Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Influenster #frostyvoxbox

This is my second favorite Influenster voxbox of 2014. My first was the Victoria's Secret voxbox. This Frosty box has everything for a woman to be ready for 2015. As always, I was sent these free products to test and review.
 This is an overview of all of the products that came in the box.
These Fruit Vines didn't last a day in my house, lol. These bite sized, chewy snacks were delicious without being overly sweet. These retail for $1.79. 
The McCormick brand of seasonings is a trusted name brand of seasonings. Thyme is not purchased in my house, but I'm not sure why. It goes with most meats and smells like the holidays. I would recommend rubbing any dry seasoning in between your hands before using it to "wake up" the flavor. I'm excited to see a quick search brought up 89 recipes! I am also a part of their consumer panel. I've only been invited to try one product, but it was free! This full size product retails for $4.79.

I love this tea! The minty flavor soothed my overworked voice from the end of the school. This is perfect for the times I want a hot drink besides coffee and hot chocolate. The two packets didn't have a price.

 The No. 7 serum serum packet is supposed to provide the best anti-aging results. My skin is acting up right now so I will keep you posted when I try this. The full size retails for $22.99.

This Ecotools brush is effective with most of its claims. My hair took less time to blow dry and was less frizzy. Unfortunately, it isn't as soft as my Wet brush. 
 Very flexible bristles against the open base. This retails for $11.99.

These next three products are makeup products! I never tried these products, but I have different NYC and Rimmel products. I love trying new makeup!
 These are the swatches of the lipstick and liner in natural light with no flash.

 This is a full size lipstick from NYC in Sugar Plum. In the tube this looked extremely frosty (old lady), but the color is actually complementary to my skintone. I cannot get over the level of moisture and shine. It is perfect for an everyday look or a night out.  For $1.99 I can't wait to try more colors!
The last products from the voxbox are both from Rimmel London. The Scandaleyes Kohl Kajal liner in black is raved about on Youtube. The swatch above was one pass on my hand! Not only is this affordable at $4.49, it also is long lasting. I have trouble with liners staying in place. This one did not fail me. It is just as long lasting as my Stila liner. 
 Because the liner is so waterproof, you do need an effective remover. This Rimmel Just Let it Go remover is perfect. My HG remover is the Clinique Take the Day Off balm, but this is my new favorite liquid remover. It's safe for contact wearers and sensitive skin. I dab a little on a cotton round, place over my eye for 10-15 seconds, then begin gently swiping away my eye makeup. This is perfect for my gym bag! The remover costs $7.49.
The retail value of the box is about $33. I am extremely pleased with the amount of full size products and the fact that I will use all of these products. Please use this link if you are not a part of Influenster nation!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Baybeezmomma's giveaway winnings!

If you are not a fan of Amy's  blog, GO follow her now. I'm not a mother, but I love the variety of her blog posts.  I am honored to be the winner of her first giveaway. I won the Cynthia Rowley set. These pictures are courtesy of Amy's blog.

The colors are gorgeous, creamy, and blendable. I didn't experience a terrible amount of fallout either. I used all of the colors and the liner with no issues. I didn't use a primer because I wanted to see the actual colors and staying power for myself.

This picture is with the liquid liner. I like the color and the ease of application. I'm not a pro at liquid liner, but this product was easy to apply. Please don't judge my hair, lol. It's my weekend.

This is my finished looks. I think a primer would help blend these, but the application was easy due to the pigmentation.  I like that I can use one palette to create day or evening looks.
 Overall, I couldn't be happier with Amy for this giveaway! Cynthia Rowley made beautiful packaging for beautiful makeup products. I will be purchasing more of her products in the future! What have you tried from her line? Thanks for reading!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Why I LOVE Birchbox!

