ipsy Review- January 2014


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:


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:


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.


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!

Birchbox Review- January 2014


Birchbox arrived today, along with ipsy. Sooooo, let’s go in alphabetical order and do Birchbox first. Birchbox is a monthly box that includes three to five sample- and full-sized beauty items. It is $10 per month (get a free box when you sign up for a 12-month subscription) and the items are based on a questionnaire that you fill out, so not everybody gets the same items. They also do a men’s version for $20 per month. Here are the goods for January:


The first thing I loved was the cards. I love cute little stationary or hangable postcards like that. If I had an office right now, I would hang it in there, but since I am without, I will tuck it in my laptop bag. Super cheerful.  Lots of pink going on in up in there this month. Here are the details:


Camille Beckman Body Butter sample: Ok, so this stuff feels great and smells great, however, when it comes to body butter, this sample would not even cover one arm. It is a tiny sample. It is adorable, don’t get me wrong, and I like the product, but here in Colorado, we buy our moisturizers by the gallon, which lasts us about a week. I am putting this in the bag-o-beauty so that someone who has more normal skin can really get some use out of it.

Besame Cosmetics Lipstick sampler: I love the presentation of this sample. It is several lipstick colors on match-like sticks in a match-like box. So cute! I do not wear lipstick, and instead always go for gloss or balm, but this is creative and cute. They get an A for presentation.


Klorane Dry Shampoo with oat milk: I got this in the GlossyBox Net-a-Porter box in November, and it is good stuff. Dry shampoo is one of my favorite items to get in a boxes, and this one is quality. It smells nice and doesn’t leave your hair with a stiff feel.

Paula’s Choice RESIST BH9 for stubborn imperfections: This sample is so tiny, but apparently you only need a tiny bit. This is for use in diminishing scars, rosacea, and blemishes, among other things. It is to be used as an on-spot treatment, or you use a small amount over your entire face. I have a few imperfections that I would love to disappear, so I am going to give this a try.


Under Armour braided headband: This headband is super cute, and it looks like it might actually stay in my hair. Thus far, I have yet to have a no-slip headband for working out actually not slip. I might have a cone head or something, but as soon as I start running, those headbands find their way to the top of my head, where they sit like halos. I put this one on and bounced around a little and it didn’t budge. I will have to give it another test over three or four miles, but it looks like it might just be my new go-to headband. The full-size of this headband is actually a three-pack, which means I will lose them all within three weeks instead of one.

And just another shout-out for the cute Birchbox postcards. I really loved these and am looking for places to hang my favorites.

While I do not add values for samples, the links provided show the price of the full-sized items that are sampled. Even with all sample sizes this time and no full-sized items, I still felt like this box far exceeded the ten-dollar pricetag. Birchbox is always one of my favorite boxes and the new brands to try, as well as the fun lifestyle items are always on track.

As a side note, I ordered the Beauty Protector trio from Birchbox last week after sampling it and loving it in my December box. Well, today, I got the box that it was supposed to come in, but it was totally empty. The post office had plastered stickers on it saying it was unsealed and empty, but then they sent me the empty box anyway. So I called Birchbox, talked to a super nice rep, and they are resending me my stuff right away. They were so easy to deal with, and customer service like that is so important to me.  Just a side note!


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Benefit Cosmetics Bus. Beep! Beep!

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The first two weeks of the month are always slow for boxes, but there are a bunch on their way already, so many fun reviews are coming, including Happy Mommy, NatureBox, Birchbox, a new one called Panty by Post, and lots, lots more!

In the meantime, I thought I would share this little item I saw at the Oakland airport on our way home around the new year. It is a Benefit cosmetics vending machine. It was right there across from our gate, and I kept staring at it, waiting for my moment to leave my son with my husband so I could go explore. When Mike got back and took over toddler duty, I picked up my wallet and told him I was taking it “just in case” to which my husband smiled and shook his head. What? I love me some cool makeup.

