is the reason I totally fell in love with Elizabeth Mott mascara, and now she is making shadow-slash-eyeliners, so naturally, I am on it. This is a waterproof gel pencil, so the color lasts a long time. I got a copper color that I think will look great as a liner, but I probably wouldn’t use it all over the lid. This is very blendable, and I love the texture. Another awesome product from my the company that makes my hands-down favorite makeup item. I am excited.

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Le Anni Eco 3-in-1 Revolution: This is a combination of toner, serum and moisturizer. I use the latter two everyday, but I don’t use a toner that often, Am I missing out?  I swiped a bit of this across my cheek and it had a little tingle to it. It is formulated to help tighten skin, fight breakouts and wrinkles, and reduce dark circles. This is handmade and all natural, plus it is gluten free. I like getting products from small, natural companies like this and am excited to use this for a few full applications.

While I do not provide values for samples, this month’s glam bag definitely exceeded its ten-dollar cost. I love all the items and am so excited to have a new Elizabeth Mott product to try. The little bag is cute this month, too, although I am working on quite the collection and need to start passing them on to friends. As always, subscribers get great coupons for the the full-sized items in their bags, as well. Another great ipsy!

ipsy Review December 2013 Glam Bag

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ipsy came yesterday, and I love me some ipsy! Ipsy Glam Bag is a monthly subscription that includes three to five sample- and full-sized beauty products. It always comes in a cute little makeup bag and has a theme. Not everyone gets the same items; the products are chosen based on a questionnaire you fill out, so many of the items are based on your own style. The theme for the December ipsy Glam Bag was Celebration. Here are the goods:

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I loved this month’s bag. It is a shiny little black number that looks like patent leather. What was on the inside was pretty cool, too.  Here are the details:

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Nicka K New York Nail Color in Classic Taupe: ($4.99)This is a new nail polish brand to me, but I love the color. Nicka K nail color is free of all the nasty nail polish chemicals and comes in a super cool bottle. Love it.

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Pop Beauty Bright Up Your Life Eye Shadow Trio in Naturally Bare: ($7.50) When you buy from Pop Beauty, their eye shadow palettes come in a set of ten for $24, so this price is an estimate based on that. These are great colors, totally what I wear on a daily basis. I have gotten a bunch of great natural shadow palettes lately. It will definitely be a long time before I need to purchase eye shadow. These can be used wet or dry.

NYX Extra Creamy Round Lipstick in Celene: ($4.00) Ok, the Celene color is a pale gold, and I am not really sure what to do with that color. I really don’t wear lipstick and am more of a gloss/balm girl, but I can be talked into a swipe of a nice, natural pink lipstick every so often. The pale gold is another story, though. I would be more likely to put this color on my eyes than my lips.

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The One Stick by Be a Bombshell in Girl Crush: ($16) I totally love this color, and this kind of thing is really useful to throw in your purse to use to freshen up on the fly. It can be used on eyelids, lips or cheeks, so if need a little color on the go, this could be your saving grace. The natural pink of the Girl Crush color is something I will totally use on lips and cheeks. I will have to try it on the ol’ eyelids and see what it looks like.

Andrea Strip Lashes: ($3.99) There have been a lot of false lashes in boxes lately, and they are just not my thing. I will throw these in our Halloween box and surely they will get used as part of a costume at some point. Extra points if it is my husband that ends up wearing them.

All told, the December ipsy Glam Bag had a value of around $36 for the $10 price tag. That is a great value, and while a couple of the items are not quite my thing, I really liked others. I also love that there are so many full-sized items. Ipsy always delivers.