I was a long-time Ipsy lover. I loved that I got full-size products for $10/month. I found their rewards lackluster at best, and often I didn't like the color or product I received. Then, I found out about Birchbox from fellow makeup lovers on Facebook. I decided to try it because I got 100 free points (details to come) and a fellow Facebooker would send out a gift if I used her code. I figured, why not? Needless to say, I'm in love and canceling Ipsy. Birchbox typically sends only samples, but for $10/month PLUS 50-70 points/box, I can't beat it. I emailed customer service to ask if I could stop getting face creams (I have very sensitive skin), but still get eye creams and toners. While the answer was no, I was placed in a Beta group for Birchbox. I am allowed to choose how often I get products-face creams, eye creams, tools, perfumes, etc. I LOVE this because I can essentially choose what type of products I get. I hope this Beta testing works out because all members should be able to do this.

Let me explain the points. You get 10 points for each product you review from your box. That equates to about $5 to spend in the Birchbox store. Technically, I only spend $5/box if I review all of my products. When I signed up, I got 100 points so the box was basically free. You also earn points for every dollar you spend in the Birchbox shop. Ideally, you will love the samples so much you buy them. I like to save my points and splurge on something I would normally not buy.  For the first Birchbox purchase I bought the Juara set below. I love coffee, scrubs, and body butters, hence the reason why this set is perfect for me. The $49 was too steep for me to buy outright. The Caudalie set is perfect for winter for the perfect price. I decided to buy it since I was already placing an order. I'm so happy I did! This duo is amazing at moisturizing dry lips and skin.

Another beautiful thing about Birchbox is their Bonus Shop and % off specials. I got a free Mystery Pack, Ace Bonus Pack, free shipping, and 25% off my purchase. These sample packs can be disappointing like two foil packs. I'm staying optimistic that I will get something better this time. What should have cost $71 only cost me $5.75 thanks to my points. This is why I love Birchbox. Not only do I get to sample new products that I've never tried, I also get points to splurge on expensive products, or stock up on tried-and-true favorites. I will have a review on the actual products when I get them. 

What have you used your points on in the Birchbox store? Just for my readers I am offering a FREE gift if you use my code to sign up for Birchbox! Leave me a comment with your email so I can get your mailing address to send your free gift!

When I got my package, this is what the scrub looked like.
 The lid and seal were both broken. I'm not sure how this happened since it came in a gift box.
I emailed Birchbox immediately since this was my first order I ever placed. They handled the situation immediately by giving my 100 points and another Juara gift set for FREE. That is stellar customer service. 

Friday, December 12, 2014

InStyler review

Thanks to Vocalpoint.com I got to try InStyler products for free! I received:
  • InStyler Max
  • InStyler Ionic Style Pro
  • The TULIP by InStyler
  • Goodies for your guests-wide-tooth combs and bags 
    This picture shows my hair AFTER using the InStyler Max (pink in the photo). This is the OG of the InStyler products. The flagship product can add volume and curl hair in two different directions. It heats up quickly and is pretty easy to use. It curled the ends of my hair nicely. 
     Next, I tried the Ionic Styler Pro (the purple handle). This was trickier using the comb side. I start by brushing sections of my hair carefully to try to prevent snags. Then, I would wrap my hair and try to pull the comb through, but sometimes it would get stuck in my hair. I tried smaller sections, but it still happened. In the picture below the left side was straightened using the iron while the right side was curled with the comb side. I like the idea of two products in one, but this wasn't my favorite product.

     The most difficult to use, but my favorite product was the TULIP. I read the directions AND watched a tutorial before curling my hair. The next two pictures depict my first results.  I thought I had the swing of things.

    Then this happened! I followed the directions; I swear! 

    Shortly after, I got ambitious and tried to curl too much hair at once...never again. That was a tangled mess! Luckily, there's an "O" (for oh crap?!) on the bottom for these mistakes. After I regrouped and vowed to NOT lose to a machine, the results were amazing! I've never been able to get great curls like this with my long hair. The next pictures are my TULIP results. I'm in love with this machine. 

    I can't wait to have my friends over so I can share how awesome these products are! Thanks for reading! Please let me know which one you'd like to try!
    Please don't mind my no-makeup day.

Friday, December 5, 2014

November's Ipsy bag

This is what I got from Ipsy this month. I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of these products.
1. Be a Bomshell eye base went on smoothly. It made my eye shadow last longer, but I still creased by hour 6 of applying my makeup. I will say, this is pretty typical of my eye makeup. My tried-and-true favorites bases are Too Faced Shadow Insurance and Nars. If you have recommendations leave them in the comments please!