I actually did not buy anything; I really don’t buy makeup anymore except for a few essentials (Sephora CC cream, Elizabeth Mott Mascara, and Makeup Forever eyeliner) because of all the stuff I get in the mail to play with, including lots of fun Benefit stuff. But still, this thing was cool, and in my pre-box days, I would have dropped a pretty penny out of the sheer desire to entertain myself at the gate. Since Benefit is a San Francisco company, I imagine these are sprinkled throughout all the Northern California airports.  So cool! Have you ever seen makeup vending machines before?

Julep Maven Review- January 2014

julep1 Julep Maven Box was another one that was waiting for me when we returned from our holiday travels! They always ship super early in the month, or in this case, even before. Julep Maven is a monthly nail lacquer and beauty product box that is $19.95 per month. You can always get your first box free (just pay $4 shpping) with the code FREEBOX. Each box always includes two nail polish colors and a beauty item, as well as occasional bonus items. Julep lets you know what your choices for the month are before shipping, so you can always switch it up, or even upgrade to the full collection for an additional $30. Julep has the widest variety of colors I have ever seen along with fun topcoats and finishes. Here are the goods for January:


There was a little extra in there this month, and I could not for the life of me figure out what it was. Here are the details:


TA-DA! Quick Dry Drops: ($14) These will come in super handy! I am so impatient when it comes to letting my nails dry, especially when I am dying to put socks back on my freezing feet after I do my toes. These actually smell quite nice and promise to keep drying time to only a few minutes, as well as help your cuticles with Vitamin E.

Ummm… Little Orange Sponges: ($?) Ok, so I initially thought these were mini buffers, but they are not. Did anyone else get these?  What are they for? I can’t find them on the Julep site, but I am sure they are for something wonderful that I am now missing out on.


My polish colors this month were from the Boho Glam profile, which is the one I typically select. The colors are:

Hannah: ($14) A pale sage color with a creme finish. Pale greens are basically my favorite colors in the world. I am putting this on my toes pronto, even if I plan on keeping them under layers of socks and slippers until the snow melts.

Noelle: ($14) Julep describes this color as sandy beach silk with a glitter finish. I describe it as a lovely neutral with a twist. Gorgeous.

Overall, the value of the Julep January box was $42 dollars for the $19.95 price tag, plus the value of the mystery sponges. Not too shabby. Also, in every Julep box, there is always a little card with a fun quote or fact on it. This month’s is hanging on my bathroom mirror as my constant reminder:


ipsy Review December 2013 Glam Bag


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:


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:


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.


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.



PopSugar Must Have Review December 2013


The PopSugar Must Have December Box has received a lot of mixed reviews thus far, with some people seeming pretty unhappy with it. While it wasn’t necessarily my favorite PopSugar Must Have box, I actually thought everything was pretty nice, and even the stuff I didn’t initially love, I realized I would get use out of. Here are the goods:


This box was full of holiday cheer and everything was pretty fun. Here are the details:


Govino Go Anywhere Champagne Flutes: ($12.95) This is a set of four disposable champagne flutes from Govino. While I understand why some people weren’t happy with them being plastic and disposable, I think we will get use out of them, but I think it will be during the summer. We take picnics to jazz in the park a lot of summer Sundays, and these are perfect. I can’t really see using them more than once like they say you can, but we shall see. I didn’t think these were amazing, but we will use them.


Whoa, snack-city for this PopSugar box.

CC Made Caramel Corn: This is a great size to add to a gift basket, which is probably what I will do with it. After the peppermint pretzel incident from the Special Edition Box, I need to lay off the snacks for a bit.

Ghiradelli Squares: (2 packs) ($4.25 each) These were fine, and I actually put them out at our cocktail party, so I got use out of them right away. The Pumpkin Spice flavor is to die for. These were listed on the information card as an extra, although I thought it was a little weird that there were two packages of them. Chocolate is good, and so I accept these and will do my best to give most of them away.


Mixt Studio Holiday Gifting Set: ($9) This is a package of three different kinds of wrapping paper with string and tags to finish the packages. I think this is super handy and pretty, and I will be wrapping a few presents with it this week. i thought this was a cool addition for the holidays.


NCLA Peppermint Lane Nail Wraps: ($16) Nail wraps are not my thing, but I already know who is getting these as a gift. We are doing a small-gift gift exchange with my husband’s family, and I am going to put together a little nail set for Mike’s brother’s girlfriend. These will be perfect to add to that.

Modelco Fibre Lashxtend Black Mascara: ($20) I have a ton of mascara, and as I have mentioned a million times, am currently totally hooked on It’s So Big mascara by Elizabeth Mott. This will go in the makeup box for gifting or putting into the Bag-o-Beauty for girls’ trip. I’m sure those classy ladies will throw down to see who gets a full size mascara out of there.


Lulu Frost for PopSugar bracelet: ($110) This was another item in the box that had a lot of mixed reviews. I really like it and will wear it. While I would not pay $110 for it retail, I think it is edgy and pretty at the same time and am excited to wear it. Lulu Frost items are typically pretty spendy, so I think  that is part of what they figure into the price. I like that it is a special edition for PopSugar, and I like the antique coloring to the gold chain. This was my favorite thing in the box.

All told, this PopSugar Must Have box had a value of around $180 for the $39.95 pricetag. I liked the holiday cheer, loved the bracelet, and thought it was pretty good, though not my favorite PopSugar box. Looking forward to what they have in store for 2014.  You can always get $5 off of your first PopSugar Box by using the promo code REFER5.

Birchbox Review December 2013


More crappy photos. You’re welcome.

The Birchbox December box arrived on Friday, but with all the bustle in having 50 people here on Saturday night, I am just now getting to this and a few other reviews. This was a great Birchbox, and I really liked all the items. Here are the goods:


I love the actual Birchbox boxes. They are always so cute, and make perfect little gift boxes. And these items made the box even better. Here are the details:


Hello by Harvey Prince perfume: (sample size): I actually thought this perfume smelled great. It is very different than my everyday scent, which is musky and spicy. This is flowery and citrusy, and I was surprised that I liked it so much. I will use this for special occasions.

Sheer Glo by Manna Kadar in Birchbox Love: (deluxe sample size) I mixed a little of this lotion with my foundation, and sure enough, it gives an extra bit of pearlescence. It smells fresh and did not feel heavy on my face. I can’t see using it anywhere besides my face and decolletage, like they suggest, but I like it, and I like that the color is exclusive to Birchbox.


Non-Aerosol Hairspray by Number 4: (deluxe sample) This is a botanical hairspray that is Earth-friendly. It smells good and doesn’t leave a crunch to your hair. Perfect for travel or to toss in your gym bag.

This other item is an advertisement for the Birchbox mobile app that includes a coupon code for 20% when you order through the app, but it also includes this cute little static sticker that sticks to the back of your phone. The cool thing about it is that the front of the sticker can be used to clean the screen of your smartphone. Smart. I stole my husband’s from his Birchbox Man box a couple weeks ago, and once he realized how cool it was, he called dibs on this one. It is a neat little freebie.


Organic Healing Balm by Honest Company: (purse size) I like the consistency of this lotion a lot. It smells nice and is made from good, organic ingredients. It says it is good for eczema, which I do not have, but I do have a weird issue on my ring finger where, four years in, my wedding and engagement rings have suddenly started trying to eat my finger (that is my own diagnosis, not a doctor’s). It’s not pretty, and I am desperate and will try anything to make it go away. I probably should go to the dermatologist, but instead, I would rather try all my different lotion samples on it like some kind of science project.

Twistband: I am kind of over Twistbands and have a bunch accumulated from subscription boxes. However, this one is so cute with its dots that I may just wear it. They don’t stay in my hair very well like they seem to for others, so I stick with my plain black Goody elastics that stay through any workout, but sometimes if I want add a little fanciness to my workout look, I put a Twistband on top of the elastic. This one is perfect for that.

I liked this Birchbox, although there were no full-size items in this particular box (there often are) I don;t really put prices on samples, but I definitely feel like this box exceeds its $10 price tag, and I will get use out of everything inside. I have been very happy with Birchbox.