Friday, January 17, 2014

A long time coming...

This post has been waiting in the wings for a while now. I've been hesitating, working, making sure that everything was perfect before I posted it.

I'm finally saying, here and now, that this blog is no more.

I am moving to another site,

Why, you ask? Well, Google has been slowly but surely abandoning Blogger. The tools are outdated, support is non-existent, and everything feels old and creaky. I feel like this system is going the way of Google Reader. A slow fade before a final cut off.

So I will be moving. Still writing posts. Still working. Just not here.

For those of you who actually follow me, feel free to check out my new (still in the works) site.

Thanks, guys. You've been awesome. And I hope to see you on the new site!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Ipsy December 2013

This is my first Ipsy! I decided to give a shot, despite hearing mixed reviews. I figure for ten bucks, it can't be that bad. Here's my review of my December 2013 Ipsy glam bag.
All of my bag's contents. Overall, the bag was cute. I don't see myself using it all of the time, but it'll be nice for a night out when I just need the basics. 

I have a confusing relationship with Pop Beauty. Sometimes, their products are nice. But thus far, I haven't encountered an eyeshadow of theirs that doesn't leave fallout everywhere and fade within a couple of hours. 


As you can see, the pigmentation is unimpressive. This was two swipes, no primer. After primer, there was a bit more of a show, but it still wasn't fantastic. The fallout wasn't bad, but the wear time was minimal. Honestly, I feel like this is drugstore cheap. Not even good drugstore, either. Just something I'd pick up for a preteen who is just testing the waters of makeup. 

While I like the idea of "One Stick to Rule Them All," this product is only really good as a blush. Everywhere else it's just greasy and oily. On my cheeks, though, it blends out into a beautiful coral pink with a hint of golden shimmer. Sunset is definitely a winner in the blush category, and I'll just choose to ignore the part where it mentions using it as a lipstick. Ugh.

This lip pencil is described as a Caramel Mocha, and I think that description is pretty good. Coming from a barista at Starbucks, this color is pretty similar to that soft, caramel brown you get from the Caramel Brulee seasonal sauce. It's not dark enough to make me look washed out, and it has just enough pink to balance it out. It's a nice color that I think is actually quite flattering. Not for every occasion, but it's still a good color that I'll wear pretty often. It's also hydrating, although the wear time is about what you'd get from a balm. So there's that. 

This is a brush. It's fluffy and does its job. Nothing special here.

I also received a nail polish that I haven't fully swatched yet because I'm currently wearing polish strips for the holidays. The lazy person's nail art! 

However, I have noted that it is a bright, cherry red that goes on smooth in two coats. It chips easy though, so make sure you have a good base and top coat. I just wish they had labelled the color in case, y'know, I actually wanted to buy a product they sent me. 

Overall, it's not bad for a first bag. The products were very generously sized and all of my complaints were relatively minor. The Pop shadow won't be used often, but I might toss it on when I'm going for a very subtle, neutral look. 

If you're interested in joining Ipsy, here's a referral link! Thanks for reading!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Review: Revlon Color Stay Shadow Palette in Inspire

Yet another of my spontaneous purchases, I got this on Clearance at my local drugstore. I love blues and greens, so I jumped on the chance to pick this up for a measly $2.

I’m glad that I got it so cheap, though!

 At first glance, the colors are great. Upon swatching, however, the colors are pretty washed out. In fact, I didn’t even bother with a first picture because it was hard to tell there was even anything on my arm. The colors were pale and barely there, which is a shame.

However, and that is a big however, with a primer, these colors suddenly come to life. After applying my base, everything was much more noticeable. The blue was blue, the green was green. The shimmer showed up nicely.

These are nice colors for  starting a collection, I have to say. The colors really pop once there is a base of primer, and they blend really easily.

Wear time on these is pretty standard for a shadow. About ¾ of the way through my day, I had the urge to reapply. By the time I got home, the colors were a little muddied and little wan. Still there, just not as poppy. But after a day of working around hot steam and coffee, that’s pretty good. I’m sure without the primer, I would have gotten zilch for wear time.