 

 

ipsy Review for November

I will get to the fact that PopSugar Neiman Marcus arrived today shortly, but so did ipsy! And honestly, ipsy is always near the top of my list for fun ones to receive. I don’t want ipsy to feel left out, so I am reviewing it first and doing PopSugar in the morning. Ipsy is a monthly envelope of a few full and sample size beauty items that is based on a profile you fill out. It always comes in a cute little makeup bag, and this month was no exception:

This month’s bag was shiny and gold and reminded me of New Year’s Eve.  Here are the goods:
This month’s bag had six mostly full-size items, and I really like them all. Here’s the scoop:  
em by Michelle Phan Pillow Plush Cushiony Lip Balm in Bubblegum: (full size) I tried this gloss on already.  It is fairly glossy, but still gives good color, in this case a pale pink. I like it, and it is already in my purse
Be a Bombshell lip crayon in Shameless: (full size) This lip crayon may be a bit too dark for me, but I may give it a try for some holiday parties, just to change up my granola-esque makeup routine.  The color is really pretty, and both of these lip products are very layerable. That’s a word, look it up.
Starlooks Gem Eye Pencil in Topaz: (full size) Ok, so I don’t wear eyeliner very often, and when I do, I usually opt for a navy blue because I think it really brightens eyes. But this silvery shade is an awesome color to play around with for holiday looks, and I can’t wait to give it a try, probably right in the inner corner of my eye. I think it will be lovely!
Cailyn Mineral Eye Shadow with built-in sponge top applicator in Champagne: (full size) I totally dig this and can’t wait to try out the applicator. This is a perfect color to highlight the browline or inner eye. 
Nailtini Straight Up Color Nail Laquer in Caviar Cocktail: (full size)  This color is awesome.  I am putting it on my toes ASAP. It is a pewtery-metallic polish and so different.  I am so glad I got this color and not the Champagne.
Pixi Beauty Bronzer in Subtly Suntouched: Score! Bronzer is my go-to beauty tool. My daily makeup routine consists of moisturizer, bronzer, mascara and lipgloss.  This is the perfect edition to my swim bag so I can leave my big bronzer at home. Or it can be my emergency bronzer for when I inevitably drop the big one on the bathroom floor and it shatters into a thousand powdery pieces that find their way onto my white bathroom rug. 
The ipsy package always far exceeds the ten-dollar price tag and is consistently one of my favorite subscriptions. Can’t wait to use all this great stuff. 

And the Finalists Are…

I have rounded out my final box selections for the next three months. I have ten boxes, which puts me slightly over my $200 per month budget, but hey, I’m close, so I’m counting it. I tried to vary my boxes into a few different categories so that there are lots of fun reviews. In addition, while I keep a few subscriptions going at all times, some of these are three-month subscriptions that I will switch to try something new down the road.  So here are the finalists:

Bespoke Post
Bespoke Post is a monthly box geared towards men. I have gotten one Bespoke box so far, and am looking forward to this month’s. Let’s just say, my husband is going to love all of the awesome stuff he gets from these boxes. They are perfect for the guy who like to be a little trendy without being a full-on hipster. I mean, seriously, ironic mustaches are really not that cool around the office, you know? Bespoke Post is $45 per month and you can get 25% off your first month with the code WINGMAN. the cool thing about Bespoke is that they send an email at the first of the month every time, letting you know what boxes are available and what is in them. Then you can choose whether or not to opt out for that month. While it may take out the element of surprise, it also ensures that you never pay for anything you don’t want. Seems like a deal to me!

Bike Loot
Bike Loot is just what the name implies, a monthly box of fun new stuff to try for cyclists. My husband is a die-hard cyclist, and so this is another one just for him. He is a lucky guy. Bike Loot is $10 per month, plus $3.95 shipping.

Birchbox
I have not received a Birchbox yet, but I am excited to try another $10 box, especially one that gets such great reviews. I should get my first one in December.

Birchbox Man
ANOTHER one for my husband. Seriously, how did he score all of this gear? Birchbox Man is $20 per month and is a monthly box of sample and full-sized products for men, including accessories. I think my husband will love the socks and trying the aftershaves and moisturizers.  And I will enjoy him smelling so nice. Although, he usually smells pretty nice anyway.

Citrus Lane
This one is for little D. (I swear, I get some stuff, too) My son is 19 months old, and so far, he has loved his gear from Citrus Lane, a monthly box with snacks, toys and other fun kid stuff. They specify their picks to your child’s sex and age and the items we have gotten are pretty cool. I let D have one or two of them, and then I stow some for the holidays, too. Citrus Lane is $24.95 per month.