2. The Elizabeth Mott liner was easy to apply, but extremely glittery.  couldn't get past the glitter, but the staying power/formula was awesome.

3. The LA Colors Chunky Lip Pencil has a fantastic formula. It was moisturizing, yet pigmented. The only problem was the color. I was not thrilled with how pink it appeared on me.

4. My favorite product was the Laura Mercier powder and fan brush. I don't know what the magical ingredient is, but the formula covers pores and shine like a dream. I tried using the fan brush to apply the powder, but found I love it more for highlighters and bronzers. My small complaint was that Ipsters didn't get a discount code. Thank goodness I'm a Sephora Rouge member. I earned a $25 off coupon. I'm going to buy the Mercier powder and a primer.

5. I didn't find anything spectacular with the Marc Anthony Oil of Morocco Argan Oil Volume Shine Hairspray except the incredibly long name. I'm not particular when it comes to hairspray. This one provides a decent amount of hold and smells great.

My overall grade for Ipsy this month is a C. I liked some of the products, but not enough to make me stay an Ipster (*gasp). I am doing the unthinkable and unsubscribing after December's bag. Birchbox won my heart.

November's Birchbox

I am thrilled with my November Birchbox! I love all of the products except the Eslor cream. This month gets a grade A from me!
1. Folle de Joie smells dreamy. I typically don't like floral scents because they aggravate my allergies. I get a headache, stuffy nose, sneezing, etc. This parfum did not irritate me at all! Of course I'd love it; it's $98! I will be holding on to the sample until spring since it's so expensive.

2.   The Bain de Terre styling oil is great for my color-treated hair. My ends are so dry because my hair is so long. Those ends have been through multiple torture sessions AKA coloring sessions including bleaching. I have to use oils on the ends to make my hair look somewhat healthy. I like that this one is affordable with little scent to the actual product. The texture is thicker than other oils, which works well on my hair.

3. I began experimenting with highlighters this fall and love them. I was always hesitant to use them because my skin is oily. The first one I tried was Mary Lou-Manizer and loved her! I was so excited to try Cindy Lou-Manizer because I've heard great things about her too. Even though this sample is small, I get a ton of use out of it since it's pigmented.

4. Not Soap, Radio wash reminds me of a Lush shower gel. It provides an excellent lather, lemony scent, and cleanses my skin effectively. Although I love it, I wouldn't pay $16 for ANY shower gel. To me, it's just not worth it.

5. I was excited to get my first food item from Birchbox! The Dang Coconut Chips are delicious! I typically do NOT like anything coconut, but I will try anything once.  Boy I am glad I did! The chips were sweet without being overly sweet like candy. I brought them as a snack when I volunteered at the Rock N Roll Marathon registration area. The runners were dying to try my snack! I let hundreds of people take pictures of the chips, but I wouldn't share lol.

6. I'm sure the Eslor cream is amazing, but I was afraid to use it because it it extremely moisturizing. This would irritate my sensitive, acne-prone skin. I will avoid anything that may cause me to breakout.

This box was a total LOVE for me. Keep your eyes open for an upcoming post in regards to Birchbox's response to my concern about the Eslor cream. I cannot express how much Birchbox's customer service rocks! What did you get in your box?  Leave it in the comments below!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