These colors look funky together, though, I have to say. I attempted the look on the back of the palette and I looked like I was trying too hard to be from the 80s. They are great when mixed with other palettes, though, and used as accents to darker blues and blacks.

The highlight color is nice, though. It almost perfectly matches the color of my the skin just under my brow bone. It adds a touch of shimmer and smoothes out the primer.

Not a bad deal for $2. I would have paid a little more for it, just for the versatility. By itself, though, it has a little lacking. Especially without a solid foundation.

By all means, snag his palette if you have others that you want to use with it. It’s going to get use from me just on that factor alone.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

November Birchbox 2013

Yup, it's that time of the month again! I've finally used all of my Birchbox products. They have been tried and  tested, and now you get to hear how much I loved or hated them.

First and foremost is this little serum by DDF.

This "amplifying elixir" is supposed to increase my skin natural moisture retention rate. And with winter in full force, even here in the South, that's something that I find really important. My skin is now in its winter state of dry, scaly awfulness. Even my eyelids are dry, and honestly, how does that even happen?

Honestly, though, this stuff didn't come to the rescue. In fact, I've only used it twice. The first time was a disaster. My skin felt like I had a really bad sunburn. It itched and tingled. It was red and blotchy and painful. Even after a full night of sleep, I woke up to warm, tender cheeks that still looked like I'd been slapped. I was going to put this product off as another failure, but I gave it another chance. Why? Because before application, I had just exfoliated. I thought that might have something to do with it.

And sure enough, the second application wasn't nearly as painful. But it didn't really do anything for my skin. At all. And it tingled just enough to be uncomfortable, and I'm not about that. I wear beauty products to make myself happy, not to punish myself. End of story.

Next up was this perfume:

Since it's hyped so much by the Birchbox staff, I was expecting something tremendous. But in the end, this was just an ok perfume. Nothing new or noteworthy. Floral, fruity, and young with just a hint of mature musk, it smells an awful lot like everything else on store shelves right now. Kind of a meh for me.

However, the iffy box was redeemed by the next several products I used. First and foremost, this Color Club nail polish in Baldwin Blues. 

I love blue. LOOOOOOVE it. And this shade is no exception. It's a deep, denim blue that goes on perfectly in two coats. Color Club never fails when it comes to polish. This one is as stunning as all of the others that I've tried. 

TheBalm Stainiac was....alright. I'm a bigger fan of Benefit.

The color is great, don't get me wrong. It's a pinky-red color that is bright and flattering. It's the formula that breaks it for me. It's a gel, which is odd enough on it's own. But this gel has a habit of clumping up into these little nuggets of color that settle into the cracks on my lips. It doesn't provide an even coat of color. Just a spotty wash. Now, if your lips are in awesome condition, then fabulous! This product will give you a bit of a just-bit-my-lip pink. Otherwise, you'll have to exfoliate the living daylights out of your lips to get it to work well (like me). 

And last but not least, the Mox Botanicals Bath Milk. 

This little teabag was awesome! It had a bunch of great smelling goodies inside that did really well in my steaming hot tub.The scent was just right, a mix of earthy and smooth. The coconut really came through during the whole length of my bath. I can't say much about how my skin felt afterwards, because my skin always feels awesome after a bath. But I can say that I smelled really nice. 

I would love to try out the other scents that this brand has and give them all a good, solid review. 

Thanks for reading! 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Review: Vaseline Lip Therapy

So, this was one of those impulse buys as I was walking AWAY from the makeup section of Target. I saw a sign with a price I couldn't resist ($1.99, for those who are curious) and I felt the pull of gravity.

Before I knew it, I was walking out of the door with this little godsend:

Y'see, I always knew about how awesome Vaseline is for lips. You put on a little at night, wake up in the morning, and voila! All of your lip woes are solved.

There's just one problem. I bite my lips. A lot. My lips are usually scabbed or bleeding or in pain, and that's if they're not just cracked into oblivion. And I can't put Vaseline on my war-torn lips because I'll bite them, or lick them, and Vaseline tastes like awful. And desperation. And awful.