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I really love my ipsy envelope/box that I get each month. It is only $10, and there are always great sample and full size items in each little makeup bag, and the value always far exceeds the cost. As I mentioned last week, ipsy is how I discovered my favorite mascara EVER, It’s So Big, by Elizabeth Mott. Ipsy curates their bags based on a profile that you fill out, so not everyone gets the same things each month, but the items are catered to your skin type and other preferences.

NatureBox
NatureBox is another one that I will be getting for the first time this month. I am pretty excited about this monthly box of healthy snacks. This is something the whole family will be able to use, and it will make lunch packing and on-the-go days much easier. Nature Box Deluxe is $19.95 per month, and there are other sizes with more snack servings for those feeding a bigger group. They are always running a 50% off your first month offer which you can find on their Facebook page. The offer I used today was DAILYCANDY, which I grabbed from Retail Me Not

Pleasure Pantry
In keeping with the theme of having boxes from varying areas, I chose Pleasure Pantry to round out my ten boxes. Pleasure Pantry is an adult subscription box company that sends sex toys, lingerie and other bedroom related products to try each month. Pleasure Pantry is $29 per month, and I will get my first one in November. With a toddler running around and not much time to spice things up, I think this will be an exciting addition to my box collection, as well as to my marriage! Pleasure Pantry offers boxes for all types of couples, boy/girl, girl/girl, boy/boy, and a bridal box. This makes me even happier to support this company. Equal spicing up for everyone!

PopSugar Must Have Box
The PopSugar Must Have box was my first subscription box, and it is also my favorite. I also love their Limited Edition boxes that come out a few times a year. This is a box geared towards women with fashion, beauty, lifestyle, houseware, and food items. This box is my little slice of me-time each month, and I usually try (sometimes I can’t wait) to set it aside and wait for some alone time with some wine to crack this bad boy open. I LOVE PopSugar Must Have. The Must Have box is $39.95 per month, and the Limited Edition boxes are usually $100. They recently released a $250 splurge box where they teamed up with Neiman Marcus. It will be delivered this month, and I cannot wait.

Sparaj
The Sparaj subscription box has me totally intrigued, and I am very excited to receive my first one in December. Sparaj call themselves a “discovery service”which sounds pretty cool to me. They are a new subscription box company that focuses on natural spa-like products from a different area of the world each month. Their pre-launch box was a Thailand-themed box, and I was bummed to miss it. Thailand is one of my favorite places in the world. Sparaj is $40 per month, and they do not autorenew right now, so you must reorder each month or select a three or six month subscription

So that is the lot. I am looking forward to my new boxes and my usual boxes with gusto for the holidays. Not only does my $200…ok, closer to $250…per month cover all of my fun and shopping for the month, it also covers almost all of my holiday shopping and gifts. To me, that seems like a great deal. Can’t wait til the boxes start coming.


Another Package? For Moi’?

Along with my surprise Julep package, I also received my new mascara!  YAY! In my September ipsy bag, I received the It’s So Big mascara from Elizabeth Mott. Best. Mascara. Ever. I have been on a journey of personal discovery for my entire makeup-wearing life to find this mascara, and now, two of them are mine. The journey ends right here:

This mascara has already changed my life in the way that only mascara can. I will say that it may not be the right mascara for everyone. I am a makeup minimalist, and this mascara adds great color, great separation and no clumping.  It is very natural looking, but can be layered a few times to glam it up. As a contact lens wearer, the fact that it never flaked sold me, but I also love that it does not budge at all. I have super dry skin and so I pile on the lotion. A lot of mascaras are smeared down my face by noon because I have so much moisturizer and eye cream on. But this looked newly applied all day. Because it never moved, I was dreading removing it, but one swipe with a makeup remover, and it was gone. I think this stuff is a miracle. If you are more into big, thick, clumpier lashes, this may not be your gig, but for me, I am in post-personal-journey mascara bliss. 
The ipsy Glam Bag offer for this was 50% off, so I got two, but sadly, that discount is over. You can purchase It’s So Big mascara on the Elizabeth Mott site, and it arrives very quickly from Honolulu, where I imagine Elizabeth Mott lives a glamorous, tropical life, reaping the benefits of being a mascara genius. She also included one of her famous lash cards that keeps mascara from getting on to other parts of your eyes.  I am a little too low maintenance for that, but it looks cool and gets rave reviews, so into the Bag-o-Beauty it goes.
Thank you, Elizabeth Mott, lifechanger. And thank you, ipsy for introducing us. 