November trash and treasures

These are products I finished in November. Some of them I used for an extended period of time before finishing them. 
I will NOT repurchase the Aveeno lotion. It was not moisturizing whatsoever, definitely trash. Treasure- CeraVe is my go-to cream. My skin gets extremely dry from the Vegas weather conditions. This lotion does the trick and allows me to wear my perfumes since it's unscented. 
Treasure-The Coochy shave cream is another favorite. I got this from a former consultant for FREE! This is the only product that prevents razor burn and ingrown hairs for me. 
Treasure-The Living Proof Style Extender works well for my long hair to conditioner and prevent excess oil at my scalp. 
Trash-Carol's Daughter Marula hair mask didn't do anything for my hair. I am sticking to the Carol's Daughter Manoi mask.
Trash-The Beauty Protector in the red bottle smells amazing, but did nothing to treat my hair.
BBW's Sky had a beautiful, perfume scent, but it's discontinued.  
Treasure-The almond body wash was moisturizing without a heavy scent.
Treasure-I would/will buy Gucci Guilty, La Vie Est Belle, and Juicy Noir. These are very different from each other so I can build my perfume wardrobe.
Treasures- I love my Proactiv Plus skincare. This is the only line gentle enough to treat my skin. I never liked the original Proactiv, but this one is amazing. Another treasure is the Algenist eye cream; I just can't bring myself to spend $50 on an eye cream. Glamglow is my holy grail mask. Partnered with my Proactiv, my skin is pretty clear most of the time. Clinique's Take the Day Off Balm is my holy grail makeup remover. It is gentle, but extremely effective.
Trash- The Clarins moisturizer worked well on my dry areas like my cheeks. I don't think I'd spend the money for a moisturizer I can't use on my whole face. I was so let down by the Dr. Brandt Vacuum Pore treatment. This did absolutely nothing for my pores. While I liked the Epice exfoliator, my Proactiv Plus does the same thing. The Clarisonic Radiance AM cleanser and serum samples broke me out. I loved the PM cleanser because it removed dead skin and makeup without being harsh.

Treasures-Garnier BB cream is my go-to light foundation. I wish it didn't have so many unnatural ingredients, but the coverage is great. The Laura Mercier radiance primer added a glow to my skin without making me look more oily. I LOVE the Becca Ultimate for full coverage. This covers as well as Dermablend! I liked layering the Pur and Benefit mascaras. Unfortunately, I got a horrible eye infection shortly after starting these mascaras. I'm not sure if it was from these products or something else.
Trash-the Cover FX BB cream didn't provide enough coverage for me. I couldn't get the Stila bronze cream to ever look good on me. I tried it under foundation, over foundation, as a bb cream, and as a bronzer.    The Starlooks lip liner was a horrible pink color that never looked right on me. While I enjoyed both Benefit primers, I wouldn't pay the price for the full sized ones since they both contain Dimethecone-a serious skin irritant for me. Last, I like the Nyx powder, but I'm not overjoyed about it. The coverage is awesome and it never looks chalky. Again, I'm trying to get into more all-natural products to prevent skin irritations for me
Thanks for reading! What did you use up in November?

Monday, December 1, 2014

Holiday giveaway!

Happy holidays! I am beyond excited to partner with Lauren Brooke Cosmetiques and Erin K. from Jamberry for my first giveaway!

I'm in love with Lauren Brooke's line because they are the most naturally pigmented products I've ever tried. For the foundation the site states, "100% Natural Vitamins, Minerals & Pigments blended into a 97.5% Certified Organic Botanical Base. Our lightweight, all-natural foundation glides easily onto your skin, yet has incredible coverage and staying power." I'll say! I warmed up the samples of concealer in my hand and applied with my fingers on one side and a brush on the other. The lightest shade is for undereye brightening, and the darker for covering blemishes. 

 The darkest foundation I used as a contour (nothing goes to waste here!).  I used a different foundation shade for the rest of my face. 
I used a different foundation shade for the rest of my face. I blended the colors together using my Real Techniques sponge. I love that I get a natural look with awesome coverage. I finished the look with a natural lip colour from Lauren Brooke. 

As for Jamberry, I cannot say enough about these nail stickers. These aren't your drugstore stickers. They apply and remove easily with heat, but are heavy duty when it comes to chipping. I LOVE that Erin has an application video on her page here . As a teacher, I am constantly writing, typing, and interacting with students. I never have to worry about my Jamberry stickers coming off or chipping. Their fun designs make it hard to choose just one! I like to wear 1-2 different designs as accents. This gives me so much variety when it comes to my manicures. NOW is the time to buy because Jamberry is running holiday sales. 

Giveaway time! IF you want to win a Lauren Brooke full size lip colour, Jamberry products, and makeup products, go here now!