This stuff is so much better! It's similar to the Rose Salve that you can buy, only with a less hefty price tag. Petroleum based, rose scented, and vaguely rose flavored. But the key part? It doesn't taste like death and chemicals!

Vaseline hit the nail on the head with this product. It keeps my lips soft all day long without much assistance from that awesome Chapstick I got in my last Birchbox.

As far as the pink goes, it's a little unipmressive. I notice the slightest hint of sheer pink on my lips after application, but it's nothing to write home about. In fact, most people won't even notice it at all. But instead of using this for any sort of color, it's going to become my companion at work and before bed to make sure my lips don't suffer this winter.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

October Birchbox 2013: Mass Review

As my November box makes its way toward me, I figure it's about time I drag myself away from work to review my October box. Honestly, I thought this box was awful when I first opened it. And in the end, I wasn't super impressed. Shame on you, Birchbox! I expect more from you after this long.

First is the Alison Raffaele Reality Base Foundation. This product was terribly packaged, for one. The label had already come off, leaving a sticky residue all over the bottle. And I think it would be impossible to get all of the product out of this sample.

Think, you say? Don't you know for certain?

No, because I didn't use this product. At all.

Do you see how dark and yellow that product is? Like, whoa. I'm super light skinned, as I stated in my Birchbox profile. And they send me something that even my tan friends think is yellow. 

So it's not totally their fault, I get it. But the product is also....mediocre, to put it lightly. It was really runny. The coverage was thick and impossible the blend. I just wasn't blown away. Especially not for a price tag of $38. I'd rather not pay an arm and a leg to end up streaky and yellow. Thanks, but no thanks.
Next was the POP Beauty Aqua Lacquer. This may be one of the weirdest lip glosses I've ever gotten. And I'm not a fan of lip gloss to begin with. 

The applicator for this product is supposed to be a "unique spatula-like applicator brush" that makes application easy. Ha. Ha ha! It's awkward and hard to get just right. I would have preferred a doe foot applicator or even just a squeeze tube. Instead, it's a combination of squeeze tube and weird "patented" (aka gimmicky) spatula. Great. 

And on top of that, the gloss just isn't that great. It thick and sticky, unlike what all of the marketing about this product says. It also tastes awful, which only matters for people like me that lick and bite their lips constantly. 

As far as hydration goes, that part was nice. It does about as well a decent lip balm. Nothing earth shattering, but hey, you take what you can get. 

Unfortunately for me, I kind of like the color. Just enough to maybe use it once or twice before it gets forgotten at the bottom of my makeup drawer. Oh, well.
By far, one of my favorite things in the box was the Chapstick product. ChapStick Hydration Lock is my new favorite daily lip product. At this point, I've almost used the whole stick that I got in my Birchbox. 

This stuff is super moisturizing. It makes even my chapped lips feel like butter. And as winter creeps ever onward, I'm going to be glad to have a constant supply of this in my vanity. And my purse. And my other purse. And my backpack. And my wallet. 

What? I'm a hoarder for lip balms. 

There's not a whole lot to say about this, though, other than it's awesome. Great moisture, nice scent/flavor, and the usual Chapstick quality. No complaints here.
The last product in my box was a twofer, although that's almost a shame. I feel like since they're packaged together, it should count for one product. But eh, what are you going to do?

The Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser and Liz Earle Pure Muslin Cloths are nice quality. And they should be, for the cost. The polish is nice, although using it on dry skin was odd to say the least. Definitely different from what I'm used to. 

The polish did, however, leave my skin baby soft. I kept stroking my cheek because I was impressed at how well it had exfoliated all of those awful dry patches that come with swatching products on a near daily basis. It smoothed everything out and gave me this gorgeous glow. It also didn't make my skin red like most focused exfoliators. 

The cloth helped with that. I usually use a microfiber scrubber for my face, but this muslin was just as nice, if not better. It's become a staple in my bathroom and I use it even when I don't use the Liz Earle polishing cleanser. 

Overall, a half and half box. Two flops, two winners. Maybe Novemeber will be better? 