Oh, The Insanity

I took this photo when Mike and I were at a football game a couple weeks ago. I was peeing while I took it; I’m classy like that. It was written on the inside of the stall door at about peeing-level. It made me laugh so hard, because, honestly, this is a pretty permanent solution to a temporary problem, amirite?  It did make me look right away though, and yes, there was some TP. Phew.

Now on to more important things, most notably, how I am a slacker and have not reviewed anything yet.

I am not sure how things can seem so out-of-hand busy when I am not working AND the boy is still in school most of the time. Job hunting has been taking its toll on me, and I am still waiting to hear on one offer. (Cross your fingers.  Right now!)

I WILL start reviewing boxes here soon.  I lied on the boxes I said I was going to review last week, but I swear, I will start with November boxes and review with gusto. I’ll be looking at PopSugar, ipsy, Citrus Lane, Bespoke (maybe, if it looks like something good), and Bike Loot (my husband is going to get that one as a surprise, but not until after I open it and dissect it for review purposes). I will also purportedly be getting the PopSugar Neiman Marcus Box in November.  swoon.

The PopSugar Holiday Luxury Box goes on sale today, too, so I will have that to look forward to in December, as well as the start of Sparaj, which I am SUPER stoked about.  That box looks right up my alley.

So, yes, I guess I that this means I am more focused on the Soap Box portion of this blog until November, because, honestly, my ipsy and PopSugar boxes for October are already old news. (but I still love them!)  But until November reviews, you can just count on more babbling from me as I try to sort out what the hell I am doing with my life.

Happy Halloween to everyone tomorrow.  Mike and I dressed as the Blues Brothers and D was a policeman. We did it a couple weeks ago for Trunk or Treat at D’s school, but will probably dress up again tomorrow night for a trick-or-treating gathering at my best friend’s house. Having a kid makes these holidays so much more fun! Even when they refuse to wear their tiny police hats. 🙂

Stay warm everyone, and always make sure there is TP.

Tomorrow, a review of the Favorite Things Party I hosted at my house last weekend.  30 tipsy women bearing gifts.  It’s a must-see.

The Soap Boxes and Subscription Boxes Inaugural Post

Welcome to my new blog, where I will be reviewing subscription boxes along with discussing everyday things such as being a working mom, trying to get and stay in shape, my awesome family and friends, the occasional recipe or kitchen anecdote,  and the ridiculousness that tends to be my life on a fairly regular basis.  This week, I will be reviewing the PopSugar October 2013 Box, as well as a couple others that are headed my way, such as ipsy and Citrus Lane.

The way I approach my subscription box selections is that I allow myself $200 per month for monthly subscription boxes.  There are one or two that I almost always get, like PopSugar, because they are my favorites, and then I will switch out on some others, getting some for a couple or three months and then switching up to something new to try. If there are special edition boxes, such as the holiday box being released for sale by PopSugar and Neiman Marcus this week, (check the PopSugar site on 10/16; it will sell out quick!) I do not count those in my $200 per month budget, but I don’t always spring for the purchase either. It depends on if I’m feeling lucky.  Or rich!

About me…
I am a recently laid-off mother of a sweet 18 month old toddler boy, D, and the wife of an awesome guy, Mike, who is suspect of subscription boxes, yet approves of the abject pleasure they seem to give me, so allows the box obsession to continue. Both of these boys are the loves of my life.  I am currently in the throes of job hunting, so my life is in a bit of turmoil. I have been a professional writer for over 15 years and need this outlet to be writing about something fun whilst being out of the rat race.  But even when I get back into the rat race, I promise to regale you with my stories and reviews. And wine.  I just decided there will be wine here in some capacity. And wicked humor and posts about how I mess up at everything. (in no way related to the wine) Please join me.

Cara