Thanks for reading! 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Review: Covergirl Clean Whipped Creme Foundation

***This product was provided to me for review by Covergirl, through BzzAgent.***

When I got into this BzzAgent campaign, I was thrilled. A full size product that I can actually review on my blog?! Whoohoo!

Before I got my kit, I took a chance to read some review of this foundation. And to be perfectly honest, they were really mixed. Some stated that the wear time was short, some said it was fine. Some said it made their skin oily, some said it made it dry. I was a little confused and a more eager to try the product for myself.

Once I got my greedy little hands on it, I understood the mixed reviews. This product is awesome...for certain people.

 Luckily, this product and I mesh really well. I mean, whoa. Really well. It's like we're best friends that met once when we were kids and then were dragged away from each other kicking and screaming, only to meet again in college.

Yeah, it's that good.

First and foremost, it's a little dark for me. That's fine, though, because I can always buy a lighter shade, use this for summer, or mix this with one of my lighter foundations to get the color just right.

The texture is odd. Like a mousse. I kind of want to eat it with a touch of ice cream on the side.

It blends well and easily into my skin, and even though it's dark, it looks relatively flawless with very little effort. I also found that a makeup sponge made it more difficult, so I resorted to using my fingers. The result: much better.

The foundation also made my skin feel fantastic. Even as cold weather is setting in and I am getting dry patches like nobody's business, this made my skin soft and silky like it wasn't hitting the 40s.

Wear time wasn't great, but it wasn't long lasting by any stretch of the imagination. It got me through a normal work day, and by the time I got home there was a touch of color and coverage left. It was relatively sheer to begin with, though.

Overall, this is product I'll probably be buying again. It's not as good as the BB creams I fell in love with several posts ago, but it's still a nice foundation for people who have normal to dry skin. If you're oily, honestly, this will just make it worse.

Thanks for reading! And if you're interested in becoming a BzzAgent to get in on marketing campaigns, check out their site!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Review: e.l.f. Beauty Book in Warm

I’m a huge fan of saving money. And if that means testing out super cheap, drugstore makeup, I’m all for it. Especially when you come across a brand like e.l.f.

I hadn’t really paid any attention to the brand until joining a makeup subreddit. Then, they all started recommending these super affordable products. I was blown away at how much these folks seemed to love this budget makeup. So one day, I took a dive and went for it. I found this beauty book of eyeshadow in the clearance section and figured that if anything was worth five bucks, it was hopefully finding a new brand affair.

Sure enough, this is some awesome shadow. The colors are nice and professional, with some hints of shimmer throughout to keep it young and fresh. The pigmentation is nice, especially over the e.l.f. primer. They are all very solid colors that work well together. And they are grouped according to what works well with what. I like that. It makes my morning routine a little easier.

Also, I love that with such a good selection, I can take this with me while I’m travelling. Then I don’t have to worry about not having a certain shade for a certain look. This covers a lot of my bases at once.

Wear time is also good. On top of primer, I got a whole day’s worth of wear without any sign of creasing or fading. They are also easy to remove, which is nice considering how often I’ve taken to wearing a color or  three from the book.

Definitely a worthwhile investment. 100%.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

September Birchbox: Juice Beauty Green Apple Peel (And the Giveaway Winner)

First off, let me state that I have never been a huge fan of products aimed at "sensitive skin." Why, you ask? Because it either a) doesn't work as intended or b) disturbs the gentle nature of my skin in some form or fashion.

I'm also not a huge fan of peels because "sensitive" or not, they always leave me feeling dry and itchy and blotchy.

This peel, made by the brand I've come to like, doesn't cut the mustard either.

When Birchbox said this product gave a "mild tingle," I knew I was in trouble. Because honestly, calling it a tingle is putting it very, very lightly. 

Bluntly put, this stuff burns. Maybe it's the fruit-based acids or the length of time it's supposed to be on. But it left my skin raw and aching after only half of the allotted ten minutes. I rinsed it off and my skin still felt hot to the touch and really tender for a good half hour afterwards. 

And maybe it's just my skin, but the next day, I had a couple of breakouts. Nothing major, just some areas on my skin that bubbled up because of the extreme dryness that this peel left my skin with. 

Perhaps this product isn't meant for someone with just sensitive skin. Maybe it's for people who have oily skin as well. Or skin that can handle some "mild tingle." But it's definitely not for me. 

Which is a shame. As much as I enjoy Juice Beauty's products, this one just isn't a winner. 


And now, for what you've all been waiting for....The winner of the Montagne Jeunesse giveaway is....

Patricia F.! Congrats, Patricia. I've sent the company your contact information and they should be getting in touch with you shortly. 

Thanks, everyone, for your entries. I really loved seeing your comments and getting some love for an awesome brand. 

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Review: Montagne Jeunesse Masks and a Giveaway!

I've been so impatient to get this post out. But I wanted to make sure I had all of my ducks in a row first. And now, they are! So, drum roll please....

Montagne Jeunesse was kind enough to send me a generous package of their face masks because there were none in my area. I know, I live in Atlanta, but the only ones I found were a slim selection that never changed. It was pitiful and heartbreaking, because I had tried one of the clay masks before and loved it.

Needless to say, I will be doing all of my ordering online in the future because I am now ADDICTED to these masks. Ho, boy. Let me start from the beginning.

I didn't get pictures of all of the masks because honestly, I was just too eager to dig into them. My apologies. They were a mess afterwards, but the insides were worth it.

This mask was tough to get through at first. It had a really strong smell. Not wholly unpleasant, just a little overwhelming at first. However, after I had the package open for a while, the smell drifted away and I was left with an awesome clay mask. 
This one left my skin super hydrated and squeaky clean. It also helped with a couple of blemishes I was battling at the time. It wasn't irritating, like some masks can be, and the aloe made my summer skin feel absolutely fantastic. Like a cool drink of water after a day spent in the pool.

This mask was a blast and a half. My mom was in town, so her and I split the pack (there's tons in these thing, so you can easily share). It was so delightfully exfoliating. It made my skin tingle, and my nose had trouble coping with the spearmint, but it was worth it. The cool sensation, the crystals clearing away a week's worth of dead skin. Even my mom said it felt like a spa facial in a little plastic packet. 
And afterwards? My skin was silky soft. All of the natural oils were a breeze to rinse away, but they left my skin softer than ever. Easily one of my favorites, Montagne Jeunesse hit the nail on the head with this combo. A one-two punch for dry, damaged skin.

This sheet mask scared my husband, but I think it felt fantastic. It was super cleansing and smelled like the woods. Seriously, it smelled like pine trees and snow. I don't know how they did it. I left this on while I watched some TV and painted my nails. I patted in the leftovers, and bam. Instantly refreshed skin. It felt nice to take a moment for myself.

Now, for some of the ones I didn't get pictures of. 

The pomegranate peel? Fantastic! I put some on my husbands nose and it pulled away some of his worst blackheads. And since was purple, I was able to find and peel off all of those bits and pieces that tend to stick around for the long haul. My skin felt undeniably clean after that mask.

I also share the hot chocolate orange with my best friend, and we both agreed that it felt amazing. It was weird that it warmed up, but once we got used to, it was great. My only complaint is that it was a pain to wash off. My sink looked like it belonged in a haunted house that had never been cleaned. And the next day, I kept noticing spots that I'd missed. I loved the mask, it made my skin ultra soft, but I will probably relegate it to shower use when I can make sure to scrub it all off. 

Overall, an extremely pleasant experience. These guys know their skincare. I wasn't disappointed in any of the masks. Not by a long shot. All of the Korean style sheet masks took a while to soak in, but after they did, my skin looked vibrant for days. 

And now, for the even better news....

Montagne Jeunesse has offered to give away a wonderful prize pack to one lucky follower of this blog. It'll be similar to mine, and it is so absolutely worth it!  Just fill out the RaffleCopter below and I'll send the results to Gladis at MJ. She'll get your pamper package off to you in a jiffy. 

Contest ends three weeks from today, on October 24th. At that point, a winner will be randomly chosen by Raffle Copter's math wizards. 

Thanks for reading, and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway